What We Missed.

Sexual harassment is a big problem on the NYC subway.
Just a sad story about a young man released from prison after wrongfully serving 17 years for a murder he didn’t commit.
Students at UC Berkeley are striking because US Regents has approved a 32% tuition increase.
A study from UNFP about why women are hit hardest via climate change.
Latoya on what is being taught in college rape protection programs.
A ten year old in Arkansas is refusing to stand up for the pledge of allegiance until gay marriage is legal. In solidarity my brother.

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18 Comments

  1. Charybdis
    Posted November 20, 2009 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    About the New York subway harassment situation: box-cutters. If we faced that kind of thing in Toronto I would carry box-cutters, use them, and definitely claim self-defence. They’re not “really” weapons but I bet they work pretty damned well.

  2. Meep
    Posted November 20, 2009 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    While it’s not a perfect or permanent solution, I hope the NYC transit people consider making “women only” cars for use during rush hour, which is what they’ve done in Tokyo (and presumably some other places, but I’m not sure). They’re the first car of the train, marked with (pink) signs and the station attendant does check to make sure all passengers are allowed to be in there. (The sign says “women only,” but beneath that, it clarifies that the car is for women, people with disabilities, and unaccompanied children under age twelve – those at the highest risk to be assaulted.)
    Of course, it does run into the same old problem of putting the burden of prevention on the victims, but it is at least a safe place to ride during rush hour until a more society-wide change takes place and sexual assault is taken more seriously and is more actively discouraged.

  3. Evrybdy44
    Posted November 20, 2009 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    The fact that anyone could go to jail for a murder they were eventually proved to have never committed is just one of the many reasons that I believe that Capital Punishment/Death Penalty should not exist. The justice system is the best we have, but it is not without its flaws. The idea that anyone would be all right ending the life of someone in a system that is flawed just doesn’t make sense to me. I know this man didn’t get to that point, but just think. . . what if he had been executed and then this came out. If that is even a possibility. . . how do we reason having a death pentalty at all. Stuff like this just drives that home for me all that much more.

  4. MaggieF
    Posted November 20, 2009 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    As a broke grad student, I sympathize with UC students. However, not knowing all the details of the situation, my response is, THE STATE HAS NO MONEY. We know this. We’ve known this for years and continue to vote against the tax hikes that would help fix it.
    The government needs to spend money more wisely, absolutely. And if the UC administration is anything like other public school administrations in the state, they’re also a huge part of the problem. (Have any of the UC bigwigs taken pay cuts? Cut back or at least declined to add new 6-figure jobs? I honestly don’t know.) But it’s unreasonable to expect all to continue as normal when the state is bankrupt.

  5. adag87
    Posted November 20, 2009 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    When I lived in New York, I definitely felt uncomfortable riding the subway sometimes. One time I was literally pulled onto a train by some guy who at first I thought was just being nice. He said “come on, you’ll fit!” and pulled me into the car. But then the next few stops he kept his arm around me, smelling my hair. There wasnt any room for me to move, as the car was already squished. I wound up getting off the train several stops early to wait for another one.
    Blegh. I probably just should have said something to the guy but I was really uncomfortable about the whole thing.

  6. blondegirl
    Posted November 21, 2009 at 12:59 am | Permalink

    We have the “woman only” cars here on the Tokyo Metro. At first I was against it, thinking that it was a lazy response and didn’t address the deeper problem of misogyny that leads men to believe they are somehow entitled to women’s bodies. But it actually has helped a lot- it raised awareness of the problem, and young women, especially high school girls who are often reluctant to report molesters, can feel like they have a safe place to go.
    The police are FINALLY taking the problem seriously. They’ve had several poster campaigns to raise awareness, and plain clothes policewomen are riding the trains to nab them.
    It’s a HUGE problem here. Something like 70% of women have reported being groped at least once. In my 17 years here, I’ve had run-ins with chikan (gropers) more than ten times, I think. The last time was about a year ago.

  7. Z
    Posted November 21, 2009 at 2:54 am | Permalink

    “This sends up some red flags. One, who determines who is high risk? Anyone is capable of sexually assaulting someone else, and while it may help deter men in social settings where a lot of peers are egging on forcible contact, it doesn’t really stop one-on-one occasions like acquiescence rape. Secondly, are these statistics based on self-reporting? As we’ve seen before, many people will dance rings around the word “rape” without realizing that their behavior falls squarely within the definitions.”
    Based on my understanding, she is addressing the men’s program One in Four. High-risk individuals are determined by assessing individuals beliefs about rape myths (ex., As long as a girl doesn’t say no it’s not rape, It’s not rape if you’re in a relationship), with individuals who believe more rape myths being classified as higher risk. While this isn’t a perfect system, I don’t think it’s as questionable as she’s making it sound. Belief in rape myths is a concerning sign, and reduction in them is likely to make someone less likely to commit rape as well as to be more supportive to an individual who has been raped. 1 in 4 is really an excellent program that places the responsibility for preventing rape in males hands and gives them the tools to recognize situations as rape and assault that they previously may not have identified as such. I’m really not quite sure why the author of that article appears to be criticizing the program- what is the downside of this?

  8. marisa
    Posted November 21, 2009 at 3:34 am | Permalink

    adag87, i totally understand your feeling of thinking you “probably should have said something to the guy”– i live in san francisco and am harassed/cat-called on the street daily, and often find myself wondering why i didn’t respond more quickly or in a “better” way that addressed the men harassing me. ultimately though, i think we need to give ourselves a break — it’s hardly our responsibility to confront or educate the men that harass us — when we are rightfully uncomfortable, totally embarrassed & taken off-guard, and often scared. we should not be put in that position, and it’s completely unfair that we feel that burden in addition to feeling harassed.
    on a related note, i’ve been reading recently about the street harassment project & have been interested in/inspired by some of their tactics for responding to harassment in public spaces: http://www.streetharassmentproject.org/

  9. cebes
    Posted November 21, 2009 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Oh, it seems pretty likely that we’ve executed innocent people. See, for example: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/09/07/090907fa_fact_grann?currentPage=all
    And this is a solid overview of the subject, though about 5 years old now: http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/innocence-and-crisis-american-death-penalty

  10. hindeviola
    Posted November 21, 2009 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Re: Kid who won’t say the pledge – what an inspiration! And in Arkansas! That takes definite guts. He seems like such a unique and brave kid, I hope that he can get through the inevitable teasing and keep it up. Who knows, he could be the one to get gay marriage rights into federal law in 20 years (hopefully it won’t take that long, but at the rate we’re going…)
    I’m glad CNN covered the story, but I thought the reporter was a bit off. Sure, the kid is 10, but I sensed too much condescending bemusement and not enough respect.

  11. mandoir
    Posted November 21, 2009 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    A small note, but I would like to point out that UCLA and UC Davis students have also been striking this week.

  12. Laurenholt
    Posted November 21, 2009 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    And UC Santa Cruz!

  13. Laurenholt
    Posted November 21, 2009 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    As a UC student, my biggest problem is not with the fee increases themselves (although let me say that I am not happy about them), but with how the UC Regents are going to spend the money earned from these increases. It’s not going to keeping classes or professors or lecturers or other workers or for financial aid to students who won’t be able to afford the increases, no, it’s going to construction of new buildings (such as UC Santa Cruz’s new biomedical research facility) and to maintaining and increasing the UC bond rating.
    http://keepcaliforniaspromise.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/They_Pledged_Your_Tuition.pdf
    Now, I’m not saying I agree with exactly how the protesters are going about this (occupying buildings is just going to divert resources and interfere with other students’ abilities to go to school and learn, in my opinion), but I do agree with their intentions and want something to be done about this mess.
    Some blogs you might be interested in reading:
    http://occupyca.wordpress.com
    http://studentactivism.net
    http://aucwithoutstudents.wordpress.com

  14. Shadowen
    Posted November 21, 2009 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    The Daily Show did great coverage of young Mr. Phillips on the 19th, as well as another story related to gay rights. With a surprise special guest:
    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-november-19-2009/gaywatch—peter-vadala—william-phillips

  15. mandoir
    Posted November 22, 2009 at 2:51 am | Permalink

    Good to know! :)

  16. justkate
    Posted November 22, 2009 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    But is this an isolated situation, or is a systemic matter affecting all areas of culture (yours, mine, the world’s)? For instance, let’s talk about the limitations women face in the job market, where–especially in this economy–women must accept pay discrimination or expose their bodies for money equal to men’s (fully dressed) pay.

  17. Gopher
    Posted November 22, 2009 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    I’m against women only cars. It seems more like women are just revolving around the sexual assault culture instead of controlling it. I think it makes it seem like women are more vulnerable and instead of controlling this crap (special police force maybe) they are revolving around it.
    I like the razor idea.
    How about a kick in the nuts in a can?

  18. Gopher
    Posted November 22, 2009 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    I think other women should intervene for women too. I def wouldve. Though I’ve never been to NY so I dont know how squished the cars get. But it def wouldve seemed suspicious and I think quite obvious. I think sexual harassment culture is also meant to disunfy and shame women and if other women step in it helps break it.

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