There are things we can do to help STOP THE VIOLENCE.

TRIGGER WARNING ~ Violence
from yesterday’s news (5/5/15)

“A man allegedly carved his nickname into a woman’s forearm with a knife while keeping her as his sex slave for a month, an ACT court has heard.

The 25-year-old man, who cannot be identified, pleaded not guilty in the ACT Magistrates Court to charges of rape, kidnapping, forcible confinement, assault and sexual servitude.

Police alleged the two people began a relationship last December.”

I shared that article on my Facebook wall last night. A friend suggested that people tend to scroll past these sorts of stories when I post them because it is just too much to bear.

I understand.

She went on to say that people do feel affected by what is happening but that they are frustrated, overwhelmed because they don’t know what they can do to make it stop, what they can do to bring about change.

I understand.

But there are plenty of things that we can do.

woman thing

We can start by challenging social norms and representations of women that are limiting, that sexualise them, that reduce them to the status of an object; an object of desire for consumption.

And we can do it Every. Single. Day. Because every single day we are confronted, bombarded! with an insidious cultural narrative that assures us that ‘She’ exists for the pleasure of others. ‘She’ exists to be gazed upon, to be appreciated for her beauty, her sexual desirability (but not for her own sexual desires, slut!)  ‘She’ exists to be judged, to be shamed if she doesn’t conform to the narrow, stereotypical, accepted beauty standard of the day. In turn ‘She’ aspires to be desired, beautiful, possessed by others, always available, feminine, compliant, ready.

‘She’ is public property.

In challenging every day instances of blatant sexism and discrimination based upon gender WE push for a broader understanding of who WE are.  We declare our shared humanity, our values and our care for one another. We can and surely ought to demand women be recognised as fully fledged people, subjects in their own right. Worthy of the status of Equal. Worthy of full consideration.

The sexual objectification of women reinforces Gender Inequality every day.

Women do not exist as mere accessories, as commodities for what? a patriarchal, capitalist ideology that screws us all! Women deserve to be acknowledged and accepted because of their differences, not in spite of them. Isn’t it time we demand to see more diverse (non sexual) representations of women in the media?

HE ‘allegedly’ CARVED HIS NICKNAME INTO HER ARM WITH A KNIFE!

Yesterday I was updating our Man Assaults Woman file that exposes the daily instances of male violence inflicted upon women (and children) so far this year.  It only lists the assaults that are reported to police (around 10% of all assaults) and of course it only contains those incidents the media decide to publish on any particular day. So not a complete picture at all. But shocking all the same!  Please take a look.

violence is happening

#CountingDeadWomen Australia, has worked in raising awareness to the fact that women are being killed by men in this country at an alarming rate, 33 so far this year.  Perhaps the time is ripe for us to consciously open our eyes to the enormity of the problem of male violence against women in this country.  These shocking stories of violence and abuse could and should motivate us to act.

So many Australian women are being treated as objects, possessions. So long as we brush it off while partaking in it, so long as we remain silent, so long as we continue to look the other way, so long as we choose to buy into it, not a lot is going to change. We cannot simply rely on our Government to bring about the cultural changes we need. We can certainly let them know of our concerns.

But each one of us can start taking stands for positive change.

There is a lot of talk within feminist circles regarding ‘personal choice’ and ‘personal empowerment’ that does little for society as a whole. We can, however, make choices and take actions that empower the liberation of all women!  Personally, I think it’s time we started making a habit of it.  When we  challenge cultural representations of women (in the media) that are restrictive, that equate a woman’s worth, her capital with her desirability, we help to create the grounds whereby Gender Equality becomes a possibility.

In this country there are women living in TERROR, in fear for their lives, for their children’s lives, and this is happening every single day, right now.

Take ACTION

– If you see an advertisement that you find offensive you can lodge a complaint here.

– If see something that you find offensive in a newspaper, magazine or on a newspaper website you can lodge a complaint here

– If you see something on free to air tv that you find offensive, you can lodge a complaint here.

– You can write a letter to your local paper, your local politician and so on. It really only takes a few minutes to do any of these things.

– You do have a voice and there are many outlets that you can utilise in order to be heard. Speak out. Do something. Don’t be paralysed by feelings of helplessness. Act for change.

– Also speak up among your friends, family and peers, call out everyday words and acts of sexism.

Cheers.

Related:

While men decide what they stand for – We women must become warriors

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Do you need help or want to report male violence? please contact:

If you are feeling unsafe right NOW, call 000

Girls don’t cry wolf – Madison Douglas Music

Madison Douglas Music – Facebook and twitter

“Society breeds a mentality that girls lose their worth when they lose their virginities, yet hypocrites preach abstinence is key leaving sex ed to be taught by MTV Continue reading

Male pattern violence is the problem: CountingDeadWomen

In our records of #CountingDeadWomen in Australia this year, we have listed 31 women suspected to have been murdered by alleged, probable or likely male violence in less than 4 months.  Another 3 women are missing, and 3 more women have been murdered by other women.

male female ratio

We started CountingDeadWomen this year in Australia along with Destroy The Joint (DTJ), who began counting All women murdered last year. Our focus is specifically on Male Violence Against Women (MVAW), following on from the original UK campaign of #countingdeadwomen, in order to get a clear picture of fatal male pattern violence against women in Australia. On this basis our records and numbers and those of DTJ will differ, but we do feel both records are important for these differing reasons. We are also keeping record of missing women, we now know a couple of these missing women are suspected to have been murdered. Continue reading

“There are people who like sex but who are also critical of sexual exploitation”

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Article: Agency is magic and so is twerking by Laura McNally

What’s New in Individual Empowerment: how to make women and men cry

Earlier a feminist ally put out a call for support, in what has become a popular and publicized hashtag on twitter called #FacesOfProstitution, he said it:

“has been taken over by pro-pimp activists talking about how fun and empowering it” (‘sex work’) “is. I thought a good response would be to commemorate the women murdered in the sex trade under the hashtag, so if people see it, they’ll see the brutality men do to women and not just the “fun and happy” side. I have a (tragically long) list of murdered women in the sex trade; if anyone wants it to grab names from and find pictures for, let me know.”

I then saw the following statuses from him spanning over a 14 hours period:

“A revolving door of pro-prostitution assholes have been harassing me for the last ten hours since I put those photos up. These people have no shame.”, “The things they’re saying to me are bringing me to tears. These people are fucking vicious. They are literally harassing me for posting photographs of women murdered in the sex trade. Calling me a sociopath, a misogynist, a fascist, a loser, ugly, fat – all for commemorating murdered women.”, “I’d really appreciate more people posting in the #FacesOfProstitution”

So I went in, and within 5 minutes i’d started to cry too.

It was not the faces of the women murdered by johns that made me cry this time. For each woman after each woman I just felt love and sadness. I doubt they felt much love during their time in prostitution, leading up to and during their murders. I’ve cried a lot for prostituted women over the years. I’ve cried and raged reading the reviews johns leave about the women they have just paid to treat with so much contempt and abuse while they orgasm.

But today it was the words of the johns justifying their right to have women available for purchase as sexual goods, ya know, awkward-money-erection=rights, and male supporters of this female “empowerment” that made me cry. These men making themselves look like ‘good men’, the ‘good punter’, using this opportunity to earn cookies by coming out as proud pro-feminist men who support women’s rights, yeah man! Cool. Continue reading

While men decide what they stand for – We women must become Warriors

It is ten years since Andrea Dworkin left us, and ten years since feminist ally Robert Jenson reminded all men who stood against her, who this warrior for humanity really was – far from a man-hater:

“I am a man who has read all of Dworkin’s books, and here is how it looks to me: I don’t think she hated men. I think she loved us. I think Andrea Dworkin loved men because she loved people, and men are people — men are human beings — no matter how hard we sometimes seem to want to prove otherwise by our behavior.

Here is what Dworkin said when she addressed a men’s conference and asked them to work against rape:

“I don’t believe rape is inevitable or natural. If I did, I would have no reason to be here. If I did, my political practice would be different than it is. Have you ever wondered why we [women] are not just in armed combat against you? It’s not because theres a shortage of kitchen knives in this country. It is because we believe in your humanity, against all the evidence.”

Dworkin wanted to help men claim our humanity, not just for our sake but because she wanted to stop men’s violence against women. She wanted an end to the harassment, rape, battery, child sexual assault. And she knew that required men to change, to save ourselves. In that same speech, she challenged men to take that responsibility:

“[Women] do not want to do the work of helping you to believe in your humanity. We cannot do it anymore. We have always tried. We have been repaid with systematic exploitation and systematic abuse. You are going to have to do this yourselves from now on and you know it.”

These words are as true today as ever. Our current paradigm of masculinity is hurting everyone. The rates of male violence/sexual violence and fatal male violence against women in this country is and should be visceral and sickening, especially to men. We need a new masculinity, and men, it is up to you. Continue reading

Porn, Politics and Power; Is it possible for men to respect Women whilst engaging with ‘hard core’ porn?

I’ll never forget my fury when I heard back in October last year that a Senior Advisor of the Victorian Liberal Party had allegedly been running a porn ring. Apparently Don Coulson’s office was being used as something of a drop off, pick up zone.During an interview with John Faine Coulson admitted to having pornography in his office, describing the material as being ‘hard core’.  According to a number of reports it was alleged that some content included acts of bestiality.

At the time Planning Minister, Matthew Guy, dismissed the claims as speculation, assuring the public that this was not an issue as there was nothing illegal about watching or sharing pornography.

Victoria’s Shadow Attorney-General, Martin Pakula, announced that the Labor party had asked police to investigate the matter to determine whether there were images or videos of bestiality, saying “I think most Victorians would be horrified by the notion that animal pornography is being circulated in the Premier’s office.”

In January this year the Federal Police concluded their investigation into the matter advising that no illegal material had been found and the case had been finalised. No illegal material, so no animals then.

I don’t recall our Minister for Women stepping up and saying anything.

Yet on November 25th 2013, almost a year before this scandal came to light our Prime Minister Tony Abbott, our Minister for Women, and a White Ribbon Ambassador, was reported as saying, “We cannot rest until we entirely eliminate violence against women. In any form – physical, sexual or psychological, violence is never, ever acceptable.” He went on to say, ‘It is particularly unacceptable when it is employed against people who are inherently vulnerable.” What is it I wonder, that makes our PM think that women are ‘inherently vulnerable’? Continue reading