Today in News That Makes Me Smile

Ok, at the moment, I’m officially off of writing about porn and onto writing about women’s rights because this shit is just getting ridiculous. I’ll be back to sex in film tomorrow, after attending a panel on the topic at the New York Museum of Sex tonight, so never fear! In the meantime, here are some news stories that DON’T make me want to curl up and die:

1) THANK GOD. The disgusting South Dakota legislation that would have classified murdering abortion doctors for trying to harm a person’s unborn child as “justifiable homicide,” about which I was just about to rant today is being put on hold. It somehow got through a committee vote and was due to hit the floor any time, apparently, when the governor’s office called the bill a “very bad idea.” The bill’s main proponent, Rep. Phil Jensen, had said that it had “nothing to do with abortion,” and that he was just trying to clarify what justifiable homicide meant in the state of South Dakota. But when you put together this new definition of “what you can get away with,” with the already existing laws in the state that force women to undergo counseling, then wait for 24 hours before proceeding with an abortion, no doubt feeling terrible the entire time. Doctors are required to offer the woman a sonogram so she can see the fetus, and to read women a script meant specifically to discourage them from going on with the procedure, which tells them that “abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.” If that’s not manipulation of a woman to try to convince her that she doesn’t know what she wants or what’s best for herself and her body, I don’t know what is, and I find it offensive and disgusting. But it’s not just degrading to women, it’s degrading to abortion providers themselves: there are no abortion providers in the state of South Dakota because the climate there is so unwelcoming to them.
All in all, I don’t know if holding this bill is a step forward or just the hesitation before moving one more step back.

2) Women in the military are fighting back against the way sexual assault is handled–or, not handled. A group of former service members, both male and female, are officially suing the US Military for its mishandling of sexual assault amongst its ranks, saying that a third party should handle rape allegations instead of troop commanders, who routinely advise victims to keep mum about their experiences because they don’t want their records to show their command as having been plagued by rape issues. Slate reports, “Victims of sexual assault are often encouraged not to report that they’ve been attacked. If they do, they may be demeaned by colleagues, forced to live in close quarters with their attackers, or just ignored.” And in one case that makes me sick to my stomach, “a female service member says she was raped by two men who were serving with her in Iraq. They videotaped the assault, but when the commander she complained to saw the tapes, he dismissed her allegations because she ‘did not act like a rape victim”’ and ‘did not struggle enough.'” Sound familiar? Sound a little Boehner-esque? We all know, of course, we all know, now that our lawmakers have told us, that if there’s not enough struggling, then it’s not really rape, and therefore it’s not a crime, either in the military or civilian world.
…excuse me while I go vomit…
The ranks of the military, where one is perpetually at risk from enemy attacks, should be the safest of places. One’s brothers and sisters in arms should be trustworthy and supportive. In the midst of a battle, if you can’t trust your fellow soldiers to respect your boundaries and decisions about your own body, you’re lost. I can’t imaging the emotional and mental anguish these people must have gone through, far from home and far from anyone who cared about their experiences, too.
I agree with one of the plaintiffs, who stated that, “The entire culture needs to be changed.” Damn skippy, it does, and I’m so glad some of the victims are trying to change it.

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