Why women have the biggest stake in $15/hour minimum wageMarch 8, 2014
Raising the minimum wage is actually a women’s rights issue. This year’s celebration of International Women’s Day would be incomplete without contextualizing it within the ongoing minimum wage battles across the U.S., which have already won victories in many cities, the largest win hopefully to come from Seattle’s fight for $15/hr. Women like Socialist Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant have arisen as the pillars of the movement, because as in so many other social justice struggles, women will be the ones with the most to gain.
The gender pay gap in the U.S. is a full-blown crisis.  We rank 67th out of 133 countries in pay equity, just below Yemen (World Economic Forum, 2013). Over the course of a lifetime, women will actually need an extra degree in order to earn equal pay to men with a lower degree. This is especially bad news for the 53% of women graduates who are paying a much higher portion of their income towards student loan debt than any typical worker could afford, as opposed to 39% of men in the same situation (American Association of University Women, 2009).
The current wage structure, coupled with racial discrimination, keeps women of color particularly in perpetual poverty, with Black American women earning 64% and Latinas earning 55% of the wages of white men (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012).
The Seattle metropolitan area, where the fight for $15 is strongest, has the worst gender pay gap of any major metropolitan area in the country. Seattle women are paid only 73 cents for each  dollar that men earn for full-time work, which translates to a total loss for women of $7.9 billion every year. As a result, 23% of Seattle households where women are primary breadwinners fall below the poverty line (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012).
Women have a major stake in building the $15 minimum wage movement, not least becausewomen make up two-thirds of minimum wage workers (National Women’s Law Center, 2012). Women are also 60% of the primary or co-bread winners in their households (thinkprogress.org) and 70% of the restaurant servers that earn a tipped minimum wage of only $2.13/hr on average (Restaurant Opportunities Center United, 2012). So women especially have an interest in fighting for a minimum wage increase that has no tip penalties or other exemptions. (The Seattle mayor and most the city council are trying to include a tip penalty and multiple exemptions in the minimum wage ordinance, which Socialist Councilmember Sawant strongly disagrees with.)
A higher national minimum wage would significantly shrink the gender wage gap, and would benefit 13.1 million women. 8.9 million of women would receive a direct benefit; the other 4.2 million would benefit from what the Economic Policy Institute (2012) calls a “spillover effect,” where wages across the board are increased as the wage floor is lifted.
Unfortunately the implementation of a higher minimum wage is by no means guaranteed without a real fight, even after progressive legislation is enacted. One example is the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which most people don’t even know exists because equal pay still remains elusive 50 years after its passage. The Paycheck Fairness Act, meant to strengthen the 1963 legislation, has been twice introduced and twice rejected in Congress.
It has become glaringly clear in recent years that Congress is a place where working-class priorities are ignored. That’s why the minimum wage movement needs to be independent of the two corporate parties, and must be willing to demand more than just legislative reforms. This means pushing beyond the realm of what the owners of capital tell us is possible, because as long as the current global wage system continues, women will never see pay parity.
Just look at how public-sector jobs, which are mostly filled by women, were first to be gutted during the economic recession, and continue to disappear despite this “recovery” period. These middle-income jobs have been replaced by low-wage jobs in the private sector, such as in retail and service work, further emaciating the income base of women. This is a big reason why the gender pay gap has actually widened since the start of this so-called “recovery.”
In this crisis-prone system of capitalism, women and people of color will always be the first to suffer when the economy tanks, and jobs, wages, and social services are cut to protect profitability. And they will continue to suffer even after corporate profits have rebounded– unless we join together, organize unions, and demand a living wage through campaigns such as 15Now.org.
At the rate of current efforts to close the gender pay gap, it would be year 2056 before women earned as much as men (Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 2012). Now that it is a Congressional election year, Obama and the Democrats are talking about gradually raising the minimum wage to $10.10 over a few years.  In Seattle Mayor Murray and most the City Council claim they want to move toward $15, but not until 2017 (with many loopholes and exemptions). Any increase is a step in the right direction, but we need to demand $15 for all workers NOW.
We also need to rethink the viability of an economic structure that cannot provide a decent standard of living for the women that make up half of its population, to say the least. Something different is needed. On this International Women’s Day, women will find that their liberation is inextricably linked not only to the movement for higher wages but also the struggle against the capitalist system of wage-slavery itself.
We need to fundamentally change the structure of our society that allows a corporate elite to super-exploit women and workers of color – a system with a ruling elite that promotes sexism, racism, and homophobia to divide the working class. It is in the interest of women and oppressed groups to unite all workers – women and men, black, brown and white – to fight the capitalist elite who are exploiting and dividing all of us.
In order to guarantee equal pay for equal work and dignified work and pay for all, we need to take the top 500 corporations into public ownership. We need to establish a democratically planned socialist economy where corporations are run by councils of representatives who are paid the same as the average skilled worker – representatives who are elected by the workers and the wider public and subject to recall.
Source

Why women have the biggest stake in $15/hour minimum wage
March 8, 2014

Raising the minimum wage is actually a women’s rights issue. This year’s celebration of International Women’s Day would be incomplete without contextualizing it within the ongoing minimum wage battles across the U.S., which have already won victories in many cities, the largest win hopefully to come from Seattle’s fight for $15/hr. Women like Socialist Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant have arisen as the pillars of the movement, because as in so many other social justice struggles, women will be the ones with the most to gain.

The gender pay gap in the U.S. is a full-blown crisis.  We rank 67th out of 133 countries in pay equity, just below Yemen (World Economic Forum, 2013). Over the course of a lifetime, women will actually need an extra degree in order to earn equal pay to men with a lower degree. This is especially bad news for the 53% of women graduates who are paying a much higher portion of their income towards student loan debt than any typical worker could afford, as opposed to 39% of men in the same situation (American Association of University Women, 2009).

The current wage structure, coupled with racial discrimination, keeps women of color particularly in perpetual poverty, with Black American women earning 64% and Latinas earning 55% of the wages of white men (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012).

The Seattle metropolitan area, where the fight for $15 is strongest, has the worst gender pay gap of any major metropolitan area in the country. Seattle women are paid only 73 cents for each  dollar that men earn for full-time work, which translates to a total loss for women of $7.9 billion every year. As a result, 23% of Seattle households where women are primary breadwinners fall below the poverty line (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012).

Women have a major stake in building the $15 minimum wage movement, not least becausewomen make up two-thirds of minimum wage workers (National Women’s Law Center, 2012). Women are also 60% of the primary or co-bread winners in their households (thinkprogress.org) and 70% of the restaurant servers that earn a tipped minimum wage of only $2.13/hr on average (Restaurant Opportunities Center United, 2012). So women especially have an interest in fighting for a minimum wage increase that has no tip penalties or other exemptions. (The Seattle mayor and most the city council are trying to include a tip penalty and multiple exemptions in the minimum wage ordinance, which Socialist Councilmember Sawant strongly disagrees with.)

A higher national minimum wage would significantly shrink the gender wage gap, and would benefit 13.1 million women. 8.9 million of women would receive a direct benefit; the other 4.2 million would benefit from what the Economic Policy Institute (2012) calls a “spillover effect,” where wages across the board are increased as the wage floor is lifted.

Unfortunately the implementation of a higher minimum wage is by no means guaranteed without a real fight, even after progressive legislation is enacted. One example is the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which most people don’t even know exists because equal pay still remains elusive 50 years after its passage. The Paycheck Fairness Act, meant to strengthen the 1963 legislation, has been twice introduced and twice rejected in Congress.

It has become glaringly clear in recent years that Congress is a place where working-class priorities are ignored. That’s why the minimum wage movement needs to be independent of the two corporate parties, and must be willing to demand more than just legislative reforms. This means pushing beyond the realm of what the owners of capital tell us is possible, because as long as the current global wage system continues, women will never see pay parity.

Just look at how public-sector jobs, which are mostly filled by women, were first to be gutted during the economic recession, and continue to disappear despite this “recovery” period. These middle-income jobs have been replaced by low-wage jobs in the private sector, such as in retail and service work, further emaciating the income base of women. This is a big reason why the gender pay gap has actually widened since the start of this so-called “recovery.”

In this crisis-prone system of capitalism, women and people of color will always be the first to suffer when the economy tanks, and jobs, wages, and social services are cut to protect profitability. And they will continue to suffer even after corporate profits have rebounded– unless we join together, organize unions, and demand a living wage through campaigns such as 15Now.org.

At the rate of current efforts to close the gender pay gap, it would be year 2056 before women earned as much as men (Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 2012). Now that it is a Congressional election year, Obama and the Democrats are talking about gradually raising the minimum wage to $10.10 over a few years.  In Seattle Mayor Murray and most the City Council claim they want to move toward $15, but not until 2017 (with many loopholes and exemptions). Any increase is a step in the right direction, but we need to demand $15 for all workers NOW.

We also need to rethink the viability of an economic structure that cannot provide a decent standard of living for the women that make up half of its population, to say the least. Something different is needed. On this International Women’s Day, women will find that their liberation is inextricably linked not only to the movement for higher wages but also the struggle against the capitalist system of wage-slavery itself.

We need to fundamentally change the structure of our society that allows a corporate elite to super-exploit women and workers of color – a system with a ruling elite that promotes sexism, racism, and homophobia to divide the working class. It is in the interest of women and oppressed groups to unite all workers – women and men, black, brown and white – to fight the capitalist elite who are exploiting and dividing all of us.

In order to guarantee equal pay for equal work and dignified work and pay for all, we need to take the top 500 corporations into public ownership. We need to establish a democratically planned socialist economy where corporations are run by councils of representatives who are paid the same as the average skilled worker – representatives who are elected by the workers and the wider public and subject to recall.

Source

nosdrinker
nosdrinker:

thepeoplesrecord:

Upskirt photos are now totally legal, says disgusting MA court rulingMarch 5, 2014
Today in disgusting, the Massachusetts Supreme Court has ruled that it’s totally legal to take upskirt photos on public transit. Provided that the victim is wearing underwear.
The court concluded that this creepy-ass corner of photography is okay because the law only protects people who are nude or semi-nude and in private. In short, women cannot have any expectation of privacy in a public place, such as a bus or a train. Naked on the train? No upskirts. Fully clothed? Upskirts are a-okay! The decision reads:

We conclude that [the law], as written, as the defendant suggests, is concerned with proscribing Peeping Tom voyeurism of people who are completely or partially undressed and, in particular, such voyeurism enhanced by electronic devices. [The law] does not apply to photographing [or videotaping or electronically surveilling] persons who are fully clothed and, in particular, does not reach the type of upskirting that the defendant is charged with attempting to accomplish on the MBTA.

The court sided with Michael Robertson, a man who admitted to taking upskirt photographs of women on the MBTA’s green line back in 2010. He owned up to being a massive creep and taking the pics, and argued that they weren’t against the law because the women were not nude. And although the court sided with him, it did say that it’s time for the law to be changed:

We conclude that [the law], as written, as the defendant suggests, is concerned with proscribing Peeping Tom voyeurism of people who are completely or partially undressed and, in particular, such voyeurism enhanced by electronic devices. [The law] does not apply to photographing [or videotaping or electronically surveilling] persons who are fully clothed and, in particular, does not reach the type of upskirting that the defendant is charged with attempting to accomplish on the MBTA.

Source
I’m raging right now. This is absolutely disgusting.

GO STRAIGHT TO HELL

I’m really glad this piece of news got such strong reactions on Tumblr. 
Update: Massachusetts lawmakers have reversed this decision: 

The legislation says anyone who tries to photograph another person’s sexual or intimate parts without that person’s consent would face a maximum penalty of more than two years in jail and a $5,000 fine. The penalty would jump to five years in prison or a $10,000 fine if the victim is under 18.
Distributing such photos of a child is punishable by a $10,000 fine or 10 years in prison.

nosdrinker:

thepeoplesrecord:

Upskirt photos are now totally legal, says disgusting MA court ruling
March 5, 2014

Today in disgusting, the Massachusetts Supreme Court has ruled that it’s totally legal to take upskirt photos on public transit. Provided that the victim is wearing underwear.

The court concluded that this creepy-ass corner of photography is okay because the law only protects people who are nude or semi-nude and in private. In short, women cannot have any expectation of privacy in a public place, such as a bus or a train. Naked on the train? No upskirts. Fully clothed? Upskirts are a-okay! The decision reads:

We conclude that [the law], as written, as the defendant suggests, is concerned with proscribing Peeping Tom voyeurism of people who are completely or partially undressed and, in particular, such voyeurism enhanced by electronic devices. [The law] does not apply to photographing [or videotaping or electronically surveilling] persons who are fully clothed and, in particular, does not reach the type of upskirting that the defendant is charged with attempting to accomplish on the MBTA.

The court sided with Michael Robertson, a man who admitted to taking upskirt photographs of women on the MBTA’s green line back in 2010. He owned up to being a massive creep and taking the pics, and argued that they weren’t against the law because the women were not nude. And although the court sided with him, it did say that it’s time for the law to be changed:

We conclude that [the law], as written, as the defendant suggests, is concerned with proscribing Peeping Tom voyeurism of people who are completely or partially undressed and, in particular, such voyeurism enhanced by electronic devices. [The law] does not apply to photographing [or videotaping or electronically surveilling] persons who are fully clothed and, in particular, does not reach the type of upskirting that the defendant is charged with attempting to accomplish on the MBTA.

Source

I’m raging right now. This is absolutely disgusting.

GO STRAIGHT TO HELL

I’m really glad this piece of news got such strong reactions on Tumblr. 

Update: Massachusetts lawmakers have reversed this decision: 

The legislation says anyone who tries to photograph another person’s sexual or intimate parts without that person’s consent would face a maximum penalty of more than two years in jail and a $5,000 fine. The penalty would jump to five years in prison or a $10,000 fine if the victim is under 18.

Distributing such photos of a child is punishable by a $10,000 fine or 10 years in prison.

Upskirt photos are now totally legal, says disgusting MA court rulingMarch 5, 2014
Today in disgusting, the Massachusetts Supreme Court has ruled that it’s totally legal to take upskirt photos on public transit. Provided that the victim is wearing underwear.
The court concluded that this creepy-ass corner of photography is okay because the law only protects people who are nude or semi-nude and in private. In short, women cannot have any expectation of privacy in a public place, such as a bus or a train. Naked on the train? No upskirts. Fully clothed? Upskirts are a-okay! The decision reads:

We conclude that [the law], as written, as the defendant suggests, is concerned with proscribing Peeping Tom voyeurism of people who are completely or partially undressed and, in particular, such voyeurism enhanced by electronic devices. [The law] does not apply to photographing [or videotaping or electronically surveilling] persons who are fully clothed and, in particular, does not reach the type of upskirting that the defendant is charged with attempting to accomplish on the MBTA.

The court sided with Michael Robertson, a man who admitted to taking upskirt photographs of women on the MBTA’s green line back in 2010. He owned up to being a massive creep and taking the pics, and argued that they weren’t against the law because the women were not nude. And although the court sided with him, it did say that it’s time for the law to be changed:

We conclude that [the law], as written, as the defendant suggests, is concerned with proscribing Peeping Tom voyeurism of people who are completely or partially undressed and, in particular, such voyeurism enhanced by electronic devices. [The law] does not apply to photographing [or videotaping or electronically surveilling] persons who are fully clothed and, in particular, does not reach the type of upskirting that the defendant is charged with attempting to accomplish on the MBTA.

Source
I’m raging right now. This is absolutely disgusting.

Upskirt photos are now totally legal, says disgusting MA court ruling
March 5, 2014

Today in disgusting, the Massachusetts Supreme Court has ruled that it’s totally legal to take upskirt photos on public transit. Provided that the victim is wearing underwear.

The court concluded that this creepy-ass corner of photography is okay because the law only protects people who are nude or semi-nude and in private. In short, women cannot have any expectation of privacy in a public place, such as a bus or a train. Naked on the train? No upskirts. Fully clothed? Upskirts are a-okay! The decision reads:

We conclude that [the law], as written, as the defendant suggests, is concerned with proscribing Peeping Tom voyeurism of people who are completely or partially undressed and, in particular, such voyeurism enhanced by electronic devices. [The law] does not apply to photographing [or videotaping or electronically surveilling] persons who are fully clothed and, in particular, does not reach the type of upskirting that the defendant is charged with attempting to accomplish on the MBTA.

The court sided with Michael Robertson, a man who admitted to taking upskirt photographs of women on the MBTA’s green line back in 2010. He owned up to being a massive creep and taking the pics, and argued that they weren’t against the law because the women were not nude. And although the court sided with him, it did say that it’s time for the law to be changed:

We conclude that [the law], as written, as the defendant suggests, is concerned with proscribing Peeping Tom voyeurism of people who are completely or partially undressed and, in particular, such voyeurism enhanced by electronic devices. [The law] does not apply to photographing [or videotaping or electronically surveilling] persons who are fully clothed and, in particular, does not reach the type of upskirting that the defendant is charged with attempting to accomplish on the MBTA.

Source

I’m raging right now. This is absolutely disgusting.

Ugandan women protest anti-mini skirt mobsMarch 2, 2014
Reports of mobs attacking and stripping women naked in Uganda drove women in Kampala to protest on Wednesday. Women’s rights activists said the attacks occurred under the guise of enforcing a recently passed anti-pornography law that many critics said was too vague. Opponents have focused their criticism on a clause that has been interpreted as banning “indecent” clothing. 
President Yoweri Museveni reportedly signed the bill into law last week. A police spokesperson issued a warning to the public on Monday, saying, “If you participate in mob justice and are caught, you will be dealt with accordingly.”
Wednesday’s protest was organised through the Facebook group END Mini-Skirt Harassment, whose message also went viral online.
In response to the mob attacks and widespread confusion over the law, many Ugandan women on Facebook and Twitter blamed the media who they say spread the idea of a ban on miniskirts. “The moment one politician decided to relate pornography to short skirts, and the media took it upon themselves to blow it into a miniskirt ban, the result was acts of uncontrolled undressing of  women in  downtown Kampala, as well as stealing of property in their possession. So which is better? The exposure of a naked woman and the humiliating act? OR   having a woman with some clothing around their mid -waist?  Which is more pornographic?”
Confusion can also be linked to a previous version of the bill, which took a broad definition of pornography, including banning the exhibition of “sexual parts of a person such as breasts, thighs, buttocks or genitalia”. However, that language was removed from the final version of the act reportedly signed by the president, which uses a different definition of pornography. According to Irene Ikomu of Parliament Watch Uganda, “This however does not mean that [the law] is any clearer, the act in its definition of pornography now includes indecency as one of its representations. It however does not define what indecency is and thus leaves it vague”. 
Despite removing the original language, Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo has recently suggested that the current law could see women arrested for wearing miniskirts. 
Source

Ugandan women protest anti-mini skirt mobs
March 2, 2014

Reports of mobs attacking and stripping women naked in Uganda drove women in Kampala to protest on Wednesday. Women’s rights activists said the attacks occurred under the guise of enforcing a recently passed anti-pornography law that many critics said was too vague. Opponents have focused their criticism on a clause that has been interpreted as banning “indecent” clothing. 

President Yoweri Museveni reportedly signed the bill into law last week. A police spokesperson issued a warning to the public on Monday, saying, “If you participate in mob justice and are caught, you will be dealt with accordingly.”

Wednesday’s protest was organised through the Facebook group END Mini-Skirt Harassment, whose message also went viral online.

In response to the mob attacks and widespread confusion over the law, many Ugandan women on Facebook and Twitter blamed the media who they say spread the idea of a ban on miniskirts. “The moment one politician decided to relate pornography to short skirts, and the media took it upon themselves to blow it into a miniskirt ban, the result was acts of uncontrolled undressing of  women in  downtown Kampala, as well as stealing of property in their possession. So which is better? The exposure of a naked woman and the humiliating act? OR   having a woman with some clothing around their mid -waist?  Which is more pornographic?”

Confusion can also be linked to a previous version of the bill, which took a broad definition of pornography, including banning the exhibition of “sexual parts of a person such as breasts, thighs, buttocks or genitalia”. However, that language was removed from the final version of the act reportedly signed by the president, which uses a different definition of pornography. According to Irene Ikomu of Parliament Watch Uganda, “This however does not mean that [the law] is any clearer, the act in its definition of pornography now includes indecency as one of its representations. It however does not define what indecency is and thus leaves it vague”. 

Despite removing the original language, Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo has recently suggested that the current law could see women arrested for wearing miniskirts. 

Source


Today I can identify exactly what catcalling is and how it functions in women’s lives. At its most basic level catcalling is sexual harassment. Verbal assaults, invitations and compliments are opportunities for men to demonstrate who is predator and who is prey. One catcall yanks a woman out of the category of human being and places her firmly in the position of sexual object. While men readily admit to the assertive flirtatiousness of catcalling, they fail to acknowledge the veiled aggression that often accompanies the act. Depending on a woman’s response, catcalls can go from solicitous to angry. There is often a violent edge lurking under the surface causing women to question their safety. When a man screams (or whispers) something inappropriate to a woman, the harassment inserts itself into her consciousness whether she interacts with the catcaller or not. With intrusive overtures catcallers assume the right to engage a woman in a sexual fashion without her permission. This presumptuous crossing of intimate and sexual boundaries is a painful disempowering force. Relentless catcalls destroy women’s power to define their own parameters for public interaction. Rather than face the world on their terms, many women walk the streets burdened by anxiety, discomfort and fearfulness.” 

This is an excerpt "How sexual harassment slaughtered, then saved me" by Kiini Ibura Salaam in the book I’m currently reading “Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism” & it is giving me life! 
The above street art from Brooklyn-based artist Tatyana Fazlalizade’s series "Don’t Tell Me to Smile".
Shout out to all the women who face sexual harassment in the our neighborhoods, our workplaces, our activist circles & elsewhere!

Today I can identify exactly what catcalling is and how it functions in women’s lives. At its most basic level catcalling is sexual harassment. Verbal assaults, invitations and compliments are opportunities for men to demonstrate who is predator and who is prey. One catcall yanks a woman out of the category of human being and places her firmly in the position of sexual object. While men readily admit to the assertive flirtatiousness of catcalling, they fail to acknowledge the veiled aggression that often accompanies the act. Depending on a woman’s response, catcalls can go from solicitous to angry. There is often a violent edge lurking under the surface causing women to question their safety. When a man screams (or whispers) something inappropriate to a woman, the harassment inserts itself into her consciousness whether she interacts with the catcaller or not. With intrusive overtures catcallers assume the right to engage a woman in a sexual fashion without her permission. This presumptuous crossing of intimate and sexual boundaries is a painful disempowering force. Relentless catcalls destroy women’s power to define their own parameters for public interaction. Rather than face the world on their terms, many women walk the streets burdened by anxiety, discomfort and fearfulness.” 

This is an excerpt "How sexual harassment slaughtered, then saved me" by Kiini Ibura Salaam in the book I’m currently reading “Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism” & it is giving me life! 

The above street art from Brooklyn-based artist Tatyana Fazlalizade’s series "Don’t Tell Me to Smile".

Shout out to all the women who face sexual harassment in the our neighborhoods, our workplaces, our activist circles & elsewhere!

TW: Sexual assault, police violence - Woman ejected from moving LAPD car says cop was sexually assaulting her

January 12, 2014

A 27-year-old Los Angeles pharmacist has sued the Los Angeles Police Department over injuries she sustained when she was thrown from a moving squad car. The New York Daily News reported that Kim Nguyen says she fell from the car as she struggled to escape sexual assault by a police officer.

“He was grabbing my left inner thigh, trying to — I’m assuming — opening my legs,” she said in her deposition about the incident.

Horrifying surveillance video shows a half-naked Nguyen tumbling from the police car into the street. She was badly injured and only regained consciousness when she emerged from a six-day medically induced coma.

Her injuries included a badly broken jaw, a brain concussion and soft tissue injuries all over her body.

The nightmare began when she and two male friends were waiting for a cab at 2:00 a.m. outside a restaurant in Los Angeles. The trio, Nguyen said, had been drinking.

A squad car pulled up to the curb and officers handcuffed her and bundled her into the back seat, saying she was being arrested for public intoxication. The car pulled away from the curb without either of Nguyen’s companions.

According to Nguyen’s deposition, one officer remained in the back seat of the squad car. He fondled her chest and yanked her head around by the ears before pulling up her skirt and trying to force her legs open.

It was then, she said, that the door behind her abruptly swung open and she was thrown from the vehicle.

Her attorney Arnoldo Cassillas said to KCAL that his client spent two weeks in the hospital with her jaw wired shut. All of her teeth were shattered in the fall and had to be pulled. She is suing for criminal negligence.

The LAPD told KCAL that it does not comment on pending litigation.

Source

sexgenderbody

loriadorable:

I’ve been linking to this recent study (cited below as “Jana et al., 2013”) a lot in discussions on trafficking and how ‘rescue’ orgs perpetuate violence against sex workers, but I know that it’s behind a pay wall. So I’m posting a summary of what the article said, for those who can’t access it. This is an excerpt from an academic paper I wrote on sex worker organizing in India and how it functions as a form of resistance to interpersonal and structural violence. If you’re going to quote it, link back to me. Thanks. (A link to the other source cited here: SANGRAM/VAMP Team, 2011)

Sex workers in the Sonagachi red light district of Kolkata, West Bengal have been organizing formally since 1995 as the DMSC [Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee], and they’ve been notably successful in helping the trafficked women and children in their midst. (Jana et al., 2013) The group has implemented a total of thirty-three self-regulatory boards, eight in Kolkata itself and twenty-five elsewhere in the state. (Ibid) Through community outreach and careful documentation of the changes that are noted in these outreach efforts, the members of DMSC identify trafficking victims and provide “assistance with reintegration— to return home or find alternative placement.” (Jana et al., 2013:2) Unlike the state, sex worker organizations do not detain or forcibly repatriate victims but provide them with options from among the community’s social and financial resources. (Jana et al., 2013) (SANGRAM/VAMP Team, 2011)

The DMSC also has several programs in place to help prevent trafficking through educational and economic empowerment of women and their children, including “savings and credit schemes [that] have reduced dependency on sex work.” (Jana et al., 2013:1) Further, all of these initiatives protect the privacy of the victims first and foremost, unlike the state-sponsored raids. (Jana et al., 2013) The success of these programs is therefore measurably greater than those initiated by local police and NGO’s: a full 80% of successfully rescued trafficking victims in the state of West Bengal between the years of 2009 and 2011 were rescued by DMSC. (Ibid)

ETA: And here’s why you should start listening to actual sex workers and stop relying exclusively on academia as the only valid source of information, i.e. fuck you and your respectability politics (another excerpt)

There is one final method of sex worker organizing that serves as a form of resistance against violence, and it is often overlooked because the violence it combats is indirect. It is a method of resistance present in both Jana et al.’s study on human trafficking and the case review written by Ahmed and Seshu: getting involved in academic research. Smarajit Jana is a member of DMSC, and Meena Seshu is the head of VAMP. Through their insistence on shaping academic discourse, they are challenging institutionalized prejudices against sex workers and sex work experiences and producing a new scholarly body of knowledge that can affect the amount of funding given to structurally violent governments and NGO’s for the purposes of ‘rescuing’ workers.

Sex workers need to be leading this discourse, and I made damn sure to cite those directly involved instead of perpetuating neocolonialist academic bullshit. The fact that I couldn’t out myself as a sex worker in this paper because of the threat of expulsion was enraging and humiliating, and I wish to god I could call out the whorephobia in that course from a position of authority without risking my education.

In conclusion: FUCK THAT SHIT (Ibid)

#NotYourRescueProject: Hundreds of sex workers took to Twitter to express their thoughts about their victimization by organizations and individuals looking to help them. It all started when a sex worker, Pasta, tweeted, “I feel like SWs are always being put into boxes by no-SWs in a way that flattens complexity.” The hashtag has rocketed into popularity since, with poignant, surprising, even humorous remarks accompanying the tweets from sex workers and supporters.
This protest is interesting in light of recent anti-prostitution laws that passed in France last month, which will fine a prostitute’s clients up to $2,100 if they’re caught. While some claim this will help curb the trafficking of the Easten European, African, South American, and Chinese women that are brought to France every year, some declare it will only drive the industry dangerously underground, making sex workers unlikely to report victimization and crimes. Even if it’s not what Agustín meant in her description of empowering sex workers, the power of social media platforms like Twitter and grassroots driven movements like the Sex Workers Outreach Project and the Red Umbrella Project give actual sex workers what they deserve in the highly complex rescue conversation: a voice.

#NotYourRescueProject: Hundreds of sex workers took to Twitter to express their thoughts about their victimization by organizations and individuals looking to help them. It all started when a sex worker, Pasta, tweeted, “I feel like SWs are always being put into boxes by no-SWs in a way that flattens complexity.” The hashtag has rocketed into popularity since, with poignant, surprising, even humorous remarks accompanying the tweets from sex workers and supporters.

This protest is interesting in light of recent anti-prostitution laws that passed in France last month, which will fine a prostitute’s clients up to $2,100 if they’re caught. While some claim this will help curb the trafficking of the Easten European, African, South American, and Chinese women that are brought to France every year, some declare it will only drive the industry dangerously underground, making sex workers unlikely to report victimization and crimes. Even if it’s not what Agustín meant in her description of empowering sex workers, the power of social media platforms like Twitter and grassroots driven movements like the Sex Workers Outreach Project and the Red Umbrella Project give actual sex workers what they deserve in the highly complex rescue conversation: a voice.

fuckyeahwomenprotesting

Ok so this is my post. Sex workers who do sex work by choice do exist. Sex workers who enjoy their jobs do exist. Sex workers who feel empowered by their jobs are out there and exist. But do not speak as if they are the norm and they speak for all us current and former sex workers. As a Black genderfluid person who has done sex work to survive rather than live in complete poverty and in circumstances I did not want to live in, that was my choice. But it was a choice that was funneled through my gender, my race, my status as a felon, my status as someone without a lot of financial capital, my status as a queer person.

The options available for Black and brown girls to do their dream jobs, to never sacrifice their pride, to never do jobs they do not want to do are few and far between. Sex work is sometimes an avenue that provides us revenue or a way to survive. It is not always our top choice. But like many Black and brown women do regularly, we swallow our pride to feed ourselves, our family, our loved ones, pay bills, whatever.

Capitalism and white supremacy and patriarchy are disgusting. Anti-blackness is disgusting. These things place beautiful human beings in positions where they have to do things to make money and to survive they don’t always want to do. But that doesn’t make us less. Just because you would rather clean toilets or work at McDonalds or write or sell photos or whatever rather than fuck or dance or massage or whatever other sex work some of us might do to survive DOES NOT MAKE YOU BETTER THAN US. you made your choice based on the limited choices you have. sex work isn’t inherently dirty or bad. treating women like objects are. murdering women (trans* and cis) for being involved with sex work is wrong. treating us like we are less than you because we have sex or do other sexual activities is wrong. men who think they can get our services for free are wrong. locking us up is wrong.

If you want to ask about sex work and you aren’t in the field, make that clear. If you want to learn from us, you better make sure that’s what you want. And at the end of the day, sex workers of various backgrounds have various opinions and views. I do not speak for all sex workers. No one sex worker does. Someone who is a Black trans* woman and doing full service sex work in DC might have a bunch of different things to say on the topic than I as a Black perceived women but genderfluid middle class chunky stripper/service via the strip club industry sex worker. Regardless tho, we are humans. We are worthy. We are beautiful. We are hustlers. We are survivors. And none of you non sex workers are better than us. None of us. Respect our words and respect our boundaries and when you don’t, you are worse than a lot of people who already treat us like garbage just for being us.

D. Strugg

quoting myself because i can. don’t even be fucking w/ sex workers, former and current. just don’t. 

(via strugglingtobeheard)

I decided to become a human rights activist when I realized how easy it was for officials to make a decision and force women to be examined in the most intimate parts of their bodies. Russian officials should not stay unpunished, they cannot have this kind of absolute power over us.

Maria Alyokhina, one of the recently freed Pussy Riot members on her prison sentence, including forced gynecological examinations almost every day for three weeks.

Alyokhina & bandmate Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were freed from prison after nearly two years for singing a song about Vladimir Putin in Moscow’s main cathedral. The two were released as part of an amnesty initiated by Putin and backed by the Russian parliament last week, which is timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Russian constitution. The women qualify because they have young children.

Alyokhina told Russian television that had she been given the chance, she would have turned down the offer of amnesty, and served out the remainder of her sentence, which was due to finish in March.

TW: Police violence, sexual assault - Woman sues over vaginal, anal exams in El Paso drug search

December 25, 2013

A New Mexico woman claims in a federal lawsuit that she underwent a brutal and inhumane six-hour full-body cavity search by federal officers that included anal and vaginal probes that made her feel like an “animal.”

The woman, a Lovington, N.M. resident, also is suing University Medical Center, where she was forced to have an observed bowel movement, was X-rayed, had a speculum exam, vaginal exam and had a CT scan.

The suit claims the hospital “violated her” and then gave her the $5,000 bill.

The lawsuit names the El Paso County Hospital District’s Board of Managers, University Medical Center, Drs. Michael Parsa and Christopher Cabanillas, two unknown supervising U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and two other CBP officers only identified by their last names of Portillo and Herrera as defendants. The doctors and the agents could not be reached for comment.

The 54-year-old woman, who is not identified in the suit, is asking for an unspecified amount of money and to end the policy that gives federal agents and officers the authority to stick their fingers and objects up people’s cavities when they search for drugs.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union in federal court in El Paso on behalf of the woman who was stopped as she crossed at the Bridge of the Americas a year ago. Despite the six-hour search at the port and then later at UMC, no drugs were found.

The woman is identified as Jane Doe in the lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, the woman was first frisked and strip-searched at the port of entry, where officers stuck their fingers inside her rectum and vagina. When that search came up negative, she was taken to University Medical Center.

"These extreme and illegal searches deeply traumatized our client," ACLU of New Mexico Legal Director Laura Schauer Ives said in the news release. "The fact that our government treated an innocent 54-year-old woman with such brutality and inhumanity should outrage all Americans. We must ensure that government agents never put another person through a nightmare like this ever again."

A spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a prepared statement that the agency could not talk about a specific lawsuit.

"As a practice CBP does not comment on pending litigation," the statement said. "CBP stresses honor and integrity in every aspect of our mission, and the overwhelming majority of CBP employees and officers perform their duties with honor and distinction, working tirelessly every day to keep our country safe. We do not tolerate corruption or abuse within our ranks, and we fully cooperate with any criminal or administrative investigations of alleged misconduct by any of our personnel, on or off-duty."

University Medical Center also declined to get into specifics of the lawsuit.

"Hospital policy is to obtain consent from all patients who receive medical services at UMC," spokeswoman Margaret Altoff-Olivas said in a statement. "Because this case involves litigation, UMC will not be commenting further."

The search took place at about 2 p.m. Dec. 12, 2012, when the woman was coming back from seeing a family friend, whom she calls “uncle” and tries to visit once a month.

As her passport was swiped, a CBP officer told her she was “randomly” picked for a secondary inspection, where Portillo and Herrera frisked her through her clothing.

"One of the agents ran her finger over Ms. Doe’s genital area during the frisk," the lawsuit said.

Then the woman was told to squat as one of the officers “inserted her finger in the crevice of Ms. Doe’s buttocks.” The frisk did not show any evidence of contraband or drugs, the lawsuit said.

Then the woman was told to stand in a line with other people as a drug-sniffing dog walked by.

The officer with the dog “hit the ground by her feet, but did not hit the ground by any of the others in the line,” the lawsuit said. “The dog responded by lunging onto Ms. Doe and landing its front paws on her torso.”

Ives said she does not believe this was a proper signal to indicate a drugs were present, but officers used it to continue the search.

The woman was taken to another room and asked to take off her pants and crouch as her anus and vagina were examined with a flashlight, the lawsuit said.

The woman, now crying, was taken to University Medical Center after the strip search did not find anything.

"During the car ride to the Medical Center, Ms. Doe asked if the agents had a warrant," the lawsuit said. "One of them responded that they did not need a warrant."

While handcuffed to an examination table, the woman was searched again by both officers and Cabanillas and Parsa. She was given a laxative and had a bowel movement in a portable toilet in front of both officers, the lawsuit said.

Then the woman’s abdomen was X-rayed, but there were no signs of drugs or any other contraband in the woman’s body. A speculum was used to probe her vagina and Parsa’s fingers were used to inspect both her vagina and rectum while the door to the examining room was left open, the lawsuit said.

At this point the lawsuit claims, “Ms. Doe felt that she was being treated less than human, like an animal.”

The last test was a CT scan of the woman’s abdomen and pelvis, which resulted in no evidence of illegal activity being found.

The lawsuit said after the CT scan one of the officers told the woman she could sign the medical consent form and CBP would pay for the exams, but if she did not sign, she would be charged. The woman refused to sign and eventually she was charged more than $5,000 for the examinations.

According to the lawsuit, she repeatedly refused to consent to any of the searches.

University Medical Center’s search of patients policy states, “Associates, members of Medical Staff, Residents or Allied Health Professionals may search a patient only when necessary to comply with a search warrant.” Under the subhead procedure, the policy states, “…unless a patient consents, an invasion of the patient’s body to obtain evidence requires a search warrant.”

A warrant was not obtained, the lawsuit said.

"However, in practice, the Medical Center staff and CBP agents routinely conduct invasive cavity searches without warrant, consent or sufficient suspicion to justify the searches," the lawsuit said. "When Ms. Doe expressed dismay about the unreasonable searches she suffered, a Medical Center employee responded that these procedures were routinely followed when an individual is brought in by CBP agents."

In a phone interview, Ives said searches like the one the 54-year-old woman went through are illegal and becoming common among law enforcement.

"When the less intrusive search didn’t find any evidence of drugs, more intrusive searches should have not been used," Ives said. "Any one of those searches should have eliminated any suspicion of drugs. A second search should make it clear and at most a third search should have been the last."

She said: “The fact that this happened to a 54-year-old woman should outrage anyone. She did ask to talk to an attorney and she did ask for a warrant. I don’t know what guarantees there are to our rights other than a lawsuit like this one that hold the government agencies responsible.”

Last month, a Deming man sued Deming police officers who gave him three enemas, two anal probes and a colonoscopy after he was suspected of having drugs. The search found nothing, and lawyers for the man said the warrant used to conduct the search failed to show probable cause.

Source

I can’t even say how bone chilling & terrifying this story is to me. I’ve passed through these border checkpoints hundreds of times, & this could have happened to anyone at any time for no reason at all. CBP agents are some of the biggest scum of the earth. 

Spain pushes for harsh law on abortions, sparking outrageDecember 22, 2013
The Spanish government has approved restrictions on abortions, allowing the procedure only in case of rape or serious risk to mother’s health. Outraged opposition and women rights activists say the law will take women’s rights back to the 1980s.
The law is yet to be passed by the parliament where the ruling party has a majority, but Spain’s Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz Gallardon said in his traditional post cabinet press conference that it is almost sure to happen.
The legislation puts a stop to the women’s rights to terminate their pregnancy in the first 14 weeks. Plus, the women won’t be able to make an abortion if the fetus is found to be malformed.
According to the legislation, the only reasons making the abortion possible are if the woman’s health is under threat by the continuing pregnancy, or if she had been raped.
Moreover, in the case of any hazard to health, the woman will have to provide a paper signed by two specialists to prove her case.
As for younger girls under 18 years old, they will need permission from their parents to abort – something that the previous government got rid of in 2010.
Currently, the legislation allowed abortions without any restriction until the 14th week of pregnancy and up to 22 weeks if the fetus is shown to be seriously deformed.
The new law would provide ”defense both for the protection of the life of the unborn child and women’s rights”, the Justice Minister Ruiz Gallardon indicated.
He also said the new bill would penalize those who carry out abortions but would not criminalize women for having the procedure.
The opposition and women’s rights activists are strongly against the law, saying it will take women’s rights in Spain back 30 years – and indeed, the new legislation is more restrictive than that in 1985.
As a result women ”will go to underground places”, Salim Chami, a gynaecologist at the Isadora abortion clinic in Madrid, told AFP.
Elena Valenciano, deputy leader of the opposition Socialist (PSOE) Party, called for those who were against the new law to show their opposition and ”mobilize society against what is going to be a reduction in women’s freedom which is impossible to understand.”
Source

Spain pushes for harsh law on abortions, sparking outrage
December 22, 2013

The Spanish government has approved restrictions on abortions, allowing the procedure only in case of rape or serious risk to mother’s health. Outraged opposition and women rights activists say the law will take women’s rights back to the 1980s.

The law is yet to be passed by the parliament where the ruling party has a majority, but Spain’s Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz Gallardon said in his traditional post cabinet press conference that it is almost sure to happen.

The legislation puts a stop to the women’s rights to terminate their pregnancy in the first 14 weeks. Plus, the women won’t be able to make an abortion if the fetus is found to be malformed.

According to the legislation, the only reasons making the abortion possible are if the woman’s health is under threat by the continuing pregnancy, or if she had been raped.

Moreover, in the case of any hazard to health, the woman will have to provide a paper signed by two specialists to prove her case.

As for younger girls under 18 years old, they will need permission from their parents to abort – something that the previous government got rid of in 2010.

Currently, the legislation allowed abortions without any restriction until the 14th week of pregnancy and up to 22 weeks if the fetus is shown to be seriously deformed.

The new law would provide ”defense both for the protection of the life of the unborn child and women’s rights”, the Justice Minister Ruiz Gallardon indicated.

He also said the new bill would penalize those who carry out abortions but would not criminalize women for having the procedure.

The opposition and women’s rights activists are strongly against the law, saying it will take women’s rights in Spain back 30 years – and indeed, the new legislation is more restrictive than that in 1985.

As a result women ”will go to underground places”, Salim Chami, a gynaecologist at the Isadora abortion clinic in Madrid, told AFP.

Elena Valenciano, deputy leader of the opposition Socialist (PSOE) Party, called for those who were against the new law to show their opposition and ”mobilize society against what is going to be a reduction in women’s freedom which is impossible to understand.”

Source