Monday, December 19, 2011

News of note: late December edition

Hello readers, and apologies for not posting this last Friday as is the normal schedule. As the holiday season gets intense in our house, and I start realizing that there won't be presents under the tree without at least minimal effort on my part, I find myself prioritizing gift-shopping over most other things. That doesn't mean I haven't been paying attention, however, and here are my recent "I spewed tea all over my keyboard!" Internet findings.

First up, a frat at UVM has finally gone too far and distributed a "rapey" survey (Jezebel's terms, not mine) to its inductees. What exactly is a rapey survey, you inquire? It's a survey that asks you who you could rape if you could. No, I'm not kidding. Yes, I just about had a heart attack. There's enough to talk about if the frat had asked who you could "do" if you could, but rape? Why the lack of consent? Check out the full article, because it sounds like UVM has a recent history of problems with a female-unfriendly campus culture.

Along similar lines, a recent study has indicated that 25% of women in the U.S. face severe violence from their intimate partners. As an advocate I'm not overly shocked, but the implication that those are just the women facing severe violence- as opposed to facing the less severe forms such as emotional abuse- means that the problem of intimate partner violence is even bigger than most Americans are likely to realize. Also note: I've linked an article from one of my local newspapers which, while not known for its outstanding journalism, surprised me with its eight-line article. EIGHT SHORT LINES?! No wonder most people know nothing about intimate partner violence.

Also along research lines, let's take a look at another recent study that looked at the demographics of the people having second-trimester abortions. This is new information for a lot of people, mostly because second-trimester abortions are so difficult to have, and I think it tells us a lot about access to contraception, financial support, and the racial economy of women's rights. I don't want to hear about whether you support abortion or not in the comments- more important than that, I think, would be a discussion on how to change our support services for people earlier in their pregnancies so that support isn't so one-sided.

Another one-sided issue right now in Canada is citizenship. A new law bans women from wearing face-covering veils during citizenship ceremonies, with the justification that "we need to know who we're swearing in." The article didn't cite any particular reason for this new law- no reported incidents of falsified identities or anything like that- so I'm hard-pressed to understand what this law is intended to do besides discriminate against someone who chooses to practice that particular form of hijab. Naturalizing in Canada is a three-year process that does provide IDs for prospective citizens. If confirming identity is a problem, why not work with leaders in Canadian Muslim communities to find appropriate ways of checking face and ID prior to swearing in? It's not that bloody hard, people.

I'm exhausting my rage supply now, so I'll turn to two good pieces before signing off. First up is a note that the mayor of Troy, Michigan has been fired from her job with 21st Century Real Estate for a Facebook post that was hateful towards LGBTIQ individuals. I won't post the comment here- it's quoted in the article- but suffice to say that it makes me happy that she's facing at least some repercussions for her atrocious behaviour.

Second up is a great comic that illustrates an important distinction in currently-raging debates over same-sex marriage: namely, that permitting two consenting adults to marry under state or federal law is not the same thing as the state controlling religion and is not the same thing as permitting an adult to marry animals or children. End of discussion.

That's it- I'm signing off to go find myself a cuppa. In the interim, I recommend checking out a couple of other studies that are being analyzed on Jezebel.

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