Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Women and Men (Or, What the Hell’s the Matter With Men?) Part 1: A Small Sample of Problems

“Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invariably they are both disappointed.” -Albert Einstein

“A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle." I really hate this expression. I bet fish would totally want bicycles.” -Meg Cabot

“Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.” - Charlotte Whitton

“When men see an attractive woman, they fantasize about sex. When women see an attractive man they fantasize about a relationship.” -Alexandra Potter

“Unfortunately, he still hadn’t asked for my number, or a date, or my hand in marriage, and my drink was getting low.” -Kimberly Novosel

“To come across as younger than they are: Women buy creams that promise to slow aging; men buy fast cars.” -Mokokoma Mokhonoana

“He - and if there is a God, I am convinced he is a he, because no woman could or would ever fuck things up this badly.” -George Carlin

“Sadly, in any industry and in any work-related environment, females always strive to achieve a certain amount of perfection, whether that be skinny or pretty. It's a constant, in our society.” -Mila Kunis

“Life is not fair... yet being alive is a hell of a lot better than being dead, because being dead is worse than being unfair... it’s really, really boring.” -Richard Joyce

“A woman brings so much more to the world than birth, for she can birth discovery, intelligence, invention, art, just as well as any man.” -Shannon Celebi

   And often better.

    Freshman Veronika Weiss, 19, was into sports and great at math.  Katie Cooper, 22, was about to graduate with a degree in art history.
   “They were both two very incredible, beautiful people. And that’s how I want them remembered,” Bianca de Kock said.
   Ms de Kock is using the past tense to describe her two sorority sisters because she was the only one who survived a drive by encounter with 22 year old Elliot Rodger last May 23, in Isla Vista, California, after being shot 5 times herself.
   A few minutes later the girls attacker would be dead by a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head, after being pursued and shot in the hip by police, but not before he had killed 4 others, 20 year old Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, 20 year old Weihan "David" Wang, 19 year old George Chen, and 20 year old Cheng Yuan "James" Hong. All the victims were students at the nearby University of California, Santa Barbara. 
   Rodgers managed to injure 13 others before killing himself. 
   The motive for this insane act of unmitigated violence? 
   Apparently he couldn’t get laid. 

   Last year, 19 year old Corey Batey, 20 year old Brandon Vandenburg, 19 year old Brandon Banks and 19 year old Jaborian McKenzie were kicked off the Vanderbilt University football team, in Nashville, Tennessee, after they were arrested on five counts of rape, and two counts of sexual battery, allegedly committed upon an unconscious 21 year old female student.
   Vandenburg’s lawyers have filed a 128 page motion for dismissal with the court, because  the alleged victim was “a promiscuous and heavy drinker who had a history of dating football players, even working with [Coach James Franklin] to recruit football players.”  
     Which of course gave the four men license to rape her after she had passed out. 

   Last Monday a judge in Billings, Montana, G. Todd Baugh, sentenced Brandon Daniel Turell to 10 years in custody of the State Department of Corrections, with five years suspended, and ordered him to pay about $13,600 in restitution, for using a stolen BB gun to shoot out the windows of approximately 100 vehicles and at least one house on Dec. 11 and 12 of 2012.
   The same judge, with 30 years on the bench, sentenced former teacher, 47 year old Stacy Rambold, to one month in jail last August, for repeatedly raping a 14 year old student, Cherice Moralez, in 2007, arguing that the girl shared responsibility for her rape because she appeared “older than her chronological age” and “as much in control of the situation” as her teacher. The judge technically sentenced the former Billings high school teacher to 15 years in prison with all but 31 days suspended and gave him credit for one day served.
   Cherice would committ suicide with a gun on February 6th, 2010, two and a half weeks before her 17th birthday. It is believed that constant ostracism and bullying by her classmates after the rape charges were made helped to lead her to the decision to end her life.
   "When a big rain would come, she'd always get out and dance in the rain," the teen's mother, Auliea Hanlon, said. "She taught me how to dance in the rain."
   On April 30th, the Montana Supreme Court  ruled that Baugh used an inapplicable statute to impose the 31-day sentence. When read properly, Montana law mandates a minimum four-year prison sentence -- with a suspension of no more than two years -- for the rape of children under 16 by someone at least three years older.
   The court ruled that Rambold's original sentence was inadequate and outside legislative guidelines, which it said should have ensured he spend at least two years behind bars.
   Two years.
   On June 4th, the same court  ordered the suspension and public censure for District Judge Baugh.
   In a six-page ruling, the court said Baugh’s actions warranted suspension without pay for 31 days. Noting Baugh's term expires at the end of the year and that he did not seek re-election, the court said the suspension would begin on Dec. 1st.
   The court also set July 1st as the date for a public censure.
   "There is no place in the Montana judiciary for perpetuating the stereotype that women and girls are responsible for sexual crimes committed against them," the court said.

   Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) talked about the wage disparity between men and women with the Huffington Post last Monday, saying it costs an average woman nearly half a million dollars over her career.
   "We still have women that earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns doing the same work," she explained. "Over the average woman's lifetime, working life, she loses $430,000 in income based on that disparity."
   When you compare women and men with the same education and experience levels working the same jobs, the disparity shrinks, but there is still an unexplained gap of 7 to 9 percent, economists estimate, suggesting persistent pay discrimination against women.
   "The problem is that too many women don't have the ability to know what their coworkers, who are doing the same work, earn, and their coworkers can be penalized by their employers for sharing that information," the Congresswomen said. "The Paycheck Fairness Act would take away that penalty and allow for the exchange of salary information and also make sure that there is another measure of accountability so that we can actually enforce the Equal Pay Act."
   Last April, Senate Republicans blocked a vote to open debate on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would prohibit retaliation against employees who share their salary information with each other, which supporters say would eliminate the culture of silence that keeps women in the dark about pay discrimination. Additionally it would require the Department of Labor to collect wage data from employers, broken down by race and gender, and require employers to show that wage differentials between men and women in the same jobs are for a reason other than sex. The Senate voted 53 to 44 to move forward on the bill, falling short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster. 
   Most Republicans in Congress have objected to all Democratic proposals related to women's economic security. Senate Republicans have blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act twice before, claiming that it will only result in more lawsuits against employers. 
   It seems unlikely that employers would be sued if they voluntarily followed the dictates of the Paycheck Fairness Act, or if they simply paid women the same as men for the same work.
   Republican lawmakers also consider the Act "condescending" to women. "Many ladies I know feel like they are being used as pawns, and find it condescending [that] Democrats are trying to use this issue as a political distraction from the failures of their economic policy," Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), the GOP conference's vice chair, said at the time.
   As a member of the House of Representatives, Rep. Jenkins’ salary is commensurate with her male colleagues. I wonder if the “many” ladies she knows fair as well.
   "This is not just an issue of fairness," President Barack Obama said. "It’s also a family issue and an economic issue, because women make up about half of our workforce and they’re increasingly the breadwinners for a whole lot of families out there. So when they make less money, it means less money for gas, less money for groceries, less money for child care, less money for college tuition, less money is going into retirement savings."

   Women spend nearly an hour more per day on household chores than men. That’s approximately two weeks a year. 

   “And now, now we are going to have a fight over women’s health, Give me a break. This is the latest plank in the so-called war on women. Entirely created, entirely created by my colleagues across the aisle for political gain.” -Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), Speaker of the House of Representatives
   “The Republican War on Women” is an expression used in United States politics, nationally and in the states, that characterizes certain Republican policies as a wide-scale assault on women's rights, especially their reproductive and health rights.  Prominent Democrats such as Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), as well as feminists, have used the phrase to criticize proponents of these laws as trying to force their social views on women through legislation.
   In 2011, state legislatures across the country introduced over 1100 bills related to women's health and reproductive rights, with an additional 944 provisions, half of which would restrict access to abortion, in the first quarter of 2012, This legislation has focused on mandatory ultrasounds, shortening the time when abortions may be performed, and limiting insurance coverage for abortion. 
   In 1973, the Supreme Court of the United States, in a landmark decision, ruled 7–2  that a right to privacy under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment extended to a woman's decision to have an abortion, but that this right must be balanced against the state's two legitimate interests in regulating abortions: protecting prenatal life and protecting women's health. Arguing that these state interests became stronger over the course of a pregnancy, the Court resolved this balancing test by tying state regulation of abortion to the third trimester of pregnancy. This decision is commonly referred to as Roe v. Wade, and is the law of the land. Republicans have attempted to undermine it since it was made.
   The Life at Conception Act, is a bill to allow 14th Amendment (an Amendment to the Constitution which addresses citizenship rights and equal protection of the laws, and was proposed in response to issues related to former slaves following the American Civil War) 
equal protection rights to extend to each "preborn" human person. The bill was introduced by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) on January 29, 2009 and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill did not advance to a vote, but similar bills, such as  the Sanctity of Life Act and the We the People Act, which would negate the Roe v Wade decision, keep be introduced by Republicans. 
   All of these bills and acts and sometimes laws (many of which have been deemed unconstitutional by federal courts), that affect the health and wellbeing of all women, seem to be a sop to elected Republican’s base voters, and are intended to get said politicians reelected, rather than to improve the health and welfare of a large percentage of their constituency, similar to the actions of many state legislatures that are controlled by Republicans, that have denied access to health care for the poor in their states through the implementation of Medicaid expansion, even though that implementation would initially cost the state nothing. The Republican war on women extends to the poor, the elderly, children, minorities, stray dogs and cats, and anybody else who doesn’t vote for Republicans. 
   For Rep. Boehner: Denial, in ordinary English usage, is asserting that a statement or allegation is not true. Simple denial: deny the reality of the unpleasant fact altogether. Minimisation: admit the fact but deny its seriousness (a combination of denial and rationalization). And projection: admit both the fact and seriousness but deny responsibility by blaming somebody or something else.
   On 16 December 2012 in Munirka, a neighborhood in South Delhi, India,  a 23-year-old female physiotherapy intern, Jyoti Singh (her name was not initially  released, as per Indian law, and for months she was only known and referred to with a pseudonym. With the permission of her family it was eventually announced), and a male friend, Uttar Pradesh, were returning home after watching the film, “Life of Pi,” and were lured onto a private bus with the promise that it was going by their destination. Six men were already on the bus, including the driver and one seventeen and a half year old minor, the one who had made the promise. When the bus deviated from it’s normal route, Uttar protested and was beaten, gagged, and knocked unconscious with an iron rod.
   Jyoti was dragged to the rear of the bus where the men beat her with the rod and gang raped her while the bus driver continued to drive.
    She attempted to fight off her assailants, biting three of the attackers,  leaving bite marks on them. After the beatings and rape ended, the attackers threw both victims from the moving bus. The driver tried to drive the bus over the woman, but she was pulled aside by Uttar.
   About an hour later the two were found on the road by a passerby who contacted the New Delhi Police, who transported them to Safdarjang Hospital, where Jyoti was given emergency treatment and placed on mechanical ventilation.  According to reports, one of the accused men admitted to having seen a rope-like object, assumed to be her intestines, being pulled out of her by the other assailants on the bus. Two blood-stained metal rods were retrieved from the bus and medical staff confirmed that "it was penetration by this that caused massive damage to her genitals, uterus and intestines"
   Uttar Pradesh suffered broken limbs but survived.
   Jyoti was less fortunate.
   She underwent multiple surgeries, removing most of her intestines. By the 25th,  she remained intubated, and on life support. Doctors reported that she was running a fever of 102 to 103 °F  and internal bleeding due to sepsis (a blood infection that can lead to organ failure), was somewhat controlled. It was reported that she was "stable, conscious and meaningfully communicative".
   The incident gained national, international attention, and outrage. Public protests took place in New Delhi December 21st,  at India Gate and Raisina Hill, the latter being the location of both the Parliament of India and the official residence of the President.  Thousands of protesters clashed with police and battled riot squad units.  Demonstrators were baton charged, shot with water cannons, and tear gas shells, mass arrests being made. Similar protests occurred throughout the country.
   What were they protesting? A national sense of permissiveness toward the type of behavior by men toward women that encouraged Jyoti’s rape and beating. 
   Police found and arrested some of the suspects within 24 hours of the crime. Eventually six men were arrested in connection with the attack. They were Ram Singh, the bus driver, and his brother, Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, an assistant gym instructor, and Pawan Gupta, a fruit seller, were both arrested in New Delhi, Akshay Thakur, who had come to New Delhi looking for work, and the minor, Akshay Thakur.
   At a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 26 December, a controversial decision was made to fly Jyoti to Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore for further care. 
   During the six-hour flight by air-ambulance to Singapore the next day she suddenly went into a "near collapse," which a later report described as a cardiac arrest. The doctors on the flight created an arterial line to stabilize her, but she had been without pulse and blood pressure for nearly three minutes and never regained consciousness.
   On the 28th, at 11 am (IST), her condition was extremely critical. The chief executive officer of the Mount Elizabeth Hospital said that Jyoti suffered brain damage, pneumonia, and abdominal infection, and that she was "fighting for her life." Her condition continued to worsen, and she died at 4:45 am on the 29th,  Singapore Standard Time. Her body was returned to New Delhi and  cremated on December 30th. 
   On the 11th of March, 2013, Ram Singh, the driver of the bus, was discovered hanging from a ventilator shaft in his cell at about 5:45 in the morning.  Authorities said it was unclear whether it was a suicide or a murder.
   On September 10th, the four remaining adult defendants were found guilty of rape, murder, unnatural offenses and destruction of evidence. Three days later they were sentenced to death by hanging, a verdict and sentence that was reaffirmed on March 13th of this year by the High Court of Delhi. The Supreme Court of India stayed the executions of the condemned, who are currently appealing their sentences.
   The seventeen and a half year old minor, said to be the most brutal of the attackers, was tried as a juvenal, and sentenced to 3 years  in a reform facility, the maximum sentence allowed under Indian law. 

   In the impoverished Layyah area of Punjab province in Pakistan, 20 year old Muzammil Bibi was attacked by three men in a field, probably last Friday. She resisted the attack, and the men raped and strangled her.
   Senior police officer Sadaqat Ali Chohan said: "This is the first time in my 22 years of service in the police that I have seen such a case, where a girl was raped in this way and found hanging from a tree. 
   We have heard of such cases in India but never in Pakistan. The girl's clothes were torn. We took her down and moved her to hospital. Her body had signs of resistance. We have arrested three individuals who have confessed to the crime."
   Two teenage cousins were found hanging from a tree after being raped in the north of India in May.

    On the night of 14–15 of April of this year, approximately 276 female students were kidnaped from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria. The kidnapings were claimed by Boko Haram, an Islamic Jihadist and terrorist organization based in northeast Nigeria.
   Boko Haram is opposed to the Westernization of Nigeria, which they maintain is the root cause of criminal behavior in the country, which apparently prompts and legitimizes their own criminal behavior. Thousands of people have been killed in attacks perpetrated by the group. 
   Boko Haram’s ideology stipulates that girls should be educated in the Islamic tradition only, which is to say they should not be educated at all. Girls found in government schools are kidnaped, and used  as cooks or sex slaves, which seems to not interfere with Boko Harum’s religious sensibilities.

   More than 370 girls and women have been violently murdered since 1993 in the Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, a border town across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas. 
   The murders have received international attention. The 2006 film “Bordertown,” starring Jennifer Lopez and Antonio Banderas, is loosely based on these violent and mysterious acts.
   International outrage over the murders is primarily due to perceived government inaction in preventing violence against women and girls in general, and bringing those who murdered them to justice.

   According to the Hope Alliance, 1 in 3 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. 1 in 5 high school girls report being physically assaulted and/or sexually abused by a dating partner. 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. In the United States a woman is beaten every 9 seconds. Each year, intimate partner violence results in an estimated 1,200 deaths and 2 million injuries among women and nearly 600,000 injuries among men. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 through 44  in the United States, more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined. Almost one-third of female homicide victims that are reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner. Witnessing violence between one’s parents or caretakers is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next. Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children as adults. 50% of girls who grow up in an abusive home will go on to be victims of abuse themselves. Domestic violence is the leading predictor of child abuse: 30% to 60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the household. Family violence costs the nation from $5 to $10 billion annually in medical expenses, police and court costs, shelters and foster care, sick leave, absenteeism and non-productivity. Every year domestic violence results in almost 100,000 days of hospitalization, almost 30,000 emergency room visits, and almost 40,000 visits to a physician according to WomanKind Inc.

   Unfortunately, I could go on and on documenting injustices committed mainly against women, who are men’s partners in life, whose goals are more or less the same, and who quite often, throughout the world, are treated as chattel, rather than the wonderful human beings that they are.
   Why is this?

To be continued.  

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