Carnival of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence


Thanks to everyone who participated in the Carnival by submitting posts as well as those who linked and promoted the carnival on their blogs. Thinking about how to group the Carnival posts I finally decided on two groupings, those that speak specifically to the Global South and those which speak to a more universal GBV.

One of the first bloggers I linked to over three years ago is Bengladeshi blogger, Rezwan. Rezwan has written a report on how Bangladeshi bloggers are responding to the issue of domestic violence and influencing the local mainstream media to take gender based violence on board.

And it worked like a wonder, as articles have started to appear in the local media. This has prompted local journalists like Foisal Noi [bn] to go to Rahela’s village and dig up more information on the case. A significant TV broadcast about Rahela’s case is planned for October 29. Whether Rahela will get justice, only time will tell. But that single post by Manobi led to a level of activity in the society that was certainly unprecedented.

Alex Engwete’s post on Sexual Terrorism
is located in the DRC. In the midst of continued “psychological and physical destruction and extinction of Congolese women” he asks why is it that African and Congolese social scientists have failed to “develop a theoretical tool able to map out, trace, and explain the horrific phenomenon”. As a result there are inadequate statistics which would determine the true extent of the violence against Congolese women.

Perceived as a particularly effective weapon of war and used to subdue, punish, or take revenge upon entire communities, acts of sexual and gender-based violence increased concomitantly. Attacks have comprised individual rapes, sexual abuse, gang rapes, mutilation of genitalia, and rape-shooting or rape-stabbing combinations, at times undertaken after family members have been tied up and forced to watch. The perpetrators have come from among virtually all of the armies, militias and gangs implicated in the conflicts, including local bands that attacked their own communities and local police forces.

Staying with the DRC, Jewels in the Jungle searches for a “good news” story and finds a documentary about Lumo Sinai, a 22-year old Congolese woman who has not only survived the sexual terrorism described above but is rebuilding her life with the support of local healers and medical doctors.

“Lumo” is an intimate look into a woman’s tragedy and healing process, and, by extension, into the scourge of rape that marks the war-torn politics of central Africa. “Lumo” is also the story of a remarkable African hospital that works tirelessly to restore the physical and mental health of women suffering in an epidemic of fistula caused by rape. The hospital’s self-called “Mamas,” African women who work tirelessly as healers, even flouted traditional prejudice and government policy by leading a march in defense of women’s human rights. But “Lumo” remains most of all Lumo Sinai’s story as she struggles through four failed surgeries and searches for strength to face the future – whatever the outcome of one more surgery by the hospital’s dedicated doctors. ..

Chinwe Azubuike poem “Our Dilemma”
exposes the awfulness of “the cut” that destroys “our scared weapons of desire”

Our sacred weapons of pleasure
are being destroyed by the day
rendered useless by our overseeing Lords and Ladies
of ancestral descent.

They perform a barbaric operation on our ‘flesh of honour’
and call it ‘Female Circumcision’
in the white man’s language.
They mutilate our pride and say it is ‘tradition’
“The initiation to womanhood.”

They cut us!
Oh yes, they cut us with the blade.

Ultra Violet
links to a report which considers why there is a 300% rise in violence against women in Kerala, India, a state which also has the highest literacy levels in the country.

So here, factors like education and international exposure are debilitating rather than liberating in any way. This is something that’s been bothering me for a while, ever since Gita Aravamudan, author of Disappearing Daughters, pointed out that female foeticide is also more prevalent in richer, better-educated homes. I grew up on a staple diet of cliches regarding the world and social change and one of them had to do with education being the panacea for all ills. When will men stop beating up women? When will people not fight on religious grounds? When will caste be abolished? When everybody is educated. Were others also similarly reassured or was I the only one conned in this manner?

Zuky discusses domestic violence in Asian American communities. Why is it that Asian women are prepared to tackle racism but when it comes to sexism they loose interest?

Donna D frequently rails against the lack of intersectional activism in the struggles against sexism and racism, and when you look at data this devastating, I can see why. Many of the most celebrated activists in the Asian American community are women, and when they tackle racism the community easily gets behind their work; but when it comes to sexism, both men and women – but especially men – all too often lose interest. As a result we have this invisible epidemic of domestic abuse doing tremendous damage to the community.

Oluniyi David Ajao
comments on the shame of the persistent violence against women in Africa which he believes is influenced by poverty and “bad cultural practices”

In my opinion, women are not necessarily subservient to men and as such should be treated as partners that they really are, and not as some domestic property who is only good for running the household. Women around the world deserve equal chances and opportunities.

White African reports on a Nigerian E-Learning programme that aims to raise awareness amongst school children of “sexual health, HIV/AIDS, maternal mortality and gender violence.”

Barbara Tchatzkahs links to the story of a Saudi woman who was gang raped and then sentenced to 90 lashes for being with an “unauthorised” male companion at the time. She questions whether the case will lead to reform as the article’s author suggests.

Anyone taking bets that this will happen? Or are we going to have another spate of fatwahs declared again those taking a stand?

E-cyclopedia posts a review of “Coercive Control: How Men Entrap Women in Personal Life” by Evan Stark

Elevating coercive control from a second-class misdemeanor to a human rights violation, Stark explains why law, policy, and advocacy must shift its focus to emphasize how coercive control jeopardizes womens freedom in everyday life.

Production Blog
also comments on a recently published book, this one by OJ Simpson titled “If I did it”. The book was legally acquired by the Goldman family who added some chapters before publication.

In the book OJ Simpson revealed hypothetically how he might have brutally murdered Ronald Goldman and his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson.

Feministing asks “what makes an effective ad against domestic violence?”

This Canadian PSA never made it on the air (I’m assuming because of the content), but I tend to think that an ad against intimate partner violence should be shocking. Thoughts?

Surfacing reflects on the campaign process over the past 15 years to directly link women’s rights to human rights and also the recognition that sexual violence is a violation of women’s rights and therefore their human rights.

International activist coalitions on behalf of the so-called “comfort women” enslaved by the Japanese Army in WWII were initiated at this time. International and local NGOs in Bosnia and Rwanda helped to document and substantiate women’s claims of rape and sexual assault in those conflicts, demonstrating that rape was a systematic tool of conflict in these cases. Rape in conflict, when it had even been addressed before the 1990s, tended to be treated as a breakdown of military discipline, a side-effect of war rather than a weapon in it. The confluence of these cases of systematic sexual assault and the long-running campaigns to recognize sexual violence as a violation of women’s rights were all instrumental in overcoming resistence to recognizing women’s rights as human rights in international human rights documents and language.

A Tinge of Blue
writes on rape “the ultimate violation”

Rape is the ultimate violation. Regardless of the degree of rape, it is the weapon used to penetrate not only a woman’s body, but her soul and sprit. And break it. That is probably why it is a very effective weapon at wartime.

The Curvarture comments on “joke toys that promote rape”

This “toy” is a plastic object that looks like a woman with a gaping hole in her crotch that symbolizes her vagina, and you’re supposed to shove pens into said hole while she screams for help or moans in pain. But hey, that’s only when she’s in a “bad mood.” When she’s not being a massive bitch, she totally loves it. Like all women, of course……………If you buy one of these things, you are promoting rape. If you laugh at one of these things, you are promoting rape. If you don’t laugh but still think that it’s a harmless joke, you are promoting rape. If one of your friends has one, or thinks it’s funny, and you don’t say anything about it, you are promoting rape.

In Falling off My Pedestal, Book Girl speaks about the continuing impact of child abuse and domestic violence on her life

I escaped. I got out. But I still struggle with the loneliness, isolation, and betrayal as a result of a family and a community that saw me as less valuable and less worthy of love and support because of who and what I was. The effects of child abuse and domestic violence are long lasting, and affect who we become and what we contribute to the world. Some of us lose the fight to survive, and many of us live on the edge every day, fearing that one day it will become too much and we will also no longer be able to hold on. I struggle daily to keep going in a world that reinforces and perpetuates the violence and neglect that I suffered at the hands of my family.

Sanctuary for the Abused
posts about a case in Oregon where a woman who suffered years of marital abuse and is then physically assaulted, raped and becomes pregnant. After giving birth to her child, her abuser manipulates the system and manages to gain custody of the child and worse she is made to pay him child support.

The ‘father of the child’ has committed crimes against the mother according to Oregon statutes and laws (Chapter 743, Oregon Laws 1971, 163.375), but is embraced and rewarded in our judicial and religious system. The victim becomes the criminal. I am this woman; this baby is my child; and the father of this child is my ex-husband.

Abyss 2 Hope comments on the case of a police officer charged with rape who is claiming they were “sex friends” as part of his defense.

some people might view his defense as automatic reasonable doubt, but they would be making a serious mistake…………If the officer seems to believe what he is saying that could be a sign that he is revealing his rationalization. We need to remember that internal spin is not the same thing as true legal consent from another person. There is a legal difference between a man giving himself permission and a woman freely giving a man her permission.

Black Amazon
reflects on being “grabbed , smacked , followed stalked” by the age of 10 and by the age of 20 being

a black genius….. and getting DONE IN for daring to create a space [blogs] where we could speak and be as black girls.

Open Democracy asks how can women reclaim a sense of power after being abused?

Being a survivor or a resister of violence is about reclaiming a sense of power. Feeling empowered is an important part of healing after being a victim of violence. It is also a key ingredient for resisting violence, whether or not one has already been a victim. The link between empowerment and agency is a strong one

I end with Women of Color Blog’s essay “Domestic Violence in the Movies”. The essay looks at “how abuse is understood in the U.S” and how real life biopics of abuse survivors have impacted on her own understanding of gender based violence in the context of a “cultural story telling”. Why should we look at the new Tina Turner as more valuable than the old Tina Turner – the young abused Tina Turner versus the confident 66 year old Tina Turner?

Now, I’m, in general, conflicted about whether or not to show violence against women on film. But assuming that there is a valid reason to show full on violence directed at a woman—especially within the context of the three ‘based on true story’ films, I have a real problem with the way the violence is framed by “story telling”. That is, the story line is so intricately dependent upon the abuse, there would literally be no story if the abuse is not given enough time within the story. The abuse actually becomes a third character almost, molded and crafted by producers and directors and actors just as surely as a real character is. And the tricky thing is, this character is so overwhelming, eventually, the abused character becomes defined by it, even over the person doing the abusing.

Once again thank you all for contributing to this Carnival with these amazing posts