Category Archives: Gender-based violence

Is Speaking Out Enough?

In her book, The Road of Lost Innocence, Somaly Mam writes that she knows the clients who pay for child prostitutes and they are mostly ordinary, Cambodian men. She asks the question about why, in Cambodia, men feel justified in treating women and children this way? She also points out that most programs to deal with sex trafficking target the women—by rescuing and helping the victims. While this is important, Mam notes that these initiatives do not do anything to stop the problem. She designed a program to reach out to men and get them talking. She had young girls who had been trafficked talk to the men about the rapes and violence they had endured. She reported that many of the men in the audiences would break down and cry. Many of them had used child prostitutes like these girls, but somehow it never occurred to them or they avoided thinking about, how the girls were being treated. Mam taught the men about what life in the brothels was like for the girls and asked if they would want their daughters to be treated that way by other men.

I was thinking about this approach in light of the current sentencing hearing occurring now for Larry Nasser, the man convicted of abusing hundreds of young female gymnasts. The judge in the case, Rosemarie Aquilina, is allowing the victims plenty of time to speak about and describe the abuses and the effects on their lives, and the perpetrator has to sit and list to them. The judge, taking an unusual role, is also offering supportive comments and advice to the victims, reaffirming that they are strong and can rebuild their lives. So here is my question to all of you: while the act of speaking up and sharing abusive experiences can be therapeutic for those who have been affected, does this process affect the seemingly “ordinary” people who engage in the abusive behaviors? Or does it require more than just speaking up?

Larry Nasser’s abuse went on for years and was enabled by a host of men and women who worked around him and in some cases, by the parents of the victims. These people did report allegations against him, even when required to do so by law, shamed or intimidated some of the victims into silence, or ignored the issues altogether. I am thinking about this in light of the #MeToo movement as well. We are already beginning to see a backlash against it with women being accused of “going too far.” How do we change the hearts and minds of those who engage in sexual harassment and abusive behaviors as well as those who enable such behaviors being complicit or remaining silent?


–Holly Mathews


Return Of Kings

I’m sure many of you know who Sophia Bush is, the actress that starred as Brooke Davis on the hit show One Tree Hill. Today on Twitter, she posted a link to an article about the Return of Kings. With us having discussed rape in todays class, I felt compelled to share the link with the rest of you.

The Return Of Kings is a community of men who “aim to usher the return of the masculine man in a world where masculinity is being increasingly punished and shamed in favor of creating an androgynous and politically-correct society that allows women to assert superiority and control over men”. You can read their full list of “community beliefs” here.

I personally don’t agree with any of their beliefs, but they have gained a lot of momentum this past year and have set out to recruit even more “masculine men” on February 6, 2016. They have managed to organize 165 meetings in 43 different countries, and are open to requests for hosting in cities not listed. I am aware of a few feminist groups that are planning to show up at the intended meeting locations hoping to bring public awareness to the controversial “pro-rape” and “anti-women” rhetoric. While these beliefs might not be threatening when privately practiced, this group continually publishes their beliefs online in hopes of expanding their followers.

Here is a list of a few posts:

8 Things That Make A Girl Stupid And Useless

Why You Should Avoid Women Who Claim Rape At All Costs

5 Simple Steps For Not Getting Raped

Women Should Not Be Allowed To Vote

I focused more on the group’s beliefs toward women, but the Return Of Kings have equally degrading posts about anything that does not meet their heterosexual male criteria.

Half The Battle, On Women In Combat

Thomas Hennessey

As Veteran’s day approaches (November 9) the discussion of women in combat heats up once again.  In this article Callie Crossley discusses why imagery of women serving is not seen all that often during Veteran’s day celebration despite it being well known that women serve right along side men. The author states that she recently searched Veterans on google only to find the all too common images, MEN carrying weapons or giving a patriotic salute. The reason being that women are currently disallowed from combat arms roles and the stereotypical image of a Veteran is one carrying a weapon rather than one who fulfill support roles.  Currently the former Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Dunford believes based on a survey of women serving in combat roles in the Marine Corps that those Units had less unit cohesion than those who were made of males only.  This fact being recited despite the Secretary of the Navy currently not allowing the full report to be released.  The author is calling for google to allow more imagery of female veterans in its searches.

Ray Rice hopes to work for NFL, raise awareness of domestic violence

Thomas Hennessey

An article released by ESPN announced that Ray Rice would like to work with the NFL to raise awareness for domestic violence.  This announcement came during an interview with the former Baltimore Ravens running back in which he stated that if he did not get another chance to play in the NFL he would still like to make an effort to use his mistake to make a difference for the better.  Ray Rice is one of two NFL players in the last two years who have received large amount of public scrutiny due to nature of their crimes and court cases.  Ray Rice was caught on security footage hitting his then fiancé and now wife, he was immediately let out of his contract and has not received another tryout with any other NFL team.  He stated in his interview that he feared parents telling their children that they did not want them to end up like Ray Rice.  But the real question is why does the NFL not have a clear policy in dealing with player who are suspected of perpetrating domestic violence, Ray Rice has not played another down despite his trial being over and him serving his penance.  Where as Greg Hardy formerly of the Carolina Panthers still in the process of trial has been given another chance by the Dallas Cowboys.  There are clearly some inconsistencies that need to be worked out.


Hmong child bride lawsuit in Minnesota

This article is about child brides ie human trafficking of child brides from Laos. In this case, a woman has chosen to speak out and is suing her perpetrator/abuser.

There is apparently a population of Hmong people in St. Paul Minnesota and it is a common occurrence where young girls in Laos are lured with the promise of something like being in a music video or meeting a movie star as was the case with this woman. The community does not openly speak against it because it could mean some sort of physical retaliation.

This woman was taken at the age of 14 (she is now 22) under the promise of an audition to be in a music video. Instead, a relative of the man who initially made the promise to the young girl (and her parents) showed up and raped her. He eventually allowed her to return home, but upon learning she was pregnant, forced her to marry him. Upon bringing her to the US, he kept her passport and immigration documents as well as threatened her with taking their child away if she tried to leave. Eventually, she was able to get a protective order against him and their “cultural” marriage ended.

And now she is suing him “for $450,000, the minimum statutory damages under “Masha’s Law,” a federal law that provides for a civil remedy in the form of monetary compensation in child pornography, child sex tourism, child sex trafficking and other similar cases.”



October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Thomas Hennessey

I am going to both apologize and warn you in advance that this post is not a news article exactly. As some of you may know October is Domestic Violence awareness month in the United States. This awareness month came from a day of solidarity in the early 1980’s, in 1989 congress passed a law designating October to be domestic awareness month. Some cities through out North Carolina have events to raise awareness but as far as I can tell Greenville is not one of those cities.  The city of Greenville is not the only offender in my opinion however, I also investigated ECU news to see if there was any events planned or articles written but I have not found those yet.  Above I have placed the link to President Obama’s Presidential Proclamation on National Domestic Violence awareness month and I have also attached the North Carolina Department of Justice report on domestic violence related homicides in 2013.

Pitt County Announces Domestic Violence Prevention Strategy

Thomas Hennessey

Pitt County law enforcement agencies launching new program to prevent domestic violence

This week Pitt County law enforcement agencies announced a strategy that they believe will decrease domestic violence. The strategy is titled “Legality Assessment Program” or “LAP” and according to the article it is a preventative strike at domestic violence.  The program has created 11 questions that can be used to evaluate a person’s situation. If it is deemed this person is in danger they will be asked to speak with a victim’s advocate.  24/7 access to victim’s advocate is a new concept because previously forced to wait one business day for contacting a victim of domestic violence. This article stresses that this is a preventative measure to cut down on the cases of domestic violence or at least stop some cases in their infancy.

Working towards ending FGM

February 6 of each year is “The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.” This article highlights efforts of the UN in educating communities about the myths and negative outcomes of this procedure still common in several African and Middle Easter countries in both Muslim and Christian communities.

FGM has many serious short – and long-term health consequences for girls and women. This year’s theme was “ending the ‘medicalization’ of the procedure.” FGM, even when conducted by a medical workers, is harmful to girls and women; however, as these workers become better educated about the negative consequences of FGM, some are beginning to refuse conducting the procedure.

Intimate Domestic Violence: African American Women

Institutional and internalized racism significantly contributes to African American misogyny and domestic violence. The problem is as old as African American slavery and the 19th century Freedmen’s Bureau (Hubbert 2011:129) contains a list of complaints about domestic violence from African American women by their husbands and boyfriends. African American women presently experience domestic violence 35% more than White American women (Hampton, Margarian, and Oliver 2003:536).

African American women have always been considered as a substandard group in the United States (U.S.) and internalized racism influences many African American males to look down upon them. Additionally, institutional racism promotes clinical depression and other mental health issues. This, alongside of poverty and high unemployment rate, directly leads many African American women to experience the backlash abusive relationships.

So what currently maintains the stability of African American misogyny and domestic, violence? Movies, music lyrics, influential misogynist celebrities, and White and internalized African American racists constantly send out offensive messages against African American women. This problem stems from slavery, when the U.S. population were expected to hate and mistreat African American women (Gourdine et al. 2011:58).


Gourdine, Ruby M., and Brianna P. Lemmons. 2011. “Perceptions of Misogyny in Hip Hop and Rap: What do the Youths think?.” Journal Of Human Behavior In The Social Environment 21:57-72. Abingdon, OX: Taylor & Francis Group. doi: 10.1080/10911359.2011.533576.

Hampton, Robert, Lucia Magarian, and William Oliver. 2003, May. “Domestic Violence in the African American Community: An Analysis of Social and Structural Factors.” Violence Against Women 9: 533-557. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Pubications. doi: 10.1177/1077801202250450.

Hubbert, Paulette D. 2011, May 11. “Transforming the Spirit: Spirituality In the Treatment Of the African American Male Perpetrator of Intimate Partner Violence.” Journal Of Religion & Spirituality In Social Work 30:125-143. London, UK: Routledge. doi: 10.1080/15426432.2011.56711.

Vagianos, Alanna. 2014. “30 Shocking Domestic Violence Statistics that Remind us it’s an Epidemic.” The Huffington Post.




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