women's human rights: Canada & the world



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Don't Make Student Victim Pay $35,000 for "Frivolous" Opposition to Cheering Rapist (via Women's Rights @ Change.org)

Silsbee Superintendent Richard Bain told H.S., a 16-year-old student cheerleader, that she would either cheer for her rapist or be kicked off the squad. When she was harassed by other students and called a “slut,” school officials told her to avoid the cafeteria and lay low. This is clearly unacceptable and despicable treatment of a student rape victim — but H.S. is the one stuck paying the school district tens of thousands of dollars. Where’s the justice in that?

Earlier this month, H.S.’s final appeal of her First Amendment case was denied, letting the lower court ruling stand that cheerleaders are nothing but a “mouthpiece.” (NFL cheerleaders have spoken out against this.) Student who pick up those pompoms lack any free speech rights, including the right to refuse to cheer for a player that has assaulted them. Furthermore, the courts decided that arguing a high school girl has the right to refuse to cheer for her rapist — “Two, four, six, eight, ten! Go Rakheem. Put it in!" — amounted to such a ridiculous claim, H.S. should have to pay the school district’s legal fees, to the tune of more than $35,000 (some media has reported a higher figure, but a Change.org investigation into the documents has revealed discrepancies and a filing error, which has yet to be officially resolved).

This is tens of thousands of dollars school officials are taking from a student rape victim they wronged.

Last fall, when H.S.’s story first broke, with an investigation pushed by the Ms. Magazine blog, nearly 20,000 outraged Change.org members took action demanding that the school make amends. But the school district has never done so, and we must continue to speak out. The failure of the courts to protect a rape survivor does not justify the school’s treatment of her. Tell the Silsbee School District to refuse to take money from a student rape victim, apologize, and protect future survivors.

H.S.’s father has been pushing to have the school implement sexual assault prevention programs — such as Take Back the Night, Coaching Boys into Men, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and Students Taking Action for Respect (now the Texas Peace Project) — providing hundreds of pages of information that has been steadily ignored. He told Change.org that while he cannot undo what happened to his teenage daughter, “if there’s one more kid out there” who he can prevent from getting the same treatment at the hands of school officials, his struggle is worth it.

Yet Silsbee school officials have shown zero concern for the well-being of student survivors of sexual assault. Support H.S., her father, and future survivors by signing this petition.

08:10 am, by padaviya15 notes

Grand jury weighs whether there was a conspiracy to kill abortion doctor (via Kansas City Star)

More than 18 months after a Wichita abortion doctor was gunned down in his church, a federal investigation into a possible conspiracy continues in Kansas City.

Federal agents have questioned more people in the past few weeks, while a grand jury convened after the murder of George Tiller is still under way.

The focus, according to those who have been interviewed, still appears to be on a Bible study group that Tiller’s killer attended.

At the same time, abortion-rights advocates are concerned that a recent North Carolina case signals an escalation in the threat of clinic-related violence.

Tiller was shot to death in May 2009 in the foyer of his Wichita church while serving as an usher. Scott Roeder of Kansas City was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 50 years.

08:31 am, by padaviya5 notes

For Yasmin Birth Control Lawsuit, Canadian Lawyers Go to Where the People Are (via Lawyers and Settlements)

Toronto, Ontario: A Canadian class-action lawsuit alleging Yaz side effects and other grievous health issues stemming from Yasmin birth control is being promoted to prospective plaintiffs in a unique, and decidedly modern way—through social networking via Facebook. In attempting to reach out to victims of the problematic contraceptive products, the attorneys are going to where the people are…

The lawsuit contends that the Yasmin pill, as well as Yaz birth control pills, pose a danger to women of blood clots that can lead to death, even in young women.

“Bayer did not provide adequate safety data to Health Canada with respect to Yasmin and Yaz,” Siskinds said in the statement of claim. “Bayer knew or should have known that Yasmin and Yaz were unsafe, defective, unreasonably dangerous, and not fit for their intended purposes.”

The legal team championing the class-action lawsuit alleges further that the birth control duo contains a chemical unique to those two products and, thus, increases the risk of developing heart attacks, stroke, gall bladder and kidney stones, as well as the aforementioned blood clots.

A spokesperson for Bayer Canada indicated the manufacturer stood behind the safety and efficacy of its products.

The Facebook experiment seems to be paying off for the law firm. Entitled “Take Your Body Back,” the page has attracted 1,763 Facebook fans since October, and has become a go-to central hub for the pending Yasmin side effects and Yaz blood clots lawsuit. Visitors to the page can read updates, share photos and engage in discussion about Yasmin and Yaz with other users and potential victims.

The Yasmin blood clot and Yaz birth control pills lawsuit has yet to be certified and will likely not commence until late next year.

08:26 am, by padaviya4 notes

Don't Want to Be Interrogated by Your Rapist? Then You Have No Case (via Women's Rights)

Earlier this week, I wrote about the 21-year-old Seattle woman who threatened to jump off the King County courthouse roof to escape being cross-examined by the man on trial for raping her over a span of years as a child. The solution to her inability to undergo the trauma of being cross-examined by her rapist? Dismiss the charges.

Salvador Aleman Cruz was representing himself, which gave him the right to interrogate all the witnesses — including his victims — on the stand. The prospect of undergoing this ordeal, which essentially empowered her childhood rapist to again assert control over and intimidate her, pushed the victim to the brink of suicide. So prosecutors asked that the charges against Cruz involving this victim be dismissed, as Cara reports in a follow-up on The Curvature.

This is not the first such case in the area: in another King County case, a woman who was raped at knifepoint in her while her children were asleep had to put up with being questioned by her attacker. The woman, who endured two days of questioning at the hands of her rapist, complains that perpetrators “want to interfere with the process, put their victim through it again and assert their authority.”

09:37 am, by padaviya11 notes

Why Decriminalizing Sex Work is Good for All Women (via Ms Magazine Blog)

What is notable about the ruling is that the judge refuted ideological and unscientific arguments that prostitution, taken as a whole, victimizes women. The ruling cited study after study showing that indoor prostitution is less harmful than street work, and that the places and ways in which prostitution can be practiced can lower the risk of violence. Sweeping claims that prostitution harms women are not reflected in the research.

This case repudiates the dominant discourse around sex work today: that the majority of sex workers are coerced, that women are trafficked into the business and that selling sex is inherently violent. In sum, that whores are not capable of critical thought and informed decision-making.

08:43 am, by padaviya47 notes

Pakistan Edges Closer to Banning Domestic Violence (via AWID)

Pakistan edges closer to banning domestic violence, even as Islamists warn of ‘chaos’

For seven years, her husband taunted, threatened and thrashed her, she says. After she filed for divorce, he struck again, throwing enough acid on her face to destroy her left eye.

Why didn’t she leave sooner? Or turn to the police for help? Zakia Perveen’s scarred lips are quick to explain: She would have become a pariah in her conservative Pakistani town of Jhelum.

"People don’t appreciate women who go to police stations," the 38-year-old says. "I just thought it was my destiny, my fate."

Rights advocates hope a proposed law banning domestic violence will chip away at such attitudes, giving women a more even playing field and bringing Pakistan in line with a growing number of developing nations that have outlawed spousal abuse.

But Islamist lawmakers in Parliament are objecting, claiming the law could tear apart the social fabric by undermining families.

10:45 am, by padaviya1 note

Wal-Mart Faces Largest Gender Bias Lawsuit in U.S. History (via Women's Rights)

Let’s take a look at two key facts from 2001, the year the women filed the lawsuit: First, while two-thirds of Wal-Mart’s hourly workforce was female, only one-third of managerial positions were held by women. Second, there’s the pay gap. Female managers made $14,500 less and female hourly workers made $1,100 than men in the same positions. Keep in mind that women, on average, had more seniority and higher merit marks.

09:50 am, by padaviya1 note

China jails three over 'rape case' investigations (via AWID)

Three men have been jailed in China’s Fujian province after posting material online on behalf of a woman trying to investigate her daughter’s death.

Fan Yanqiong, Wu Huaying and You Jingyou were found guilty of slander and harming state interests, in a trial which attracted protests outside court.

They had posted videos online in which the woman said her daughter died after being raped by thugs linked to police.

The police had said the woman died due to complications with a pregnancy.

Fan was given a two-year jail term while Wu and You received one year each at the trial in Fuzhou city, said their lawyer, Liu Xiaoyuan.

'Laughable'

Mr Liu said the three men had been helping Lin Xiuying to put pressure on the authorities to reopen the investigation into her daughter’s death in 2008.

Ms Lin had accused the police of protecting a criminal gang she believed had gang-raped her daughter.

It was not clear who the three were accused of slandering.

"The court said the three people’s actions have seriously affected the interest of the state, which is laughable," said Mr Liu.

"It infringes on the people’s freedom of speech, which is the legal right of citizens," he told the Associated Press news agency.

Hundreds of internet users from across China had travelled to Fuzhou to show their support for the activists.

Witnesses said they waved banners and sang songs, while many also blogged from the scene or sent messages through the Twitter micro-blogging site.

China has some 400 million internet users but online material is heavily censored for political and moral content.

07:24 pm, by padaviya1 note

Our judges and prime minister not on same page (via Enter Stage Right)

"Canada has a long line of judges who think of sex crimes as minor offenses."

"The most notorious statement by a judge was probably British Columbia Judge Peter Vanderhoof, who while giving the sex offender 18-months probation for the sexual assault of a three-year old child, blamed the crime on the child because she was "sexually aggressive"."

"Quebec Judge Denys Dionne, in a 1989 trial, said "rules are like women, they’re made to be violated"."

08:02 pm, by padaviya1 note

Victims finally learning to speak out against Japan’s outdated rape laws (via Japan Today)

“Victims may even be asked, ‘Why didn’t you fight harder?’”

11:01 am, by padaviya4 notes

You’re not a rape victim unless the police say so (via Feministe)

This whole article is a must-read — it’s infuriating and devastating. A college woman in Washington DC was refused a rape kit because getting one required police authorization; the police determined that since she wasn’t 100% sure she had been raped (she believed she was drugged and raped, having blacked out and woken up severely in pain, but couldn’t identify an attacker), she was not entitled to a rape kit.

It’s one of the most horrifying stories I’ve read in a long time, and I hope she sees justice.

09:39 am, by padaviya

How D.C. Police Fail Rape Victims (via The Sexist)

For this week’s paper, I wrote a cover story on one young woman’s crusade to secure a rape kit after she believed she had been drugged and raped at a college party. The D.C. police response to the woman’s case illustrates how District rape victims can be dismissed as liars, drunks, or otherwise unworthy of an investigation

09:35 am, by padaviya1 note

Court Rules it is Perfectly Reasonable to Taser Pregnant Women

The officers’ first attempt to forcibly remove her from her car using what is called the “pain compliance hold” failed, so they did what any three rational, fully-grown men would do when faced with one stubborn, stressed-out, visibly pregnant woman: they tasered her. Three times. After the third time Ms. Brooks was tasered, the officers dragged her out of her vehicle and laid her face-down on the street, despite her pleas that she was pregnant and they were hurting her stomach.

08:09 am, by padaviya1 note

Erykah Badu charged with disorderly conduct for controversial nude video (via Entertainment Weekly)

The Dallas Police Department has charged Erykah Badu with disorderly conduct for removing her clothes in public during her “Window Seat” music video shoot, making good on the investigation that was still in progress as of this morning. The singer is now subject to a fine of up to $500.

07:23 am, by padaviya1 note

Sara Kruzan (via Criminal Justice)

Since the age of 9, Sara suffered from severe depression for which she was hospitalized several times.  At the age of 11, she met a 31-year-old man named G.G. who molested her and began grooming her to become a prostitute.  At age 13, she began working as a child prostitute for G.G. and was repeatedly molested by him. At age 16, Sara was convicted of killing him.  She was sentenced to prison for the rest of her life despite her background and a finding by the California Youth Authority that she was amendable to treatment offered in the juvenile system.

07:18 am, by padaviya2 notes