#India – Change.org : Campaign Victory’s exposed #Vaw #Socialmedia


Kamayani Bali Mahabal, April 23 2013 , Kracktivism

l 23, 2013, Kractivism

  “Every day, Change.org members win people-powered campaigns for social change”.

Just to give a background to those, who are reading about change.org for first time. It’s a popular and fast-growing website for petitions. In the last  two years, Change.org has grown from 1 million to more than 25  million users, according to the site . It began as a liberal blogging site and then pivoted  to become a hub for petitions, mostly with a liberal or populist bent.

Staring as dot.org domain name to its declaration that “our business is social good” to its certification as a B Corporation, Change.org positioned itself as a progressive force. It promised to run campaigns for “organizations fighting for the public good and the common values we hold dear—fairness, equality, and justice.” That’s no longer its mission.  Something changed last year, The policy changed, ‘ partners’ became ‘advertisers ‘in the name openness, democracy and empowerment . So which means now  they will accept paid promotions from conservative organizations, Corporations , that no bar. I had written   Open letter to CEO Ben Rattray last year  in which I said I will not participate but monitor  change.org.

So here is an expose of monitoring  campaigns of change.org in India

 In India   we have two petitions being  hosted on change.org, one by victims and one by perpetrators ?

You think I am joking please read below

The Incident behind both the  petitions :-

Late evening on 11 April 2013, a group of students from Nalsar Law  University went to the Rain Club located in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, for what was meant to be a farewell party for the graduating seniors.

When they stepped out of the club around 10.30pm to wait for their cab, one of the women students spotted someone taking their pictures with a mobile  phone. She objected and demanded to see the mobile. The mobile turned out to be a dummy, without a card in it. When she further objected and demanded that the phone with which photos were taken be handed over, other media cameramen who were present began to film the altercation.

The students were outraged at this invasion of their privacy and the callous response of media cameramen who continued the harassment by following them to the car and persisting in filming them even as they were vehemently protesting this invasion.

The next morning several Telugu channels began showing the footage. Some websites also put up the footage. TV9, ABN Andhra Jyoti, Sakshi TV, Studio N, NTV, IdlyTV, News 24 .

The incident represents blatant sexual harassment of women in a public place, criminal intimidation of the women with threat of public defamation through media. The anchors of the channels repeatedly referred to the women as  punch drunk, half naked, and nude, when the women students were dressed in strapless evening wear. One of the female anchors referred to their attire  as “creepily offensive short clothes.” They also claimed that they were dancing in the club although the entire story was played out on the street and not inside the club. The media persons were not present inside the club. To make matters worse, CVR News put together several clips of provocative dancing from various sources, implying that the present incident was somehow connected to those. Significantly, while only a couple of channels were present outside the  club and were involved in the incident, the story was generously shared with many other channels and web sites. All the channels replayed the footage  provided by the offending channels without providing any opportunity for the  victims of this coverage to respond or give their side of the story.

The channels also were assuming the tone of moral police, claiming that the students were “leaving Indian traditions in tatters by their dressing and  behaviour”. The anchors of the channels took on the role of moral police  by commenting on the young girls’ clothing, even as the channels’ staple fare  for advertising revenue on their news bulletins comprises song and dance sequences from films and film events featuring skimpily clad women doing vulgar dances to vulgar lyrics. The reporters and anchors held forth on excessive freedom for women and its “devastating” effects on society.

The channels also falsely claimed that the students’ behaviour was condemned by women’s organizations even though they only showed the statements of two little-known local politicians, thereby misleading public opinion.

So here on change org , we have a petition by supporters of NALSAR students  asking for  Stringent actions against media houses participating in voyeuristic reporting ,  addressed to Justice Katju, Chairperson, Press Council of India , Justice N V Ramana, Acting Chief Justice, High Court of Andhra Pradesh , Ms Aruna D K, Minister for Information & Public Relations, Cinematography, AP Film, TV & Theatre Dvlpt Corp, AP  Justice Verma, Chairperson, News and Broadcasting Standards Authority Mr Manish Tiwari, Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Union of India

The petition says

The media in our country has engaged in relentless sensationalism, resorting to cheap and lowly tactics to raise TRPs and viewership. This includes airing concocted stories; violating people’s privacy by taking video footage, morphing the images and airing it against completely fabricated and sensationalistic stories; secretly taking videos of people in private parties and clubs and extorting them; and engaging in harassing and abusive conduct. One such incident of unethical, irresponsible, and victimizing behaviour is an incident that occurred on the 121h of April, 2013 to college girls from NALSAR University of Law.The petition has reached 5000 plus signatures

nalsar

And on the other hand, we also have change.org giving platform to the  voyeuristic reporters .with a petition floated by Electronic Media Journalists’ Association of AP , asking to Condemn the action of a group of students who assaulted media persons   addressed to, Manish Tiwari, I&B Minister, Govt of India , Prof. (Dr) Faizan Mustafa ,, Vice-Chancellor, Nalsar , Mrs D K Aruna, Minister of State in AP , Justice Mr M Katju, Chairperson, Press Council of India Justice Katju ,Justice Verma, Chairperson, News and Broadcasting Standards Authority ,Justice N V Ramana, Acting Chief Justice, High Court of Andhra Pradesh ,Hari Prasad, President of Electronic Media Journalists’ Association of AP Please note the targets of both petitions are same .

The petition says

Andhra Pradesh has the maximum number of television news channels not only in India but also in the entire world. The ratings and the importance of these channels show how reliable and responsible the media is in Andhra Pradesh. They never restore to cheap and lowly tactics. There is self-monitoring desk as well as the important organization NBA that keeps monitor on all the channels content.

This petition also has 5000 plus signatures

andhra

Now I want to ask change.org, which petition’s victory will be their victory ?

Wait a minute,

whoever wins or loses,

 it’s a Win- Win situation for change.org.

As a big fans of freedom of speech, they claim their democractic platform. and well whoever wins. Change will be their submitting the petition claiming their VICTORY !! . But I wonder what will they do when they have to take a STAND ? So which petition will they push ? or will; they push both ? and then see pros and cons in context of the political situation and in a closed door meeting then thrash out two teams to work on these two petitions . Call both parties  and weigh the  probabilities and then take a call, keeping both parties in dark on probabilities ?.

So, guys wake up, all those who petition on change.org .This online platform is a for profit  company ,  who through these petitions is  trying legitimize their image as that of  ACTIVISM .They also get  commercial benefits through donations and sponsorships just by providing platform to all you ,under the garb of various human rights issues . VICTORY is for change.org

Change.org’s mission  statement says ‘ to empower people everywhere to create the change they want to see, and we believe the best way to achieve that mission is by combining the values of a non-profit with the flexibility and innovation of a tech startup. ” They call themselves “social enterprise,” using the power of business for social good. “Social Enterprise,” is a term that’s gotten a lot of hold among people who start companies and want to make a difference in the world. But social enterprise as opposed to what? Anti-social enterprise?

Here is where Change.org’s business model comes into play. Change.org sells what are called “sponsored petitions” to its advertisers. Most are nonprofits–right now they include Amnesty International USA, Greenpeace and the Human Rights Campaign — but there’s nothing to prevent companies from sponsoring petitions. Tapping into its audience, Change.org collects names on those petitions and then sells those who opt in to the sponsor, for about $2 per name. Some advertisers get discounts, and other pay more, for example, for people in specific states. Here is a request to Change .org , please, on behalf of companies everywhere Spare us the pieties about how “our business is social good.”

Change.org is a digital media business. Like MTV or Facebook, It creates or aggregates content, the  petitions,  to attract an audience whose attention, in the form of email addresses, it sells to sponsors.

It’s not selling social change. It’s selling you and me.  .

So here is my Appeal to all friends, activists,  celebrating their victories,  and  petitions on change.org,

It’s  time ….

If you’re a member at Change.org take action by unsubscribing from their list. At the very least they can’t profit further off your email.. If you see petitions passed around by friends on Change.org don’t sign them and inform them what’s going on.  It’s important to Explore alternatives

Hopefully the activists in India will very soon have their own activist, accountable, and transparent platform.

Watch out this blog for more :-)

An Appeal to ALL MEN to Join the #1billionrising Campaign


Members of Forum to Engage Men (FEM) are shocked and upset over the never ending stream of reports of violence against women in our society. While the secondary status of women in a male-centric world has been an issue of concern, the extent of brutality and sexual violence that is increasingly becoming evident makes it extremely important that all sections of society, especially men, stand up, resist and react against all such violence acts. Satish Kumar Singh Convenor of FEM and Deputy Director of the Centre for Health and Social Justice says “When I see or hear any incident of violence against women, I feel hurt and vulnerable because of my inability to stop the incident. Today there are various studies that show that nearly one in every three women will be beaten, harassed or raped in her lifetime. This is a very large number. Although not all men are perpetrators, most if not all men remain silent and do not speak out against this violence. We believe that all the men who are not speaking out against Violence Against Women (VAW) end up as contributors to this violence by silent endorsement. There is a serious need to challenge our role as the silent spectator. All men have to speak out and oppose VAW. It is the biggest crime and human rights violation on earth and the responsibility of ending VAW cannot be put on women’s shoulders alone.”

The One Billion Rising (OBR) movement is a collection of global voices, rising on 14th February, 2013 to stand up against all the atrocities against women. This call resonates with the stance of FEM that deep seated gender inequalities and patriarchal notions of masculinity allow these atrocities to happen and go unchallenged. FEM believes that men also have to take a leading role to eliminate such practices.

Anand Pawar, executive director of SAMYAK an NGO in Pune, is taking a lead to mobilise men across the state of Maharashtra to stand up and be counted on the occasion of the One Billion Rising campaign. He says, “While working with men is becoming one of the key approaches in the development sector, many of these initiatives are not necessarily informed with feminist perspectives and practice. These remain technical and their analysis of patriarchy is superficial. OBR provides an opportunity for men to participate in a campaign lead by women’s groups and understand feminist perspectives in organising protests against violence against women. It is very important that men across the world stand in support of OBR.”

Members of FEM have been working to stop Violence Against Women in different parts of the country. Notably in UP, FEM members of MASVAW (Men’s Action for Stopping Violence Against Women) have been protesting against VAW along with women’s groups over the last decade. On 14th February, members of FEM in different parts of the country, will be rising on the occasion of OBR to make ourselves be counted in the struggle for gender equality. We call upon all men and boys who want such atrocities to end to join us.

For more information contact: Dr. Abhijit Das (9871713314)

Satish Kumar Singh (9910589201) Phillip Perl (9818562923)

FEM : Forum To Engage Men and Boys for Gender Equality

(www.femindia.net)

Secretariat : CHSJ, Basement of Young Women’s Hostel No2, Avenue 21, G Block, Saket, New Delhi 1100117. Ph.:011-26511425, 26535203

Brother beheads Sister forfor ‘dishonouring’ family in Kolkata #honorkilling #Vaw


TNN | Dec 8, 2012, 03.47 AM IST

KOLKATA: In the first honour killing in Kolkata in decades, a 29-year-old youth dragged his sister out on the street and cut off her head with one stroke of the sword in Ayubnagar locality of Nadial, barely 13km from the city centre, on Friday.

Scores of residents looked on in horror as Mehtab Alam walked to a police station with the head in his left hand and the sword in his right, dripping blood all along the way.

At 11am, the duty officer at Nadial police station jumped to his feet in horror as he saw a young man walk in with the macabre exhibits. Before he could find the words to alert his colleagues, Mehtab put the sword and the head on his table, pulled up a chair and told him that he was ready to be arrested for murdering his sister, 22-year-old Nilofar Bibi. He told the duty officer to “seize the head as evidence”, say sources.

Even as deputy commissioner-port division Mehboob Rehman rushed to the scene of crime, where Nilofar’s headless body lay in a pool of blood, Mehtab told the numbed police officers that he had killed his sister for “running off with a lover and dishonouring the family”, say sources. Nilofar was married for eight years and had two children. It was “immoral” for her to live with her former paramour, Firoz Hossain, Mehtab apparently told police.

Firoz escaped because he wasn’t home. “I’d have killed him, too,” Mehtab told police. He had even attacked Firoz’s sister-in-lawSaboo, who tried to save Nilofar. Saboo’s right arm is nearly severed and she is battling for life in hospital, said joint commissioner-crime Pallab Kanti Ghosh.

Nilofar married Akbar of Pachura, Rabindranagar, when she was 14. They have a son aged six and a daughter, four. On November 28, she ran away from her in-laws’ home, alleging that she was being harassed and tortured by Akbar’s brother. On November 30, she disappeared from her paternal home, too. Nilofar’s father lodged a missing person’s diary at Nadial police station. In a few days, Mehtab came to know that she was with Firoz, with whom she had an affair before marriage, say police.

 

#India- Acid attack: Netizens want ‘coward’ caught #VAW


TNN | Nov 10, 2012, 12.44AM IST

MUMBAI: The online world has been abuzz with news of the chemical attack on Aryanka Hozbetkar, 26, with netizens asking for help in finding the suspect Jerrit John, 46.

Director-actor Farhan Akhtar tweeted: “Shame on you Jerrit John. Now come out of hiding, you coward.” Akhtar posted a picture of John and wrote: “If you spot this man please dial 100 and refer case to Dadar police station.”

Simran Channey, a marketing manager at a film firm, tweeted, “Man, you can never know when someone will lose it! Jerrit was someone I had worked with, was a loser, but never thought he’d be a woman beater and would throw (a chemical) on a woman. It’s sickening me since morning.”

Human Rights activist Kamayani Bali Mahabal blogged: “Jerrit has been asking friends to say that they did not hear anything or see anything. Jerrit, seriously, you think we will be quiet? You may have deleted your Facebook profile, but you can’t be on the run for long.”

Dipti Shah wrote on the networking page of Mumbai Cycling Enthusiasts: “So, so angry. Cycling is all about fun and not anger nor frustration nor revenge. So all you jerks and frustrated leeks, be it lust, be it power, be it personal vendetta – stay away. There’s no room here for you cowards.”

#Pakistan #Taliban: agent or victim?


 

Afiya Shehrbano Zia [1] 24 October 2012, opendemocracy.net

In their attempt to assassinate girl-activist, Malala Yousufzai, has the Taliban inadvertently rescued the narrative of violence against women?

Just as in other patriarchal societies, violence against women (VAW) in Pakistan is endemic and cuts across all classes and ethnicities. Men of all ideological bents instrumentalise the political economy of VAW as a highly lucrative and politically successful strategy of maintaining material supremacy and social power.

Over the last three decades, Pakistan has been at the receiving end of donor-assisted campaigns and gender-empowerment awareness programmes on violence. These projects were sub-contracted to NGOs that had been set up by feminists who themselves, in the 1980s, had been involved in direct action activism on cases of violence. With the sponsorship of international development assistance, “women’s NGOs” have steadily embraced the concept and become advocates of linking VAW to neo-liberal development agendas. This has re-directed analysis and activism from its primary focus on survivors and perpetrators of violence. Instead, increasing attention and funding has led to a change that is more in tune with the UN and donor-preferred approach known as ‘Gender-Based Violence’ (GBV).

The shift has meant more than a replacement of acronyms. The impetus of both, VAW and GBV activism, may be the overlapping theme of violence but for the latter, the emphasis is much more on the context and sites where violence is ‘gendered’ and sustained. The long-term developmental aim of GBV is to change power inequalities between men and women in society. Exacerbating factors such as poverty, injustice, discrimination or lack of awareness or dis-empowerment of women and girls, is the core of the GBV agenda. However, the UN preference for GBV linkages with developmental goals has meant that the politics of VAW has deflected or at least, diluted, the focus from the immediate perpetrators, purpose and benefits of violence. Instead, the GBV approach looks closer at socially constructed masculinity rather than material-based patriarchy, to be the direct motivation or cause of criminal intent behind such violence.

Perversely, this is allowing generations of perpetrators to metaphorically but also literally, get away with murder. This is because GBV projects offer to rehabilitate masculinities, change the broader power structures, and improve the justice-education-health systems or gender relations in communities, rather than simply recognize the criminal and his immediate motivation. Nor do GBV projects sponsor punitive methods to address such violations. The recent attack on a 14 year old girl-activist, Malala Yousufzai, by the Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Swat, Pakistan, has pushed the reset button on the momentum [18] that was being gained by Gender-Based Violence (GBV). The Taliban’s attack may have inadvertently rescued the narrative of the VAW approach, which calls for more direct focus on immediate causes and perpetrators and more urgent responses to cases of violence against women.

Responses to the Taliban attack 

The range and multitude of the global response to the attempted assassination of Malala have been far-reaching. They span from Madonna’s puzzling bare-back tribute [19] to the young activist at a concert just days after the attack, to the equally jingoistic decision [20] by the government of Pakistan to name three of its Frontier Corps platoons, ‘Malalai’, ‘Shazia’ and ‘Kainat’, as a ‘tribute’ to all three school girls targeted and injured by the Taliban. While the case has received near-universal condemnation, various interests groups in Pakistan are competing to add to the multiple layers of ascribed motivations, causes and responsibilities. There is also much political mileage to be availed in view of the sweep of outrage and sympathy across the world. A virtual supermarket of ‘Blame’ brands are available for commentators ranging from American hegemony, imperialism, drone attacks and even, anti-Islam blasphemous material produced in the West.

”We demand the end of Extremism and Terrorism” – Protest in Pakistan by
left and women’s groups. Photo: member of WAF.

While GBV approaches link the low rate of literacy and abysmal indices for girls’ education in the country to gender based discrimination, the narrative that has spun around Malala’s case has thrown up a host of deeper, unresolved and critical issues with reference to violence. The Taliban have categorically reclaimed religious patriarchy as a deliberate base for the kind of violence it consciously employs. In several press releases [21], the Taliban spokesman has refuted all the defenses being spun by Islamists and conservatives (such as drone attacks), as the motivation behind the assassination attempt. The statements have impatiently corrected the rationalisations and confirmed that they attacked Malala specifically for her adversarial intent to “secularise society” by educating girls according to a non-Islamic curricula. Her aimed defiance to the Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) qualifies her as anti-Islamic and the Taliban claim [22], “We did not attack her for raising voice for education. We targeted her for opposing mujahideen and their war”. The aim to kill her was the natural culmination of their larger campaign of systematically blowing up girls’ schools over the last five years, in northern Pakistan.

For decades, women’s rights activists resisted the monopoly of violence claimed by the state, and unpacked the lease of this to men in communities who then target women with impunity under the guise of cultural practices and patriarchal traditions. Over the last two decades, with donor encouragement, several development practitioners became engaged with the idea of instrumentalising Islam [23] as a tool for women’s empowerment. This premise allowed them to pursue the case for educating women and girls through religious didacticism. It also allowed for the co-option of clergy who resisted contraceptive use to become its promoters. Theoretically, it was thought that this strategy would counter what were labeled ‘anti-Islamic’ traditions that sanctioned violence against women. VAW proved far more resilient. What these activists underestimated was that instrumentalising Islam is not a parochial privilege limited to rights based activists. The Taliban and sympathetic Islamists do not doubt nor resist the need for women’s education as a Quranic prescription– just its nature, purpose and ‘secularising’ ends.

The debate is shifting away and being reframed by all the actors involved and reconfiguring around notions of religious and secular forms of violence. As a result, the symbol of woman as a carrier of both the virus and cure, the seed of destruction and resurrection, war and peace, continues to serve as the barometer of Pakistan’s unresolved issue of Islamic vs secular options and pursuits.

Clarity in the Taliban agenda 

In the post War on Terror (WoT) period, incrementally, Pakistani women have been the direct targets [24] of Islamic militancy. At first, activists struggled to decode the patriarchal impulses and gendered impact of a more generic conflict. By 2007, however, the Swat Taliban came to have virtual control over Swat. Girls’ schools were bombed, barbers and music shop owners were attacked, women warned not to come to the bazaars or hospitals or to leave their houses alone, and were assaulted when in violation of regulations. Women performers, called the ‘dancing girls of Swat’ were assaulted, and at least one, Shabana, was shot dead and her body hung on display at a crossing dubbed Khooni Chowk (Bloody Crossing) as a symbol of the Taliban’s regimen of moral cleansing. The use of women as a signpost is not exclusive to the Taliban but unlike in inter-community or inter-ethnic murders, Islamic militants leave messages to the state, government and citizens by literally pinning post-its to dead bodies routinely and systematically. So too, Shabana’s body was strewn with currency notes as a mocking reminder of the fate of those deemed un-Islamic [25] (in her case, prostitutes) by the Taliban’s sharia rule.

Unlike men of sub-nationalist movements or even mainstream Islamists, the Taliban are overt and unapologetic in their exploitative and symbolic use of the female body. Despite the self-confessed assassination attempt on Malala and repeated explanations of why they will continue such acts, the Islamists and conservatives in Pakistan have launched a counter-campaign to disassociate this crime (against Malala) from the criminal (the Taliban militant). The argument in the media spin that followed the targeted assassination attempt was that Malala had been attacked by an abstraction [26] – American hegemony, imperialism, Islamic freedom, militancy, Westernisation, class aspirations, honour, nationalism, secularism, women’s rights. By not recognizing the self-confessed murderer, Islamists absolve the criminal and dissolve the crime. 

Such unprecedented violence has diverted attention and hindered the struggle of women and human rights activists who were more committed to normative and routine public and private cases of VAW. Activism meant rescuing women under threat, offering legal assistance and providing shelter as well as, pressurizing the state and justice system to deal with the perpetrators. Even as we observed the course of the ‘war on terror’ and its fall-out in Pakistan, the growth of GBV projects continued to divert the emphasis away from direct action and towards developmental and rehabilitative approaches. Islamic militants such as the TTP have directly challenged all apologia that argues that they are victims of some misguided masculinities, brutalized by tribal war and poverty. Neither do they view themselves as jihadi proxies used and discarded by the Pakistani state, or as citizens who are denied justice. They do however agree with some sympathisers who continue to view the Taliban as products and resistance armies of US anti-imperialism. Is it viable to continue viewing the conscious agent as a victim?

Agent as victim

To deflect the direct responsibility of a crime away from the individual and place it on the breadth of society, government, the state, global powers or imperialism, then empties the perpetrator of criminal motivation and refills him with a higher, larger-than-life, mission.

The creation of such noblesse oblige is done by converting the agent into a victim. This laundering opens a new line of defense. It suggests (as several Islamists have done) that, under certain circumstances, a case of justifiable homicide may be made. However, in the views of the same sympathisers, this flexibility is a limited moral commodity.  The defense of a higher moral purpose as the motivation for murder is not a universally available tool for all citizens regardless of class, creed or gender. It is a selective application reserved only for those who are deemed Islamic enough and soaked in the cause of promoting/defending Islam as defined by powerful or political clergymen.

In other words, Malala may be worthy of sympathy due to her status as a minor but does not qualify for justice because of her near-fitna (seductive, luring, chaotic) activities. In the minds of these apologists, her would-be assassins were absolved of their crime even before they were caught, despite their stated motivation (which has not been cited as the drone attacks but due to Malala’s adversarial intent to secularise her society) and even prior to a judicial hearing. In such a world-view, justice must not be blind but dependent on the perceived beliefs or religious weightage of the individuals or parties involved.

One of the complaints made by proponents of the Taliban-as-victim [27] group, is that violations against women by secular landed politicians, do not receive as much media attention or outraged response. This is a completely dishonest proposal. The case that is often quoted as ‘exaggerated’ or ‘sensationalised’ to expose the Taliban’s Islamic justice system following the peace deal with the government in 2009, is that of a woman flogged [28] by Taliban ‘police’ in the streets of Swat. The mobile phone amateur video went viral on national and international channels.  In 2008, soon after the new incumbent civilian government was installed, two high profile cases [29] involving the landed politicians of the ruling party were equally ‘sensationally’ splashed across the media. With reference to one of these cases of the alleged ‘live burial’ of girls who refused their arranged marriages, Pakistani women’s groups lobbied, protested and came on TV channels demanding the removal [30] of the cabinet minister from the said constituency. They did so, in protest of his defense [31] of such ‘traditions’, which he offered as a justification for this crime. To suggest that religious militancy is the only crime that is picked up by the media or liberal groups is an intellectually dishonest claim. The spectacle of the flogging caught on video made the case more visual and hence caused more outrage than the other cases.

Reclaiming agendas

This defensiveness stems from a more common refrain used by the apologists of Islamists’ politics of violence – that secular political forces are no better. Feminists, including myself, have persistently made this critique [32] of not only liberal, secular men, but also of the state, as abusers of the political potential of women’s bodies and also because their acts sanction a regulation of women’s sexuality and all its manifestation. However, the Malala case falls outside of this framework. The concern of the Taliban in this case was not to regulate the girls’ sexualities (although it may be elsewhere), nor to accrue material benefit, nor revenge for drones and nor was the purpose to restore ‘honour’, as some communities employ this motivational excuse in cases of VAW. In these non-theocratic cases, perhaps the GBV framework is a useful one. However, the Taliban are not hiding behind socio-economic or tradition based excuses. It is time for analysts to recognise the self-acclaimed agency of the perpetrators and clearly identify the victim in cases of VAW, rather than defend the criminal as victim and dissolve the crime as an abstraction.

The TTP has reminded us of the simple core of VAW and reiterated what feminists always knew – VAW removes any threat that the liberationist ‘Woman’ may pose to the religio-patriarchal social order. If eliminating girls’ schools does not do the job, then a stronger signal of directly removing all agents (women/girls), should secure the message for those who may be harbouring plans to disrupt the Islamic order they seek to impose. Foreign donors scramble to rebuild schools, and the state attempts to resist militancy by giving symbolic significance to the services and resilience of girls such as Malala, in order to boost their public relations campaign in the fight against militancy in north Pakistan. Meanwhile, the Taliban have recovered the simple lesson of success achieved by direct action, and the symbolic value and immense ideological success available through the act of removing the obstacle. Will we?

 [41]

This article is published under a Creative Commons licence. If you have any queries about republishing please contact us [42]. Please check individual images for licensing details.

 

Violence Against Women Persists in #Bangladesh #VAW


By Naimul HaqReprint |       |  Print | Send by email |En español
Violence against women is on the rise in Bangladesh. Credit: Naimul Haq/IPSViolence against women is on the rise in Bangladesh. Credit: Naimul Haq/IPS

DHAKA, Oct 17 2012 (IPS) – Bangladesh, often cited as a model of progress in achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), appears to be sliding backwards when it comes to dealing with violence against women (VAW).

Police statistics and assessments by non-government organisations (NGOs) working to establish women’s rights show that there is in an increasing trend in VAW.

According to police records, while there were 2,981 cases of dowry-related violence in 2004, the figure has already hit 4,563 in the first nine months of 2012. Also, where there were 2,901 rape cases recorded in 2004, the figure for the current year, up to August, stands at 2,868.

Farida Akhtar, an internationally known rights activist, told IPS that the disturbing aspect of this rising trend in VAW is that it is “taking on different deceptive forms that go beyond the statistics.”

“When women are better aware of their rights through education, and want to assert them, they suffer violence,” said Akhtar, a founder of the NGO, ‘UBINIG’, acronym for ‘Policy Research for Development Alternatives’ in the Bangla language.

With school enrolment at 95 percent, Bangladesh is well on track to achieving the MDGs that deal with gender parity in education by 2015. But gender equity and women’s empowerment are another matter.

Akhtar said there is evidence that Bangladeshi women are now facing more mental torture than before. “Unfortunately, mental torture cannot be quantified and often goes unreported. But, the fact that suicide is the biggest cause of female deaths in this country is telling.”

Women’s rights leaders say that atrocities go unreported because of fear of harassment by religious or political leaders and, of the cases that are registered, a large number end up being dismissed as false allegations.

Police data show that 109,621 complaints of various forms of VAW were lodged during the 2010-2012 (up to August) period.  Of these, 18,484 complaints were taken into cognizance, but only 6,875 cases were deemed ‘genuine’ and fit for further proceedings.

Mohammad Munirul Islam, additional inspector-general of police responsible for dealing with crimes related to VAW at the police headquarters, told IPS, “On many occasions our investigations showed that the law was used to harass the accused. It does seem that not all complaints are genuine.”

Afroza Parvin, executive director of Nari Unnayan Shakti, a women’s rights NGO, told IPS, “Due to better awareness female victims have learnt to raise their voices, but stop short of seeking police help. During our 20 years of experience on VAW we have found that police often do not cooperate with victims and favour the accused.”

Leading women’s movement activist Shireen Huq says that the main difficulty is that of “establishing a prima facie case for lack of eye witnesses, evidence, etc., with the result that the accused are easily acquitted and cases are recorded as false.”

Huq, who is also a founder member of Naripokkho, a local NGO, told IPS that “no matter what the offence or what the form of violence, police and lawyers find it convenient to file the complaint under ‘torture for dowry’, and since this is a non-bailable offence we often hear of the elderly parents of the accused being arrested.”

Failure to fulfill dowry demands is a major cause for VAW in Bangladesh. On average 5,000 complaints of dowry are recorded annually. In 2010, police reported 5,331 cases of dowry, which jumped to 7,079 in 2011.

Despites the debates, official statistics show that VAW continues unabated and many complaints are dismissed without justice. Data from Bangladesh National Women Lawyers’ Association (BNWLA) show that of the 420 recorded rape cases in 2011, only 286 reached the prosecution stage.

Salma Ali, executive director of BNWLA, told IPS that one of the difficulties in establishing the rights of women is the fact that Bangladeshi society is strongly patriarchal. “This means that women suffer discrimination in respect of matrimonial rights, guardianship of children and  inheritance – often through religious injunctions or directives,” the prominent lawyer said.

Hameeda Hossain, chairperson of Ain-o-Shalish Kendra, a leading women’s rights  organisation, told IPS that if  “women are still suffering socially, culturally and politically” it is due to “social acceptance of women’s subordination, discriminatory laws and poor law enforcement.”

“Crimes against women within the family are often ignored, and the women  silenced,” Hossain said. “There is social tolerance of domestic violence and limited intervention.”

To its credit the Bangladesh government has taken a number of legal steps to  improve the situation of women, starting with the Suppression of Violence against Women and Children Act in 2000. In 2009 the National Human Rights Act was passed followed by the Domestic Violence Act in 2010.

Bangladesh is also signatory to international conventions designed to protect women and their rights. Yet, very little is being done on the ground to ensure a secure and safe environment for them, rights activists say.

 

Tribal woman in #Chhattisgarh gangraped #VAW


Raipur, Sept 28(PTI) A tribal woman in Narayanpur district has claimed that she was gangraped by four unidentified armed men wearing uniforms.

Narayanpur SP Mayank Srivastava said that a case has been registered in this regard.

According to the woman, she was raped in the forest between Turtha and Karepal by four armed men on 18th of this month.

The 45-year old victim initially did not file police complaint on the advice by her family members.

The Official Guide to Legitimate Rape #WTFnews #VAW #Rape


The Official Guide to Legitimate Rape
 

Yesterday, Missouri Rep. Todd Akin, Republican Senate nominee and member of the House Science, Space and Technology committee, said pregnancy from rape was “really rare” because “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Akin quickly said that he “misspoke,” but he didn’t rescind his claims that women have magical sperm-defying ovaries — or that there’s a hierarchy when it comes to different “levels” of rape.

If you’re unfamiliar with the exciting concept that your uterus can pick and choose between various kinds of rape, don’t fret. We have just the guide for you.

Non-Pregnancy Rape

For decades, conservatives have claimed that women can’t get pregnant from “legitimate” rape thanks to their wise, all-knowing uteri, psychic “juices” and Spidey Sense-like “secretions.” (Hmm, if legislators can applaud our vaginas for being so omniscient, how come they can’t let us control them?)

In 1988, Republican Pennsylvania Rep. Stephen Freind said the odds that a woman who is raped will get knocked up are “one in millions and millions and millions” because rape causes a woman to “secrete a certain secretion” that kills evil sperm. I don’t know about you guys, but my “secretions” are so judicious that they start flowing the second after an Ayn Rand-lover approaches me at a bar, before he can even utter the word “Objectivism.” I guess my vag is just highly evolved.

In 1995, North Carolina state Rep. Henry Aldridge told the House Appropriations Committee that “The facts show that people who are raped — who are truly raped — the juices don’t flow, the body functions don’t work and they don’t get pregnant. Medical authorities agree that this is a rarity, if ever.” Plan B: If your secretions can’t kill evil sperm, you just “dry up” and brush yourself off after you’re done being raped, baby-free. No biggie!

Then, there’s this famous 1999 Christian Life Resources piece from John C. Willke, a physician who was once president of the National Right to Life Committee, in which he basically just makes shit up:

Finally, factor in what is is certainly one of the most important reasons why a rape victim rarely gets pregnant, and that’s physical trauma. Every woman is aware that stress and emotional factors can alter her menstrual cycle. To get and stay pregnant a woman’s body must produce a very sophisticated mix of hormones. Hormone production is controlled by a part of the brain that is easily influenced by emotions. There’s no greater emotional trauma that can be experienced by a woman than an assault rape. This can radically upset her possibility of ovulation, fertilization, implantation and even nurturing of a pregnancy. So what further percentage reduction in pregnancy will this cause? No one knows, but this factor certainly cuts this last figure by at least 50 percent and probably more.

Got it, ladies? If you’re normal, you’ll never emotionally recover from your rape because it’s the “greatest emotional trauma” you can ever experience. But at least you’ll be too fucked up to have a baby! If your body allows basic biology to happen inside of it, your rape wasn’t aggressive enough. Try, try again?

Bad Weather Rape

In 1990, Texas Republican gubernatorial nominee Clayton Williams told ranchers that victims should take rape in stride and try to enjoy it — like when you have picnic plans but then there’s a huge thunderstorm so you decide to see a movie instead and it turns out to be a pretty enjoyable afternoon after all! Yes, Williams literally compared rape to the foggy weather that was affecting his ongoing speech by saying, “If it’s inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.”

Williams isn’t the only conservative to claim rape is akin to unfortunate weather; in 1997, Bush appointee Federal Judge James Leon Holmes said in an article that “concern for rape victims is a red herring because conceptions from rape occur with approximately the same frequency as snowfall in Miami.” Because of the juices! And the secretions! And SCIENCE.

Politico Rape

Last night, Politico‘s Dave Catanese tweeted that it was “impossible” to know what Akin really meant to say when he said “legitimate rape” doesn’t lead to pregnancy. “Just maybe,” Catanese surmised, Akin “didn’t really mean ‘legitimate.’ Perhaps he meant if ‘someone IS really raped’ or ‘a rape really occurs.'” Catanese then got all huffy when people accused him of being a rape apologist, tweeting, “The left is often 1st to shut down debate as “off limits” when it deems so. Aren’t these moments supposed to open up a larger debate?”

Catanese sure has a lot of questions! Here are some others: Why is it wrong to think that Akin meant to say “legitimate” when he literally said “legitimate”? Why should we spend a millisecond of our time analyzing Akin’s deep thoughts on the “science” behind the female body’s ability to “shut down” if she’s being raped? Why does Akin deserve the benefit of the doubt at all? Why is aPolitico reporter more concerned with all of the mythological crazy ladies out there claiming fake rape than with the fact that a state representative who sits on the House Science committee doesn’t understand how pregnancy works?

Forcible Rape and/or Assault Rape

Last year, Ye Grand Protector of All Womenfolk Rep. Akin joined forces with GOP VP candidate Paul Ryan to co-sponsor the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act”, which introduced the awesome new term “forcible rape” into our vernacular. Federal funds can only be used to pay for abortion in cases when a woman is raped; the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” sought to chip away at that exception by clarifying that only pregnancies resulting from “forcible rape” would qualify for federally funded abortions. The true meaning of “forcible rape” was never clearly defined, and the term was eventually removed from the bill.

Yesterday, the Romney-Ryan campaign said the men disagreed with Akin’s statement and that “a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape.” Funny, since Ryan was one of the original co-sponsors of the “forcible rape” bill and has said that abortion should be illegal in all cases except when the mother’s life is in danger.

Marriage Rape, aka “JK LOL Doesn’t Happen!” Rape

Earlier this year, Idaho Senator Chuck Winder made good use of his time on the Senate floor when he warned everyone about those wily, dangerous housewives who didn’t get the memo that putting a ring on it = no rapes forever and ever. “I would hope that when a woman goes into a physician, with a rape issue, that that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage, or was it truly caused by a rape,” he said.

Fear of the “Wife who cried rape” is nothing new; as a state legislator, Akin once only voted for an anti-marital-rape law after wondering whether it might be used “in a real messy divorce as a tool and a legal weapon to beat up on the husband.”

“Rape” Rape

Remember when Whoopi Goldberg said Roman Polanksi didn’t, like, “rape-rape” a teenage girl? “I know it wasn’t rape-rape,” she said on The View. “It was something else but I don’t believe it was rape-rape. He went to jail and and when they let him out he was like ‘You know what this guy’s going to give me a hundred years in jail I’m not staying, so that’s why he left.'” That “something else” that isn’t “rape rape” is a lot like….

Gray Rape

Young readers might think that “gray rape” has something to do with a certain popular BDSM bestseller, but it’s a term that’s officially been around since the ’90s. Most people think thatCosmopolitan invented the term “gray rape” in 2007, when Laura Session Stepp defined it as “sex that falls somewhere between consent and denial and is even more confusing than date rape because often both parties are unsure of who wanted what.” But Katie Roiphe infamously claimed “There is a gray area in which one person’s rape may be another’s bad night” in her 1994 book The Morning After: Fear, Sex and Feminism.

When the Cosmo article prompted a panel on the dangers of “grey rape,” Linda Fairstein, the former chief of the sex crimes unit at the Manhattan district attorney’s office, told the New York Times that the concept had been around long before Cosmo decided it was trendy. “Certainly, in the criminal justice system there’s no such thing as gray rape,” she said. “Gray rape is not a new term and not a new experience. For journalists, it may be, but for those of us who had worked in advocacy or law enforcement, this description of something being in a gray area has been around all the time. It’s always been my job in law enforcement to separate out the facts.”

Date Rape

“Date” rape is the opposite of “stranger” rape, which is everyone’s favorite kind of rape, because if the attacker is a crazy inhuman savage jumping out of the bushes and never to be seen again (unless shot to death by a nearby princely fellow carrying a gun specifically for cut-and-dry situations such as these), there’s no need to acknowledge rape culture or try and educate people about complicated issues of consent.

The term entered the national consciousness in 1985, when Ms. Magazine published a three-year federally-funded study by psychologist Mary P. Koss on date rape on college campuses. The study found that one in four college women were victims of rape or attempted rape, and that only one in four women had experienced sexual assault that met the legal definition of rape at the time. In the piece, Koss encouraged women to reconsider their past experiences and ask themselves if they had actually consented, even if the person in question was a friend.

When we attach “date” as a modifier to rape, the term becomes quainter and less violent; it implies the attacker and the victim were friendly, making the situation more convoluted. Which it very well may be. But “date rape” is much more common than “stranger rape.” According toRAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, approximately two-thirds of rapes were committed by someone known to the victim, 73 percent of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger, and 38 percent of rapists are a friend or acquaintance.

Why do we feel the need to get so specific when a rape is “date” rape if that’s the unfortunate norm?

Rape

RAINN defines rape as “forced sexual intercourse, including vaginal, anal, or oral penetration. Penetration may be by a body part or an object.” To clarify: “Rape victims may be forced through threats or physical means. In about 8 out of 10 rapes, no weapon is used other than physical force. Anyone may be a victim of rape: women, men or children, straight or gay.”

(And here’s some additional info for Scientist Akin: according to a 1996 article in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, “among adult women an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year.” According to Planned Parenthood, more than five percent of all rapes result in pregnancy.)

Let’s stop differentiating between different types of rape as if they were different flavors at an ice cream shop. Politicians need to get over the pervasive fear that adopting a zero-tolerance attitude towards rape means that people will be able to disingenuously “cry rape” if they’re having a bad day. That’s not going to happen. You know what’s way more dangerous? Allowing legislators like Akin to make declarative statements that are unarguably false. If you don’t know how basic biology works, you shouldn’t be able to hold a government position that gives you real power over the bodies of millions of women.

Sure, it would be a hell of a lot easier if uteri were able to define rape for us. But they can’t, and it’s insane to pretend otherwise.

Oriiginal article here-http://jezebel.com/5936160/the-official-guide-to-legitimate-rape

Mangalore attack: Girls should skip parties, Karnataka women’s panel boss says #WTFnews


 

TNN | Aug 2, 2012,
Mangalore attack: Girls should skip parties, Karnataka women's panel boss says
BANGALORE: If the girls brutalized by moral vigilantes in Mangalore last week were looking for any womanly understanding from the Karnataka StateWomen’s Commission, they were in for a big disappointment.Commission chairperson C Manjula, who on Wednesday arrived in Mangalore to inquire into the attack on college girls and boys at Morning Mist home stay, had little to offer except: “Home stay parties mislead young girls.”

She told reporters that the commission had already condemned the attack. “I have come here to conduct an inquiry and to seek answers as to why such incidents are repeatedly taking place in Mangalore. The issue will be discussed with officials and we will try to find solutions to put an end to the menace,” she added.

Instead of taking on the vigilantes interfering in the lives of young people, she said that holding parties in remote places leads to suspicion. “I will discuss the issue with Mangalore Universityvice-chancellor TC Shivashankara Murthy and principals of colleges in the city to find solutions for the protection of young women students,” she said.

 

Save 20 year old Sudanese mother Sentenced To Death By Stoning


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Save 20 year old Sudanese mother Sentenced To Death By Stoning

 

 

Intisar Sharif Abdallah was sentenced by Judge Sami Ibrahim Shabo at Ombada criminal court in Omdurman on 22 April on charges of adultery, under article 146A of Sudan’s criminal code.

Intisar was accused of having a relationship and becoming pregnant by a man who was not her husband. She was found guilty after an “admission of guilt” following torture and brutal beatings by her brother who instigated the case. According to reports, Intisar did not have access to a lawyer during her trial, and her accused lover remains un-convicted and walks free.
Intisar, who has three children, is being detained with her newborn baby. She is suffering from psychological distress and does not fully understand the nature of her sentence. In addition, she has a limited knowledge of Arabic and was denied a translator in court, an Amnesty International report stated. It was first reported that she is a minor but latest reports from civil society groups in Sudan confirmed her age as 20.
Sudan is a State party to a number of international human rights instruments. It signed and ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) in 1986. It has also signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. A military coup in 1989 which harkened in the rule of its long-term and current president Omar al-Bashir introduced shari’a as the foundation of the country’s jurisprudence and penal laws; a move widely perceived by many in Sudan as a pretext for the growth in stronghold by religious fundamentalist forces in the government.
The al-Bashir government passed the Sudanese Penal Code in 1991. A number of Articles in the Penal Code intended to curb women’s enjoyment of their fundamental rights were introduced. These Articles have become the major impediments to Sudan’s accession to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). It is now one of the seven (7) remaining countries who have yet to sign and ratify the Convention. One of these Articles is 146A, which provides capital punishment for married men and women who are found guilty of engaging in sexual relationships outside marriage. The president must approve all death sentences before they are carried out.

On 1 August 2010, the Sudanese Parliament called for the punishment of stoning to death to “adulterers” or those accused of having extra-marital affairs.However, the Sudanese delegation during the Universal Period Review (UPR) of Sudan by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011 stated that “the death penalty was practiced in the most restricted manner and imposed for the most serious crimes and it is associated with the right to practice religion as guaranteed by international human rights treaties”. They also claimed that there are strict legal safeguards in trials of cases punishable by the death penalty.
Sudanese women’s groups view the sentencing of Intisar as a demonstration of the scale of discrimination against women and girls in the country: “It is incredulous that the man with whom she has been accused is able to walk free showing explicitly the strong anti-woman sentiment and harsh management of family disputes that exists within both the Sudanese judicial system and in society”.
We view stoning as an egregious abuse of human rights and in violation of Sudan’s international human rights commitments under the ICCPR. It also constitutes a form of torture and is often accompanied by gender discrimination and unfair judicial processes. Although stoning is often justified in the name of Islam, the use of stoning today is wholly un-Islamic and religiously illegitimate. There is no mention of stoning in the Quran and many Muslim clerics, religious scholars, and political leaders have spoken out against the practice of stoning.
We demand that Intisar Sharif Abdallah be released immediately and unconditionally. We also call upon Sudanese authorities, including the Sudan Ministry of Justice and other relevant government bodies, to conduct an honest and thorough investigation into the case and correct all breeches in the judicial process.
The Sudanese government must reform the penal code and make it in line with its commitment to international human rights standards it has signed up to including the decriminalization of consensual sexual relations between adults and to ban capital punishment in all its forms. Stoning must never again be considered as a legitimate punishment for any crime.
The freedom of belief does not constitute the freedom to kill. No excuse—including in the name of ‘religion’, ‘culture’, or ‘tradition’—justifies any form of violence against women whether by the State or by private individuals or groups.

 

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