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WMC News: #RightToPray, Rape As a War Crime, Young Feminists, Eleanor Holmes Norton & more!

July 15, 2016

#RightToPray: Women in India Fight for Access to Holy Sites

| July 14, 2016

Rohini Pawar, one of many women demanding the right to enter religious places in India

When Rohini Pawar was stopped by the priests at a temple from going inside, she wanted to know why. “Because you are a woman, and women are not allowed inside this temple,” the priest told her.

She was told that this was a “tradition” in her village, Veer, in the Pune district of the western Indian state of Maharashtra—a 400-year-old practice that did not allow women to enter the Mhaskoba temple, dedicated to Kaal Bhairava, an avatar of the Hindu deity Shiva. “I dug around and found out that about 10 temples in my block did not allow women inside,” she said. Though she is an atheist, it bothered her enough to try and mobilize people in the area to oppose this practice. “I know that the Constitution says we are all equal and that this was a violation of our right as women to enter any space.”

In the past year or so, Pawar, who has enlisted as a rural reporter with a community media organization, Video Volunteers, has made several attempts to get inside the sanctum. “I would say I want to see the interiors—what it is like,” she laughs. “Since one of the idols is female, I even said I want to see my mother—the goddess.” But they wouldn’t let her in. Nor did anyone come up to support her. “Women here are scared of breaking a supposedly centuries-old tradition—they worry that their family will come to harm from the gods. If not gods, society will not take kindly to the flaunting of rules.” Now she has posted the number of the district collector of Pune, Maharashtra, on the Video Volunteers site, asking people to call and support her agitation or take action in some manner. More>>

Image description: Rohini Pawar, one of many women demanding the right to enter religious places in India


When Rape Became a War Crime (Hint: It's Not When you Think)

Patricia Sellers is the special adviser for prosecution strategies to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. (Stephan Röhl)By Kerry K. Paterson/Guest Blogger | July 13, 2016

Much confusion swirls around when rape was actually recognized as a war crime. Try Googling “rape as a war crime” and you’ll find the third result is a Huffington Post article declaring that it was made such a crime definitively in the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda’s initial case, in 1998. But this isn’t exactly right.

And then there’s 2008, which is the year the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1820, which states “rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity, or a constitutive act with respect to genocide.” The press reported then that rape was finally being recognized as a war crime and a threat to peace and stability. The reality, however, is that while sexualized violence has in recent years been codified or more explicitly included in various conventions or resolutions, rape and other sexualized violence, such as forced prostitution and indecent assault, have long fallen under the umbrella of actions that would be considered illegal. More>>

Image description: Patricia Sellers is the special adviser for prosecution strategies to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. (Stephan Röhl)


Does Fergie's "M.I.L.F. $" Music Video Have a Feminist Message?

M.I.L.F. $

| July 14, 2016

The first time I heard Fergie’s “M.I.L.F. $,” I genuinely thought it was a joke.

“Wow, Fergie’s just desperately trying to stay relevant,” my friend declared. I laughed in agreement. The song’s blatant auto-tuning, remixed dance track, and seemingly nonsensical lyrics made her observation obvious to me.

But then the same friend and I watched the song’s music video. The “M.I.L.F. $” video left us staring at the screen in shock, wondering how such a horrible song had somehow turned into a tongue-in-cheek, clever presentation of an arguably feminist message. More>>

Image description: Screen grab from Fergie's "M.I.L.F. $" music video


One the Ground: Interviews with Young Feminist Activists

Corinne Singer

| July 12, 2016

Welcome to “On the Ground,” a new interview series that highlights the work young feminist activists are doing in their own communities.

“Before my sophomore year at Andover, I didn’t even know what the term ‘feminism’ meant,” feminist activist and Barnard College student Corinne Singer told me. “Although I grew up in feminist-structured house where my dad is a full-time caregiver and my mom is a full-time ‘breadwinner,’ we didn’t talk about gender in my house as a system of power.

But during Corinne’s sophomore year at her high school, Phillips Academy Andover, a group of 12 or so seniors started a movement on campus called F=E, Feminism Equals Equality. The group hosted forums, started a Facebook page that provided a space for people to post things and engage others in dialogues about feminism, and received a tremendous amount of backlash from a wide variety of people on campus. While F=E wasn’t Corinne’s first time being exposed to feminist ideology, she said, it was her first time being exposed to comprehensive feminist ideology that helped her make sense of things in her life. More>>

Image description: Corinne Singer


The Supreme Court Addressed the Intersection of Guns and Domestic Violence, But Is It Enough?

We need to do more about the intersection of guns and domestic violence.

| July 8, 2016

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that people convicted of domestic violence can no longer own guns. The ruling in Voisine v. United States, the case in question, does much to highlight the serious issue of the intersection of guns and domestic violence — but still may not be enough.

This ruling comes in light of recent, increased efforts to advocate for better gun control legislation in this nation. Perhaps most notably, the Congressional Democrats held a sit-in following the tragic mass shooting in Orlando, which aired on the social media streaming site Periscope after House Speaker Paul Ryan refused to air it on C-SPAN and called it a “publicity stunt.”

But as these conversations about and advocacy for gun control continue, it’s important to remember the role gun violence specifically plays in domestic abuse against women. In the past 25 years, there have been more murders committed with guns between domestic partners than with all other weapons combined. Women in the United States are eleven times more likely to be murdered with guns than women in other high-income countries and when a gun is present in a domestically abusive relationship, it increases the homicide risk for women by 600%. More>>

Image description: Gun and bullets with caption "We need to do more about the intersection of guns and domestic violence."


WMC Live #175: Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Jane Manning, Clara Bingham (Original Airdate 7/9/2016)

Robin on the FBI and Hillary's emails, and CNN hiring Corey Lewandowski. Guests: Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D. DC) on House sit in and DC statehood; Jane Manning on drug-facilitated sexual assault; Clara Bingham's book "Witness to the Revolution." To listen >>


This week WMC SheSource features experts on the attack on the Dallas Police Department, the violent conflict happening in South Sudan, Theresa May becoming the UK’s next Prime Minister, Bernie Sanders endorsing Hillary Clinton, and Pokemon Go.

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