My digital story focuses on the prevalence of rape culture in our society and highlights the recent news stories of high school girls who have been raped by their male peers and humiliated through social media. From my research on this issue, the underlying issue is a lack of education or discussion about consent, sexuality, and respect.
Song credit: “We Are What You Say” by Dead Sara
On Friday, February 22, 2013, the House released their version of VAWA (S. 47) leaving out protections for LGBT, Native American, and undocumented immigrants. Virginia’s very own, Eric Cantor, helped draft this version.
Despite the pressure from the Senate, the White House, and 17 Republican Representatives who wrote a letter to John Boehner and Cantor expressing support of the legislation, the House is determined to not add any additional protections to vulnerable LGBT, Native American, or undocumented women.
Here’s what MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry had to say:
“Is it that lesbians and gay men can just a take punch better than straight women? Or maybe you’ve decided that Native American women are particularly good at handling intimate violence because you and the other House Republicans still refuse to support a bill that gives tribal authorities the ability to prosecute those who commit acts of violence on tribal lands. Maybe your refusal to reauthorize VAWA is actually based on a belief that when some people are abused it’s just not a big deal because they can handle it.”
The House version will be discussed again in the Rules Committee on Tuesday, February 26.
One of the speakers at the One Billion Rising RVA event was Rebiya Kadeer. I was unfamiliar with her activism beforehand, but her story is inspiring.
She comes from Xinjiang region of China. In the 1980s she became one of the richest women in China through real estate and other business ventures, and she has also held office in China’s parliament. However, she was imprisoned for over 5 years in China for releasing confidential government information. In 2005, with pressure from the U.S. and human rights organizations like Amnesty International, Kadeer was released and exiled to Washington, D.C. In 2006, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Throughout her life, she has always been an advocate for women’s rights throughout the world. During her speech, she describes the cruelty toward women that she witnessed while in prison in China and how women around the world need to come together to end violence toward all people.