Sexual Assault Laws That Discriminate Against Women

Every now and then we read or hear about outrageous laws dedicated to protect patriarchy, defend rape culture, restrict women’s sexuality, or that are just plain discriminatory. We have three examples of such outrageous laws and proposals. One has been overturned (Italy’s rape law); one is being considered (Indonesia’s motorcycle law); and one continues to be both discriminatory and horribly sexist (Iran’s rape law).

The province of Aceh in Indonesia is proposing that women riding behind a man on a motorcycle should no longer be allowed to straddle the bike, since this might “provoke the driver.” A woman riding on her own may straddle the bike, but only if she is wearing proper attire. Not only is the law absurd in its own and reminiscent of the days when women had to ride “sidesaddle” on horses, but it also seems that “side saddling” a motorcycle could be a great safety hazard. The proposal also infers that in order for men to not to get “excited” and act on that excitement, women need to control their sexuality, while men are assumed to not be able to–or need to–control theirs.  [Read more...]

Women’s History Month: Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Chances are, you don’t need me to introduce you to Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861). In the Victorian era she was famous, a literary superstar whose first poems were published when she was just fourteen, and a serious candidate to succeed William Wordsworth as Britain’s poet laureate upon his death. Unless your heart is made of stone, you know her most popular piece, one of the best-known love poems in the English-speaking world from Sonnets from the Portugeuse (1850):

                              XLIII
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death. 

[Read more...]

Italian Region Plans to Pay Women Not to Have Abortions

Lombardy Region authorities, right on the border of Switzerland, recently approved a five million euro fund to provide assistance to low-income women who would otherwise have opted to terminate their pregnancy.

The fund would grant about 4,500 euros ($5,500) a year to a woman who changes her mind about having an abortion because of economic reasons. The woman would receive 250 euros ($306) a month for 18 months, according to the site.

“We want to help the family, maternity, and birth rate, removing the obstacles as much as possible, beginning with those of an economic nature that make it more difficult to choose in favor of life,” said the region’s president, Roberto Formigone. [Read more...]

Tuesday News Roundup

mouse_click_270x270DIY Sex Toys – Queercents
It’s Time for a Stronger Defense of the Right to Choose – RH Reality Check
Sometimes Abortion is the Better Choice – Salon.com
Abortion is More Common Than Heart Surgery & Hop Replacement Combined – Science Blogs
Italy Approves Abortion Pill – Feminist Campus
Catholic Church Threatens Excommunication in Response to Italy’s Approval of RU-486 – Catholic News
Comparing Different IUD’s – Passionate Provider
Experienced Providers Weigh In on IUD’s – RH Reality Check