responsibility

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Fault Lines - Outsourced: Clinical trials overseas

US Pharmaceutical companies have moved their operations overseas over the course of the past decade. Instead of testing trial medicines on Americans, more and more of these tests are being carried out on poor people in faraway places. Russia, China, Brazil, Poland, Uganda, and Romania are all hot spots for what is called clinical research or clinical trials. Now employing CROs—or Clinical Research Organizations—the industry is big business, worth as much as $30 billion US dollars today.

One country has experienced a boom like no other in this industry--India. Spoken English, an established medical infrastructure, welcome attitudes toward foreign industry and most importantly legions of poor, illiterate test subjects that are willing to try out new drugs have transformed the Indian landscape into a massive testing ground for pharmaceuticals. Fault Lines' Zeina Awad travels to India to see what the clinical research practices look like on the ground. What role are the US regulatory bodies playing in overseeing the trials? Are participants aware that they are taking part in a clinical trial? Is the testing being held up against international ethical standards?

http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/faultlines/

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Trigger Warning?

I was recently asked to provide trigger warnings for some images and links we posted on the SexGenderBody Tumblr and Twitter feeds. 

This is a topic that I have struggled with since we started this site.  We don't get many requests for this, but when we do - I take stock of what we are doing, how it might impact people, where we are accountable (or want to be) and what choices we make as we go forward.  So, I thought I would share my thoughts and open it up for discussion.

I take such requests very seriously.  SGB is designed to honor the terms of our individual identities and that is no easy thing to do.

We cover a lot of ground here at SGB: anything to do with sex, gender, body.  This includes not only the first things you might consider regarding these topics, but everything else.  Including but not limited to: sexuality, asexuality, age, gender, queer, body mods, tattoos, kink, vanilla, celibacy, non-monogamy, relationships, family, frienship, politics, feminism, rights, advocacy, activism and a zillion other expressions and conversations about the human body. 

Every person on the planet has their own definition and terms that they use to define their own sex, gender & body.  Some of these are common and some are less so, making for a very large (almost 7 billion) sample of variations.  Additionally, we each have our own ideas of what we like / don't like / are attracted to / offended by.  These too come in common and uncommon variations.

Many of us are survivors of assault and when we read about such things it can be very difficult for us.  We may wish to avoid such things or at least know that they're coming, so that we can manage it in some way.  Even if someone is not a survivor per se, they may simply wish to avoid such topics for some other reason.  Certainly, the desire for such advance notice is a reasonable request.  So, on one hand I would like to honor that request.  That's one element of this issue.

The elusive standard.

My struggle is in addressing a pair of considerations. 

One problem is: what is offensive? what is a trigger?  What words or image qualify as "offensive" in their mere existence? 

The next issue is: What is it to cause offense or trigger?  What actions does a writer take that are by definition - an offense or trigger?

arvan's picture

Who defines me? Or you? Or anybody?

I received a question yesterday, posted in a forum that I recently joined.  I thought the question and the answer were both good things to post here as well.  This particular question goes to the very heart of what SexGenderBody.com is designed around. 

Sent By : [name removed]
Sent : Saturday, October 24, 2009 at 6:07 PM

Do YOU really define your sex,gender, body though. isnt it socially constructed??? and there are many theorists that attempt to to tell us how to identify our own sex and gender.

We are always defining ourselves.  Even if we take up the labels that others give to us or lay upon us, the final decision to accept those definitions is ours.  The instant that we think or say: "I am..." , the only person in the entire world responsible for that statement is each of us as individuals - and nobody else.

It is a matter of agreement.  Is society telling us who we are, as defined in their terms?  Or are we telling society who we are, as defined by ourselves?  It is intimidating when others or perhaps everyone we ever meet - tells us who we are and what we are and what we are worth as a result.  People present compelling arguments, whether they be sheer numbers "everybody says so" or some attempt at logic or whatever. 

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Women’s Peace Offensive In Asia

Analysis by Beena Sarwar

KABUL, Oct 18 (IPS) - ‘Give peace a chance’ may just be another cliché for many, but for women who have suffered the ravages of war, endless strife and other forms of conflict, joining hands to find meaningful solutions to their collective aspiration lends it a whole new meaning.

Within the South Asian region, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan have for decades been torn by internal and external conflicts that have cried out for, but have not quite found, a lasting resolution.

"We waited for a long time to see what the men would do for peace," Zahira Khattak, a member the think-tank formed by Pakistan’s Awami National Party (ANP), told IPS.

For Khattak and scores of other women in this region, not only has peace proved elusive, they have also been left out of much of the peace efforts by their respective states.

"Why should this be so?" argued Khattak. "For 5,000 years women have been sitting in ‘jirgas’ (tribal councils), at least in Afghanistan.  We have ‘jirgas’ all over Pakistan’s tribal areas also, and we thought why not introduce this concept?"

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STOPPING RAPE: WHAT MEN CAN DO

All men can play a vital role in rape prevention.

Here are a few of the ways:

 

Be aware of language. Words are very powerful, especially when spoken by people with power over others. We live in a society in which words are often used to put women down, where calling a girl or woman a “bitch,” “freak,” “whore,” “baby,” or “dog” is common. Such language sends a message that females are less than fully human. When we see women as inferior, it becomes easier to treat them with less respect, disregard their rights, and ignore their well-being.

Communicate. Sexual violence often goes hand in hand with poor communication. Our discomfort with talking honestly and openly about sex dramatically raises the risk of rape. By learning effective sexual communication -- stating your desires clearly, listening to your partner, and asking when the situation is unclear -- men make sex safer for themselves and others.

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If I ain't broke, don't fix me

I received a compelling link this morning from OdaRygh on the genital reassignment of children, for cosmetic and social reasoning.  When girls in Africa have their clitoris removed, we call it genital mutilation.  When a boy is born with a small penis and is subsquently subjected to surgery to remove testicles and create a sterile womb - it is done under the auspices of social pressure & male value as determined by penis length. 

Sterility is sterility.  Trauma is trauma.  No choice is no choice.  Please read the full article below.  You can see the entire article with links, here.

There is an detailed and relevant site, focused on a proposed bill to end this practice at mgmbill.org.

 

 

Ethical commentary on gender reassignment: a complex and provocative modern issue
Pediatric Nursing ,  Jan-Feb, 1998  

by Anna J. Catlin 

As ethics editor for Pediatric Nursing, I have examined many difficult ethical issues over the last year in this column. The normal procedure is to choose a manuscript that we have accepted for publication, extensively research the issue, speak to experts in the field, weigh the competing ethical principles, and then come up with a reasoned response. Regarding the issue of gender reassignment, this article provoked me, fascinated me, and confused me simultaneously. The literature was oppositional, experts in the field disagreed, the popular press accounts were sensationalizing. I began to dread writing the response for fear of publishing an inaccurate or incorrect response. Ethics training teaches us to ask the basic moral questions: "What is the good?" and "How do we know?". This commentary is offered with uncertainty, stating what I think may be the good and how I think I know.
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