On Thursday, January 14, 9-10 pm, Joy of Resistance will interview 3 activists– each one fighting on a different front line in the pitched worldwide struggle of women to participate fully and equally in the world.
FIRST–We’ll speak with Soraya Chemaly, blogger, activist, and recent author, along with Catherine Buni, of an article that appeared in The Atlantic, entitled: The Unsafety Net: How Social Media Turned Against Women. The article is subtitled:
“Under the banner of free speech, companies like facebook, twitter and YouTube have been host to rape videos and revenge porn–which makes female users feel anything but free.”
The authors cite an exponential rise in rape and murder threats against women on the internet, usually couched in openly misogynist language, with women often called whores, bitches, sluts–and worse. Such posts are sometimes accompanied by the actual physical addresses of the women who are being threatened. As a result of experiencing massive barrages of such internet threats, a number of feminist bloggers and posters–the major targets of these “mob attacks”–have felt that for their safety, they would have to leave their homes and/or stop participating in all social media. This has had–and is having–the effect of silencing women on the internet.
However, internet feminist-activists, including the author, have been leading a fight to get internet service providers to monitor sites for anti-woman hate speech/threats. After much organizing and petitioning, there were some positive responses from companies running social media platforms, but progress has been slow. A lack of good law, as well as male domination of the tech field (those who monitor hate speech on the net are most often young men, with no experience of what such threats mean in the context of women’s lives), has made it difficult to get this issue taken seriously. For instance, threats have been dismissed as “controversial humor” by some of the “moderators.” But there have also been victories; the author will report on these–as well as the future of the campaign.
SECOND–We’ll speak with “Luna”, a Senior at Pace College, who has been wearing “bloody pants” (white hospital pants stained with red paint), as if bleeding from her crotch/reproductive organs–to her college classes for a month and a half–as well as getting up in classes and in the school cafeteria to make announcements and give talks on the emergency lack of women’s access to abortion in this country. The “bloody pants” have become the signature visual statement of Stop Patriarchy over the past year, since that group’s disruption of last year’s ‘March for Life’ in Washington on last January 22, the anniversary of Roe v Wade. This January 22, 2016, they plan to do it again and are urging all to “get on the bus”. We’ll have Luna in person in our studio to speak about her brave action.
THIRD–Our long-promised interview with Sisters Uncut–the UK feminist group that disrupted the London premiere of the film Suffragette in October. On October 8, at the premiere of the film “Suffragette” in London, Sisters Uncut, a group of feminist activists did a “die-in” on the red carpet that the stars of a film traverse at a premiere, in protest of funds for women’s shelters being cut by the government. They followed up on November 28, by an action that turned the water of Trafalgar Fountain red, to symbolize the blood of women killed by domestic violence, as government defunds the shelters/refuges where women might seek safety.
Planned Parenthood suit
Planned Parenthood filed a racketeering suit on Thursday against the anti-abortion group responsible for taping the hidden camera videos that sparked last year’s political firestorm and funding showdown. The suit filed in U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California accuses the activists of a conspiracy to “demonize Planned Parenthood, harass and intimidate its dedicated staff, and interrupt its operations, all with the ultimate goal of interfering with women’s access to legal abortion.
Repairs for sex in Public Housing
In Baltimore, women living in Gilmore Homes, a public housing complex, have won a suit in which they alleged that, maintenance men demanded sex from women living in public hosing before they would make repairs to their “deplorable conditions,” which included rodent and insect infestations, lack of heat, mold, and electrocution risks.
On Friday, lawyers for the 19 women who filed the suit announced a settlement for all victims of sexual harassment in public housing. “The practice of demanding sex for repairs is so widespread that it is a pattern of practice by the Housing Authority of Baltimore City,” the complaint says, “whose housing officials have repeatedly turned their backs on the most vulnerable city residents.”
Besides a financial award between $6 million and $7.5 million, the settlement required Baltimore to fire and ban all the abusers from Housing Authority property, move the plaintiffs into livable homes. However, Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano, whom the group ultraviolet alleges knew of this situation and did nothing to stop it, has not been fired. 30,000 people have signed a petition addressed to mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake demanding his resignation. We have a link to it on our blog. You can also find it by putting into a search engine Paul Graziano and Ultra Violet.
Germany has announced plans to make it easier to throw out foreign criminals and strip sex attackers of refugee status. The decision follows hundreds of sexual assaults and robberies on women in Cologne on New Year’s Eve by men of mainly Arab and North African origin. Thousands of far-right protesters on Monday blamed the Cologne attacks on Germany’s influx of refugees.
Laurie Penny asks: Why can’t we always take sexual assault as seriously as we do when migrants and Muslims are involved as perpetrators? Adding: It’s a miracle–the right wing has discovered rape culture.
Making clear that sexual attacks on women are never acceptable and no cultural religious or economic rationale can justify these kinds of attacks.
Adam Purple story
And on NY’s Lower East Side, people who had worked with and supported the legendary gardener known as Adam Purple, who in the 1980’s created the world reknowned Garden of Eden, a garden of concentric circles of plants on 5 city lots on Eldridge Street–were stunned to learn that Purple had systematically molested his two daughters and two step-daughters during their childhoods. The news came to light after Purple’s death in September, when, backed by the testimony of other siblings, as well as letters and court documents, his eldest daughter, Jenean, spoke with Lincoln Anderson, editor of the East Villager, who subsequently published the story. Describing her childhood, Jenean said: “I was indoctrinated and taught to be a sex slave”, to be the “entertainment at parties and orgies” and “how to give pleasure to a man–that was what it was about.” She also described her 30 year battle to recover from “complex post traumatic stress disorder” caused by her childhood. Anderson, in his article, writes of coming under pressure from “local journalists” to suppress the story. You can find the full story by googling The Villager, Adam Purple–and we also have a link to it on our blog at joyofresistance.wordpress.com.