From the July-August 2019 issue of News & Letters
In England, Fiona Mackenzie noticed how frequently “sex games gone wrong” is used as a murder defense. Often sensationalized as the “Fifty Shades of Gray” defense, courts blame female victims for supposedly “consenting” to “rough sex.” Mackenzie asked users of the feminist online site Mumsnet to help her gather a list of such cases, and received multiple examples, as well as reports from women who had been injured. Volunteers found 39 cases. They compiled a list of 56 cases of women murdered in the UK into a website “We Can’t Consent to This.” They plan to use this evidence to push to make this defense illegal.
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“Jennifer,” an anonymous, white American woman, is speaking out about being forced by her evangelical Christian family to undergo female genital mutilation along with her sister as a child. Her father, a minister in a fundamentalist church, preached that women must be submissive to men and female sexual pleasure was a sin. She started a campaign to press Kentucky to outlaw FGM, stating it “takes away any chance of having a normal life.”
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In June, a Canadian governmental investigation, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, issued its final report, “Reclaiming Power and Place.” It stated that over 4,000 women and girls missing and murdered over the past several decades should be classified as victims of genocide. The disproportionate level of violence resulted from “state actions and inactions rooted in colonialism and colonial ideologies.” The Assembly of First Nations issued a statement that this is part of a pattern consistent with the definition of genocide, including forced sterilization and the separation of children from their families through residential schools and abuse of the foster care system. The report contains over 230 recommendations, including that federal and local governments develop an action plan and that the citizens denounce racism and violence.