Jul 06
Her eye on the news

The announcement of a 41-year-old Malaysian man’s marriage to an 11-year-old girl has sparked outrage and renewed a debate on the issue of child marriage in the predominantly Islamic country. Wealthy rubber trader Che Abdul Karim, who already has two wives and six children, has defended his decision to marry an 11-year-old and decried “the defamation” being written about him online after his second wife, Effa Zulkifle, posted a picture of the wedding ceremony alongside the caption: “Congratulations on your wedding, my husband, 41, his other wife, 11.”

“I am sad of the assumptions and wild accusations thrown at me in social media for taking a third wife,” he told local publication Bernama. “I will consider taking legal action to stop the defamation against me through wild and inaccurate claims.”

According to the girl’s father, a 49-year-old rubber tapper, he agreed to the proposal on the basis that his daughter would only be allowed to live with Karim after she turns 16 and they file for a formal marriage certification.

“I have known him for a long time because previously we used to rent a house next door to his first wife,” he said of his new son-in-law in comments made to the Malaysia Digest. “My daughter is also friends with my son-in-law’s child with his first wife. Before this, whenever they went on holiday, they would take my daughter along.”

After screenshots of the marriage announcement swiftly went viral on Twitter, many Malaysians denounced Karim and the girl’s father and called for the end of child marriage. Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has said that the government will investigate the claims, in order to “make sure there is no discrimination or coercion in this marriage, especially towards the child.” If Karim were to be found guilty of marrying the girl without permission, he would reportedly face a maximum punishment of six months in prison.

Read the full story at BuzzFeed.


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Rock singer Shirley Manson wrote a deeply revealing personal essay this week for The New York Times in which she confronted her history of self-harm. Manson, 51, is the lead singer for the alternative rock band Garbage, which shot to prominence in the 1990s and has just reissued its iconic 1998 album Version 2.0.

She sets the scene in the mid-’80s, Edinburgh, Scotland, and describes the perfect storm of depression, drug and alcohol use and a poisonous relationship that manifested in her resorting to cutting herself. Back then, she points out, there was virtually nothing to help her understand the “secret that was mine to keep.” Manson was in her late teens, and didn’t even have the proper terminology to describe that secret had she wanted to share it.

“There were no support groups for people like me or any progressive, sympathetic op-ed pieces about the practice of cutting in my local newspaper,” she writes. “It was something I came to naturally, privately, covertly. I didn’t tell a soul about it.”

The origins of her cutting, she writes, can be traced back to a bad relationship she was in at the time with a misogynistic man. “He was tall and handsome and harbored some serious, unresolved anger issues toward women,” Manson recalls. “I should have run for the hills, but I didn’t.”

“I grew to loathe him for his selfish sexism, but I continued to sleep with him anyway,” she writes, revealing that he refused to wear a condom simply because, as a male, he knew he was unable to become pregnant. He left it to Manson to figure out birth control. This was just a microcosm of the disposable way in which he treated her. He cheated on her, repeatedly. Yet she stayed with him, turning the rage that grew out of his coldness inward.

Eventually, a fight the two had that dragged on and escalated led to her first cutting experience.

“In a moment of utter exasperation, I reached across for my little silver penknife, pulled it from the lace of my shoe and ran the tiny blade across the skin of one ankle.

It didn’t hurt.

I did it again.

And then I did it again.

I looked dispassionately at the three thin red lines I had made and watched as tiny little bubbles of my blood oozed to the surface,” Manson writes.

She goes on detail how the cutting worsened: “The cuts got deeper. I hid the scars under my stockings and never breathed a word about it to anyone.” But, she noted, after finally escaping the toxic relationship, a later relationship that was loving and healthy gave her the space to leave the cutting behind. That’s not to say she doesn’t struggle with the urge to harm herself all these years later. Even as her band was touring to support its hit 1998 album, Version 2.0, she found herself struggling again.

But now when the urges bubble to the surface, Manson writes that she has some tools at her disposal to ward them off. Part of keeping those old thought patterns at bay involves repeating a mantra to herself, and another part involves consulting the lyrics to one of her favorite poems.

Read the full essay at The New York Times


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‘They beat her’

Video and photos of Israeli authorities appearing to rip the headscarf off a young Palestinian woman before wrestling her to the ground and dragging her away have gone viral, highlighting the plight of Palestinians living in Area C, which makes up 61 percent of the West Bank and is controlled by the Israeli government and military. The woman, identified as Sarah Abu Dahouk, was targeted by Israeli border police along with scores of Palestinian and international protesters who sought to prevent Israeli developers from bulldozing the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, which is home to 180 people — roughly half of whom are children. Video of the incident first made its way online on Thursday — after protesters sought to stop the bulldozers that arrived alongside security forces at Khan al-Ahmar on Wednesday.

“They beat her severely and arrested her,” said Hadi Baran, a photographer who witnessed and helped document the incident, in comments made to BuzzFeed News.

In May, Israel’s Supreme Court gave developers permission to go ahead with the destruction of the village, in spite of the objections of its non-Israeli residents, on the basis that it was built in Area C without a necessary construction permit. According to Al Jazeera, Israeli authorities routinely deny Palestinians construction permits so that Israeli developers can continue the expansion of illegal Jewish-only housing settlements in the area, and data collected by the United Nations has shown that Israeli authorities approved only 1.5 percent of all permit requests by Palestinians between 2010 and 2014. The villagers, who have reportedly lived in the area since as early as 1953, have said that they believe they are being removed so that Israel can continue to settle their land — a claim which is perhaps bolstered by the recent construction of two Jewish-only settlements surrounding it.

On Thursday night, the Israeli Supreme court announced that the demolition should be postponed until July 11, when the high court is expected to decisively determine the village’s fate. The condition of the woman, or even her location, were not made clear following her arrest.

Watch video of the incident below.

Read the full story and see more photos of the incident at BuzzFeed.


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‘Let’s make history’

Angela Ponce is set to become the first transgender women to ever compete in the Miss Universe pageant after the model won the Miss Spain beauty competition this past weekend.

“Let’s make history,” wrote Ponce on Twitter, noting that her victory came at the end of Pride Month. In a separate post written in Spanish on Instagram, she added that “my goal is to be a spokesperson for a message of inclusion, respect and diversity not only for the LGBTQ+ community, but also for the entire world.”

Ponce’s inclusion in the competition is the result of trailblazing efforts Jenna Talackova of Canada, who won the right to compete in the Miss Canada competition in 2012 — where she went on to be named Miss Congeniality. Ponce’s groundbreaking win also comes as the Miss America competition undergoes sweeping changes under the stewardship of Gretchen Carlson, who has removed the swimsuit and evening gown portion of the pageant as part of an effort to lessen the competition’s focus on “outward physical appearance.”

Read the full story at The Advocate.


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‘Stable genius’

President Donald Trump’s adversarial relationship with women was on full display during a campaign rally in Great Falls, Montana, on Thursday, as he delivered a rambling speech centered on denigrating female opponents and mocking the #MeToo movement.

During his remarks, Trump mocked U.S. Representative Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California, as a “low IQ” individual. Waters is a fierce Trump critic who has refused to let the reality that he has been accused by at least 16 different women of sexual assault be forgotten.

“I mean, honestly, she’s somewhere in the mid-60s, I believe,” declared Trump, who has in the past responded to doubts about his own intelligence by referring to himself as “like, really smart” and a “stable genius.” The president also revived his use of the pejorative slur “Pocahontas” in reference to Elizabeth Warren, whom Trump evidently anticipates could prove to be his opponent in the 2020 presidential election. While insulting Warren, Trump added that he might try tossing her a DNA kit during a potential presidential debate.

“We have to do it gently because we’re in the #MeToo generation, so we have to be very gentle,” said Trump, making a throwing motion.

Trump’s remarks came on the same day that the White House officially announced the hiring of former Fox News Ceo Bill Shine, who resigned in disgrace from the network amid claims that he aided Roger Ailes and others in their alleged abuse of female employees. On Thursday night, Warren responded to Trump’s insults by noting in a post on Twitter that “while you obsess over my genes, your Admin is conducting DNA tests on little kids because you ripped them from their mamas & you are too incompetent to reunite them in time to meet a court order.”

“Maybe,” she added, “you should focus on the lives you’re destroying.”

Below, watch video of Trump’s remarks.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.


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Actress, poet, and Time’s Up co-founder Amber Tamblyn has authored a new book, Any Man, that tells the story of a woman serial-rapist that she said was partially inspired by a desire to spark male empathy for the experiences of women who suffer sexual violence. Speaking with The Guardian, Tamblyn said that her decision to write her narrative from the perspective of the rapist’s six male victims has already prompted some extremely negative and emotional reactions.

“I think they see it as I’m just reversing the gender roles and I’m [taking] away the experience of women and giving it to men,” said Tamblyn. “That’s OK. They can feel that way … this is not about reversing gender roles … [but having] more difficult conversations about what sexual assault looks like.”

In part, she said, Any Man was also meant to expand the scope of the #MeToo movement to include the accounts of victimized men. But her primary objective, she explained, was to help start a conversation about rape — both in terms of its prevalence, how it’s viewed culturally, and in terms of its larger effects on victims and society alike.

Tamblyn’s antagonist, conceived four years ago before the #MeToo movement became a global phenomenon, was inspired by her discovery that few women antagonists in literature or cinema do “things without consequence and for no other reason than she just enjoyed them … there has to be redeemable quality, no matter how small, even if it’s their prettiness.” So in designing her own monster, she said, she decided to create a “projection of all of society’s dehumanizing of women” by taking “the terms and the words that are used to describe [powerful women] and [creating] a woman that is those literal things.”

“To find a way to get people who have been blind their whole lives to see. That is the work,” said Tamblyn of her motivation for writing. “That is the only way that things can change.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.


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