Transforming a victim blaming culture

evb-logo-1Media discussions of male violence against women focus on the actions of the victim rather than the perpetrator. How can we challenge this narrative using survivor’s testimony without putting them at risk of online harassment?

 

“If I was Ched Evans i would find that whore and actually rape her this time!!”

This is one of the many abusive and threatening messages directed at the victim in the rape trials (and appeals) of footballer Ched Evans’ over the past 4 years. She has experienced an incessant barrage of abuse and threats of physical and sexual violence via Twitter, alongside a deliberate smear campaign including repeated breaches of her anonymity. She has also received a tremendous amount of support from women across the UK. Her experiences demonstrate both the importance of centering the voices of survivors, who are frequently disbelieved, but also the limitations, particularly with the development of social media platforms predicated on notions of ‘free speech,’ that allow survivors of rape to be labeled ‘a fucking cunt’ or ‘lying psycho bitch’.   Social media platforms have, to date, been unwilling to have honest discussions of the reality, representation, and ubiquity of male violence against women and girls, despite a recent EU report that suggests 1 in 3 women between the ages of 18-74 have experienced sexual or physical violence. …

Read the full post at Open Democracy.

#womenwrites

Since I gave you a phone it’s not rape by GUILAINE KINOUANI at openDemocracy

Do I Just Want My Child To Be Happy?  via @cwknews

Femicide – Men’s Fatal Violence Against Women Goes Beyond Domestic Violence by via

10 reasons why I will ignore White Ribbon day by Nina Funnell

The white working class is another form of identity politics by Maya Goodfellow

Andrea Dworkin – Behind the Myth by @Finn_Mackay  via @RoomOfOurOwn

White Skin, Black Masks: On the “Decolonial Desire” of Vasco Araújo by Efua Bea via

What Whiteness Means in the Trump Era by Nell Irvin Painter

When a Man Kills a Woman  by @K_IngalaSmith at openDemocracy

 

16 ways to End Violence against Women and Girls

These are just a few of the ways that you can support women’s services during the 16 Days of Activism to Eliminate Male Violence against Women and Girls.

  1. Donate £1 to a different specialist women’s service like the national organisations Rape Crisis, Women’s Aid, or Refuge every day.
  2. Donate £1 to your local service providers supporting women who are living with domestic and sexual violence and abuse. BME women’s services have been disproportionately impacted by so-called ‘austerity’ so please don’t forget them.
  3. Share fundraisers for women’s services across social media. We understand that many women can not afford to donate £1. Sharing fundraisers is just as essential as being able to donate £1.
  4. Host a coffee morning for your friends to raise money.
  5. Bring some baked goods into work and ask for donations to a service of your choice from your co-workers.
  6. Collect clothing, bedding and any other unused household items to donate to your local refuge or those support services for women who are homeless, living in poverty etc.
  7. Donate toys to a local refuge for children who will be living in them at Christmas or those support services for women who are homeless, living in poverty etc..
  8. Donate new toiletries and another nice gifts for teenage girls and women living in refuges.
  9. Make a donation to your local food bank. All women are disproportionately impacted by poverty and austerity measures. Women living with violence are disproportionately impacted by cuts to housing benefits and women’s services. 
  10. Donate sanitary products to food banks. These are essential for women and teenage girl’s access to education and work. 
  11. Write to your local councillors, MP, or MSP to demand ring-fenced funding for women’s specialist services, including those for BME women or those with disabilities.
  12. Write to local councillors, MP, MEP, or MSP and ask them to undergo specialist training on domestic and sexual violence and abuse from specialist organisations.
  13. Write to your MP and MSP demanding they support the campaigns to end the detention of refugee women and children.
  14. Write to your MP and MSP demanding mandatory sex and healthy relationships education in schools, as well as campaigns to make schools safer for girls.
  15. File complaints with media about inappropriate, misleading and offensive coverage of domestic and sexual violence and abuse.
  16. And, if you’re a man, stand up for women’s rights. Challenge men who make rape jokes. Call out male friends who refuse to financially support their children. Insist your employer implement the equal pay legislation. Donate money to rape crisis centres and refuges. Wearing a white ribbon isn’t enough. Your need to do the work to end violence against women and girls.

You can find the address and contact details of your local councillor via  WriteToThem.

 

This post was originally published on Everyday Victim Blaming.

Feminism for Girls – I need your help with answers for my daughter!

Last week, my daughter asked if I had any books on feminism that she could read. The only one I could think of was Peggy Ornstein’s Cinderella Ate My Daughter as she’s not quite old enough for Kat Banyard’s The Equality Illusion. Her response: we need to write one. So, we are.

Below is the post she wrote for her blog Generation Why. She’s looking for a range of answers to the three questions below to include in the book. The book is aimed at girls 8-13ish.

All answers and comments greatly appreciated!

 

This morning I asked my Mum if she had any books I could read on feminism. I found out that there weren’t very many books about feminism for girls my age. The only book that Mum had for me to read was Cinderella Ate My Daughter.unknown

We decided we would write a book on feminism for people my age. These are things we want to include what is feminism, misrepresentation of women, history of feminism and what women think feminism is.

 

These are the three questions I would like women to answer so that I can include them in the book:

  1. What is feminism to you?
  2. Why are you a feminist?
  3. Who inspired you to become a feminist?

unknown

 

You can post your answers to the questions in the comments below or you can email them to louisepennington@hotmail.co.uk

You can also send us any ideas you would like us to include in the book.

#womenwrites (20.11)

White Skin, Black Masks: On the “Decolonial Desire” of Vasco Araújo by Efua Bea  via @WritersofColour

What Whiteness Means in the Trump Era by Nell Irvin Painter

The Problem with “Innocent” Ignorance: Racism, Whiteness & the Working Class by @saramsalem

Why I Reclaim the Night: Being a Black Woman in Public Space by @ClaireShrugged

Why do women fail to vote as a class? by Susan Cox  via @FeministCurrent

Preparing Your Children For The Apocalypse by @jendella
via @WritersofColour

We’ve Got the Diagnosis on Inequality; Where’s the Action Plan? by @madomasi  via @WritersofColour

Black History Month An Introduction to Welsh Writers by @Durre_Shahwar.  via @RoomOfOurOwn

I run therefore I am: How conscious movement can set your mind free by @AliyaMughal1  via @RoomOfOurOwn

Why I Do Not Support The Women’s March on Washington by Brittany Oliver

An Open Letter to White Liberal Feminists by LeRhonda S. Manigault-Bryant
via @aaihs

Don’t call Clinton a weak candidate: it took decades of scheming to beat her by Rebecca Solnit

Is the term FGM cissexist? by Kalwinder Sandhu

#womenwrites (12.11)

Get Your People at Crunk Feminist Collective

About the ‘Left’ and its Discontents in These Perilous Times  via @sunnysingh_nw3

It’s too soon for you by Talat Yaqoob

Make no mistake – Donald Trump’s victory represents a racist “whitelash” by Maya Goodfellow

White women sold out the sisterhood and the world by voting for Trump.  via @doublexmag

After the election of Donald Trump, we will not mourn. We will organize | Gloria Steinem

“On ‘Woke’ White People Advertising their Shock that Racism just won a Presidency” by Courtney Parker West

7 Women Besides Susan B. Anthony Whose Graves Deserve “I Voted” Stickers at Bustle

Blood, Sweat and Tears: Medieval Literature, Cambridge, and Leonard Cohen  via @LucyAllenFWR

Equal Rights; Different Needs   by Polly Neate

Breaking the Cycle: the challenges of parenting after an abusive childhood  via @WomanAsSubject

If women aren’t a class, there’s no such thing as radical feminism by Cherry Blossom Life

Bounty should be banned from maternity wards by @lisaaglass

The Importance of Conversations and Community by @jendella
via @WritersofColour

#womenwrites (7.11.16)

The Historian’s Altmetrics: How can we measure the impact of people in the past? by Dr. Michelle Morovac

With Brexit the Tories have made sure we all have egg on our faces via by Kiri Kankhwende @WritersofColour

For the White Woman Who Wants to Know How to be My Friend: A Black Feminist Guide to Interracial Solidarity by @ClaireShrugged

Feminism, pornography and lots of crying in the loos: Lennie Goodings reflects on 43 years of Virago 

National Treasure at Rape Crisis Scotland

End this misogynistic horror show. Put Hillary Clinton in the White House | Barbara Kingsolver

One woman’s brush with Sharia courts in the UK: “It ruined my life forever” by Rahila Gupta

Feminism and the Social Model of Disability by Heather Downs

The Stunning Literariness of Solange by Panashe Chigumadzi

Tattooing your name on your partner’s forehead is an act of control, not devotion  by @glosswitch

For the White Woman Who Wants to Know How to be My Friend: A Black Feminist Guide to Interracial solitary  by @ClaireShrugged

How ‘sex work’ killed the victim by RAQUEL ROSARIO SANCHEZ

The short list for the Zero Tolerance Write to End Violence Against Women and Girls Award. via @WritetoEndVAW

#womenwrites

We cannot allow the courts to judge rape by sexual history | Vera Baird

The Trump revelations show how much women are expected to ignore by @EvaWiseman

Justice should never be done like it was in the Ched Evans rape trial by @h0llyb4xter

Ched Evans trial is a masterclass in why women don’t report rape by Laura Bates

The Ched Evans case puts rape reform back 30 years by Sandy Brindley & Michele Burman

The Racist and Sexist History of Keeping Birth Control Side Effects Secret via @broadly

Giving anonymity to sexual crime suspects won’t bring justice by Laura Bates

In Praise of Older Women: A Love Letter to My Big Sisters by @ClaireShrugged

The migrant led strikes of the past can inform our present and future  via @WritersofColour

Racist Schools and Drastic Measures by JENEDLLA via @WritersofColour

Black Wednesday: A feminism that centers ending male violence against women  by Raquel Rosario Sanchez via @FeministCurrent

The Inri Letters – Part 1: Mother’s lament  at She means well

Refugees and Cindy Crawford’s daughter: an age-old problem for the tabloids by Marina Hyde

 

img_6566And, most importantly, a short story on sexism by my young daughter: Alex’s Dream

 

#womenwrites

Do we really live in a patriarchy? – via @MsAfropolitan

Why parents shouldn’t support ‘Operation Christmas Child’ by Emma C Williams

THINK OF ME AS LOVING YOU STILL by @ssml

I don’t believe the outrage over Donald Trump by @glosswitch

Bat watching: The art of paying attention  by @aliyamughal

You are killing me: On hate speech and feminist silencing by @strifejournal

Femicide – Men’s Fatal Violence Against Women Goes Beyond Domestic Violence by @K_IngalaSmith

Ched Evans trial is a masterclass in why women don’t report rape by Laura Bates

Justice should never be done like it was in the Ched Evans rape trial by @h0llyb4xter

Honey G’s X Factor act isn’t funny. It’s modern-day blackface | Lola Okolosie

If Trump’s attitude towards women offends you, so should the sex trade by Raquel Rosario Sanchez

Mainstream discourse around consent is leaving women and girls vulnerable  via @lavender_blume

Trigger Warnings (Again), and a Weird Sense of Disconnection  via @LucyAllenFWR

The Saxony of Europe  via @WritersofColour

With Her or Against Ourselves via @writermrsmith

The Naming Elena Ferrante

(originally published at Everyday Victim Blaming)

The identity of Elena Ferrante is a secret well-guarded by her publisher. At the request of Ferrante. Ferrante has made it clear on multiple occasions that she does not want her art confused with her real life. This may not seem something that our campaign would necessarily concern ourselves with but there are multiple reasons why women deserve anonymity and even more reasons why breaching their anonymity puts women at risk of male violence.

As many of the writers we’ve linked to below demonstrate, authors owe their audiences nothing more than what they write – and even then audiences are not entitled to new material. What concerns us, and is referenced by some of the authors below, is the refusal to recognise the reason why a woman would want to keep her real life private. As with Facebook’s ‘real name’ policy, there is a complete refusal to recognise the reality of male violence against women and girls. Claudio Gatti, the journalist (and his publisher) who believes he’s entitled  to know the real name of a woman despite her refusal demonstrates a total disregard of women’s safety.

Ferrante’s decision to remain anonymous may simply because she values her privacy – something that all women are entitled to. It may be as a way of protecting herself from online harassment and abuse that many women writers experience. It is also entirely possible that her anonymity is a way of protecting herself from male violence – both historical and potential. Ferrante has every right to do so and Gatti, and others before him, simply do not have the legal or moral right to doxx Ferrante just because they don’t like successful women writers (and there is more than a whiff of misogyny here). 

Doxxing women is part of the continuum of violence against women and girls. Ferrante may be able to protect herself better than other women due to her financial resources but that does not mean she deserves to be doxxed or harassed.

The outing of Elena Ferrante and the power of naming by Lili Loofbourrow

…No one knew who the “real” Elena Ferrante was until this week, when a journalist who, perhaps in an eager bid to make a name for himself, tracked her down using financial records and seems to have exposed her real identity. (I will not reveal the name he suggested here.)

There is much disagreement over whether this was a reasonable thing to do. On one side are those who believe the recent success of Ferrante’s books (she is the author of seven novels, including the four celebrated “Neapolitan novels” that have won her worldwide acclaim) makes her a public figure worth exposing. Her extraordinary sales figures make her real name newsworthy, they argue. On the other side are those who believe Ferrante’s rejection of personal fame amounted to a conscientious objection to the way we receive literary art, and female literary art in particular. I am in the latter camp.

Why does this literary tempest in a teapot matter? What’s in a name, after all? What does it mean that she refused to be named, and instead named herself? This is not a clear instance of a woman taking on a male pseudonym (like George Eliot) or using initials (like J.K. Rowling) in order to circumvent a sexist literary marketplace. Ferrante just chose a different Italian woman’s name. Why do this? And why is it a big deal for her to be exposed? …

Who cares who Elena Ferrante really is? She owes us nothing by Suzanne Moore

Rifling through someone’s bins looking for clues about their life or identity is considered a tabloid activity performed by low-lifes who sell information on celebrities. In this game celebrities “owe” us something because we made them, therefore we can take them apart via such intrusion.

Now we have the literary equivalent, and it stinks to high heaven. Elena Ferranteis an Italian novelist whose Neapolitan quartet have become bestsellers. Once you enter Ferrante’s world, you are changed by it. She writes so brilliantly about the transformation of women’s lives. Our bodies, our hearts, our politics. The books speak of what keeps us together and what takes us apart. We know nothing about her own life, as she has chosen – as is her right – to be anonymous. Not for her the book tour, the literary festival, the glam author picture. “I believe that books, once they are written, have no need of their authors.” She has given other, more complicated, meta-explanations of her desire to protect her anonymity, which are to do with the nature of fiction itself. … E

Elena Ferrante has her reasons for anonymity – we should respect them  via @ConversationUK

….The dust from the media storm will take a while to settle. The history of anonymous authorship is also a history of triumphalist “unmasking” at the hands of self-appointed public servants who assume the right to trumpet the spoiler – and who also, if there is justice in the world, tend to suffer their own exposure as the parasitic charlatans they often are.

Gatti thinks he has unmasked the “real author” of Ferrante’s acclaimed books – something that has been the subject of much speculation in the past – but even were this latest round of revelation to turn out to be “true”, there are bigger fish to fry here. The violation of anonymity brings with it, kicking and screaming in Gatti’s face, a host of problems at the heart of power and identity. This is an ethical, political, but also a literary issue of the deepest concern to all of us.