Weekly Newsletters, Fall 2008-Spring 2009

Sunday, April 5, 2009

F.O.R.C.E. Newsletter - 4/6/09

F.O.R.C.E. Meetings
Mondays, 12:30-1:30pm in the Women’s Resource Center (WRC), LA3-105


- Women and War presented by WSSA
Monday, April 13, 2009 in the Beach Auditorium
1pm to 4:30pm

Performances and lectures on the impact and consequences of war as they relate to women. Performances by June Gao Sith and Linda Straley; lectures by Moriah Meeks, Lucia Munoz, Sonali Kolhatkar, and Dr. Elizabeth Philipose. Contact wssacsulb@gmail.com

- Framing Your Women’s Studies Degree
Wednesday, April 15, 2009 in the University Student Union

Presented by the Women’s Studies Department: A speaker’s panel, networking and resume workshop. Find out more at: http://friendsofwomensstudies.blogspot.com

- V-DAY Long Beach Vagina Monologues hosted by Charlene Chandler and WSSA
Friday, April 18, 2009 in the Beach Auditorium
2pm and 7pm

Those interested in participating in the Vagina Monologues should attend the rehearsal on March 11, 2009, at the Rehearsal Hall in Wardlow Park. Rehearsals are every Wednesday at this same time and location. For more information, contact

- Denim Day at CSULB
Wednesday, April 22 at CSULB, all day.

In 1998, an Italian Supreme Court decision overturned a rape conviction because the victim wore jeans, reasoning she must have helped her attacker remove them. People all over the world were outraged. Wearing jeans became an international symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault. The campaign’s purpose is to raise awareness and educate the public about rape
and sexual assault.

- 11th Annual Speak Out hosted by SACA
Friday, March 24, 2009 at the Soroptomist House

An evening of healing and empowerment for sexual assault survivors, presented by SACA, Project Safe, and the Women’s Resource Center. The night will consist of a Speak Out, Clothesline Project display, and free self defense workshop.

- Take Back the Night
Thursday, April 30, 2009, Maxson Plaza and Soroptomist House, CSULB

F.O.R.C.E. presents Take Back the Night, an event in global solidarity to protest and raise awareness about sexual violence. The night will consist of speakers, a march, music, candlelight vigil, and a speakout facilitated by the Sexual Assault Crisis Agency. It is an opportunity to raise the voices of those who have been silenced by victimization, and a chance for men and women to reclaim our dignity and sexuality through awareness and empowerment. Contact: force4change@yahoo.com .

NEWS (via feminist.org):

Afghan Women's Rights may be Severely Restricted by New Law
4/1/2009 - A new Shia family law signed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai sometime last month, but not yet published, would severely restrict women's rights in Afghanistan. Karzai, according to news sources, signed the bill to court the Hazara vote in the upcoming presidential election. The law has not yet been published, but according to The Guardian contains provisions that would restrict women from leaving their homes, working, going to school, or obtaining medical care without their husbands’ permission. The law also includes a provision that women cannot refuse their husbands sex and a provision that grants child custody only to men. Ustad Mohammad Akbari, leader of the Hazara party, told The Guardian that the law gives women the right to refuse sex with their husbands if they are ill or have a "reasonable excuse" and allows women the right to leave their homes without permission in an emergency.

Shinkai Karokhail, a woman MP who worked against the legislation, told The Independent UK that the law "is one of the worst bills passed by the parliament this century….It is totally against women's rights. This law makes women more vulnerable."

The Globe and Mail reported that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters that the law "is an area of absolute concern for the United States….My message is very clear. Women's rights are a central part of the foreign policy of the Obama administration."

Also yesterday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon addressed the International Conference on Afghanistan at The Hague. Among his remarks, the Secretary General said "we will continue to work to protect human rights, especially for women and girls. Women should be free to work, teach and live without oppression and fear. And children -- especially girls -- must be given the education that will help them build a better future for Afghanistan."

Iowa Supreme Court Rules Same Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional
4/3/2009 - The Iowa Supreme Court ruled unanimously today that the Iowa Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional because it violates the equal protection clause of the state constitution. According to the New York Times, the same-sex marriage licenses could be issued in Iowa in about three weeks. Iowa is now the third state in the US to permit homosexual couples to marry. Prior to this ruling, same-sex marriage was legal only in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

The ruling states that "A new distinction based on sexual orientation would be equally suspect and difficult to square with the fundamental principles of equal protection embodied in our constitution. This record, our independent research, and the appropriate equal protection analysis do not suggest the existence of a justification for such a legislative classification that substantially furthers any governmental objective."

According to the Iowa Independent, Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit on behalf of six same-sex couples and their children in Iowa in 2005. The lawsuit challenged the 1998 Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as only between a man and a woman. An Iowa District Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in 2007, leading dozens of couples to apply for marriage licenses and one couple to marry before the District Attorney filed an appeal to bring the case before the state Supreme Court. The Iowa Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case in December 2008.

Vermont House Approves Same Sex Marriage Bill
4/3/2009 - The Vermont House voted 95 to 52 yesterday in favor of a bill that would allow same-sex marriage in the state. A version of the bill was overwhelmingly passed in a 26 to 4 vote by the state Senate in March. After a vote in the Senate today to reconcile changes made by the House, the bill will go to Republican Governor Jim Douglas, who has said he will veto the measure. Vermont currently allows civil unions, but the current bill would expand benefits offered to same-sex couples.

In a statement released last week, the Governor reinforced his position: "Vermont's civil union law has extended the same state rights, responsibilities and benefits of marriage to same-sex couples. I believe our civil union law serves Vermont well and I would support congressional action to extend those benefits at the federal level to states that recognize same-sex unions....I believe that marriage should remain between a man and woman."

The House vote followed nearly five hours of debate on the subject, according to Vermont Freedom to Marry. The final tally is only five votes short of the two-thirds vote needed to override a veto by the governor. Beth Robinson, Vermont Freedom to Marry's spokeswoman, told CNN that the House vote was "a testament to the power of telling our stories....We know we've got more work to do in the run-up to the override vote."

Vermont became the first state to give civil recognition to gay and lesbian couples with the passage of legislation that established civil unions in the state in 2000. At the time, this law granted same-sex partners the most comprehensive system of domestic partner benefits in the nation, qualifying them for the some 300 rights and benefits available to married couples in the state.

Report Released on Los Angeles Rape Kit Backlog
4/1/2009 - A Human Rights Watch report released yesterday found that there are at least 12,669 untested rape kits in Los Angeles County, the largest known backlog of its kind in the US. A September 2008 LA city controller's audit showed a backlog of approximately 7,000 kits.

The report (see PDF) is based on interviews with rape victims, rape treatment providers, police officers, public officials, and criminalists as well as data from the LA Police and Sheriff’s Departments and the 47 independent police departments in LA County. The report found that of the 12,669 kit backlog, 499 kits are past the statute of limitations in California rape law and at least 1,218 are from unsolved cases where the attacker was a stranger. It is estimated that thousands more kits have been destroyed in LA County untested. According to interviews with rape treatment providers, the report found that many victims assumed that DNA did not match in the database or that no evidence was found when they did not hear the results of their rape kit.

Sarah Tofte, the report's author, said in a press release "women who are raped have a right to expect police to do all they can to thoroughly investigate their case, but in LA they often feel betrayed to learn that their rape kits are never even tested….And in some cases, failure to test means that a rapist who could have been arrested will remain free."

A LA rape treatment provider told Human Rights Watch that "We go through the motions of collecting the kit, and then it doesn't get tested. Either we stop collecting rape kits, or we test every rape kit. It's now standard procedure to encourage every rape victim to report the crime and get a rape kit collected. If we think it's unconscionable to discourage a rape victim from reporting and getting a rape kit collected, then it’s unconscionable to have a rape kit backlog."

Virginia Governor Signs Legislation that Will Fund Fake Clinics
3/31/2009 - Virginia Governor Tim Kaine signed legislation Monday that will enable the sale of a "Choose Life" license plate in the state. According to the Washington Post, $15 of the $25 fee for the license plates will go towards funding crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs). CPCs pose as legitimate health centers and offer "free" pregnancy tests. Some CPCs coerce and intimidate women out of considering abortion as an option, and prevent women from receiving neutral and comprehensive medical advice. They are typically run by anti-abortion volunteers who are not licensed medical professionals.

In a press release, Governor Kaine defended his decision: "I sign this legislation today in keeping with the Commonwealth's longtime practice of approving specialty plates with all manner of political and social messages. Furthermore, if Planned Parenthood--an organization that is already a recipient of state budget funds--or another similar organization ever chooses to seek a specialty license plate in Virginia, I believe the Constitution would require the state to approve that plate to protect against any viewpoint discrimination."

NARAL Pro Choice America released a statement from National President Nancy Keenan and Virginia NARAL President Tarina Keene. Both leaders said "the revenue from the 'Choose Life' plates would go to many CPCs that use deceptive, intimidating, and emotionally manipulative tactics to block women from learning the facts about, or choosing, legal abortion…No pro-choice license plate would make that right."

Virginia NOW released a statement that they are “outraged by Governor Kaine's shameful decision to allow 'Choose Life' license plates to be sold by the state. His rationale in today's press release – basically, there are lots of message license plates out there, this is just one more – ignores women's health and safety. It also insults us by suggesting that the remedy is for pro-choice supporters to get their own license plate. Virginia NOW does not think that license plates are the place to debate this sensitive personal issue."
Ongoing art events…

Nine Lives: Visionary Artists from LA

March 8 to May 31st, Sundays only.

Hammer Museum

Exploring the idea of reinvention, Nine Lives: Visionary Artists from LA illuminates the creative undercurrent of a city that has long been synonymous with "the industry." Works such as Victoria Reynolds' sickly sensual raw-meat paintings, Lisa Anne Auerbach's subversive sweaters, and painter Llyn Foulkes' innovative explorations of dimension and illusion each occupy their own room, moving the viewer through an ethereal landscape of pop culture, alternate universes, and reconstructed identities. The exhibition and associated programs highlight the idiosyncratic essence of life in the Southland, coalescing the installations, videos, paintings, drawings, photographs, and textiles into a single narrative that extols the beguiling spirit of the City of Angels.

Art of Two Germanys/Cold War Cultures
January 25, 2009–April 19, 2009
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
For East and West Germany during the Cold War, the creation of art and its reception and theorization were closely linked to their respective political systems: the Western liberal democracy of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the Eastern communist dictatorship of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Reacting against the legacy of Nazism, both Germanys revived pre-World War II national artistic traditions. Yet they developed distinctive versions of modern and postmodern art—at times in accord with their political cultures, at other times in opposition to them. By tracing the political, cultural, and theoretical discourses during the Cold War in the East and West German art worlds, Art of Two Germanys reveals the complex and richly varied roles that conventional art, new media, new art forms, popular culture, and contemporary art exhibitions played in the establishment of their art in the postwar era.

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