So, the SuperBowl came and went. They guy who did not rape two women was chosen as the MVP. I got a text message from a friend at about 5pm yesterday asking me "Packers or Steelers?" and I replied with "a bullet to my head...my team's arch rivals or a two-time rapist. ugh."
Given that situation, I did what any rabid fan would do - I took my family to an Italian restaurant and ate carpaccio, gnocchi & gelato until the wheelbarrel was summoned. While I sipped my beverage and gorged myself on EVOO and fresh baked bread, my spouse asked me about the game and for whom I might be cheering. She was needling me deliberately, since she knows full well and good that the wounds from my team's exit from the playoffs were still fresh and painful. She was shocked when I told her about how I could never support a rapist, much less a two time rapist and therefore wished that my team's rival be the victor. She, a card carrying member of the the-only-real-sport-is-futbol club, had no idea of the assaults by Ben Rapelisberger. I explained it to her in great detail while her eyes glazed over and she sipped her wine, pretending not to hear a word I said nor even care.
Sometime after I finished my oratory, I overheard someone at the next table say the word "rapist" and I immediately wondered if I could eat my dinner with her. In this cozy little trattoria, the bartender had posted a television in front of the bottom-shelf creme-de-menthe for those of us that needed some advertising, hokum and jingoism with our antipasto. As I excused myself from the table under the pretense of verifying the correct time in Pago Pago via collect call, I made my way to the hoi polloi amassed around the television set. The game was the spectacle I expected and dreaded, but my sole request for satisfaction was indeed there - the rapist was losing.
With thanks very much to Marilyn for the translation of the following article from Ildaro (일다), I’ll quickly let it speak for itself:
>고용불안 속, 직장내 성희롱 위협 커져
In the midst of employment instability, the threat of workplace sexual harassment increases
고용평등상담실 10년, 여성노동의 현실과 미래를 말한다(2)
10th year of the Equal Employment Counseling Office, discussing female employees’ present and future
[편집자 주] 2001년 남녀고용평등법 4차 개정으로 고용평등상담실 지원제도가 도입된 지 10년이 되었습니다. 민간단체들의 고용평등상담실은 그동안 여성노동자들의 실질적 보호장치로 기능해왔으며, 여성노동자들이 처한 현실을 사회에 고발하는 창구역할을 해왔습니다. 일다는 여성노동자회와 함께 고용평등상담실에 접수된 상담사례를 통해 IMF 경제 위기 이후 후퇴 일로를 걷고 있는 여성노동의 현실과 과제를 살펴보고자 합니다. 필자 황현숙님은 현재 서울여성노동자회 회장을 맡고 있습니다.
우 리 사회의 성폭력 문제는 온 국민이 알게 된 끔찍한 아동 성폭행, 유명 정치인의 성희롱 등으로 자주 언론에 오르내리는 이슈가 되었다. 직장내 성희롱으로 고용평등상담실의 문을 두드리는 여성들의 호소 또한 가벼운 성적 농담이나 접촉을 넘어서 심지어는 강간에 이르는 경우조차 발생되고 있다. 직장내 성희롱은 그 자체가 미치는 정신적․신체적 악영향, 노동환경의 악화뿐만 아니라 일자리 자체까지 위협받게 된다는 데에 그 심각성이 있다.
[Editor’s note] It’s been 10 years since the Equal Employment Counseling Office support system was introduced through the 4th Amendment to the 2001 Equal Employment Opportunity Law. During that time, the Equal Employment Counseling Offices of private organizations have been functioning as female workers’ practical safeguards and have acted as liaisons that report to society the realities that female workers encounter.Through the case consultations received in the Equal Employment Counseling Office, Ilda and the Women Workers Association intend to look at the realities and problems of women workers, who are losing ground after the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. Author Hwang Hyun-sook is the current head of the Seoul Women Workers Association.
Through incidents of horrible child molestation, a famous politician’s sexual harassment, and others of which the entire nation is aware, our society’s problem with sexual violence has become an issue that often comes up in the press. According to the complaints of women workers who’ve knocked on the Equal Employment Counseling Office’s door because of sexual harassment, there are also cases occurring that surpass light sexual jokes or touching to go as far as rape. Workplace sexual harassment itself not only has bad mental and physical effects and worsens work environments, but is even of such a magnitude that jobs themselves [of victims] may be threatened.
Look, this is great. It will probably save someone from getting raped. Or, maybe it will just throw her/his attacker into an even more intense rage, and he'll just find another way to exert power and control.
Because rape isn't about sex; it's power and control; punishment and terrorism; to conquer and humiliate.
And this is where the whole "let's make it painful to insert a human penis into [presumably] her vagina" idea isn't really that great. Becuase this isn't about sex.
In some countries, the condom will prevent some attacks and no doubt help some women, but forgive me for hating these ideas that reinforce the idea that stopping rape is the responsibility of the victims. To me, this is just another example of victim blaming, albeit not in the classic sense. It is akin to people suggesting that women shouldn't wear short skirts and revealing shirts, in order to detract attention from men. As if dressing as frumpy as possible, thereby making oneself look less "sexy", will stop them from being raped.
People that think condoms with teeth are going to help the rape endemic across the globe are missing the broader question: what is it about society that creates so many men that rape?
Before we start mass distributing condoms with spikes, we should perhaps address that question first.
Yes, those really did happen in the last couple of months.
Perhaps it was naive of me to be so shocked and surprised however? After all, according to the Korea Herald, “about 30 [doctors] have been brought to the court over the past 5 years, mostly resulting in probation or fines”, so presumably this latest case technically isn’t the first time a Korean doctor has been incarcerated for performing an abortion (for 1 year, with probation for 2 years). And then the Lee Myung-bak Administration did signal it would begin enforcing Korea’s long-ignored abortion laws over a year ago too, in a vain and wholly misguided effort to increase the record-low birthrate, so prosecutions had to emerge sooner or later.
Still, I’d be surprised if this wasn’t the first time a pregnant woman has been fined for just planning an abortion, and according to the law she could even face having her baby in jail herself if she tries again. And the fact that she was charged as a result of her husband informing the police? It sounds positively Dickensian.
Seriously, is he physically confining her to their home as I type this? Is she still allowed to divorce him, or has she been stripped of that right too?
My second surprise was that, yet again, I didn’t actually learn of this important news via any English-language media, but rather via the following humble-looking video passed on to me by my Facebook friend Mee-young Cherry, who in turn found it via her friend Heejung Paik of Gwangju Womenlink (광주여성민우회). Simply a very brief overview of Korean’s draconian abortion laws in the global context rather than a discussion of the cases themselves though, I’ve just translated those parts relevant to Korea below:
Once again, Korea has gotten the lowest score of all high-income countries in a recent survey of gender-equality worldwide. And, at 104th out of 131 countries surveyed, it was bested by numerous much poorer countries at that.
Given that record, then it’s very easy to focus on Korea’s shortcomings when talking about gender issues. But that can mean that we can easily miss the positive developments that are occurring though, and sometimes right in front of our very noses.
Take what this humble-looking subway ad for instance, and what it ultimately represents. First, a translation:
부산 해바라기 여성 • 아동센터
Busan Sunflower Women & Children’s Center
여성 성폭력 피해자와 가정폭력 피해자, 학교폭력 피해자들을 돕고 있는 부산 원스톱 지원센터와 아동과 지적장애인 성폭력 피해자 전담센터인 부산 해바라기 아동센터가 2010년 1월 1일부터 부산 해바라기 여성 • 아동센터로 통합되었습니다.
From January 1, the Busan One-Stop Support Center, which helps female victims of sexual abuse, victims of family abuse, and victims of physical abuse at schools, and the Busan Sunflower Children’s Center, which helps children and mentally handicapped victims of sexual abuse, have joined together and become the Busan Sunflower Women & Children’s Center.