Earlier this week, Senator Barbara Boxer’s “Combating Violence and Discrimination Against Women: A Global Call to Action” hearing revisited the US’s failure to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women—colloquially known as CEDAW, because that’s a mouthful—and its failure to pass the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA). The immensely popular hearing (there was a line to get into the overflow room) included testimony from many female senators, including Senators Elizabeth Warren, Patty Murray, and Tammy Baldwin, but it was the testimony of panelists directly involved in combating violence against women that held both the hearing room and overflow room in silence for the hour and a half-long hearing.
This week I attended the American Film Institute’s screening of The Punk Singer, a documentary about Kathleen Hanna, the lead singer of the Bikini Kill and Le Tigre. An outspoken advocate for women, Hanna made pro-women, pro-choice music during the 1990s and she witnessed sexual assault and violence against women at punk shows and experienced extreme sexism in the media.
Hanna was one of the frontrunners of the Riot Grrrl movement, which originated in Washington, D.C., and the Pacific Northwest. The movement stemmed from the sexism within the punk rock community, where women and girls were often physically injured and sexually assaulted at concerts, and many female fans didn’t feel safe participating in the things they loved. Read more »
However tattered, ugly, or shocking the truth may be, only by addressing facts rather than falling back on myths can we craft solutions (be they legislative, cultural or community-based) that truly improve people’s lives.
Valentine’s Day checklist: Flowers? Check. Chocolates? Check. Registered for a few rallies and a flashmob? Check.
Yes, you heard me. Today women across the globe will be participating in the “1 Billion Rising” campaign. For those of you who are new or unfamiliar to the crusade, 1 billion rising is a movement initiated by activist and Vagina Monologues playwright Eve Ensler. The event is set for today, Valentine’s Day, and also marks the 15th anniversary of V-Day.
The “1 billion” notion comes from the 1 in 3 statistic: that one third of women will be a victim of violence in her lifetime, and as there are 6 billion people on this planet, approximately one billion women worldwide are raped, beaten, or violated. So what exactly are the participants going to do in honor of these victims of abuse? “We are inviting ONE BILLION women and those who love them to WALK OUT, DANCE, RISE UP, and DEMAND an end to this violence,” says the 1 Billion Rising website. Women and men all over the world are encouraged to join the movement by signing this pledge, which acts as a sort of ‘e-promise’ to join the “global strike” and end violence against women. It also helps participants find 1 Billion events in their own communities. Here in DC, there are already plans underway for a 1000+ person dance party/flashmob.