From a 'dangerous' lack of DV spending to foreign aid cuts & little for women, this budget bites

[S]pending on domestic violence focussed services, which appear to have received a tiny $18.2 million, as part of a broader $54.4 million package. That full package is still a small amount when you consider the vast range of things it aims to take on, including elder abuse and cybersafety.
Spending on foreign aid has also taken a hit, cut by $140 million in real terms, or ‘frozen’ at $4 billion a year.
But the controversial school chaplaincy program? That will receive $250 million over four years.
I’ll remind you again of that Domestic Violence figure: $18.2 million.
Still, women didn’t rate a mention in the Treasurer’s budget speech.
But then again neither did ‘climate change’ or ‘foreign aid’ or ‘domestic violence’.

How the bicycle set women free

What it the most important invention in the fight for women’s rights? The pill? The Rampant Rabbit? The TaTa Towel? How about the humble bicycle? The role of the bicycle in the emancipation of women is often overlooked, but it allowed women a freedom they had never experienced before. And not only the freedom to travel, but the bicycle liberated women’s bodies from the tit-crushing corset and billowing skirts.
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Indian police arrest 14 after teenage girl raped and burned to death

A 16-year-old girl has been kidnapped and gang raped, then burned to death when her family tried to seek justice, in the latest case of horrific sexual violence to emerge in India.
Police have arrested 14 men in connection with the assault and murder in eastern Jharkhand state, but the main suspect is still on the run.
The teenager was abducted while her family were away at a wedding on Thursday night and raped in a nearby woodland, a local police officer told Agence France-Presse. When her parents returned and she told them what had happened, the family went to the village council.
Community elders have no formal legal standing, but carry huge authority in rural areas where people often use them to settle disputes in preference to a legal system that can be slow, expensive and corrupt.
The council ordered two men to do 100 sit-ups and pay a 50,000 (£550) rupee fine, a derisory punishment for a crime that carries a long jail sentence under Indian law. It enraged the men, however, and they responded by attacking the girl’s parents then returning to her home and set her on fire, Ashok Ram, the police officer in charge, said.

Trans activism is excusing & advocating violence against women, and it's time to speak up

In January, a woman was photographed holding a sign at the Vancouver Women’s March that included the words, “Trans ideology is misogyny.” This might be viewed as a hyperbolic message for those who consider themselves good, liberal people and who care about a group they have been informed are in extreme danger, and particularly marginalized. And perhaps, if you were unfamiliar with the way women and feminists are addressed by trans activists, you might wonder what statements like this are rooted in. A few years ago, I might have questioned this as well, thinking, “well that’s a bit much, isn’t it.” But as trans activism has gained ground and as I myself — as well as many other women — have begun questioning and speaking out about the aims, ideology, and policies supported in the name of “trans rights,” it has become impossible to deny what is being supported through trans activism: violence against women.
Liberals and the left have broadly defended violence against women as “art” or “sex,” though perhaps in a less overt way than they have outright threats of violence to feminists who wish to question or discuss the notion of gender identity. Pornography, for example, is one area where violence and abuse is consistently defended on account of it being “sex,” “fantasy,” or “free speech.” The ability of men and their allies to avoid viewing a woman being choked, hit, or gang-raped as “real violence” because it is connected to men’s desire and masturbation is without bounds. Similarly, the notion that a man offering a women financial compensation in exchange for permission to abuse her is framed time and time again as “consent,” regardless of the impact on that woman and the broader message this practice sends to all men and women, everywhere.
What is unique about the approach we’ve seen in the trans movement is that it doesn’t attempt to disguise the incitements to violence against women with rhetoric around “consent” and “empowerment.”
The threats of violence against women, on account of having been branded “TERFs,” are frightening not only because we must fear for our physical safety or because of the way these threats act as a silencing mechanism, but because this violence is not being condemned, by and large, by most.
While the San Fransisco Public Library removed the bloody shirt, they did not remove the exhibit entirely, nor do we know why anyone imagined such a display would be appropriate in the first place. One wonders if they would display bloody shirts with the words, “Kill bitches” or “I beat Muslims” next to a display of baseball bats and axes.
Will liberals and progressives stand up before this gets worse? I fear not.

#MeToo revelations and loud, angry men: the feminism flashpoint of Sydney writers’ festival

Hours before the cornerstone Sydney writers’ festival panel about the #MeToo movement on Saturday night, the Pulitzer-prize winning author Junot Diaz – with events still booked in Sydney and in Melbourne – was on a plane out of Australia.
The day before, another festival guest, writer Zinzi Clemmons, had spoken from the audience during the Q&A of one of Diaz’s panels, questioning the timing of his recent New York Times essay and asking the writer to reckon with his own alleged history of harm.
She then shared her story on Twitter, claiming he had “cornered and forcibly kissed her” when she was 26.
Clemmons was joined on Twitter by other women – including another festival speaker Carmon Maria Machado – who made their own accusations of his alleged misconduct. Diaz withdrew from his remaining appearances, and told the New York Times (without referring to the allegations specifically): “I take responsibility for my past.”
For anyone who thought the #MeToo movement had lost momentum, the last few days proved otherwise.
On Friday, for instance, the Nobel prize for literature was cancelled amid a sexual assault scandal. The day before that, a Washington Post investigation told of 27 more women who had allegations of sexual harassment against talk show host Charlie Rose.
Spicer has spent the past six months connecting the strongest of the stories with news outlets around the country – but her efforts, she revealed, haven’t always been welcome.
“. . . recently, in the last two months, I’ve seen mainstream – what we would call ‘old media’ – organisations starting to pull away from some of these stories … Not only is it costly, not only is it difficult because of defamation, but ‘it’s getting a little bit too close to our executives’. And that is a true story.”
The panel’s penultimate moment was a welcome surprise: notable Australian feminist and writer Eva Cox stood at a microphone with a question for the panellists.
“It’s not ‘How do we stop that man from doing that to us?’, but ‘How do we stop men feeling like they’re entitled to?’,” she said.
As the applause died down in the audience, a lone voice could be heard from the front: a man who had been barred from the microphone during the Q&A was standing in front of the stage and screaming aggressively at the strong, accomplished women who sat in front of him.
The four panellists had spent the last 60 minutes illustrating why this movement wasn’t going away. It took just one man, in one second, to succinctly prove their point.

Adopt another way for kids’ sake

In 2015-16, more than 46,000 Australian children were taken from their parent or parents. Most of these children were under the age of five and, although they were placed in out-of-home care, 60 per cent of them were placed with extended family. During the same period, 278 adoptions were finalised.
That leaves thousands of kids who are bouncing around the foster care system from family to family. Experts say these kids want “forever homes” and the permanency of adoption.
It is estimated that there are 4000 children in foster care who are eligible for adoption. Although child protection and adoption are governed by the states, a federal government inquiry has been announced into whether there are unnecessary barriers to adoption, whether a national adoption code should be established and what that code might look like.
In 2013 Julia Gillard, then prime minister, gave a national apology to the victims of forced adoption. After an inquiry, the government recognised that past practices left perhaps hundreds of thousands of people with deep wounds that would not heal.
It is assumed by many that while closed adoptions are bad, open adoptions are good. An open adoption is where the child knows their biological mother and father, and has regular contact with them throughout their upbringing. Open adoption may be better than closed adoption; however, it may not, and in any case it is hardly a perfect scenario.
It seems impossible to talk about adoption without hurting somebody and incurring backlash. It is even harder as an adopted person to explain to non-adopted people what being adopted is like. The adoption experience is different for everyone, but a fundamental truth is this: a child wants their mother and father. No amount of pretending this isn’t the case will change the facts. Biology matters. Sorry if that offends.
A child-centric adoption system would not erase the identities of children. It wouldn’t abolish their birth certificates and create new ones with new names, in a grand game of pretence. In a child-centric system the child would never be separated in law from their parents, removed from their family tree and lose their rights.
Naturally, in practice they might reside elsewhere for the term of their childhood, and their carers’ need certain rights to bring them up, obviously.
A child-centric system would allow all adult adoptees who have had their identities changed in the past the right to end or annul their adoption and change their identity back, returning in the eyes of the law to their biological family. This should be a “no fault” process and simple for the adoptee to achieve.

San Francisco Public Library Hosts Transgender “Art Exhibit” Featuring Weapons Intended to Kill Feminists

If you thought the age of scold’s bridles and dunking pools designed to torture and kill disobedient women were a thing of the past, you would be wrong. The San Francisco Public Library unveiled an exhibit this week featuring blood stained t-shirts encouraging patrons to “punch” feminists, along with several installations of deadly weapons painted pink: baseball bats covered in barbed wire, axes, among others, all designed by men to kill feminist women.
The male creators of the exhibit also included a helpful manifesto, blaming lesbians, feminists and other uppity women for causing more deaths (by “harassing” men with their dastardly opinions!) than all the actual real murders committed by violent men.
The display, launched mere days after the mass murder of women in Toronto by “incel” terrorist Alek Minassian and echoing his philosophy, was funded by the non-profit Friends of The San Francisco Public Library and created by The Degenderettes, led by Scout Tran Caffee, founder of Trans Dykes: the anti-lesbian Antifa. The group specifically targets lesbians as “oppressors” of men -because they exclude males from their dating pools. The men in the group identify as transgender and consider themselves to be male lesbians.

New global laws needed to tackle workplace harassment

[F]or every high profile Hollywood harassment incident, there are millions more occurring in everyday workplaces around the world, targeting women who lack the privilege and power to raise their voice about their experience or gain access to any legal recourse.
In fact, in Australia, we know that a disturbingly large proportion of the workforce sees such behaviour as acceptable. Research commissioned by the organisation I lead, CARE Australia, found that 27% of Australian men aged 18-24 think it is ‘Always or sometimes acceptable’ to pinch a colleague’s bottom or wolf-whistle at them*.
What the world’s women need now are stronger laws, and committed implementation of those laws, particularly in developing countries. The international community has the chance to come together and push the International Labour Organization (ILO) – the global body tasked with protecting workers around the world – to formulate a comprehensive set of regulations making it illegal for workplaces to be a place of abuse. CARE urges the Australian Government to push for the creation of a binding convention that bans workplace sexual harassment when the ILO meets later this month.

George Brandis says 'overdue' review of family law system not Pauline Hanson's idea

Attorney-General George Brandis has criticised One Nation leader Pauline Hanson for trying to take credit for a family law review, saying the Turnbull government had been planning the examination of the much-criticised system for years.
Senator Brandis said the review was “necessary and long overdue” because “Australian families and their needs have significantly evolved since the 1970s” when the Family Law Act came into operation.
A coalition of groups says a royal commission is the only mechanism to adequately address the problems with the family law system.
Some of the groups that called for a royal commission include child protection organisation Bravehearts, Lone Fathers, the National Council for Single Mothers and Children, and the Luke Batty Foundation.
The president of the Law Council of Australia, Fiona McLeod, welcomed the review and said it was vital a lack of resources for the courts and legal aid was addressed.
Ms McLeod called for an immediate funding injection to help the legal system deal with its staggering case load.

Domestic violence program failing to protect women

A signature NSW government program to reduce domestic violence rates is failing to protect women from further harm, a new report reveals, casting doubt over the Premier’s target of reducing reoffending by 25 per cent by 2021.
The Safer Pathway program, a key feature of state government’s 2014 domestic violence reforms, “has only had a limited effect on the incidence of domestic violence”, according to two reports released today by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR).
It is the third government-led domestic violence initiative to be found ineffective by BOCSAR in recent months.
Under the Safer Pathway program, police are required to assess all victims who report domestic violence using a questionnaire known as the Domestic Violence Safety Assessment Tool.
BOCSAR tracked more than 24,000 cases of domestic violence between January 1, 2016, and June 30, 2016, and found that the questionnaire was a “very poor instrument for measuring the risk of repeat domestic violence victimisation, often performing little better than chance”.