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Hacker Group Anonymous Leaks Chilling Video in Case of Alleged Steubenville Rape, Cover-Up

January 08, 2013 By: seeta Category: Civil Rights, Economic Development, Intersectionality, White Privilege

Warning: this video contains disturbing content

From Democracy Now:

We turn to Steubenville, Ohio, where members of a high school football team allegedly raped an underage girl and possibly urinated on her unconscious body over the course of an evening of partying in late August. The young men chronicled their actions on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. But after many in the town of Steubenville, including the high school football coach, rallied to the players’ defense, the hacker group “Anonymous” vowed to release the accused players’ personal information unless an apology was made. Anonymous has since released a video showing a male Steubenville high schooler joking about the alleged victim. We’re joined by three guests: Monika Johnson Hostler, president of the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence; Kristen Gwynne, an associate editor at AlterNet; and “X”, a member of the hacktivist group Anonymous using a pseudonym.

The Delhi Gang-rape: Look Westward in Disgust at Steubenville

January 06, 2013 By: seeta Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Economic Development, Imperialism, Intersectionality, Poverty

As this weekend marks the end of Christmastide, I sincerely hope everyone had a good holiday with family and friends. This holiday season seemed more poignant insofar as we’ve been reminded of the fragile nature of life and society.

These reminders came in the form of recent horrific tragedies that threaten the foundations of civilized societies — the mass killing in Newton and the gang-rape of a young female medical student in Delhi. The inhumanity of violence and then the efforts to silence anyone who would speak out against the roots of these horrific acts are nothing new.

As always, we must continue to rise up against this vile globalized institutionalized misogyny — through ensuring the safety for young girls and women, through education, economic development, access to health services, and civic participation. It is a fight that we all have a responsibility to take on — in our homes, in our classrooms, in our jobs, in our governments, and all spheres of private and public life.

A couple of worthwhile reads if you haven’t already caught them:

Delhi gang-rape: look westward in disgust (The Guardian):

There’s something uncomfortably neocolonial about the way the Delhi gang-rape and subsequent death of the woman now known as Damini is being handled in the UK and US media. While India’s civil and political spheres are alight with protest and demands for changes to the country’s culture of sexual violence, commentators here are using the event to simultaneously demonise Indian society, lionise our own, and minimise the enormity of western rape culture.

A particularly blatant example of this is Libby Purves’s piece for the Times. She says the Delhi bus rape should “shatter our Bollywood fantasies”. For Purves, westerners enjoy a romanticised view of India, all heady spirituality and Marigold Hotels; and especially romantic in their views, for reasons Purves neglects to address, are the British. Thus, upright Europeans have sentimentally ignored the “murderous, hyena-like male contempt” that Purves says is an Indian cultural norm. Neatly excised from her account however is the relationship between poverty, lack of education and repressive attitudes towards women, and, by extension, the role of Europe in creating and sustaining poverty in its former colonies. Attitudes towards women in the east were once used by colonialists to, first, prop up the logic of cultural superiority that justified unequal power relations (the “white man’s burden”) and second, silence feminists working back in the west by telling them that, comparatively, they had nothing to complain about.

When it finishes calling Indian men hyenas, Purves’s article states that westerners “have the luxury of fretting about frillier feminist issues such as magazine images, rude remarks and men not doing housework”. Does anyone else see an unattractive historical pattern here?

Her article is not, by any means, the only one to report on this issue as if rape is something that only happens “over there” – something we civilised folk in the west have somehow put behind us. Elsewhere, the message is subtler, but a misplaced sense of cultural superiority shines through. For example, this BBC article states, as if shocking, the statistic that a woman is raped in Delhi every 14 hours. That equates to 625 a year. Yet in England and Wales, which has a population about 3.5 times that of Delhi, we find a figure for recorded rapes of women that is proportionately four times larger: 9,509. Similarly, the Wall Street Journal decries the fact that in India just over a quarter of alleged rapists are convicted; in the US only 24% of alleged rapes even result in an arrest, never mind a conviction. This is the strange kind of reportage you tend to get on the issue.

The coverage of Damini’s death strikes a particularly ironic note following recent media controversy over a rape, in Steubenville, Ohio, of a 16-year-old girl – allegedly by members of the high-school football team. The case is that the young woman was dragged, drunk and unresponsive, from party to party, where she was sexually abused. The brutal death of Damini has spurred Indian civil society to its feet, causing protest and unrest, bringing women and men into the streets, vocal in their demands for change. Sonia Gandhi has met the woman’s parents. The army and the states of Punjab and Haryana have cancelled new year’s celebrations. What happened in the US? In Steubenville, football-crazy townsfolk blamed the victim and it took a blogger – Alexandria Goddard, who is now being sued – and a follow-up article from the New York Times four months after the incident to get nationwide attention for the story.

Protesters of the Steubenville Rape Case Inspire Real Change (Politicus USA):

When as Anonymous was leading a second protest in Steubenville yesterday, the sheriff announced that no other people would be charged in the alleged gang raping and kidnapping of 16-year-old Jane Doe by football players referred to as members of the “rape crew”.

This case appears to be steeped in cover-ups and conspiracies, from the County Prosecuting Attorney reportedly being the mother of one of the “rape crew”, at whose house an assault may have taken place, to the victim’s ex-boyfriend allegedly setting her up to be drugged and gang raped as revenge for breaking up with him. It’s disgusting and shameful and horrifying, but it’s also sadly not that unusual.

What is unusual is that this time a group of mostly men, in a subset of Anonymous called Knight Sec, is leading a public charge against the rape culture and demanding justice.

Anonymous’ protests aren’t just impacting this case; in fact, because of the attention the Steubenville case has gotten, San Luis Obispo rape crisis agency in California has launched a “Start by Believing” campaign in order to promote the reporting of rape. Sexual Assault and Rape Prevention (SARP) Associate Executive Director Jesse Torrey explained, “If somebody discloses they’ve been sexually assaulted, you need to start by believing them. And if they are responded to with support, with validation, with ‘how can I help?’, with ‘this wasn’t your fault’…that’s the road to healing.”

The Unfinished Revolution: Voices from the Global Fight for Women’s Rights

March 05, 2012 By: seeta Category: Civil Rights, Imperialism, Intersectionality

The Unfinished Revolution: Voices from the Global Fight for Women’s Rights is the title of a book that will be published this week to coincide with International Women’s Day. The book includes over 30 essays by different authors, among them Somali gynaecologist Hawa Abdi and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Shirin Abadi.

“Women’s rights are human rights” became a rallying call for women’s equality and freedom in a series of UN conferences in the 1990s, when prospects for women leading lives of dignity and equality finally seemed within reach. Since then, how far have women in the world progressed? In Africa, HIV/AIDS kills more women and girls than men and boys. In many countries, women are legally considered second-class citizens, and in others, religion, custom, and traditions–from “honor killings” to denial of property, labor and economic rights–block basic freedoms such as the right to work or study, and access to health care. Around the world, women and girls are trafficked into forced labor and sex slavery; rape is used as a weapon of war in conflict zones from the Congo to Kyrgyzstan, and women still face major obstacles to education and reproductive freedom.

This anthology outlines the recent history of legal and political battles to secure basic rights for women and girls. Writers from around the world tackle some of the toughest questions about improving the lives of women, and explain why we need fresh approaches in analyzing what works for the most vexing issues. Top policymakers, human rights experts, writers and artists with unique perspectives will address topics from violence against women to property rights to the role of international institutions. Perhaps most important, readers will hear from women who have been victims of human rights abuses and others who have fought such abuses, in their own voices.