Planned Parenthood USA calls Women “Menstruators” – Women say “hell no!”

PP menstruators

*See: Non-men of the world unite to mock #GreenPartyFeminism, Feminist Current

non men green party

But Planned Parenthood USA didn’t stop at menstruators, according to PP we should also be referred to as pregnant people:

PP people pregnancy

Purvi Patel was released from an Indiana prison yesterday after her feticide conviction was overturned and a judge resentenced her to less time than she’d already served.

“In 2015, Patel was found guilty of conflicting charges feticide and child neglect and sentenced to 20 years in prison for allegedly self-inducing an abortion with drugs two years earlier.

“Last month a judge overturned the feticide conviction, a ruling the state did not appeal, and on Wednesday the judge sentenced her to 18 months for felony child neglect. She’s already been in prison that long and was released yesterday.

“Compare Patel’s original 20-year prison sentence for an abortion to the 6-month jail term handed to former Stanford University student Brock Allen Turner for raping an unconscious woman. Turner, by the way, was released from jail today after three months.”

Project Respect doors closing unless something miraculous happens

Project Respect is a Melbourne based support service for women trafficked for sexual exploitation and women in the sex industry. On March 16, Project Respect released this statement with “a heavy heart” via email and a social media post, informing their community and supporters they will be closing their doors in a month unless “there is a miraculous response to this letter.”

“Project Respect has survived by hard work, good will and financial support by many organisations and individuals (for 17 years) however, without funding which is sustainable, we will have to close on the 15th April 2016.”

In a 2015 interview with Emma Alberici on Lateline, Kate Connett, who before becoming an outreach worker for Project Respect, was a sex worker on the streets to support her heroin habit from age 17 to 23, speaks of how vital these services are for women and why they are so desperately needed,

“I think nearly every single woman I have worked with at Project Respect has gone into the sex industry because of financial hardship. All women are there for the money, they’re not there for the sex, they’re not there because they enjoy having sex with men, they are there to get the money… Homelessness is a huge issue. We find many women that are homeless. We find a lot of women that sleep in brothels which is illegal, so I guess it’s kind of hidden homelessness in women.”

(Every month Kate visits legal brothels, offering support to women.) … and says it is “quite typical that in all Asian brothels one woman will speak for all the women and just kind of take over, and it’s very hard to kind of get in and speak to individually to women in Asian brothels. Outreach can be really difficult, actually, because sometimes you are met with really volatile people.

“We meet women constantly who have been either raped or beaten. Currently working with a woman at the moment who is pregnant due to a client raping her. I don’t think legalisation works. I don’t think decriminalisation works either. Again, it hasn’t stopped the incidence of violence.”

The Nordic model which looks at criminalising the buyers which are predominantly men and making it legal for people to sell sex which is predominantly women, I think so far that’s the best option that I’ve seen come out. What girl, what young girl goes, “I want to be a prostitute when I’m older”? What young girl ever has that aspiration? What mother ever wants their child to become a prostitute when they are older? It’s not a dream job for anybody.” (Transcript and Video here)

The work of organisations like Project Respect is vital to the Nordic Model of prostitution. Vital to supporting women in the sex industry with the availability of exit programs.

Project Respect works in three ways:

* One, we assist women one-on-one and help them access essential services – such as healthcare and legal representation. We support women in making police reports, gaining child custody, even applying for jobs in a new industry. While many community organisations become targeted, offering just one service, Project Respect remains broad. Led entirely by the needs of women, we place no limits on the length or type of support offered. At the centre of our support work is regular outreach, where we visit brothels in Victoria. We do this so women know we are available to them – without judgement – should they need us.

* We also connect women together, supporting them to support one another, in their shared experiences. Intense stigma around the sex industry means it can be isolating. Through community lunches and weekends away we nurture a safe, non-judgemental and supportive network. For many women, Project Respect is simply and powerfully about belonging. It their place to be. Outside the mainstream, in these rare spaces, women are understood, welcomed, and finally treated with respect.

* Lastly, we advocate for women’s rights against violence, trafficking and exploitation. To improve life for women in the sex industry, we must improve the status of women overall. That’s why we work directly with all levels of government, lobbying for broad policy change. We argue for better conditions for women while they are in the sex industry. We argue against the trafficking of women. We help expose violence against women, and push for solutions to eradicate it. In all of this work, we ensure women’s voices are heard. We offer women a platform to write, speak and meet directly with decision makers. We know that their voices and leadership will create the positive change we seek.

At Project Respect, we believe that all women have the right to feel safe and respected. We are fundamentally for and about women – supporting their entire life and future potential. To achieve a world free from sexual exploitation we are committed to doing what others can’t.

project respect

Ways to help:

Donate – “Just like you, we aren’t ready to give up without a fight! If you feel the same way about Project Respect, then please donate to us via our GoFundMe campaign.
Share – “Please spread the campaign as far and wide as you can, and Help Save Project Respect!” – Project Respect

 

See also:

* The Government must fund services like Project Respect for women trafficked for sexual exploitation and women inside the sex industry in Australia.

* Expunging prostitution convictions essential for those exiting the sex trade – Simone Watson, Director NORmac

#ThankaFeminist Australia 2015

thankafeminist

*BRISSC celebrated 40 years of ongoing work and support for victims of domestic violence, sexual violence and incest along with Women’s House in Brisbane in 2015, with their work extending into the community. We would also like to thank BRISSC for:

*Caroline Norma, lecturer in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University. Many thanks for:

*Celeste Liddle, “Arrernte, feminist, hard left, trade unionist, with a taste for protopunk”, a big thank you for:

*Collective Shout, grassroots campaigns movement mobilising and equipping individuals and groups to target corporations, advertisers, marketers and media which objectify women and sexualise girls to sell products and services. Many thanks for:

*Gold Coast Centre Against Sexual Violence celebrated 25 years of service in 2015, a big thank you also this year for:

*Janet Fraser, National Convenor of the Australian Homebirth Network, Joyous Birth, committed to community birth education, birth activism, supporting women and families in healing from birth trauma, blogger and feminist activist, big thanks for inspiring #ThankaFeminist 2015 and many blessings for:

  • Her social media campaigning, writing and feminist analysis
  • Her home birthing advocacy and Anti-obstetrics violence campaigning, including being a speaker at the Mother of all Mothers of Rallies in Canberra in June 2015
  • Speaker and attendee of grassroots protests for women’s liberation, including the Sydney leg of the global women-led protests against AI’s ‘sex work’ policy, October 2015.
  • Her continued support of other feminist actions to end MVAW, and liberate women, including being feminist queen of the sharpie pen.

*Laura McNally, a psychologist, researcher, author and PhD candidate, chair of the Australian branch of Endangered Bodies and provides social commentary on issues related to gender inequality, many thanks for:

*Liz Waterhouse, founder of listeningtolesbians, member and contributor of Women Shout Out Australia and Reclaim The Night Perth. A big thank you for:

*Mairi Voice, writing and sharing articles and interesting news with radical feminist analysis, a big thank you for:

  • Writing and advocacy for the Nordic model of prostitution, including: Why the Nordic Model is Safest for Women, addressing a number of issues raised in the ‘prostitution debate’.
  • Critiquing the downfalls of liberal feminism in Australia: Liberal Feminism and the Prostitution Debate, drawing from the reading of ‘Freedom Fallacy: The Limits of Liberal Feminism edited by Miranda Kiraly and Meagan Tyler (2015).
  • A supportive, informative Social media community and continued support of other feminist actions to end MVAW, and liberate women.

*Meagan Tyler, Research Fellow, RMIT University. Member of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Australia (CATWA). Many thanks for:

*Paula Orbea, founder of Questions for Us and the Wicked Campers campaign, educator, blogger, feminist activist and co-founder of Boycott Wicked Campers , A big thank you for:

*Radfem Groundhog Day, “Rather than re-invent the wheel, this passage by Mary Daly (from a talk at UCLA in 1987), pretty much says it all…” Many thanks for:

*Reclaim the Night Perth, For a world without male-pattern violence and control over women and children, a big thank you for:

*Simone Watson, director of NORmac; survivor led advocates for the Nordic model Australia, and feminist activist, many thanks for:

*Wicked Pickets, A community action to extend anti vilification law to include ‘sex’ as a ground for complaint. Race religion sexuality gender identity are already covered. Many thanks for:

thankafeminist

Women Worldwide Tell Amnesty Int: #NoAmnesty4Pimps & Johns – Women are #Not4Sale

London protest - photo by @r2Ph

London protest – photo by @r2Ph

In London, police estimated the number of women outside Amnesty International’s headquarters at 200. There were exited women there, with activists, researchers, journalists — all in sisterhood. The youngest were in their twenties, the oldest were in their eighties.

They were later joined by a few men, one of whom said he’d heard about the protest in an Italian Facebook group two hours before and apologized for not having got involved sooner.

The protesters stood alongside the busy road in London’s rush hour and chanted: “Lock up pimps and johns!” “Women’s rights are human rights!” “Women’s bodies are not for sale!” – Janie Davies, Feminist Current

No Amnesty, global day of action, London 23rd October 2015 by Pam Isherwood

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

The first time zone to protest was Australia, with women gathering outside AI head offices in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Brisbane women protesting outside the Brisbane Amnesty Int. head office QLD

Brisbane women protesting outside the Brisbane Amnesty Int. head office QLD

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Global Protest Against Amnesty International on Prostitution Policy #NoAmnestyForPimps – Washington DC

“We are gathered here today [DC], in solidarity with groups around the world, to voice our opposition to Amnesty International’s support of full decriminalization of prostitution. Full decriminalization of prostitution in no way rectifies the conditions of inequality, abuse, violence, and dehumanization which animate all forms of prostitution—it tragically assents to them…”

“…We are assembled here today: because something effective must be done to protect and restore the lives of those destroyed by the commercial sex trade; because people deserve better than prostitution… Amnesty: it’s not too late to admit that as an institution you’ve made a mistake. It’s not too late to stand up for “The Forgotten Prisoners of Prostitution.” endsexualexploitation.org

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

“We cannot and will not stand by whilst a human rights organization supports, encourages, and lobbies for the prostitution of women and by extension girls. This flies in the face of the available evidence and we call for human rights organisations to review their position in the light of emerging data from areas that have implemented the model of legalization with appalling consequences,” Lisa-Marie Taylor, chair of UK women’s rights charity Feminism in London told Feminist Current

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Meet a 21st-Century Slave

“Plenty of well-meaning people back Amnesty International’s proposal for full decriminalization of the sex trade, including of pimps and brothels, and it’s certainly true that some women (and men) work in the sex trade voluntarily. Yet in practice, approaches similar to Amnesty’s have ended up simply empowering pimps. And while under these proposals human trafficking would remain illegal, the police would no longer have a reason to raid brothels to search for girls like Poonam. Both Poonam and Koirala think that full decriminalization is a catastrophic idea; if it were in place, Poonam might still be enslaved.”

“There is no protection to the powerless,” Koirala said of full decriminalization. “All the benefits go to the perpetrators and exploiters.”

“The blunt truth is that no strategy works all that well against trafficking. But maybe the most successful has been Sweden’s, cracking down on traffickers and customers while providing social services and exit ramps for women in the sex trade.” by Nicholas Kristof, Human rights, women’s rights, health, global affairs for The New York Times, October 24, 2015. Read more Here

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Dear survivors of prostitution… “WE BELIEVE YOU” ❤️💛💚💔💙💜❤️ #ibelieveher#NoAmnesty4Pimps#ListenToSurvivors#EndDemand#YesAllWomen — WomenCanSee (@WomenCanSee) October 23, 2015

Further reading:

– Amnesty sells out women for men’s orgasms and profit

– #NoAmnesty4Pimps hashtag on twitter here

– More images from the protest here

 – Are we hearing ‘sex workers’ when we listen to them? Penny White – Feminist Current’

Prostitution Industry

Amnesty sells out women for men’s orgasms and profit

Amnesty sells out women for men’s orgasms and profit

Human rights group Amnesty International’s (AI) 2015 policy on ‘sex work’ advocates for pimps and johns rights to buy and sell women for ‘sex’ by calling on countries to decriminalise all aspects of the sex industry.

This is as opposed to the Nordic model of prostitution, which implements the full decriminalisation of prostituted people hand in hand with support services and exit programs, while criminalising the pimps and johns who create the demand for, and profit from, this highly gendered and inherently violent and degrading ‘industry’.

Amnesty money does not equal consentIn 2014, an AI draft policy was leaked revealing AI’s future intentions to endorse the full decriminalisation of the sex industry, including the pimps and johns. During a Q & A that followed, the Director of AI UK said, “in an imperfect world many women end up in ‘sex work’ as an economic last resort“. As an economic last resort, there is no choice, choice implies other choices to choose from. As an economic last resort Money Does Not Equal Consent.

The most vulnerable women and girls will be the ones affected by such policies because they are the ones being funneled through the sex industry. Poor women, abused women, addicted women, homeless women, women of colour.

Why is AI endorsing vulnerable women and girls being prostituted as a means of survival, instead of the Nordic approach with support services and exit programs; rehabilitation, mental health services, housing, educational and job training, etc, to give these women real choices and a supportive environment to succeed in?

AI’s 2014 leaked draft policy gives us a bit of an idea, showing a lot of concern for the men who buy prostituted women and girls for ‘sex’ (removed from the 2015 policy): Continue reading

Brisbane Rally against Male Violence Against Women July 2015

Glosswitch wrote a piece in January called ‘Choosing between misogyny and feminism: A practical guide, where she says;

“Here are some things which will not happen if you speak out on behalf of women as a class: you will not get loads of people listening to your carefully worded, nuanced thoughts and saying “hmm, interesting, let me think about this some more”; you will not get people who disagree with you saying “sure, I think that’s one angle, but perhaps we could discuss it a little more?”; you will not get hordes of women eager to express their support and gratitude in public; you will not find people making connections between the problems you’ve highlighted and the surface-level examples of sexism they’ve noticed elsewhere.

If you expected any of these things to happen, then really you shouldn’t have spoken out in the first place. This is because such things would only happen if the class-based discrimination you are describing didn’t actually exist. If you have failed to consider this rather obvious point, assuming instead that since we’re all “basically in support of equality” it would therefore be fine for you to broadcast your important and valuable thoughts with impunity, then you still don’t get what “being oppressed as a class” actually means.

People don’t want to hear about how women think and feel. They don’t want to picture women as people whom others might actually have to negotiate with. They want “equality” insofar as they want the erasure of all measurable signs of women’s oppression (because let’s face it, these get a bit embarrassing). They do not, however, want this to come at the expense of being allowed to see women as whatever they want them to be at any given moment. We just don’t have space to accommodate the humanity of women as well as that of men.” Posted on her blog.

Our current paradigm of masculinity and enforced rigid gender roles are so deeply ingrained along with male violence and male sexual entitlement, that even the media often fail to name male violence when reporting fatal male violence against a woman. We hear ‘domestic incident’ or ‘domestic dispute’ a lot, minimizing this male violence, the same male violence that if perpetrated against another man on the street wouldn’t be reported so lightly.

Responsible reporting of male violence against women by the police and media helps to show the pattern. 47 women have allegedly been murdered by known or suspected male violence in the first 7 months of this year in Australia. 1 woman every 4 and 1/2 days. 2/3 of these women were allegedly murdered by their current or former partner, we need to end the myth that domestic violence is a “gender neutral” phenomenon, This is male pattern violence, it needs to be called what it is so the pattern is clear and we know where to start for implementing solutions. Words have power.

We also have the right to name what has been done to us, at the very least, and not have to pretend, as an Australian writer noted, that these rapes, abuses and murders must have been committed by elves, for fear of saying male violence.

WE hear Not All Men, A lot, it’s a silencing tool, we know not all men. We also know that men kill other men at a higher rate than they kill women, we know. We know 90% of all murderers are male, whether they are killing women, children, or other men. This current paradigm of masculinity in our culture is toxic, and it’s affecting everyone. But when a vulnerable class of humans, half the population, women as a class, are repeated victims of fatal male pattern violence, this is femicide.

names of women

As Women’s Aid UK state;

“Gender is fundamental and the relationship between gender roles and violent behaviour is obvious in the data. Unless we accept that this is a fact, and that it’s a fact we no longer want to tolerate, we will get nowhere.”

We are females in a world where the default human is male, and male privilege, male sexual  entitlement to our bodies and male violence in general is the norm, just turn on the news daily, just talk to a woman. There’s not really anything I can say that hasn’t already been said by many great women, hence my quoting some of them, and I don’t have more statistics and numbers that we don’t already know.

Soraya Chemaly noted;

“More than 40 years ago, anthropologist Peggy Reeves Sanday, professor of anthropology an extensive cross-cultural study of rape involving more than 150 human societies around the word. She found that 47% of societies she studied had no rape, 36% had some incidence of rape, and 17%, of which we are one, were definitively rape prone. What marked cultures where rape was missing were that women had authority in the community that was not related to reproduction — they were political or religious leaders and made valued economic contributions to society; feminine qualities were valued by communities; the relation- ships between men and women was not defined as hierarchical; boys were taught to respect girls and women (something altogether different from learning to protect them); these societies were stable and peaceful, making reliance on brute male physical dominance less likely; divinities were not uniquely male; and, lastly, these cultures had great respect for their environments and did not destructively exploit them.’

It’s not inevitable, it’s not just the way things are.

We need to Name the problem, that is, male violence. We need institutional education for police and front line services, proper enforcement of DVO’s and the absolute connection of women with the appropriate support services when they need them. We need funding for these support services for women. No more slaps on the wrists for perpetrators of male violence, along with proper rehabilitation services to change these men’s attitudes at the root. And we need to get rid of gender stereotypes and ideals of femininity and masculinity as innate, they aren’t. We need to be aware of the language being used in a default male culture. And we need to challenge the representation of women, everywhere! Ask, ‘how is that woman being represented compared to that man?’ We also need funding for a new form of sexual education for children in schools to help them navigate through a culture that dehumanizes women while enforcing toxic masculinity.

Aswas Photography

Aswas Photography

Glosswitch also addressed this recently, writing;

“I am a mother of sons and the thought of them growing up within a culture of rampant male sexual entitlement terrifies me. Right now they are six and seven – still innocent, still able to see their female peers as fellow humans – but as adolescence approaches, I fear that a deluge of misogyny will engulf them as they encounter the adult world and so-called “normal” attitudes to sex. I am very much in favour of them being granted access to as much accurate, open-minded sex education as possible. Nonetheless, I doubt such teaching will ever be effective as long as we are in denial about the real problem: the widespread, culturally sanctioned dehumanisation of women as the price for male sexual gratification.

There is no point in explaining consent to boys, as though it is some peculiarly complex social exchange. It isn’t. What confuses them is the fact that our pornified, misogynist culture treats female bodies as soulless objects. They witness this everywhere: on TV, in the news, online, on the streets, in the words of their peers and elders. They can sit in a classroom and be informed about the rights and wrongs of it. They can be en- couraged to think, in abstract terms, about the Woman as Person. But that is not how they encounter her in the media, nor in the minds of fellow men. Deep down, they know that their “right” to access hardcore pornography and purchase female flesh is inviolable. The Woman as Person narrative is subordinate to the one telling them that the ultimate human right is a “real” man’s right to fuck.” Published in the Newstatesman July 2015

By Kirsten Lovejoy for Brisbane Central

By Kirsten Lovejoy for Brisbane Central

Today we also need to acknowledge the harms of the sex industry. We need to adopt the Nordic model of prostitution in this country and recognize that the sex industry is built on male sexual entitlement, male privilege and male violence, built on the very foundations of gender inequality. As Sheila Jeffreys stated;

“in Norway, Iceland and in Sweden, where brothel prostitution is banned in a violence against women sense, because it’s recognised to be for the degradation of women and affects the status of all women. Iceland interestingly has this year not only banned brothel prostitution and penalised the male clients, because all of these countries penalise the men who can potentially end up in prison as a result. But in Iceland they have banned strip clubs too on the same grounds that it’s about vio- lence against women and degrades women and degrades the equality of women. I think that in Australia this is hard to understand, it’s a very masculinist culture, and I think that prostitution and the sex industry generally and the privileges men have to abuse women in this way is so accepted that people are outraged to think that they’re actually might be other values, but believe me there are, and in fact Australia is quite low, very low in the index of oeCD nations on gender equality, and it’s because there’s a very masculinised culture.” a transcript from an interview on ABC radio Australia.

And we need to let women speak, and really hear what women are saying, Our voices do matter, and our inclusion is fundamental for women’s liberation. We need an equal part of the platform, an equal part in decision making, from business to government. And not just the voices of women who have come from a place of privilege in this hierarchy who have had to conform to the boys club, from the rest of us.

It’s exhausting, and lonely, and it does feel hopeless a lot. But just like the women before us, from the suffragettes, through to all of us who are working towards women’s liberation today, we won’t be silenced, we won’t be shut down, we will keep taking a stand, even in the weariness of ‘are we still really protesting this crap’. And we will place the onus on men in general, men in power and the government, They know how they benefit from this culture. There’s no more playing innocent or holding up your hands and saying not me and going home to watch the latest Hollywood degradation and sexual objectification and vilification of women. As Betty Taylor said yesterday at the Wicked Pickets rally, it’s time to stick your necks out.

Aswas Photography

Aswas Photography

It’s been ten years since Andrea Dworkin died, and her work is as vital as ever. On addressing a men’s conference and asking them to work against rape, she said;

“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.”

Robert Jenson wrote that;

“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 challenged men to take that responsibility:

Dworkins continued in the same speech, saying;

“[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.”

There are no safe spaces for women from male violence and sexual entitlement in this country; not at home, not at work, not in parks, not walking our dog along a street path. There are no safe spaces for women even when we are not alone, If men want to attack, rape or kill women – being chaperoned doesn’t protect us. There are no safe spaces for women anywhere when media is everywhere, as Julie Bindel states;

“Women walk around seeing images that tell them they are lesser than men on a regular basis. What is a safe-space for women? Our own bedroom with the door locked?” 

Men it is up to you. All of you. All of your everyday actions and words. All of your everyday entertainment.

Andrea Dworkin also asked this of men.

“What’s involved in doing something about all of this? The men’s movement seems to stay stuck on two points. The first is that men don’t really feel very good about themselves. How could you? The second is that men come to me or to other feminists and say: “What you’re saying about men isn’t true. It isn’t true of me. I don’t feel that way. I’m opposed to all of this.”  And I say: don’t tell me. Tell the pornographers. Tell the pimps. Tell the warmakers. Tell the rape apologists and the rape celebrationists and the pro-rape ideologues. Tell the novelists who think that rape is wonderful. Tell Larry Flynt. Tell Hugh Hefner. There’s no point in telling me. I’m only a woman. There’s nothing I can do about it. These men presume to speak for you.They are in the public arena saying that they represent you. If they don’t, then you had better let them know.

Then there is the private world of misogyny: what you know about each other; what you say in private life; the exploitation that you see in the private sphere; the relationships called love, based on exploitation. It’s not enough to find some traveling feminist on the road and go up to her and say: “Gee, I hate it.” Say it to your friends who are doing it. And there are streets out there on which you can say these things loud and dear, so as to affect the actual institutions that maintain these abuses. You don’t like pornography? I wish I could believe it’s true. I will believe it when I see you on the streets. I will believe it when I see an organized political opposition. I will believe it when pimps go out of business because there are no more male consumers. You want to organize men. You don’t have to search for issues. The issues are part of the fabric of your everyday lives.”

So I guess the question right now is this, who do you want to be as a man in this world?  Where do you want to stand? What do you want to stand for? And who do you want to stand with? – The everyday men of our culture who justify the exploitation of women as “just the way things are” and “just a bit of fun”, or “mother nature”. Are you going to stand with the men who say “hey not me” while partaking in a culture that exploits and degrades women. Are you that man?

Where do you stand? Who are you in regards to the mass exploitation and degradation, rape, assault and murder of women? what does your masculinity look like? What kind of a man do you want to be for the women in your life and the women, the female human beings of our world?

I know the men I would want to stand with if I were a man in this world, I would proudly and publicly be standing with the Robert Jensons, Jimmy Carters and Tom Meahers.

murdered women Australia

Many thanks to the Brisbane organizers and speakers:

Australia Against Male Violence Against Women Brisbane

Reclaim the Night Brisbane

Fight Like A Girl Brisbane

REAL for women – Lily Munroe

Questions For Us – Paula Orbea

Queensland Greens – Kirsten Lovejoy

Prostitution Survivor – Kat Pinder

Aswas Photography

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

***

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

If you are feeling unsafe right NOW, call 000