September 12, 2014

Another Banner Week in the Treatment of Women. ~ Kim Haas

Photo: Simeon VonBerg via Pixoto

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In a very light perusal of social media this morning I stumbled across these incidents of violence, disrespect and hatred against women:

1. A video of Ray Rice knocking out his then fiancée/now wife in an elevator. Like literally, punched her unconscious. Not much happened (two-game suspension by NFL) when it was revealed earlier this year. But when TMZ released elevator video of the incident this week the Ravens fired him and the NFL suspended him indefinitely. So, justice, right? Well, sure, I guess but why were real consequences doled out only after a video surfaced?

2. The lovely folks at “Fox & Friends” decided that the Ray Rice incident made good stand-up material, joking that the lesson here is to “take the stairs.” Then a cohort chuckled that the actual lesson was to remember that elevators have video cameras. Got that? Women, never get on an elevator with a man even if that man is your fiancé cuz you never know when he might feel compelled to punch you in the face. And men, geez, knock your women around out of view of cameras, okay?

3. They then issued a non-apology apology the following day saying that they were not taking the situation lightly (they were) while never once using the words “I’m sorry.”

4. After the nude photos of various (only female) celebrities leaked, there was a rush to judge and blame them for taking the pics at all. As if having a sex life is the real crime instead of somebody hacking into their private accounts and plastering the photos all over the internet for the world to see.

Let’s see, what else?

5. There was the Indiana mom who was held captive in a wooden cage in a mobile home for two months.

6. There’s Mark Driscoll, founder of Mars Hill church who describes women as “penis homes.” His ongoing misogynistic and homophobic views have caused 15 of their locations to close due to the “negative media attention” (not the hateful views he preaches) and Driscoll has taken a six week leave of absence.

Oh, there’s more.

7. The CDC released stats that one third of all U.S. women have been victims of domestic abuse.

8. GoFundMe, the online crowdfunding site where people go to raise money for personal ventures, including medical emergencies, took down the page for a woman who was attempting to raise money for an abortion that she deemed “absolutely necessary” after an anti-choice protest. Anti-choice good, pro-choice bad.

9. A Columbia University rape survivor is carrying her mattress (the site of the rape) around campus as a protest and performance art piece until her attacker is expelled after the three (yes, three) cases against him were dismissed.

10. Then there’s Anita Sarkessian who produced a series of videos exposing the extreme misogyny in video games and has received death threats for daring to speak up.

These are just a week’s worth of incidents that I happened to find.

One week.

This is not an article to prove that all men are violent, misogynistic assholes.

The majority of men aren’t.

As Rebecca Solnit says,

“…though virtually all the perpetrators of such crimes are men, that doesn’t mean all men are violent.”

She goes on to say that,

“violence doesn’t have a race, a class, a religion, or a nationality, but it does have a gender.”

I’m not even sure what all of these incidents add up to. A neat equation doesn’t exist to plug in “x” amount of acts of violence against women plus “y” factor to equal “z” will be done. But they do expose a pattern.

A pattern of behavior, disrespect, devaluing and violence against women.

This month marks the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women act.

20 years.

I feel the same about this act as I do about feminism. Yes, it’s great that it exists but how sad and disturbing that it has to.

We obviously have a long way to go.

It’s painfully apparent how pervasive misogyny still is in our society—the media, our homes, churches, universities and communities. It runs the gamut from outright physical brutality to the more insidious ways in which we think and speak about women when they don’t fit our idea of womanhood.

When women speak up, there is sometimes a tendency to shut them up—through shame or ridicule to knocking them unconscious or even killing them.

So, I guess what pieces like this one, and this one, and this one do is keep the conversation alive. They create a forum for women and men to share their stories.

A place where women have a voice.

A place where women are heard.

A place where women are valued.


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Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: Simeon VonBerg via Pixoto


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