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Showing posts with label Out Against Abuse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Out Against Abuse. Show all posts

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Out Against Abuse blogsite

Also cross-posted in Bangladesh from Our View

As readers of this blog know, I have been very interested in issues of violence against women, in particular, domestic violence in Bangladesh and where ever Bangladeshi women migrate as students, wives, and family members as well as in the USA. I have encouraged readers to learn more and reach out to one another and give support to organizations within their own communities. I'm very excited by a new website, Out Against Abuse, started in January 2008 to educate and organize the South Asian community in USA against gender abuse-domestic violence through information, interviews with activists, and comments-participation by readers. Please go to this blogsite, bookmark it, and read through the posts to date. The most recent post is a very informative interview with Dr. Nusrat Ameen, law professor, activist, and author of Wife Abuse in Bangladesh: An Unrecognized Offence, UPL, 2005.

The co-founders, Sabrin Chowdhury, executive director and Raj Gupta, technology director, provide their mission statement. They looking for more interviews with activists, commentary on gender abuse, information about events and resources. You can contact Out Against Abuse: info@outagainstabuse.org.

In the following section, Sabrin Chowdhury writes about the purpose of Out Against Abuse:

Educating Our Community: Taking the First Step Against Gender Abuse

“Two out of five South Asian women have experienced partner violence, a rate disproportionately higher than that of other minority groups,” – www.dayahouston.org.

Domestic violence is defined as “a pattern of abusive behavior which keeps one partner in a position of power over the other partner through the use of fear, intimidation, and control*,” and is an ongoing problem that continues to plague women from all around the world. South Asian women tend to suffer from problems of gender abuse at a much more severe rate than other races; however, the topic of domestic violence is one that is rarely discussed in the South Asian community.

The problem stems from the fact that many of us do not realize how vast the effects of abuse can be and how instances of domestic violence have a grave impact on many other problems in our community. Unfortunately domestic violence is not an issue of the past and is not limited to just rural and economically disadvantaged women in South Asian countries. More and more we hear about incidents of violence committed against highly educated and independent women. In many instances these women feel forced to stay in abusive relationships due to the societal stigma that comes from failed marriages or relationships and the lack of awareness of how to deal with domestic violence in general. Many people also wrongly believe abuse to only refer to physical violence. However, domestic abuse includes physical, sexual, economic and emotional abuse, creating an atmosphere of fear and despair for the victim.

I believe that the first step in putting an end to gender abuse is educating ourselves and our community. Out Against Abuse is a blog based website devoted to discussing the issues surrounding domestic violence and gender based abuse in the South Asian community. The blog will be updated with articles discussing key women’s issues and also with interviews conducted with various activists working to combat domestic abuse. This forum was created to increase awareness and discussion in the South Asian community about gender based abuse. The more we become conscious and educated about the issue, the harder we can work at ending violence against women. But for that we need your thoughts, comments, and collaboration to spread the word in our community.

With that, I leave you with the question: What actions can we exactly take to educate our community and put a stop to violence against women? Whether the impact is great or small, how can we all do our part to end violence?

* http://www.apiahf.org/apidvinstitute/ResearchAndPolicy/factsheet.htm

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Day 4/Media, Sexism, VAW & Blog Coverage Justice For Nadine

On this day, we look the media & sexism in its mixed coverage of rape, dowry, and domestic violence. Media coverage can be complicated in countries such as Bangladesh with little reliable data on VAW and where legal and advocacy organizations must rely on news stories to count incidents and severity. In Bangladesh, most data on sexual assault and domestic violence come from newspaper story compiled by NGOs and human rights organizations such as Odikhar, Mahila Parishad, and Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association. These counts depend on the willingness of media reporters to write the stories and of the survivors to talk with reporters and/or people outside of the family. Some reporters can provide reliable reports and understanding of the power-gender dynamics, while others write stories with a sensational nature, victim-blame or as entertainment. Often coverage of any one case ends after the initial article and readers have no sense of the legal resolutions of cases as happened in the case of tortured-murder Rahela, a garment worker in 2004 among others.

An ongoing case that exemplifies these issues is the media and less than critical blogosphere coverage of a domestic violence-rape case filed in New York City in September against a Bangladeshi graduate student, Sajid, who allegedly beat and raped his wife, Nadine. He failed to show up for his court hearing in NYC in beginning of November and is a fugitive, who has continued to blog under his and a variety of fake names. Rather than to deny the charge, in his trail of blog posts-emails, he has described-justified his behaviors, which originally resulted in his arrest by NYC police. In turn, he has made a series of allegations about Nadine, none of which would stand as a defense against his abuse and rape charges in USA courts.

Concerned about the brutality and events in this case, others set up a Facebook page, Justice for Nadine, which provided support & information & post-abuse photos about her case and has responded to Sajid's et al ongoing postings. Soon they refused to get into point-counterpoint discussions and ceased responding to an onslaught of emails and pseudonym posts by Sajid et al. Missing from most of these blogs--any understanding of issues surrounding marital rape, domestic violence, and the gender power dynamics. Instead, many of the posts read like adda or gossip.

After an initial flurry of posts in October, most bloggers had ended their coverage until the middle of November when, Abdul Kargo wrote an excellent post, "What Is a Woman’s Worth Measured Against? Blogger Kargo has thoughtfully and deftly dealt with the variety of comments-issues generated by his readers and the reappearance of Sajid et al, who closed down his blog about the time Kargo wrote his post. During this month, some of the comments by Sajid et al have become repetitive intellectual excuses for his criminal behaviors and insulting language directed toward Nadine and those who seek an end to VAW. Others have challenged such comments, discussed the dynamics of VAW and responses when women speak up. They called for a change in in the nature of the comments posts and more community action to combat VAW. Today, I posted this comment #99, which expresses my sentiments on this case and the thread:

"Last night I wanted to say bash/shesh–enough, stop. Allowing fugitive sajid et al another forum to repeat their bogus pomo excuses over and over again creates ‘revictimization’, esp for survivors of abuse who may be reading. This also gives others the cautionary tale of what might happen to them if she speaks up, files charges, etc. or if their abuser-rapist is still at large b/c he did not show up for his court hearing. Dec 3 is his next opportunity.

From 25 Nov-10 Dec is the International 16 Days Campaign to Eliminate Violence against Women. Today—day four—asks people to look at their media (blogosphere) for coverage of violence against women and to note sensationalistic coverage & posts. As we’ve seen in this ongoing thread and other blog coverage, these ‘discussions’ ignore that most rapists & abusers know their victims; in such posts, abusers and some bloggers reduce the case to titillating & entertaining details, and ignore the unequal power relationships in rapes and domestic abuse that result in lingering physical, socio-emotional injuries and even death.

As reflected in others’ comments, I also encourage people to educate themselves more about these issues and get in involved community discussion and action such as recently initiated by Adhunika and Sakhi in NYC.

****Check out a new resource from January 2008: New Blogsite OUT AGAINST ABUSE to educate and organize the South Asian Community about domestic violence-gender abuse--please read, comment, and discuss this resource!****

For more info about the 16 days campaign:

and to use ICT-blogs to end violence against women:

Finally, I reiterate the points that I made in comment #5 in early November:

1. Sajid is a fugitive, who skipped his court hearing over charges filed in USA (they will not be transferred to Bangladesh!). Next hearing date: 3 December.
2. None of his posts-rationalizations about his USA felony charges will work in any USA court defense.
3. Any people who have been hiding him from police and the court can be subject to charges of obstruction of justice.
4. If Sajid is on a student visa at Colombia University and has not been attending classes because he is in hiding, then he is violating the terms of his student visa and subject to deportation. Immigration and SEVIS are probably very interested in finding him, too.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

International Day Against Violence Against Women--16 Days Campaign

Today, 25 November 2007 is International Day Against Violence Against Women and the start of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence (25 Nov-10 Dec).

You can read more about this campaign, history, and get materials from the Center for Women's Global Leadership, [Rutgers University-USA] including the 2007 Take Action Kit & the 2007 International Calendar. This site also contains a library on related resources on VAW and even a map to situate and log your activities. This site has materials in English, Spanish, some French and even Italian.

An interesting ICT action, is Take Back the Tech or Reclaiming ICTs to End Violence Against Women. Link here to learn more about what are the issues of ICTs & VAW From the website: "Both ICTs and VAW affects our capacity to completely enjoy our human rights and fundamental freedoms." This site has materials in French, Spanish, and English.

The website contains daily activities such as ka-Blog (blogathon, postcards, digital story telling, digital media resources, and GIFs to use in your website or blog during the campaign. On today- Day one, today's activity: share a number of your local shelter or resource centre.

Both sites want to hear more about your stories and actions and you can also learn more about actions-stories in other locales-sites.

As readers already know, I have been very interested in Justice for Nadine (survivor of spousal abuse and rape) and Rahela (the late tortured garment worker) as detailed in previous posts and links to websites. Most recently, Abdul Kargo wrote movingly about Nadine's case, "What is a woman worth. " If readers would like to know more about domestic violence issues-support in USA or Bangladesh, see this link. The next hearing for Rahela's case will be in January 2008in Bangladesh.

****Check out a new resource from January 2008: New Blogsite OUT AGAINST ABUSE to educate and organize the South Asian Community about domestic violence-gender abuse--please read, comment, and discuss this resource!****

Finally, Bangladesh continues to recover from the Category 5 hurricane, Cyclone Sidr. In such disasters, women have special health and security issues, especially post disaster for women without husbands and children who have lost their parents--suffer from insecurity and vulnerability to abusers and traffickers. I described a few issues here and as Sidr was heading to shore. See also Nari Jibon blog.I will post more on these topics coming days. Meanwhile, go to other previous posts-links on where you can donate for relief efforts.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ending Domestic Violence

Since 2005, I have hosted a website of resources on domestic violence in Bangladesh (in Bangla and English) as well state by state resources for South Asian women in USA.

Website address: www.siu.edu/~narijibon/DADV.htm

Many women and men in Bangladesh know little of available resources due to lack of information even though Bangladeshi women experience some of the highest rates of domestic violence in the world (see Ruchira Naveed's [ICDDRB] and others' excellent work). Many women do not want to discuss their struggles and abuse outside of their families.

Knowledge of Bangladeshi and USA resources is very important because Domestic violence (and other forms of violence) travel with migrants and back and forth. Given the transnational locations of many family members, the survivors may be in one country while the abusers move back and forth; and abusers’ families threaten the survivors’ families (esp in Bangladesh).

Recently the Daily Star reported on a Bangladeshi woman (Nadine) who is fighting for her life in New York city after her new husband, blogger-writer, and Columbia university lecturer (Sajid Huq) allegedly beat and raped her. She called the police who arrested Sajid on rape and abuse charges. Her abusive husband's elite family is threatening her family with false cases. More recently many prominent Bangladeshi women's organizations and leaders have protested the continued harassment of Nadine and her family and called for justice in Bangladesh and USA. Another blog provides insights and pictures from survivor Nadine. Some have organized on Facebook a group to provide Justice for Nadine! while others are speaking up and writing to challenge the victim-blaming anti-Nadine activities of the abuser's, family, and friends who have posted misinformation on these websites!

These adamant denials, reprisals, and harassment against an educated woman from an elite family show the continued need for more education and activism against violence against women in all contexts and classes. Many women know when they speak up and refuse to be abused or file charges, that others will step up their abuse of the woman and her family to keep them silent and/or in their place or drop charges. Or com/promises to behave are made and the cycle of abuse continues. If this can happen to an elite women, what is a poor woman to do?

At least, the USA has laws against domestic violence and rape that an immigrant woman can use if she knows of them and/or trusts the police, while Bangladesh still has no specific laws against domestic violence despite many meetings, networks, and donor dollars. Meanwhile, the results from USA immigration laws-policy on migrants seeking asylum in USA from abusive partners who hold their spousal visas have been so-so, even though abused women can seek a visa in their own right (please contact a shelter program near you in USA for more information). At the same time, the abused woman was supposed to report promptly her abuse to the local police in USA, but many women do not trust the USA police and/or do not know of any options. Further, in 2005 and onwards, I have learned that many USA and Bangladeshi organizations did not have one another’s contact information to share information about laws and programmes. I have continued to share these resources over time, for example, the excellent links on Adhunika's domestic violence post.

****Check out a new resource from January 2008: New Blogsite OUT AGAINST ABUSE to educate and organize the South Asian Community about domestic violence-gender abuse--please read, comment, and discuss this resource!****

I hope to update the article resources soon. I would appreciate any comments, updates, as well. These resources were developed as part of my research-work in Bangladesh with Dr. Rifat Akhter (who developed USA resource list), Dr. Mahmuda Islam (who visited many USA locations and informed my Bangladesh work), and Mr. Saiful Islam (who has visited many NGOS working to end domestic violence in Bangladesh and co-wrote and translated the English-Bangla brochure).

Bhalo thakben to all the brave women and men who are working to end violence against women, children, and men!

also cross posted on Bangladesh from Our View