Let’s talk about sexual and physical violence — about how it violates the body, how it violently strips self agency of women — and the anger, powerlessness, silence, confinement, strength, abruption, dreams, hopes, dance that it elicits. We can also talk about the serious health consequences — the short- and long-term physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health problems that survivors must deal with after and because of the violence experienced. Recent WHO figures show that immediate consequences of intimate partner violence and sexual violence include unintended pregnancies, induced abortions, gynecological problems, and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. A WHO 2013 analysis found that women who had been physically or sexually abused were 15 times more likely to have a sexually transmitted infection than women who had not experienced partner violence. Intimate partner violence in pregnancy also increases the likelihood of miscarriage, stillbirth, pre-term delivery and low birth weight babies. The link between violence and its impact on health does not stop there; health effects also include headaches, back pain, abdominal pain, fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal disorders, limited mobility and poor overall health. Does this list seem long? Let me remind you that 1 in 3 women globally will experience intimate or non-intimate partner physical and/or sexual violence. Now read the physical, emotional and psychological effects of violence again, keeping in mind that this is what a third of girls/women on the planet will go through at least once in their lifetime.
This is the world we live in today and it seems like we are beginning to become desensitized, almost complacent to the proliferation of violence against women. Unfortunately, my story is not unique. I will tell you about my girlfriend who once told me about being 8 and being “played” with by her uncle while growing up in our home country, Sierra Leone. I want to tell you about the upheld strength in her eyes as she laughed at the absurdity of it all, quickly going on about other things. I want to tell you about the sexual violence case that gripped Sierra Leone in September, when the former deputy Minister of Education was charged with allegedly raping a 24-year-old university student. For a moment there it was all everyone could talk about. Some recounted their own personal experiences, many glazed through the topic, others were enraged and yet, I will tell you about how the media tore her apart, and how hearsay made many people unsympathetic to her story and how influential men started to have their “guard up” about the women they chose to have affairs with. I could also tell you how society’s response to this high profile case will deter many from speaking out again.
Gender violence affects health; beyond that, it destabilizes the emotional and spiritual core of a girl, of a young woman — as it did to that calm 9-year-old girl, to my girlfriend, the 24-year-old who spoke out against being raped and to millions of women worldwide. As we continue to commemorate 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, better work needs to be done to assign responsibility to gender violence that destabilizes health systems, social ecosystems and economic systems. Better work needs to be done by us Sierra Leonean women in becoming bolder and louder about our stories. These experiences do not make us weak — the experience of violation does — we need to become more comfortable in sharing our own personal stories of physical and sexual violence while making sure that government, society, the laws that be increasingly become more uncomfortable in maintaining the status quo.
It goes without saying that religion is big in America. It played a starring role in the founding of the nation and continues to be the source of policy fights. Just this week, a group of Satanists launched a donation drive to erect a monument on Oklahoma’s Capitol grounds, in what some see as a test of the nation’s religious freedoms.
But religion influences local governments in less sensational ways. Some 21 states, for example, are requiring insurers under the federal health-care law to provide exemptions from contraception coverage for employers that object on religious or other grounds, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And 13 states in recent years have banned abortions past 20 weeks, a move influenced at least in part by religious views of when life begins. (Albuquerque, N.M., recently defeated a similar effort.)
With what is arguably the most widely observed holiday of the nation’s most popular religion right around the corner, now seems as good a time as any to look at the state of religion in America’s states and counties. All six of the maps and data below—which depict religious popularity, diversity and adherents—come from the “2010 U.S. Religion Census: Religious Congregations & Membership Study,” an every-decade research effort sponsored by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, which gathers statistics for religious groups or scholars interested in such.
Most popular religion, by county
The Catholic church (blue) and Southern Baptists (red) dominate the map below, which marks the religion with the largest number of adherents in every American county. Blanketed red, the Bible Belt is alive and well. Evangelicals in orange can lay claim to a smattering of Midwestern and Western counties, while Mormonism (gray) is, unsurprisingly, the largest religion in every Utah county and in chunks of Utah’s neighboring states.
On Tuesday, an Idaho state senator called on his colleague to resign when it came to light that the fellow state lawmaker entered a guilty plea to rape charges in 1974.
A group of legislators from Boise are preparing to meet next Tuesday to decide what Patterson’s future in the legislature may be. Not everyone is determined to force him out. Another Republican official from Patterson’s district told the AP that the situation is “fluid,” and that nothing has been decided.
The Idaho Statesman reported in November that Patterson failed to disclose his guilty plea in the Florida case and was therefore turned down for a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
Patterson can still carry a hidden gun, thanks to a unique provision in Idaho’s laws that exempts state legislators from licensing requirements for weapons. Nonetheless, he told the Statesman that he is planning on appealing the denial.
BOISE – A legislator whose concealed weapon permit was revoked for lying about a long-ago rape case can still legally carry hidden guns – because Idaho is the only state in the nation that exempts elected officials from the permit law.
The case of state Rep. Mark Patterson, R-Boise, is bringing new attention to the 1990 Idaho law that provides the exemption, and some Idaho lawmakers say it’s time for a change.
Patterson is mulling an appeal of his permit revocation; the Idaho Statesman reported on Sunday that the Ada County sheriff revoked his permit after discovering that he lied twice, in 2007 and 2012, on his permit application. The form asks if the applicant has ever had a withheld judgment for a felony offense. Patterson didn’t disclose his 1974 guilty plea and withheld judgment for assault with intent to commit rape in Florida. He was acquitted in another, unrelated rape case three years later.
Idaho’s elected-official exemption applies to any elected official in the state, from school board members and highway district commissioners to the governor. A slew of others have been added since 1990, including jail guards and city and county officials.
Yet a person convicted of a non-violent felony, sent to prison and released 30 years later cannot own a firearm, or vote? Am I getting this correct?
Catholic Church in Australia Paid $43,000,000 in Hush Money; Tone-Deaf Church Lawyer Quotes Scripture at Hearing
Some of the recipients now say they felt pressured into accepting the deal. One abuse victim, teacher Joan Isaacs, explained that
… she had felt silenced for the past 12 years after reluctantly signing a confidentiality agreement through the church’s controversial Towards Healing process for a $30,000 settlement which, after she paid legal fees, left her with enough to buy $5000 worth of Coles-Myer shares [Coles-Myer was a chain of department stores] and a sewing machine. …
Her voice wavering, Mrs Isaacs told the Royal Commission into Institutionalised Responses to Child Sex Abuse in Sydney how one member of the [children’s] group had Father Frank Derriman’s baby while the priest told them that, if they loved God, it was OK to have sex with him because he was God’s representative.
Also, Father Derriman pressured the children by claiming that he was terminally ill and longed to have sex before he died.
He had other tricks up his godly sleeve, too. Isaacs testified that Derriman
Derriman is no longer a priest, but don’t rejoice just yet:
He is now married and working as a social worker in Victoria.
The Hawaiian health official who verified the authenticity of President Obama’s birth certificate died in a small plane crash.
The plane, carrying a pilot and eight passengers, went down Wednesday in the water off the Hawaiian island of Molokai, the Maui Fire Department said. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser was among the first outlets to report that the lone fatality was Loretta Fuddy. Tom Matsuda, the interim executive director of Hawaii’s health insurance exchange, confirmed Fuddy’s death.
Fuddy, 65, became acting health director in January 2011. After being confirmed as the permanent health director, Fuddy made news in April 2011 when she verified the authenticity of certified copies of President Obama’s birth certificate, proving that he had been born in Hawaii.
Obama had requested the release to curb claims by opponents that he was born in Kenya and not eligible to be president.
Exploring the legal and moral boundaries for discussion.
NY Times Source H/T Wrenchwench
Justice Richard C. Bosson concurred with the majority opinion, but uneasily.
“The Huguenins are not trying to prohibit anyone from marrying,” he wrote. “They only want to be left alone to conduct their photography business in a manner consistent with their moral convictions.” Instead, they “are compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives.”
“Though the rule of law requires it,” Justice Bosson wrote, “the result is sobering.”
Very sobering indeed.
Elaine Huguenin, a wedding photographer, has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a ruling by New Mexico’s highest court that she was required by a state public-accommodations law to take pictures of a female couple’s “commitment ceremony.” Last week, a judge in Colorado ruled against a baker who had refused to supply a gay couple with a cake for their wedding reception.
Although religious scruples were at issue in both cases, the issue is primarily one of free speech. The 1st Amendment protects not only the right to express one’s own views but also a right not to be compelled to convey someone else’s.
In her petition to the Supreme Court, Huguenin warns that the decision against her threatens other “expressive professions” including “marketers, advertisers, publicists and website designers.”
Please read the whole article for perspective. Now our Poll
Allen Varney, leader of this effort, says:
Owing to the huge surge in sales yesterday after Wil Wheaton’s plug — US$10,000+ in 18 hours! — I’m extending the Family-Friendly RPGs run by a little over one day, until 1PM Eastern US time (GMT -4) tomorrow (Friday). Please spread the word. Point everyone to the Bundle of Holding URL:
As of right now, there have been 1,054 sales, equaling $15,058.37, which means $1506 divided between the two charities (or $753 each)!
UPDATE: Whatever I personally realize from this effort (and, as said before, I need the money because of LIFE-STUFF!), I’m taking half of it and splitting it between Save the Children and St. Jude.
The Bundle was “found money” for me; it behooves me to spread the lucky bounty.
Even those who may not be persuaded that our surveillance technologies have dangerously outpaced democratic controls should agree that in democracies, surveillance of the public must be debated by the public. No official may decide the limit of our rights in secret.
This choice nugget of farcical altruism is the money shot of Snowden’s statement on being added to the list of Foreign Policy’s Global Thinkers for 2013.
We must debate surveillance and rights in the public square. But for somebody to espouse such a noble ideal and give up so much in pursuit of that goal, it’s immensely ironic that he chose to run to countries that have horrible records of human rights and government control.
But even worse, Snowden has chosen to align himself with Glenn Greenwald. An advocacy journalist of immense energy who’s chutzpah is only matched by his thin skin.
In a complex subject such as internet surveillance that we all must be debating, isn’t Greenwald a horrible choice as a journalistic messenger about this most important of debates?
Is Greenwald a feature or a bug?
Russia’s top court ordered a review of the two-year prison sentence of two members of the all-female punk band Pussy Riot convicted of hooliganism for a protest against President Vladimir Putin.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina have young children, entitling them to defer their sentences, which lower courts didn’t take into account, according to a ruling posted late yesterday on the Supreme Court’s website.
The lower courts also failed to acknowledge mitigating circumstances including that it was the women’s first offense and that the protest was peaceful, according to the ruling. The Supreme Court sent their case back to the Moscow City Court.