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How weathly are Americans?

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Tax the Rich

So long! It's been fun.

Dear listeners,

In July 2011 I started a new job teaching Italian at Kansas State University. In some ways this was a return to my roots, as I taught English as a Foreign Language for 17 years in Italy. Now I am teaching English speakers Italian. I've come full circle.

This coming full circle also means the end of an attempt on my part to start a new career in my 50s. Sadly, as much as I tried to bring community radio to Manhattan, I was not successful. So I have decided to dedicate my energy and time to my first love, being an educator.

The archive of my shows will remain active - there's a lot of great content in the shows. So I hope you continue to listen and enjoy them.

Once again thank you for your support and encouragement over the five years the show was on the air. I know many feel that my program needs to be on the air and I agree with you that a diversity of voices is sorely lacking in the local media. But alas, it is not I who will bring that diversity. It will have to be someone else.

Christopher E. Renner

08 March 2007

What Women Want…

Originally read on 8 March 2007 - International Women's Day
by Christopher E. Renner

In the rhetoric of the social conservatives they often belittle women who want such things as equal pay for equal work. Such groups as Concerned Women of America of the Eagle Forum rail against single mothers, fought the Equal Rights Amendment, and promoted a punitive Welfare reform package during the Clinton Administration that negatively impacts women most. They have kept the debate on reproductive rights limited to oversimplifications of an extraordinarily complex issue.

On this International Women’s Day, I would like for us to reflect on how far we haven’t come as a nation when it comes to the issue of equality between the sexes. While there is much to talk about on this topic, I will keep my comments to the issue of intimate partner violence against women.

Patriarchy - the male dominance of society - is set up to see women as nothing more than property. When we look at the national statistics on domestic violence, rape, and child abuse, it would seem that as a nation we are no better than many less developed nations.

∑ Estimates range from 960,000 incidents of violence against a current or former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend per year (1) to three million women who are physically abused by their husband or boyfriend per year. (2)
∑ Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. (3)
∑ Nearly one-third of American women (31 percent) report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives. (4)
∑ Nearly 25 percent of American women report being raped and/or physically assaulted by a current or former spouse, cohabiting partner, or date at some time in their lifetime. (5)
∑ Thirty percent of Americans say they know a woman who has been physically abused by her husband or boyfriend in the past year. (6)
∑ In 2001, more than half a million American women (588,490 women) were victims of nonfatal violence committed by an intimate partner. (7)
∑ Intimate partner violence is primarily a crime against women. In 2001, women accounted for 85 percent of the victims of intimate partner violence (588,490 total). (8)
∑ While women are less likely than men to be victims of violent crimes overall, women are five to eight times more likely than men to be victimized by an intimate partner. (9)
∑ In 2001, intimate partner violence made up 20 percent of violent crime against women. (10)
∑ As many as 324,000 women each year experience intimate partner violence during their pregnancy. (11)
∑ Women of all races are about equally vulnerable to violence by an intimate. (12)
∑ Male violence against women does much more damage than female violence against men; women are much more likely to be injured than men. (13)
∑ The most rapid growth in domestic relations caseloads is occurring in domestic violence filings. (14)
∑ Women are seven to 14 times more likely than men to report suffering severe physical assaults from an intimate partner. (15)
In Sexual Assault as Spectator Sport, Mariah Burton Nelson reports that the Senate Judiciary Committee found that in only two percent of cases are the men ever caught, tried, or jailed, for rape. 80 percent of all rape trails end with the men being found not guilty - example - the recent Duke University LaCrosse team scandal in which the players were made out my the media to be innocent and the victim a whore. In such cases as gang rape as the Duke University case typifies, what is her word against his, becomes her word against theirs which usually convinces the jury, the grand jury, or the DA that the victim isn’t telling the truth.

But we have to ask as a nation what is the root cause of this reality? According to Peggy Reeves Sandury, rape-prone societies are strongly associated with militarism, male dominance, high male status, sex-role diffentiation, an ideology of male roughness, distant father-child relationships, general interpersonal violence, and separate spheres for men and women. Sounds pretty close to contemporary US society and especially when we consider our national obsession with “manly” sports - football, TV wrestling, hockey, basketball.

A direct correlation exists with the rise of the women’s civil rights movement beginning in the 60s and the rise of a national phenomena concerning “professional” sports from grade school to professional teams.

It would seem that as a nation, we have enshrined men’s right to rape with the heart felt assistance of Concerned Women of American and their need for “manly” men.

Men’s bodies have become an instrument of power that enables him to “force others to do his bidding” (See Against Our Wills by Susan Brownmiller). In sports, a boy learns to use his body in forceful, space-occupying, even dominating ways and these behaviours become directly linked to the young male’s concept of manliness, and thus his definition of self. He carries these concepts over to his intimate encounters with women.
But also tied to this rise of the sports industry has been the rise of a related male industry: pornography.

Pornography promotes the myth that women are willing receptacles for male sexuality and aggression. Porn promotes the myth that women enjoy gang rape and it appropriates lesbian images for male excitement.

Research has shown that it is men, mostly young men, who support the porn industry. I remember a report back in the early 90s on PBS’s New Hour in which a study being conducted by Duke University amongst itself Freshman male students was discussed. The study produced the startling statistic that 90some percent of the male students had learnt about sex from the porn, not from their parents, not their religious leaders, not in sex education class in schools.

Sexual Assault as a Spectator Sport reports the following findings: (I apologize for not having the references, but the references were missing from the photocopy I have of the article.)

- In a survey of 32 college campuses, men who admitted to rape also tended to rate “very frequently” their reading of population pornographic magazines like Playboy and Penthouse.
- In another study, massive exposure to pornography was associated with a loss of compassion toward women as rape victims and toward women in general.
- A federally funded study by Surgeon General Koop found that: “Exposure to violent pornography increases punitive behavior toward women” at least in the short term.

I am not calling for banning pornography. I believe in free speech and freedom of the press, but what I am going to call for is a total separation between theocracy and our public education system.

It is obvious from the scientific studies that have been mentioned that we are failing the women of our community, state and nation by not providing a comprehensive education to our young men when it comes to sexuality.

We need to have Comprehensive Health Education starting in 1st grade that go against the culture of pornography and aggression supported by the social conservatives and their free-market principles. I am willing to give parents the option to opt their children out of such a program, but I think it is misinformed, dangerous, selfish and down right stupid because could cost their children their lives.

The social conservatives claim that Comprehensive Health Education leads to “promiscuity;” a claim that has no hard scientific evidence to support it. But what it does do is challenge their theocracy of “imposed virginity until marriage” as if we were still living in the 1300 where the daughters of royalty were locked away in convents until their parents had arranged their marriages.

As an educator it is obvious to me that a lack of comprehensive sex education has contributed to social norms which I find repulsive: a culture of crudeness, aggression and sexual violence amongst our young people. Learning about sex from Hustler isn’t a good sex education program! And that is what happens when we deny young people access to knowledge in the information age.

What I have seen first hand is the impact that curriculums like Our Whole Lives, a sexuality education curriculum developed jointly between the United Church of Christ and the Unitarian Universalist Association, have had on young people who grow up to hold healthy, honest, and scientifically sound ideas about sex and sexuality.

On this International Women’s Day I would hope that each of us realize that we have to be responsible ending the culture of domestic violence we have allowed to rise up in our nation as a direct result of the social conservatives agenda of disinformation and ignorance. We need to elect to our local school boards members who we are sure are going to support an environment that is free from religious ideology in matters of science so that our young people have the knowledge they need to protect themselves from rape, STDs, and unwanted pregnancies.

I also ask each of my listeners to download and read Planned Parenthoods “George W. Bush’s War on Women.” Go to: www.plannedparenthood.org and type in the title to the search engine. It is an enlightening reading of the social conservatives agenda to support sexual exploitation of women and deny women their sexual and reproductive as it has carried out by the Bush administration over the past seven years.

And finally, we have to fend off the social conservatives most recent attack on women: stalling the legislative impetus to require young women to be vaccinated against the human papilloma virus (HPV). By allowing the sex-phobic social conservative to win on this issue we are tolerating, no condemning, women to cervical cancer.

At any time about 20 million people in the U.S. have HPV. Between 10 and 15 million have high-risk types of the virus that are associated with cervical cancer. HPV is so common that about three out of four people have HPV at some point in their lives. But most people who have it don't know it. As a result 9,700 new U.S. cases a year of cervical cancer are reported in the US each year with 3,700 deaths. Deaths that are totally preventable through vaccination.

The HPV vaccine is given in three separate injections over the course of six months. It protects against two types of HPV that cause 90 percent of all genital warts and two types of HPV that cause 70 percent of all cervical cancer.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of the HPV vaccine for girls and women from age nine to 26. The vaccine has also been shown to be effective for older women and young men.

So I have to ask what will be next: preventing people from being vaccinated against small pox? The social conservatives agenda to deny women this vaccine is just another example of the blatant disregard of life for women. It is time is stopped.

I hope you celebrate IWD today. Celebrate the contributions of women to our society and the world and speak out against the violence perpetrated against them, because after all that is what women want.

References:
1. U.S. Department of Justice, Violence by Intimates: Analysis of Data on Crimes by Current or Former Spouses, Boyfriends, and Girlfriends, March 1998
2. The Commonwealth Fund, Health Concerns Across a Woman’s Lifespan: 1998 Survey of Women’s Health, May 1999
3. Heise, L., Ellsberg, M. and Gottemoeller, M. Ending Violence Against Women. Population Reports, Series L, No. 11., December 1999
4. The Commonwealth Fund, Health Concerns Across a Woman’s Lifespan: 1998 Survey of Women’s Health, May 1999
5. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The National Institute of Justice, Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence, July 2000.
6. Lieberman Research Inc., Tracking Survey conducted for The Advertising Council and the Family Violence Prevention Fund, July – October 1996
7. Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001, February 2003
8. Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001, February 2003
9. U.S. Department of Justice, Violence by Intimates: Analysis of Data on Crimes by Current or Former Spouses, Boyfriends, and Girlfriends, March 1998
10. Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001, February 2003
11. Gazmararian JA, Petersen R, Spitz AM, Goodwin MM, Saltzman LE, Marks JS. “Violence and reproductive health; current knowledge and future research directions.” Maternal and Child Health Journal 2000;4(2):79-84.
12. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Violence Against Women: Estimates from the Redesigned Survey, August 1995
13. Murray A. Straus and Richard J. Gelles, Physical Violence in American Families, 1990
14. Examining the Work of State Courts, 1995: A National Perspective from the Court Statistics Project. National Center for the State Courts, 1996
15. National Institute of Justice and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey, November 1998

2 comments:

  1. How can we trust anything else you have said on this page when you tell blatant lies as with the reference to the attempt to railroad the innocent Duke lacrosse players, with patently false rape allegations.

    We will not end the victimization of women by attempting to victimize innocent men.

    I suggest that you take the time to look into the travesty of justice which is unfolding in Durham NC before presenting bigotry as fact.

    Shame on you.

    Sarah Davies

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Blatant lies?" I think not. If the characters had been an all-African American team and a white girl do you really think the media would have treated the accuser in the same fashion as they did?

    More over, the whole affairs is the type of example of how justice is not carried out in our nation on this very topic. We allow the media to be judge and jury. It is wrong.

    What if some of the Lacross team had posed nude on male porn sites -- would that suddenly have their charater challenged? Or would it be another example of male indiscression?

    ReplyDelete