Tag: Amnesty International

Silly women

Honestly, you women. Running around, daring to be happy and comfortable in your sexuality, wearing flattering clothes and flirting, yes FLIRTING, with members of the opposite sex. It’s ridiculous, but tolerable. The limit is reached when you start drinking though. Honestly. You can’t have everything, that’s just greedy.

Yes? No?

I’m gobsmacked at the news today that 1/3 of “people” believe that it’s the woman’s fault if she is raped. Apart from general amazement, my initial shock was quickly tempered by the hope that these “people” are the minority who believe what they read in newspapers, and don’t question anything. If you look at it from that point of view, you can understand (although not condone) the findings of the survey. Depending on your stand it’s either the result of a long standing campaign by the male dominated press, or it’s the unfortunate result of some tired hacks who can’t be bothered to question their world view.

Either way the survey is shocking. So let’s take the three key issues:

A third of people believe a woman is partially or completely responsible for being raped if she has behaved flirtatiously, a survey suggests.
The Amnesty International poll of 1,000 people also found over 25% believe she is at least partly to blame if she has worn revealing clothing or been drunk.

1. “if she has behaved flirtatiously”
I’ve already documented my thoughts about flirting, so let’s put that aside as a ridiculous notion.

2. “if she has worn revealing clothing”
Rather than dig myself into a huge hole, I’ll firstly confess that I am an admirer of the female anatomy in all it’s many forms. I am quite happy for women to choose clothes that they are comfortable wearing. If they feel good wearing revealing clothes, who am I to argue. In saying that, the clothes a woman wears do not give me the right to violate her in any way shape or form. I’ll plead guilty to the odd ogle or five, but rest assured that I always feel guilty when I get caught… um… I’m straying from the topic here. Again, I can’t do much with this reason other than suggest that it’s a lack of respect and the objectification of women that is to blame.

However, maybe there is a sliver of an argument to say that, whilst it isn’t right, it is a fact that some men see women as objects so there should be some awareness (note that I said “awareness, I’m not saying they shouldn’t wear what they want, and I’m appalled to think that the actions of a few men should have any influence on a woman when she decides what to wear) that wearing revealing clothing may attract the attention of ‘less desirable’ men?? Of course I guess the reason that some women do wear next to nothing on a night out is to attract the attention of men, and so we enter a swings and roundabouts discussion.

Suffice to say that I agree with Gert who recently stated: “I find it deeply insulting for men to suggest that women should cover themselves to prevent them from being the target of inappropriate sexual advances.”

3. “if she has … been drunk”
Let’s set a scenario. Bear in mind that I’m coming at this from the male point of view.
You are on a night out, you spot a couple on the dance floor, they are both flirting, she is wearing a revealing outfit, and they are obviously attracted to each other. They both look a little worse for wear but have definitely “hit it off”. A week later you hear that he is being accused of raping her.

Now, I’m not saying that her actions give him any rights or provide him with any defence, but if you were to ask any of the people who had seen them together in the nightclub, would there be a shadow of doubt in their minds? I would think so. (thankfully this scenario is not based on personal experience).

Regardless of the findings, rape is a horrific topic. My view, as with most things, is that better education is the way to tackle this, removing the view of women as objects, and ensuring rape victims are given the protection they deserve. If anything good is to come of this survey I hope that it’s a growing awareness of women’s rights. And that rapists get their balls chopped off. The likelihood is that this will soon be yesterday’s news.

Last thought: Why isn’t there a link to the survey from the BBC News site? They are generally pretty good at giving you a way to delve deeper into a story, but this gets one page and nothing else. Odd?

Lethal Force Knee-Jerk

The news that Strathclyde Police Force has introduced Taser stun-guns has already sparked the usual round of “letters to the editor” stating various figures about how many people have died in the USA since these guns were introduced over there.

Personally, as a supporter of Amnesty International, I find myself torn on this issue.

On one hand there is evidence that these stun-guns can kill. That is a lot more than they are supposed to do, and there are calls for more rigorous testing before Tasers are rolled out across all the police forces in the country.

On the other hand these stun-guns are designed as a last-ditch option, so for a percentage of their use they will be aimed at criminals, people offering deadly harm to others. My sympathy level always drops in these cases.

On, um, a hand belonging to someone else the recent shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes proves that mistakes can be made but I would suggest that, in you consider the NON-mortality rate of the stun-gun, it would be a better option than a gun.

Of course these kinds of things are always going to spark debate (ouch), and as ever the knee-jerk reaction is the most worrying thing. We are becoming an increasingly reactionary society, already playing the blame game, pre-judging events that have yet to happen. Some people are suggesting that the police will just forget about their batons and use tasers instead and whilst this suggestion does irk, it also invokes images of Indiana Jones style scenes where they calmly ‘taser’ the onrushing ned and his chib*.

The world we live in is not ideal, I’ve mentioned before that there seems to be a lack of respect, a lack of discipline in some areas of society. We should be helping those areas by providing funds where needed, helping with education and supporting the families until they are in a position to help others. I truly believe that.

However the smallest subsection of society (of humanity?) is happy to take take take. They don’t want educated, they don’t want supported, they want what they want and they don’t care who gets in their road. For THOSE people, I say Taser them if required. Harsh? Yes. Just like life.

Required Reading

From Joi Ito: Dare We Call It Genocide?

“Zahra Abdel Karim, a 30-year-old woman, told me how in the same attack on Ab-Layha, the Janjaweed shot to death her husband, Adam, and 7-year-old son, Rahshid, as well as three of her brothers. Then they grabbed her 4-year-old son, Rasheed, from her arms and cut his throat.”

It’s horrifying to think that, while we sit at home in our comfortable homes, relatively safe and happy, this kind of thing is happening.

When I did last year’s Blogathon, I chose Amnesty International as my charity for precisely this reason. I don’t think about these things much. I am aware that a lot of bad things happen in the world, I am aware that our country should be backing the UN and taking action where it can. I am aware that all of this is more important than, say, the fact the local shop didn’t have the Independent this morning.

But all too quickly I put this to the back of my mind and get on with my day. What difference can I make after all? Sure I can donate money, regularly perhaps, but I just don’t have the time required to dedicate… no hang on, don’t I mean I don’t have the desire or motivation to help out more? What is stopping me? I’m young, successful and intelligent, surely there is something I can do, anything?

But who do I sign up with? There are many different human rights organisations, and while Amnesty is the best known, would it be more effective of me if I joined a specific group, targetting something I feel very passionately about?

Or will I, again, decide that as I do donate to charity that I am already doing my bit, and leave it at that? Is that enough? Will that help me choke down guilt along with my Cornflakes whilst watching the morning news?

BLOGATHON 2003

OK, that’s it, I’ve signed up. I have joined the madness and will be blogging every half hour for a 24 hour period starting at 2pm on Saturday the 26th of July.

I will be donating whatever I raise to Amnesty International, so get your hand in your pocket and …

Sponsor me for Blogathon 2003!

I am hoping to come up with a few ideas to make it a bit more interesting, otherwise I’ll end up saying… “I’ve been blogging for 16 hours. I’m tired.” But more on that later.

I’ve never done anything like this before, and coupled with the 26 things project it should be a busy old time over the next couple of weeks.

US of A-pathy?

The US: A Safe Haven for Torturers.

Part of Amnesty International’s Torture Campaign. The main thought that is rushing round my head is “why does America never seem to act on these things?” Is it an arrogance thing? A lack of compassion? Too busy ‘policing’ the rest of the world (read as: imposing American ideals on foreign cultures – but then why can’t the rest of the world just be like America for goodness sake…).