domestic violence

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Kim Kardashian : Victim of Domestic Violence

Kim Kardashian is many things: famous for being famous, entrepreneur, Reality TV Star , sex tape star and product pusher extraordinaire. In general, her brand of femininity and people pleasing persona we see on her show , "Keeping up with the Kardashians" are annoying and sensational examples of all that excess in society has created.

I can't really bash her because she has managed  to turn the notoriety of their father's name (he was one of OJ Simpson's lawyers) into a brand she has  sold for millions. Indeed , Kim Kardashian if nothing else is a brilliant business woman whose shown she , along with the help of her mother who is also her manager,  can create everything she touches into Gold.

Her show has been on the air for 3 seasons and I watch it religiously. Yeah, me the huge feminist likes to watch the Kardashians on E network, doesn't make a whole lot of sense but hey, it's entertainment not reality .  For all Kim and her sisters reveal, there is much more hidden. For example, Kim Kardashian 's string of famous break ups, hook  ups and boyfriends are plastered on the front of every tabloid and much of the "keeping up with the Kardashians" screenplay has to do with the story of Kim in her relationship with former boyfriend Reggie Bush. What many of her fans do not know is that Kim has been married once before and was a victim of very graphic domestic abuse that included physical and psychological  abuse.

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New Law in France Set to Ban 'Psychological Violence' in Marriages

From the DailyMail:

France will become the first country in the world to ban 'psychological violence' within marriage later this year.
The new law, which would also apply to co-habiting couples, would see people getting criminal records for insulting their loved ones during domestic arguments.
Electronic tagging would be used on repeat offenders, according to the country's prime minister, Francois Fillon, who announced the law.

Psychological violence is perhaps one of the most under-acknowledged and under-reported forms of domestic/partner abuse; it is also extremely hard to define Therefore, statisics often fall short in truly quantifying the number of victims of psychological abuse (This includes spousal as well as child abuse. I have read through several studies and some cite the psychological abuse rate at above 80 %.  Although many studies are outdated, there are current trends indicating this number is not declining.  I admit I have more research to do on this matter, and I will update where possible with new numbers and information regarding these numbers.)

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Media, Pop Culture and The Continued Support of Violence Against Women

I really don't want to write about Jersey Shore, MTV's new disgraceful and irreverent "reality" show documenting the lives of "Real Italian" girls and boys from Jersey, but a recent clip was emailed to me this week and I cannot stay silent.  Much has been written about this show, and to be true, I have watched 2 commercials and 20 minutes of one episode.  I assure you, this was more than enough to make me gag in horror and disgust.  The show has everything our pop culture obsessed society wants.  True to form MTV delivers: degraded women, dominating men, alcohol and a camera to show every juicy detail.

As an Italian, it disturbs me to no end that a mainstream television show is allowed to portray such a reaffirmation of dehumanizing stereotypes.  But of course, this is the point, is it not?  As an appeal to the subconscious typecasts each person in our society possesses, Jersey Shore draws upon and connects to what many people believe to be true and thus becomes appealing.  Do you think Italian-Americans are loud and rude?  Lazy and stingy?  Materialistic?  Crass, dirty, promiscuous, and dangerous?  Watch Jersey Shore , it will affirm each one of these notions to be true.

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Money Not the Answer to Violence Against Women

The UN has announced it will spend $10.5 million to combat violence against women across the globe.

At first glance, this may seem like a lot of money-not only a lot of money but a lot of money for a very worthy cause. This article fromMs. Magazine Online

cites the statistic that roughly 70% of women worldwide experience violence from a partner within their lifetime.

According to the CIA World Factbook, there are 6,790,062,216 (July 2009 est.) people in the world. Out of this number, there are 3,377,071,728 women (2009 est.). 

Estimates state that 2,363,950,210 women are abused during their lifetime and now the UN pledges $10,500,000 to fight it, spending roughly $225.13 dollars per woman. The UN has not released any details about how this money will be allocated.

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"If you talk, I'll kill you"

A very common trait of domestic violence is the threat by the abuser to inflict further physical harm in the event the victim talks about the abuse. This is part of the overall abuse cycle and is one of many reasons victims remain in abusive relationships, often times long after they have been physically assaulted.
Last week, Rihanna, who is a famous singer and was infamously beat up by her then boyfriend Chris Brown, spoke about the incident. She described the violence in detail and explained why she was photographed with her attacker after the abuse. She spoke candidly about her emotions and her feelings about her abuser. She revealed herself to be conflicted, insecure, devastated, strong and beautifully unashamed. All of which are normal reactions displayed by victims of domestic violence. To be brutalized by someone you so desperately love is very confusing and more damaging emotionally than many can imagine.
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"And Now I Will Kill You"- Western Culture

An Arizona website paints a sordid picture: a mysterious nation, exotic young woman clinging to life in a hospital, and the vengeful attempted murder by the father who felt she had wronged him.  Her lifestyle, the website says, is the cause of her current almost-dead state, not the jeep or the driver (her father) who drove over her 5 foot 3 inch frame. 

You see, according to this website, in Iraq, families whose daughters don't fall in line with the culture or the conservative traditions of that family, dishonor the whole family and must be killed in the name of honor and respect.  What is more, the newspaper suggests, this attempted murder, isn't really a murder at all, you see, because the father was enacting his right to honor-kill his.own.daughter.  The cause?  She had become too Westernized.

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Women From Abusive Relationships Are High Risk for Depression and STD

A new study reveals women who have been in, or are currently in a romantic relationship, in which their partner was or is abusive, are more likely to suffer from health problems such as depression, STDs, urinary tract infections and chronic fatigue. These health problems linger far longer than the cuts or bruises from the original physical assault.

Women abused by their romantic partners are more likely to suffer from a long list of medical maladies than other women, a new study shows.

The diseases, many of which aren't traditionally connected with violence, include abdominal pain, chest pain, headaches, acid reflux, urinary tract infections and menstrual disorders.

"Roughly half of the diagnoses we examined were more common in abused women than in other women," study author Amy Bonomi, an associate professor of human development and family science at Ohio State University, in a school news release. "Abuse is associated with much more than cuts and bruises."

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The Violence Against Women Act , 1994-2009

A statement from President of the United States, Barack Obama:

This bipartisan accomplishment has ushered in a new era of responsibility in the fight to end violence against women. In the 15 years since VAWA became law, our Nation's response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking has strengthened. Communities recognize the special needs of victims and appreciate the benefits of collaboration among professionals in the civil and criminal justice system, victim advocates, and other service providers. With the support of VAWA funds, dedicated units of law enforcement officers and specialized prosecutors have grown more numerous than ever before. Most importantly, victims are more likely to have a place to turn for help -- for emergency shelter and crisis services, and also for legal assistance, transitional housing, and services for their children.

A statement from Speaker of the House,

Nancy Pelosi:

On the 15th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, we recognize the historic nature of this comprehensive legislation, and also the work that remains to be done. VAWA has brought communities together to address the appalling problem of violence against women and provided critical, life-saving support to so that victims do not have to suffer in silence. Based on the fundamental American value that no one should have to live in fear, this landmark legislation has improved the lives of countless. Women should feel safe whether in public or private: in their workplace, in their homes, and walking on the street. As we recognize the accomplishments of VAWA, we recognize that our work is not yet complete. We must continue vigorous enforcement against domestic violence and invest in initiatives that prevent crimes of violence against women. VAWA is an example of the power of a bipartisan group of legislators determined to make progress. Today we recommit to the goal of ending the scourge of violence against women once and for all.

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How Did We Get Here?

With all the steps forward our society has taken, it is still fun and politically correct to laugh at someone that has been beaten, who has been publically humiliated, who is now subject to derision and late night humor. How did this happen? Why is this okay?

Women are murdered and the press asks “what did she do, who were her friends?” Why is her death somehow her responsibility? How can she still be faulted? She’s not even here to defend herself, and the press treats the crime as if she could have somehow avoided it.

This is what I fucking hate so much: the notion that we, as women, can somehow avoid being abused if we “do the right thing”. Go to the right school, don’t fuck around, have popular friends, come from an un-broken home. We should be able to look around and identify, at first sight, that our future high school boyfriend will someday grab our neck and choke us until we pass out, and avoid him at all costs. It is our responsibility to remain un-abused; it is not the abusers fault, because we should have known. And if we are slutty, bitchy, bi sexual, lesbian, wear tight clothing; well we are just asking for it, we deserve it.

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G8 Conference on Violence Against Women Recap

The conference was a two day affair hosted by the Italian President, who cited gruesome (triggering) details of the worst abuse imaginable against women. The summit seemed to only feature the accounts of abuse and how many women and children are affected each year. I suppose the purpose, in theory, was to start collaborating on ways to reduce the increasing violence against women. The members decided to wear white, and sell bracelets in honor of women killed by a spouse or partner.

Politicians and supporters are being urged to wear white during the course of the conference in order to raise awareness about the issues being discussed. More than 20,000 bracelets with the conference's slogan "Respect women, respect the world" are being distributed in major Italian cities.

In effect, such actions reveal this summit to be a largely symbolic one. From most accounts the purpose was to raise awareness of violence and think of ideas on how to stop it.

ROME — Participants at a conference on violence against women vowed Thursday to put women's rights at the center of the international agenda, saying world peace and security depended on women's leadership in government and society.

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