Weekly Feminist Reader

I have a story in the current print issue (Jan/Feb) of The American Prospect about the politics of using RU-486 to treat cancer. It’s also online here.
Phill Kline’s investigation into a Kansas abortion provider won’t continue after Kline leaves office on January 8. But Kline is working hard to get charges filed before then.
Might it be possible to repeal the Global Gag Rule this year?
After initially banning an abstinence-only program, Rhode Island agreed to reinstate it — even though it’s still medically inaccurate and discriminatory.
The Vatican has upheld the 1996 excommunication of a Catholic reform group that supports the ordination of women.
In an issue about deaths this year, The New York Times reflects on Betty Friedan and Wendy Wasserstein. (There’s also a video on Wasserstein.) Notable omissions: Coretta Scott King, Jane Hodgson, and Ellen Willis.
Barbara Ehrenreich on DemocracyNow! speaks about poverty and global feminism.
The politics of Patricia Heaton, Feminists For Life’s celebrity spokesperson.
The movement to end violence against women in Darfur continues.
A New Mexico abstinence group is suing Governor Bill Richardson for failure to disclose how the state spends its federal abstinence-only dollars. I’m all for more transparency on how these federal grants are administered. But the abstinence group is basically just pissed because New Mexico has refused to indoctrinate kids 6th grade and younger with the abstinence-only message.
Shocker! Women who leave the workforce to raise children full-time are often financially screwed in later life.
Why the new sitcom My Boys does justice to the single gal more than Sex and the City ever did.
Even though the number of women in science continues to grow, they still routinely receive less research support than their male colleagues, and they have not reached the top academic ranks.
While many U.S. states still haven’t committed to covering the cost of the HPV vaccine, Britain is vaccinating all 12-year-old girls.
Funny how headlines never scream “fear grips town” when a serial rapist targets women. (Thanks to Erin for the link.)

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31 Comments

  1. emilytate
    Posted December 31, 2006 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    my favorite part: “There’s a lot of emotional damage that goes with being raped, especially when the victims are men,” said Lynn Parrish, a spokeswoman for the National Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.
    Because, of course, it is more damaging for men to be raped than women.

  2. Posted December 31, 2006 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    It may well be.

  3. HearTheFire
    Posted December 31, 2006 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad the issue is seeing the light of day, because males have been among the victims of rape all along. Maybe at least one town in Texas will grow to understand that it’s the perpetrator’s fault, and not the victim’s.

  4. UltraMagnus
    Posted December 31, 2006 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Alon, I really don’t want to get into a who gets what worse debate, but how the hell do you know the emotional toll rape takes on women enough to ever compare it to men to say that their emotional pain “may well be” worse than a womans? Yes, men have the shame stemming from socities obsession with masculinity but like emilytate that passage stuck out to me as dismissing women’s emotional damage, especially considereing a woman can get pregnant from her rapist and have to deal with the emotional turmoil of that. What is the equivelant of that for men? (go ahead and say STD, I know you will).
    Ann is absolutly right, you’d hardly NEVER hear a headline like this for the same amount of women being raped and added to that women are often blamed for their own rapes, can you say that about these men? Do you see anyone suggesting that these men shouldn’t have dressed provacativly (sp) or they shouldn’t have been out alone? I don’t think so.
    If these men were to try to prosecute this rapist do you think the victims, gay or straight, would have their entire sexual history brought out for the court to try and establish whether or not they were “asking” for it?
    Men get raped and all of a sudden everyone’s jumping in to save their asses (yes, I’m deliberetly being mean) but go read any post on rape and count to see how long it takes before someone blames the woman for what happened to her.
    If anything the female victim blaming and the shame of losing your “masculinity” even out each other, it doesn’t make men more sympathetic cases.

  5. soullite
    Posted December 31, 2006 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    Ultra, nice to see to see you care about people who aren’t like you. This is the kind of debate that kills our souls. You’re looking for reason not to care about what happened to these people, to minimize it. That’s how you get people blamming the victim and making excuses for perpetrators. You can’t travel down a path like that and end well for it.

  6. UltraMagnus
    Posted December 31, 2006 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    Soullite,
    I never said I DIDN’T care about these men but I was going with Ann and emilytate’s comments that once something happens to men that has been happening to women all along people get all up in arms about it.
    Read the article. These people are out for blood for this guy because he raped MEN and they have outright admitted that because this is a “rare” occurance that it needs special treatment. So women getting raped don’t warrent the effort?
    Had this ben women it would NOT have turned out this way and while I feel for these men and the humilation they must feel, they are still saying that rape is worse emotinally for MEN when women who are raped go through so much as well. Read my comment again about how women have to PROVE it was rape. Do you honestly think these men will have to prove a goddamn thing in court besides pointing to the perpertrator and saying “he raped me”? Will they have to talk about the sex they had the day of? The sex they had the week before? What they were wearing when the rapist attacked them?
    Once they catch him and the victims testify that’ll be IT. Compared to what women face it is completely unfair and yes, that makes me bitter because I have female friends who have been raped and I’ve had to see the devastation it takes on their lives to watch people, family and friends, second guess their every move and BLAME them for what happens.
    These men will never have anyone second guess them, they will have all the support and love they need through this time. Most women simply do not get the same treatment.
    I NEVER said anything to the effect of victim blaming and I don’t see how addressing the point that Ann fucking brought up in the link goes to support that I did.

  7. donna darko
    Posted December 31, 2006 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    Men can discuss their experiences with rape here. None of the men who talk about rape here have commented there which makes me suspicious of their attack on feminist efforts here. There’s also a tag called Patriarchy Hurts Men Too there.

  8. Posted January 1, 2007 at 1:17 am | Permalink

    I hope that Global Gag Rule is repealed. It’s stupid and it only endangers the lives of women in Africa. It’s an abuse of power to deny a country much needed funding just because of personal moral beliefs.
    Oh, and I’m sure rape hurts men just as much as women. But in our society I think it’s harder for men to talk about rape because of social stigma. I think we’re so used to viewing a man the one who perpetrates rape.

  9. Posted January 1, 2007 at 1:29 am | Permalink

    None of the men who talk about rape here have commented there which makes me suspicious of their attack on feminist efforts here.
    That’s because I’m not a rape victim. I can’t speak for Arturo, but if he doesn’t read Alas regularly, then he had no way of knowing.
    how the hell do you know the emotional toll rape takes on women enough to ever compare it to men to say that their emotional pain “may well be” worse than a womans?
    I don’t know the precise emotional toll rape takes on either men or women. And I’m fairly certain that you don’t, either.

  10. donna darko
    Posted January 1, 2007 at 2:13 am | Permalink

    Men who attack feminists for not including men in discussions of rape should comment there. Why are there only 42 comments on that thread? With the number of comments attacking women for not including men in the discussion, there should be more comments on that thread. There’s information and resources there by people who have experienced it.

  11. UltraMagnus
    Posted January 1, 2007 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    Alon Levy: “And I’m fairly certain that you don’t, either.”
    Alon, I have not been raped myself but as I stated in my second post, which apparently you didn’t bother to read, I have had female friends who have been raped and I’ve seen what they’ve had to deal with in terms of emotional and physical ramifications. I don’t know whether or not for you I’d actually have to haven been raped in order to justify my comments to you, but even if this comment gets me kicked off this board: FUCK YOU. No, sincerely, FUCK YOU.

  12. UltraMagnus
    Posted January 1, 2007 at 3:15 am | Permalink

    Oh yeah, Alon, if you DON’T know the “precise emotional toll” rape takes on men or women, WHY THE FUCK did you comment that it “may well be” worse for men than women, when in fact you have no idea?

  13. Posted January 1, 2007 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    I think some are missing Ultra’s point. She isn’t saying rape isn’t horrible for men. She’s saying it’s unfair to marginalize women’s pain from rape. Someone mentioned the shame in talking about rape for men… um, there is ABSOLUTELY shame involved for women. I know several women who have been raped, including one of my best friends, and they never brought charges because they knew people would never believe them (in fact, my close friend lost one of her other best friends because of it). This is not to say that it isn’t devastating for men as well. But Ultra and Ann raise valid points in noting that we should be upset about this happening to women, and we shouldn’t ONLY get up in arms when it happens to men.
    There’s a huge social stigma attached to being raped REGARDLESS of gender. If you think that rape “may be” worse for men than women, let’s have some arguments about why, hmm? Ultra and others have already pointed to some solid reasons why it’s indescribably horrendous for women.

  14. Posted January 1, 2007 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    I have had female friends who have been raped and I’ve seen what they’ve had to deal with in terms of emotional and physical ramifications.
    But, I take it, no male friends…

  15. Posted January 1, 2007 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    No, because damn few men get raped relative to the number of women who get raped.
    Alon, this is a very old discussion. You seem to be completely committed to the idea of a relatively low number of rapes, based on a bizarre level of credulity vis-a-vis the accuracy of the NCVS. You seem to be completely committed to the idea that rape and domestic violence should not be specifically treated as crimes against women. You are not an MRA, but you are falling for some of the MRA arguments and that makes me very sad, because you’re way too intelligent for that.
    I mean, rape of men is a problem, yes. So is racial prejudice against whites. But they’re both dwarfed by much larger problems affecting women and minorities.
    Cheers,
    TH

  16. Posted January 1, 2007 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    By the way: Congrats to Ann for the American Prospect publication! Great, great article.
    Cheers,
    TH

  17. HearTheFire
    Posted January 1, 2007 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Wow.
    Is it really productive to pit rape victims against each other in a game of “who suffers most”? I think not.
    I wouldn’t quite say that people don’t get “up in arms” when a serial rapist attacks women, but I’ve observed a marked difference in the language. Instead of “fear grips town,” I’ve heard things more like “fear grips women in a certain part of town.” And, of course, if those women are middle-class and/or white, there’s greater attention (and sympathy) than if they’re not. And that does say something about the relative interest given to the victims.
    Anyway. From the article:
    “Levin and other experts say male-on-male rape sometimes stems from sexual encounters gone bad. But that does not appear to be the case with the rapist in this oil-refining town of 70,000 people about 30 miles east of Houston.”
    (Hey, look. Victims absolved of “guilt.” Because, you know, anonymous stranger rape is “real” rape.)
    Also from the article:
    “There’s a lot of emotional damage that goes with being raped, especially when the victims are men,” said Lynn Parrish, a spokeswoman for the National Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. But she added: “The best way to get this rapist off the street is for more people to come forward.”
    (Always the best way to get a rapist off the street, mind you, and hard for victims of either gender. I do find it interesting that the person who made the “especially for men” comment comes from the National Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. And it makes me wonder whether that comes from hard data, or from a careless word choice by Lynn Parrish. I really am curious about that.)

  18. HearTheFire
    Posted January 1, 2007 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Oh, yeah… and my comment about Lynn Parrish’s comment is exactly why I don’t think Alon Levy is any type of enemy here. He didn’t make the original statement; he simply entertained the possibility that it may be true. And if it’s true, then it’s still a problem tied to sexism. If the National Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network has facts on the relative effects of rape by gender, then I’m interested in hearing them (and then looking at their studies a little more closely). And if the “especially when the victims are men” bit is true, then it’s likely a result of all the work that’s been done to help female victims come forward and deal with their situations (we’re still not “there,” I agree, but I’ve seen definite progress in my lifetime)–and perhaps male rape victims have had difficulty accessing the rape support systems that do exist. Holy run-on sentence.

  19. UltraMagnus
    Posted January 1, 2007 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Alon,
    No, I do not know of any of my male friends who have been raped, if they have they never told me and if any of them did I would be there to help just like I was there for my female friends.
    I just have a close male relative who has been molested by his female family member and while he seems okay now he has problems dealing with relationships with women. I’ve told him it would be good for him to talk to a counselor, or a therapist but as a black man there is a further stigma in that for him added onto the pain he still feels from his childhood. If he ever needs me I’m here for him.

  20. Posted January 1, 2007 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    You seem to be completely committed to the idea that rape and domestic violence should not be specifically treated as crimes against women.
    No, I’m not. I think rape should not specifically be treated as a crime against women. In fact one of my arguments is a comparison with domestic violence, which is best treated specifically as a crime against women. It’s always a question of what the evidence points to.
    No, because damn few men get raped relative to the number of women who get raped.
    So? Once a man is raped, it doesn’t matter to him how many men and how many women are raped. The psychological trauma is independent of the overall number.

  21. a_human
    Posted January 1, 2007 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    It is equally and uniquely bad for every individual.

  22. Posted January 1, 2007 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    “So? Once a man is raped, it doesn’t matter to him how many men and how many women are raped. The psychological trauma is independent of the overall number.”
    How do you know this?

  23. Posted January 1, 2007 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t seen any evidence that rape trauma has substantially changed in the last 30 years.
    I don’t discount the possibility it’s very different for men and for women. In fact, it’s very likely it is. I just don’t know what the exact difference is or whether there’s a difference in magnitude; hence my original “it may well be” quip.

  24. katie
    Posted January 2, 2007 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    its horrible to be sure, but does anyone else kinda feel like wow, now at least some men understand the fear of being raped that women deal with EVERY SINGLE DAY. unfortunately, i think its hard for men (or anyone) to understand a fear like that until you experience is personally.

  25. Posted January 2, 2007 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Well, actually katie, I think that’s part of the problem with suggesting that rape may be “worse” for men; for men it’s something so horrific and out of the ordinary, it just doesn’t affect their everyday lives the way it does women. This is a really problematic way for society to look at things — rape is somehow “worse” for men because it’s rarer for them. They don’t fear it as much because it’s rarer, and they accordingly get better treatment as a victim for the same reason. For women it can almost get to the point of like, well, it happens to so many women, it really can’t be thought of as “that bad.” This is why women live in constant fear — others view it as “not that big a deal” for a woman to be raped. Those of us who have been raped, or who have loved ones who have been raped, however, know better.

  26. katie
    Posted January 2, 2007 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    yeah thats kinda what i was getting at. thanks for articulating it far better:. i also think people are viewing it as “worse” for men bc well, women are totally objectified anyway and in many instances people feel women “deserve” it.

  27. donna darko
    Posted January 2, 2007 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    kinda like rape is “worse” for non-sex worker women because sex workers who are raped “deserved” it.

  28. katie
    Posted January 2, 2007 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    or the idea that sex workers (and wives as many people think) “cant” be raped

  29. donna darko
    Posted January 2, 2007 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    or the idea that poor women/women from the wrong side of the tracks/women of color can’t be raped.

  30. donna darko
    Posted January 2, 2007 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    or that it’s only rape if you’re “brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life.”
    http://feministing.com/archives/003058.html

  31. katie
    Posted January 2, 2007 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    oh yeah that one is classic.

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