dreamer_easy: (*gender)
Domestic Violence: Aboriginal women ask Australians to pay attention to assaults and murders (ABC, 11 July 2017)

A third of assault patients in Australia female: study (SMH, 19 April 2017). "More than half of all women and girls who end up in hospital being treated after an assault have been attacked by their partners."

Bid for paid domestic violence leave rejected (SMH, 3 July 2017) "A full bench of the Fair Work Commission said it has taken the "preliminary view" that while it is necessary to make provisions for family and domestic violence leave, it had rejected an application for 10 days of leave to be covered under all modern awards for all employees."

'Once a girl is married, there is no going back' (ABC, 29 July 2017). "It's a type of domestic violence you probably haven't heard of: dowry abuse. Some Indian-Australian men are using their desirable status as residents to extort thousands of dollars from the women they're marrying, with threats and violence if their escalating demands aren't met."

'Submit to your husbands': Women told to endure domestic violence in the name of God (ABC, 18 July 2017) | How to navigate the research on domestic violence and Christian churches: A few frequently asked questions (ABC, 24 July 2017)

Exposing the darkness within: Domestic violence and Islam (ABC, 24 April 2017) | Muslim women unite to encourage daughters to have healthy relationships (ABC, 26 April 2017) NB: "There's no evidence that suggests domestic violence rates are higher among Muslim women than the broader Australian community."

Domestic Violence: Family Law Act plan could see end to alleged perpetrators cross-examining accusers (ABC, 17 July 2017)

Abortion laws making it harder for women to escape domestic violence, expert warns (ABC, 21 June 2017)

Domestic violence: Report finds 'clear link' between media reporting and understanding of issue
(ABC, 30 June 2017). "Our Watch CEO Mary Barry said the way journalists frame individual stories can have a major impact on public understanding. 'Blaming victims for the violence inflicted upon them, for instance, still happens in one in six articles about violence against women,' she said."

BOSCAR data showing rise of domestic violence by women 'not giving the full picture' (ABC, 22 June 2017)

Domestic violence survivors should get early access to super, HESTA says
(ABC, 20 June 2017)

Universities spend millions preparing for wave of sexual assault reports (SMH, 22 July 2017). "Australian universities will spend millions of dollars on counselling services as 'a wave of victims' are expected to come forward following the release of the world's largest report into sexual assault on campus." The AHRC survey of tertiary students will be released on 1 August.

Texas slashed funding for Planned Parenthood and ended up with more teen abortions (ThinkProgress, 17 July 2017)

Rural women 'bullied' into caesareans amid doctor shortage (ABC, 16 July 2017)

Introducing use-it-or-lose-it leave for fathers would make life fairer for mothers (ABC, 20 July 2017). "Under [Australia's paid parental leave system], the primary carer is eligible for up to 18 weeks' pay at minimum wage, nine times more than Dad and Partner Pay, which is two weeks at minimum wage."

CWA members hope washable sanitary pads will give isolated women freedom to learn (ABC, 13 July 2017)

Islamophobia: Women wearing head coverings most at risk of attacks, study finds (ABC, 10 July 2017)

Explainer: Why do Muslim women wear a burka, niqab or hijab? (ABC, 23 September 2014). Explains the difference between different kinds of coverings.

How can Muslim feminists reclaim their religion from men? (ABC, 1 May 2017)

Catcalling and street harassment is happening more often than you might think (ABC, 22 June 2017)

The woman who was charged with murdering her wife (ABC, 5 September 2012). The historical story of transman Harry Crawford.

This is topical, given the Tweeter-in-Chief's latest announcement: Witch-hunts and surveillance: The hidden lives of LGBTI people in the Australian military (ABC, 24 May 2017)

Intersex and proud: model Hanne Gaby Odiele on finally celebrating her body (GA, 23 April 2017)

A Queer Gods Ritual: An Introduction to the Queer Ones. I was pleased to find this again, so I'm leaving it here.

Good grief, there's so much more. It'll have to wait for another posting.

dreamer_easy: (*feminism)
Reproductive Freedom

I made it to the pro-choice rally yesterday, late as usual, but in time to join the march to Parliament House. (In fact, I'm briefly visible in the video from it here. :) The speakers really put into context for me the need for women, for any person with a uterus, to be able to control this most basic aspect of our lives: sexual assault, domestic violence, homelessness, poverty, homophobia and transphobia, the denial of sex education, the constant attacks on services - to Women's Legal Service Victoria. Illegal and/or inaccessible terminations, and harassment at clinics and hospitals, are just part of the continual assault on our well-being. Or to put it another way: Never mind America, access to abortion is a 'nightmare' for many Australians.

The Greens are introducing a Bill to remove abortion from the criminal law in NSW, where it's still technically illegal, which means that women's reproductive freedom is always in danger, perhaps more so now than ever. Read about the Bill and email your representative at http://www.end12.org.au/.

Abortion is also illegal in Queensland. QLD Coalition MPs oppose reform, so a proposed Bill decriminalising abortion was withdrawn earlier this year, but has been sent to the Law Reform Commission in the meantime.

The Northern Territory has just decriminalised abortion and legalised RU486, as well as providing safe access zones around clinics and hospitals. RU486 still can't be legally used by women in South Australia and the ACT (as you may imagine, this isn't stopping its use).

Medical abortion access restricted by cost, distance and knowledge (SMH, 23 January 2017). "The study recommends policy attention is put toward preventing unwanted pregnancies and advocates for increasing medicare rebates to lessen financial burden, particularly for women beyond their first trimester."

Women going without food to pay for abortions: study (SMH, 23 January 2017). About a third of the women surveyed experienced financial difficulties.

Sexual and Domestic Violence

Fact file: Domestic violence in Australia (ABC FactCheck, 15 April 2017) | Australian police handle 5,000 domestic violence matters a week, up 7 per cent (ABC, 22 April 2016) - that's over a quarter of a million every year. | National Legal Aid calls for more funding after new figures reveal domestic violence a factor in 79pc of family law cases (ABC, 18 April 2017)

More than third of sexual assaults, homicides linked to domestic violence, ABS data shows (ABC, 13 July 2016) | Half the men who kill partners have history of domestic violence (SMH 29 April 2017)

Aboriginal mothers 17 times more likely to die from homicide, WA study finds (ABC, 13 July 2016). Indigenous mothers in WA are 6.5 times more likely to die from all preventable causes, including car crashes and suicide.

Hidden victims: Women on visas feeling trapped after domestic violence abuse (ABC, 5 April 2017)

Family violence a bigger health risk for women than smoking, drinking, obesity: study (ABC, 1 November 2016). "The burden of disease is a calculation of the impact of particular diseases and risk factors on an entire population. It is a measure of both fatal and non-fatal health impacts, which take into account the severity and duration of health conditions. The study found partner violence was among the top ten risk factors contributing to disease burden among all adult women... Among women 18 to 44 years, it was the biggest single risk factor when violence in all intimate relationships was included, bigger than smoking, alcohol use or being overweight or obese. When considering only violence by live-in partners, in this age group, partner violence ranked second only to alcohol use."

Sexual assault on Australian campus is a serious problem. Compounding it: University sexual assault policies are often 'inconsistent' and 'confusing' (ABC, 2 March 2017). In fact, the group End Rape on Campus Australia accuses unis of active cover-ups of rape. An opinion piece asks: Sexual assault: What is your university doing to prevent it? (ABC, 25 February 2017)

In NSW, accused domestic violence perpetrators are allowed to cross-examine their alleged victims, a deeply traumatising experience.

'Life-saving' Victorian domestic violence pet shelter program struggling to meet high demand (ABC, 28 February 2017) Safe Steps has a list of temporary pet care for Australians fleeing domestic violence.

Explainer: What happens when someone applies for a domestic violence protection order (SMH, 1 February 2017)

Female domestic violence victims being punished for acting in self defence, say advocates (ABC, 6 July 2016)

How 'Disney dads' are making life hell for their partners (SMH, 23 October 2017): how financial abuse can worsen after separation.

Direct link between sexual objectification of girls and aggression towards them (Medical Xpress, 24 January 2017)

Men who kill female partners, as opposed to strangers, get lighter sentences, Canadian study finds (CBC News, 22 November 2015) "'This may mean that women killed by male partners are still seen as property,' researcher says".

ETA: Technology-facilitated abuse: The new breed of domestic violence (ABC, 27 March 2017)


Women using IVF to choose the sex of their children break silence on 'gender disappointment' (Lateline, 27 February 2017).

Compare and contrast: 'We don't know if your baby's a boy or a girl': growing up intersex (GA, 2 July 2017). "'My entire pregnancy, I'd worried that I wasn't going to be able to love my baby because it wasn't a he and it wasn't a she,” she recalls. But when Jack was born, he was blue and floppy. 'Although it was awful at the time, it was the best thing that could have happened: I would have done anything to have made sure he was breathing again.' Her eyes fill with tears. 'Quite quickly, he was crying. The relief was unbelievable. He was a baby and he needed feeding. Making sure that he was cared for was my priority, not poking around in his nappy.'

Report on new estimates of the size of the lesbian, gay and bisexual population of England (Medixal Xpress, 3 February 2017): somewhere between 2.5% and about 6%.

Sexual Orientation, Controversy, and Science (Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 25 April 2016). "The most contentious scientific issues have concerned the causes of sexual orientation—that is, why are some people heterosexual, others bisexual, and others homosexual? The actual relevance of these issues to social, political, and ethical decisions is often poorly justified, however."

Photos: Two-spirit people throughout history (NPR, 25 October 2014)

ETA: How AP tallied the cost of North Carolina's "bathroom bill" (Washington Post, 27 March 2017). The state's pointless bathroom fascism will cost it "more than $3.76 billion in lost business over a dozen years".

More stuff:

From the recent debate over "Obamacare": Male GOP lawmaker asks why men should pay for prenatal coverage. The same reason women pay for cover for prostate surgery. Follow the link for the simple explanation.

Also from Up Over: 4chan: The Skeleton Key to the Rise of Trump. A blogger's analysis of 4chan, gender, and Trump, "the loser who has won".

Unconscious bias is keeping women out of senior roles — can we get around it? (ABC, 8 March 2017). The vicious cycle of affinity bias and how it helps maintain the glass ceiling.

Unpaid work contributes $345 billion a year to Australia's economy. Women perform about three-quarters of that work, including child care and domestic work. Paid work in Australia is still about as gender-segregated as it was twenty years ago.

Sex differences in cognition are small (Mind Hacks, 14 February 2017). Or, to put it another way, there are no male and female brain types.

Remembering Nüshu, the 19th-Century Chinese Script Only Women Could Write (Atlas Obscura, 16 February 2017)
dreamer_easy: (*gender)
1800RESPECT is national sexual assault / domestic violence service offering phone and online counselling. Lots of info at their Web site.

Support services for at-risk queer Aussie youth (Star Observer, 25 November 2016)

The planned repeal of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) in the US will leave 55 million women unable to afford contraception, prompting a rush for IUDs and other long-lasting methods. Texas's stripping of funding from its reproductive health clinics, including Planned Parenthood (who are set to lose federal funding), means it now has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world. With the UK also facing a crisis in abortion care, Australian women should be wary of copycat attacks on our reproductive freedom; the current government has already started chipping away at Medicare, and abortion and RU486 are technically illegal in more than one state and territory - something we must change.

Human Rights Watch says Papua New Guinea has failed to protect women and children (GA, 13 January 2017) | more on women and children in PNG from MSF

Sexual fluidity: Living a label-free life (ABC, 4 October 2016) | Australia's secret history of sexual fluidity (ABC, 3 Octobr 2016) Pretty sure these stories were in response to the Australian's vicious war on the Safe Schools program and gender-variant kids, providing some much-needed information in the face of ignorance. (More on Safe Schools: "Heteronormativity, cisgender, gender binary, queer theory and gender fluidity are now mainstream ideas, or at least mainstream enough to cause a sustained backlash.") | No differences noted over time for children of gay, lesbian adoptive parents (Medical XPress, 24 October 2016) | Supporting and Caring for Transgender Children (Human Rights Campaign / American Academy of Pediatrics / American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians guide, 29 September 2016)

Push to support homeless LGBTI youth after influx at crisis accommodation centres (ABC, 31 March 2016) | Queer, young and homeless (Background Briefing, 3 April 2016) | Explainer: what treatment do young children receive for gender dysphoria and is it irreversible?
(The Conversation, 2 September 2016) | Transgender teenagers 'risking lives' buying hormones on black market because they can't access the Family Court (Australian Story, 15 August 2016)

Sexual assault among young people is on the rise. But why? (ABC, 3 September 2016) |How the justice system lets sexual assault victims down (ABC, 3 September 2016) | We cannot allow the courts to judge rape by sexual history (GA, 18 October 2016) |Sexual assault victims find justice online (SMH, 24 April 2016) Women are reporting street harassment, domestic violence, and sexual assault on Web sites which can put them in touch with counsellors and even pass on anonymous reports to police. This is an excellent way to give women (men, too, I hope) a chance to tell their story while keeping complete control, which is exactly what is lost in an incident of abuse.

Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Triggs sounds alarm on rape and sexual assault (SMH, 20 September 2016) | Sexual assault on campus is systemic. But Sydney uni has failed to act for decades (GA, 23 August 2016) | The US Department of Justice's 2016 report on racism in Baltimore's Police Department also discovered their persistent failure to investigate sexual assault. Officers display scepticism and hostility toward women who report sexual assault, especially sex workers, and mistreat transgender people. It's wearying to be reminded that, in so many places, the clock is still stuck on this issue.

Donald Trump's Remarks Show He's Mistaken on Sexual Assault in Military (NYT, 8 September 2016). Trump defended a Tweet saying that rape in the military is the result of placing men and women together. In fact, half of the victims are men.

Testing of backlogged rape evidence leads to hundreds of convictions (Phys.org, 14 November 2016)

Elderly women in Kenya learning karate to fight back against sexual assault in slums (ABC, 16 January 2016). They are awesome. Includes the phrase "ferocious grandmother".

Study gives doctors guidance on reproductive coercion
(Medical XPress, 11 October 2016) "New research finds that men purposely are breaking their own condoms and pressuring female partners in their teens and 20s to go without birth control in order to get them pregnant... similar to other forms of controlling behavior in abusive relationships, male partners interfere with women's birth control use as a means to control them."

Almost a third of young women don't feel safe in public places at night, A Right to the Night report finds (ABC, 12 May 2016) | Half of Australian women feel unsafe walking alone at night, report says (SMH, 27 October 2016)

Sexual harassment rate jumps across Australia by more than 12 per cent from 2011 (ABC, 17 October 2016) | Why is CSIRO losing its brightest stars? (Background Briefing, 20 November 2016). "Some of CSIRO's top women astronomers are quitting due to a dysfunctional workplace that they say protects harassers and punishes them instead."

The secret mosques opening their doors to LGBT+ Muslims (ABC, 3 October 2016)

Most migrant sex workers satisfied with their work: Australian Institute of Criminology (SMH, 22 July 2016) | Male sex workers call for respect, understanding (SMH, 19 June 2016) | Sex workers fight against stigma for equal justice (Saturday Paper, 26 November 2016). Australian sex workers may avoid reported sexual and other assault to the police for fear of mistreatment or of being "outed". Laws making sex work a crime contribute to the problem. | Former sex workers claim harassment by pro-prostitution groups after speaking out (ABC, 12 October 2016). Takeaway message: "Not all sex workers have the same experience or want the same thing."

The Male Face Of Sexual Slavery (OZY, 17 February 2016)

South Korea's Misogyny (NY Times, 13 June 2016) | South Korea: A Thriving Sex Industry In A Powerful, Wealthy Super-State (IBT, 29 April 2013)

The WHO says being transgender is a mental illness. But that could soon change (SMH, 29 July 2016)

The transgender 'bathroom bill': Who wants it — men or women? (Medical XPress, 19 December 2016). "Most women are not bothered much about the fact that they might at times share public bathrooms designated for females with transgender women... Men on the other hand take umbrage, and worry about the safety and privacy of the women in their lives. Such male transphobia has its roots in how men see themselves as the so-called protectors of women." There are certainly transphobic and gender policing women infesting public loos - I'm a little worried about encountering one on our next visit Up Over - but since there are no known cases of a trans woman harassing a cis woman in the ladies', it makes sense that cis women would generally not be worried about a nonexistent threat.

Does CCTV footage help or hinder the reduction of violence against women? (ABC, 26 October 2016)

The ignorance aimed at Caster Semenya flies in the face of the Olympic spirit (GA, 23 August 2016) "It is also clear the increased scrutiny is reserved for women perceived as not feminine enough, which is the bedrock of what is in the policies. For example, it is stated that: 'The individuals concerned often display masculine traits and have an uncommon athletic capacity in relation to their fellow female competitors.' Gender variance has always incited scrutiny, and this scrutiny is often racialised. Living outside of these normative racialised gendered expectations means coming under scrutiny and probing in ways invisible to the institutions and individuals doing the looking." | I know how Caster Semenya feels – as an intersex person, I've been harassed my entire life (The Independent, 21 August 2016) "Being visibly outside of the expectations of gender roles can come at a great cost, and with a steady stream of abuse from the rest of the world. It can make you feel as if you are an alien, a monster in a bad sci-fi movie."

I Never Went Through Puberty: Life As A Perpetual Adolescent (Cracked, of all places, 2 October 2016). The story of Kevin, an intersex boy with Klinefelter Syndrome. | Intersex — seeking the beauty in difference (Medical XPress, 4 October 2016) Sean, an intersex man, has Androgen-Insensitivity Syndrome.

Always an interesting perspective: World's most senior transgender military officer says she was surprised by sexism (GA, 4 April 2015)

Bisexual men and women face pay gap, US study finds (Phys.org, 15 November 2016) | Workplace discrimination: Half of LGBTI Australians hide sexuality at work, report finds (ABC, 28 September 2016)

Sexism may be harmful to men's mental health (Medical XPress, 21 November 2016). Doesn't do anyone else any good, either. :)

6 Matriarchies Still Functioning Today (Marie Claire, 8 March 2016)

Life-like robot babies do not discourage teen pregnancies: study (ABC, 26 August 2016) wtf

Viral pics of a maned lioness (probably).

(Saving the domestic violence stuff for another posting.)
dreamer_easy: (refugees)
"Abyan" is the pseudonym of the Somali refugee who was allegedly raped on Nauru, flown to Australia, then flown back to Nauru, and now will be once more flown to Australia. Australia ignored three requests from Nauru medical staff to bring her here for a termination; presumably it was only when her situation became public knowledge that the government allowed her to come her on the first yo- of her Pacific yo-yoing. (Coincidentally, I learned this week that even Australian citizens may have to travel internationally to obtain an abortion.)

I hope she sues their dicks off.

Lateline (ABC 21 October) revealed further distressing details of the treatment of Nazarin, another rape survivor, whose entire family is now at risk.

The husband of a diabetic pregnant woman pleaded for her to be sent from Nauru to Australia because of her serious medical issues, with no success.

A seriously mentally ill asylum seeker frightened of being sent back to Iran took his own life at Brisbane airport. His is the latest in a series of suicides by asylum seekers on bridging visas.

Transfield given $1.5bn over three years to manage Nauru and Manus centres: "Report by No Business in Abuse says operator paid $1.4m a day and point to 47 violations of international law at the detention centres since Transfield took over." (GA 27 October 2015)

Use of force on detainees in onshore immigration detention soars (GA 30 October 2015) (Today I read a fascinating blog posting from someone who routinely defuses conflict with mentally ill youths without anyone getting hurt. Remarkable what you can accomplish if you train your staff.)

Buying silence? "Charities [including the Red Cross and Save the Children, who just got raided again] were asked to pay multimillion-dollar bonds that could be forfeited if they spoke out against government policy, as the Coalition sought to maintain secrecy over border protection." (SMH 30 October 2015)

Australian officials paid asylum seeker boat crew, Amnesty investigation alleges: "all of the available evidence points to Australian officials having committed a transnational crime". (GA 29 October 2015)

Tony Abbot finally said it out loud: stopping the boats is about race, not water safety: "it is the only way to prevent a tide of humanity surging through Europe and quite possibly changing it forever."

Sydney doctors walk off the job in protest at detention of children: "We think it's torture." (SMH 29 October 2015) | Healthcare workers around Australia protest against 'child abuse' of detention (GA 30 October 2015)

Up to 100 asylum seekers on Manus Island struck by food poisoning (GA 30 October 2015)

'Dad, why are we here?': No money, no life and a baby on the way at Nauru (SMH 26 October 2015)

The two Australian girls and their mother living in 'jail' at Villawood detention centre (SMH 27 October 2015)

After being given the flick by the Philippines, the government is considering sending offshore refugees to Kyrgyzstan - a country I can still just about find on a map after explaining repeatedly on Usenet why refugees from Iran and Afghanistan do not try to settle there. (Nobody seems keen on Papua New Guinea, either, for some reason. Two Rohingya refugees will be sent to Cambodia, lowering the price of our deal with that nation to $11 million per person. Another Rohingya left Cambodia for Myanmar.)

Finally, enjoy a little schadenfreude at the expense of Nauru's PR manager.
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)
Jack held his breath, and then was gone: I'm pretty sure I had a narrow miss with hypoxic blackout as a young girl, after trying to swim underwater for as long as I could. In my case, I was lucky - I had a sudden, raging, lengthy episode of tachycardia, which I think must have saved my oxygen-starved brain from blacking out. Neither children nor adults should try to hold their breath underwater for long periods. It can kill.

Doctors in plea over cutbacks to hospital funding: "The Australian Medical Association's annual public hospitals report card showed nationally the number of hospital beds per capita had not grown, and the capacity of hospitals to move patients from emergency departments to wards or to perform elective surgeries had not improved." Can someone explain to me why Australia's hospitals aren't swimming in money? What are we spending it on that's more important? (Oh yeah, that's right.)

Women and children not first, as it turns out: Chivalry on Sinking Ships Only a Myth, Researchers Find. That's that old chestnut roasted, thank heavens.

Good news from the US: Teen Birth Rates Plunge To Record Low As Adolescents Now Have Better Access To Birth Control

Not so good news: Former sex trafficking victim shines light on dark underworld of Super Bowl

Tick male or female - where's the other box?: on accommodating intersex people on official forms.

The Meat Industry Now Consumes Four-Fifths of All Antibiotics (US) / Superbug threat on the rise through farm animals (Aus): one of a number of reasons dedicated carnivores may want to try organic meat, or having a weekly vegetarian meal.

[livejournal.com profile] outsdr's piece on Dating Myself is a riot. (And so is Mindhack's exasperated response to the Daily MFail. At least no mutant three-lobe killer rapists have answered your personals, Tim.)
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)
These links dumps tend to be pretty grouchy, so let me kick off with some great news: despite initial reports, the manuscripts of Timbuktu were not destroyed during the militants' occupation. :D

Divisive asylum debate will return for election year. *bangs head on desk* FIX THE PROBLEM, JULIA. Instead of another race to the bottom, process the refugees stuck in Indonesia and Malaysia, and bring them here - thus defusing the whole thing as an election issue. Perhaps in the meantime the UN's scathing report on conditions at Manus Island (in which 34 children now live) might force some changes... but don't hold your breath. (But do let the Minister for Immigration know what you think.) The boys are being held behind chicken wire in Tasmania are arguably better off. (btw, the Refugee Council of Australia has a ton of info.)

As horrible as all that is, we're having an election late this year, and the Opposition propose to help the Sri Lankan government stop refugees from escaping.

10 Pro-Gun Myths, Shot Down. The graphics'll mess with you.

Texans support assault weapons ban. (In other US news that may surprise you, I stumbled across a blog entry from last year about evangelical Christians supporting contraception as a way to reduce abortion.)

From last year, here's [livejournal.com profile] ann_leckie summarising the entire spectrum of unwanted sexual behaviour in a sentence: "I DO NOT CARE WHAT YOU WANT AS LONG AS I GET WHAT I'M AFTER."

I don't suffer from writers' block, and am in fact suspicious of the whole concept, but if so many great writers have good advice on dealing with it, maybe it's for real.
dreamer_easy: (Default)
I keep chucking things in the unsorted links dump, but then adding comments, which probably means they belong in an actual posting, eg:

The case against legalising same-sex marriage

A useful summary. It becomes ever clearer that the issue, at base, is not sexuality but gender.

Speaking of which, I don't understand this case at all. Why would any boxer suspected of taking steroids be allowed to go ahead and fight? (I suspect that, as so often with the press, there's a ton of context missing.)


It's out with the old as Christian values fall away

An interesting argument: if care of the elderly is a Judaeo-Christian thing, and Australians are becoming both older and less Christian, what will this mean for older Australians in the future? I do think one of the best aspects of Christianity are its radical egalitarian teachings; and as a Pagan I entirely grasp the value that the concept of sacredness confers, whether on individual human beings or nature as a whole - a value which, obviously, only spirituality can bestow.

Nonetheless, I don't entirely buy John Dickson's argument. The widow and the orphan are such conspicuous concerns for non-Abrahamic ancient societies such as the Mesopotamians and the Egyptians. And the UDHR (in particular, Article 25) already provides the non-religious "solid intellectual ground" for care of the elderly. Frustratingly, I know too little about Ancient Greece or Rome to assess Dickson's characterisation of their treatment of the aged.

None of which is getting the filing sorted out.

ETA: Despite which, here, have some more related links:

http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/using-birth-control-will-cut-deaths-study-finds-20120710-21tuq.html Y'think?

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/beliefs-must-be-tempered-by-facts-20120617-20i3t.html - "But we now know, or have increasingly strong reasons to believe, that people are born gay or lesbian. Far from this being unnatural for them, it is an example of God's creative handiwork."



dreamer_easy: (*abstract 03)
The band, Rush, have issued a cease & desist against the talk show host, Rush, for infringing their copyright. (Read the letter for the legal details.) Apparently their songs are not for rent to any god or government either.

An op-ed muses on why the fallout from the three-day attack on Fluke by Rush (the talk show host, not the band) has been so spectacular: "But this latest controversy comes at a particularly difficult time for right-wing talk radio. They are playing to a (sometimes literally) dying demographic. Rush & Co. rate best among old, white males. They have been steadily losing women and young listeners, who are alienated by the angry, negative, obsessive approach to political conservations. Add to that the fact that women ages 24–55 are the prize advertising demographic, and you have a perfect storm emerging after Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke comments."

The columnist points out that social media mean the free market can now express its ire with great speed and force. He also remarks that "the left does not cry foul when liberal political entertainers use derogatory terms about conservative women in politics" - something no feminist should countenance, regardless of the target. (ETA: Here's one leftie crying foul. Here's another. Here's another. And another. As any feminist will tell you, neither wing of politics has a monopoly on misogyny - which means "you do it too!" arguments are irrelevant distractions.)

ETA: A different columnist discusses something called "time spent listening". "Limbaugh knows that his share of big markets like Dallas or Atlanta has dropped from his old 5 percent in any given hour to, say, 3 percent. But if he can entice that 3 percent to listen twice as long, he can more than make up the loss. That imperative explains why Limbaugh kept talking about Sandra Fluke for so long. He was boosting his TSL to compensate for his dwindling market share."

More thorts

Mar. 8th, 2012 05:18 pm
dreamer_easy: (*feminism)
Another important point: the withdrawal by Rush's sponsors is not a First Amendment / free speech issue, but the free market at work.

Here's a snippet of that New Scientist (3 March) interview about politics and morality: "... I think the Tea Party is driven in large part by concerns about fairness. It's not fairness as equality of outcomes, it's fairness as karma - the idea that good deeds will lead to good outcomes and bad deeds will lead to suffering. Many conservatives believe the Democratic party [is] the party that says, you got pregnant? Don't worry, have an abortion. You got addicted to drugs? Don't worry, we'll give you methadone. It's the party that absolves you from moral irresponsibility."

That's a very interesting insight; I think there's a similar belief behind some Australians' hostility towards asylum seekers, who the Howard government cleverly and falsely characterised as "queue jumpers". However, I'd argue that we should make it easy for people to make responsible choices, not hard or even impossible! As I commented to Jon, imagine if we denied driver education, seatbelts, and airbags to young men, and then told them "you can drive - but don't"! It wouldn't just be unfair - it'd be cutting off our own noses to spite our faces. Fewer unplanned babies means fewer people dropping out of school or work; it saves on welfare and is better for the economy. Plus, of course, it means fewer abortions - a result everyone wants.
dreamer_easy: (*feminism)
Some important points raised in discussion of health insurance and contraception in the US.

In the US, health insurance is provided by employers. It is not paid for by taxpayers, but is earned by employees and constitutes part of their wages. The actual issue - a bit lost in all the noise - is whether employers and insurers should be allowed to refuse to cover contraception.

(Ensuring access to contraception for those without health insurance is enlightened self-interest; it efficiently saves taxpayers' money.)

Now, I read a very interesting article in New Scientist yesterday which explored some of the differences in thinking between 'liberal' and 'conservative' people. In previous postings here, I grumbled that the basis of opposition to contraception was that women are not entitled to have sex, and should not be able to escape the consequences of having sex. The NS article suggested that, for some socially conservative folks at least, it seems profoundly wrong and unfair that people should be able to escape the consequences of their decisions. Surely almost everyone shares some version of this belief. However, I'd argue that someone using contraception is preventing unwanted consequences. They are taking responsibility for how their choices affect their own lives and the lives of others. Rather than castigation and mockery, they deserve admiration and support.

ETA: Another important point: the withdrawal by Rush's sponsors is not a First Amendment / free speech issue, but the free market at work.
dreamer_easy: (*feminism)
Holy shit, Rush apologised. He still hasn't heard or read Sandra Fluke's testimony, though, since he still thinks this is all about fucking. (1.5 million US women take the Pill exclusively for reasons other than contraception - about 13% of all women on the Pill.)

Mother Jones (amongst many others) suggests the obvious explanation for Rush's ignorance about the Pill - he thinks it works like Viagra. Here I leave you to draw your own conclusions.
dreamer_easy: (*feminism)
As carnivaloftherandom notes, in his vicious attack on Sandra Fluke, Rush Limbaugh has come out and explicitly stated the core motive behind too many "pro-life" politicians' arguments: women are not entitled to have sex. Women who have sex are sluts and whores; they deserve humiliation, ostracisation, poverty, disease, and death, and they must not be allowed to avoid any of these punishments by using contraception or abortion. Working backwards from this, women who use contraception or who have an abortion are sluts and whores who should have kept their legs shut.

Putting aside Rush's sleazy trolling, there are some factual problems with his remarks. For one thing, he's not sure which one pays, the john or the pimp. For another, he has absolutely no idea how the oral contraceptive pill works. And for one more, he doesn't know that women use the Pill for reasons unrelated to their sex lives.

Rush thinks that if a woman takes the Pill every day, it means she must be having phenomenal amounts of sex. He appears to have the Pill mixed up with condoms. I can't quite believe I have to explain this, but basically, in order to work, the Pill has to be taken every single day. Whether you have sex three times a night or three times a year, with hundreds of partners or just one, you still have to take a Pill every day.

Fluke's testimony describes in detail the impact of inability to afford the Pill for a fellow student with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome - severe illness, and the loss of one of her ovaries. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Pill is used to prevent or treat conditions ranging from the everyday to the deadly: acne, PMS, painful periods, irregular periods, ovarian and breast cysts, endometriosis, ectopic pregnancy, and cancer.

Clearly, whether or not to take the Pill is a very individual matter. No blanket rule can take into account all the different circumstances and issues which may be involved. The decision has to be left to the individual woman - with the help of expert medical advice, which no school administration or insurance company can provide, let alone someone whose knowledge apparently comes from the school playground.

Respect is due to Fluke's uni for this response to Rush's comments. (I like the quote from St Augustine.) ETA: So too the Georgetown University Law Center.

Also classy as hell: Obama phoned to see if Fluke was OK. :)

Analysis of the fallout: Is Rush Limbaugh damaging the Republican Party?

From the Democrats, an online petition asking Republicans to denounce Rush's comments.
dreamer_easy: (Default)
From my unsorted links dump, some stuff re the current efforts to restrict US women's freedom:

How the Catholic Church almost came to accept birth control

Four Ways to Show How the "Religious Liberty" Claim Against Contraceptive Coverage Is Nonsense

About my 'spilled semen' amendment to Oklahoma's Personhood bill

An Oral History of Plan B

Woman Jailed, Ostracized After Resorting to Self-Administered Abortion: What Is This, Puritan America?: "In the United States, abortion is technically a legal right, but as these cases show, it’s not functionally a right."

Study Reveals Who Gets Late-Term Abortions. "These women were more likely to be young, black, less educated and living in poverty than women who had earlier abortions. They were also more likely to have experienced violence at the hands of the man who got them pregnant and to have dealt with at least three serious life events in the last year."

Solving America’s teen sex problem

More Texas Schools Choose to Teach Abstinence-Plus

Events in the US are important to me partly because I have friends and family Up Over, but also because unsavoury bits of American politics tend to find their way into Australia - and everywhere else, for example, Senegal.

And finally: Thank you, Rush Limbaugh. I mean it. "So, thank you, Mr. Limbaugh. I sincerely appreciate that you have finally come out and courageously said what all of your über-con buddies are thinking: If you’re not in control of who we’re having sex with, we’re no better than whores to you... It explains why birth control is the most horrific thing ever, it only encourages the whores to continue their whoredom."
dreamer_easy: (Default)
Some pro-lifers believe that making women see (or have described to them) an ultrasound of the foetus will reduce the rate of abortions. There's not much research, but what little there is suggest that it will have no effect on women's decisions. In fact, it might just encourage them to go ahead!

Virginia has just passed a law will vote next week on a law which mandates that women having an abortion must have an ultrasound first, and their doctor must describe it to them. Now, this is a watered-down version of the original proposed law, which would have forced doctors to perform transvaginal ultrasounds, in many or most cases, in order to get a clear image of the embryo. Texas looks set to pass a law which will require just that.

I've had a transvaginal ultrasound (for a condition unrelated to pregnancy). It involves the insertion of a large, hard, rigid chunk of plastic where you don't want one. (If you think this sounds like sexy fun times, compare an erect penis or a dildo to a broom handle. Getting the picture now?) For me, it was uncomfortable, painful, and humiliating, the sort of thing you only want done for solid medical reasons. Without the patient's free consent, it's also sexual assault. Texas will effectively be making rape legal. (Imagine the effect this will have on women who are seeking an abortion because their pregnancy is the result of a sexual assault - or on any woman who has been traumatised by rape.)

That's enraging - not the least because it won't make any difference. In fact, an ultrasound is already standard procedure before an abortion - it's just that it's normally the woman's choice of whether to look at it. The two studies which have been carried out found that most women wanted to see the ultrasound anyway. Most of them did not find it emotionally more difficult to continue with the abortion. In fact, most of them found it to be a positive experience! (I haven't got my hands on the full paper yet, but I'll bet they were reassured to see how little like a baby an embryo looks at the early stages of pregnancy, when most terminations are carried out.) One of the studies asked 350 women whether the ultrasound made them change their mind; not one woman did.

Are pro-life politicians behind these laws aware that they won't work? Are they just trying to harass and humiliate women? Or are they also trying to increase the cost of abortion, and if so, who foots the bill for these pointless procedures - the woman or the taxpayer? (ETA: She does.)

The two studies (both published in peer-reviewed medical journals):


State ultrasound requirements as of 7 Feb:


PS Virginia was also going to stop immunising girls against HPV, which causes cervical cancer. Apparently the appropriate penalty for the pursuit of happiness isn't just rape, but death - for women, anyway.
dreamer_easy: (FRIENDLY CONDOM)
If you can't legally stop women from having abortions, all you can do is harass and intimidate them. Oklahoma's new law is an example. It requires physicians to collect extensive personal details from women seeking abortions - details which will be posted on the Web, making it possible for individual women to be identified. The law has been put on hold by a judge and is being challenged by the Center for Reproductive Rights.

The Senator behind the law says the info is needed to help prevent unwanted pregnancies. I can save him the quarter mill: quit with the useless abstinence-only education, and make sex education mandatory in Oklahoma schools, including education about contraception.
dreamer_easy: (BRIC A BRAC quotations)
Frustratingly, migrating to the new puter has somehow resurrected a bunch of deleted bookmarks. It's a real jumble. So apologies for any duplicates which get posted as I try to sort them out.

Doctors' fears mean woman is sent to Darwin for abortion: "Queensland Health is paying for a woman to be sent to Darwin for an abortion because doctors fear they will be jailed if they perform the operation here... A source told The Cairns Post the fetus to be aborted was so 'significantly abnormal that it would not survive' if it were born."

Activist seeks divorce ban in California: "The effort is meant to be a satirical statement after California voters outlawed gay marriage in 2008, largely on the argument that a ban is needed to protect the sanctity of traditional marriage. If that's the case, then Marcotte reasons voters should have no problem banning divorce."

‘Sexting’ bullying cited in teen's suicide

The Characteristics of Bullying Victims in Schools

Cyberbullying is as common as name-calling, study shows

Britain's criminalising of children breaches their rights, says report

Patrick Stewart: the legacy of domestic violence

via [livejournal.com profile] qthewetsprocket, Schrödinger's Rapist: a guy's guide to approaching strange women without being maced. Gentlemen, give this a read - despite the serious subject matter, it's very funny.
dreamer_easy: (DEBUNKING)
Library FAIL. I'll go tomorrow morning. In the meantime I think I'll post some news from the world of SCIENCE here, in between efforts at unearthing the household from its current layer of filth.

Cervical cancer vaccine reminds girls of sexual risks rather than promoting promiscuity.

Bans 'do not cut abortion rate' (but contraceptive access does).

Teen Birth Rates Higher in Highly Religious States

Can therapy make a gay person straight? (No.)

How myths are made looks at both commercial distortion of science, and more subtly, how scientific citations can become a game of "whispers".
dreamer_easy: (facepalm)
Meanwhile, both sides of Australian politics continue to play games with the lives and wellbeing of refugees. Progress towards decriminalising abortion continues at a snail's pace, while the young Queensland couple facing seven years' jail for using RU-486 had their house firebombed. I think I'll go back to not reading the paper for a bit.


dreamer_easy: (Default)

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