these two articles should make a point why it is important to think about the rights of women. Feminism is not about women wishing men to disappear into the ether but about tackling injustices and prejudices  towards women. The article by Lucy Mangan explores sexism. The Mayo Clinic reminds us that women are vulnerable to abuse in their own homes. The article about the Magdalene Laundries should make us think about the fate of 30.000 women who were subjected to cruel treatments.

Anyone who believes that women deserve equal rights in society and should be allowed to make independent decisions can call themselves  feminist and if we look around us we can see that the fight is not over.

The Quote by Dale Spender and the poster remind us why this issue is important.

The image “http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Columnist/columnists/2005/09/12/LucyMangan256x128.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Lucy Mangan -

"What," said my friend* when I mentioned to him that International Women's Day was coming up on Tuesday, "do you lot need another wimmin's day for? Haven't you got everything now?"

He is a close friend of a man who once told me he "couldn't work out what a nice girl like you is doing not being a Christian", so I wasn't as surprised at his response as I might have been if, say, it had come from someone normal. In fact, I was able to summon a few recent examples to testify as to why we might not consider the feminist fight over quite yet.

1 Watching a 15-year-old girl lower her head, pull her hair around her face and blush crimson as a group of older men sitting on a wall leered and shouted at her as she went past. "'Ere darling – do you always look this beautiful?" was the relatively kindly opener. When she didn't respond (and I was too far away to suggest, "To piss-stained 50-year-old alcoholics? Always!" would be a useful reply with which to nip further conversational sallies in the bud), things rapidly degenerated past the printable stage. Still, I comforted myself with the thought that it won't have been her first, and certainly won't be her last, experience of this. She'll toughen up soon enough! Internalise and normalise it, girlfriend, and life will be a lot easier from then on, 'kay!?

2 Silvio Berlusconi.

3 The increasing number of male friends who think it's OK to send me web links to "funny" things they have found on porn sites. I would prefer to pretend, at least to myself, at least in so far as it concerns my friends, that there is still some sense of shame attached to the seeking-and-viewing experience (or, if shame is already too much to hope for, then discretion, decorum or some vague intimation, before they press send, that someone somewhere might not yet be inured to the sight of women with their every orifice plugged with increasingly non-traditional articles).

4 Jeremy Clarkson's recent joke on Top Gear about Katie Price's "pink whore's box" (she owns a pink horse box). Tired, is what I am. Tired.

5 Watching a man on the train pinch his worried-looking wife's cheek to cheer her up. And then, when she didn't respond, pinch it again, harder. And again, harder still, until she finally raised her head and gave a rictus smile. I caught the eye of another woman who had witnessed the silent scene and I think we must have gone as white as each other. There was nothing we could do or say, in the middle of a crowded carriage, that would have made any difference and so we stood there, effectively complicit, as who knows how many more people have been before and since, in his miserable, awful game.

That's just one week. That's before we look further abroad, or at wider issues, and start amassing statistics about pay gaps, pregnancy mortality rates in poorer countries, rape convictions everywhere and all the rest. That's why holding an International Women's Day in 2011 is neither absurd nor otiose. And I'll give him fair warning – we may still need one next year, too.

* I use the word, as will become clear as he finishes his sentence, in its non-traditional sense, to mean "someone with whom I am, through a concatenation of historical circumstances and the vagaries of fate, much more fully acquainted than I would naturally and of my own free choice be. But I have a penchant for eccentrics and idiots, who open windows on to parts of life's rich panoply of experiences that would otherwise remain opaque and so I tend to keep them around, despite the frequently deleterious effects on my psyche." Until there is a single word that covers all this,
"friend" will have to do. And no, it's not Toryboy. Though I don't deny some branch of said penchant may be where he boarded. But that's another story.

recognise patterns of domestic abuse - The Mayo Clinic

Recognize domestic violence

Domestic violence — also called domestic abuse, battering or intimate partner violence — occurs between people in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence can take many forms, including emotional, sexual and physical abuse. Men are sometimes abused by partners, but domestic violence is most often directed toward women. Domestic violence can happen in heterosexual or homosexual relationships.

It may not be easy to identify domestic violence at first. While some relationships are clearly abusive from the outset, abuse often starts subtly and gets worse over time. You may be experiencing domestic violence if you're in a relationship with someone who:

  • Calls you names, insults you or puts you down
  • Prevents you from going to work or school
  • Stops you from seeing family members or friends
  • Tries to control how you spend money, where you go or what you wear
  • Acts jealous or possessive or constantly accuses you of being unfaithful
  • Gets angry when drinking alcohol or using drugs
  • Threatens you with violence or a weapon
  • Hits, kicks, shoves, slaps, chokes or otherwise hurts you, your children or your pets
  • Forces you to have sex or engage in sexual acts against your will
  • Blames you for his or her violent behavior or tells you that you deserve it

You may also be experiencing domestic violence if you're in a lesbian relationship with someone who:

  • Threatens to tell friends, family, colleagues or community members your sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Tells you that authorities won't help a homosexual, bisexual or transgendered person
  • Tells you that leaving the relationship means you're admitting that homosexual relationships are deviant
  • Tells you that abuse is a normal part of homosexual relationships or that domestic violence can't occur in homosexual relationships
  • Justifies abuse by telling you that you're not "really" homosexual, bisexual or transgender
  • Says women can't be violent
  • Portrays the violence as mutual and consensual
  • Depicts the abuse as part of a sadomasochistic activity

Pregnancy, children and domestic violence

Sometimes domestic violence begins — or increases — during pregnancy. During this perilous time, your health and the baby's health are at risk. The danger continues after the baby is born. Even if your child isn't abused, simply witnessing domestic violence can be harmful. Children who grow up in abusive homes are more likely to be abused and have behavioral problems than are other children. As adults, they're more likely to become abusers or think abuse is a normal part of a relationship. You may worry that seeking help will further endanger you and your child or that it may break up your family, but it's the best way to protect your child — and yourself.

Break the cycle

If you're in an abusive situation, you may recognize this pattern:

  • Your abuser threatens violence.
  • Your abuser strikes.
  • Your abuser apologizes, promises to change and offers gifts.
  • The cycle repeats itself.

Typically the violence becomes more frequent and severe over time.

The longer you stay in an abusive relationship, the greater the toll on your self-esteem. You may become depressed and anxious. You may begin to doubt your ability to take care of yourself or wonder if the abuse is your fault. You may feel helpless or paralyzed. If you're in a lesbian relationship, you may be less likely to seek help after an assault if you don't want to disclose your sexual orientation. If you've been sexually assaulted by another woman, you may also fear that you won't be believed. Still, the only way to break the cycle of domestic violence is to take action — and the sooner the better.

Start by telling someone about the abuse, whether it's a friend, relative, doctor or other close contact. At first, you may find it hard to talk about the abuse. But you'll also likely feel relief and receive much-needed support.

May 18, 2010
tags: feminism
by Meaghan

This came across my email last week.  Read it and ask yourself: Why aren’t  you a Feminist?

“Feminism has fought no wars.
It has killed no opponents.
It has set up no concentration camps,
starved no enemies, practiced no cruelties.
Its battles have been for education, for the vote,
for better working conditions …
for safety on the streets, for child care,  for social welfare…
for rape crisis clinics, women’s refuges, reforms in the laws.
If someone says, “Oh, I’m not a feminist!”, I ask,
“Why? What’s your problem?”

Dale Spender, author of For the Record: The Making & Meaning of Feminist Knowledge, 1985

goulags of the Western World

‘Magdalene Laundries/Asylums’

Magdalene Laundries’ was a giant laundry business run by Nuns (Sisters of Mercy) who forced young women into these asylums, torturing and using them for free labor.

Held against their will, the girls were degraded, and manipulated into believing they had to be washed of their ‘sins’ for being “fallen women”. That is, for getting pregnant before marriage (including victims of rape), for being “too pretty” and “tempting to men”, mentally disabled, or if a girl was outspoken, strong-willed, or otherwise non-conforming.

The innocent ladies were forced to work endlessly without compensation, starved, and physically abused, denied of their rights and freedom. They also endured a daily regime that included long periods of prayer and enforced silence.

An estimated 30,000 women passed through Ireland’s laundries and the last asylum in Ireland closed on September 25, 1996. To-date, the “Sisters of Mercy” deny the abuse they have caused, but claim that the documents of many inmates have burned in “accidental” fires. The Irish government has done nothing about this. In fact, to-date the government claims the ladies were here “willingly”. Survivor testimonies prove otherwise.

The history

Magdalene Asylums were set up by the rescue movement in Britain and Ireland in the 19th century, which had as its formative objective the rehabilitation of women who had worked as prostitutes. In Ireland, the institutions were named for St. Mary Magdalene, who according to Catholic tradition, repented her sins and became one of Jesus’ closest followers.

The Magdalene movement in Ireland was quickly appropriated by the Catholic Church, and the homes, which were initially intended to be merely short-term refuges, increasingly turned into long-term institutions. ‘Penitents’ were also required to work, mainly in the laundries. In addition to this, women who were socially classed as ‘fallen’ were also admitted for behaviour such as promiscuity, having ’social dysfunctions’ and having children out of wedlock.

During its 150 years it is estimated that 30,000 women were admitted, often forced there against their will, by family members or priests.

Women slaved in laundries without pay and were strictly monitored by iron-fisted nuns who were instructed to effect strong measures that would discourage women from leaving and would actively encourage them into penance. Some would stay in the asylums for the rest of their lives, many of them taking religious vows.

Up to 1993 the public knew very little about the Laundries but when an order of nuns, the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of Refuge of High Park Convent, Dublin sold part of their convent to the Irish Republic for public use to replace funds that nuns had gambled and lost on the stock exchange.

The full story of the sexual, psychological and physical abuse these poor women had suffered started to come to light. It quickly became a national scandal in Ireland that engulfed both the Catholic Church and the Irish government.

High Park Convent had been used as a mass grave for the ‘Maggies’ – the remains had to be exhumed and eventually re-buried in a mass grave in Glasnevin Cemetery also known as Prospect Cemetery; Dublin’s largest.

The nuns gained an exhumation licence from the Department of the Environment for 133 bodies. Twenty-three of the women are listed under the heading “quasi-religious name” – the nuns did not know their real names and called them “Magdalen of St Cecilia, Magdalen of Lourdes, Magdalen of St Teresa” etc. One of the woman had only a first name.

With no names or other personal details for these women, death certificates could not be issued. However, in this particular state in Ireland, it is a criminal offence to fail to register a death which occurs on your premises. Under such circumstances, the nuns were legally required to register their deaths – however for at least 58 of these women, the nuns failed to do so.

During the exhumation, undertakers also discovered a further 22 bodies that were not accounted for. The Department of Environment put through an additional license to allow the nuns to remove all the bodies from the site with no questions asked.

The nuns were informed that the cost of reburying the remains intact would be considerable and therefore, all but one of the bodies were cremated. The ashes were placed in a plot, marked by a headstone with a list of names. One family took the remains of a deceased relative to a family plot.

Only 27 of the names and dates coincide with the list supplied by the nuns of High Park Convent to the Department of the Environment. Additionally children’s remains were also buried there.

Since this was made public, AdoptionIreland.com – the adopted people association website has launched a campaign to launch a state enquiry into:

* The unexplained deaths of many Magdalene women and girls.
* The circumstances surrounding their deaths.
* The circumstances surrounding their illegal burial without notification to the proper authorities.
* The circumstances surrounding their subsequent disinterred, cremation and reburial, including
the issue of documents permitting this by the Department of the Environment, despite the fact
that an additional and unaccounted for 22 bodies were found.

In addition to this :

* The real names of the victims of the Magdalene Laundry system to be released.
* Criminal prosecution of those responsible where laws are found to have been broken.
* Payment of compensation to the survivors.

Despite the Irish government convening the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, attempts to obtain compensation for the victims of the system have proven almost impossible. To be eligible for compensation, a victim must have been resident in one of a number of specifically listed institutions; no Magdalene Laundries are included on this list and as such no compensation is deemed as needing to be forthcoming.

To this day The Magdalene Laundries remain a stain on the reputation of Catholic Church and the Irish government. Neither party seem to want to take responsibility for the systematic abuse that many thousands of victims suffered over such a long period of time.

Mothers and Grandmothers have taken pregnant girls as young as 11 years old down to CURA in Dublin and those girls were forced to sign away their babies to the Catholic Church so that their Rapist could never be prosecuted. Women hugging the altar rails in Monaghan Town and Cork City have disposed of their children and grandchildren as if they were unwanted dogs. These women would dare to tell you that they done it for the child’s benefit, in reality these women never done anything for anyone only themselves.

There is no Mandatory Reporting of Child Rape in Ireland; the reason for this Human Rights violation is that the Catholic Church and Fianna Fail are in collusion to continue to conceal the daily rape of children in Ireland.

Case study 1

I was a magdalena slave at drumcondra laundry dublin 9 in 1974. Draconian conditions and working 5 days aweek half day saturday.i seen women here that were in their 70 and 80 working the laundry with me and getting no wage. I was invited back to live permantly with those control freaks after i had my child .I declined the offer as i still have nightmares about the place .

I was 21 years old at the time . I felt so so sorry for those women they had minds like kids as in innocent teenagers with old bodies ,time stood still in there and the hoars of satan ruled us regimentally .No pay or no thanks just work work work. I comitted no crime those women probably comitted no crime but to have a baby out of wed lock.

More case studys to come

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