Friday, April 30, 2010

Feminists Care for Everyone: Humans & Animals Alike

Most of you know about the activist work we (the National Organization for Women - New York State - Young Feminist Task Force) have been doing on behalf of women's rights.  What you may not be aware of is our other social justice work that may not seem directly connected to feminism at first.  I want to argue that any type of social justice work is feminist work because feminism for me means an end to all forms of inequalities.  

In that spirit, four of us: Daniel Wald, Esty Stein, Micah Bochart and I, will volunteer at the Dogswalk Against Cancer, a.k.a. 2010 Bark For Life of New York City this Sunday, May 2, 2010, 9AM - 1PM at Riverside Park, NY [W. 108th Street and Riverside Drive].  

From the official site:
The American Cancer Society Bark For LifeTM is a noncompetitive walk event for dogs and their owners to raise funds and awareness for the American Cancer Society's fight against cancer.  So bring your best canine friend and join us for a fun-filled day starting with a walk, and then continuing with demonstrations, contests, and games.

I have been volunteering at this fun event with 100's of canine friends since 2003.  I always feel like I should pay them to be able to pet so many cute dogs - my dream come true.  Hope to see you there!

Best wishes,
Jerin Alam
National NOW Young Feminist Task Force
NOW – NYS Young Feminist Task Force 
National Organization for Women (NOW)

Weekly Feminist Jobs Digest: 4/24/2010 - 4/30/2010

Weekly Feminist Jobs Digest:  4/24/2010 - 4/30/2010

The Weekly Feminist Jobs Digest is a service of the Feminist Majority Foundation, made possible through the support of individuals like you. Your contribution is vital to the continued success of our empowering work.               

(DC Metro Region - 4/21/2010)
Title: Paid, Two-Year Health Policy Fellowship
Organization: National Women's Law Center
(DC Metro Region - 4/23/2010)
Title: Press Secretary
Organization: Human Rights Campaign
(DC Metro Region - 4/23/2010)
Title: Clinic Manager - Santa Rosa CA
Organization: Women's Health Specialists a Feminist Women's Health Center
(East Coast - 4/21/2010)
Title: Pro-Bono Visiting Lawyer: Law School Initiative
Organization: Center for Reproductive Rights
(East Coast - 4/21/2010)
Title: Pro-Bono Visiting Lawyer: U.S. Legal Program
Organization: Center for Reproductive Rights
(East Coast - 4/21/2010)
Title: Pro-Bono Visiting Lawyer: International Legal Program
Organization: Center for Reproductive Rights
(East Coast - 4/21/2010)
Title: Trainer
Organization: Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS)
(East Coast - 4/23/2010)
Title: Outreach Coordinator
Organization: Free Press
(Midwest - 4/23/2010)
Title: Communications Director
Organization: United Council of UW Students, Inc
(Midwest - 4/23/2010)
Title: Inclusivity Director
Organization: United Council of UW Students, Inc
(Southeast - 4/21/2010)
Title: Photographer-Bureau (12545) 
Organization: Central Florida News 13
(Southwest - 4/21/2010)
Title: Superintendent- Federal Construction
Organization: DWG & Associates
(Southwest - 4/23/2010)
Title: Voter Engagement Table Coordinator
Organization: Texas Organizing Project Education Fund


(Southwest - 4/21/2010)
Title: Food Delivery: Deliver Food to Domestic Violence Shelter Twice a Week
Organization: Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse
(Southwest - 4/21/2010)
Title: Microsoft Access Database Technician
Organization: Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse

Don't count her out: Jennifer Brunner can win Ohio Senate Primary

I'm the Political Programs Manager at WCF, and I've been working with Secretary Jennifer Brunner on her campaign for U.S. Senate for 25 days now. I have poured my blood, sweat and tears into this campaign--and I mean that literally.
But I get up every day, board the Courage Express, and work until I drop because I believe so deeply that we need Jennifer Brunner working for all Americans in Congress.

The polls would have you believe that Jennifer is out of this race. But I'm here to tell you that this race is neck and neck.
35% of Ohio voters remain undecided, and 55% might change their mind. Yesterday, a reporter from the Columbus Dispatch rode with us on the Courage Express. He sent Jennifer an email that said,

"As per the poll that you are dead in the water I have one thing to say." And then he attached a picture of President Truman holding up a paper that says, "Dewey Defeats Truman."

I'm telling you this race is still a toss-up. With Brunner driving around the state, meeting residents face-to-face, we still have the chance to earn the support needed in this primary.

And gaining enthusiastic support isn't difficult once someone meets Jennifer. People connect with her vision for Ohio and quickly come to understand why she is the best person to represent them in the Senate. Her commitment, determination, and compassion will make her an effective and bold U.S. Senator, which is what Washington really needs.

If you want to see for yourself - watch this video of Jennifer talking about her true belief in being a public servant--not just a politician.

Jennifer also has amazing supporters who keep her campaign going day after day. They give gifts, contributions and smiles. They make homemade signs and greet her at every bus stop with applause and cheers.

She hasn't backed down from this primary, and she won't back down from her beliefs in Congress.

I spoke with one man who told me, "I think we need more women in office. I'm the feminist of the family, and we need Jennifer Brunner in the Senate." This man is now making phone calls for Brunner, and she needs everyone's help, all across the county, to ensure Jennifer's victory on May 4.

If you believe that we need more than 17 women in the Senate; if you want your voice hear loud and clear in our government; if the idea of a true public servant protecting your needs;  and if you want real change and fresh perspective in Washington, then you should do whatever you can for Jennifer Brunner.

You can email Brian Morgan,, to get more information on how to help. Write "WCF Volunteer" in the subject line.

Ohio and America are counting on you. Please help spread the word by sharing my blogpost and Jennifer's video with everyone you know. Together, we can pave the path for one more strong woman in the Senate.
For Women Everywhere,

Julie Daniels
WCF Political Programs Manager

Paid for by Women's Campaign Forum,, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. 

Summary of NOW Northeast Regional Conference & Our Workshop

Please read below a summary of the NOW Northeast Regional Conference by Kathy Sloan, who wears multiple hats within NOW as a NOW Board member, a member of the NOW Global Feminst Strategies and Issues Committee, and a NOW UN Representative.  

Five of us NOW – NY State Young Feminist Task Force members: Arielle Cohen, Layla Love, Meghan Shalvoy, Micah Bochart and I, drove to Albany the weekend of April 17 to attend the conference.  We really enjoyed meeting NOW National Executive Vice President Bonnie Grabenhofer, and all the other attendees.  We were honored to be able to present a workshop that Kathy writes about below.

Photo by: Layla Love
l-r, back row, NOW NY State President Marcia Pappas, NOW-NYS YFTF members Arielle Cohen & Layla Love
l-r, front row, NOW-NYS YFTF members Jerin Alam, Meghan Shalvoy & Micah Bochart.

What is not in Kathy's write-up was one of the highlights of the trip for us.  Marcia Pappas, the NOW NY State President, took time out of her busy schedule to have dinner with us.  Marcia is responsible for this taskforce, and I couldn't wait for the other taskforce members to spend some time with her, so they could see why I admire her so much.  Of course, they all enjoyed meeting her just as much and immediately saw why she deserves respect.  We cannot wait for the NOW National Conference in July to connect to more NOW sisters and brothers, and re-connect to the feminists we met at the Northeast Regional Conference.

Jerin Alam
National NOW Young Feminist Task Force
NOW – NYS Young Feminist Task Force 
National Organization for Women (NOW)

NOW Northeast Regional Conference

April 17, 2010

SEIU Union Office Building

Albany, NY  

After conference and election rules were discussed and the agenda was adopted, the keynote address was given by Professor Mo Therese Hannah, founder of the Battered Women’s Custody Conference.  Mo began by describing how battered women aren’t believed in the courts.  So-called psychological evaluations just muddy the waters.  Fully ¾ of family law court cases involve domestic violence (dv).  DV of course is vastly underreported.  Further exacerbating the tragedy of judges awarding custody to batterers, many of whom have abused and/or sexually assaulted their children along with their partners, is the fact that battered women and rape victims are immediately considered suspect in the eyes of the court.   

The first Battered Mothers Custody Conference was held in mid-January of 2003 in Albany and was attended by 125 people.  The annual conferences consist of victims, professionals, attorneys, academics and grassroots activists.  Word quickly spread, particularly through the internet; the website,, serves as a clearinghouse of information.  California is the most advanced state in the country on this issue while simultaneously having some of the worst courts for abused women seeking custody.  The movement has grown tremendously over the last 10 years.  Media coverage of the issue tends to bend over backwards to provide “the other side’s” perspective; a recent show on Dr. Phil on the subject began with him announcing that these cases do not represent all such custody disputes.  When Dominique Lasseur made a documentary on the subject called “Breaking the Silence,” PBS was inundated with terrorizing calls and letters from “Fathers’ Rights” groups whom Mo appropriately calls male supremacists.  One of the fathers featured in the documentary threatened to sue Lasseur; these kinds of intimidation tactics tend to silence the media on the subject.  Particularly in dv cases that involve high profile, successful and prominent batterers, people refuse to believe that these powerful men are capable of such behavior.   

One of the great champions of battered mothers is the author and advocate Lundy Bancroft who has written several books on battered women and children.  His book “Why Does He Do That?  Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men” is considered the “bible” on the subject of abusive men.  A national organization has been developed called the Protective Parents’ Alliance that’s providing support to abused women and their children.  Mo has co-edited a new book with Barry Goldstein which comes out this month titled “Domestic Violence, Abuse and Child Custody:  Legal Strategies and Policy Issues;” it is a comprehensive compendium that will serve as a textbook on the subject.   

Dr. Hannah stressed the importance of court watches to bring attention to and call to account judges who are re-victimizing women and children by granting custody to batterers and dismissing the claims of abused women.  Discussion ensued about the downside of this when the numbers of “court watchers” are small; judges will often retaliate against protective mothers for bringing attention to their behavior and decisions.  It was generally agreed that there must be huge numbers of people involved which judges, courts and the media then cannot ignore.  Finally, Mo asserted that new studies are showing evidence of brain trauma in children who, along with their mothers, are subjected to violence and abuse.   

NOW Executive Vice President Bonnie Grabenhofer followed Dr. Hannah with a presentation on NOW’s priorities and a description of the “Ratify Women” theme.  This includes passage of the ERA and ratification of CEDAW.  States and cities are adopting resolutions in support of national ratification of CEDAW; most prominent among these efforts is San Francisco which passed a local CEDAW law, resulting in harsher dv sentences, more flexible work schedules and other improvements.  Bonnie discussed NOW’s CEDAW tool kit and it was suggested that battered mothers’ testimony be included as a resource.  Bonnie went on to provide an update on health care reform.  Other NOW initiatives include efforts to repeal the Hyde Amendment along with DOMA and protecting lgbt rights with the hate crimes prevention Act.  Finally, Bonnie discussed the Supreme Court with upcoming decisions on the Nebraska anti-abortion law and Proposition 8.  Several names that are being discussed as replacements for Justice Stevens include Alana Kagan, Diana Wood, Jennifer Granholm and Janet Napolitano.  Bonnie concluded with an explanation of NOW’s PAC and how it operates. 

Following elections for the NOW Board, a workshop was presented on the activities of the New York Young Feminist Task Force.  Elected to the NOW Board from the Northeast Region were Kathy Sloan and Marcia Pappas, with Marcia elected as Regional Director. 

Jerin Alam, the head of the Task Force, called on experienced feminists such as the NOW activists convened, to mentor a young feminist.  She also discussed the necessity for funding to carry out activities.  The New York Task Force is a very diverse group of 30, including feminist men.  Their activities have included a Paid Sick Days Rally in NYC with Gloria Steinem, anti-Stupak lobbying on Capitol Hill, an anti-Roman Polanski protest at a NYC film festival and exposing fake reproductive health clinics. 

Two members of the Task Force (Meghan Shalvoy and Arielle Cohen) provided a presentation on their project to expose the fake clinics which are prevalent on college campuses and in low income areas.  Posing as Planned Parenthood-like clinics, they are actually rabid Christian fundamentalist anti-abortion zealots who attempt to convince young women not to use contraception or have abortions and practice abstinence until marriage.  These “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” do not dispense contraceptives or provide abortions.  They provide grossly inaccurate information to young women who generally have no idea that these are not legitimate reproductive health centers.  They became ubiquitous with the Bush administration’s “abstinence only” funding and they are continuing to be funded under the Obama administration.  Under the recently passed health care reform legislation, $50 million per year will be provided to these groups for another 5 years.  The two Task Force members bravely went undercover to some of these “clinics” to document and expose these anti-abortionists.   

The second presentation was by Layla Love, a very gifted artist/photographer who travels all over the world photographing women and the realities they face.  Her photos have been published in book form and Gloria Steinem has purchased her photographs which she hangs in her home for inspiration.  Her work can be seen on 

The final presentation was given by Micah, a young male feminist, who discussed being a male feminist in a patriarchal, misogynist culture.  He stated there are 3 stages of becoming a male feminist: 
  1. Recognizing that the world is governed by patriarchy and its terrible effects on women and girls
  2. Understanding that women’s rights are human rights
  3. Accepting moral responsibility for the consequences of patriarchal thinking and behavior
Micah explained that he had been raised by two very progressive parents; his father declared early in his life that he was a feminist.  Micah naively assumed that everyone thought the same way until he got older and observed that the world does not function that way.  He cited the asymmetrical power structure that exists in the world between men and women, using examples such as pregnancy where there is practically no male responsibility for it and the overwhelming emphasis in society on physical/sexual attractiveness of women.  Young men must begin by speaking out and expressing their objection to sexist jokes.   

The conference concluded with final remarks by Austin Lin, long-time NOW activist from Cambridge. 
Reported by Kathy Sloan

Girls Investigate: Is the Media a Mirror?

Intriguing project by Women's Media Center

Girls Investigate: Our Views on Media features original commentary and video by young feminists who are thinking critically about different forms of media.
The third part of the four-part web series is Girls Investigate: Is the Media a Mirror?, by high school junior, Culley Schultz. Schultz explores the portrayal of women and girls in mainstream media. Through her investigation, she examines how her peers perceive this portrayal, while highlighting the ways in which the media lacks substantial, meaningful programming marketed to teenage girls.  

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spring Soiree, Tues, May 4, Immigration Rally, Sat, May 1, and more!



Celebrate Health Reform. Thank NYC grassroots activists and groups for their hard work!
Find out about other exciting initiatives - 
locally and globally.
Cafe Iguana, 240 W 54th St, between 8th and Broadway, 10019.
Great music! DJ Brother John and Sista Manisha. Huge selection of margaritas. Good food. Hosted by the National Physicians Alliance - NY. Co-hosted by NYCforChange.
RSVP: npa.spring@gmail.comSpread the word!


Fri, April 30, 7 p.m. -- STOP the closing of St. Vincent's Hospital! Come to this important community forum. Hudson Guild, 9th Ave. at 17th St.
Sat, May 1st, 11 a.m. -- IMMIGRATION RALLY, Foley Square, Lower Manhattan;; Legal Immigrants lost in health reform. Arizona is enacting the harshest anti-immigration law in history. Join the fight for fairness and respect.
Mon, May 3, 6:30 to 8:30PM - Health Reform Law TEACH-IN hosted by Greater NYCforChange. John Jay College, 445 West 59th St, Room 2200; For more info, contact; RSVP: here

Bring 'em on.

2010 is the year of reform - Health care, immigration, financial, education - Together, we can do anything. Together, we're making history.
Hope to see you Tuesday!
Nina Agrawal
National Physicians Alliance

Take Action: Stop the Global Gag Rule -- Permanently!

If you are having trouble viewing this email, please read it online.
NOW Action Alert
Support NOW's Work | April 29, 2010 | Tell a Friend
Action Needed
All NOW Actions
Take action NOW!
Stop the Global Gag Rule -- Permanently!
After taking action, please support our work!
Action Needed:
It is unconscionable to place worldwide access to comprehensive reproductive health services and accurate information about women's health care, including abortion care, in jeopardy every four to eight years. That is what the Global Gag Rule does. In one of his first acts in office President Obama issued an executive order to repeal the Global Gag Rule. President Clinton did the same thing -- only to have a succeeding president reverse it. That is why it is imperative that Congress pass the Global Democracy Promotion Act that would permanently prevent all future administrations from reinstating the Global Gag Rule.
Send a message to members of your congressional delegation urging their support of the Global Democracy Prevention Act.
The Global Gag Rule is a repressive U.S. policy that denies women and girls the fundamental right to exercise control over their reproductive lives. The rule restricts foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that receive U.S. family planning dollars from utilizing their own non-U.S. funds to perform legal abortion services, advocate for abortion law reform in their own countries, or to dispense accurate medical counseling on abortion or abortion referrals. In countries where women are still second-class citizens and live at an elevated risk of violence, economic insecurity, and rape, the Global Gag Rule is especially harmful and inhumane.
The Global Gag Rule was first imposed by the Reagan administration, then lifted when Bill Clinton came into office, then reinstated by George W. Bush, and now lifted once again by President Obama. Women who needed access to abortion and whose lives were unnecessarily put at risk because of the Global Gag Rule were the primary victims of this ideological tag of war. For their sake, we have to make sure that this time the Global Gag Rule doesn't make a comeback.
Take Action NOW!
The Global Gag Rule derives its name from the fact that it restricts freedom of speech on abortion-related issues and thus severely undermines women's health care by preventing access to abortion and even reducing access to contraceptives. A study by the Guttmacher Institute in 2009 found that almost 20 million unsafe abortions occur each year in 197 countries surveyed. Ensuring the permanent abolition of the Global Gag Rule would mean reduction of the 52 million unintended pregnancies and prevention of 75,000 deaths that result each year from unsafe abortions. Additionally, assuring access to contraceptives is vital to preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually-transmitted infections.
The Global Democracy Promotion Act (H.R. 4879/S. 311) was re-introduced in mid-March by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) to bar future administrations from unilaterally imposing the Global Gag Rule. Currently, advocates of the Global Democracy Promotion Act are looking for additional co-sponsors in the hope that critical mass can be reached for its inclusion in the FY 2011 State Foreign Operations appropriations bill. Earlier this month, nearly 300 organizations -- including NOW -- signed a letter to House and Senate leaders in support of the legislation.
We must pass this bill to make sure that tens of thousands of women do not die because of a cruel and inhumane policy imposed by the U.S. government. Please contact your representatives and ask them to co-sponsor the Global Democracy Promotion Act, so that women and girls can have secure access to reproductive health care. Your voice can make a difference in lives of many women.
TAKE ACTION NOW! Ask your members of Congress to co-sponsor the Global Democracy Promotion Act.

take action and then donate
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4/30 - 5/2: Meet National NOW President Terry O'Neill

Meet National NOW President Terry O'Neill

NOW President Terry O'Neill
will be spending three days in the Rochester, Seneca Falls, and Finger Lakes area
 April 30 - May 2, 2010
(For her full schedule go to
Unless noted otherwise, the events are free and open to the public.

Friday, April 30:
10 - 11:30 am   Terry will speak on the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the ERA at the UR Interfaith Chapel Sanctuary
1 - 2 pm   Terry will be the featured guest on WXXI Radio 1370 Connection
7 - 9 pm   Join a discussion with Terry on a variety of subjects at a Rochester NOW meeting, First Unitarian Church, 220 S. Winton Rd.

Saturday, May 1:
Join Terry on a Feminist Finger Lakes Wine Tour, 10am - 4 pm. The bus leaves from Seneca Falls, NY.
Cost for non-NOW members $60 for non-NOW members.
 This includes a NOW yearly membership, a years membership to the Women's National Hall of Fame, a complimentary tour of the Hall of Fame, and the Bus ride.  
($40 for NOW members-Inncludes membership to Women's Hall of Fame, tour of the Hall and the Bus ride.

Sunday, May 2:
Brunch at the Susan B. Anthony House for college, university, high school students and young feminists and their teachers. Registration required.

For more information about all these events, including registration information, go to

Please pass this one to all of your like minded friends.

Female Bangladeshi Forces Carry Hope to Haiti

The following makes me so proud, especially as a Bangladeshi woman who always knew about the incredible strength the women in my ancestral country possess.

Jerin Alam
National NOW Young Feminist Task Force
NOW – NYS Young Feminist Task Force

Womens eNews
Covering Women's Issues -
Changing Women's Lives

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Female Bangladeshi Forces Carry Hope to Haiti
By Amy Lieberman
WeNews correspondent
Thursday, April 29, 2010
A female U.N. police force from Bangladesh is bringing hope of better protection to Haitian women in makeshift camps for those displaced by the earthquake. Women's activists in one camp say it's not enough. They need help urgently.
A Haitian woman and her baby stand outside their tent at an internally displaced person camp in Croix des Bouquets, Haiti.UNITED NATIONS (WOMENSENEWS)--Marie Eramithe Delva's 17-year-old daughter narrowly escaped a rape attempt in one of Haiti's largest internally displaced persons camps at the beginning of March. The 42-year-old mother and grassroots activist tried to report the assault and the attacker's subsequent threats.
A police officer just laughed and told her it was the problem of Rene Preval, president of the country that on Jan. 12 suffered an earthquake that killed approximately 230,000 people and left upwards of 1.3 million homeless.
"They did nothing," Delva told Women's eNews in a phone interview, assisted by a Creole translator from the camp Champ-de-Mars, in Port-au-Prince, home to roughly 50,000 people. "The only help we found came from members of the camp."
Today or tomorrow an all-female policing unit is journeying from Bangladesh to protect and serve as allies to Haitian women, said Gerardo Chaumont, police commissioner of the U.N.'s Stabilization Mission in Haiti.
Exactly how they will accomplish that, however, is hard to ascertain from official interviews.
The Haiti U.N. mission's police spokesperson Fred Blaise said the new female policing unit will be stationed at the U.N. headquarters in Delta Camp, in Tabarre, just north of Port-au-Prince. The policewomen will work on a rotating basis inside the U.N.'s approximately 700 makeshift camps for internally displaced persons, where they will be responsible for crowd control, disturbances and other regular duties, just as their male counterparts, he said in an e-mail interview.
That doesn't necessarily mean immediate or direct help for Delva, a co-coordinator of KOFAVIV, a Haitian grassroots female empowerment organization.
"What we need is security," Delva said. "Right now we have none and the rapes are happening not only at night, but in the daytime."

Tracking Sex Assault Victims

She and her partner, Malya Villard Appolon, 50, both say they will continue tracking victims of sex assault in Champ-de-Mars and other camps for displaced Haitian women and girls.
Delva and Villard live together with 18 extended family members, including their six and eight children, respectively, in one tent. They work daily to document reports of sexual violence in the crowded, poorly lit camps, which lack private bathing facilities. They then guide the women to medical clinics and police posts to report the crime, a vain effort they often find.
"Almost every day we are taking testimony of someone who has been raped," said Delva through translator Beverly Bell, an American social justice activist who has worked closely with the activist group for years. "Every day in the hospital we find someone who has been raped."
Chaumont denied that Haitian police are unwilling to aid civilians and report and follow up on cases of sexual assault.
"Many police also suffered the loss of families so at the beginning, following the earthquake, they were focused on saving their own relatives and helping themselves" the police commissioner told Women's eNews. "But that isn't the case anymore. Security is under control. We have police posts stationed, with women there, where you can go and report these crimes."
When pressed about Delva's case specifically, Chaumont said he has not heard of any such disregarded incidents, but that doesn't mean they don't exist, he conceded.
Relief and reconstruction efforts are underway, but sexual violence has worsened in the temporary housing camps, U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Asha Rose-Migiro said in an April 15 press conference in response to a question from Women's eNews.

Raising Cautious Hope

Malya Villard Appolon and Marie Eramithe Delva outside their tent in Champ-de-Mars, Haiti.Amid the deteriorating situation, Bangladesh's mostly female U.N. policing unit--130 women supported by 30 men--is raising cautious hope.
Edmond Mulet, head of the Haiti U.N. mission, said he hopes the Bangladeshi troops will prove as helpful as the U.N.'s first all-female unit, which came from India, was in Liberia, where rape was used as a systematic weapon of war during the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Bangladeshi troops will be operating in a post-disaster zone, not a post-conflict zone as was the case in Liberia. But officials say that in addition to sex assault in the camps, Haiti has a rooted history of sexual assault that merits increasing women's protection.
The three-year-old all-female units in Liberia are widely credited with encouraging women to report on sex assault.
"It's a whole world of difference for women who have been victimized to see women police, and we see the reporting of cases of gender-based sexual crimes increase when they are there," said Lee Angela Biason, a gender affairs associate for the U.N. Department of Peacekeeping, in a recent interview.
The Liberian all-female deployment has also been credited with providing women with a positive role model. An example of that is the slight but significant increase in women's participation in Liberia's national security forces. In 2008 women constituted almost 13 percent of Liberia's national police force and by the following year, 2009, the figure was up to 15 percent, according to the U.N. mission in Liberia.

Increase in Female Peacekeepers

Female peacekeepers from Austria, Rwanda and Nigeria, as well as an additional female unit from India, are slated to be deployed to various countries in the coming months, Biason said.
Women currently make up 6.5 percent of U.N. peacekeeping forces, but a recruitment effort aims for 20 percent by 2014, Biason said.
At Delva's Champ-de-Mars camp, KOFAVIV organizers--all victims of sexual assault themselves--found in a recent informal survey an average of 15.3 incidents of rape in the two months, per camp, following the earthquake.
Bell, the American activist, noted that almost none of the organizers are literate and that their work cannot replace formal documentation, which does not exist.
The earthquake destroyed the formal data system for tracking and reporting cases of gender-based sexual violence that the United Nations Development Fund for Women, or UNIFEM, was developing.
Bell said it's hard to know how these numbers would compare to an intensive assessment, but the testimony of girls and women she recently met reveal an overwhelming atmosphere of fear in the camps.
"I spoke with a woman who sleeps with a machete under her blanket, in case men come after her 18-year-old daughter who sleeps next to her," Bell said. "I heard from a woman in the general hospital of a 1-½-year-old baby whose mother's boyfriend raped her."
Delva says her group is continuing its difficult work in the camps, as she also tries to find a way for her family and herself out of the tent city.
Appolon, her co-coordinator, said they have a responsibility to defend girls and women who are living in the camps. "The police are crazy and laugh when we tell them these things, but we cannot stop doing what we are doing. There is no other way," she said.
Amy Lieberman is a journalist based out of the U.N. Secretariat, where she writes primarily for a Brazilian newswire.

For more information:

Lambi Fund of Haiti:
Other Worlds:

Don’t be confused about health reform – come to a teach-in!

A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 55% of Americans say they are confused about the law and 56% say they don't yet have enough information to understand how it will affect them personally.
Is this you? It doesn't have to be! Come to one of the health care reform presentations I'm giving next week!

Monday, May 3 from 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

John Jay College / CUNY
445 West 59th Street, Room 2200
New York, NY 10019
Hosted by Arlene Geiger, Upper West Side Baby Boomers for Obama's Agenda
RSVP here

Wednesday, May 5 from 7:45 PM - 9:45 PM

St. Luke's Church
133-21 232nd Street
Laurelton, Queens, NY 11413
Hosted by Councilman James Sanders and Queens County for Change
RSVP here

Reminder – March for Immigration Reform this Saturday, May 1st, at 11 AM

Assemble at the StoryCorps booth at Foley Square (on the corner of Worth & Centre)
We are united—the employed and the unemployed, the documented and the undocumented, the organized and the unorganized, the people of diverse races and ethnicities who live and work in New York City. We are marching to demand an economic policy that supports rather than destroys the lives of the working-class majority, one that supports rather than attacks the traditional source of New York's wealth—immigrants. RSVP here or on MyBo
Can't make the rally? On Friday, the New York Immigration Coalition is sponsoring a Call-in Day to Senator Schumer: 212-486-4430
Every day without immigration reform, immigrant communities are terrorized and families are torn apart – from Arizona to Long Island. Every day without immigration reform, over 1,000 immigrants are deported. Senator Schumer promised us an immigration reform bill. We need him to deliver, now more than ever.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sign Petition Denouncing the Republicans’ Sexist Attacks asking Betty Sutton to be put back in the kitchen

Betty Sutton for Congress
Thank you for your support and your encouragement. Yesterday, I posted a blog on Huffington Post asking for your help in sending a message to the GOP that they should not devalue women to further their own political ambitions. We set a goal of 15,000 signatures and in less than 24 hours, you joined more than 9,500 people in our call.

Now, the campaign of one of my opponents has responded.  They actually said that the thousands of you who are appalled by the GOP's statement about putting me "back in the kitchen" are expressing "fake outrage."

Well, help me in showing just how "fake" our outrage is.

Forward this e-mail to at least one person who, like you, values the contributions women make in our society both in and outside the home and encourage them to sign our petition denouncing the Republicans' sexist attacks.

You can also share our petition on Facebook and Twitter.
By now, many of you know the story. Last week, a young woman came to me with a flyer sent out by the Medina County GOP to more than 15,000 households.  One statement stood out amongst the rest: "Let's take Betty Sutton out of the House and put her back in the Kitchen."

Like you, and like the young woman who brought me the newsletter, I was appalled and offended by this blatantly sexist comment. But it is not about me, it is about the signal the GOP is sending to girls and young women everywhere: "Don't strive too high, don't reach for the stars, because
if you do, we will put you back in the only place we think you really belong."
Ask them to sign because women, everyday, sacrifice and struggle to care for a family, compete for jobs that allow them to put food on the table, volunteer their time to their communities, and so much more. It's about time the GOP understood this.

Please forward this e-mail and encourage your friends and family to sign our petition denouncing the Republicans' sexist attacks.

Thank you again for your support and the many encouraging words expressed in emails, with contributions, and with comments.

Betty Sutton

P.S. Your overwhelming response was covered on the local news last night.  Watch the clip here.  Thank you again for your support.

Paid for and authorized by Betty Sutton for Congress

1700 W Market Street, #155
Akron, OH 44313

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Monday, April 26, 2010

N.Y. Gov.'s Protection-Order Probe Spotlights Risks

Marcia Pappas, NOW NY State President, was one of the first to speak out against the Governor's actions.

Womens eNews
Covering Women's Issues -
Changing Women's Lives

Monday, April 26, 2010
N.Y. Gov.'s Protection-Order Probe Spotlights Risks
By Tony Richards
WeNews correspondent
Monday, April 26, 2010
The protection order at the heart of an investigation of N.Y. Gov. Paterson lifts the lid on widespread difficulties surrounding this key piece of paper. Few victims of domestic violence ever obtain protection orders, an advocacy group finds.
N.Y. Gov. David A. Paterson on CNN's Larry King Live.(WOMENSENEWS)--A central question in the ongoing investigation of New York Gov. David A. Paterson is whether he pressured Sherr-una Booker to stop pursuing a protection order against his aide David W. Johnson.
While that answer is not yet known, safety advocates do know a lot about the ways those seeking protection orders can be stymied.
Only about 20 percent of the 1.5 million people victimized by intimate partner violence every year obtain protection orders, according to a 2000 study cited on the Web site of the Denver-based National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Even when victims do obtain these orders, it's no guarantee they'll actually receive protection.
"Approximately one-half of the orders obtained by women against intimate partners who physically assaulted them were violated," the coalition says on its site.
Sandra Park, a New York City-based staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union's Women's Rights Project, says police often do not take domestic violence calls seriously.
"There's still this underlying notion that violence perpetrated within the home or within the marriage is somehow acceptable because it's within the context of the relationship," Park said. "I think that [notion] is certainly rooted in our history of husbands having control over the marriage and the family."
Significant and unrecognized barriers for women in accessing protective orders were identified in a September 2009 study funded by the National Institute of Justice in Washington, D.C. The study interviewed more than 200 women in Kentucky who had obtained protective orders, as well as law enforcement officials and victims' advocates.
The study focused exclusively on Kentucky, but Rob Valente, general counsel for the National Network to End Domestic Violence in Washington, D.C., said it also revealed hurdles that domestic violence victims face in other states.
"When I read the results of the Kentucky study, it seemed remarkably consistent with my experiences," Valente said. "This really gets it. They've really captured what's going on."

Protection Order Restrictions

Kentucky state law does not allow victims to file for protection orders against an abuser whom they were only dating, according to the report. Instead, they must have been married to their abuser, have lived with the abuser or had a child in common with the abuser.
The American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence's Web site says Kentucky legislation is "pending to include current or former dating partners."
It is often difficult to serve the abuser with notice of a protection order, without which the order cannot be enforced. Speaking broadly about these challenges, Park, the American Civil Liberties Union staff attorney, cited factors including abusers who dodge service and the cost to victims of getting the notice served.
Courthouse employees and law-enforcement officials may also be uncooperative with petitioners and even try to discourage them from filing for protection orders in the first place, the Kentucky report finds.
In a section of the report focused on victims who have filed and dropped multiple protection orders, the authors find that judges frequently view multiple petitions for a protective order by the same victim as undercutting that person's credibility. Abusers with connections to judges often try to exploit those connections or even offer bribes.
The report also listed "fear of retaliation, no faith in the justice system, lack of resources or support, embarrassment, fear of being blamed or not believed and fear of child protective services involvement" as factors standing in the way of domestic violence victims seeking and obtaining protection orders.
Valente, at the National Network to End Domestic Violence, said many victims find the legal process intimidating and time consuming.
"The follow-up is hard. A lot of people in a very difficult situation will go out and get that protective order and then life overwhelms them," Valente said. "A lot of these folks are really struggling with balancing work, taking care of their kids, taking care of other obligations in their life. And court isn't very flexible."

Intimated and Reluctant

Park said that most victims applying for protection orders do not have a lawyer with them, which can make going to court all the more intimidating. Those without U.S. citizenship, Park said, may be particularly reluctant to seek protection.
"A lot of immigrants will not want to seek out court assistance," Park said, "because they're afraid that a court is an unsafe place for them if they're undocumented."
Another factor frightening victims from seeking protection orders is housing discrimination.
Park said that landlords sometimes use whether someone has had a protection order as a criterion to screen applicants. She added that many towns, especially in the Midwest, are passing ordinances that evict tenants if they call police to their home more than three times in a year; many of these ordinances, Park said, do not take into account whether the calls were deemed to be justified or not.
"It's being seen as a way to help with town budgets on police services," Park said, "but we certainly think it's problematic in this context."
Laws governing protection orders vary from state to state. For instance, according to the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence, several states do not grant protection orders for adult "dating violence." Most states do grant such orders, but in some instances there are significant caveats; in Montana, for example, the dating partners must be of the opposite sex.
The length of final protection orders in many states is one year or less. In many states, judges have considerable discretion regarding the length of the order.
"Despite three decades of research on various aspects of protective orders," the Kentucky report noted, "there is still no comprehensive picture of how they are implemented in various jurisdictions across the country or their effectiveness in providing increased safety for partner violence victims."
After receiving a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in 2006, Tony Richards served for three years as the editor in chief of the Highbridge Horizon, a publication covering a section of the South Bronx. He has written about a broad range of topics, including arts and culture, education, housing and police brutality and has a particular interest in issues of human rights and social justice.

For more information:

State-by-state information on obtaining protective orders,
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
The Kentucky Civil Protective Order Study: A Rural and Urban Multiple Perspective Study of Protective Order Violation Consequences, Responses, and Costs

France and Belgium Move Toward Veil Bans

The Weekly Feminist News Digest is a service of the Feminist Majority Foundation
Apr 23 2010
Mississippi, Louisiana, Moving to Ban State-Backed Insurance Abortion Coverage
The Mississippi and Louisiana state legislatures are both moving to pass legislation that would ban abortion coverage in each state's respective health insurance exchange being created as a result of the new federal health care package...
Apr 22 2010
France and Belgium Move Toward Veil Bans
French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced yesterday that he plans to introduce a ban prohibiting women from wearing a full veil in public...
Apr 21 2010
Oklahoma Senate Passes Five New Anti-Choice Bills
The Oklahoma Senate Health and Human Services Committee passed five new abortion restriction bills Monday...
Apr 20 2010
Obama Administration to Rescind Bush-Era Title IX Sports Regulation
The Obama Administration will rescind a Bush-era sports policy regulation on Title IX...
Apr 23 2010 - Missouri State Senate Passes Expanded Abortion Bill

Apr 22 2010 - Tennessee Legislators Approve Ban on State-Backed Insurance Abortion Coverage

Apr 21 2010 - Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Hastings Law Student Group Discrimination Case

Apr 20 2010 - Dorothy Height Remembered for Her Many Contributions to the Women's Movement

Apr 20 2010 - Annual Equal Pay Day to Recognize Ledbetter Act, Paycheck Fairness Act

Call for Submissions: RAINN: End the Silence Around Sexual Assault Campaign

Click to view this email in a browser

Call to Action!

Dear Supporters,


End the Silence: Call for Submissions!

End the Silence Campaign is getting ready to publish its first print publication! This journal will feature stories, poetry, and art by survivors of sexual violence and their friends and loved ones.

Please send your submissions of ORIGINAL, UNPUBLISHED work to Please include "Print Submission" in the subject of your email. Also, please indicate whether you would like your full name to appear in the journal, first name only, or whether you would like your work to remain anonymous.

The Submission Deadline is May 1, 2010. Online Submissions Always Open! They will contact you if your work has been chosen to appear in the print journal.

We hope you choose to submit,



Rallies this week for Immigration Reform, Wall Street Reform & more!

From Greater NYC for Change:
Arizona passed an anti-immigrant law that threatens to 'undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans.'
The Citizens United decision opened the floodgates to corporate donations in political campaigns.
A tone-deaf Wall Street is resisting long overdue financial regulatory reforms.
Well, don't get mad – get organized! Come to these events this week and help us keep our country moving forward!

Wednesday, April 28th, 7:45 - 9 PM

The Price of Democracy: Corporate Money in Politics

NYU Law School, Lipton Hall, 108 West 3rd St.
Come see a vigorous debate about corporate cash in our democracy in the wake of the Citizens United decision. Featuring special guests State Senator Daniel Squadron, campaign finance expert Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, and election lawyer/professor Jerry H. Goldfeder. (Co-sponsored by Living Liberally, Act Now!, Manhattan Young Democrats and many, many others.)
RSVP on 

Thursday, April 29th, 4 - 6 PM

March On Wall Street

Starting at Chambers Street and Broadway
Join AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and thousands of union and community activists from across the country marching down Broadway into the heart of the financial district in support of Wall Street reform. RSVP on 

Saturday, May 1st, 11 AM

March & Rally for Labor, Immigrant Rights & Jobs for All!

Assemble at 11 AM at Foley Square - Worth Street (between Centre & Lafayette Streets)
We are united—the employed and the unemployed, the documented and the undocumented, the organized and the unorganized, the people of diverse races and ethnicities who live and work in New York City. We are marching to demand an economic policy that supports rather than destroys the lives of the working-class majority, one that supports rather than attacks the traditional source of New York's wealth—immigrants.
RSVP here or on MyBo