Trigger Warning

Image Credit: UniteWomen.Org

In 2005, 19-year old army private LaVena Johnson was the first woman to die in Iraq. The army ruled her death a suicide. Only after her family insisted on seeing photographs taken at the scene of her death did they realize she was found in her tent with a gunshot wound to the head, a broken nose, black eye, loose teeth, acid burns on her genitals (there is speculation that this was done to cover up sexual assault), and a trail of blood leading away from her tent. The army ruled that her death was a SUICIDE. Her father, a doctor who has worked with military personnel for more than 20 years, believes his daughter was raped and murdered. A documentary, “LaVena Johnson The Silent Truth,” describing the family’s attempts to uncover the truth, was released in 2010. There is a website with updates, LaVena Johnson, and a petition asking Senator Claire McCaskill to investigate her death. As Cilla McCain, founder of Military Families for Justice asks, would this case by taken seriously if LaVena Johnson were not a black woman? Her parents have established a scholarship fund in their daughter’s name. Donations can be made to The LaVena L. Johnson College Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 117, Florissant, MO 63032

Stop thinking of abusive men as having no self-control and start thinking of them as intelligent, strategic thinkers who strive for control over their partners. These men know what they are doing. They know they need to isolate their partner as fast as possible and to get them as financially and emotionally dependent as possible in order to trap them inside the cycle of abuse.

Sushmita Banerjee, an Indian author whose book about escaping Taliban-ruled Afghanistan became a Bollywood movie, has been shot and killed. Sushmita, who wrote about the harsh lifestyle of women in rural Afghanistan, chose to return to the country several years ago and did health care work. According to the police chief, the Taliban came to her house, dragged her from her home and shot her 15 times. This killing is the latest in a strong of attacks against prominent women. 

Read more via The Guardian.

5/24/2012: MISSING FAMILY ALERT: Authorities in Washtenaw County, Michigan are asking for the public’s help to find Alisha Martinez (29) and her kids, 8-year-old Areiyla Middleton and 3-year-old Elijah Isom were last seen Tuesday morning, 5/22/2012 at their Ypsilanti Township home. “We recieved a call yesterday actually, on the 23rd, but the last time that the mom and her children were seen was early morning on the 22nd, around 8, 8:30 in the morning,” said Derek Jackson with the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office. The older child did not go to school Tuesday and has not been to school since.

“[There is] no evidence that she is injured in any way or [of] any foul play,” said Jackson. “We just are trying to hopefully get some information from someone or even her herself — where she is or … what may have happened.”

Martinez is described as 5’1” and about 117 lbs.

Anyone with information as to the family’s whereabouts is asked to call Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office Detective Everette Robbins (734) 973-4884.

You may also call the confidential tip line (734) 973-7711 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK UP.

SOURCE: http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2012/05/24/family-of-3-missing-since-tuesday/

UPDATE: 

Michigan mom, her two young children found safe in another state

thank God

Consent is Sexy? No, Consent is Mandatory.

The anti-violence campaign “Consent is Sexy” has been circulating around feminist circles for years. Buttons, t-shirts, and entire non-profit organizations have centered on this slogan. The official “Consent is Sexy” campaign  is targeted toward high-school and college students, promoting the “awareness and practise of respect, consent and open discussion”. Through educational workshops and campaign materials, they spread these ideals through the catchy, and according to them “realistic”, notion of “Consent is Sexy.” It is “realistic” because they believe their target age group will be more receptive to the message than other, harsher campaigns. In other words, they believe this age group will buy into the campaign because it will eventually lead to ‘sexiness’ – which I guess is less ‘harsh’ than a campaign leading to a life free of violence.

“Consent is Sexy” implies that consent is desirable, and will lead to a better sexual experience for everyone involved. We may agree that communicating about what you want in a sexual encounter may lead to a better time, but this is not consent. Communicating about sex is not the same as consent. Consent is not negotiable. It is the baseline, absolute necessity of any sexual encounter. Not having consent isn’t ‘un-sexy’, it is sexual assault. The catchy slogan, ‘realistic’ expectations, and slick campaign images mean nothing when the central idea behind it negates the very premise of what consent is: A freely given and enthusiastic ‘yes’ to every sexual encounter. In reality, the campaign asks people to get consent for the sole purpose of being sexy, not for the purpose of fulfilling the most basic requirement of sex, nor for respecting the dignity and choice of their partner(s).

“Consent is Sexy” measures the seriousness of violence and sexual assault in relation to sexual appeal – and these ideas of ‘sexual appeal’ are tightly entwined with eurocentric able-bodied white fatphobic hetero cis-ness. If we flip the message around, it tells people not to rape because it’s not sexy. I was under the assumption that people shouldn’t rape because it’s the most disgusting violent misogynist bullshit thing that you can do, and because it demeans a person’s inherent right to a life of dignity and a life free of violence, and because it’s a crime, and because of ALL OF THE OTHER REASONS that shouldn’t have to be said. We need to refocus the conversation – shift it away from ‘selling’ consent, to teaching meaningfully about its necessity.

Sexualizing consent into an accessible and trendy campaign actually works against the goal of anti-violence activists. It makes consent a decision based on ‘sexiness’  - which, again, is often equated with dominant and oppressive discourses of beauty – instead of making it a basic requirement for sex. It shifts the focus of consent from something that needs to happen to a choice not unlike a sexy outfit. It treats consent like a pick-up line, in yet another faulty sexualization in an already hyper-sexualized world.

This isn’t to say we need to stop talking about sex, or that we need to devalue ‘sexiness’. There are radical and revolutionary was of being sexy, and reclaiming sexiness from dominant society. For many of us, we desperatelyneed sexiness and sex to reclaimed in a way that values us, our bodies, our genders, our sexual practices. Many of us who are struggling to reclaim sexuality in this way have faced violence, and we center consent in the process of reclamation. Violence has seeped into too much -  too many areas of our lives - and consent is foundational to building a radical understanding of sexuality. This does not mean bargaining over the ‘sexiness’ of consent. It means reclaiming sexuality from the colonial violence that it is steeped in. It means making consent to be foundational in our relationships, communities and ways of being.

Making consent mandatory and foundational is a practice that must be embedded in more than just our understandings of sexuality and sex. As Andrea Smith has articulately written, sexual violence against Indigenous women was (and is) systematically used as a tool of colonial genocide. This sexual violence continues on today - we need only look to the hundreds of Missing and Murdered women to see the reality of this sorrow. As Smith argues, this ongoing violence against Indigenous women goes hand in hand with the stealing, occupying, and degradation of Indigenous land. Indigenous lands have been, and continue to be, exploited without consent for the treacherous extraction of resources (read: tar sands), which lead to the collapse of a myriad of environmental life-sustaining resources for Indigenous Peoples who reside there. As you can see, getting free, prior, and informed consent must be taken to heart not only on an individual level, but at a community level. We must make consent foundational - not because it is ‘sexy’ - but because it is our responsibility to do so, as members of our communities, and as people living on this land. 

Eleven parents of Nigeria’s abducted schoolgirls died, and their hometown Chibok is under siege from militants, residents report. Seven fathers of kidnapped girls were among the 51 bodies brought to the local hospital after an extremist attack on a nearby village. At least four more parents have died of illnesses related to the trauma caused by the kidnapping of their children. 

“One father of two of the girls kidnapped just went into a kind of coma and kept repeating the names of his daughters, until life left him,” said community leader Pogu Bitrus.

More danger is imminent: Boko Haram is closing in on Chibok and has been invading the towns surrounding it, forcing the villagers to seek refuge there. Because of the towns swelling population resources are depleted.

Community leader warns: “there is a famine looming.”

Learn more via AP News. 

Photo: Fox News

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VAW! VOL. 7 December Actor 2014: Kakihara Tetsuya [PART 1]

Joint translation by tsukikocchi, lost-in-hibernation and fugacissomnii in celebration of Kakki’s 32nd birthday today! Please excuse any errors and feel free to let us know. Enjoy!
PART 1PART 2PART 3

ー VAW: Please tell us how you found anime despite growing up in Germany.

Kakihara: I’m not sure about now, but as a child, German dubbed anime was broadcasted every weekday from the afternoon till evening. I used to watch that a lot, so anime was close to me since I was young. Like my parents, I took pride in that subculture they grew up with.

ー VAW: Did you like Japanese anime?

Kakihara: Yes. However the anime shown in Germany weren’t the ones broadcasted real time in Japan - they were from my parent’s generation, so there was a 10 year time lag. But I didn’t worry about the generation and just enjoyed it. I thought it was interesting to bring back that past era.

ー VAW: In your opinion, did German’s view anime as a familiar and profound thing?

Kakihara: That’s what I think. It was broadcasted every weekday, and lots of children would watch it every day. They talked about it at school too.

ー VAW: At the time, were you aware of the voice acting career?

Kakihara: I understood that voices could be used, but never thought it was as part of a job, or that people even did it.

ー VAW: So when did you first realise it?

Kakihara: It was one time when I was playing a certain love simulation game and the characters had voices. All the games I had played up until then didn’t have voices, so I was really shocked! “Whoaaa!!” I’d say (laughs). After that, I noticed that the people who voiced in games also appeared in anime, which is when I became fully aware.

ー VAW: Please tell us your reason for becoming a voice actor.

Kakihara: I originally wanted to become a kindergarten teacher during high school, so I worked there for one year as training. During training the children would fight, cry and get in trouble, but if you said character’s lines from anime, they would listen immediately. It had a huge influence on them, and anime became a great “textbook”. Important messages were being conveyed to children though anime, and since then, I wanted to voice for their sake. That’s when I aimed to become a voice actor. But at the time, voice acting wasn’t a career choice in Germany and stage actors were used for voice work, so if I wanted to do it, it had to be in Japan. So I withdrew from school, bought a plane ticket and ran off for Japan.

ー VAW: Did your parents strongly oppose running away?

Kakihara: They disagreed saying it was too reckless, and if I were a parent I’d stop my child too (laughs). But I thought that this was the only path to follow. I originally planned on going back to Japan for college, but then it turned into becoming a voice actor.

ー VAW: Were you the type to charge ahead with any decision as a child?

Kakihara: That’s right. Although I was never selfish in wanting material goods, like toys, I was the type to do what I wanted. So I didn’t give up if I decided on something. I grew up being taught by my parents that it was useless to cry and scream over not buying something, and that if you want something you should learn to get it by yourself.

ー VAW: Did you enter a vocational school once in Japan?

Kakihara: Yes. For one year, I’d go to vocational school during the day, part time job after, study Japanese at night school from the evening, then work part time again. Thats the life style I repeated daily.

ー VAW: That sounds very hard.

Kakihara: It was good enough if I got two or three hours of sleep a day, but I never thought of it as hard. Feelings of frustration were stronger.

ー VAW: What was it that made you frustrated?

Kakihara: I planned on being able to speak Japanese properly, but when you look at people born and raised in Japan, you notice your own speaking habits, and I was made fun of for that at night school.That’s what was frustrating. I thought that in one year I’ll just look back on the people that made fun of me. Plus I didn’t earn enough to go towards my second year of studies, along with the normal cost of living. I wonder if thats what became my driving force. But if I got told to do that all again, no way (laughs).

ー VAW: Those strong feelings to become a voice actor were with you everyday then.

Kakihara: If I look back on it now, I always thought that “I have to become a voice actor”. “There’s no other option”. After leaving home I had no place to return to, so I had to face forward and move on.

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“Ethics” in journalism, y'all. The whole GamerGate bullshit is just weak AF. Anyone supporting this trash is the pus that feeds on the mucus that cruds up the fungus that feeds on pond scum (paraphrased from a line in My Best Friend’s Wedding). Only pathetic human specimens are “entertained” by this crap.