Court Claims Victim Of Sexual Assault Could Have Just Been Shy

An article in one of our local papers discussed the assumptions and beliefs of the Swedish legal system as three men were acquitted of rape charges. Two men sexually took advantage of a young woman while a third held a camera, filming the assault, which took place at a party. The assault also involved the attackers using a wine bottle. As if this was not degrading and horrifying enough, acquittal in the case did not pertain to lack of evidence as much as flimsy and stereotypical assumptions about women’s intent and consent. The court stated that: “The men could have mistaken the woman’s attempts to keep her legs together as simply a sign of her being shy or initially hesitant.” The court also stated that: “People involved in sexual activities together sometimes act spontaneously and without asking the other person involved for consent.”

The three men were freed from charges even though the court claimed the woman’s testimony to have been believable, logical, consistent, detailed and more probable than the stories given by the men during their testimonies. Despite this, the court believed that the men were unaware of the fact that the woman did not express consent.  [Read more...]

Swedish Police Fail Rape Victims

The last few days, a number of headlines in Swedish newspapers have discussed the large amount of rape cases that go unsolved. One of the reasons for this does not appear to be lack of evidence, but rather the appalling treatment of collected evidence.

Articles provide examples such as that of a 25-year rape victim who went to the police where semen and other evidence were gathered. The man accused of rape denied his involvement. A match in DNA analysis could have closed that case but the police mishandled the case so badly that it resulted in the loss of DNA evidence and dropped charges.

The woman, together with her attorney, filed a claim for compensation arguing that with the DNA the man could have been found guilty. The woman was, however, not given any compensation, form of restitution, or claim of justice. [Read more...]

Breastfeeding Moms Receives Death Threats

A Swedish organization attempting to assist parents with issues relating to breastfeeding created their own take on Gangnam Style with a video showing mothers breastfeeding in public. The organization wanted to discuss public breastfeeding in a humorous way, making it less dramatic. In a few days the video was played over 34,000 times on Youtube (it has now been removed) and surprisingly many people raged over the content of the video, even going as far as posting aggressive comments and death threats in the comment section that were directed towards the women.

We have previously discussed a variety of Feminists For Choice connected to public breastfeeding. We discussed breastfeeding at the playground and touched on the subject of breastfeeding and the sexualization of women’s breasts[Read more...]

Sweden Receives Its First Gender-Neutral Changing Room

transgenderAn LGBTQ organization at a school in Stockholm made headlines as they lobbied for and received an LGBTQ changing room, or a gender-neutral changing room, at their school. Two of the spokespeople for the organization said that they wanted a changing room for individuals who identify as LGBTQ. Last week the school held a ceremony celebrating the very first gender-neutral changing room in the nation.

We believe that this is a step in the right direction since there need to be spaces for LGBTQ individuals where they can feel safe and have access to accommodations that does not force them into stereotypical gender categories, or the categories of simply female or male.

At the same time, there is a lack of understanding of the LGBTQ community, as was demonstrated in discussions surrounding the opening of the gender neutral changing room. Rather than focusing on violence against LGBTQ individuals and their need for safe spaces the person who covered the story wondered how safe it would be to have both men and women change in the same room. The interviewer seems to assume that in an LGBTQ changing room the categories of male and female still rigidly apply, without being aware of the fact that many people within the LGBTQ community do not simply identify as male or female.   [Read more...]

Are You the “Better” Feminist?

We both really enjoy the British feminist website The F-Word, and have written several guest posts for them. The site employs an intersectional outlook that focuses on all types of feminists while incorporating variables such as race, sexualities, ethnicity, and disabilities to the pieces that they post.

One thing got us going, though–a discussion in the comments section of a post that discussed a “song of the day.” The discussion centered on the singer India.Arie and the lyrics to her song “Video,” and the author of the piece appreciated Arie’s refusal to be defined by traditional beauty regimes.

What caught our attention were the comments posted by readers. One person wrote, “I just get a little tired with this trend for women who are basically hot preaching (or being used to preach) self-acceptance … It would be easy for us all to love ourselves unconditionally if we only departed from patriarchal beauty standards as much as India.Arie does.”

Another reader agreed and said that “it’s similar with that TLC song ‘Unpretty’; the message is great but you feel slightly aware of how gorgeous the women singing about how what’s inside is more important than looks.” [Read more...]

Most Commented On During 2012

Now that we are celebrating women’s history month we thought we would take a look at our own history and check out which articles got the most comments during 2012.

The clear “winner” for 2012 was a piece by Amy called Tosh.No Why Rape Jokes (And Daniel Tosh) Are Never Funny which received over 50 comments and is still being commented on. Many of these comments were made by upset Daniel Tosh fans who just wanted us to know how boring we feminists are and that we all have “sticks up our asses” and are hateful bitches. On the other hand, the post received a lot of comments from people that were equally upset about rape jokes and discussed how hurtful rape jokes and rape culture is.

A second much commented on piece, written by Serena, was titled Would You Choose Abortion If Your Baby Had Down Syndrome? The comments on this piece were very constructive as different readers discussed the issue of being strong enough and having the financial stability to care for a child with special needs. [Read more...]

Laws and lawmakers that do not help women

Content Notice: This piece discusses sexual assault and violence.

The past weeks news and headlines has us tired and upset. We have been constantly reading about Swedish lawmakers disappointing responses to the suffering and harms of women. Sweden often prides itself in being one of the top countries in the world when it comes to equality between men and women. Still, lawmakers seem to be doing very little to protect women and their rights. Last week we blogged about a story reporting on a man who forcefully inserted two fingers into his girlfriend to check for evidence of her cheating, but was not sentenced for rape. According to the court, the crime was not “sexual enough” to be considered rape.

This week is however not proving much better. Just the other day we read an article in our local newspaper that discussed the murder of a woman by her former boyfriend. The woman and man had previously been in a relationship in which he physically abused her and she reported the abuse to the police. The woman thereafter filed for a restraining order since she was afraid that the man would contact, visit, or abuse her further. However, she was never granted a restraining order and only a few months after the request, he took her life by shooting her in the face and back.  [Read more...]

“Keep Calm and Rape a Lot”

Content Notice: This piece discusses rape culture, sexual assault and violence.

Rape culture is something that we have discussed at length here at Feminists For Choice. Rape culture normalizes and trivializes rape and sexual abuse. Still, there are some people who believe that rape culture does not exist and is a concept made up by angry man hating feminists. We believe that rape culture does exist in many forms and is perpetuated by a culture in which rape is not taken seriously.

So to the critics, read the following and state if rape culture is all in our heads:

Amazon has over the last few days removed t-shirts from the company Solid Gold Bomb, launched in Australia, with slogans that read: “Keep calm and hit her”, “Keep calm and rape a lot” and “Keep calm and rape them” that were on sale on the company’s website. Other t-shirts by Solid Gold Bomb also read: “Keep calm and knife her”, “”Keep calm and choke her” and “Keep calm and grope on”.

Amazon received hundreds of angry complaints about the t-shirts and the message that these t-shirts encourage. Many people are also very upset that Amazon has been making money out of encouraging and trivializing rape, sexual assault and violence against women. Suggestions have been made that Amazon should donate a substantial amount of money to women’s shelters and organizations that work to end violence against women.

There is hardly any better example than this to show how accepted rape culture is. Here we have a giant worldwide company selling t-shirts that perpetuate the notion that violence and sexual violence against women is acceptable. In short, we find it sickening.

Feminist Book List

Now that we are celebrating women’s history month we wanted to acknowledge and share some great books on different feminist related topics.

The Disability Rights Movement: From Charity to Confrontation (Updated Edition) Doris Zames Fleischer and Frieda Zames

This is a great book that discusses disability rights activism over the last few decades and describes the struggles of disabled individuals and their fights to gain access to a number of institutes and buildings. The Disability Rights Movement is at times truly disturbing and effectively highlights discrimination and prejudice.

Pray The Gay Away – The Extraordinary Lives of Bible Belt Gays – Bernadette Barton

Pray The Gay Away is an amazing book which critically discusses the impact of homophobia on the lives of homosexual individuals. Bernadette Barton has interviewed gay men and women across the Bible Belt and shows how devastating homophobia is on the well being of homosexual individuals. Pray The Gay Away is very critical of homophobia and the role that religious beliefs and Christianity play in the treatment of homosexual people.

Let’s Talk About Sex: Histories of Sexuality in Australia from Federation to the Pill – Lisa Featherstone

Featherstone traces the history of Australian sexuality from the “start of the new Australian nation in 1901” to when the pill came out  in Australia (in 1961). As such, Featherstone touches on the issues of gender, ethnicity, marriage, women’s reproductive rights, and just about everything surrounding sexuality in Australia. The book can at times be rather sexually graphic and detailed, but it is a very interesting read.

The Richer Sex: How the new majority of female breadwinners is transforming sex, love, and family – Liza Mundy

According to Mundy, the percentage of female breadwinners and stay at home dads is on the rise. Therefore, the changing nature of breadwinning brings about fundamental changes in the gender structure, with “role”switching occurring more often than before. Mundy uses research from the past decades to discuss female breadwinning. Even though we do not necessarily agree with everything Mundy says, the book is an interesting account of women’s changing roles.

When Mars Women Date – Paulette Kouffman Sherman

Even though we are not big into dating books, When Mars Women Date is quite different. It questions and takes a critical look at gender stereotypes and dating tips that are often aimed at women. Paulette Kouffman Sherman writes that: “These dating rules proposed by female authors include things like telling women not to talk too much, not to return a man’s calls or ask him out, only to see him twice a week, not to have sex too early, not to go dutch on dates, to ignore your dates and seem disinterested, never to be overweight, to always wear makeup”. (p. 36). The book is refreshing because it tells women that they do not need to “act” in order to find a good partner and that men do like strong, independent and successful women.

What to give a woman!

This quote has been circling Facebook with people liking and commenting on it. Because of sharing, reposting, and those other tricky Facebook features, we do not know for certain where it originated from, but it seems as if attribution is to be given to Erick S. Gray. The quote points to women and domesticity in a way that is a little off-putting to us even though this might not be the intent of the writer.

“Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she’ll give you a baby. If you give her a house, she’ll give you a home. If you give her groceries, she’ll give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she’ll give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her. So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit!”

“If you give her sperm, she’ll give you a baby” – given that all women want children and are able to conceive. Statistically speaking, a woman might “give you a baby”, but she is usually the one to take on most of the responsibility of childcare.

“If you give her a house, she’ll give you a home” – because the assumption is that women are the homemakers, the domestic ones who always enjoy cleaning, doing laundry and fiddling with home décor. Just give her a house, and she will make it a home.

“If you give her groceries, she’ll give you a meal” – why not make your own dinner?

“If you give her a smile, she’ll give you her heart” – often times it takes much more than a smile.

Interestingly, the quote says nothing about respect, equality, or teamwork when in a relationship. The last part of the quote points to women’s “vindictive” and “sly” nature. “So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit!” Perhaps women are tired of being given “crap” since they are so busy raising children, being homemakers, making dinner and in return only receiving a smile!