“Of all violent crimes in the United States, rape has the lowest reporting, arrest and prosecution rates. According to FBI crime data, rape has a 24% arrest rate - the lowest in nearly 40 years of tracking such information. This means that a rape victim has a one in five chance of seeing the perpetrator brought to justice. It also means that a rapist has a 76% chance of getting away with the crime.”—Mariska Hargitay, writing for the Huffington Post
Another Reason Why Detective Olivia Benson/Mariska Hargitay Is Awesome
Any Law & Order, Special Victims Unit fan knows that Detective Olivia Benson (played by Mariska Hargitay) is committed to advocating for survivors of sexual assault and rape. Since 1999 her passionate character has successfully arrested countless rapists, and counseled many survivors. Now, Hargitay is demonstrating that commitment off screen.
"Simply put, the backlog allows rapists to get away with their crimes and, in many cases, to rape again. We cannot know the exact size of the backlog because few jurisdictions count or track their untested kits, but the federal government estimates that there are hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits in police and crime lab storage facilities throughout the United States."
Women of DC, Save This Number In Your Phones: 202-962-2121
For many of us, sexual harassment in public spaces is not a foreign concept. If this happens on the Washington Metro system, it’s best to call the Metro Transit Police directly: 202-962-2121.
Collective Action for Safe Spaces is doing a lot to combat sexual harassment in DC. In a recent posting on their website, one person shares their experience of reporting sexual harassment in the metro system. It’s a good read:
"In a rape culture, people are surrounded with images, language, laws, and other everyday phenomena that validate and perpetuate, rape. Rape culture includes jokes, TV, music, advertising, legal jargon, laws, words and imagery, that make violence against women and sexual coercion seem so normal that people believe that rape is inevitable. Rather than viewing the culture of rape as a problem to change, people in a rape culture think about the persistence of rape as ‘just the way things are.’"
The play also deftly considers the complicated relationship girls have with the word “slut.” The Slut Squad ultimately fails in its attempt to reclaim it as a tool of empowerment, because they can’t assert their sexuality using a word inextricably bound to implications of dirtiness and shame.
Bonjean-Alpart agrees. “[A] lot of people try to own the word [slut] in order to own their sexuality. And I’ve always thought that there should be a way for girls to own their sexuality without having to own the word slut, which is a degrading word … When I think of the word slut now, automatically what pops into my head is sexual violence and sexual aggression. I really hate the word.
"Slut" is a powerful word. Can women reclaim it as a tool of sexual empowerment? Is it inseparable from its original use as a tool of oppression? How is the word "slut," and the practice slut shaming perpetuating rape culture?
Today, we read about a group of young women in NYC who are addressing these and other questions on a unique platform: theater.
SLUT: The Playis currently playing as a part of the New York Fringe Festival. Learn more here.
Paid family and medical leave is recognized as a pillar of the Women’s Economic Agenda. We all know that the protections under FMLA are not sufficient for many families. The availability of paid medical and family leave is an issue that has captured my attention. Today, I happened upon an article that outlines what the FMLA means for same-sex couples, married and unmarried, in light of the DOMA repeal. As someone who follows this issue, this brief but insightful article was a good starting point for considering family and medical leave through another lens. Check it out:
Do you have a zeal for cooking and a passion for sustainability? Do you have an original recipe combining these passions into a mouth-watering concoction too good not to share? The National Council of Women’s Organizations would love to hear about it!
We are proud to announce our first ever Nationwide Recipe Contest for our sustainability cookbook: A Greener Plate: for the Sustainable Appetite. This contest will be in conjunction with the launching of NCWO’s new Environmental Task Force.
Submit your favorite original recipes featuring local, organic, and/or environmentally friendly ingredients for a chance to be featured in our upcoming book.
Submit your favorite recipe to firstname.lastname@example.org Deadline for submissions is September 13th.
Categories for Submission: Soups and Salads Appetizers Entrees Desserts Drinks Vegetarian/Vegan Gluten Free
Limit of 3 recipe submissions per person. (If you have more than that make your own cookbook!)
Recipes will be judged by NCWO staff and volunteers and winners who submitted recipes chosen to be included will be notified by September 20th.
Earlier in the summer the National Council of Women’s Organizations co-hosted an event with the office of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter and filmmaker Angela Alford, director of the documentary “Granny’s Got Game”, a documentary film about the Fabulous 70’s, a 75+ women’s basketball team from Raleigh, NC. The event was an updeat celebration of the 41st anniversary of title IX, which included a screening of “Granny’s Got Game,” and a chance for attendees to meet with the team. The Fabulous 70’s were an inspiring group of women, and we were excited to get to meet them.
Today, we got the message that the Fabulous Seventies have earned the bronze medal at the 2013 National Senior Games in Cleveland, Ohio. Wonderful news- a big congratulations to all of them!
I (intern Anney) was on vacation last week and missed some of the big news in the labor world. Fast Food workers are currently in the midst of their largest strike in US History. They are striking for a living wage and the right to unionize. Salon.com and Democracy Now are expertly covering the issue. Remember, nearly 2/3 of minimum wage workers are women.
“We need to pass paycheck fairness, increase the minimum wage, and provide women with education and training opportunities to further their careers. Women comprise 40 percent of the country’s breadwinners, but the vast majority are low-wage workers in single-headed households. Women are more likely to be in poverty, to file for bankruptcy, and to have less retirement savings. Unmarried women – single, widowed, divorced, or separated – are the most economically insecure. And 50 years after the Equal Pay Act, women are still being paid only 77 cents on the dollar as compared to men for the same job. That comes to an average real difference of $11,000 per year – that is two years’ worth of groceries or over a year of rent. And for women of color the disparity is even worse.”—-Rep. Rosa DeLauro
In preparation for our upcoming tweet chat titled “Feminism is for Everyone,” one of our team members happened upon an Autostraddle article on bell hooks, inclusive feminism and the recent verdict in the Zimmerman trial. Whether you are interested in participating in the tweet chat and want to read up in preparation, or are simply looking for a good article to start your week off with, this article is worth a gander. The article speaks to the need to make feminism and feminist thought more inclusive and intersectional.
Beyond Texas; #WeAreDC Campaign Spotlights Anti-Choice Legislation in DC
We’re all hearing a lot about anti-choice legislation right now. From Texas to Ohio to Virginia, anti-choice lawmakers are restricting access to abortion and other health care services, especially for low-income women.
To help raise awareness, the #WeAreDC Campaign is collecting photos of women holding signs expressing solidarity with DC. Some of us here at NCWO submitted our photo yesterday, expressing our solidarity!
The DC Abortion Fund is one of the partner organizations responsible for launching #WeAreDC. They are a wonderful, volunteer run organization working to help women break through the barriers created by anti-choice lawmakers.
A short article on swimsuit season, body hatred, and passing judgment.
“a surprising 60 percent of respondents said they consider themselves less in shape than other women, and 53 percent said they feel jealous and insecure when they are around another woman with a killer figure.”
Here at NCWO, we are pretty big fans of a woman’s right to choose. That’s why we were so alarmed to read the news coming out of Ohio this morning. The new Ohio state budget serves as an attack on Ohioan women’s access to affordable health and family planning services. We count ourselves among the many people who were deeply disturbed by this undermining of women’s bodily autonomy.
Another special legislative session is scheduled to begin at 2 pm (3 pm ET). Currently, thousands of pro-choice advocates are rallying at the capitol, urging their lawmakers NOT to pass the strict abortion legislation successfully defeated in last week’s special session.
This past week we have come across a handful of articles that are all in some way related to victim blaming and rape culture. Here is what we have compiled so far, AND IT IS ONLY WEDNESDAY! Victim blaming should not be tolerated by anyone- no matter if they are a billion dollar company (Disney) or the #1 ranked female tennis player in the world (Serena Williams).
This article is what got us started with our “victim blaming” theme this week. "It’s difficult to ask every person that reads this article to stop supporting a company that is so pervasive in pop culture (though be my guest, as they say). Nevertheless, I have a feeling that with enough publicity over how poorly their company handles sexual assault accusations, Disney might actually do something proactive about it. So if you would, share this article wherever your online presence may be. We’ll see what happens.” Jezebel later followed up with this story which stirred even more of a controversy.
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, tennis star Serena Williams was (oddly) ask to discuss the Steubenville rape case. Her comments to the reporter were shocking and quite disturbing coming from an international mega sports star. This is Serena’s official apology directly from her personal website. Full story from the Washington Post
Last week British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson and her husband, Charles Saatchi were seen at a restaurant engaging in what appears to be domestic assault. Photographs of Saatchi with his hands around Lawson’s neck have surfaced on the internet. During a CNN report on the case one reporter referred to Lawson as being seen as “sort of subservient”. Twitter users followed up stating that Nigella Lawson’s silence on the situation “makes her look weak”. ”No victim lets it happen – but perhaps we do.” This article is a bit more empowering and sheds light on how celebrities are capable of experiencing the same thing that every day people go through. It also questions why the bystanders took pictures and stayed silent while witnessing this clear display of domestic assault.
This is only three of the many, many stories of victim blaming. That isn’t to say there are not more out there. Feel free to share your own stories and/or articles you have found pertaining to Victim Blaming and Rape Culture.
““Whenever I see your smiling face, I have to smile myself,” sang James Taylor in 1977. Grins are contagious, leaping from mouth to mouth, tightening the weave of the social fabric.Social scientist Arlie Hochschild created a name for the annealing work they do: emotion labor. Elsewhere defined as the effort “to create and maintain positive feelings and alleviate and rectify negative ones in self or in others,” emotion labor involves managing your feelings to transmit a certain impression. Mostly it is done by women, whether they are following an explicit occupational script or something subtler. Starting from early childhood, girls learn to disguise unhappiness, defuse anger, and alleviate pain. By age 5, they are likelier than boys to smile when they receive a disappointing gift. In other studies, as researchers ratcheted up artificial tension, women (but not men) turned up what LaFrance calls their “expressive wattage.” Out came the grins until the threat of conflict abated.
This is the kind of sexism women like Kristy Pagan, Candidate for Michigan’s 21st House District, face in their policitcal careers. Sounds annoying, but it’s way more than that. Media focus on a female candidates appearance -positive, neutral or negative- will hurt her in the polls. TheName It. Change It. project is fighting back, along with women such as Pagan who are willing to shed on light on this issue, and encourage women to run for office despite it.
On June 6th CLUW and many other advocates will be meeting with their members of Congress to urge passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act. 50 years after the Equal Pay Act became law we still are far from economic equality. The wage gap continues to put women “in the red.” Join us by posting your…
We were excited to see our friends from CLUW today at the fair pay lobby day. Two of our interns, Anney and Abby, were on the Hill lobbying hard for fair pay for women. Monday marks the 50th anniversary of the Fair Pay Act, but the statistics don’t show 50 years worth of progress; it’s time to give women the tools they need to advocate for paycheck fairness and fight discrimination. Paycheck fairness laws are awesome… but they’re best when they’re enforceable.
EMILY’s List as well as many other American citizens are ready to put a woman in the White House! Check out the NY Times latest article highlighting the Madame President Campaign. Also you can watch the Campaign Video here www.emilyslist.org/madam-president