This article from the BBC details a the Malaysian Women’s Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil’s response to a camp that claims to “un-gay” young Muslim boys. She maintains that characterizing these supposedly effeminate teenage boys as gay or transsexual, and then attempting to “correct” their behavior will be detrimental to their mental and emotional health.
Though this is the first time I’ve heard about any Muslim attempts at “curing” perceived homosexuality, it is definitely not the first of its kind, as we have such camps and programs here in the United States, and unfortunately they also exist in Europe (and I’m sure the rest of the world as well).
I’m beginning to think that I need to post more light-hearted and uplifting articles on this blog! But, continuing in my (depressing) habits, here is an article about a pregnant Illinois woman who attempted suicide after her boyfriend and business partner left her after she found out he had another family. Distraught, she drank rat poison in an attempt to end her life, which instead ended the life of her unborn child. So, of course, the state of Illinois has put her in jail.
Aside from her tragic story, what struck me most about this piece is the frequency with which this sort of thing happens. Apparently, “Women have been prosecuted for child abuse or feticide when they miscarry; pregnant women who are addicted to drugs have been charged with trafficking drugs to minors; and pregnant women have been forced to deliver via cesarean section under court order. Some states also require doctors to report if a pregnant woman is taking drugs — a law which sounds reasonable on its face, until you think through the logical outcome: Women who are addicted to drugs just won’t seek medical care, which means they won’t get treatment for their addictions and won’t get basic pre-natal care” (Jill from Feministe).
What it boils down to is: pregnant women are being treated differently by the law than non-pregnant women or men. The author of the article points out, people aren’t prosecuted for attempted suicide, but a woman who tries to kill herself but kills her baby instead is locked up instead of being offered mental health treatment or counseling, forcing yet more trauma upon her without any regard for her well-being. It is obvious that the poor woman in the article has suffered terribly, and wants only to try to rebuild her life, but she is being punished anyway.
This fascinating little article addresses a new study published by the Guttmacher Institute on contraceptive use amongst religious women. The Guttmacher study found that there is little to no difference among contraceptive practices between religious and non-religious women. The article suggests that the results from this study will have implications in United States health care policy, but do you think that this new data will have any repercussions within our government, especially with regard to our healthcare and insurance? Though I find the results of the Guttmacher study fascinating, I remain skeptical when it comes to actual positive governmental or social change for women’s sexual and overall physical/mental well-being.
This BBC article succinctly sums up the issue of street harassment, a type of harassment that can involve cat-calling, groping, lewd comments, verbal threats/coercion, and may escalate into violence. Every woman I know, including yours truly, has endured frequent street harassment wherever we go, not only while here at East Carolina University. Many men consider “complimenting” (i.e. honking/whistling/hissing at) a strange woman on the street to be fairly routine and flattering to her, but simply do not understand or worse, do not care that their behavior is threatening.
ihollaback.org is a website that encourages women to take pictures of street harassers with their mobile phones, or to act like they are using their phones to report/photograph these men. However, I worry that this act could bring about even more unwanted attention from street harassers, and even result in a violent attack against the woman who attempts to fight back in this manner. What do you think? Do you think that this is an effecting solution to combat street harassment, or do you advocate for the redesign of public transportation centers, as mentioned in the article? What else can be done to fight this blatant and threatening sexism?
According to today’s digital version of The Telegraph newspaper in Great Britain, British doctors and gynecologists are being urged to by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to warn pregnant women of the potential complications and risks of pregnancy, and frankly discussing the relative safety of abortion.
This is an interesting development in women’s health policy, as the media has nearly always emphasized the potential psychological influence an abortion may have on a woman, though many women report that they experience little or no psychological repercussions from the procedure. Predictably, religious and political conservatives are in an uproar (check the comments section for an example), but it will be interesting to see if the United States follows Great Britain’s lead.
A new distressing report from the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force details the physical, mental and emotional repercussions transgendered individuals face due to their “othered” status in the United States today. One of the most alarming statistics shows that the rate of suicide attemps among transgendered individuals is 26 times higher than that of the rest of American society.
An except from the report reads, “In 1995, D.C. resident Tyra Hunter died from entirely treatable injuries incurred in a car accident. First, the firefighters who arrived at the scene stopped emergency medical treatment once they cut away her clothes to discover male genitalia…Once they stopped joking around and got her to the emergency room, the doctor refused to treat her. She died there of blunt force trauma and medical negligence. Fifteen years after Hunter’s death, the survey’s numbers still stink: 19 percent of respondents reported being refused care because of their gender identity or expression, with even higher figures for respondents of color. Nearly 3 percent reported being attacked in emergency rooms.”
This illuminating article from the Huffington Post sheds light on the bizarre push by members of the GOP to redefine rape , and details the history of governmental funding for the abortions that result from pregnancy by rape or incest.