"Just as long as newspapers and magazines are controlled by men...women's ideas and deepest convictions will never get before the public." - Susan B. Anthony

August 1999
Vol. 1 - #6

Said It: Feminist News, Culture & Politics  

in this issue:

The Stranger's Hip Sexism

City Council Race: Who's Talking About Women?

A Letter To Our Readers

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Heard This

Rape Relief Volunteers Plan for New Crisis Center

The volunteers for the now-defunct Rape Relief are actively organizing to create a replacement support center for victims of sexual violence. According to organizer Alisa Bierra, there is still plenty of support city wide for the opening of the center. The closure of Rape Relief, she explains, had little to do with local politics or lack of community support. It had everything to do with the bad management on the part of the Rape Relief's former interim executive director and the board of directors.

Bierra predicts that organizers will be able to get a new Seattle-based center started within the next three to nine months. They are now looking for an organization to umbrella them until they regain non-profit status.

The new center will provide the same services that were provided through Rape Relief--including support groups, drop in counseling, community education, and outreach to lesbian, bi, gay, and transgender communities, people of color, youth, and sex workers. Anti-oppression theory will continue to be incorporated into the services provided. But the new organization will have checks and balances in management as well as in the composition of the board, so that similar disasters don't reoccur.

To support the effort to start a new center, call Anthippy at (206) 616-6971.


Ghanaian Woman Escapes Mutilation

An Appeal court in New York has finally granted asylum to Adelaide Abankwah, a 29 year old Ghanaian woman who fled her homeland after being threatened with female genital mutilation (FGM). She had been held in detention since she arrived in the United States in March 1997.

The trouble began when Abankwah, who was chosen to be the queen mother of her tribe after her mother died in 1996, turned down the position. She rejected an arranged marriage and refused to perform rituals intended to determine if she was a virgin. She was accused of having had sex with her boyfriend, and the tribal elders threatened her with FGM as punishment.

Although female circumcision has been outlawed for five years in Ghana, the atrocity remains rather common, and those who carry it out are rarely prosecuted. About 6,000 girls and women each day, or two million a year, are genitally mutilated worldwide.

(BBC News Online, July 18)


Pakistan's Senate protects "Honor Killings"

Pakistan's upper house, the Senate, has rejected a resolution that would have outlawed the murder of girls and women by male family members, commonly called "honor killings."

The tradition of "honor killings" has been going on for ages, but incidents of murders seem to be increasing. Men kill girls and women who they believe bring "dishonor" to the family name. The girls and women can be considered "dishonorable" if they have sex outside of marriage, are the victim of rape, or resist a forced marriage.

The resolution against "honor killings" was proposed by the main opposition party, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party, but was blocked by an unlikely alliance between the governing Pakistan Muslim League and a left wing group, the Awami National Party.

"Honor killings" recently became a major political issue when a woman who had fled her home in the conservative north-west frontier to avoid a forced marriage was shot down by a hired killer in the office of a human rights activist. Human rights groups then pressed for a new law to discourage "honor killings"--but to no avail.

(UN Wire and BBC News Online, 8/3/99)

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