All Articles Tagged "violence against women"
Question…and this is embarrassing…
What if we, you and me, are to blame, at least partially, for what happened in Steubenville, what we hear on “U.O.N.E.O.,” and the unfortunate rape culture within Hip Hop?
I’ve seen and heard many response from artists, consumers, readers, bloggers, journalists, etc. who are not happy with Rick Ross’ lyrics. Things like“He’s misguided.” “He took it too far.” “He hasn’t offered a real apology.”
To them I say: We have misguided him.We have allowed him to take it that far. And he’s not the only one who needs to really apologize—although mere remorseful words alone won’t change the entire culture.
For the record, the rape culture is not exclusive to Hip Hop. Many have adamantly expressed that point. And they are obviously correct. But if we want to be proud of Hip Hop for its presence on the global stage, let’s not downplay the influence it then has, whether deservingly or not, on popular culture. The culture of rape that exists within the broader society needs to be attacked, but it is also reasonable to challenge people with respect to their influence. Platforms should bring expectations because platforms give power. Sure, it’s not fair for mainstream society to demonize a culture (hip hop) rooted in the black community when society at large faces the same issues. But our double standard arguments can be distracting. We want the blame to be shared for the rape culture, great; but let’s not argue that so much so that Hip Hop becomes a victim of mainstream media, and we forget the issue at hand! What would make Rick Ross think he could rap those lyrics? Did he really think no one would catch them? Or did he not think there was anything to catch that was troublesome?
By no means am I suggesting, as he did, that the lyrics are being misinterpreted. Because if they were, he would have told us what he really meant. Then again, can you imagine? A Hip Hop artist having to explain his lyrical content? That might be shocking enough considering a good beat is all you really need to distract people from your bad (in multiple senses) lyrics. So, why did he say it? Better yet, why did he think it, then write it (pardon me if he goes off the dome), and have no qualms about even recording it? Not to mention, everyone else who let that verse make the final master.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that in the early ’90s the Supreme Court decided Uncle Luke and the 2 Live Crew could be as As narsty As They Wanna Be. And guess what? President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan, defended the 2 Live Crew in this landmark decision. Or maybe it was back in the late ’80s when we allowed N.W.A. to glorify brutality against the police in response to police brutality. (They were speaking truth about police injustice, but two wrongs will never equal right.) Then again, it could have been in 2004 when we dismissed Spelman students for not allowing Nelly to hold a bone marrow drive at their school without addressing his “Tip Drill” video at the event as well. Better yet, maybe it’s because so much of what is in popular Hip Hop songs, in general, already revolves around sex. And their videos leave not much to the imagination. Everything points to sex. But it’s not just the male rappers; from Foxy Brown and Lil Kim before to Nicki Minaj today, sex permeates the content. Meanwhile, we’re all for free speech, and artistic liberty, but what is it doing to the culture? Do we not realize that what artists say and do trickles down to our youth?
SMH: Woman Tragically Murdered After Repeatedly Alerting Police That Her Ex-Husband Was Trying To Kill Her
On August 17th of 2012, 32-year-old Deanna Cook was murdered while on the phone with a 911 dispatcher, reports the NY Daily News. It took the operator 9 minutes to map Cook’s location and when they eventually arrived on the scene, they knocked on the door and called Cook’s phone. When Cook didn’t answer, responders left the scene. The victim’s teenage daughter found her body in a bathtub two days later.
Cook’s ex-husband, Delvecchio Patrik who had been arrested multiple times in the past for assaulting her, was arrested and charged with Cook’s murder. While the Dallas Police Department refused to release Cook’s final 911 call, earlier this week the tapes were somehow leaked to the media and what they revealed left many questioning why law enforcement hadn’t done more to help the woman who was in obviously in fear for her life, reports KENS 5 News. During the 9-minute call, the victim never actually speaks to the operator. She can just be heard fighting off her attacker, who is believed to be Patrick and pleading for her life.
“I’m not doing nothing to you,” Cook can be heard telling her attacker. “Please Red! I didn’t do nothing! I’m nice. I’m nice! Please!,” she pleads.
The assailant then tells Cook to “kneel down” because he is going to kill her.
“Wait please!” Deanna says in her final plea.
“I’m going to kill you,” responds the assailant before the call goes silent.
The chilling call was never listed as priority by the operator, so it took police 51 minutes to arrive to the scene of the crime. A lack of urgency on behalf of the 911 dispatcher led to disciplinary action and an investigation into Dallas Police procedures. The dispatcher eventually resigned.
To makes matters worse, Cook notified the police on several occasions that her ex-husband was trying to kill her during the months leading up to her death.
“My name is Deanna Cook and I have a stalker. He’s already tried to kill me three times. I’m really just fed up with this. I can’t keep moving and changing my life because of this,” Cook can be heard telling a 911 dispatcher on a previous call.
“I don’t even want him to know that I called, you know what I’m saying? That’s the thing. That triggers him when he knows that I called. He tears the stuff up in my house,” she continued.
On one occasion, she even notified the authorities that he was watching her house.
“I have been going through this for like 5 years with him. It’s still the same thing. I have complaints. If you can look up my name, you’ll see there are a hundred thousand complaints, but ain’t nobody doing nothing,” she can be heard frustratedly informing a 911 operator who suggested that she file for a restraining order against Patrik.
“All I can do is try to help you ma’am. It’s all up to you. You are going to have to. It will be up to you to actually try to do the things that we suggest to you. But if you don’t do that, you know that police hands are tied,” the dispatcher tells Cook.
According to the Huffington Post, a variety of changes have been applied to emergency procedures conducted by 911 operators in Dallas, Texas since Deanna’s death. It’s unfortunate that she had to die before the changes were made.
Footage of KENS 5 News’ report can be found on the next page.
On Thursday the House approved the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, reports the New York Times. The VAWA, which was drafted by Vice President Joe Biden during his time in the Senate, draws from federal funding to implement programming and create shelters for domestic violence and sexual abuse victims. The act also provides assistance to local law enforcement to aid victims.
An alternative to the act, which was unveiled last Friday recieved much criticism dished out by Democrats and women’s rights groups alike, as it failed to include gay, bisexual and transgender victims. It also dropped certain protections that were previously afforded to American Indian women residing on reservations.
Representative Gwen Moore, a Wisconsin Democrat and domestic violence victim expressed the need for this bill to protect all victims.
“I pray that this body will do as the Senate has done and come together as one to protect all women from violence. As I think about the L.G.B.T. victims who are not here, the native women who are not here, the immigrants who aren’t in this bill, I would say, as Sojourner Truth would say, ‘Ain’t they women?’” said Moore.
The newly approved act protects all of the aforementioned groups.
President Obama expressed that he anticipates signing off on the bill as soon as it reaches his desk.
“Over more than two decades, this law has saved countless lives and transformed the way we treat victims of abuse. Today’s vote will go even further by continuing to reduce domestic violence, improving how we treat victims of rape, and extending protections to Native American women and members of the L.G.B.T. community. Renewing this bill is an important step towards making sure no one in America is forced to live in fear, and I look forward to signing it into law as soon as it hits my desk,” said the POTUS.
Jazmine Denise is a news writer for Madame Noire. Follow her on Twitter @jazminedenise.
Whenever I see something ignorant – be it on television or in real life – my first instinct is to yell out “WorldStarHipHop” – all one word – even if I don’t have a camera.
Seriously, that site is where the pinnacle of debauchery and other questionable human behavior. Yet it is so hard to look away. Yeah I know, I am part of the problem; however according to the 500 million impressions the site owner reportedly says he gets a day, I know for a statistical fact, that I am not the only one. We try to honor our morals and convictions and boycott the site. However all it takes is for someone to post via social networking a WorldStar link with a catchy title like Stripper Eats It Hard When Pole Splits Into Two and you’re like, Oh Hell, ain’t nothing going on at my work desk right now, let me just turn down the volume and see this real quick...One hour and fifteen minutes later, you have just witnessed and perused through hours of videos of a man a chicken; a butt unclothed man tearing up a gas station while another man, recording him, sings very humorously Black Man Don’t Care; and an instructional video on how to have sex on an giant exercise ball.
The videotaped beatings are the most interesting; particularly the sheer audacity and ignorance of some in these videos, who are willing to not only capture these beatings on tape but upload them for the whole world to witness as they, more often than not, commit a crime. Talk about dry-snitching. And what exactly do you get from all this attention besides a nice photo for police and the prosecutors and the fleeting moment of being a world star? I guess it is worth it for some.
For instance, Jaden Ethridge, a high school student, who submitted a video to WSHH of him, “smacking a heaux” after an intense lunchroom argument spills into the school’s hallway. In the video we see Ethridge anxiously arguing with an anonymous young woman, whose face has been blurred. While we don’t know what sparked this argument, what we can gather is that Ethridge is annoyed with his female opponents threats, including daring the young man to hit her, and warns her that, “if I gets mad, you’re going to get smacked.” After a few more nonsensical exchanges, the video fades to black screen and the audio cues to the intro of “Smack Dat Heaux,” in which Soulja Boy, a child himself advises other young men around the world to “pimp smack that heaux…get your respect, you feel me?” The visual portion of the video returns and Ethridge is now knuckling up with who I believe is the same blurry face girl from the cafeteria. In one of his flurry of wild punches, he manages to catch the anonymous girl across the head, which is then rewound and mixed to a chorus of “pimp smack that heaux.”
You would expect Ethridge and his female opponent to receive condemnation for acting a fool in school when they were supposed to be studying. At least that was the normal response from adults growing up when they learned that I was involved in similar schoolyard fight situations. However even with the cautionary title It’s Not Okay to Hit A Girl: This Boy was Fed Up During Argument, most of the comments, which are now disabled, appear to make a joke out of the beatdown. Likewise Ethridge, unperturbed that he has actually done something shameful, revels in all of the attention, even tweeting and re-tweeting messages of congratulations for making it to the site and for throwing a mean right, including this satirical (I hope) message, “Do you have a heaux that needs sum pimp slapping done? Call Jalen at 1-800-SlapAHo.”
Men hitting women, or in this instance, boys hitting girls, is not a new phenomenon. However, men and boys hitting women and girls on camera and then taking bows over the act seems like a relatively newish thing. I don’t know if WSHH is totally to blame for that as some could argue that certain rappers like Too Short have been promoting the “smack a heaux” culture for some time now. However the site does appear to be a clearinghouse for this sort of anti-social and non progressive attitudes around violence towards women.
Perhaps it is the aid of technology like WSHH, which has made us more susceptible to seeing some violent acts against women as a cause and effect problem instead of a blanket condemnation. After all, it was her smart-mouth and needling of him, which caused Ethridge to throw up his fist and basically knock her down, right? Except Ethridge didn’t have to be in that situation. He could have decided to not argue with the young woman. He could have also walked away. And even if he was left with little choice but to defend himself, where is the regret in having to do so? The idea of hitting a woman used to be thought of as an act of last resort (and the work of abusers), certainly nothing to celebrate. Instead little Spike Lee here goes home with his video trophy of his victory, pulled out his windows movie maker, does some editing, lays down a soundtrack and then uploaded to a site, which receives over 500 million impressions a day. I’m pretty certain this was not about defending himself, or even misguided attempt at gender equality. This was about notoriety and fame. This was about going viral on the internet. And more importantly, this was about doing something so daring, which could propel a person to the title of World Star.
Long before WSHH, there was television, movies, video games, the world news and even what they saw outside (and inside in more tragic circumstances) their homes, which provided people many avenues to become desensitized to gratuitous violence of any form. However sites like WSHH offer a home for this kind of violence to not only exist but also feel welcomed. But as easy as it would be to condemn WSHH and Ethridge for that matter, there is a bigger message about how none of this culture of violence, particularly violence against women, will ever change as long as we continue to view these acts as entertainment. I mean, 500 million impressions a day?
In a courageous move, Democratic representative, Gwen Moore of Wisconsin, stood before Congress yesterday and revealed her own history with sexual abuse and rape. She did so to show support for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.
The act, which originally passed in 1994, has been a point of contention for some Republicans since 2005, presumably because new provisions seek to protect gays, lesbians and illegal immigrant women. Last month, when the Senate voted on the bill, eight republicans, all men, voted against it. Though, the bill has been supported by every Republican woman in the Senate.
Moore, astounded by the stalling of this bill, decided to address Congress and share her own personal story.
You can watch the video of her very passionate, very candid statements below.
Tragically, the story Moore shared with Congress yesterday does not represent half of the abuse she’s endured throughout her life.
In a recent interview with The Daily Beast, Moore said,
“I have been a victim of domestic violence and sexual assault for as long as I can remember. I think that men, boys, see it as a right of passage to have sex with girls. Lovers feel it is their right to dominate women in that way. That has been my experience.”
As a child, Moore was sexually assaulted by a distant family member. In high school, she was raped by a classmate, as she mentioned in the video. Amazingly she overcame all of that trauma and went on graduate from Marquette University. But in the ’70s Moore was raped again by a stranger. Moore pressed charges; but to add insult to injury, her rapist challenged her in court. He claimed that she wasn’t wearing any underwear at the time of the rape and that she had a child out of wedlock. As ridiculous and absurd as his testimony was, he was acquitted of all charges and Moore lost her job as a result.
Listening to Moore’s story will make you question God. The fact that one woman has had to endure more abuse in one lifetime than many of us will ever know is unfathomable. But the even greater injustice would be for the story of Moore’s abuse, and the abuse of the women she represents, to continue in Congress.
Another Republican representative, Cathy McMorris Rogers, a woman, told The Daily Beast that Moore and fellow Democrats are pushing the bill now as a political stunt. She claimed that that Democrats have created a “war on women” to distract from the real issues at hand.
It really is disgusting. Violence against women is a real issue, at hand right now. With the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey stating that there are an average of 207,754 rapes, (about one every two minutes), every year, it is a very real issue, right now. Not to mention, those are just the number of rapes which have been reported. With those type of numbers, there’s no doubt we all have either been assaulted ourselves, or know someone who has been raped.
If there’s any bright side to this picture, it’s that rapes in the U.S. have decreased by 60 percent since 1993. This may be a coincidence, but that is exactly one year before the Violence Against Women Act was passed. Whether it’s a leap or not, reducing funding for this act is not a theory we or Congress should be so willing to test.
What do you think of Moore’s story, do you have one like it? Do you think Moore’s remarks will help make the Violence Against Women Act a priority for Republican members of Congress?
More on Madame Noire!
- Where Are They Now? The Cast Of “227″
- He Wrote That? The Surprising Songwriters Behind Some Of Our Favorite Songs
- 7 Ways Your Relationship Should Get Better Over The Years
- Nice & Slow: R&B Singers Who’ Are A Little Soft
- Make It Last Forever: 6 Ways To Improve Your Marriage
- New MN Series: “Ask A Black Man” Episode 1: The Life Of A Single Black Man
- LaLa Addresses Confrontation With Melo’s Assistant And Open Marriage Rumors
- Backlash To Awkward Black Girl’s Shorty Award Win Is Awkward
Yesterday, I was forced to repeatedly listen to Beyoncé’s new single, “Run the World (Girls),” thanks to a precocious teenager who insisted on playing the song ad-nasuem. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not hatin’ on Beyoncé. The song has catchy lyrics and a sick beat. But after hearing it for the eighth time, I was pretty much ready to bang my head against the wall to the rhythm of the song. Yet at some point during the ninth replay of the song, I began to wonder if there was some legitimacy to Beyoncé’s girl-power anthem: do girls, also known as women, really run the world?
There is a really compelling argument to make that women may have finally achieved a power advantage in society. In an article written last year for The Atlantic, writer Hanna Rosin discussed the global economy’s shift to favoring “female” characteristics while male-dominated industries, such as manufacturing, construction and finance, are declining.
The U.S. Department of Labor seems to support Rosin’s argument. Statistics show that women comprised 46.8 percent of the total U.S. labor force in 2009, and are projected to account for 46.9 percent of the labor force in 2018. Women have also made great strides in management, professional and related occupations with 40 percent being employed. Also, for the first time in history, more women have college degree than our male counterparts.
Yes, Virginia Slims; we have come a long way, baby.
While there is no doubt that woman have made some gains in society, there is still a fair amount of inequality that women face in the workplace and in society at large. The biggest obstacle is the earnings gap between men and women. Women are likely to earn only 77.5-80 cents for every dollar that men earn for the same work—and that number decreases if you are a woman of color. Although economists who predicted that the income gap would decrease, it has actually stayed that same with no movement. In fact, 59 percent of working women are making less than $8 an hour.
Despite Beyoncé’s assertion that “we give birth to children then get back to business,” as a result of the economic recession, single women with children became the poorest group in this country. In 2009, of those households that lived in poverty, 29.9 percent were headed by single women, compared to 16.9 percent of single men and 5.8 percent of married couples. Unfortunately, very little is being done to assist households led by single mothers to retain their places in the workforce. Despite the financial hardships that come with the new arrival of a child, many employers still do not provide women with any benefits if they need to leave work temporarily.
Globally, women account for two-thirds of the world’s 774 million illiterate adults. In some parts of the world, women and girls bear the brunt of poverty. Their lack of control over resources, including land and other types of property, has limited their economic autonomy, which has made them the most vulnerable group to economic or environmental issues.
Back in the U.S., a woman is assaulted or beaten every nine seconds. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than care accidents, muggings and rapes combined – and every day, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends. Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.
Despite the fun posturing in the “Run The World” song, the reality is still much closer to the words of James Brown, in that it’s still a “man’s world.” By the way, out of all the world leaders currently in power, only 20 of them are women. Though it has been a record-breaking year for women in power, it’s still not enough to actually rule the world.
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.
By Charing Ball
This past Sunday I stood with a handful of ladies (and a couple of men) at the corner of a busy West Philadelphia transit stop in hopes of doing a little community engagement for the First Annual Anti-Street Harassment Day in Philadelphia. The event coincided with the International Anti-Street Harassment Day, which sought to make public places safe and welcoming for women.
The small group of us waved “Enough is Enough” signs and wrote messages of “These are our Streets 2″ on the sidewalk in chalk. During our outing we spoke to several black men and women about what we were doing—most of them understood while a small minority thought it was pointless.
For some, the idea of having to dedicate a day of recognition about anti-street harassment seems a little trivial in the grand scheme of issues we now face on a global level. However, street harassment is something many – if not all – women have to deal with. Often times, women have to bear the burden of defending against these unwanted or solicited attention by themselves as it is generally not considered as big deal by most. Mainly, on some societal level, we have been condition to believe that cat-calling, groping and belittling by strangers are all a part of the inconveniences of womanhood.
And it goes beyond a little playful flirtation from the opposite (and sometimes the same) sex. What we’re talking about is the ego-bruised guy who berates you loudly and publicly with vulgarities after you refused to give him your number, or the overly-aggressive stranger who slaps you on your behind as you walk by, or the straight-up weirdo who freaks himself off within your presence.
Sorry to have to break this down to some folks, but it’s not cute, inviting or acceptable. In fact, it is this kind of aggravation that helps to create a culture that makes other forms of violence against women tolerable.
We see what happens when the harassment turns violent like what happened in the New York Puerto Rican parade, where more than 50 women were doused, stripped, and molested by hordes of out-of-control men. Or the sexual assault caught on camera, which occurred in plan sight during the Mardi Gras festivities. Or on a New York train when a woman stood up to the pervert who flashed his genitalia at her.
But often times, similar incidences like these rarely make national headlines as women often feel, or are made to feel, as if they share some sort of the blame in their victimization. As a result, women beat themselves over the head thinking, if only they had dressed differently, or had not been out alone at a specific time of the day or night.
It’s that same degree of victim-blaming that has made the defense of 18-plus men and boys who videotaped themselves sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl in Cleveland, Texas, even more plausible. In the minds of local community members, who are repulsively coming to the defense of these sick offenders, the make-up plastered on the young girl’s face and her provocative clothing meant that this child was not a victim, but rather a temptress who ultimately “had it coming.”
Whether we like to admit it or not, the streets of America can be a very dangerous place for a woman or a young girl. What I learned from standing with those courageous women was that the less people, regardless of gender, who speak out and confront this cowardly act of sexual harassment, the more we contribute to the continuing devaluation of female status in society.
(The Root) — Union was working on a pilot for a new show Army Wives, but it didn’t take off. Not long after that she was appointed by Obama to work with the National Advisory Committee for Violence Against Women.
By Wadzanai Mhute
Violence against women has been on the increase world wide. According to the Global Post “Not only do one in three women worldwide experience some form of physical violence, but one in three teenage girls has been sexually abused by a boyfriend. In 2008, 157 women were killed by their husbands or partners in France. That same year in Pakistan, out of 8,000 officially reported cases of violence against women, about 1,000 women ended up dead.”