Feminist Link Round Up 12.11.14

If catcalling is harmless, why did this man get stabbed 9 times defending his girlfriend from street harassment?

“It barely missed my spinal cord in the back by just a few inches, so luckily this wheelchair is not permanent, thank God,” he said. “I punctured my right lung from behind.”

Schwartz was stabbed nine times Saturday morning walking home from a friend’s house, with his girlfriend. They were near Larkin and Ellis streets when he said a man started catcalling and making obscene comments.

“At first we tried to just ignore it, just kind of walk away and make our way home, cross the street and try to take a different path,” he said.

But the man started following them and Schwartz braced for a fight.

“It turned violent very quickly, punches thrown,” he said. “Next thing I know, I kinda had a knife in the back of my neck.”

The suspect was picked up in a silver sedan and got away. Between witnesses and police Schwartz got help and was taken to the hospital. His mother came in from Tucson, Ariz. as fast as she could.

“It’s a terrifying experience for a parent or probably anybody who hears about it,” Schwartz’s mother Claire Schuren said.

If catcalling and street harassment are harmless, why did any violence occur at all? This is why the advice to ignore the problem doesn’t always work.  Sometimes ignoring the problem results in violence. Sometimes it doesn’t. There’s no way of knowing what will happen in a given situation. Instead of telling women how to handle street harassment, efforts need to be made to teach people not to harass women on the street.

* * * *

A court in the UK ruled that drinking while pregnant is not a crime.

The case was brought by a local authority applying to the government’s criminal compensation authority for damages on behalf of a seven-year-old girl in its care who has severe disabilities after her mother drank heavily while pregnant.

“We have held that a mother who is pregnant and who drinks to excess… is not guilty of a criminal offense under our law if her child is subsequently born damaged as a result,” the ruling said.

The local authority’s lawyers had argued that the mother was “reckless” in her behavior by drinking up to half a bottle of vodka and eight cans of strong lager a day while she was pregnant.

While they do not suggest the damage was deliberate, they say she discussed her drinking with professionals and “went on to take the risk.”

The ruling centered on whether a fetus can be considered a person under English law.

Thankfully the court found that a fetus cannot be considered a person.  Which really isn’t that hard a conclusion to reach if you base your conclusions on evidence.  A fetus does not possess agency, nor self-awareness.  A fetus has no sense of the passage of time and exhibits no behavioral control.  There may not be a comprehensive list of agreed upon characteristics that defines what a person is, but there are many qualities associated with personhood.  Aside from being biologically human or having the possibility of becoming a person, no fetus possesses any of the qualities necessary to be deemed a person. As such, it has no rights (and for the abortion argument, it still wouldn’t matter if the fetus was a person with rights; no human being has the right to use another’s body without their consent).

* * * *

Large study confirms that abortion is extremely safe

After analyzing data from nearly 55,000 women who received abortion care under California’s Medicaid program, researchers at UC San Francisco concluded that hardly any of them had serious complications within six weeks of their procedure. Just 126 cases necessitated follow-up care for surgery, a blood transfusion, or other conditions that require hospital admission.

Other studies, including data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have also confirmed abortion’s safety. We already had some evidence, for instance, that giving birth is about 14 times riskier than having an abortion. But the new UCSF study goes a bit further than previous research by tracking the complete data on all of the health care used by women who have received abortions. Since many women have to travel long distances to end a pregnancy, the UCSF researchers also examined women’s follow-up care at facilities closer to where they live.

Despite the mounting evidence in this area, the notion that abortion may be dangerous for women is a pervasive assumption that has bolstered the passage of dozens of state laws tightening restrictions on clinics and doctors. In a press release announcing their findings, the study authors indicated that they hope the new study “will contribute to the national debate over abortion safety.”

“Abortion is very safe as currently performed, which calls into question the need for additional regulations that purportedly aim to improve safety,” said Ushma Upadhyay, an assistant professor at Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), a leading research program based at UCSF.

Leading reproductive rights groups echoed that sentiment, pointing out that anti-abortion lawmakers are making decisions that don’t align with reality.

“The science says abortion is safe, but time and time again elected officials are ignoring the facts and jamming through abortion restrictions under a false guise of ‘safety’ when they actually endanger women,” Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, said in a statement.

Sadly this won’t stop anti-abortion proponents from pushing for further abortion restrictions.  These are people who pay no heed to the evidence.  All they care about is shaming and controlling women.

* * * *

Uber offers $31 to woman after driver asks her if she likes blow jobs

A woman in London said she was sexually harassed by an Uber driver who asked if she liked blow jobs and offered to pull down a side street and perform “sucky sucky” on her during her route.

The unidentified woman, who shared emails of her exchange with Uber about the incident with Newsweek, described the March encounter as scary. According to Newsweek, she first contacted Uber after the hellish ride telling the company “Driver was very forward and quite creepy. Asked me if I wanted him to go down on me. Not cool.”

A marketing manager who responded to her complaint via email apologized, referring to the incident with the driver as an “intrusive experience.” The marketing manager then told her the company was “already investigating this with [the driver] and I can assure you that the necessary actions will be taken to avoid a similar incident in future.” The email she received from the company concluded with a thank you to her from bringing the issue to their attention. “[While] painful to hear, it’s the best way for us to address any incidents like this,” it stated.

Dissatisfied with the company’s lukewarm response, she wrote a longer description of what occurred:

She described how, having initially got in the back of the cab the driver invited her to sit in the front, which she agreed to do, feeling car sick. He then started asking about her relationship status before using increasingly inappropriate language:

“Towards the end of the journey he was asking if I liked blow jobs, saying that he was very good at going down on girls or giving “sucky sucky” to girls and did I want him to do it to me. He even suggested that he could pull over into a side street and do it now if I wanted, which was I think the scariest part of the drive.”

She detailed how, as a woman alone in the car, she felt very uncomfortable and if she hadn’t trusted the Uber name she would have got out the car. She concluded the email:

“I am aware that this kind of thing becomes very much a he-said, she-said kind of deal, but I did want to make you aware of it as I feel that people really trust the Uber name (as I do) and my trust was completely violated. I am pretty relaxed and outgoing and I feel that I can take care of myself, and if I felt so uncomfortable I dread to think how a more timid girl would have felt. I won’t be taking this any further but I do implore you to take this quite seriously as I worry for other women who could find themselves in a similar situation.”

She then received another response from a different Uber representative, which said the company was “shocked” to learn about her experience. According to Newsweek, the email stated “while things like this should definitely not happen in the first place, in the unlikely event that they do occur we have the full details of the driver, trip and rider on our systems so that we can immediately investigate any concerns raised.”

The company then offered her a £20 ($31) credit, signing the email “Sorry again for such an un-Uber experience.”

Such a response is what I’d expect if a driver didn’t arrive on time or damaged someone’s luggage, not following a driver sexually harassing a passenger.

* * * *

Chris Rock:  Don’t Forget, Ben Roethlisberger Was Accused of Rape, Too

Chris Rock called out Ben Roethlisberger on Tuesday night, reminding the media and the public that Bill Cosby isn’t the only celebrity whose history of rape allegations was swept under the rug.

During a media screening for his new film, Top Five, Rock called Roethlisberger “the original Cosby,” alluding to the quarterback’s history of rape allegations. Immediately after the comment, Rock realized his comment would probably catch some heat. “That’s horrible,” he said. “That’s gonna go everywhere.” (You can watch a clip of Rock’s comment at TMZ.)

Feminist Link Round Up 12.11.14

2 thoughts on “Feminist Link Round Up 12.11.14

  1. 1


    “Unless I missed one, all the alleged incidents occurred long enough that the Statute of Limitations has run so no criminal prosecution is possible. So…do we think Mr. Cosby stopped doing things like that? Or do we think his people quickly “bought off” anyone since then to ensure their silence?

    In all the articles I’ve read, I haven’t seen anyone wonder about that. I also haven’t seen anyone ponder how many rich and/or powerful people there are out there who are sweating, destroying evidence and/or paying off past victims of similar behavior. “

Comments are closed.