What’s Current: Nepal criminalizes exiling women and girls to menstrual huts

What’s Current is Feminist Current’s daily news round up.

Image: NPR/Shiva Raj Dhungana

Nepal has passed a law criminalizing the practice of banishing girls and women to dangerous menstrual huts. Two teenage girls have died in these huts in the past year:

“The monthly exile, during which menstruating women and those who have just given birth are denied milk and given less to eat, leaves them at risk of rape and vulnerable to attacks by wild animals and extreme cold”

Yesterday, Taylor Swift testified against radio host David Mueller in a civil sexual assault trial. Mueller sued Swift for three million dollars, claiming that her “false allegations” of sexual assault in 2013 got him fired. Swift countersued for the sexual assault itself, asking to be awarded one dollar if the court finds in her favour.

British Columbia’s Supreme Court has upheld the right of the transit authority to refuse to feature anti-abortion ads featuring images of foetuses and the slogan “Abortion Kills Children,” on buses.

The Ontario Court of appeal has thrown out another guilty verdict in a sexual assault case due to a lack of corroboration and an “overemphasis on believing the victim.” The convictions were for historical sexual assaults that occurred when the victim was five years old.

Brandon Blackmore abd his ex-wife, Gail Blackmore, have been sentenced to jail fortaking a 13-year-old girl to the United States to marry the leader of their religious sect.

Lisa Steacy
Lisa Steacy

Lisa Steacy is an Assistant Editor at Feminist Current. She has a B.A. in Women & Gender Studies from the University of Toronto. However, the women she met in her five years as a frontline worker and collective member with Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter deserve almost all of the credit for her feminist education. She lives in Vancouver with her partner and their cats.

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  • cday881@gmail.com

    Where did the Blackmores deliver the girl? Did they have to cross US state lines? If so, hello Mann Act.

  • Amy

    The guy who assaulted Swift basically admitted his guilt on the stand. He said (I’m paraphrasing but same jist) that there’s no way anyone besides him and Swift could have seen where his hand was located. In the same testimony he says it was just the camera timing making him look bad. But if it truely was a bad timing thing, he would have NO IDEA who could have seen it, becuase there would have been no planning and observation of who could have witnessed it. Only someone with the forethought of sexually assaulting a woman would have looked around ahead of time to see if there could be witnesses. How do people not see this?!? Are they so blind to misogyny and men lying that they can’t catch people who say conflicting things…ugh. I hope that guy never gets offered another job, he’s scum. Sexually assaulting and then suing a woman, so disgusting.

    • Hekate Jayne

      Males lie. About everything.

      And they will say the stupidest shit that makes absolutely no sense (“I thought that 4 year old girl was an adult.” Remember that ass?) and then defend the lie/bullshit, as a group. It doesn’t take ALL of them. But enough of them.

      Take that patriarchal norm, and combine it with the companion patriarchal norm of “ladies be cray/hysterical/unreliable/slutty liars”.

      This is the male system. Males can say literally anything about an assault or rape, and they are believed. A woman can be telling the truth, she can be articulate and calm, she can make perfect sense. It doesn’t matter what the truth is. We all know the truth.

      But truth isn’t the point. The point is to allow males to behave however they want and to not be impeded by female boundaries.

      It’s a pretty fail safe system for males. And it works just how they intend it to.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Because we are a small operation with a small budget, I feel What’s Current is a useful way to be able to ‘cover’ news, as well as signal boost the work of sisters, that we wouldn’t otherwise have the capacity to cover or share. We do share a lot of news about violence against women, but we also share a lot of articles, events, etc written by other women. In general, news about violence against women doesn’t get much attention, and I think it’s important to continue to remind people that it is a daily, global epidemic. If you look at what’s shared via WC, it’s actually not mostly made up of news stories about vaw (though there is almost always at least one link in there), but stories about abortion law, women’s activism, the deaths of important women, political news, other news about legislation affecting women, women’s successes, court cases, feminist events, etc. I consider it a very useful and important part of the site and our content.

    What’s Current does actually take time and work to put together, as well… It’s not just some easy, lazy cut and paste job. The amount of work that goes into it may not seem obvious to someone on the other side/to someone who hasn’t worked in online publishing before, but it does take a notable amount of time and effort, and it takes two or three women to put together the links, edit, put together in the back end, publish, etc.

    Nonetheless, I appreciate your thoughts, despite the fact that I disagree 🙂

    • Tobysgirl

      Here’s why I think it’s fine to link to articles about violence against women. Because, in the media, the crimes are treated as INDIVIDUAL TRAGEDIES. Nowhere in the media is there a discussion of MALE VIOLENCE, just a daily litany — here in a small-population, rural state in the U.S. — of wife battering, rape, molestation, and murder. Here at FC it is obvious the editors and readers see this as a pattern of patriarchal domination through violence, and that is a welcome relief after the obliviousness of television, radio, and print.

      • Nan

        You make a good point and I understand it is the editors’ purpose.

        However it seems to me that
        1) it is better addressed in the commentary section, which articles are usually quite brilliant at highlighting patterns of patriarchal domination.
        2) critical statistic analysis (which FC does as well) may be more effective than cherry picking individual crimes because the fact that violence (sexual or not) is overwhelmingly male appears clearly on large scale data (if unbiased). However you can always cherry pick those scarcer cases of violent females to counter examples of male violence and make it seem gender neutral. MRA websites do it all the time.

  • Hanakai

    While there is a certain value to cataloging the various crimes and oppressions that men and patriarchal culture inflict on women, I, too, often think: What is the point to this endless litany of crimes and usurpations? We already know that men prostitute women, sex traffic women, use ever-more-degrading porn, rape women and children murder women and children, deny rights to women, and inflict all manner of horrors on women, children, animals and the natural world. We already know that so many many women suffer from having been victimized and traumatized, harmed and damaged by the predations of men.

    While there of course needs to be a historical record, I am more interested in learniing of and considering strategies that work to make the world better and more just for women. What can women do to hasten the collapse of the global patriarchy? How can women stop rape and violence, or keep themselves from being victimized? How can women create a separate peace where they can live in the lives and cultures they desire? How can women remain joyous despite having considered reality? What have women done in their successful organizing and campaigns? These stories exist and they help women to catch courage and confidence and the belief that they can win.

    Ongoing litanies of horrors do not seem terribly fruitful. Yes, it is good to dispel ignorance, and some women get to vent their anger and go on about the horribleness of men and I suppose there is a certain therapeutic value there, as there is in giving women the chance to tell their stories. Yet, the over-focus on the negative also ends up influencing the minds of women towards pessimism and cynicism which skew perceptions of reality. As an example, the other day a woman commented to the effect that the woman who oversaw smartphone plans being made on a plane to sexually abuse children, who reported it, and got the perps arrested, was going to be castigated, defaed, skewered and mistreated — when in fact, and I know this as I live now in her state, she has been hailed as a hero, lauded by the police chiefs and city councils in two cities. In this state both our Senators are women, our last governor was a woman, women have built a local political power base.

    Of course, this place is valuable, it is great that it exists, some fine writing and analyses appear, a lot of good info and insights get exchanged. But I wonder where are the women who are seriously strategizing and planning tactical missions for change. If you get that there is a global war on women, do you want to be the Ministry of Documenting War Crimes, or do you want to win? Or force a negotiated surrender of the opposition with a new order of the ages? How to make revolution or evolution? Where do you want to go and how do you plan to get there?

    What is the objective of this site? What is it trying to accomplish? What is the vision here? How does what you are doing now further the vision? How do we make the world better for women and cats and whales and blue jays? These questions interest me.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I have been doing a podcast for over five years now, and in almost every single episode, I ask women about strategy — what to do, what will be effective, how to affect change. To imply FC does not explore concrete ideas for movement-building and only shares links to articles about male violence is untrue. Beyond that, strategizing for change needs to (and does) happen in real life, with real women, in person. It can’t happen simply by reading articles online. The women whose voices are highlighted in interviews and podcasts are often doing real work, on the ground. What’s Current exists to share news, articles, events, and information. But it is not the only thing that exists on the site and certainly FC does not and cannot do and provide everything in this movement. Our hope is that beyond just reading here, women *will* go out, join with other women, and take action.

  • Tobysgirl

    I’m certainly not pessimistic from reading FC! It’s a bright spot in my life — many commenters make very funny comments and share profound insights.
    I don’t consider myself an optimist or a pessimist — I struggle to be a REALIST. And realistically we do not live in a pretty world. It is sickening to hear people speak as though Charlottesville came out of the blue — they happily pretended they did not live in a racist, sexist, liberal fascist country, and they don’t like it when reality is smeared in their faces. This is part of the hatred of Donald Trump — how dare he spoil our liberal la-la land worldview? (I despise him but wasn’t surprised when he was elected.) I had a penpal (white, privileged, male) who kept telling me how much better things are for African-Americans, and what I finally understood is that things are much better for HIM because he doesn’t have to look at Whites Only or Colored signs on drinking fountains anymore.

  • Nan

    Please don’t make a caricature out of any critic. We’re not on a queer tumblr…

    No one implied that “FC should just shut the fuck up” about men’s violence. Some of us just suggested that adding up individual gruesome crimes might not be the most inspiring way to for help women conceive strategies against patriarchy. (Though I acknowledge it is a tremendously difficult thing to do, about which I’m quite clueless).