Update: Victim of “Infidelity Check” Receives Justice

Earlier this year we reported on a story in which a man’s sexual assault of his girlfriend, in order to check for evidence of her being unfaithful, was not deemed a rape act and was instead treated as a violent act that lacked sexual intent. Initially, the man was sentenced to 32 months in prison for rape and abuse. After an appeal, The Svea Court of Appeal, however, dismissed the sexual assault claim and lowered the sentence to 14 months in prison in which the man was only found guilty for acts of violence without sexual characteristics.

The Local reported on once again a change in sentencing as the case went to Sweden’s Supreme Court which ruled that the act was indeed rape and stated that:

“If a man forces a woman to tolerate him putting his fingers in her genitals, then the incident has a tangible sexual character that is capable of violating her sexual integrity. It is therefore a question of a punishable sexual act”.

The man was again sentenced to 32 months in prison and have to pay damages of 116,000 kronor ($17,700) to the woman.

SlutWalk Comes to Washington, D.C.

Image courtesy of www.slutwalkdc.org

Full disclosure: I really meant to listen to the speeches at SlutWalk D.C. The crowd was in high spirits, the speakers enthusiastic, and the weather beautiful … until all of a sudden the temperature dropped, the clouds gathered low overhead, and the thunder boomed at a eerily well-timed pause during the first speech. So I cursed myself for not owning an umbrella and biked home, spurred on by thoughts of dry clothes.

The walk itself was just as impressive as the downpour that followed. I’m horrible at estimating crowd size, but the chants of the marchers could be heard from two (very long) blocks away and the signs, outfits, and sheer numbers were enough to both draw double- and triple-takes and warrant an escort by the D.C. police. My personal favorite signs were “My dress is not a yes” and “Ask permission to gain admission,” as well as the very direct “Tube tops don’t cause rape, rapists do.”

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Repealing ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ as a National Priority

Don't Ask Don't Tell silences voicesYes, I said it. A national priority. For far too long we have had to sit back, waiting around for the president to get the courage to act righteously, while his administration works to acquiesce the LGBT community with tokenist attempts to include a “gay” agenda. Since 1993, when Clinton’s good intention manifested itself into a destructive policy known as ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ roughly 13,500 U.S. citizens serving in the armed forces have been discharged. Professional, courageous, committed, intelligent, service members with merit and passion are being turned away because of who they choose to love and who they choose to sleep with. Nearly $363 million dollars have been waisted within the span of 16 years, to enforce a policy that tells people they are less then human if they are gay, lesbian, trans, or bisexual.

According to a 2008 Washington Post-ABC news poll, 75 percent of Americans believe openly gay people should be allowed to serve. Right now there are roughly 65,000 homosexuals serving in the U.S. military, along with one million gay veterans. This is not a debate about a couple LGBT identified soldiers wanting access to the armed forces, and even if it were, it doesn’t change the truth about how net-detrimental DADT is to every person in our country. [Read more...]

feminist educations

i’ve become cold. yes i have. 

an enlightening conversation with one of my sisters proved to me that i have changed. once a woman who faced the world with her heart, i am now of woman powered by the cerebral cortex. 

my heart has been stifled and silenced by ultimate heartbreak while my mind was cleverly coaxed into dominance by an over-priced graduate education. all irony aside, this epiphany is disheartening and mind-numbing.  

i’ve become a person with an educated intellect capable of rationalizing almost anything. Logic is a powerful thing. Knowledge has the raw power to change us. Knowing makes us wise only until we learn something new. But knowledge and logic can overpower us if we dont know how to use them. I am guilty of this. i have allowed my education to overpower my heart. i have become lopsided. (some might call it jaded.)

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Time to Implement the AU’s Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa

The heads of state of the African Union met in Libya for the 13th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union. Agriculture and its relation to economic growth and security was at center stage for the conference. Prior to the conference, a group of women’s rights advocates met to discuss the status of women in Africa. Workers.org:

Tumuslime discussed aspects of the history of women’s status in Africa and stressed the necessity of the AU to effectively address these issues, especially regarding agricultural production and food security. In many African countries women are responsible for the production of 80 percent or more of the food supply, yet women’s decision-making authority falls far short of their overall economic contribution to society.
“The women have always been there and they starve in order to feed their husbands. They starve in order to feed their children, and they starve in order to look after the sick, to look out for the HIV people in the hospitals. Without women, I don’t think, we would be anywhere,” Tumuslime stated in her address. (VOA, June 18)

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Dr. Tiller: Letting Personal Experience Shape our Politics.

i-am-dr-tillerToo often we forget that there is a tremendous amount to be learned through the personal experiences of people at the frontlines. The doctors who exist in a constant state of precarity to the violent behavior of the anti-choice right, the activists who time after time face verbal abuse by the religious right as they raise awareness on self-determination, and the stigmitization of women who face such difficult decisions about the future of their own bodies. There is something to be learned from people in their every day struggles for justice. Listening to their narratives and carrying those intimate stories of liberation into our own activist work is so vital to achieving our goals.

I stumbled across a beautiful site the other day that was established as a memorial to the life work of Dr. George Tiller. The site consists of anonymous narratives that are submitted in honor of the work that Dr. Tiller did for women all over the country. It embarks on an investigation, at a conceptual level, of everyday practices by which people constantly shape and reshape their environment.

I read some of these stories and they honestly brought me to tears. Something that I found particularly interesting is the way that each narrative exists behind a level of anonymity. It provides a safe space for the powerful work of men and women every day without placing them in even more danger then they already exist.
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