While Ms. McKenna “did not ‘abduct’ the child,” the court said, “her appropriation of the child while in utero was irresponsible, reprehensible.”
Sara McKenna, a former Marine, became pregnant during a brief relationship with Bode Miller, an Olympic skier. While seven months pregnant, she moved from California to New York to go to school, leading a judge to scold her for “virtually absconding with her fetus.” Now, the fight for custody of their son has become “a closely watched legal battle over the rights of pregnant women to travel and make life choices.” (via bebinn)
Reason #19283019823102983 calling anyone a “uterus bearer” is gross.
[The Handmaid’s Tale] came out in the UK in February 1986, and in the United States at the same time. In the UK, which had had its Oliver Cromwell moment some centuries ago and was in no mood to repeat it, the reaction was along the lines of, “Jolly good yarn”. In the US, however – and despite a dismissive review in the New York Times by Mary McCarthy – it was more likely to be: “How long have we got?”
QotD: “queer theorists and activists who seek to perform gender can be seen to be gender loyalists with a stake in the maintenance of the gender system of male supremacy”
The understanding of gender as dominant and subordinate forms of behaviour puts paid to the idea that there can be many ‘genders’. There can only be ways of expressing dominance and submission by other than the usual actors. The genders remain two. The queer approach which celebrates the ‘performance’ of gender and its diversity necessarily maintains the two genders in circulation. Rather than eliminating dominant and submissive behaviours, it reproduces them. Thus those queer theorists and activists who seek to perform gender can be seen to be gender loyalists with a stake in the maintenance of the gender system of male supremacy.
Sheila Jeffreys, Unpacking Queer Politics
Over the past three days the number of visitors to this blog has shot up, and most of the extra visitors seem to be coming from Turkey, and they seem to be arriving here using search engine terms rather than links.
According to this 2011 BBC news report, the Turkish government blocks porn (but does it badly, eg including gay social sites as ‘porn’), and political dissent (definitely a bad thing – blocking it I mean!).
It looks like Turkish searches for porn are coming here – it’s actually rather funny, I can imagine some civil servant deciding this blog is acceptable (so some political dissent is allowed!), and therefore making it the only result that appears, so the poor horndogs have to make do with my writing instead of the porn they were hoping for!
Here are today’s search engine terms I assume are looking for porn:
porno blogspot (x2)
pornhup (x1, as are the rest below)
I don’t know if the amalgamation of ‘porn’ with another word is an attempt to get round a search engine filter, or just the way the Turkish language works; it isn’t just one determined individual either, WordPress stats differentiate between visitors and page views.
So, anyway, hello! to all my Turkish visitors, please do stick around and educate yourselves.
People say, “Oh, well, pornography – that’s for masturbation, nobody can get hurt that way.” But orgasm is a very serious reward, isn’t it? Think of Pavlov’s little dogs, right? They don’t just think about salivating; they salivate. They do it because they learned it. Period. Now think about pornography. The dehumanization is a basic part of the content of all pornography without exception. Pornography in this country in the last ten years has become increasingly violent by every measure, including Playboy, including all the stuff you take for granted; and every single orgasm is a reward for believing that material, absorbing that material, responding to that value system: having a sexual response to stuff that makes women inferior, subhuman.
Andrea Dworkin, Feminism: An Agenda, 1983
The YWT’s [Young Women’s Trust] report challenges a prevailing myth that boys are having it bad, while girls have never had it so good. One in three girls – 100,000 a year – do not achieve five GCSEs A*-C, including English and maths. Half a million young women are Neets – not in employment, education or training. That is over 100,000 more than young men of the same age. The report says young women are often steered into stereotypical apprenticeships, such as childcare, hairdressing and beauty, which are low paid.Currently, while there are 10 applicants for every high skilled role, there are 45 applicants for vacancies in the low skill sector.
I have launched this campaign, “Counting Dead Women” because I want to see a fit-for-purpose record of fatal male violence against women. I want to see the connections between the different forms of fatal male violence against women. I want Domestic Homicide Review reports to be accessible from a single central source. I want to see a homicide review for every sexist murder. I want the government to fund an independently run Femicide Observatory , where relationships between victim and perpetrator and social, cultural and psychological issues are analysed. I want to believe that the government is doing everything it can to end male violence against women and girls. And I think the government should be recording and commemorating women killed through male violence – not me, a lone woman in a bedroom in east London.
Abolition is significant where the state is allowed to intervene in the workings of the free market and to intervene in private property. In other words, functioning abolition is at odds with liberalism, even if slavery did become unprofitable for liberals at one point.
There’s a lot about slavery in the news lately due to the three women rescued from a London address, with the latest update being that they may have started out in a political cult. I’ll save my comment till there is more information, but I will point out how the out-pouring of horror and sympathy here isn’t so forthcoming when it’s a brothel that’s been raided, then the reaction tends to be, ‘they knew what they were getting themselves into’.
Prosecuting suspects for slavery is notoriously difficult. Witnesses may be too terrified to testify, worried about their immigration status or anxious about exposing themselves to criminal charges.
To add to the difficulties of proving abuse, investigations have had to rely on co-operation between different law enforcement agencies and independent charities. Lawyers have also resorted to various pieces of criminal legislation.
That complexity is about to be streamlined with the publication in the coming weeks of the Home Office’s modern slavery bill, a measure designed to increase the penalty to life imprisonment and create an anti-slavery commissioner.
The newly created National Crime Agency (NCA) will be given a key role in tackling the problem, which will be targeted as no longer exclusively an international trafficking offence but one that can arise from domestic exploitation of the weak and vulnerable.
Unveiling the bill in the summer, the home secretary, Theresa May, said: “It is scarcely believable that there is slavery in Britain, yet the harsh reality is that in 2013 there are people in this country forced to exist in appalling conditions and often against their will. Trafficking prevention orders will ensure that someone released from a sentence for a human trafficking offence cannot simply go back to being a gangmaster.”
The fact that the elderly couple at the centre of the current south London case have already been released on bail suggests that the criminal justice process involving them will not be straightforward.
Different laws have been pressed into service. In July last year four members of a family were found guilty at Luton crown court of forcing destitute men into servitude. Tommy Senior, James John, Patrick Connors and Josie Connors were convicted of controlling, exploiting, verbally abusing and beating the men for financial gain. Under section 71 of the 2009 Coroners and Injustice Act, which outlaws slavery and servitude, they faced a maximum 14 years in prison. They received sentences ranging from two years and three months up to six and a half years.
Their victims, recruited in soup kitchens and outside dole offices with the promise of cash, were forced to work up to 19 hours a day for no pay while being routinely abused, under-fed and housed in filthy sheds and horse boxes.
Other recent cases have been charged under common law offences such as false imprisonment.
In August 2011, Rebecca Balira, 45, a scientist specialising in HIV infections, was convicted at Southwark crown court of keeping a Tanzanian woman, Methodia Mathias, as a slave. Balira was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for knowingly holding another in servitude and common assault and ordered to pay Mathias £3,000 in compensation.
In September this year, three men – a father and two sons – were arrested at a farm on the outskirts of Newport, south Wales, where a Polish man was found living in poor conditions. The men have been charged with false imprisonment, conspiracy to hold a person in servitude and conspiracy to force a person to work.
Kate Roberts, from Kalayan, a charity that supports migrant domestic workers, said her organisation received around 350 approaches from people needing help each year. Many give details of physical and emotional abuse.
She passes a small proportion of these cases to the police each year, but said prosecutions were fraught with difficulties. “Individuals are controlled in ways that don’t necessarily involve being physically locked in,” she explained. “We have seen cases where they are not allowed out of the house and have had all their documents taken away.
“It is very hard to get a case because of the level of proof required. There is a whole issue around ongoing control often for years, and the workers themselves are very intimidated.
“The employers often get friends to testify that they visited the house and everything was fine. There is a tendency to disbelieve the victim. It is one word against another. It is very hard to get evidence to the level required by the criminal court. To get the level of proof required to win a conviction is very challenging, and as we know there has only been one conviction.”
She said a change to overseas domestic worker visas last year, which meant that the employees have to stay with the employer who brought them into the country, was “institutionalised enslavement”. It meant that if an employee ran away they were in breach of their visa and liable to deportation, which put them in an even more vulnerable position.
A report by the Centre for Social Justice earlier this year identified other barriers to prosecution including language and culture, victims’ fear of reprisals from their traffickers and the fear of shame for their families – both in cases of UK and non-UK nationals who have been trafficked.
Last year Paul Donohoe, of Anti-Slavery International, said it was not unusual for victims of slavery to resist help from the authorities. “We do often see the Stockholm syndrome coming into effect,” he said. “It is not unusual for people who have been ‘rescued’ to psychologically identify with their enslavers.”