Above, New Jersey Handmaids by the dozens protest Rep. Chris Smith
Via The Hill:
A survey of 548 experts polled by the Thomson Reuters Foundation has found that the United States is the 10th most dangerous country in the world for women. The surprise showing in the poll released Tuesday is in part a testament to the “Me Too” movement and the rampant sexual harassment and assault it has helped to uncover. The U.S. is the only Western democracy in the top 10, which also includes India, Afghanistan and Somalia. The U.S. was tied for third with Syria for the risks women face in terms of sexual violence, harassment, sexual coercion and women’s lack of access to justice in cases of rape, pollsters said.
Think that’s nuts, because we’re a rich country? Not a nation where religion dictates how we’re treated? Really? There’s a reason The Handmaid’s Tale hit American women like a gut-punch, with its (um, fictional) oppression of women and rape culture made allowable by Biblical origin story. And a reason thousands of women appeared, red-robed like Handmaids, in protests across the country, including at Rep. Chris Smith’s office in New Jersey. We elected Pussy-Grabber-in-Chief 19 months ago, and his administration has engaged an assault on women’s reproductive freedom, dismantled Obama-era protections for women workers, gone after contraception coverage – and reinstated the “global gag rule,” impacting women in countries we’ve been trying to help.
And it’s not just Trump; it’s you too, Pence. And Republicans and the fetus-fetish religious right Trump has emboldened to do their worst now, while they can get away with it. Yes, the U.S. appearing on a list like this is a surprise, but come on, not that big a surprise. A nation of newly-energized women, some in pink pussy hats started the #MeToo/Time’sUp movement and won’t hold back reporting incidents. And no surprise that a kickback from (not all) men threatened by woke women might make for very real consequences.
Below, some items I came across while looking at whether there was Syria-level danger here for women. Note: some items below are NJ-specific, some women-specific (don’t miss the stats on men, where noted), some reflect the U.S. generally. All, eye-opening.
Item – Rape reports on campus: Rising. Unwanted touching too – link has stats for each NJ college
Item – 1 in 5 raped: NJ Coalition Against Sexual Assault reportsnearly 1 in 5 women raped in their lifetime, and almost 1 in 8 women who identify as lesbian and 46% of women who identify as bisexual have been raped in their lifetime. [notable statistics for males too].
Item – America’s slavery history: Racial disparities echoing slavery culture impact survivors of color differently than white survivors.
Item – Women, racism and the Prison Industrial Complex: Angela Davis reports the fastest growing group of incarcerated people are black women. And locking up women has been a huge feature of turning incarceration into a booming business; “While women still constitute a relatively small percentage of people behind bars, today the number of incarcerated women in California alone is almost twice what the nationwide women’s prison population was in 1970.”
Item – Chris Christie and Prison Industrial Complex: Remember that Chris Christie and his lobbying partner and pal Bill Palatucci (Christie’s connection to the Bush White House and how he got his US Attorney job) promoted and profited from a big privatized incarceration company, CEC.
Item – Marrying girls: – Remember it wasn’t till 2018 – literally 4 days ago – that New Jersey banned the practice of marrying children, which really means forced marriage and older men getting legal sexual access to girls. And remember that Chris Christie – a governor (and a male) who had dominion over those girls’ lives – thought that protecting religious customs was more important than protecting girls’ right not to be molested. (to say nothing of the fact that young women who enter into marriage are less likely to graduate from high school and college and more likely to suffer domestic abuse and live in poverty). And holy-crap, we’re just the 2nd state to ban this, which means 48 states allow it.
Item – NJ women in poverty: – Talk Poverty’s 2017 report shows New Jersey ranks 7th in the country for the most working-age women in poverty (10.8% – with high numbers for children & men, too) – plus troubling figures for affordable housing, though note we do better than average in the gender wage gap).
Item – South Jersey: – New Jersey doesn’t have the rate of hunger & food insecurity that the deep South has. But South Jersey has more women, men and children struggling to be fed than the rest of the state.