Marines have battled misogyny for years. Will it be different this time?

Marine Times reports: Although the Marine Corps was quick to condemn the secretive “Marines United” Facebook group, the Corps’ leadership has known for years about websites that encourage misogyny and cyber bullying of female Marines, veterans and other women.

Four years ago, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., warned then-Commandant Gen. James Amos that male Marines were harassing their female counterparts on Facebook pages.

“Back in 2013 then-Commandant Gen. Amos wrote to me saying, ‘We share your indignation,’ regarding deplorable images on social media that denigrate women in the United States Marine Corps,” Speier said in a Wednesday speech on the House floor.

“They were words — just words. I fear military leadership will say anything to placate Congress and an outraged public but then do nothing.”

While the Marine Corps is moving rapidly to deal with the fallout from the scandal, it is unclear whether the Corps will have any more success than it has in the past in stopping cyber bullying and online harassment.

The latest revelations have sparked a criminal investigation amid allegations that Marines and others were posting “revenge porn” and encouraging sexual assault, potential violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The potential crimes were first reported by Marine Corps veteran Thomas Brennan and published by the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal on March 4.

Speier is now calling on Defense Secretary James Mattis, a retired Marine general, to ensure that the Marines involved with “Marines United” face consequences for their actions.

“That means heads should roll,” she said. “Talk is cheap. Action is what is needed for the integrity of the military. Survivors must be supported, and that will only happen if those bad Marines are drummed out of the Corps — with no exceptions.” [Continue reading…]

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International Women’s Day

Phoebe Lett writes: On Wednesday, protesters around the world will celebrate International Women’s Day by showing their economies what a day without women’s work, paid or unpaid, is like.

Inspired by two strikes last October — one successfully quashing a Polish parliament bill banning abortion, the other drawing tens of thousands to protest violence against women and girls in Argentina — organizers in more than 50 countries have coordinated a day of global action, including strikes, rallies and other gatherings.

The United States strike will focus on “broadening the definition of violence against women,” says Sarah Leonard, spokesperson for the strike. In addition to protesting domestic, sexual and physical violence against women, Tithi Bhattacharya, a member of the strike’s organizing committee, says the strike on Wednesday focuses on rejecting the “systemic violence of an economic system that is rapidly leaving women behind.”

“This is the day to emphasize the unity between work done in the so-called formal economy and the domestic sphere, the public sphere and the private sphere, and how most working women have to straddle both,” says Ms. Bhattacharya. “Labor is understood to be work only at the point of production, but as women we know that both society and policy makers invisibilize the work that women do.” The strike calls for women to withhold labor, paid or unpaid, from the United States economy to show how important their contributions are. [Continue reading…]

Diddy Mymin Kahn and Sister Aziza Kidane write: International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world. Most often, we take the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the great or exceptional women among us. But this day also offers the opportunity for us to recognize and celebrate the achievements of arguably one of the most invisible and marginalized groups of women in Israeli society: the 12,216 African asylum-seeking women in Israel who have fled crushing persecution and devastating war at home.

They have all faced and continue to face a range of challenges. A large proportion of these women have been victims of severe trauma, including torture, rape and the inhumanity of human trafficking. Many are single mothers, who face abject poverty and social exclusion and isolation. They work multiple low-wage jobs, and are forced to put their children in inadequate and overcrowded nurseries in their attempts to survive. Their attempts at survival occur largely in a pervading atmosphere of xenophobia and racism. None of these women have been granted refugee status by the state, and consequently none of them have any social rights – little to no access to welfare and health rights, and no permission to work.

In the face of all this, asylum-seeking women in Israel should be congratulated, celebrated and even emulated for their astounding resilience. Their strength is reflected in their life stories: fleeing the only homes they have known; their strength to survive unspeakable trauma, aggression and hostility; and their strength to continue each day despite the many adversities they face.

There are women in the community who despite all they have faced, fight to fulfill themselves and contribute to their community. Be they community leaders, interpreters, nursery school teachers, entrepreneurs, cooks and helpers. These are women like P, who was brutally gang-raped in the Sinai desert and subsequently gave birth to a child with severe disabilities; T, who had open-heart surgery a month after her baby was born; L, who fled Eritrea leaving all of her children, was diagnosed with cancer and despite initial treatment has no access to ongoing health treatment; B, whose husband abandoned her and her children, leaving her to fend for herself; K, whose child died tragically and did not receive a single day of compassionate leave.

But rather than being respected, they are mostly dehumanized, delegitimized, forgotten and ignored. Most Israelis are entirely unsympathetic, focusing on them as criminal infiltrators seeking economic advantage. Really? Does this sort of thinking really reflect the reality? This is how Jewish refugees in Europe were once viewed – over the past two generations they have more than proved this kind of thinking to be grossly wrong.

These asylum-seeking women have lessons to teach about resilience. These women can contribute to a stronger and more enduring future for our entire community. We should be encouraging and supporting women like this rather than adding to their burdens. Moreover, these women have a very real role to play in building the future. They play a pivotal role in the health, wellbeing and education of their children. By enabling asylum-seeking women and strengthening their resilience, we enable a whole generation of refugee children who right now, at this point in time, are not going anywhere. [Continue reading…]

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Misogynist-in-chief: Trump takes swift action to restrict women’s rights globally

Reuters reports: U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday reinstated a global gag rule that bans U.S.-funded groups around the world from discussing abortion, a move that was widely expected but nonetheless dismayed women’s rights advocates.

The rule, which affects American non-governmental organizations working abroad, is one that incoming presidents have used to signal their positions on abortion rights. It was created under U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1984.

Trump, an abortion opponent, signed the reinstatement directive at a ceremony in the White House on his fourth day in office. Former President Barack Obama had lifted the gag rule in 2009 when he took office.

“Women’s health and rights are now one of the first casualties of the Trump administration,” said Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity in Washington. [Continue reading…]

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Millions join women’s marches in an historic international rebuke of Donald Trump

 

The Washington Post reports: Millions of women gathered in Washington and cities around the country and the world Saturday to mount a roaring rejoinder to the inauguration of President Donald Trump. What started as a Facebook post by a Hawaii retiree became a historic international rebuke of new president that packed cities large and small — from London to Los Angeles, Paris to Park City, Utah, Miami to Melbourne, Australia.

In Chicago, the demonstration was overwhelmed by its own size, forcing officials to curtail its planned march when the crowd threatened to swamp the planned route.

The Washington organizers, who originally sought a permit for a gathering of 200,000, said Saturday that as many as a half million people participated. [Continue reading…]

The Washington Post reports: By early afternoon, the number of people who had taken Metro Saturday was approaching half a million, Metro said.

More than 470,000 people had taken Metro by 1 p.m. Saturday, in what officials say is an unprecedented number of riders for a weekend. The crowds surpassed the ridership on Inauguration Day, and even ridership on a regular weekday. [Continue reading…]

 

USA Today reports: According to a sister march webpage, an estimated 2.6 million people took part in 673 marches in all 50 states and 32 countries, from Belarus to New Zealand — with the largest taking place in Washington.

The crowds were so large in some cities that marching was almost impossible. In Chicago, organizers halted the march and rallied at Grant Park instead as crowds swelled to 150,000, although thousands still marched. In New York City, the number was 200,000; in Boston, media reported more than 100,000 people marching in Boston Common. In Oakland, Calif., police estimated that about 60,000 people took part in the women’s march. San Francisco’s rally was scheduled to begin at 3 pm local time, with a march at 5 pm.

In D.C., the huge crowds come a day after empty space was spotted on the National Mall ahead of Trump’s inauguration speech and bare bleachers were noticeable along the inaugural parade route. [Continue reading…]

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Why hundreds of thousands are joining the Women’s March on Saturday


As the Trump inauguration boycott escalates, it’s interesting that Trump would highlight the imminent arrival in Washington of Bikers for Trump — his reason, no doubt, that he hopes to scare away protesters. Somehow I doubt that a few old farts on Harleys will have that effect.

Rolling Stone reports: A few weeks before the Women’s March on Washington, Linda Sarsour and Carmen Perez, two of the four national co-chairs of this weekend’s planned demonstration, appeared on CNN Newsroom. “There are signs that [Donald Trump] is listening, right? He has nominated four women out of 23 positions to serve in his administration,” said host Carol Costello. “Ivanka Trump supposedly is going to have this big role in the Trump administration, as far as promoting women’s issues like child care. So does that give you hope that he is listening?”

This premise – that women, who represent 51 percent of the population, should be grateful for 17 percent representation in Trump’s cabinet – gets to the heart of why hundreds of thousands of women and men are poised to descend on Washington, D.C., and cities around the world, in protest Saturday.

Those who plan to march are not grateful; they are not satisfied. They’re rightfully insulted by the election of an unrepentant misogynist who’s filling his administration with more of the same – and, to Costello’s point, they’re insulted that in August, when Trump was asked which women he’d invite to help him run the country, the single name he could come up with was his daughter’s. Leaving aside the anti-nepotism laws Ivanka would violate by joining her father’s administration (laws her husband may already be in violation of), many women also recognize that she’s no hero to them, as evidenced by her woefully inadequate child care plan, which does particularly little to address the needs of low-income mothers.

What the organizers of the Women’s March will tell you is that the upcoming action is not about Trump; it is about addressing the systemic inequities he highlights with every decision he makes.

The march, the organizers declared via an ambitious platform released last week, is for gender equality, racial equality, LGBTQIA equality, economic justice and reproductive freedom; for equal pay, paid family leave, labor protections, clean water and air and access to public lands; and for an end to violence against women, police brutality and racial profiling. If that seems like a lot, well, that’s the point.

Sarsour, who serves as executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, tells Rolling Stone that the message the marchers want to send is that “from climate justice to racial justice to immigrant rights, reproductive rights, Native rights, we are united. We are committing to work together.

“We think that that hasn’t happened in a very clear way in a long time – bringing all the movements together and … saying, ‘We are watching you. We are ready. We are fired up. And we’re ready to fight back and protect our communities,'” she says. [Continue reading…]

More details on the Women’s March on Washington here and on the 616 “sister marches” here.

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Women defy Saudi restrictions in music video

 

The New York Times reports: Three women in black niqabs covering their hair and faces skateboard down a street, their scarves and colorful dresses flowing behind them. A catchy tune with provocative lyrics — “May all men sink into oblivion” and “If only God would rid us of men” — plays as the women alternately glide on in-line skates, cruise on scooters and parade down the street in vibrant outfits, all things taboo for women in Saudi Arabia.

The music video has rapidly spread across social media, viewed more than three million times since it was uploaded to YouTube two weeks ago, and it has prompted debate over the role of women in Saudi society. [Continue reading…]

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Another Arab awakening is looming, warns a UN report

The Economist reports: In December 2010 Egypt’s cabinet discussed the findings of their National Youth Survey. Only 16% of 18-29-year-olds voted in elections, it showed; just 2% registered for volunteer work. An apathetic generation, concluded the ministers, who returned to twiddling their thumbs. Weeks later, Egypt’s youth spilled onto the streets and toppled President Hosni Mubarak.

The UN’s latest Arab Development Report, published on November 29th, shows that few lessons have been learnt. Five years on from the revolts that toppled four Arab leaders, regimes are ruthlessly tough on dissent, but much less attentive to its causes.

As states fail, youth identify more with their religion, sect or tribe than their country. In 2002, five Arab states were mired in conflict. Today 11 are. By 2020, predicts the report, almost three out of four Arabs could be “living in countries vulnerable to conflict”.

Horrifyingly, although home to only 5% of the world’s population, in 2014 the Arab world accounted for 45% of the world’s terrorism, 68% of its battle-related deaths, 47% of its internally displaced and 58% of its refugees. War not only kills and maims, but destroys vital infrastructure accelerating the disintegration.

The Arab youth population (aged 15-29) numbers 105m and is growing fast, but unemployment, poverty and marginalisation are all growing faster. The youth unemployment rate, at 30%, stands at more than twice the world’s average of 14%. Almost half of young Arab women looking for jobs fail to find them (against a global average of 16%).

Yet governance remains firmly the domain of an often hereditary elite. “Young people are gripped by an inherent sense of discrimination and exclusion,” says the report, highlighting a “weakening [of] their commitment to preserving government institutions.” Many of those in charge do little more than pay lip-service, lumping youth issues in with toothless ministries for sports. “We’re in a much worse shape than before the Arab Spring,” says Ahmed al-Hendawi, a 32-year-old Jordanian and the UN’s envoy for youth. [Continue reading…]

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Barbara Kingsolver: End this misogynistic horror show. Put Hillary Clinton in the White House

Barbara Kingsolver writes: When I was a girl of 11 I had an argument with my father that left my psyche maimed. It was about whether a woman could be the president of the US.

How did it even start? I was no feminist prodigy, just a shy kid who preferred reading to talking; politics weren’t my destiny. Probably, I was trying to work out what was possible for my category of person – legally, logistically – as one might ask which kinds of terrain are navigable for a newly purchased bicycle. Up until then, gender hadn’t darkened my mental doorway as I followed my older brother into our daily adventures wearing hand-me-down jeans.

But in adolescence it dawned on me I’d be spending my future as a woman, and when I looked around, alarm bells rang. My mother was a capable, intelligent, deeply unhappy woman who aspired to fulfilment as a housewife but clearly disliked the job. I saw most of my friends’ mothers packed into that same dreary boat. My father was a country physician, admired and rewarded for work he loved. In my primordial search for a life coach, he was the natural choice.

I probably started by asking him if girls could go to college, have jobs, be doctors, tentatively working my way up the ladder. His answers grew more equivocal until finally we faced off, Dad saying, “No” and me saying, “But why not?” A female president would be dangerous. His reasons vaguely referenced menstruation and emotional instability, innate female attraction to maternity and aversion to power, and a general implied ickyness that was beneath polite conversation.

I ended that evening curled in bed with my fingernails digging into my palms and a silent howl tearing through me that lasted hours and left me numb. [Continue reading…]

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Trump receives praise from Ayatollah Khamenei

Masoud Kazemzadeh writes: Although for many Americans, [Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei’s words [in a recent speech in which he described Donald Trump as a truth-teller] may appear as straightforward recitation of Trump’s words, they are perceived by the Iranian public as unusual words of praise of Trump. Khamenei usually uses terribly harsh words for the officials of the U.S. whom he regards as “the Great Satan.”

For example, in this very speech, Khamenei refers to American officials (e.g., Secretary John Kerry and President Obama) who are involved in negotiations with Iran in the following words: “The other side is a liar, is a deceiver, is a breaker of agreements, is a back stabber, while is shaking your hand with one hand, in their own words is holding bunch of stones in the other hand to hit the head of the other side.”

Why is Khamenei, who has been using terribly harsh words for President Obama, making such relatively complimentary remarks about Trump?

First, Khamenei hates Hillary Clinton. The ideology of the Islamic Republic and its constitution are explicitly and extremely misogynist. The fundamentalist constitution has enshrined de jure discrimination against women: top leadership positions are explicitly reserved for males only.

A female as the President of the sole super power, poses a terribly powerful threat to the ideological justifications of the fundamentalist regime. The fundamentalist regime already suffers from serious legitimation crises, particularly among women. A female president of the U.S., particularly one who has said “Women’s rights are human rights, human rights are women’s rights,” presents a serious threat.

Second, Hillary Clinton, while Secretary of State in 2009-2010, publically supported the pro-democracy Green Movement. This stood in stark contrast to the almost total silence of President Obama, who privileged his open and secret outreach to Khamenei to the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people. [Continue reading…]

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What Donald Trump could learn from Israeli journalist Ari Shavit on facing allegations of sexual assault

The Times of Israel reports: American Jewish reporter Danielle Berrin said Sunday she was “grateful” that Israeli journalist Ari Shavit, whom she has accused of sexual assault in a 2014 encounter, published a statement taking full responsibility for his actions.

“I’m grateful for Ari Shavit’s powerful, honest statement,” Berrin wrote on Twitter. She had rejected a previous statement from Shavit, who she said assaulted her and tried to persuade her to come up to his hotel room during an interview in 2014.

“His resolution to do ‘heshbon hanefesh’ — an accounting of the soul — is admirable,” she wrote after Shavit issued his mea culpa and resigned his posts at the Haaretz newspaper and Channel 10’s news program.

Berrin, a senior writer and columnist at the Los Angeles Jewish Journal, published an article last week detailing how an unnamed Israeli journalist, whom she described as a husband and father, assaulted her. Shavit later acknowledged he was the man in question.

The announcement of his resignation came hours after the Forward newspaper published a fresh sexual harassment accusation against Shavit.[Continue reading…]

Danielle Berrin wrote: I remember staring at his scotch glass.

The swirling, caramel-colored liquid caught the dim light of the hotel lobby, reflected it back to me. The light was a relief from the glare of his dark eyes, his black hair, the lecherous look on his face.

I’d agreed to meet him, an accomplished journalist from Israel, at his hotel around 10 p.m. He was in the United States only for 48 hours, and told me he was completely booked during the daytime. I believed him. Back then, the book he’d written was among several titles having an impact on the Jewish conversation, and many local community leaders wanted to meet with him. If I was going to be a part of this conversation, this was my opportunity.

But almost as soon as I arrived and placed my recorder on the table between us, he put our interview on hold.

“First,” he said, “I want to get to know you better.” He asked me a series of personal questions — about my Jewish background, my family, my personal life; he wanted to know if the man with whom I’d attended his book event the night before was my boyfriend. His questions made me uncomfortable, but they weren’t all that surprising, actually — I’ve learned that if you’re Jewish and younger than 35, your relationship status is typically the first thing another Jew will ask about. Besides, the man was married, with children, and a public figure. I figured I was safe. But after I answered one of his questions in a way that moved him, he lurched at me like a barnyard animal, grabbing the back of my head, pulling me toward him.

I turned my face to the left and bowed my head to avoid his mouth. “I don’t understand,” I told him. “Last night, in front of everybody, you spoke so lovingly about your wife.”

“We have an arrangement,” he responded.

“Don’t you have children?” I asked, trying to wedge conversation in front of contact.

He looked at me with a sly smile. “Yes,” he said, “and I’m not done yet. … ”

Even in the midst of such a profoundly awkward situation, I remember thinking that this was the first time any man had made a pass at me by suggesting we procreate.

“Let’s go up to my room,” he suggested. “Just for a minute.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” I said.

“We don’t have to have sex,” he countered. “I just want to give you a hug.”

The fact that the suggestion we’d have “sex” was even uttered during a professional meeting — by another journalist, no less — is insane. I remember how ridiculous his pickup line sounded, even as it filled me with dread. Even as he continued to pull and paw at me.

Confused, I found myself feeling paralyzed. Earlier that day, this man had been someone I deeply respected. I’d read his book voraciously and underlined passages; I’d even read every review, and recommended the book to friends. And this was supposed to have been a really important interview — one I was lucky to get. My editors were expecting something good. Could I just walk away? From someone so prominent?

Today, it would be an easy choice. But at the time, several years ago, I felt beholden to the man in power. [Continue reading…]

Trump should not only consider following the example of Shavit in taking responsibility for his own behavior — he should also reflect on the fate of former President Moshe Katsav who as a man in power thought he could get away with rape. At the same age as Trump he now sits in jail.

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‘I live in a lie’: Saudi women speak up

Mona El-Naggar reports: “We’re not allowed to even go to the supermarket without permission or a companion, and that’s a simple thing on the huge, horrendous list of rules we have to follow.” — DOTOPS, 24

“The male guardianship makes my life like a hell!! We want to hang out with our friends, go and have lunch outside. I feel hopeless.” — JUJU19, 21

“I don’t mind taking my dad’s approval in things he should be a part of. These very strong social bonds you will never, ever understand.” — NOURA

These are three of the nearly 6,000 women from Saudi Arabia who wrote to The New York Times last week about their lives.

We had put a call-out on our website and on Twitter in conjunction with the publication of “Ladies First,” a Times documentary I directed about the first Saudi elections in which women were allowed to vote and run for local office.

Saudi Arabia is an incredibly private, patriarchal society. While I was making the film, many women were afraid to share their stories for fear of backlash from the male relatives who oversee all aspects of their lives as so-called guardians. We wanted to hear more about their fears, their frustrations, their ambitions.

Saudi Arabia has one of the world’s highest rates of Twitter use, and our posts rocketed around. We were overwhelmed by the outpouring.

Most of the responses focused on frustration over guardianship rules that force women to get permission from a male relative — a husband, father, brother or even son — to do things like attend college, travel abroad, marry the partner of their choice or seek medical attention. Some women talked about the pride they had in their culture and expressed great distrust of outsiders. But many of them shared a deep desire for change and echoed Juju19’s hopelessness. [Continue reading…]

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Young scholar, now lawyer, says Justice Clarence Thomas groped her in 1999

The National Law Journal/Law.com reports: The anticipation of meeting a U.S. Supreme Court justice for the first time turned to shock and distress for a young Truman Foundation scholar in 1999 when, she says, Justice Clarence Thomas grabbed and squeezed her on the buttocks several times at a dinner party.

On Oct. 7, a night dominated by the disclosure of Donald Trump’s audio-recorded boasts about grabbing women, Moira Smith posted on Facebook a memory of her encounter with Thomas. “He groped me while I was setting the table, suggesting I should sit ‘right next to him,’ ” Smith wrote. Smith, now vice president and general counsel to Enstar Natural Gas Co., in Alaska, was 23 at the time of the dinner party at the Falls Church, Virginia, home of her boss.

Smith’s claim came amid the outrage and ongoing national conversation about inappropriate sexual treatment of women by powerful men, male acquaintances and strangers. The disclosure of the Trump tape has spurred women in startling numbers to come forward publicly with old memories of unwanted touches.

Smith spoke with The National Law Journal/Law.com multiple times by email and phone after she revealed her allegation on Facebook. Her three former housemates during the spring and summer of 1999 each said in interviews they remembered Smith describing inappropriate contact by Thomas after she came home that night from the dinner or early the next morning. They also remembered their own shock and inability to advise her about how to respond. Another Truman scholar that summer, whom Smith would later marry and divorce, said in an interview he “definitely remembered” her sharing with him what had happened soon after the dinner party. [Continue reading…]

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Women who hate Trump, but aren’t with her

Emma Green reports: Depending on your perspective, it’s either Hillary Clinton’s great misfortune or incredible luck to be matched with an opponent who believes men like him can simply grab women “by the pussy,” who has been accused of making unwanted sexual advances against colleagues, and who made a sport of sizing up all the beauty queens in the pageant he owned. Because Donald Trump represents the worst version of how powerful men treat women, the symbolism of Clinton can seem uncomplicated: Her White House victory, if it comes, will be a win for women.

What that means, though, is that women have been twice silenced in this election: Once by Donald Trump and his allies, who have dismissed his demeaning behavior toward women as “locker-room talk,” and the other by Clinton and her supporters, who have pushed a narrative that she is both the symbol and champion of women’s progress. The second is subtler, and in no way equivalent to Donald Trump’s comments on women. But for some women who don’t feel represented by Clinton — specifically those on the left, along with women of color — this experience has been alienating. Just as it’s important for women and feminists to resist the downward suck of Trump’s vulgarity, so it’s important to entertain the limits of what Clinton’s presidency might mean for women’s advancement.

“If you criticize HRC, it looks like you’re endorsing fascism,” said Catherine Liu, a professor of film and media studies at University of California, Irvine.

And “the tone of some of this has been: If you are anti-Hillary, you are anti-woman,” said Naomi Christine Leapheart, a non-profit worker in Philadelphia who is seeking her ordination in the United Church of Christ. “I have, as they would say, receipts in that department.”

At the beginning of October, Clinton held a 20-percentage-point lead over her opponent among women surveyed in a Quinnipiac poll. But even women who intend to vote for Clinton don’t necessarily see themselves in her. Lots of women in the U.S., like Leapheart and others from around the country whom I spoke with in phone interviews, are not enthusiastic about Clinton, even if they’re horrified by the possibility of a President Trump. As the language used to refer to women has somehow become even more ugly and sexist during these final days of the election, a strong majority of women voters have signaled their intention to vote for Clinton. But the real divisions among them have largely been overlooked as a result. [Continue reading…]

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America is having another Anita Hill moment

Dahlia Lithwick writes: This past Tuesday marked the 25th anniversary of Anita Hill’s devastating Senate testimony accusing then–Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of workplace sexual harassment. In light of the most recent accusations against Donald Trump, it’s hard to miss the almost perfect synchronicity between these two October explosions of gender awareness. In a deeply personal and visceral way, America is having another Anita Hill moment.

In one sense it’s depressing: It’s been 25 years, and yet here we are, still talking about whether a man who allegedly treats women like lifelong party favors, should perhaps be disqualified from our highest governmental positions. But to despair that it’s gender Groundhog Day in America is to fundamentally miss the point: A lot has changed since October 1991, and American women are reaping the benefits of having gone through this looking glass once before. The nearly universal and instantaneous outrage at Trump’s comments and behavior — from the press, from GOP leaders, from really everyone outside of the Breitbart bubble? We have Anita Hill to thank for that.

It’s almost impossible for women like me, who came of age during the Thomas Senate battle, to miss the parallels between the two episodes. In both cases, powerful men allegedly mistreated and shamed women with less power than they had. In both cases these victims came forth reluctantly, and sometimes years later. In both instances, supporters of the man accused of misconduct argued that it was “just words,” or that it was all “years ago,” or that he was merely joking, or that it never happened at all. They argue that if the subordinate was soooo offended, why did she wait to complain? [Continue reading…]

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Enough is enough: The 2016 election is now a referendum on male entitlement

Leslie Bennetts writes: Lashing out at his accusers this afternoon, Donald Trump attacked all the women who say he has groped, kissed or inspected them naked without their consent. He called them “horrible, horrible liars” and vowed to sue the New York Times for reporting their accounts.

Minutes before the Florida rally where Trump declared war on women and the media, Michelle Obama offered a diametrically opposite view of reality and morality at a campaign appearance in New Hampshire. Condemning Trump’s conduct as “intolerable”, she forcefully argued that no woman deserves to be treated this way. The contrast between the two couldn’t have been more dramatic.

“This is not about politics. It’s about basic human decency,” the first lady said, urging her listeners to vote for Hillary Clinton. “It’s about right and wrong. Now is the time for all of us to stand up and say, ‘Enough is enough’.”

Her words echoed the thoughts of millions of women who watched last Sunday’s presidential debate and heard Trump deny he’s ever sexually assaulted women, even though he himself has publicly described having habitually done just that. What Trump didn’t realize was how many of his listeners were thinking about all the times that men had done such things to them.

By midweek, even before Michelle Obama voiced that thought, the floodgates had opened as a rapidly expanding array of women described various forms of sexual assault they said Trump had inflicted on them – and told their stories, on the record, to the Guardian, the New York Times, Buzzfeed, People magazine, and the Palm Beach Post, among a growing list of publications. [Continue reading…]

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Honor crimes in Pakistan: The price of forgiveness

 

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