Societal Abuse of Women—One Day, One Section, New York Times

September 22, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


From readers

A protest in the Philippines in  2009 after the rape of a Filipina woman by a U.S. Marine. The U.S. refused to turn the rapist over to Philippine courts citing the "Visiting Forces Agreement" (VFA) which provides immunity for U.S. military personnel accused of committing rape. On the protester's arms and on the ground is written "Jail Smith" (the Marine rapist) and "Junk VFA."

Not only are women within the U.S. military subject to high levels of sexual assault, an oppressive, dominating morality promotes a culture rape wherever the U.S. military goes. Above: A protest in the Philippines in  2009 after the rape of a Filipina woman by a U.S. Marine. The U.S. refused to turn the rapist over to Philippine courts citing the "Visiting Forces Agreement" (VFA) which provides immunity for U.S. military personnel accused of committing rape. On the protester's arms and on the ground is written "Jail Smith" (the Marine rapist) and "Junk VFA." Photo: AP

You think violence and brutality against women and patriarchal brutality against children is a National Football League (NFL) issue? Or a problem concentrated among Black athletes? Nobody should get a pass on brutality against women, but look around! We are just now leafing through a single section of today’s New York Times (9/20/14). There is a front page story on the NFL’s “blind spot” for “domestic violence.” No shit.

But jump ahead a few pages.

In Florida, a 28-year-old woman—who for six years tried to flee from or get legal protection from her father who brutalized and threatened her—was killed—according to police by her father who not only killed her, but her six children, and then himself. Agencies supposedly responsible for protecting women and children had piles of complaints and pleas from the victim on their desks when she died.

Next page: an article on how women in the U.S. Forest Service filed a legal complaint that they suffered sexual abuse from male co-workers and that top agency officials not only failed to do anything about it, but retaliated against them for reporting the assaults. One of the plaintiffs alleges that her supervisor put her in a chokehold and tried to rape her. After filing the complaint, she was fired. The Forest Service is—according to the Times—“reviewing the complaints.”

A few pages later, a headline: “Science’s Sexual Assault Problem.” The article documents that 26 percent of female scientists surveyed had been sexually assaulted during field work. The author of the piece notes that such assaults are usually co-workers and that a survey revealed that “perpetrators were predominantly senior to them professionally within the research team.”

And we’re not even addressing the situation on U.S. campuses, where the culture of pornification, an ethos of male right, and the legal system have created a situation where one in five women will be raped or sexually assaulted while in college.


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Now Barack Obama has a YouTube up —joined by people who probably mean well—saying “It’s on us” to stop violence against women. Maybe someone should ask: who the fuck is the commander-in-chief of what is arguably the most dangerous place for a woman in the United States —the military—to be talking about violence against women? A 2013 study by the Pentagon found that it had received 5,061 reports of sexual assault involving troops (overwhelmingly by men against women, both in the military and civilian) but over half of women in the military say they would not bring charges of sexual assault for fear of retaliation. And of the thousands of reported assault cases, only 484 went to trial, 376 resulted in convictions, and 90 percent of the assault victims were eventually involuntarily discharged.

And beyond that, Obama is the president of the country that sits on top of a WORLD of women’s oppression.

EVERY woman in this society—and around the world—lives in the shadow of the threat of violence. You can’t “choose” your way out of this. And as much as we need to challenge the degradation of women—and unite with people who do—violence and brutality against women is so deeply embedded in every aspect of the culture of this society that trying to solve this piece-by-piece is like trying to dry up the ocean with an eyedropper.

That does not mean we have to live like this! Men aren’t born with a gene or an inherent desire to brutalize women. We want to direct readers attention to the piece “Reflections on ‘#YesAllWomen,’” by T. Redtree and in particular this story the author shares:

“There is another radically different way society could be. As a young high school student in the early 1970s, I had the opportunity to hear a speaker talk about having been to revolutionary China, where she described that women could walk the streets at night without fear of being assaulted. I have to admit I just could not believe it. I had to do my research, which confirmed that many others who had traveled there also found this to be true. But more than that I realized that I just couldn’t even wrap my head around what that would even feel like. Now that capitalism has been restored in China—it has the world’s fastest growing pornography market. But I learned at that time that the subordination of women was not human nature—it was the nature of the system. I, like tens of thousands of others, began to ask the question: What kind of a system is this and why should anyone accept this as the best possible way things could be?

“We Need A Revolution! We need a new and radically different state power! To learn much more about that, a must read is Break ALL the Chains, Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution, now available at”

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