Sunday, February 28, 2010
Please help correct this in your state by joining the group working to change this. Why is the group so passionate about statues... because trying to elect women is liking swimming upstream. Not until we see women in our past can we easily place them in our future. Actions can be as simple as signing petitions or telling others of their work. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Put-a-Woman-in-Statuary-Hall/318933963335?ref=ts or http://equalvisibilityeverywhere.org
The Ohio State Legislature has decided to replace the statue of Governor Allen, currently in National Statuary Hall with a new statue. An Ad Hoc group of women are putting pressure on the Ohio Legislature to select a women. They think Harriet Beecher Stowe is the perfect choice. She lived almost twenty years in Ohio and did all her research for UNCLE TOM'S CABIN there. The group was able to organize to influence the Ohio State Legislature to include Harriet Beecher Stowe in the final 10 nominations.
The committee will now turn to the general public to weigh in on their favorites from the list of finalists.
Beginning March 20, history buffs will be able to vote in person at Ohio historical sites, museums, and the Statehouse. For those who can't do it in person, there will be an opportunity to vote via the Internet. Voting will continue through June 12, and the committee is expected to make a final recommendation to the Ohio House and Senate late this fall. The public vote is not binding on committee members, but the powers that be will view the vote as the single-most important factor in the final decision.
The nominees in order of their vote tally:
1. Thomas Edison (1847-1931): Prolific inventor born in Milan, Ohio.
2. Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-96): Cincinnati-raised author of Uncle Tom's Cabin.
3. Jesse Owens (1913-80): African-American track athlete from Ohio State University who won gold in Hitler-era Olympics in Berlin.
4. Harriet Taylor Upton (1853- 1945): Women's suffrage activist from Ravenna.
5. James M. Ashley (1824-96): Toledo congressman who wrote the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery.
6. Wright Brothers, Orville (1871-1948) and Wilbur (1867- 1912): Pioneers of flight who developed their designs in Dayton. (Treated as individual, although statuary rules prohibit a single statue from representing two people.)
7. (Tie) William McCulloch (1901-80): Politician and civil rights leader from Holmesville.
8. (Tie) Judith Resnik (1949-86): Akron astronaut killed in Challenger space shuttle disaster.
9. Albert Sabin (1906-92): Cincinnati medical researcher who developed oral polio vaccine.
10. Ulysses S. Grant (1822- 85): Civil War general and 18th U.S. president born in southwestern Ohio.
Covering Women's Issues -
Changing Women's Lives
--Editor Rita Henley Jensen
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Yoga Stretches Terrain for Sex-Trauma TherapyBy Lensay Abadula
Sunday, February 28, 2010
(WOMENSENEWS)--Deirdre Summerbell's first response was no.
That was in 2007, when a nongovernmental group focused on women's health asked her to teach yoga classes in Rwanda to women who were HIV-positive and survivors of rape and other traumas from the 1994 genocide.
"Like most people, I thought the last thing that was needed was yoga," Summerbell said in a recent interview at a cafe in New York's East Village.
But after about a week she recontacted Women's Equity in Access to Care and Treatment, WE-ACTx, which has its administrative headquarters in San Francisco and a local program office in Rwanda. Soon after, she traveled to the East African nation for a three-month experiment.
"I knew that we were onto something by the second or third class," Summerbell said, "because one of the women came up to me afterwards and said that she had slept through the night for the first time in 14 years after the preceding class. And then more and more women began reporting the same results."
The experiment continued and after about a month Summerbell had some unexpected good luck.
A friend forwarded an e-mail from Summerbell to superstar Madonna, who donated $250,000 to the project. With that, an experiment turned into a program within WE-ACTx. Last spring the program separated from WE-ACTx and became its own organization, Project Air. It's the first yoga initiative to gain formal endorsement by the United Nations.
Project Air joins other efforts to use yoga as a trauma therapy, such as those aimed at U.S. war veterans suffering post-traumatic stress disorder.
The number of women who could be candidates for sex-trauma therapy is vast in a world where the United Nations Development Fund for Women estimates at least 1-in-3 women in her lifetime has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused.
Gender Violence's Ripple EffectThat statistic is particularly high in Rwanda, where between 250,000 and 500,000 girls and women were raped during the genocide, according to a report by the Special Rapporteur to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, now the U.N. Human Rights Council, in Rwanda.
Because of the strong role women play as breadwinners for their families and primary caretakers of children, the elderly and those living with HIV and AIDs, gender-based violence can send a ripple effect through an entire community, said Maria Jose-Alcala, an advisor for the Ending Violence Against Women Section at New York-based UNIFEM, in an email interview.
"Violence against women has long-lasting and severe health consequences for women, including depression, various physical ills, sexual and reproductive health problems, as well as diminished productivity and lost wages for each incident of physical abuse with obvious economic costs to the entire community," Jose-Alcala said.
Survivors report that the mental and emotional effects of abuse linger after physical scars fade.
In and around the Rwandan capital Kigali, Summerbell teaches an athletic and vigorous form of yoga to about 250 to 300 girls and women, most of them survivors of some form of assault or abuse. Many contracted HIV as a result of being raped during the genocide.
Although the women are quite physically strong--they are responsible for carrying water and looking after children--their traumas have created a disconnect with their emotions as well as their bodies.
Women Find JoyIn a note on Project Air's Web site, Summerbell writes that this separation is evident in the attitudes women express about their physical strength before and after taking yoga classes. In the beginning, the women lamented that they were too old or too sick to take the classes, but once they started Summerbell found that a shift occurred.
"This was something below the level of thought, below the level of memory, below the level of conscious feeling even, but when it was sparked, it was as if--and I don't know how else to put this--it was as if the women became able to feel again and to love again the life that was in them," she wrote.
Beyond the benefit of improved sleep, the women also find happiness in taking her classes. "There's a palpable feeling of joy in a class we give in Rwanda that I've never met anywhere else," she said.
At the same time, Summerbell faces criticism in Rwanda, where some evangelical churches characterize yoga as Satanism and devil worship. As her students are not members of the middle class, who are those that mainly hold such views, the apprehensions don't reach her students, she said.
Organizations Express HostilityBut Rwandese staff members of nongovernmental organizations, including some members of WE-ACTx, have demonstrated considerable hostility, she said.
As a policy, Summerbell confines yoga, which has deep ties to Buddhism and Hinduism, to a physical practice and tries to steer clear of religious arguments.
Lenny Williams, a certified trauma-sensitive yoga instructor in New York, shared why she believes yoga helps people recover from trauma, during which the brain triggers fight-or-flight responses that leave deep, recurring memories.
"What's happened to trauma survivors is that you get stuck in a rut," Williams said. "It's like a record that's got a skip. You keep remembering, you keep remembering and you get into these circular thoughts that whatever triggers you, you're right back there."
Learning calming techniques, such as yoga, allows the body to send impulses that inform the brain that no one is in danger.
In November Williams, herself a rape survivor, founded Mandala House, an organization based in New York, dedicated to training survivors of gender-based violence abroad to be yoga instructors.
She is planning a trip this summer to Sri Lanka and Uganda to provide the trainings.
Lensay Abadula is a freelance writer living in New York.
For more information:Project Air
Covering Women's Issues -
Changing Women's Lives
--Editor Rita Henley Jensen
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DV Scuttles Pol's Career; Nebraska Tries AgainBy WeNews Staff
Saturday, February 27, 2010
In protest, New York City Commissioner of Criminal Justice Services Denise O'Donnell resigned from her position Feb. 25 after learning police and government officials intervened in a domestic violence case against the governor's top aide, reported The New York Daily News.
O'Donnell said in a release on Thursday: "The behavior alleged here is the antithesis of what many of us have spent our entire careers working to build--a legal system that protects victims of domestic violence and brings offenders to justice."
Friday, New York Gov. David Patterson said at a 3 p.m. press conference that was dropping his plans to run for re-election this year. Patterson was appointed to replace Eliot Spitzer who resigned after his frequent use of prostitutes became known.
Paterson's aide, David Johnson, was promoted from intern to policy advisor. He was accused of assault by his former partner Sherr-una Booker in November but was unable to obtain an order of protection without serving Johnson with the court papers. After being contacted by the governor and state police, Booker failed to appear in court and the case was dropped. In her two previous court appearances, Booker complained about being pressured by state police to drop the charges against the 6'7" Johnson.
Johnson is currently suspended without pay while State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo investigates the scandal. Cuomo is expected to imminently announce his intent to run for governor of New York.
More News to Cheer This Week:
- Pakistani resident Roma Juma has created an energy-efficient way to cook that has started a regional shift in how Pakistani families heat their food, reported IPS on Feb. 25. Juma has created a stove made out of wood, animal dung and crop deposits. She now constructs stoves for her neighborhood. The non-government organization Indus Development Forum started training women to manufacture these stoves with a small grants program from the United Nations Development's Global Environment Facility. Now more women are creating them and turning a profit.
- A new policy proposed by the U.S. Department of Defense will permit women to serve on submarines for the first time ever, reported the Los Angeles Times on Feb 23. The policy was announced by military and Congress officials on Feb. 22. The plan is to start allowing women on to larger submarines first, and then gradually move to having them serve on smaller submarines. The policy could be in place by mid-April, as long as Congress doesn't object to the change by the end of March.
- Currently, Navy policy bans women from working on submarines due to a lack of separate sleeping and bathroom accommodations on smaller vessels. Many larger submarines have enough room to designate gender-specific areas.
- Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho was awarded the Tully Award for Free Speech at Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communication on Feb. 16, reported Cnylink. Despite numerous threats made against her, Cacho has exposed corruption and child pedophilia in Cancun, Mexico, reported Arabisto on Oct. 24, 2007. She published a book on her investigative work in 2005 called "Los Demonios del Eden" (Demons of Eden: The Power that Protects Child Pornography).
- For the first time in Saudi Arabia, the government is planning to draft a law that would permit women to try legal cases in court, reported the Associated Press on Feb. 20. Saudi Arabia's Sheik Mohammed al-Issa reportedly said the historical change is a "plan to develop the justice system" and should be out soon.
"Under the new law, women would be allowed to argue cases on child custody, divorce and other family-related issues," the article reported.
- Dubai shut down the hub of its sex tourism industry, the Cyclone Club, on Feb. 21 in an effort to help curb human trafficking, reported The Epoch Times, based in New York. The nightclub at its prime was "one of the biggest brothels." Despite the Cyclone Club's closure, several other smaller places have opened in Dubai and are visited by many clients.
- An Oklahoma County judge ruled on Feb. 19 that a law barring abortions on the basis of the fetus's gender was unconstitutional the Associated Press reported. The law also requires women seeking abortions to fill out a survey about race, education and their reasons for seeking the procedure. Judge Daniel Owens said the measure dealt with multiple subjects and thus violated the state constitution's ban on such legislation, the article reported.
- Graduating high school seniors who have or had a parent with breast cancer are eligible for a scholarship in Maryland, reported The Baltimore Sun on Feb. 21. The Joan Lauffer breast cancer scholarship fund will grant the winning college-bound senior with $1,000.
The scholarship is in honor of Joan Lauffer, who passed away in 2004 after battling breast cancer for six years.
A group of lawmakers is pushing to make Nebraska the first state to outlaw most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy based on the argument that the fetus might feel pain during the procedure, the Los Angeles Times reported Feb. 25. Nebraska has passed two previous abortion laws regulating abortions that were appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. One barring so-called "partial-birth abortion" was upheld.
The bill, introduced by Speaker of the Legislature Mike Flood, uses doctors' testimony to assert that fetuses feel pain. It contends there is substantial evidence that by 20 weeks, fetuses seek to evade stimuli in a way that indicates they are experiencing pain, the article reported.
No other state has tried to restrict abortions based on the pain a fetus might feel, the article reported. If the bill were to pass, it would likely face a court challenge and could end up in front of the Supreme Court. Six states--Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Utah--require that pregnant women be told an abortion could cause pain for the fetus, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
More News to Jeer This Week:
- Advocates have charted what they claim is the "systematic erosion" in the status of Canadian women since 2004, reported The Toronto Star Feb. 23.
A report, released Feb. 22 by Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action and the Canadian Labour Congress, was billed as a "reality check" on Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government's more flattering submission to the U.N. on the status of Canadian women.
The report, which cites backward progress in everything from pay equity to child care, says women have lost ground due to the elimination of funding for advocacy groups, the scrapping of a national child-care program and a widening wage gap between men and women.
- Hani Khan, a 19-year-old woman of Pakistani and Indian descent, filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for claiming she was fired on Feb. 22 by a Hollister Co. district manager for wearing her headscarf while working in the San Mateo location of the clothing store, The San Francisco Chronicle reported on Feb. 26.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
UNTIL THE VIOLENCE STOPS !
Eve Ensler's THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES
3 performances only !
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26 at 7pm
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27 at 2pm and at 7pm
ALL performances will take place in 543 Hunter North (the Black Box Space)
All Tickets: $10
(Tickets will go on sale in February at the V-DAY TABLE located on the Hunter West 3rd floor area)
This year's local beneficiaries of the V-DAY CAMPAIGN at Hunter are: The New York Asian Women's Center (NYAWC)
Sanctuary for Families
The Audre Lorde Project (ALP)
carmelina, milena, stacey, and Vanessa
and the entire V-DAY 2010 Team
Hunter College is located at 68th Street and Lexington Avenue; Take 6 train to 68th street or F train to 63rd Street
For more info: firstname.lastname@example.org
It has been another tough year for NYAAF. With the downturn in the economy, they are receiving more requests than ever from women and clinics. Their all-volunteer board is stretched thin and they are in need of funding to meet this growing demand. To raise the money needed to respond to these increased requests and continue to serve the women of New York, they organized a fundraiser!
If you have any questions, please contact them. You can find out more about NYAAF and the women we serve by going to our website at: NYAAF.org.
The Beauty Bar
Thursday, March 4th, from 7 to 10pm
231 E. 14th Street (2nd/3rd Avenues)
Take 4/5/6/N/R/Q/W/L trains to Union Square and walk 2 blocks east, or L train to Third Avenue
enjoy a night of drink specials, music, treats and pampering
in support of abortion access for countless women in New York! Feel free to share this email with anyone you think would be interested in attending.
$20 suggested at the door
Friday, February 26, 2010
Governor Paterson Decides He Will Not Run for Re-Election.
February 26, 2010
For more information contact: Marcia Pappas, 518-452-3944
National Organization for Women-NYS
Says Governor Paterson Made Appropriate Decision to Not Run
ALBANY, NY (02/26/2010)(readMedia)-- According to NOW-NYS (National Organization For Women) President, New York Governor David Paterson (D) made a very good choice with today's announcement that he will not seek re-election. Recent developments have placed Paterson in the middle of a cover-up involving a staffer accused of domestic violence. Pappas explained that "in light of this situation, NOW NYS leaders believe the Governor has made the right decision. New Yorkers want their elected officials to be squeaky clean when it comes to following and abiding by laws set forth in New York. No elected official is above the law. They are in a position of power to make laws that govern the citizens of New York."
Pappas continued: "In order to make decisions regarding legislation, lawmakers cannot be part of the problem. We expect them to be part of the solution. The Governor has always been a supporter of women's rights. It is disappointing that he may be involved in pressuring a victim of domestic violence to drop charges against her abuser."
Pappas said the organization would "now turn its attention to a State Police officer, Harry Corbett, who was reported to be involved in inappropriate intimidation of the victim, and this in an area that was clearly under the jurisdiction of the New York City Police Department, not the State."
And NOW-NYS will also have questions about the response by a family court judge, Andrea Masley, to whom the victim is said to have reported being intimidated by State Police. Pappas emphasized that "the courts are there to protect victims of violence, so we are concerned with reports that Judge Masley did not take appropriate action. Whether it's the Governor, the State Police, or the judiciary, NOW-NYS demands accountability from anyone and everyone remotely involved in a domestic violence cover up."
Why The Gossips Find Shiloh's "Tomboy" Attire So Odious
Doesn't she realize she's the crown princess in the fairy tale? She's ruining it with that "wanting to be a boy" thing! MORE >>
How Colleges Fail Assault Victims — And How Students Can Help
The latest in a series of disturbing reports on campus assault found that colleges and government agencies alike often botch rape investigations. One solution may be to keep rape from happening in the first place. MORE >>
Internet Reacts (Predictably) To Woman Live-Tweeting Her Abortion
Earlier this week, a woman began live-tweeting her medical abortion. The response has morphed into a debate not merely about the right to choose, but about "flaunting" that choice, with Jesus, gays, and kittens being dragged into the fray. MORE >>
The "Transvestite of Directors": A Backlash Against Kathryn Bigelow?
"No cheers for Miss Kathy for breaking the glass ceiling by fabricating my worst cinematic nightmare," writes critic Martha Nochimson over at Salon. Why isn't Kathryn Bigelow's success cause for women to celebrate? MORE >>
The Jenny McCarthy Conundrum: Is False Hope Better Than No Hope?
In a long interview with Time, Jenny McCarthy says of parents of autistic kids, "Hope is the only thing that will get us up in the morning." But is the kind of hope she's offering actually dangerous? MORE >>
American Beauty: A Brief History Of Abercrombie's Hiring Practices
An Abercrombie & Fitch employee in northern California is alleging she was fired for refusing to remove her hijab, or headscarf marking her Muslim observance. Abercrombie's pursuit of a homogeneous army of "perfect" employees appears to have snared it again! MORE >>
Cross-posted on genfem.com
On Tuesday I heard Jessica Valenti, founder of feministing.com, speak at New York City’s The Tank about her new book, The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women. Following are 10 things I left thinking about:
1. Five months before the book was released, anti-feminist conservatives used words like “slut” and “whore” to describe it. These critics had only seen the title and the innocuous cover, but as Valenti said, for them, “the only alternative to being a virgin is being a whore.”
2. Relatedly, it is much easier to commit acts of violence against “sluts” and “whores” than “women” or “girls,” because these derogatory terms dehumanize them.
3. When reports come out about young people and promiscuity, the concern isn’t about young people having sex, it is about young women having sex. There is rarely concern about young men having sex.
4. The FDA held up Plan B and the HPV vaccine because of fears that it would encourage young women to have sex (FDA documents include the phrase “teen sex cults”). Bill Maher likened this to fearing that those who received tetanus shots would run out and jam rusty nails into their legs.
Cross-posted on genfem.com
I interview Marcia Pappas, President of the National Organization for Women (NOW) - New York State, who explains how “feminism” became a dirty word, the problem with the women’s rights industry, and the greatest feminist challenges left to overcome.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
The Coalition Against Trafficking In Women
A Series of Panel Discussions
The Coalition Against Trafficking In Women (CATW)
Invites You To Join Us
Without Demand There Would Be No Supply: How Men Can End Commercial Sexual Exploitation
Lead Sponsor: UNANIMA International
Date: Wednesday, March 3, 12:00 - 1:30pm
* Aaron Cohen, Author, Slave Hunter| Catherine Ferguson, UNANIMA International
* Agnete Str?m, Women’s Front of Norway | Teresa Ulloa Ziaurriz, CATW - Latin America and the Caribbean
* Anas Aremeyaw Anas, The New Crusading Guide
Esohe Aghatise, Associazione IROKO Onlus
Targeting Women in Armed Conflict: Trafficking, Prostitution and Pornography
Date: Friday, March 5, 10:00 - 11:30am
* Rachel Eapen Paul, Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) | Yanar Mohamed, Organization of Women’s Freedom
* Jean Enriquez, CATW – Asia Pacific | Teresa Ulloa Ziaurriz, CATW - Latin America and the Caribbean
* Jimmie Briggs, Author, Innocents Lost: When Child Soldiers Go to War
Malka Marcovich, CATW – Europe
Mass Marketing Prostitution: Sexual Exploitation as EntertainmentLead Sponsor: Maryknoll Sisters
Date: Friday, March 5, 12:00 - 1:30pm
* Gail Dines, Stop Porn Culture| Malka Marcovich, CATW - Europe
* Dorchen Leidholdt, CATW International| Jonathan Walton, Poet/Activist
* Anas Aremeyaw Anas, The New Crusading Guide
Norma Ramos, CATW International
All panels will be held at:
The International Social Justice Commission of the Salvation Army
221 E. 52nd Street (between 2nd & 3rd Avenues)
For more information about CATW, please visit our website: www.catwinternational.org.
Download: http://www.nycagainstrape.org/sps/go.cgi?c=xnqki9Z2_bAlHgyMDZbt (74.88K Bytes)
Sexual Assaulters Face Modest Penalties, While Victims Traumatized; Education Dept Watchdog Rarely Sanctions Schools
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Steve Carpinelli email@example.com (202) 481-1225Students 'Responsible' For Sexual Assaults Face Modest Penalties, While Victims Are Traumatized; Education Department Watchdog Rarely Sanctions Schools
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 24, 2010 —Students found "responsible" for sexual assaults on campus often face little or no punishment from school judicial systems, while their victims' lives are frequently turned upside down, according to a year-long investigation by the Center for Public Integrity, Sexual Assault on Campus http://www.publicintegrity.org/investigations/campus_assault/ . Administrators believe the sanctions administered by the college judicial system are a thoughtful way to hold abusive students accountable, but the Center's investigation has discovered that "responsible" findings rarely lead to tough punishments like expulsion — even in cases involving alleged repeat offenders.
According to a new series of stories in the Center's investigation, research shows that repeat offenders actually account for a significant number of sexual assaults on campus, contrary to the beliefs of those who adjudicate these cases. Experts say authorities are often slow to realize they have such "undetected rapists" in their midst.
Critics question whether faculty, staff, and students should even adjudicate what amounts to a felony crime. But these internal campus proceedings grow from two federal laws, known as Title IX and the Clery Act, which require schools to respond to claims of sexual assault on campus and to offer key rights to victims. The Education Department enforces both laws, yet its Office for Civil Rights rarely investigates student allegations of botched school proceedings. When cases do go forward, the civil rights office rarely rules against schools, the Center's probe has found, and virtually never issues sanctions against institutions.
"The full extent of campus sexual assault is often hidden by secret proceedings, shoddy record-keeping, and an indifferent bureaucracy," said Center for Public Integrity Executive Director Bill Buzenberg. "Yet these are serious crimes that go largely unpunished. This is a troubling area of campus life that lacks much needed transparency and accountability."
The Center's package marks a number of significant collaborative efforts, including a series of three stories and a Talk of the Nation call-in program from National Public Radio News. The NPR Series http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124012782 was produced by a special NPR Investigative Unit with reports airing on Morning Edition and All Things Considered. The Center for Public Integrity also collaborated with the Investigative News Network http://investigativenewsnetwork.org/ , a coalition of some two dozen news organizations dedicated to watchdog journalism. The Center's pieces will be accompanied by localized campus assault stories from five members of the network — the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism http://wisconsinwatch.org/ , the New England Center for Investigative Reporting http://www.necir-bu.org/ , Texas Watchdog <http://www.texaswatchdog.org/> , the Rocky Mountain News Network http://www.inewsnetwork.org/ , and Investigate West http://invw.org/ .
"This impressive package of stories shows both the power and potential of INN and its collaborative efforts," said Brant Houston, chair of the network's steering committee. "Through these shocking stories of campus sexual assaults, INN is demonstrating how it can expose the magnitude of a problem throughout the nation."
The network was formed last summer following a three-day meeting of mostly nonprofit investigative journalism groups in New York. The mission of the network is to facilitate the work and public reach of its member organizations, to foster high-quality, original investigative journalism, and to hold government and corporate power accountable at the local, national, and international levels.
The Center's Sexual Assault on Campus http://www.publicintegrity.org/investigations/campus_assault/ project will include three new stories that will be released over a three-day period beginning February 24.
The Center for Public Integrity http://www.publicintegrity.org/ is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, and independent digital news organization specializing in original investigative journalism and research on significant public policy issues. Since 1990, the Washington, D.C.-based Center has released more than 475 investigative reports and 17 books to provide greater transparency and accountability of government and other institutions. It has received the George Polk Award and more than 32 other major journalism awards, including honors from Investigative Reporters and Editors, Online News Association, Overseas Press Club, Society of Environmental Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. www.publicintegrity.org
|Jose Peralta Wins Endorsement from NOW-NYS PAC for Special Election in 13th District on March 16th. Women leaders believe Peralta is the perfect candidate to take the seat in the NYS Senate. Voters should vote for Peralta! Please distribute far and wide.|
National Organization for Women-NYS PAC Endorses Jose Peralta
Urges Citizens to Vote for Peralta for NYS Senate
ALBANY, NY (02/25/2010)(readMedia)-- NOW-NYS PAC is proud to endorse Jose Peralta (D) for the 13th District NYS Senate seat. If elected, Assemblyman Peralta will take the seat of former NY State Senator Hiram Monserrate (D), who was recently expelled from the Senate after being convicted of misdemeanor assault in relation to a incident involving his girlfriend. "It's time for NY voters to have, in that Senate seat, an elected official who will represent them in an honorable way, who does not abuse women, and who understands the importance of women's rights and women's equality," said NOW-NYS President Marcia A. Pappas.
Pappas added that "Democrats have made a good choice in Assemblyman Jose Peralta. Not only does Peralta understand the issues, but he also has the breadth and depth to see how women's equality will positively affect all the people of his district and all the citizens of New York. He fully understands the issue of domestic violence, and realizes how ending violence against women must be front and center on any elected official's agenda." Pappas took the occasion to explain that women make up over fifty-two percent of the population and that, without the ability to live in a safe environment, women cannot lead productive lives. Pappas affirmed that Assemblyman Peralta is committed to leveling the playing field for all New Yorkers by passing legislation that will bring women into full equality.
The departing Hiram Monserrate apparently wishes to be reinstated in the NY Senate and recently declared, according to the 2/24/10 NY Daily News: "I am committed, as I have always been, to defend the rights of the voters and never allowing their vote to be disenfranchised." Of this statement Pappas remarked: "What about the millions of New York State women who would feel disenfranchised, nay horrified were Monserrate to be re-seated in the NY Senate? Monserrate is a clearly man who will neither act nor vote in the best interest of New York's women. And we at NOW-NYS are pleased at the prospect of replacing him with Jose Peralta, who is a conscientious supporter of women's rights."
Pappas concluded that "NOW NYS is urging everyone in the 13th District to vote for Jose Peralta, so that they may all be fully and honorably represented in the New York Senate."
Covering Women's Issues -
Changing Women's Lives
Story follows announcements.
Have you or a loved one been raped? Post your story as a comment to this one and let's document this violence. Go to: http://www.womensenews.org
Editor Rita Henley Jensen
Check out our Commentoon
U.N.'s Wallstrom Says Congo Will Be Her First StopBy Danielle Shapiro
Thursday, February 25, 2010
NEW YORK (WOMENSENEWS)--Margot Wallstrom's two-year U.N. assignment to stem sexual violence in conflict areas begins March 1, with an immediate focus on the Democratic Republic of Congo.
"I will be traveling there as soon as possible," Wallstrom said in a phone interview last week with Women's eNews from her home in Hammaro, Sweden. "The reports we get from the people we work with on the ground are so serious that we cannot but focus our efforts and reinforce our efforts in the Congo."
Wallstrom was appointed special representative for sexual violence earlier this month by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and has left her post as vice president of the European Commission.
Wallstrom's appointment and mandate is laid out in Security Council Resolution 1888, which was passed in late September and calls for peacekeeping missions to protect women and children from sexual violence during conflict.
The Democratic Republic of Congo signed a ceasefire agreement with 22 armed groups in 2008, but the country remains mired in armed conflict and has become widely known as the global epicenter of wartime sexual violence. The U.N. Population Fund says more than 15,000 rapes were reported in 2009, including 9,045 in the war-torn east.
The conflict is profoundly complex. In the last dozen or so years the conflict has claimed the lives of about 5.4 million people and involved at least seven nations and several powerful militias, all accused of committing acts of sexual violence.
Alliances and power relations are ever changing and the government of Joseph Kabila has recently expressed its desire for the U.N. to begin drawing down its more than 20,000 uniformed personnel, who make up the largest peacekeeping force in the world.
"There are no quick fixes," Wallstrom said. "That is why we have to do as much as we can on the political level and through the peacekeepers on the ground. We'll need the government to do more if we are to change the situation on the ground and then listen to the peacekeepers. What do they need to protect women?"
A Strategy to ImplementWallstrom said she expected to work with the government, U.N. peacekeepers and an array of nongovernmental organizations to implement a comprehensive strategy that the U.N.'s Congo mission, or MONUC as its known by its French acronym, completed in March 2009. That plan was produced in consultation with the U.N. country team and the Congolese government.
"What's unique is we are all talking about one strategy and it is part of a national strategy," said Beatrix Attinger Colijn, senior advisor for sexual violence with MONUC.
A central element of the plan is curbing the rampant impunity of those who commit sexual violence, including members of the military, armed militias operating throughout the east and, increasingly, civilians.
Often victims refrain from identifying attackers out of fear of retribution against themselves and their families. They may also be reluctant to admit the attack in the first place because rape carries so much stigma. Survivors may not know their rights to legal recourse.
Military commanders sometimes protect their soldiers from prosecution, according to a 2009 Human Rights Watch report. Because Congolese law holds that the judge in a court martial must have a higher rank than the defendant, many judges cannot try high-ranking military authorities. The cases are rarely transferred.
The plan also envisions improving victims' access to justice by informing women of their rights, strengthening local police units, organizing mobile courts in rural areas, providing protection for victims, witnesses and others associated with cases and not requiring victims to pay legal fees.
It also focuses on applying the country's 2006 law on sexual violence, which criminalizes sexual mutilation and slavery and the insertion of objects into a woman's vagina.
Those who commit sexual assaults must be excluded from security services like the army or police, according to the U.N. plan, which also calls for special training for military, police and peacekeepers to prevent sexual violence.
Long U.N. PresenceU.N. peacekeepers first entered the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1960 and returned in 1999. In 2005, the U.N. mission was rocked by scandal following allegations that peacekeepers had sexually exploited Congolese women and children.
Tom Turner, Congo country specialist with Amnesty International USA, said the U.N.'s long history in the country will be both a blessing and a burden for Wallstrom.
"She'll have the visibility, but the legacy" as well, Turner said.
Marianne Mollmann, women's rights advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, hopes Wallstrom will focus on ending impunity among military commanders.
In its 2009 report, Human Rights Watch found that commanders have frequently failed to prevent or halt sexual violence and, as a result, may also be guilty of war crimes or crimes against humanity.
Mollmann said those who ordered the use of sexual violence as a war tactic, or who did nothing to prevent it, should be put on trial.
Mollmann also believes selected high-profile criminal trials would put the judicial system on a better track. "Once you start doing what you should have been doing all along," she said, "it's harder not to do that again."
'A Million Ideas' to Confront ViolenceWallstrom agreed that ending impunity and prosecuting perpetrators are both essential to quelling sexual violence in conflict, especially in Congo where the situation has not substantially improved for years.
But in confronting violence, she said she had "a million ideas."
Though she called it premature, one idea includes bringing modern technologies to bear on the problem of identifying assailants and improving the protection of women when they seek justice against their assailants.
"Why in Africa can we not use laboratories and DNA to trace perpetrators, why can't we use GPS to track women?" she said of the global positioning systems now commonly used by car drivers. "We can track almost anyone on the planet" with GPS.
Wallstrom also mentioned providing women with video cameras and perhaps mobile phones to signal when they need protection. She said she favors combining such high-tech approaches with traditional strategies, such as using the radio or soap operas to advocate against sexual violence and help women understand their rights.
Wallstrom said she is eager, most of all, to show the world, "we can deal with this problem, we can do something about it. I hope we will not just be another talk shop, but make sure that things change on the ground."
Danielle Shapiro is a freelance journalist based in New York City.
For more information:U.N. Security Council Resolution 1888:
The Comprehensive Strategy on Combating Sexual Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo:
Human Rights Watch, Democratic Republic of the Congo:
Ask Congress and the President to Enact Health Care Reform that Does Not Roll Back Reproductive Rights
After several weeks of uncertainty, we are seeing a new push by the White House to finally pass a health reform bill. As the President prepares to bring Congressional leaders in for a health care summit this Thursday, Raising Women's Voices is calling on you, our tireless network of advocates, to let them know that progress is great, but they must do better for women than the proposal now on the table!
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California - (202)225-0100,
- Representative Robert Andrews, of New Jersey- (202) 225-6501
- Representative Xavier Becerra of California- (202) 225-6235
- Representative Jim Cooper of Tennessee- (202) 225-4311
- Representative James Clyburn, of South Carolina - (202)225-3315,
- Representative John Dingell of Michigan - (202) 225-4071,
- Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland - (202) 225-4131,
- Representative George Miller of California - (202)225-2095,
- Representative Charles Rangel of New York - (202)225-4365,
- Representative Louise Slaughter of New York - (202) 225-3615, and,
- Representative Henry Waxman of California - (202)225-3976;
- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) - (202)224-3542,
- Senator Baucus of Montana - (202) 224-2651,
- Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota- (202) 224-2043,
- Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut- (202) 224-2823,
- Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois- (202) 224-2152,
- Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa- (202)224-3245,
- Senator Patty Murray of Washington- (202) 224-2621,
- Senator John Rockefeller of West Virginia- (202) 224-6472, and
- Senator Charles Schumer of New York - (202) 224-6542.
Our coordinators around the country took the opportunity to re-vitalize the momentum for health reform over President's Week. In this newsletter, we'd like to shine the spotlight on great work done in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, and Washington DC!