Beyond the act of physical and sexual violence, post traumatic rape syndrome, as well as the refusal of many rape victims to report when they have been assaulted can be attributed to a prevailing rape culture on America’s college campuses. Rape culture is a term used to describe the way rape, sexual violence, and sexual abuse are linked to the culture of society. Essentially sexual violence and speech against women is normalized and excused in media and pop culture. Thus, male sexual aggression is in a number of ways encouraged and supported in society. Here, violence and sexuality are interchangeable. Violence is seen as sexy, and sexuality is seen as violent. Music fills the airwaves telling women that “I know you want it” and “I’ll BEAT the pussy up” and if you are familiar with soca music from the Caribbean, you may have heard the song “Kick In She Back Door”, which is literally about breaking into a woman’s home (and her body) through anal penetration if she refuses a man’s sexual advances.
This rape culture simply takes its cue from or is steeped in patriarchy; which is the general structure of privilege in society, where heterosexual men have more power and influence over other members of society.
The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a Massachusetts buffer zone law violates the First Amendment; the justices were unanimous in the ruling. In case you weren’t up to speed on the case, here are the basics: Fourteen years ago, the high court upheld a Colorado law that created an 8-foot “bubble zone” around patients entering or exiting clinics. But Massachusetts’ buffer zone law prohibited demonstrators from standing within 35 feet of the facility, a length the justices seemed dubious of from the start. Walking that length — the size of a school bus — takes approximately seven seconds.
A lot can happen in those seven seconds. A lot can happen when protesters are allowed to enter clinics, physically confront patients or block doors. Massachusetts passed its law in response to aggressive and dangerous conduct from protesters stationed directly outside clinics, including an incident in 1994 where a gunman opened fire at two abortion clinics, killing two people and injuring five others. In its defense of the measure, the state argued before the justices that the buffer law is not a prohibition on speech, but a practical measure to keep access to these facilities “open and clear of all but essential foot traffic, in light of more than two decades of compromised facility access and public safety.”
Between fiscal years 2005-2006 and 2012-2013, 144 bilateral tubal ligations, or tube-tying procedures, were carried out. According to the report, tubal ligations are generally done “for the sole purpose of sterilization,” so prisons must follow strict guidelines to perform them.
Auditors found that 39 of 144 did not give full consent. In 27 of the 39 procedures, the physician did not sign a consent form guaranteeing that the “inmate appeared mentally competent and understood the lasting effects of the procedure.” And in 18 of the 39 cases, physicians violated the required waiting period between the inmate’s consent and the actual procedure. Inmates who did give consent did not have a witness of choice, as required by prison medical regulations. Physicians did not document their conversations with inmates about the sterilization process with any of the 144 inmates. And none of the procedures were authorized by an oversight committee of state medical professionals.
“This audit demonstrates there is a systemic problem, and implicates the entire culture. The right to have a family is a fundamental right that each of us has. Many of these women are first-time offenders and already have families,” claimed Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, a member of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, in response to the audit.
An Indiana sheriff has insisted that Floyd County Jail was following normal procedures when two male and two female officers stripped a woman, pepper-sprayed her, and then left her locked up without clothes for five hours.
Last week, Attorney Laura Landenwich provided WDRB with video of what happened when New Albany woman Tabitha Gentry was taken into custody for disorderly conduct and resisting officers.
The video shows Gentry in a jail cell with four officers, and two of them are male. After Gentry tries to stand up, the officers take her to what the jail called a “padded room.”
“Almost immediately upon entering the jail, she’s assaulted by four officers. They grab her around the neck, they grab her body,” Landenwich explained. “They hold her down… There are two male officers and two female officers and they forceably remove her pants, her shoes, her underwear and her shirt and bra.”
Last summer, an American-born teenager of Somali descent fled her parents’ home in a suburb here after she discovered that a coming vacation to Somalia would include a sacred rite of passage: the cutting of her genitalia. In Guinea, a New Yorker escaped to the American Embassy after an aunt told her that her family trip would involve genital cutting. And in Seattle, at least one physician said parents had sent girls back to Somalia to undergo cutting.
Immigrant parents from African and other nations have long sent their daughters back to their ancestral homes for the summer, a trip intended to help them connect with their families and traditions.
During their stays, some girls are swept into bedrooms or backwoods and subjected to genital cutting in the belief that it will prevent promiscuity, ready them for marriage or otherwise align them with the ideals of their culture.
“Vacation cutting,” as the practice is deemed by those who oppose it, has existed in immigrant enclaves around the world for decades. Federal law has banned genital cutting in the United States since 1996, and last year it became illegal to transport girls for that purpose.
‘Everything is broken, spoiled. They killed my ma and my pa and impregnated me, three men during the war. I live by myself and my two children are sitting at home, not going to school. There’s no one to help me.’
Carmen was ten when she was gang raped during the brutal civil war in Liberia that lasted from 1999 to 2003. The conflict left a generation of children orphaned and traumatised, without education or skills to make a living, and thousands of teenage girls were left pregnant from rape, with no means to support their children.
Now Carmen has no choice but to work as a hopojo, or sex worker, to support her son, now 10, and her daughter, seven.
‘When I don’t go on the street, I can’t eat and nor can my children,’ she adds.
The Louisiana legislature passed a bill this week that will require physicians to keep mentally incapacitated pregnant women on life support against their wishes.
HB 1274 requires physicians to to keep brain-dead women who are at least 20 weeks pregnant on mechanical support if there is a chance the fetus is viable. The law would override requests from family members for removal, and even the wishes of the pregnant woman, but will not apply if a woman has specified in her will that she was not to be resuscitated while pregnant.