What’s Current: Noura Hussein’s death sentence commuted to five years for manslaughter

What’s Current is Feminist Current’s daily news roundup.

Photograph: Instagram/Ahmed M’ayyed
  • Noura Hussein’s death sentence for killing the husband who raped her has been commuted to a five year sentence for manslaughter.
  • B.C. polygamists Winston Blackmore and James Oler have been sentenced to six years of house arrest.
  • Women’s advocate Julie Lalonde says that the acquittal of two former University of Ottawa hockey players on charges of sexual assault will discourage other victims from coming forward.
  • A British Columbia man has been sentenced to four years in prison for trafficking a 13-year-old girl into the sex trade.
  • A Thomson Reuters Foundation survey lists the United States as one of the 10 most dangerous countries in the world for women, tying Syria for third place, because of the risk of sexual violence and harassment, as well as the lack of access to justice for such crimes. The US was the only Western democracy in the top 10.
Natasha Chart
Natasha Chart

Natasha Chart is an online organizer and feminist living in the United States. She does not recant her heresy.

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  • お茶

    “Blackmore, religious leader of the polygamous community of Bountiful…Blackmore was found to have taken two dozen wives, while Oler was found to have married five women.”

    I wonder how many of the women were brainwashed into believing in his “religion” (one which conveniently benefited him).

    • Religion always benefits men, unless women-centered women are leading the religion.

      • FierceMild

        Has that ever happened?

        • Matriarchal Indigenous societies around the world. Also pre-patriarchal European cultures such as Crete. Even in some European patriarchal societies, the religion was controlled by women and helped women maintain a degree of power. But when I typed “religion always benefits men unless” I meant “benefits men over women unless…” Men also benefited from religion when women had more power.

    • Jani

      Same old same old. Nothing more than a cult. Brainwashing essential.

  • I wonder if the arrests for “polygamy” were a roundabout strategy for addressing child sexual abuse, like getting Al Capone for tax fraud. These polygamous sects in the US have been famous for targeting girls for sexual abuse when they’re young.

  • Elise

    So videotaped rape of a 13 year old girl is punished by a 4 year prison sentence, because despite evidence, it is considered trafficking into prostitution and note rape (found the sentence for child trafficking also light)

  • Jani

    I don’t live in the US but if there’s one thing that annoys the fuck out of me it’s right-wing Americans repeating the myth of “freedom”. It’s quite obvious to me, as an outsider, that many, many people in the US are not “free”. Black people and people of colour aren’t “free”. That’s obvious. Poor people aren’t free. Women aren’t free — that’s at least 50% of any economically disadvantaged group who have been denied access to healthcare, education and decent housing. And that’s not even before we consider the vile misogyny of the alt-right and MRAs who tend to be vocal supporters of this propaganda-style “freedom”. Most Americans I know distance themselves from all of this so I know they don’t represent everyone.

    Was I surprised by the result of this survey with regard to the US? No. Not really. I hear so many horror stories about campus rape. The porn industry is massively profitable in the US and even has it’s own lobby group that purports to uphold “free speech” whilst indoctrinating the next generation with how-to videos on sexual violence. Hollywood — the creators of the myth of the American Dream — has been outed as being a snakepit of sexism, misogyny and rape culture. And when a woman ran as president, and this was a woman with a lifetime of political experience, the people voted for a 4x bankrupt reality TV star with dubious history of behaviour towards women. I’m not saying that where I live (UK) is perfect. It’s not. I’m not running down all people in the US. I guess I’m shocked but oddly not surprised that the US ranks so highly in this survey.

    • Tobysgirl

      But, Jani, if you’re male and you’re white and you have money, you’re free! This is what my country was founded upon: the freedom of white land-owning males (who were land speculators). Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz beautifully points out the aggression that founded the United States and how it is now expressed all over the world.
      Hillary Clinton’s “lifetime of political experience” has been a lifetime of ugliness. Supporting Goldwater for president when he was advocating using nuclear weapons against Vietnamese peasants, supporting Richard Nixon, working hard to turn the Democratic Party into Republican Lite, partnership with a serial sexual predator, supporting a coup in Honduras against an elected president (which has led to such horror in Honduras that this is why people are seeking refuge in the U.S.), supporting the destruction of Libya and the rape/murder of its leader. I despise Trump and I despise Clinton, and together they represent a goodly portion of Americans who have no problem with invading other people’s countries, bombing, assassination, and who if they’re liberal then want to whine about incivility and Trump’s brutishness.

      • Jani

        “But, Jani, if you’re male and you’re white and you have money, you’re free!”


        I know many people had reservations about Hillary Clinton, and probably with good reason, but the misogyny was off the scale. I mean, “Trump the bitch”??!! That was outrageous.

        When I was reading the comments below an article about that Nevada brothel owner going into politics, there was this guy going on about legalising the sex trade was about “freedom” and that the women in brothels are there because of their “freedom” to choose. (Yeah, right…) and then he dragged up the “I was in the US military” and how that makes him the man who upholds this American value of “freedom”. As if any woman (or “feminazi” as he would describe us) who dare oppose the prostitution trade as being opposed to “freedom”. I recall an occasion when I spoke out against the porn industry and one of these bros started going on about how he was in the military protecting “ungrateful cunts” like me, to which I said, ‘Not my country, not war, mate’. He believed in his “freedom” to watch rape porn. I’m not even convinced he was in the military. Except when he played video games, perhaps.

        • Tobysgirl

          A great analysis of the American mantra of freedom, and, actually, they usually say freedoms as though the “s” on the end makes it more free. And, yeah, they always want to tell you how they fought for your freedoms: “I killed gooks for your freedoms, I killed towelheads for your freedoms,” etc, etc, ad nauseam. I actually had a creepy neighbor in my house who told me he was in the service and then there was a long pause while he waited for me to thank him. Not in your wildest dream, bub.
          I despise misogyny being directed at Clinton, but I think women who supported her need to think about her record and what she would have done as president to prove she was tougher than any man (think Thatcher here). Many people were frightened of her propensity for war, and those same people find Trump just as frightening. What woman delights in the death of a man being raped with a bayonet?

          • Jani

            Yes, I’ve noticed this expectation of hero worship for these “military men”, like it gives them a free pass to be obnoxious misogynist pricks, and often quite openly racist. They always bring up Muslim women and “if you don’t like our freedoms then why don’t go and live Saudi Arabia?” Like their all trying to save us from the burka or something.

    • Wren

      Hillary may have been an extraordinary president, despite what others here are saying. Unfortunately, we don’t have a true democracy, so she won the popular vote but lost the electoral college (additionally, it may be years before we discover the true cost of voter restrictions and gerrymandering).

      Today’s news of Justice Kennedy’s resignation pretty much seals the fate of women in the United States: things will only be getting worse…much, much worse.

      • Jani

        I read about this Kennedy man retiring and it doesn’t look good, more chance of Roe v Wade being overturned. It won’t happen here in the UK. We don’t have an equivalent of the Christian Right (who never seem very “Christian” when it comes to compassion for those less fortunate themselves) and we’ve seen a seismic shift in support for abortion rights in Ireland, so thank the goddess we’re not going the same way as some people in the US want to go. Why do a bunch of rich white men want to control women’s reproductive rights? It’s outrageous.

  • Jani

    Yes, he was wearing his male entitlement like a badge of honour. Obnoxious wanker.

  • calabasa

    Not at all surprised!

    Some researchers estimate that fewer than 1 in 23 rapes are reported *in developed countries.* Take THAT into account, AND take into account that women also are reluctant to SELF-report to the CDC, AND take into account how many years it takes for women to come to terms with their rapes, AND take into account two studies conducted at the same midwest university twenty years apart that indicated a full thirty-three percent of men would be willing to rape “if there were no consequences,” AND take into account rape researchers believe fifteen percent of them have cottoned on to the fact that there are, effectively, no consequences, and fifteen percent of the male population DOES rape, AND take into account that a corresponding study of college women found that about the same number of women (over thirty percent) said they had been raped but didn’t frame it that way (said “no” to rape but “yes” to forced sex), AND take into account that rape doesn’t necessarily stop once you’re out of college, AND take into account that many women who have been raped are raped more than once, sometimes many times, and you’re goddamn fucking right the U.S. is one of the most dangerous countries for women.

    Here is what I have found in the U.S.: sure, there is some street harassment (and tellingly, it tends to be more vile/threatening/misogynist than in the countries where they yell “you’re beautiful!”), but the street harassment here and street sexual assault is more rare, in my experience, than in other countries (getting rubbed up on bus or subway or followed or grabbed etc. I found to be more common in Europe; getting yelled at, sometimes obnoxiously, and propositioned I found to be more common in Latin America). That’s not to say I have NOT had these experiences in the U.S., just that they are not as common (the catcalling and constant following and getting grabbed and so on–they certainly have all happened, but not quite, let’s say, as IN THE OPEN as in other countries).

    What I’ve found about the U.S. is a lot of GROOMING behavior. Older men will groom young girls to get them alone. If they want to sexually assault a stranger, they’ll trap them. Men use alcohol to rape women (one common ploy is to go to a bar at closing and try to find a woman alone or separate her from her friends). Date rape is extremely common. Domestic violence is exceedingly common. Grooming women for sexual abuse is exceedingly common and is facilitated by hook-up culture and dating apps. (Recently I connected with a guy on a dating app–I usually only use them for ego boosts and never go out with anyone; men will swipe right on almost anyone, I gather. One guy started talking to me and asked if he knew me from somewhere. I realize he was a FB friend and the little brother of a friend of mine from elementary school. He had asked me out before, but as soon as I told him this he said he didn’t think we should date because of our “connections.” IN WHAT WORLD IS HAVING FRIENDS IN COMMON A BAD THING. Read: he wanted to fuck me, lie about his intentions–why would he assume I wanted more or would not be down for friends with benefits?–and did not want to get in trouble with his older sister. GROSS). In fact, criminologists are now studying how dating apps and websites give predators an endless supply of victims, whether they are date rapists or grooming rapists. The whole notion of a “grooming rapist” (that is, someone who pretends to want a relationship in order to groom a victim so he can sexually abuse her) was very little known about until recently, mainly because so many men (and unfortunately women) cannot tell the difference between sex and sexual abuse. When a man is looking at a woman as a *target,* a target he can make into his sex doll/make perform for him by continuously pushing her boundaries, he is *grooming* her just like a pedophile would groom a child. Such men often “love bomb” to gain trust, just as pedophiles do to children. This is a form of abusive relationship in which usually the primary abuse is emotional and sexual, although occasionally it can also turn physical and certainly can be deadly when a woman tries to leave. A man who pushes his partner’s boundaries and rapes her when she says no is a RAPIST and an ABUSER. This is very common. Date rape is common. Acquaintance rape is common. Alcohol-facilitated rape is EXCEEDINGLY common (to the point I feel a bit queasy going to the bar, just knowing the number of rapists there). Drug-facilitated rape is common (I have been roofied twice, once by a very attractive man who ran the fuck out of the bar when I sent the drink back and told the bartender not to look him in the eye, which of course she did).

    Workplace sexual harassment and assault are common. THESE experiences are common in the United States. However, we try to keep appearances of civility (i.e., men following you around is not as common as in some countries) and we try to keep up quotas and so on to seem like we’re progressive.

    Meanwhile, Iowa introduces a heartbeat bill, effectively outlawing abortion. With a new SCOTUS on the horizon, Roe V. Wade is in danger. The U.S. is the only country without federally mandated paid maternity leave for women. Right wing zealots and ruthless neocons hold the highest offices in the land. Medicaid is being cut back, and women’s shelters and rape crisis shelters are losing their funding.

    Women academics are nearly all adjuncts, as they were back in the thirties, forties, and fifties, when they were relegated to the backseat while their husbands got tenure. This same system is in place once again. Of the fifteen percent or so of tenure-track positions available in higher ed, men take top tier. Men rule STEM. Women are underpaid and overworked–what’s new? Only now, they may not be able to access abortions, they can get prosecuted for miscarriage, and #metoo uncovered a massive epidemic of rape in this country.

    I used to think it was “just me” and something was wrong with me. After joining a private FB group outing rapists and abusers in my town, I discovered that most of the women I grew up with have been raped as well, some of them multiple times. We never talked about it.

    Most of them are libfems and many of them have ended up in prostitution. They hate men but have to suck their dicks to survive.

    Welcome to America, land of the free.

  • Pera Raks

    Why isn’t that case of the 13 year old girl statutory rape?