Friday, July 27, 2012

Just a Few Recent Reproductive Justice Issues Worth Noting

By Shilpa Esther Trivedi
Reproductive Justice Action Team Chair

A roundtable report by the Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Education Center found that thousands of Native American women do not have access to emergency contraception. These same women face a higher prevalence of sexual assault.  They also encounter far more barriers to receiving comprehensive health care and “due process” following an assault. The report, (which can be found here: ), includes the voices and perspectives of many Native women. 

In 2010, a pregnant woman in Indiana attempted suicide after her boyfriend abandoned her.  While she survived, her newborn died shortly after birth.  She has been charged with both murder and feticide. Recently, she turned down a plea deal which carried a sentence of 20 years. She is the first woman in Indiana to ever be charged with murder of her own unborn child. You can find out more about her story, which has been moving through the Indiana court system for the past couple of years and setting a dangerous precedent for other women here:

In April, the National Center for Transgender Equality published a list of recommendations for improving transgender sexual and reproductive health care. Among the many things I learned while researching this guide was that, “One in three transgender people, and 48% of transgender men, have delayed or avoided preventive health care such as pelvic exams or STI screening out of fear of discrimination or disrespect.” (read more here:

Lastly, this video, about a couple whose wanted pregnancy was impacted by Arizona’s 20-week ban, brought me to tears this week

Olympics 2012: Year of the Woman

By: Katie Moon

It's about time right? The ever classic argument of whether or not women's sports are on the same level as men is both exhausting and annoying. Individual women athletes in the past have been recognized for their greatness, but women sports in general do not have the same respect that men's sports do. So perhaps with the opening of the Olympics today women really can show the world what they are made of this year?!

However, just as quickly as I get excited about what women are doing in the arena of sport, I am quickly discouraged by efforts of people who diminish women athletes immediately by sexist and or racist comments like those made of the Williams sisters in tennis on Twitter.

Take a look at the blog Womanist Musings to see what this author had to say about the different comments made about two incredible women athletes.

This seems like the perfect time to get behind these women in their fight for the gold medal in London! I wish the best of luck to the Williams Sisters, and to the other women athletes competing in the Olympics, may you play your heart out, compete to the best of your ability and have no regrets. Women: This is your year, 2012, London!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

It Starts With the Children

By Katie Moon

Two Sundays out of the month I volunteer in the toddler classroom at my church. Just this past Sunday we had our big church picnic out at Hillsboro Stadium where we had just about 30 toddlers ranging in age from 9 months to almost 2 years old. There were 7 volunteers in the classroom including myself, so we were quite outnumbered. I always had one crying baby in my arms that I would be trying to console in some way, but if I saw a little girl fall down and start crying I would immediately put the baby that was in my arms down to pick up and rescue the fallen child. I started noticing however, that my reactions were different if it was a little boy. My first instinct was to tell the little 1 year old boy, "Hey, it's ok you're fine, you're tough." I would play this reassuring game with him, and felt less need to go to him to coddle him. If a little girl fell down, I was immediately to the rescue, rocking her, and kissing her "boo-boo's." The funny thing is, I noticed that I was doing that, because I had just read about gender socialization in my Capstone Class: Sexual Assault on the College Campus. These instincts are born from gender socialization and the kind of environment we were raised in and the kind of media we consume which often supports the notions of men being tough, and men are independent and don't need to be coddled. Further it leads to the notion that violence is accepted, because these men are tough. It is a cyclical pattern that can quickly lead to unhealthy ideas of what a man is supposed to look like and act like and it starts at a young age... thanks to yours truly telling these 1 year old boys that they are tough, and they will be okay.

Attached below is a video of Jackson Katz touching on this topic of gender socialization specifically. Take a look at the video if you haven't already, it provides great insight into how we can better examine ourselves, and our culture, and help put an end to the violent nature of the men in our society. Leave your thoughts on the video and on the topic of gender socialization, I would love to hear what you think!

***Please note that I realize most men are good men, and I am referring to the men who are perpetrators of violence***

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hey Daniel Tosh... Keep Digging

Daniel Tosh is not only known for his comedy on Comedy Central, but he is also known for delivering "envelope pushing" punch lines. reports asking Daniel what kind of humor he uses and his response was, "I'm not a misogynistic and racist person... But I do find those jokes funny, so I say them." 

Recently Daniel Tosh was doing an evening comedy show wherein he made a comment about rape jokes always being funny. A woman in the audience raised her voice and spoke out saying, "Actually, rape jokes are never funny." Daniel Tosh's response to this woman was, " Wouldn't it be funny if that girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her..."
Part of what I personally found the most shocking in this entire scenario is the part where the audience continues to laugh, even when the woman who spoke up left the comedy club that night in complete humiliation. This woman decided to stand up for what she felt was right in that moment, and was ridiculed for it. So should we point fingers at the comedians who try to find humor in something that leaves no smile on my face, or should we be examining instead the larger community of people who are continuing to support men like Daniel Tosh who make these jokes? Let us not be bystanders like the audience members, instead lets be more like the woman who spoke up when she could not sit down and listen any longer.

Daniel Tosh did go on Twitter apologizing for the joke he made, but a tweet he sent out immediately following his apology makes me question his sincerity..." The point I was making before I was heckled is there are awful things in the world but you can still make jokes about them. #deadbabies"

Below is a link to the blog post written from the perspective of the woman who spoke out that night at the club. This post gives further insight to the evening's events, have a read and re-post it to get the word out!

My question for you is... How far is too far? Should comedians be allowed to joke about anything they deem appropriate? Let us know what you think!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Critique for Pop Culture

According to the U.S Department of Justice, one in five women experience sexual assault during their college career. This statistic is not only alarming, but calls great attention to the harsh realities of a college campus. Below is a link to the msmagazine blog, critiquing a movie trailer for poor use of a rape joke in reference to college students. Have a read, and leave a comment on your thoughts of the trailer.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Healthy Sexuality Website

By Malika Edden
Empowerment Project Coordinator

Those of you that know me know I love talking about sexuality!   I enjoy discussing it in the context of relationships as well as making sure we all have good information about protection.  A few months ago I stumbled upon the website Bedsider, which is operated by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.  The focus of the website is contraception, so folks having sex with opposite sex partners would most benefit from this site, but anyone interested in contraceptive methods will find a great deal of information.  It’s about education and protection and not about judging or claiming there is one acceptable way to be sexual.   One of my favorite sections is called Frisky Fridays.  Each week an entry is written about sexuality and all it wonders!  One week might be about hot summer reads, feeling confident walking into a sex shop or having safe sex outdoors.   What will this week bring?   Check it out!