Categorized as: women’s rights

Mother’s Day… Everyday!

The day after Mother’s Day is usually a solemn one. For the celebrated mothers, it is a reminder of being back to the toils of normalcy. For those whose mothers have transitioned, the challenge of returning to work or school to hear about the ‘wonderful times with Mom’ can be excruciating.

Mothers, you are worth a daily celebration for all you do to ensure our happiness and upbringing. At times, I am often apologetic for my lackadaisical approach to showing appreciation to the matriarch of our family structure. I am blessed to have a spouse who can assist me with such a daunting feat. I can only empathize with single parents; imagining the task of raising children to be embraced by today’s society while educating them to be passionate, righteous and safe.

So this day, the day after Mother’s Day, I want to say thank you to all of the mothers of the World. Even though you too may be challenged with personal faults, you are still appreciated!

I have a special place in my heart for mothers who have to illustrate a false sense of happiness while covering wounds of depression and abuse to protect their children. Can you imagine facing a child or children who sense your pain and vulnerabilities after witnessing your abuse? The strength of Mom is immeasurable beyond belief.

Take a moment out of your day to show a mom, even if not your Mom, some appreciation for all she does. Something as simple as a phone call, a smile or words of encouragement can show a mother the love she deserves.

America’s Dad… The Predator!

What a way to end Sexual Assault Awareness Month…

The man who cultivated a culture and entire generation of African-Americans to excel in education and family, was secretly a predator of women. Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable…The Voice of Fat Albert… Mr. Jell-O Pudding Pops…a Rapist! I remember being a teenager with no interest in college being raised by a single mother thinking, WOW! The Cosby Show gave me the possibility of a complete Black family unit with two successful parents. Soon to follow, A Different World, which set the fire for me to be one of the first in my family to go to college.

What is the world coming to? I can honestly tell you, the World has been here for quite some time:

  • Every 98 seconds, a woman is a victim of attack.
  • 600 women are sexually assaulted daily.
  • One in five women have been raped in their lifetime.
  • Nearly half of rape victims were assaulted by an acquaintance.

“This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” – Polonius (Hamlet)

I am sick and tired of the excuses people use for their personal demons and shortcomings. Bill Cosby has been tried and convicted of assaulting three women. THREE WOMEN! This does not count those who feared coming forward, were paid to remain silent or did not get their chance in court. As much as I am happy for his many contributions to children, I am equally disappointed for his victimization of women.

These attacks are completely and utterly inexcusable! This was not an isolated occurrence. The #MeToo movement has proven there are many voices who remain unheard.

Dr. Cosby, for you to act like you are the victim here, I have only one thing to say about you…

“You’re like school on Saturday: NO CLASS!” – Rudy (Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids)

#LoveMePainFree #MeToo #SexualAssaultAwarenessMonth #Rape #SexualAssault

Street Harassment the Uncomfortable Walk

Before reading those stories, and posting, I accepted it as the norm to get harassed all the time.” (Hollaback participant, 2012) –

Now we all can admit that hearing “That I Notice You” whistle or look might actually brighten up your day, but what can you do if it progresses into an uncomfortable situation: whistle blowing, hisses and the stares. Many do not understand what is the ‘Big Deal”. Non-contact unwanted sexual experiences were the most common form of sexual violence experienced by both women and men.

Event though the assailant is not being physical public harassment is still pretty close to your Personal Safety Zone. The assailant might not even notice they are speaking the language of Sexual Terrorism. It could all be apart of their Social Anxiety Defense Mechanism stemming from low self-esteem.

Street Harassment on College Campuses
Recently the company behind the Hollaback! App collected 282 undergraduate, graduate and part-time college students and 44 college administrators on campuses from the urban, suburban and rural U.S. to find out how harassment exists in spaces of higher education.
• Students are being harassed on their college campuses (67% of students experienced harassment),
• Harassment is limiting student’s ability to benefit from education,
• Current campus systems and processes are insufficient.
• Over 99 percent of women report facing some form of street harassment.
• 95 percent of women report being the target of leering or excessive staring at least once.
• More than 37 percent of women have had a stranger masturbate at or in front of them at least once in public.
• Nearly 57 percent of women reported being touched or grabbed in a sexual way by a stranger in public.
• Over 77 percent of women said they were the targets of kissing noises from men.
• About 62 percent of women say a man has purposely blocked their path at least once.
• About 27 percent of women report being assaulted at least once in public by a stranger.

“But I found myself forcing myself to bring it up and to tell people about it and to, even like, people I wouldn’t normally tell this to, like my Dad… Hollaback cultured my feeling that this should be shared.”
The only way we can become a fighting voice for all of those who cannot.

Sources: http://www.ihollaback.org/
SOURCES: Stop Street Harassment, Feministe/Patrick McNeil, Center for American Progress

You Can’t Do What You Want, It’s My Body

Let me tell you a story of a bi-sexual woman who exudes sexuality; and two men: one accused of possession of child pornography and molestation of under aged girls; and the other sexual exploitation and coercion of young women. Seems like the brewing of a report on eyewitness news.

Well, this is what happened when you get Lady Gaga, R. Kelly and Terry Richardson to do an Advertisement for Rape “collaborative project” called, “Do What You Want With My Body.”

According to the reports, Gaga asked Kelly, “Will I ever be able to walk again?” and he replied, “Yes, if you let me do whatever I want with your body. I’m putting you under, and when you wake up, you’re going to be pregnant.” The video clip of the pulled music video posted by TMZ (see video clip here) depicts a young unconscious woman as a playground for sexual exploitation.

Unfortunately, date rape drugs such as rohypnol, GHB and Ketamine makes this video depiction a real-life situation for too many young ladies. As an Atlanta resident, I am embarrassed that we are ranked No. 1 for Sex Trafficking and at the bottom of the spectrum for high school dropouts.

Here are a few ways to protect yourself from being a victim:

– Keep your drinks with you at all times.

– Don’t accept drinks unless they’re delivered by bar staff.

– Pay attention to the way you feel.

– Use methods of detecting the presence of date rape drugs, like DrinkSavvy, a company which designed a cup to detect date rape drugs.

Women Rule The World

This year has gone by crazy-fast.  Wasn’t it just yesterday that we welcomed the year 2014, yet it’s already halfway over?  Quite a few newsworthy events happened recently, putting the spotlight on women and female empowerment.  First, on May 23, our country was shocked by the actions of a young man, who will remain unnamed.  The gunman opened fire in the Delta Delta Delta sorority house at University of California, Santa Barbara killing two innocent women.  After writing a lengthy manifesto and posting misogynistic rants on his YouTube channel, he made it clear that the rejection he faced from women over the years angered him.  This man targeted women simply because they were women.

In light of the shooting there’s much controversy surrounding the winner of this year’s Miss U.S.A pageant.  Miss Nevada, Nia Sanchez, was asked why college campuses are so eager to dismiss reports of sexual assaults that occur under their watchful eye.  In response, Sanchez stated that women should learn to defend themselves. Reasonable response, right? Many people are attacking her response, however, because it is believed that we shouldn’t blame women for being assaulted, but rather make harsher laws for the perpetrators.  While both sides have excellent points, females of all ages should certainly take the initiative to protect themselves first.  There are lots of things women and girls can do to educate themselves on self-defense. While Nia Sanchez is a 4th degree Black Belt, simply learning the basics is a huge step in the right directions.Taking a self-defense class or purchasing a can of pepper spray is a great first step!  After all, women are very, very close to ruling the world.

Power To The Woman

Women have come a long way since their fight for suffrage in the 19th century.  There is even an entire month, March, dedicated to women and all of their accomplishments.  It wasn’t always that way though.  At first there was only an International Women’s Day, started in 1909, then National Women’s History Week in 1981.  It’s crazy to think that just a century ago, women couldn’t vote, own land, get an education, and rarely had jobs.  As of 2012, according to the Census Bureau, 41.6% of females 16 years old and over hold jobs while only 34.7% of men in the same age group hold jobs.  The Census Bureau also concludes that 56.8% of all college students are females.  A few females who paved the way for all women include:

  • Catherine Brewer, the first female to earn a Bachelor’s degree from what is now Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia
  • Amelia Earhart, first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean
  • Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female Supreme Court Justice
  • Patricia Harris, the first black, woman cabinet member in the U.S

 

Those four women are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Women’s History Month.  You can check out a timeline from DiversityInc.com with tons of facts.

Women’s History Month; Honorees

Hate women? Well March is not your month. Saturday was the official start to Women’s History Month. March 2014, we celebrate women of colors and backgrounds, from homemakers to movers-and-shakers. The National Women’s History Project announced this year’s theme is Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment. The honorees that were submitted include those of past and present resilience. While all the honorees are notable, Divas In Defense has selected three that really speak to the versatility of the honorees.

 

Image Courtsey of National Women's History Project

Tammy Duckworth (1968 – Present)
Member of Congress and Iraq War Veteran  
Tammy Duckworth, U.S. Representative from Illinois, is an Iraq War veteran and former Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs.  In 2014, she became the first disabled woman elected to serve in the House of Representatives.  Duckworth has a strong record advocating and implementing improvements to veteran’s services. In 2004, she was deployed to Iraq as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot.  She was one of the first Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom until her helicopter was hit by an RPG on November 12 2004. She lost her legs and partial use of her right arm in the explosion and was subsequently awarded a Purple Heart for her combat injuries.

 

Image courtesy of National Women's History Project

Arden Eversmeyer (1931 – Present)
The Old Lesbian Oral Herstory Project Founder

Arden Eversmeyer founded the Old Lesbian Oral Herstory Project (1999), to ensure that the stories of lesbians born in the first part of the 20th century, who were labeled “mentally ill”, fired from their jobs, rejected by their families, and even raped and murdered with impunity, are recorded in history.  Project volunteers have documented over 320 diverse life stories recording the sacrifices and obstacles faced by lesbians of that era. The collection is now archived, and continues to grow, as part of the prestigious Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College.  Today Eversmeyer is proud to live in a time when she can be her true self with acquaintances, friends, family, medical professionals, and everyone

 

Image Courtesy of National Women's History Project

 

Anna Julia Haywood Cooper (1858 – 1964)
African American Educator and Author
Anna J. Cooper was an author, educator, speaker, and among the leading intellectuals of her time. Born into enslavement, she wrote “A Voice from the South,” widely considered one of the first articulations of Black feminism. Throughout her long life, Anna worked for the betterment of African American women’s lives, which she saw as the foundation for a more just society for everyone. Cooper worked at Washington D.C.’s M Street — now Dunham High School for nearly 40 years, focusing the all black high school on preparing students for higher education, successfully sending many students to prestigious universities.

Information on honorees and a full list can be viewed here.

The orgins of Women’s History Month can be traced back to 1911, when the first International Women’s day was held on March 8th. While in office, Jimmy Carter issued a Presidential proclamation that the week of March 8th would be Women’s History week. Following the petition by the National Women’s History, in 1987 Congress passed a bill that declared March the month for Women’s History.

Your New You Resolution!

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”

It is a New Year and time for CHANGE! Every year we make promises we don’t keep. Yeah, yeah, we go all out for most of January, some of February to fall off completely by March. Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, make New You resolutions! You owe it to yourself to purge unhealthy habits and relationships.

Yes, it would be good to lose a few pounds. Believe it or not, that is the easy part. Change your diet to a healthy one and “Watch the Weight Evaporate!” The bigger issue is shedding the extra pounds of dead weight you carry in your relationships, at work, in your home and much more.

Nothing takes the past away like the future.

What have you learned from your mistakes of yester-year? Put together a plan of action and set your course to “New You!” I can tell you, 2014 will be filled with ups and downs; what are you gaining in your losses? A new year gives you the opportunity to shake the dead weight and embark on another year of successes and failures. Remember: Falling forward is still progress!

Take some time and evaluate items in your life. Does your friendship bring more hardship? Is your mate dead weight? Does your workplace need a change of pace?

“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.” – Kenji Miyazawa

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, also known as SAAM. The month of April is dedicated to providing events and opportunities to promote awareness of rape and sexual violence prevention. Sexual Assault Awareness Month was first observed in 2001 under the direction of the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCASA).

The theme for the 2013 National Sexual Assault Awareness Month is “It’s Time . . . To Talk About It.” This year’s focus is on healthy sexuality and it’s connection to child sexual abuse prevention. We are asking you to join the conversation and help us promote the awareness of sexual assault in your communities.

Want to get involved but do not know where to start? Here are a few event ideas to get you started:

1. Start the conversation.

Plan a dinner, coffee meeting or lunch with people in your organizations or network to discuss sexual assault prevention and resources in your area.

2. Promote a teal ribbon campaign.

Teal is the color associated with sexual assault. Distribute teal ribbons to your co-workers, family members and friends to promote sexual assault awareness.

3. Walk, March, Unite.

Register for local walks or runs in your area focused on sexual assault awareness this month.

4. Participate in Denim Day.

Join the movement of wearing jeans on Denim Day, April 24. Wearing jeans on denim day is an international social statement and fashion statement as a visible means of protest against negative attitudes towards sexual assault. Click here to learn more about Denim Day.

Need more ideas and resources? Visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

Women’s Rights In Turkey

Women’s Rights In Turkey

What a difficult story to read, given the account on the state of women’s rights in Turkey given the substantial efforts to achieve equality and security for millions of women. Turkey’s government has not only adopted far-reaching legislation that strengthens the authorities’ ability to prevent and prosecute violence against women, but it has also taken steps to ensure full implementation of these laws.They have intensified training and held numerous symposia and workshops, and even launched a broad public education program to raise awareness about women’s violence.

 

In Instanbul, a 37-year-old mother of two, has lived on the run for 15 years, ever since her abusive husband tracked her down, broke down her door and shot her in the leg six times after she refused to return to him. According to the women, she said her husband had since kidnapped her mother and stabbed her brother, trying to force them to reveal her whereabouts. She repeatedly turned to the police. But, she said, they chided her to return to her husband. On one account, after her husband came to pick her up at the police station, she said she heard an officer advise him to break her legs so she could not escape.

To read more about the articles, please visit: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A05EED71F39F93AA15757C0A9649D8B63&ref=domesticviolence

and http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/03/opinion/womens-rights-in-turkey.html?ref=domesticviolence

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