May 4, 2013
I will be short. But it will not be sweet.
On Wednesday night, I went to a screening of a film called The Trade of Innocents.
It stars Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino and seasoned actor Dermot Mulroney.
Inspired by real events, it explores the gargantuan problem of trafficking girls – in this case, in Cambodia.
Yes, it’s a Hollywood movie but no, it was not picked up by the mainstream cinemas.
*Small rant moment. At a recent outing to the cinema (after a very long absence) the movie trailers on offer were for:
Iron Man #3 – Gi Joe – Star Trek #2 – Die Hard #278 – Man of Steel.
Lots of larger-than-life, über men, being heroes, surrounded by the same super-dooper special effects and gratuitous shots of women in little clothing.* Rant over.
I understand that a movie like the Trade of Innocents is not a big hit with people wanting to escape – but aren’t we endangering our ability to see past the whopping pile of stinking special effects?
Our world is in trouble.
So I went along to this screening, thanks to Liz and Mike Newton-Brown, a married couple who started The Freedom Project a few years ago, and help trafficked children. Actually help.
I met them at the screening of it’s a girl last year and they are truly inspirational.
After the film ended, we were shrouded in dread.
It was sombre in there; silent except for the sound of some sniffling noses being quietly cleared, from crying.
I can’t get out of my head the scene where a sweaty and pasty American tourist says he wants a guaranteed virgin – that he is willing to go as low as a 5 or 6 year old, but that his preference is a 7 year old, “For a month’s use.”
I felt sick as I saw girls, the same age as my daughters, being sold for sex – girls who, in the scheme of things, were just unlucky enough to have been born over there, instead of over here…even though it happens here too – albeit on a smaller scale.
Mike and Liz then spoke some facts with us.
A Hollywood movie is one thing…but the following just drove it all home:
800,000 – 4 million men, women and children are trafficked each year.
They don’t really know the exact figures.
- 80% are women
- 50% are children
- The average age of girls trafficked, is 11; the average age of boys, is 12.
- 75% of people sold into slavery, are sold for sex.
A child is sold into slavery every 30 seconds. Every. Thirty. Seconds.
It’s the fastest growing crime in the world.
With the first two, once you shoot a bullet you’ve paid for, or taken the drug – it’s done.
But a human being can cost as little as $40 and once owned, is used over…and over…and over…
The three areas of trafficking are:
2. Slave Labour
3. Forced to kill – like child soldiers. These are the hardest to get to and is the worst, as it can include all three unimaginable horrors.
I don’t know what those statistics do to you, but this has profoundly affected me.
The gravity. The insurmountable size of it.
As I walked to my car that night, I cried.
Question #157: What can be done?
Well, The Freedom Project is doing something. It’s big and they need help.
They’re working in two areas at the moment.
1. Burma – a drug ravaged and fuelled area using child soldiers.
They recently smuggled 10 children into China – out of slavery.
They have saved and are currently looking after 150 children – providing housing, food and education. On their Facebook Page they posted the following image with this caption:
‘Seriously, this little guy’s smile is SO heartwarming! A precious soul we are caring for – now in a life of FREEDOM.’
Look at his face.
2. Philippines – An area in the south which wants to be an independent Islamic state, also using child soldiers to fight this battle.
The Freedom Project wants to build 50 schools. They’ve built 2 so far.
The fil had a quote that said: “They have a massive network – we need a bigger one.”
So that night I decided to join the network:
- I bought a t-shirt
- I will be donating to help them
- And I have spread some awareness through this post – even if only to a few.
And it doesn’t matter what you do – or what channels you do it through – every tiny bit helps; whether it’s to save one child or a thousand…or dare we dream more?
I leave you with this trailer for a documentary that we were shown before the screening of Trade of Innocents.
It’s called Nefarious: Merchant of Souls - and it focuses on the selling of women.
It has won over 24 Film Festival Honours and can be bought on DVD on their page, HERE.
March 22, 2013
I heard this question asked twice in one day, from two different people, about two different issues.
I think it’s the crux of it all – the question we must seriously ponder and decide when we ‘cross the line’.
Is there a line?
There has been a growing voice emerging and gradually escalating – standing up for the preservation of some basic, bloody principles. Fundamentals.
But there also seems to be a surge in bad, malicious, callous behaviour that’s infecting our culture – like bad apples rotting the barrel.
I don’t know…is it a backlash?
If we look at the current, abhorrent issue of the rape culture we now seem to inhabit, then we need look no further than the Steubenville rape case in the States. *Trigger Warning*
Why this case? Because it’s the first biggie since India. This was the test to see if we changed – even a bit.
We failed. In fact, I feel like we regressed.
The two boys on trial were found guilty of rape – one will serve a minimum of one year and the other, two (an extra year for taking nude photos of a minor and circulating them).
The discussion has been fierce on both sides – but I have to say that I am quite dumbfounded at the reactions to this case.
This girl was stripped naked, raped repeatedly, sodomised and urinated on (tweets support this) - carried around from party to party by the wrists and ankles – whilst unconscious. These boys went a step further by documenting the ordeal by filming, taking photos and tweeting about it.
There is the video where one of the bystanders who watched his mates, laughs about the girl’s horrifying experience, for 12 minutes and discusses what was done to her – you can see it here. *Extreme Trigger Warning*
(Notice the rifle on the floor by this guy? What a frightening combination.)
And yet, there is an enormous, insurmountable number of people who still think it’s her fault. Blaming the victim. One man went so far as to write the following post over his ‘outrage’ that the rapists were put on a Sexual Offender Registry:
Just the title. Speechless. I’m so offended by it.
Why aren’t ALL women offended by this?
Many of the comments left on this post sing a familiar tune – supporting the author’s stance of the girl pretty much ‘asking for it’ – male and female alike – including that she wasn’t raped at all – just digitally penetrated. Saying she shouldn’t have gone out, shouldn’t have gotten drunk, shouldn’t have…etc.
This girl’s human rights were violently and devastatingly ripped from her.
She will never be able to form a healthy relationship with a man, she may have sustained physical injury – like not being able to have a baby, caught a disease and she’s still a child. She’s a minor and has already endured such a horribly degrading, violent and humiliating experience. Never, EVER to be forgotten.
They will do a year or two in juvenile detention. Come out and either rape again – more bad for us – or come out changed men. If that’s the case – great, they gets a second chance.
What about her?
Why should they get a second chance?
So how bad does a rape – or anything for that matter – have to be, before society snaps out of its coma and starts to take action?
Well, I see one of two solutions for our rape culture:
1. Women actually do as they’re told and stay home. They don’t go out. Stay indoors. And if you do go out, cover up so as not to provoke. Don’t smile sending mixed messages that you ‘want it’. There’s only one problem with that…many, many girls and women are raped at home. It’s a tricky one.
2. We hone in on the source of the problem:
Question #153: Why are there so many more men like this?
It may not be you – but if it’s not, you can’t deny - it’s like a war out there.
Isn’t anyone hearing what’s being shouted? Or is everyone simply turning a deaf ear?
There’s only ONE significant change – I believe – in all our social existence.
Yes, it’s always been around but now it’s saturating – the availability of it – the actual advertising of it, regardless of location – like the local newsagent for families; TV – and what eyes are watching. REGARDLESS.
Women are advertised as whores (I’m sorry for the word – but it resonates best) to both our sons and daughters – look around at the effects this is having on both genders.
Life is imitating art.
Quite unavoidable, isn’t it?
Is this the world you want?
Its consequences are happening now, to a lot of people. Around the globe. And it’s escalating.
This is bad.
Yet we find it hard to punish and say ‘No’. We give more and more chances – until when?
So I’ll ask again: If not now – WHEN?
PS – I really do want to talk about this. Good guys – any ideas?
My local newsagent located the hard core porn magazines at the very front of the side shelf of his shop. If you send your kid down to buy you the paper – from where the papers are, you can see a magazine on the flat section of the shelf, with a fully naked woman on the cover, sitting on a pushbike.
I challenged him, very politely, saying if he had to have them at all, they should be at the back of the shop. It’s all still there.
What are your suggestions?
February 22, 2013
*MASSIVE TRIGGER WARNING – graphic images in this post*
I’m not sure how to feel after yesterday’s events. Numb, I guess.
After publishing my last post about my love/hate relationship with Facebook – predominantly about the content they allow to infect – I started to receive comments on my QFW Facebook Page from women, protesting about the number of times they have reported hateful and violent images only to be told by Facebook, that they deem them appropriate.
In yesterday’s post, I discussed the graphic meme of a woman – appearing to have been stabbed over not doing the dishes – which caught the fury of Karen Pickering when she was told it was fine by Facebook.
A friend sent me the following image she had reported and was told did not breach Community Standards:
* know your place
* shut up when a man is talking
* proper fellatio technique
Facebook states in their ‘Community Standards’ in the section of Hate Speech:
Facebook does not permit hate speech, but distinguishes between serious and humorous speech. While we encourage you to challenge ideas, institutions, events, and practices, we do not permit individuals or groups to attack others based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition.
So they have distinguished this as humorous speech (hahahahahaha) and NOT an attack on gender. Interesting to know what they would deem an attack.
Under Graphic Content:
People use Facebook to share events through photos and videos. We understand that graphic imagery is a regular component of current events, but must balance the needs of a diverse community. Sharing any graphic content for sadistic pleasure is prohibited.
This image is not for sadistic pleasure then?
Sadistic means to derive pleasure from extreme cruelty and this image ticks that box. It’s funny right? Funny = pleasure.
When I saw the image above, I was filled with such indignation, that I started a FB page where people can post the images they’ve reported, but told it didn’t breech Facebook’s Community Standards.
After only a few hours, I shut it down. I couldn’t look at one more photo.
The most haunting one I received, of the young toddler below, came from a site called ‘Anti-slut Patrol‘. I immediately reported it to Facebook for Graphic Violence.
Facebook were quick to reply that it was fine:
What I just noticed, however, is that they have – since last night – changed their Standards. I reported this photo under Graphic Violence (as it says in the screen shot) and now it’s called Graphic Content. I wrote them a response to their ‘ruling’ asking them to explain how the image is not graphic violence and what, to their standards, is.
I guess they just answered; change the Standard to comply with letting people publish this toxic waste.
I asked Facebook what they wanted their legacy to be – obviously it’s ensuring that depravity prevail and keeping those masses happy.
I am now humbled by the massive, unfathomable enormity of this.
And again feel helpless.
Victims of violence not only have to live with the horror that is their life, they must also reconcile with the fact that companies with no soul, like Facebook, will never have their back – or anyone else’s for that matter – because they would rather make money off malice and pass it off as humour.
Question #146: How can we create change, if our pleas continue to be ignored?
I finally want to add that I know many of you may think – it’s OK, it’s just a joke – and that if every picture that was reported was taken down, we’d live in a Nanny State.
My response to that is – WE NEED BALANCE.
Noone is saying that we have to have a dictatorship run by ‘mummies’, but a respect for the unimaginably, abhorrent lives some people have to live, without making a ‘joke’ of it, would start us on the road toward OUR LEGACY – one that we can leave for our kids to continue with.
February 21, 2013
I have a love / hate relationship with Facebook.
I love my private page as I have family and friends around the world and this fantastic tool affords me the opportunity to stay in contact, see precious photos, share articles and funny memes etc. etc. etc.
I also love my Questions for Women FB page – I can put up articles and quotes to inspire and give a different perspective to life, as well as put up my blog posts.
What I hate, is how Facebook instills a feeling of insecurity and untrustworthiness.
I do not feel like they have our back.
They are always skulking around for your info – to share or sell to the highest bidder. We’re constantly having to change settings – which have been automatically been set to ‘Public’ as a default – when they reshuffle the way their site works.
Always leaving us none the wiser and exposed.
What I hate the most, however, is that they also do not have our back in protecting us from hateful and misogynistic content being posted. Horrible sites and images just being permitted to spread – their toxic nature infecting; normalising. And why?
Because it’s just a joke, crazy lady! Relax.
The thing is, though, who exactly IS the person (or people) who make the final call?
I picture a bunch of young guys in a smoke-filled room, eating fast food, surrounded by empty food wrappers, snorting at all the crazy things that are being posted.
Haawww Haawww Haawww!
The reason I say that is because they don’t permit photos of breastfeeding mothers (eeewww – gross!) – but allow pages called ’12 year old slut memes’, which I wrote about in a previous post – That’s not misogyny. THIS is misogyny.
Yesterday Karen Pickering posted the following passionate rant about Facebook:
She writes about an abhorrent image she saw on FB (it’s in there *Trigger Warning*), which she reported – twice – but was ultimately deemed appropriate for viewing, by FB.
Karen wrote the following, which struck a chord with what I feel:
I reported it despite being fully aware of a number of truths:
- that the internet is full of this shit
- that the world is full of this shit
- that this shit really happens
- that we can’t stop it from happening
- that we can’t stop people joking about it
- that people laugh because they’re conditioned to dehumanise women to the extent that they do
- that the people posting it feed off the persecution complex they get that feminists are out to get them
- that you’ll get one taken down and an even more hideous image will take its place
- etcetera ad nauseum
Yes, yes and YES! to all the points above…etcetera ad nauseum.
The image, as of today, has FINALLY been removed – but as Karen says, the world is full of it.
It’s hate. It’s misogyny. And Facebook thinks it’s OK.
Facebook must be a man.
So, if women are labelled as a bunch of hysterical banshees, who need to chill-out when they protest misogyny and violence against women, then -
Question #145: What label do the men inherit?
Let me know what you think of the quote below. My interpretation below.
In what way do I think men are stupid?
By seeing what’s happening and keeping silent.
That makes me crazy.
PS I know many of you would suggest that we all get off Facebook and be done with it. I think that’s easier said than done due to established connections…but if everyone I know and love switches to Google, I’m IN!
January 3, 2013
A cell within the group Anonymous, called ‘Knight Sec’ decided to be a voice against the injustice that came of the gang rape of an unconscious, 16 year old girl in Ohio, by members of a football team – who also documented it all. She was unconscious because she was
“intentionally drugged with a ‘date-rape’ intoxicant.”
The community, police and justice system, that rallied behind theses boys (widely known by their nickname, ‘The Rape Crew’) and swept it all under the carpet, were given until the end of 2012 to come forward and apologise – make things right – otherwise Anonymous was going to publish the information they had gathered.
So here is the report that was leaked to the public on the 1st Jan.
It includes the following video footage of the boys admitting to the rape.
*WARNING: This Video Is Extremely Disturbing – Viewer Discretion Is Advised.
I only have one question (it would be great if guys help me out here with some insight):
Question #129: Knowing what WE were like as teens – is this type of guy more common now?
What terrifies me most is not what they did to her (although it literally makes my stomach somersault and heart ache), it’s what they think of her – as they laugh…and laugh…and laugh…
In this case, these men flaunted their misogyny through sadistic rape and even urinated on this poor girl – who is ruined for life. But this deplorable attitude can manifest in a number of different ways – domestic violence, forced prostitution etc – and it’s seeping through globally.
* Afgan girl shot in the head for ‘being a prostitute’ in front of a cheering crowd of Taliban men who were fighting over her – DIED.
* Pakistani girl, Malala Yousafzai, shot in the head for wanting an education – LIVED.
* Indian girl’s horrific gang rape – DIED.
* This girl – intentionally drugged, sodomised, urinated on, dragged unconscious from party to party – LIVED.
And, of course, these are just the ones we hear about – 1 in 3 women will experience sexual assault in their lifetime.
I want my daughters to be able to go out and confidently participate in this world – but it chills me to think that these guys are out there.
So – is it worse than before?
PS There are no words to describe what I feel about the guy in the video – making joke, after joke, after joke. Just the manner in which he says the same type of thing over and over again, fills me with a strong and uncharacteristic desire, to smack his smug and idiotic face out. The cameraman laughing at all his jokes and egging him to keep going, would be next.
The following is what he wrote on Twitter:
December 30, 2012
Two women left great comments, in response to the previous post about Rape Culture.
I would like to address two of the points made by these women.
1. lamehousewife was suggesting that the ad on the bus is a reflection of the type of women the priest was talking about.
Throughout my posts, I have always made a strong point (I hope) on the massive contribution women are making to the problems they face in this patriarchal society. Ads, like the one on the back of the bus, can only exist with a woman’s consent.
Without women agreeing to normalise this hyper-sexualised, fickle, fake image of womanhood – we have little chance of attaining any sort of equality amongst this man’s world.
However, I AM about balance and the point of my last post was simply that the solution/solving conversations that make the papers, are about what women have to do to stop the Rape Culture.
But what about the guys/men? The ones COMMITTING the crime?
Most of the time, it has nothing to do with what a woman wears. A lot of the time it can be a family member, raping a daughter/niece…or she didn’t do as she was told…or she looks like his mother and he hates his mother…etc. etc. etc.
I’m sure I (we) could find a gazillion reasons why so many men rape women…but the only common denominator, is that it’s men inflicting violence against women on an unprecedented and global scale.
As I said in my response, there is currently heated discussion at the prevalence of males being behind mass shootings, like the recent ones in the United States. Well, this is MORE prevalent…and also inflicted by men.
Where’s the article on that in mainstream media?
Where are the mental health programs for them? Or is it simply too many men?
Question #128: How are our boys being taught NOT to think of women as useless (except for one thing) and ‘gagging-for-it’?
If we’re not implementing the above, then we are simply stepping aside and allowing the Rape Culture to perpetuate.
You can get it on a t-shirt (this one’s a tame one):
Or in a meme:
You get the idea…
2. Kate left a fantastic comment which hits the nail on the head; looking at this from another angle. A part of what she wrote was the following:
“I long for the time women regain their worth, their subtle and centred power, and this can’t happen by drinking as much as men or lowering our sexual standards by removing our sense of love and care and giving, or by trying to ‘be’ like men. We are depth that are women! Yet we seem to be under the stupidity of unawakened ideals that put us ‘beneath’ another gender.”
We simply can’t allow ourselves to believe what’s said about us or how we’re portrayed. We are actually short-changing the fantastic, awesome wonderfulness that it is to be a woman and short-changing what we can offer - together with men.
Finally, another reader left the following YouTube clip. It was posted online only a few months ago and it’s your regular, fit, young man giving out some advice to ‘the brotherhood’ about women.
Some of the language used may offend some women.
And this is the type of guy that’s out there…
It’s not all of them – no – but they’re what’s in fashion now.
Any alarm bells ringing yet?
Thank you so much for all the engaging and insightful comments and calm discussion. Keep them coming!
Man or woman.
December 29, 2012
Sorry for the heavy title, but a few articles popped up today, that have me incensed…again.
Why? Because the current reign of our ever-present Rape Culture, seeping into every crevice, is simply infuriating me.
The definition of Rape Culture from upsettingrapeculture.com, writes the following:
WHAT IS RAPE CULTURE?
In a rape culture, people are surrounded with images, language, laws, and other everyday phenomena that validate and perpetuate, rape. Rape culture includes jokes, TV, music, advertising, legal jargon, laws, words and imagery, that make violence against women and sexual coercion seem so normal that people believe that rape is inevitable. Rather than viewing the culture of rape as a problem to change, people in a rape culture think about the persistence of rape as “just the way things are.”
This is what it means when people say that sexism and violence against women are “naturalised.” It means that people in our current society believe these attitudes and actions always have been, and always will be.
Just the way things are. Just are.
Question #126: Isn’t that the general reason/excuse for indifference?
I started this post today after I saw the following article regarding the comments made by a Catholic Priest – Father Piero Corsi – in Italy:
“The title of message was ‘Women and Femicide, How often do they provoke?’
“Father Piero Corsi said scantily dressed women bring out the worst instincts in men and cause violence or sexual abuse. He claimed women end up exacerbating tensions by ‘leaving children to themselves, having filthy houses, serving cold meals, buying fast food and providing dirty clothes.’ “
When will ‘the worst instincts in men’ be what attains the pressure from society to change?
No, no, no. It’s us – women. WE have to change…how we dress, how we act, what we say…
But…really…is that what the men in the church (and men in general maybe?) feel is the actual solution?
Will rape and violence against women cease to exist if we stopped wearing plunging necklines?…and stopped providing dirty clothes…and serving cold meals (is that a cold heart too?)…and…and…and…
We all know the answer to that is no.
Hence, we have a Rape Culture.
And yet, if all the rational people think that what’s happening is going down a dark, violent and septic alley, why are we not seeing anything being implemented to stop the continuing, harrowing statistics?
Now I have an even heavier heart due to reading that the poor girl who was gang raped in India, has just died from her injuries.
The following article was a response to the Indian girl’s rape itself, telling women they should carry chilli powder to throw in the eyes of their attacker and not go out at night.
Again, GREAT! Anything else for women to do?
This article does have a wonderful list of tips, however, that should actually be used to encourage a change. Tongue-in-cheek – yes – but you get what it’s saying:
Anne Bartow’s Sexual Assault Prevention Tips
1. Don’t put drugs in people’s drinks in order to control their behaviour.
2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!
3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!
4. NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.
5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON’T ASSAULT THEM!
6. Remember, people go to laundry to do their laundry, do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.
7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.
8. Always be honest with people! Don’t pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault them. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.
9. Don’t forget: you can’t have sex with someone unless they are awake!
10. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone “by accident” you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do.
Makes sense doesn’t it?
Here’s an idea: How about it’s NOT women who attempt to stop things, from a defence position; not being allowed to be themselves.
How about governments intervene from a ‘childhood educational angle’?
Tone down the amount of imagery that’s EVERYWHERE, like this:
I pulled up behind this bus when it was stopped. This is the moving billboard, distracting everyone who’s driving. And where’s the filter for all the developing brains who are taking it all in?
Woman=gagging for it (look at the image)=looove sex=rape.
Question #127: How about implementing a new program in schools? Australian National Curriculum?
We need something. Anything.
December 10, 2012
If you have – you MUST read the following article.
If you haven’t – you MUST read the following article.
It’s so well written and clear. I think it succinctly hits the nail on the head – so this one’s a bit of a Feminist Shout Out #6 to you ladies.
I would LOVE to hear from those of you who liked the novel and what it was that appealed to you (no judgement, whatsoever – just honestly curious).
Have you changed your mind, now that you read this article?
Question # 120: Is it just another step in our conditioning?
Let me know what you think.
December 7, 2012
December 5, 2012
I haven’t got time – I’m about to go to our School’s presentation evening.
BUT…I have to share this with you.
This video is made by a young man who has used his voice - and it’s wonderful.
Question #116: What can we, men and women, do to change things around?
Boys/guys/men: stop pushing your adult sexual urges and fantasies onto our kids (surely it can be interpreted that doing nothing is giving consent to it). Have some decency.
Toddlers in tiaras/sluts/crazy nut-jobs:
Look at how you’re being represented.
Question for women #117: Why are we even in the ads/shows/movies/music videos etc. etc. etc. to start with? Perpetuating it?
Women (as a gender) are helping – in a BIG way – to sell ourselves short. We are CONFIRMING everything that’s portrayed about us.
So that’s why we think it’s reality – but it’s not.
I’m not like that!
I find it gobsmacking that I’ve already had a sex talk with my 9 year old daughter – a while ago, actually – because that ‘slut’ representation is everywhere. Some queried whether she was too young for that chat and I thought, “Too young? My talk as a mother to her daughter, answering her questions, is more scrutinised than what we’re allowing them to see, like wallpaper?”
Our lives should have the tag-line: Parental Guidance Recommended.
Come on…what can we do to have a happier, mental world? To help our girls AND boys.
I have to go.