Category Archives: Domestic/intimate partner violence/stalking

“‘Shocking’ toll of women killed by men renews call for safe spaces”

Of the 113 women killed by men in England, Wales and Northern Ireland last year, 85 died in their homes, according to the Femicide Census, an annual analysis by the charity Women’s Aid.

Nine in 10 women killed during 2016 died at the hands of someone they knew. Of these, 78 women were killed by their current or former intimate partner, three by their sons and five by another male family member. Nine were killed by a stranger.

Women’s Aid said that the census revealed patterns in the killings. Many were committed in similar locations, a sharp instrument was used as a weapon in 47 cases.

“More needs to be done to address men’s fatal violence against women, as once again the Femicide Census reveals fatalities not as isolated incidents but as part of a repeated pattern of male violence against women,” said Katie Ghose, chief executive of Women’s Aid.

“Shockingly, in 2016, over two-thirds of women killed by a man were killed by a current or former intimate partner; 83% of these women were killed at their own home or the home they shared with the perpetrator.

“The government must urgently put the prevention of femicide at the centre of its work to combat male violence against women and girls.”

Women escaping domestic violence can be rehoused in refuges, but Ghose warned that the government was planning to remove supported housing funding for refuges, placing women in greater jeopardy.

“Without a safe space to escape to, more women will be killed by men that they know,” Ghose said. “The government must act now. Refuges are a vital lifeline, not an optional extra; they are not just a bed for a night but essential for women and their children to safely escape domestic abuse and rebuild their lives away from the perpetrator. A crucial part of preventing more fatalities must be to ensure sufficient provision for domestic abuse and sexual violence services, including refuges.”

She added: “Demand for refuges already far outstrips supply and the proposed funding model could be the breaking point. Refuges will be faced with the awful reality of either turning more women away or closing their doors for ever.

“Only by creating a long-term and sustainable funding model for a national network of refuges can we ensure that every woman can safely escape domestic abuse.”

Karen Ingala Smith, chief executive of the charity, nia, which campaigns to end violence against women and children, said the census provided vital data allowing for male on female violence to be contextualised.

“Men are killing women and girls; most often women and girls that they are related to,” she said. “Nine out of ten women killed by men in the census were killed by someone they knew. Over three quarters by a current or former partner. Every woman killed was important. But when we think about women killed by men, it’s important that we don’t forget about women who were killed by a man who wasn’t a partner; in 2016 they included a 30-year-old woman who was sexually assaulted and killed as she walked to work, a 20-year-old woman who suffered 60 separate injuries as she was raped and murdered by a delusional sexual predator who had promised to help her get home safely and an 81-year-old woman who was battered on the head and set alight by an intruder in her home. Men’s fatal violence against women extends beyond their partners and families.”

The National Domestic Violence helpline can be contacted on 0808 2000 247

(source)

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QotD: “Domestic violence refuges are the refugee camps of women and children on the front line of the war waged by male violence”

Domestic violence refuges are the refugee camps of women and children on the front line of the war waged by male violence. Women must protect these spaces furiously.

QotD: “‘Every refuge will close’: what funding changes could mean for women”

Paragraph 68 on page 26 of a 54-page document drawn up by the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Work and Pensions reveals plans to remove refuges and other short-term supported housing from the welfare system, meaning vulnerable women will not be able to pay for placements using housing benefit.

Housing benefit is the last guaranteed source of income available to refuges and makes up about 50% of their revenue.

Charlotte Kneer, a survivor of domestic abuse and chief executive of the Reigate and Banstead Women’s Aid refuge in Surrey, said: “If this goes ahead, every single refuge will close and every woman who presents herself to a refuge is at risk of murder.”

On average, two women a week are killed by a partner or ex-partner in England and Wales.

Kneer’s refuge can house up to 11 vulnerable women and 24 children at a time. It offers clean, furnished rooms with televisions and tea-making facilities, a communal living area and kitchen, and a large garden with playground equipment.

The women who stay there have access to counsellors and advice on mental health, housing, job hunting and navigating the benefits system. It needs about £300,000 a year to keep running and just over one-third of the refuge’s funding comes from housing benefit – a room for a week costs £211. There are two full-time support workers, a part-time children’s worker and a part-time play therapist-cum-service manager.

full article here

QotD: Miss Peru 2018 turned violence against women into morbid entertainment, not a ‘feminist protest’

Although the so-called protest was reported as being a contestant-driven initiative, the pageant’s organizers and hosts made clear that the “theme” this year was violence against women, repeatedly explaining that the entire pageant was dedicated to “respecting women and violence prevention.”

This is no coincidence. In recent years, feminism in Latin America and the Caribbean has explicitly centered the issue of violence against women. Last October, over 100,000 people took to the streets in Argentina (where a woman is murdered every 36 hours) to protest the gruesome femicide of Lucia Perez Montero. Similar protests were replicated throughout the continent on what was called “Black Wednesday.”

It was a sly move by the organizers of Miss Peru to feature a parade of women listing decontextualized facts about violence against women, and present the event itself as part of the movement against the epidemic. This move ensured the pageant would go viral and seem modern, despite the whole spectacle being inextricably rooted in women’s subordination and subservience.

As Spanish writer Barbijaputa argues at El Diario, stating facts about violence against women in a beauty pageant doesn’t change anyone’s attitude about that violence or about women’s rights. She writes:

The vast majority of society still thinks that the motive [for violence] is biology: that men can’t control their ‘sexual instincts’ and women can’t defend themselves because they are weaker. Stating facts about violence against us makes it seem as if this is inevitable: ‘It’s just the way it is,’ ‘men are crazy,’ ‘I wish it didn’t happen but we can’t fight nature.’

In other words, without understanding why men commit violence against women and without addressing the system that excuses and normalizes male dominance, we cannot successfully combat male violence.

A truly subversive act might have been for contestants to make statements that challenge the objectification of women. Barbijaputa suggests some alternate scripts for pageant contestants:

“I am Miss Tarapoto, and girls and women don’t die; each one of them had a man who killed them. Men are educated to think of themselves as superior to us, while we are being measured by our hips.”

Or perhaps, “I am Miss Cuzco and coming out here in a bathing suit so that men can judge whether or not I am beautiful is sexism and sexism kills.”

Instead, what Miss Peru came up with was little more than a marketing strategy that, in the end, still serves patriarchy. The event’s organizers and Latina, the TV channel that aired and sponsored the pageant, don’t have to pretend to care about women’s rights or liberation any other day of the year.

Peruvian writer Lara Salvatierra points out that Latina has “a misogynist editorial line” and routinely airs content that demeans and objectifies women, “including a TV show which ridicules Indigenous women and girls.”

She writes:

The fact that it went viral speaks to the guidelines of a patriarchal system: a woman may demand justice, as long as she doesn’t try to escape the mold and the gender roles that the system has approved for her. Patriarchy will always search for ways to naturalize its existence. There is nothing empowering in modeling in a bikini to entertain the same misogynists who then violate us, commercialize us, and kill us.

In a beauty pageant, women are presented to be ogled and enjoyed for an hour or two, as pretty objects. Once objectified, they are put through a process in which, one by one, they are eliminated from the competition. In other words, beauty pageants present women as intrinsically disposable. This is the same thought process that legitimizes the discarding of women under patriarchy, through male violence.

What is an audience meant to feel or think as they read, “Man strangles woman with a cord,” while a young woman parades across the stage in a bikini, desperately seeking male approval and adhering to patriarchal standards of beauty and complacency?

How this capitalist marketing ploy could be interpreted as empowering or liberating is beyond me. But, as Salvatierra points out, this type of “feminist protest” is the kind of activism that a patriarchal system favours the most: one in which women voice opposition to their oppression, but do it within the bounds of the role the system constructed for them.

Raquel Rosario Sánchez, Feminist Current, full article here

QotD: “Rape and slavery was lure for UK ISIS recruits with history of sexual violence”

Men with a history of sexual violence and domestic abuse joined Islamic State because of the organisation’s systemic use of rape and slavery as a form of terrorism, according to new analysis.

The promotion and sanctioning of sexual violence by the extremist group was a pivotal means of “attracting, retaining, mobilising and rewarding fighters” as well as punishing kaffir, or disbelievers, says a report to be released by the Henry Jackson Society.

Enshrining a theology of rape, the sexual exploitation of women alongside trafficking helped fund the caliphate and was used to lure men from deeply conservative Muslim societies, where casual sex is taboo and dating prohibited.

In addition, forced inseminations and forced pregnancies – along with forced conversions – were officially endorsed to help secure the next generation of jihadis, a tactic also replicated by Nigeria’s militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

Analysis of ISIS members from Europe and the US found that a cohort had a history of domestic and sexual violence, suggesting a “relationship between committing terrorist attacks and having a history of physical and/or sexual violence”.

One Briton, Ondogo Ahmed, from north London, was given an eight-year custodial sentence for raping a 16-year-old girl in the UK but fled to Syria while out of prison on licence in 2013.

Another was Siddhartha Dhar, a father of four from London, who has been described as a central player in Isis’s brutal persecution of the Yazidis, a religious minority whose followers the group permitted its members to rape.

Testimony from one victim, Nihad Barakat, 18, revealed how Dhar, a former bouncy castle salesman from Walthamstow, east London, routinely participated in the group’s systemic trafficking and abuse of Yazidi teenage girls and enslaved some himself. “These cases indicate an existence of a type of terrorism that is sexually motivated, in which individuals with prior records of sexual violence are attracted by the sexual brutality carried out by members of Islamic State,” said Nikita Malik, the report’s author.

Although Malik said more work was required to establish a definitive link between an individual’s history of domestic violence and subsequent involvement in terrorism, evidence existed to indicate a potential correlation. One of the men involved in July’s London Bridge attack, Rachid Redouane, 30, was reportedly abusive and controlling, and his girlfriend eventually fled to a unit for victims of domestic violence. The Westminster attacker Khalid Masood, 52, is another who has been described as violent and controlling, this time towards his second wife.

ISIS has repeatedly promoted and attempted to legitimise a theology of rape, occasionally through its Dabiq magazine and Al Hayat media channel. One edition of Dabiq justified the rape of Yazidi women in Iraq by dismissing them as “pagans”. The extremist group also set up a department dedicated to “war spoils” and issued guidelines to codify slavery.

Markets selling sex slaves were relatively common in territory controlled by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria at the calpihate’s height, while the group’s franchise in Libya has also played a role in human trafficking. One account contained in the report describes how Isis members would touch the chests of girls to see whether they had grown breasts. If they had done so they could be raped, according to the report – which will be released in parliament – and if not they would be examined three months later. Among a number of harrowing case studies are accounts of how a 10-year-old Libyan child was raped by traffickers linked to ISIS.

Apart from subjugation and spreading terror, another key reason for Isis exploiting sex trafficking is financial gain. Ransom payments directly linked to the threat or use of sexual violence and paid out by governments and individuals earned, according to the report, between £7.7m and £23m last year, at a time of lowering revenues for the group.

Full article here

It’s unsurprising to note that the report (or the article on it at least), makes the link to “deeply conservative Muslim societies”, but not to our own, western, misogyny. Hardcore pornography was easily available to any ISIS fighter who grew up in the west, plus bootleg pornography is available throughout the global south.

And as Namia Akhtar reported, Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden were porn users:

Nonetheless, Sexlamists in their private lives are obsessed with pornography (in a February 17, 2015 article, New York Post reported that Navy SEALs who killed Osama bin Laden found a fairly extensive stash of modern pornography in his possession), they communicate through it (media sources reported that terrorist cells embedded secret coded messages into shared pornography and onto pedophile websites) and justify their own salacious carnal practices on religious grounds. Al-Qaeda leaders, such as Osama Bin Laden and Anwar Al-waki, had also indulged in notorious promiscuity. Adultery and fornication are strictly prohibited in Islam, but in terror groups abhorrent sexual practices reign supreme. Daesh, for instance, has issued fatwas justifying rapes of Yazidi women to make them Muslims. Rape is the mechanism of Daesh to achieve their strategic objectives, since it humiliates and shames respective communities.

QotD: “my dom beats me when i mess up without aftercare”

This is one of today’s search engine terms:

my dom beats me when i mess up without aftercare

For anyone visiting this blog in this type of situation, you are being abused. It doesn’t matter what ‘contract’ you signed, what you agreed to verbally, how nice your abuser is other times, what kind of ‘pillar’ of the BDSM ‘community’ your abuser is, this is a dangerous situation, and you should leave, not just your abuser, but the BDSM ‘scene’ altogether.

You deserve love and affection and care without having to be tortured first, you deserve respect without having to agree to total submission and obedience first. You can take responsibility for your own life and your own decisions, you don’t need a ‘dom’ to do this for you.

If you feel like you can’t leave, because of financial reasons, because you have become isolated from family and community outside of BDSM, because you are afraid of what your abuser might do, there are resources out there available to help you escape.

QotD: “Sunderland is about to become the first UK city without a single domestic violence refuge”

Eventually you get to a point in mid-adulthood, having digested a few newspapers and muted a few politicians, when you start to wonder: do cities actually want their women to die? Otherwise, why take these backward steps, cutting services so that more and more women’s refuges are forced to close? Backward steps – no, it’s more like being dragged through shrubland into a dimmer, darker place.

Sunderland is about to become the first UK city without a single domestic violence refuge. The bleakness of this is exhausting. The knowledge that even if a woman in Sunderland finds the courage, cash and energy to leave the partner that hits her, soon there will be nowhere for her to go. The chances are she will end up on the streets (St Mungo’s reports a third of the women they work with say domestic violence contributed to their homelessness) or in a B&B, floundering with no support, no advice on how to begin a life alone, and of course that itch, that feeling that she will always be listening for steps behind her, that she is never safe. Or else, of course, like the two women murdered by their partners in England and Wales every week, she’ll return to a man that kills her.

And the irony is that – apart from at this very sharpest end of the issue, where hundreds of women are being turned away from refuges, due in part to almost a fifth closing since 2010 – elsewhere hard work is paying off. Police now know how to talk to victims of abuse, how to deal with the shadowy cases, the crimes that happen in family homes. Schools now teach pupils the acceptable boundaries of relationships, due to charities working tirelessly to research and fight dating abuse, and expose the horrors of being 14 and terrified. Yet still, if a woman runs, cuts in funding mean she’ll have nowhere to go.

It took a long time to get here, to a place where we could talk about domestic violence, and then acknowledge the many forms it can take, and then the difficulties of escaping it. It took a long time before refuges opened across the country, offering beds and safety to women whose black eyes had been politely ignored by their bosses, at home their children silently watching the ads.

A couple of years ago, Jenny Smith wrote The Refuge, a book about finding sanctuary in the world’s first safe house for women. It was May 1973, when women weren’t allowed to apply for a mortgage without a man, and there was no such thing as marital rape. After two years of being kicked around, people turning away when her husband hit her on the street, she happened upon a piece in the Daily Mirror which read: “Victims of domestic violence? Need help?”

She hid the article under the carpet so he wouldn’t find it. He had beaten her, stabbed her, burned and bitten her – once he tried to drown her. When Smith arrived at the refuge – a terraced house on the other side of London – with her two babies, they welcomed her in, telling her she was safe.

Forty-four years later, two out of every three women that approach a refuge for help are being turned away. When we hear about Sunderland losing its last refuge, it’s as if another brick has been removed from that first safe house in London – it’s not safe. At it’s foundation, it’s not safe. It sounds flippant to wonder whether cities care about the lives of their vulnerable women, whether they want them to die, but all evidence points in that direction. The places those women go to stay alive are disappearing. It’s dreadful to revisit Smith’s book – those 1970s campaigners feeling they had achieved so much, only for the 2000s government to dismantle their efforts with shrugs and cuts.

Eva Wiseman

QotD: “Men often kill wives after lengthy periods of prolonged physical violence accompanied by other forms of abuse and coercion”

Men often kill wives after lengthy periods of prolonged physical violence accompanied by other forms of abuse and coercion; the roles in such cases are seldom if ever reversed. Men perpetrate familial massacres, killing spouse and children together; women do not. Men commonly hunt down and kill wives who have left them; women hardly ever behave similarly. Men kill wives as part of planned murder-suicides; analogous acts by women are almost unheard of. Men kill in response to revelations of wifely infidelity; women almost never respond similarly, though their mates are more often adulterous.

R. Emerson and Russell Dobash, quoted in Angry White Men by Michael Kimmel

(found at the Bewilderness)

QotD: “I have to ask you to resist, not to comply, to destroy the power men have over women, to refuse to accept it, to abhor it and to do whatever is necessary despite its cost to you to change it”

We need to put women first. We need to do anything that will interrupt the colonizing of the female body. We need to refuse to accept the givens. We need to ask ourselves what political rights we need as women. What laws do we need? What would freedom be for us? What principles are necessary for our well-being? Why are women being sold on street corners and tortured in their homes, in societies that claim to be based on freedom and justice? What actions must be taken? What will it cost us and why are we too afraid to pay and are the women who have gotten a little from the women’s movement afraid that resistance or rebellion or even political inquiry will cost them the little they have gotten? Why are we still making deals with men one by one instead of collectively demanding what we need? I am going to ask you to remember that as long as a woman is being bought and sold anywhere in the world, you are not free, nor are you safe. You too have a number; some day your turn will come. I’m going to ask you to remember the prostituted, the homeless, the battered, the raped, the tortured, the murdered, the raped-then-murdered, the murdered-then-raped; and I am going to ask you to remember the photographed, the ones that any or all of the above happened to and it was photographed and now the photographs are for sale in our free countries. I want you to think about those who have been hurt for the fun, the entertainment, the so-called speech of others; those who have been hurt for profit, for the financial benefit of pimps and entrepreneurs. I want you to remember the perpetrator and I am going to ask you to remember the victims: not just tonight but tomorrow and the next day. I want you to find a way to include them – the perpetrators and the victims – in what you do, how you think, how you act, what you care about, what your life means to you.

Now, I know, in this room, some of you are the women I have been talking about. I know that. People around you may not. I am going to ask you to use every single thing you can remember about what was done to you – how it was done, where, by whom, when, and, if you know, why – to begin to tear male dominance to pieces, to pull it apart, to vandalize it, to destabilize it, to mess it up, to get in its way, to fuck it up. I have to ask you to resist, not to comply, to destroy the power men have over women, to refuse to accept it, to abhor it and to do whatever is necessary despite its cost to you to change it.

Andrea Dworkin, Speech at the Massey College Fifth Walter Gordon Forum, Toronto, Ontario, in a symposium on “The Future of Feminism,” April 2, 1995

(found via the Bewilderness)

QotD: “Chemical castration of sex offenders in Turkey condemned by women’s groups”

Women’s rights groups, lawyers and doctorshave condemned Turkey’s decision to introduce a mandatory chemical castration programme for convicted sex offenders, arguing the treatment does not address the underlying reasons for widespread violence against women, and that bodily punishment will instead lead to increased abuse.

Özgül Kaptan, director of the Women’s Solidarity Foundation (Kadav), has condemned the law – which came into effect on 26 July, at a time of extended legislative powers – as misguided.

“It’s a very bad and dangerous decision,” she said. “The law reduces crimes related to sexual abuse and rape to the one offending individual and to that individual’s body, which disregards the systemic problem of why so many men in Turkey commit these crimes or are violent against women.

“Men are taught to think that they have a right over women. We need to change ideas about gender equality and masculinity. What we really need is a change of attitude, of education. That cannot be done by passing such a law, or overnight.”

Reliable data on violence against women in Turkey is hard to come by, and many cases go entirely unreported. According to the independent Turkish press organisation Bianet, 284 women were killed in Turkey in 2015. In 77% of cases, the murderer was the victim’s husband or partner, or a male relative. At least 133 women were raped, and 42% of the victims were under the age of 18.

“Crimes related to sex offending have much more to do with power and domination than with sex and the sexual drive of the offender. And there are many different ways of physical and psychological abuse,” Kaptan said.

Chemical castration involves the administration of libido-reducing drugs and, unlike physical castration, the effects are reversible. However, health experts have pointed out that the long-term use of some drugs used in chemical castration may lead to serious and permanent side-effects, including an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.

Turkey joins a small group of countries that have legalised the punishment, including most recently Indonesia, as well as Poland, Russia and some states in the US. Germany, France, Sweden and Denmark have introduced voluntary use of the measure. According to research from Scandinavia, reoffending rates have dropped from 40% to between zero and 5%.

However, the new Turkish law does not seek the consent of the offender. Instead, the decision to administer treatment will be made by a court. An offender risks greater punishment should he fail to continue the treatment.

Kaptan argued that mandatory chemical castration was an inhumane punishment comparable to the death penalty.

“Violence will create only more violence. In that sense it should be talked about in the same way as we talk about the death penalty,” she said. “We oppose all corporal punishment, because it violates the bodily integrity and the human rights of a person.”

The controversial move came during Turkey’s three-month state of emergency, which allows the government to bypass parliament and pass laws and regulations virtually unopposed. Regulations introduced during the state of emergency, imposed after the attempted coup of 15 July, cannot be appealed.

“The AKP [the ruling Justice and Development party] profited from the current chaos in the country flowing the coup attempt,” Kaptan said. “They seized the opportunity to introduce this law, which under normal circumstances would have been opposed very strongly.”

Mandatory drug treatment for sex offenders has been discussed before in Turkey. In 2011, female AKP deputies suggested chemical castration after a 17-year-old girl was murdered by her boyfriend. The discussion regained momentum in 2015 following the killing and attempted rape of Özgecan Aslan, a 20-year-old university student. Each time, the idea was harshly criticised and subsequently dropped.

“Chemical castration is a punishment that will merely assuage the victim’s immediate wish for revenge,” warned lawyer Canan Arin. “It will not address the underlying problems. Sexual abuse is not only committed because of a man’s genitals. Sexuality and male-female relationships in Turkey are not healthy.”

Referring to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s 2014 comments that men and women could not be equal because such a notion would “go against the laws of nature”, Arin asked: “If the government propagates such views, how are things supposed to change for the better?”

Both Kaptan and Arin underlined that Turkey’s existing laws were sufficient to deal with violence against women. In 2012, after the government enacted new legislation to prevent domestic violence, Turkey became the first country to ratify a Council of Europe treaty on violence against women, and the AKP government has promised to intensify its fight against rape and sexual assault.

But so far, little has changed. Women’s rights groups point out that legal measures have repeatedly fallen short, and that convicted sex offenders and those guilty of abuse and violence against women still benefit from courts reducing sentences for “good behaviour”, encouraging the public to see their offences as trivial. Arin also said that women who flagged up potential offenders to the police often did not receive the necessary protection.

“It would be enough if the police and the courts would do their jobs properly,” the lawyer said. “The existing legislation would be enough to deal with offenders, but these laws are often simply not being applied.”

There have not yet been any convictions on the basis of the new regulation, but Kaptan feared that once it happens, women will again be the ones to suffer.

“We fear that the victims will be blamed as being responsible for such an “attempt” on masculinity. Instead of bringing a solution, this new law will only further increase violence against women.”

(source)