Africa’s Problems Remain Major Ones

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Africa's-ProblemsIn Malawi, Madagascar, Gabon, Cote d’Ivoire, Swaziland, Somalia, Togo, Eritrea, Mauritania, and Djibouti, wife beating is fairly rare. It is not acceptable in hunting and gathering societies such as the !Kung and the Mbuti.

But many of the countries where wife-beating is rare are those where female genital mutilation (FGM) is prevalent. FGM is common in Somalia, Djibouti, Nigeria, Chad, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, and Mali.

As Green notes, both beating and FGM are forms of controlling women, and the men of different societies have different forms. However, both are common in Mali and Chad, and rare in Madagascar. Green names both beating and FGB as human rights abuses.

Green says that violence against women is particularly bad when the interests of patriarchy and capitalism no longer coincide. (That is, …

The “Other Violence” Of War

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ViolenceRape as a gendered weapon of war is as old as war itself. Susan Brownmiller, in her groundbreaking study Men, Women, and Rape described rape as “a common act of war.” One only needs to examine history to confirm this.

When Japanese forces

captured the Chinese city of Nanking in 1937, more than twenty thousand women were raped. As many as a million women were raped when the Soviet army entered German-occupied territory near the end of World War II. During the same war, around two hundred thousand Korean women were raped as “comfort girls” in service to the Japanese army. More than two hundred thousand Bengali women were raped by Pakistani soldiers in the 1971 Bangladesh war
of independence. During the Vietnam War, countless Vietnamese women were raped by …

Communicating About The Problem

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ProblemIt is this wonderful freedom of expression of instant communication without boundaries or censorship — made possible by the internet — that has made communication between women global and free for the first time ever in history. We have born witness to this unique revolution which now is enabling women to communicate directly and instantly all over the world, to share our experiences, and our accomplishments, to learn from each other’s achievements and to collaborate.

Of course we discovered that we also share our problems with women every where. In this issue we document again the horrendous brutality by men in Moslem countries — for instance in Pakistan where rape and murder flourish, supported by Islamic laws. The stoning of women to death is ordered by Islamic judges after women …

Forcing The Discussion

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heterosexual-menAs we all know, when it comes to sex, men in particular tend to fetishize body parts and clothing (“sexy” underwear, stockings and high heels, for example). And men are prone to viewing pornography, objectifying women, purchasing a woman’s body to use for sex, and turning sex into an exercise of power and control. Patriarchal masculinity is the reason men are so misguided about sex. Because masculinity cuts men off from their real feelings, it prevents them from being able to engage in intimate sexuality. To be masculine, men must be strong, dominant and in control. Yet being vulnerable, open and not in control are the very things needed to become intimate and connect on a deep level with another person. For a man to uphold patriarchal masculinity, he must …

It Should Not Be Tolerated

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armed-assaultThe crime of armed assault is viewed as uncalled for and wrong. Thus the victim has unmitigated social support in recovering from the crime. The survivor of rape has much less support. The rape survivor is interrogated in a pseudo- or outright blaming manner: Where were you? What were you wearing? What did you say to him earlier?

What time was it? How much did you have to drink? And the answers to these questions are often used to discredit and shame if not outright blame the victim. A further reason rape survivors receive less support is that all of society tacitly or explicitly accepts rape as a fact of life. There is a sort of acceptance in our society of rape as a given. Rape is out there, like …

Capitalism And Rape: The Connection

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Capitalism-And-RapeOnce people are disconnected from their true nature and are detached from feeling compassion for others, they are emotionally capable of raping another person’s body. The very fact that rape exists proves how detached people have
become. It is one of the most vile and horrific acts humanly possible, yet it is an extremely common occurrence.
The capitalist system forces us to focus on earning a living rather than on the reality that our living standards in America come directly from the “rape” of the land and of people across the world, as well as within the U.S. There are
just not enough resources for everyone in the world to live like the middle and upper class, so why is it allowed to happen? Another question, why do certain people …

rape-cultureAndrea Dworkin describes rape as an act of terrorism and the ultimate affront to humyn dignity. She says that not only is rape a barbaric crime of power and hate, it is THE most effective method of perpetuating the patriarchal system. Not only does rape exert power, it terrorizes and intimidates and then works to shame the victims in order to keep them quiet and non-confrontational. Rape is no benevolent dictator. Rape is an evil despot placed at the helm of a patriarchal society and reinforced every time it is used as a weapon in the war against womyn.

This war is fought with increasingly steep repercussions on my college campus every semester. Those of us who speak out are denounced, personally attacked in newspapers, sent hate mail, sneered at …

A Personal Story

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sexual-insinuationOn September 4, 2002, I was sexually assaulted. It was a hot, sun-drenched, late summer day backlit by an impossibly blue and near-cloudless sky. Midafternoon, my little street was deserted. I saw and heard no one–only birds and far-off traffic–as I attended to a small chore. When I heard the sexual insinuation, I instinctively knew I was in trouble. I responded nonchalantly to the man who had appeared from nowhere as I gauged how long it would take to get from where I stood to my front door. Later, I would think that the healthy, athletic woman I once was could have aced that distance with animal swiftness. But the woman with MS I am now spends most of her time in a wheelchair and can walk only a …

Hate Rape: A Scourge Of War

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hate-rapeThe focus of war is usually for control of resources, power and money. It is in the context of global capitalism, profit seeking, weakening states, poverty, and a growing culture of violence that unprecedented militarization has occurred- now with a global price tag of well over 5800 billion USA each year. There are untold other costs, not just tallied in dollars but also in human misery.

Rape

Soldiers, in order to perpetrate the murder, rape and destruction of people and communities, are taught to dehumanize the “enemy” into “the other.” Ethnic differences and gender are often used as categories of “otherness” to create the targets of war. The low social status of most of the world’s women, and the relative “weakness” of women and children make them especially vulnerable to …

Has The Air Force Learned Its Lesson?

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air-forceAfter four U.S. Senators called for an investigation

of rape charges by female cadets at the U.S. Air Academy in Colorado Springs, the Defense Department plans to investigate all U.S. military academies, including those for the Navy, Army and Merchant Marine, CNN reported on March 19, 2003. As the scandal at the Air Force

Academy expanded, leaders had ordered a review of how the academy handles complaints. A 17 -member team of Air Force investigators spent about two weeks at the academy and recommended individual counselors for victims, greater authority to officers to monitor relations between the sexes and separate dorm areas for the sexes.

Critics of the last

proposal said integrating the sexes in the military–in units, living areas and work details–seemed to reduce sexual assaults because women were …


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