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Republicans continue to "rebrand" by putting a woman's face on the same old anti-woman, anti-family policies. Their latest attempt was showcasing Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers talking how important her kids are to her.  As usual, Republicans don't get that it's about all of our families:

Despite her kid-centric talk, she once opposed the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. And for all the bootstrappy references to her personal career trajectory (did she mention she once worked at McDonalds?), when the committee she sat on voted on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, McMorris Rodgers was nowhere to be found.
The good, the bad and the ugly below the orange branding iron.

Workplace Issues:

Given the amount of profit they help bring for a lucrative enterprise, you'd think that NFL cheerleaders would make a ton of money.  In fact, two Raiderettes for the Oakland Raiders are suing over illegal employment practices, including getting paid less than minimum wage.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is now in place in New York City, requiring commonsense accommodations (no heavy lifting, etc) for pregnant employees.

A recent report found rampant sexual harassment in the philosophy department at the University of Colorado in Boulder.  The department's response was not encouraging:

Their faculty discussions revolve around the letter rather than the spirit of proposed regulations and standards. They spend too much time articulating (or trying to articulate) the line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior instead of instilling higher expectations for professional behavior. They spend significant time debating footnotes and 'what if' scenarios instead of discussing what they want their department to look and feel like. In other words, they spend time figuring out how to get around regulations rather than focusing on how to make the department supportive of women.
Reproductive Rights:

Alabama is considering a law that would allow hospital personnel to refuse care if it violates their "conscience."  Naturally, this doesn't apply in cases where your conscience can't stomach saving the vocal cords on a Republican politician; it only applies if your "conscience" says a fetus should take precedence over the life and health of the pregnant woman.  This has already passed the House, so if you're in Alabama, contact your state Senator.

In Spain, thousands of women turned out to protest a law that would severely restrict abortion rights.

After pushback from pro-choice activists, Louisiana has dropped (for now) the "emergency rule" that would have closed clinics statewide.

A first-persona account of the painful decision to end a wanted pregnancy.


Two members of Russian band Pussy Riot were interviewed on Colbert about their recent experiences of imprisonment and release.  Here's the video.

From the Department of Duh:  Now that vaccination has cut HPV infection rates in half, someone actually bothered to do a study to see if being vaccinated made young women more likely to have sex and/or have unprotected sex.  It doesn't.  I've never understood the wingnut thinking on this one.  Do they think teens are saying, "I was totally not going to have sex, but now that I know it's less likely that 40 years from now I'll get a type of cancer I'd never heard of, I must go jump in bed with someone!"?


A new law in Afghanistan bars relatives from testifying against each other, even if they want to.  This includes situations such as domestic violence, and also "honor killings" where the only witnesses are likely to be other family members.

An FBI operation arrested 45 pimps and freed 16 teenagers and at least 50 trafficked women in connection with Super Bowl sex trafficking.  (By the way, I understand the preference for destigmatizing terms like "sex worker," but it was jarring to see it in some of the articles about this story, as it doesn't really apply in trafficking cases.  It's like calling a slave an "employee.")

In Oakland, where sex trafficking of minors is an all-day, every-day problem, the juvenile court system is trying a new approach with Girls Court.

The Daiquiri Factory in Spokane thought it would be funny to name a drink Date Grape Koolaid.  When the complaints started coming in, they found ways to make it worse.

Dylan Farrow wrote an open letter about the sexual abuse by her father, Woody Allen.  It's a painful read.

Alexandra Brodsky observes that while boycotting Woody Allen movies is fine, cutting off the abuser who's closer to home can make a bigger impact:

We talk often of a “culture of silence” that enables sexual violence, but when I was in college, everyone in my broader social circle knew who the rapists were. The information traveled in whispered paths, and took time to make its way through the community, but people knew which of their friends had assaulted their other friends, often how it had happened, often the same names coming up again and again. People knew.

And you know what? They kept hanging out. They kept going to rapists’ parties, the good ones with lots of free booze, and in return invited over these assailants along with their victims. Sometimes, they dated their friends’ abusers: He wouldn’t do that to me. I once stole a picture of my assailant off a close friend’s fridge because I couldn’t bear to see it hanging there right next to a photo of me.

The campus grew smaller and smaller for survivors, now restricted not only by our attempts to avoid our assailants but to avoid the friends who tolerated them. And we heard every excuse. He has a girlfriend now. I don’t know what happened. It’s not my business. But every rationalization boiled down to a belief that convenience, a desire never to feel uncomfortable or deprived, trumped any moral responsibility – as though we can opt in or out of the repercussions of our actions, as though we can choose to move through the world apolitically with no effect on others.

I spend a lot of time trying to convince the federal government to enforce Title IX, but my honest belief is that social ostracism could do more than our current laws. My senior year, I saw a known repeat offender question his treatment of women for the first time because he wasn’t invited to a big party thrown by one of his victim’s friends. Imagine the harm we could have prevented if we had stopped inviting him sooner.

Melissa McEwan on the high cost of disbelieving survivors:
After he raped me, my rapist started dating another girl, who was a year younger than I and was a friend of a friend. I called her to warn her, with our mutual friend on the phone. She didn't believe her new boyfriend would do anything like that to her, and she wasn't sure she believed he had done something like that to me. So she told me, in a voice that quivered with doubt, before she thanked me for warning her.

It was totally understandable that she didn't believe me. No one else had. Every level of disbelief—the police, the school administration, mutual friends and classmates—communicated to her that she had no reason to believe me.

The next time I spoke to her, she told me he had raped her, too.

All of the people who failed to believe me failed her. The cost of disbelieving me was another victim. And I hardly imagine he stopped there.

She didn't bother reporting him. After all, no one had believed me.

Good News and Action Items:

February 6th was the UN-designated day of zero tolerance for female genital mutilation.

February 8th through 16th is a Week of Action to Free Marissa Alexander, the domestic violence survivor who was imprisoned for firing a warning shot in self-defense, and was not allowed the "stand your ground" defense that was so useful for George Zimmerman.

Lilly Ledbetter is still fighting the good fight.  Here's her petition to President Obama for an executive order banning federal contractors from retaliating against workers who speak up about pay discrepancies.

Originally posted to This Week in the War on Women on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 05:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism, Abortion, and Pro Choice.

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