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Total number of comments: 9 (since 2013-11-28 16:33:02)

Emma Martinez

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  • Women's Rallies in Libya Protest Rape
    • Julia, I appreciate your thanks.

    • Uninformed comment, I do not see how you can continue to not understand why this woman refused offers of help from the Libyan authorities.

      I am not trying to prove I know more about rape than you. But merely by bringing in to the picture the idea that 'most 5 year old's' would understand the reasons why a woman would be reluctant to report a case of rape simply shows you are not as sensitive to the issue as you should be. Okay, you're trying to tell me that it's easy to see why a woman would not report rape, you have chosen a really bad way to say it.

      I do not agree that this woman has apparently overcome the hurdle of revealing to the world her alleged ordeal, especially given the extremely public way she did this: in front of a room full of strangers. This is one of the reasons I tried to broach the possibility that she may be falsely accusing.

      I find it hard to see why you can not understand that the way most women talk about rape, especially a recent barbaric attack such as the one al-Obeidi alleges, is rarely, if ever, in front of a room full of journalists.
      Women screaming rape is actually quite unusual, and when it occurs like this, it is usually motivated by different causes, and most likely not by a gang rape experience.

      I don't disagree with your ideas about the possibility of a medical examination proving her claims. I am simply saying that even in the pro-justice, gender-violence aware democratic west, this is often not enough to convict. Think about the kind of justice established in a tribal society such as Libya and you might begin to suspect that applying the same rules and procedures as are established in the west, to Libya, is naive.

      Think about the prospect of this woman going thru the ordeal of reporting the incident in every detail (number 1 reason why women don't report rape: re-living the experience in front of strangers) identifying the 15 suspects, (a major reason why many reported rape charges are dropped; re-living the ordeal AND confronting her attackers again), being confronted, harrassed and threatened by the suspect's families, undergoing grueling cross-questioning by the 15 suspects defending lawyer etc. etc. All of this, and the idea of being forever labeled within her society as The Woman Who Screamed Rape, is enough to understand a reluctance to begin the judicial process no matter who offers to support and help you.

      If, after all the information you may gather by simply Googling 'women report rape' and my feeble attempts to get you to see something you are stubbournly refusing to see, you still can not answer why this woman refuses the Libyan's offer of a medical examination, then I can only conclude you are a bit thick.

    • Your comments are increasingly glib and offensive.

      Rape is not and never should be a laughing matter.

      To refer to it as "getting it on" is extremely distasteful.

      I request the moderator here pays closer attention to this poster's remarks which are deeply offensive towards rape victims and add nothing at all to the debate.

    • There are so many reasons why this may be so, but the fact that you assume all women who are raped automatically want to tell the world about it, shows you know very little about the subject.

      How is the Libyan government offering medical examination? Threatening her, or her family? How does she know that during this examination she may not again be subjected to abuse and forced to keep quiet about it? After all, those 'offering' help are from the same band as those who allegedly raped her in the first place.

      But besides this, how does a medical exam -some time after the crime- prove rape? Who is to say she did not have intercourse in the normal course of events with her husband, or lover? This will come down to her word against the Libyan authorities. This is one of the major difficulties in rape cases: proving beyond the victim's claims that she has been forcibly raped. Only when medical exams are performed a few hours after the event, and only if the perpetrator left significant signs of violence can a medical examination stand up in a court.

      So she has a few bruises and scrapes?. The lawyer defending the accused (assuming such luxuries exist in Libyan courts) can easily turn these into normal bumps and bruises brought about by any number of activities the woman may be tricked into admitting under questioning.

      I doubt whether the Libyan authorities would have such sophisticated tools as DNA testing for saliva or semen samples, and I doubt whether the alleged perpetrator has not already thoroughly scrubbed away any trace of physical contact with her.

      This is one of the major problems with rape and trying to bring to justice the perpetrators, and it is one of the reasons why it is a preferred weapon of the coward: it leaves no bullet wounds and in a court of law can be extremely diffcult to prove. The damage and scarring is largely psychological and this is a huge barrier for women themselves when given the opportunity to come forward and relive the whole experience through questioning, trial and confrontation with the perpetrator sitting in front of them. Most women simply can not face this harrowing prospect which is why so many cases of rape go untried, and even more, unreported.

    • Don't be a complete idiot. RAPE IS NOT SEX. Rape has nothing to do with sex drive, it is violence.

      Your flippant remark is typical of the ignorance and taboo surrounding rape. The first and most important thing to learn about rape, is that it is not a sexual act. It is an act of violence, primarily an expression of power, dominance and humiliation which is why it is so frequent during social conflict.

      Do not confuse celibacy with an absence of rape, doing so brings a whole new meaning to sex generally.

    • I don't know where you got the 'incoherent' belief that the West is after Libya's oil reserves as I have not said anything about my belief as to why the West is currently bombing Libya.

      You have proven my point: Viagra was not available in the days of the Rwanda attrocities, and this proves that Viagra is NOT NECESSARY for a rapist.

      I do not acknowledge that Khaddafi is distributing Viagra since there are no contrasting reports verifying this assumption. Given the costs of Viagra, it seems unlikey a mass supply for a nation's armed forces could be covered by Khaddafi's budget. Although I may always be proven wrong.

      Where did I claim women are not oppressed under traditional M.E societies? I was pointing out that the west relies heavily on this assumption in order to justify their own agenda, which is largely to paint ALL Muslim societies as evil,unjust, backward, and generally less worthy than the west in all respects.

      Reports such as this one will be used to justify the west's aims, just as the issue of women's rights is used to justify military action in Afghanistan. The whole point is that these emotionally charged issues are BEING USED and therefore have become propaganda tools in the war.

      Everybody seems to forget the first casualty in ALL wars is THE TRUTH.

    • "Inconvenient for my preffered policy outcome"? My, you seem to assume I am a politician.

      The reason I think this physician's report is an exaggeration is because he provides no proof (couldn't he show us the Viagra or condoms he has found in their pockets?) and because it is a fact that rapists need neither Viagra nor condoms.

      The report is clearly playing on the emotions, the rape report occupies barely a minute and yet provides the headline.He does not say whether the two cases of rape he has treated involve the use of condoms and viagra. And it seems a very small number compared to the implied message that Khaddafi's forces are systematically using Viagra and condoms.

    • Rape as propaganda, rape as weapon of war. To begin with, it is extremely common that the act of rape is misunderstood. Rape is always violence. Not sex. All wars use violence, in whatever form the human is capable of inventing.

      Rape is and always has been a weapon of war and it is an unspoken truth that perpetrators do not need viagra in order to commit rape. The propaganda being made that Gaddafi's forces are using Viagra and condoms is simply ridiculous. Did the Rwandans or Serbians also stock up on Viagra? We shall probably never hear of the rapes being committed by the freedom fighters. But you may rest assured, they are being committed.

      The other side of the coin, is the number of women who may falsely accuse men of rape, a very common occurence and almost as damaging.

      When rape is brought up in this context it can serve several purposes;
      1. It increases international outrage at the enemy (OMG, look what they're doing to their women!)
      2. It bolsters the cause of the interventionists (OMG we MUST stop them doing this to women!)
      and 3. It reinforces the traditional Western viewpoint of Muslim women as male vessels and so bolsters the Western stereotype of gender roles within Muslim society.

      Not to mention the psychological effects on the enemy.

  • Egypt's Class Conflict
    • Lots of interesting information here, and as others have said, so much better than most mainstream coverage.

      I'd just like to comment that some have noticed very few women among the protesting crowds, and in the now standard feminist discourse seem to find something odd about this absence. It's certainly interesting to note the far larger participation of women in the streets of Tunisia, although they appear to be the middle to upper educated class. One should bear in mind the culture of most Middle Eastern and Mediterranean societies which, although happy to have women in universities, board rooms and presidential cabinets, are not so willing to have them risk bloodshed and injury: those remain jobs for the men.

      I daresay most US feminists imagine Egyptian men threatening their women if they express a wish to join their brothers and sisters in protest. This plays into the popular image of the repressed Muslim woman. I think it more likely the women themselves are pressuring their men folk to get out on the street while they take care of the kids!

      Besides this cultural consideration, it seems the chances of bloodshed in the Egyptian protests was far more likely and people knew this instinctively, than it was in the Tunisian revolt. Not many women, feminists or not, are likely to willingly stand in front of a tank, or take a bullet for democracy.

      And as for the rise of fundamentalist attitudes among Muslims everywhere, this has been as a direct result of repression of religious leaders, no matter whether radical, fundamentalist or liberal. It is also very short sighted to assume that the increase in wearers of the hijab indicates a rise in 'Islamisation'. This assumption leads naturally to the notion that whatever replaces Mubarak will involve fundamentalist Islamisation of Egyptian society, something the people are unlikely to tolerate. And the usual 'black or white' argument which says the only alternative to a Moslem Brotherhood/Khomeini style democratisation is Elbaradei, is just as lacking in imagination and insight.

      I have a suspicion Elbaradei will come to be seen as a US/western ideology stooge. Besides this handicap, he has little or no political experience besides batting back and forth with US-UN connivences against Iran. It is too easy to draw comparisons with similar events from the past and draw conclusions which mirror the resolutions of those events. The past does not dictate the future and no matter what similarities or likelyhoods we entertain, the future is unfolding despite them.

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