Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics


“Not Alone” – Obama Administration launches initiative to protect students from sexual assault.

The Obama Administration has released its first report from the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.

Vice President Biden spoke at 2:30pm Eastern.

Not Alone – Protecting Students from Sexual Assault:

One in five women is sexually assaulted while in college.  Most often, it happens her freshman or sophomore year.  In the great majority of cases, it’s by someone she knows – and also most often, she does not report what happened.  And though fewer, men, too, are victimized.

The Administration is committed to putting an end to this violence. That’s why the President established the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault on January 22, 2014, with a mandate to strengthen federal enforcement efforts and provide schools with additional tools to combat sexual assault on their campuses.

Today, the Task Force is announcing a series of actions to: (1)  identify the scope of the problem on college campuses, (2) help prevent campus sexual assault, (3) help schools respond effectively when a student is assaulted, and (4) improve, and make more transparent, the federal government’s enforcement efforts.  We will continue to pursue additional executive or legislative actions in the future.

These steps build on the Administration’s previous work to combat sexual assault.  The Task Force formulated its recommendations after a 90-day review period during which it heard from thousands of people from across the country — via 27 online and in-person listening sessions and written comments from a wide variety of stakeholders.[…]

Part of that initiative is a new web site:

“Perhaps most important, we need to keep saying to anyone out there who has ever been assaulted: you are not alone.

We have your back. I’ve got your back.”

President Barack Obama, January 22, 2014

More …

Women in Congo Succeeding Together

Some of you here know me and are familiar with my interest in development and gender equality in Democratic Republic of the Congo. You have extended kind comments and interest in diaries I’ve written about HEAL Africa in the past, and expressed interest in new projects I stumble across. Well, today I want to tell you about something new and wonderful. I also have an action item for you at the end.

First, I want you to meet Judy Anderson. Here, she is being interviewed at Clinton Global Initiative while she was director at the US based HEAL Africa, which she and her husband Dick founded:

Judy is a talented facilitator. She has been working with national leaders, vulnerable people, and communities to find real solutions so people in Congo can build a better life. She grew up in Congo, and has been focused on helping groups address health, leadership, gender equality, economic growth, and conflict resolution for most of her adult life. Her focus and commitment recently lead her and Dick to found a new non-profit organization called ACT for Congo.

ACT’s website is under construction and the tax status is still pending, but Judy is hard at work supporting real change. I think this organization is a genuine treasure. Following lessons learned by Robert Chambers (see Rural Development: Putting the Last First or Whose Reality Counts: Putting the First Last) and Paulo Freire, her goal is to find a way to support effective development projects in Congo that are run by proven Congolese community leaders and grassroots organizers. She partners with credible organizations who are doing effective work and demonstrating measurable, positive change in DRC communities.

International relief organizations have their role in helping countries ravaged by famine, upheaval, and war, but they execute temporary projects with finite goals. External relief does not often create any lasting positive change. Lasting change in Congo has to come from the people of Congo.  

The Politics of Victim Blaming

Republicans have an uncanny knack for fostering and enabling one of the nastiest tendencies in all of human nature: Victim blaming. This they facilitate, while simultaneously denying all culpability for their own mistakes and transgressions. The level of hypocrisy they so frequently exhibit flies in the face of decency, and is on occasion nothing short of mind-boggling. Flagrant and galling though it may be, I sometimes wonder whether their outrageous displays of unctuousness are entirely conscious. It ofttimes seems that their misplaced holier-than-thou attitudes are born out of habit more than anything else. Perhaps if one goes so long believing in the absolute virtue of one’s actions, one eventually succumbs to near pathological delusions of infallibility. These sorts of egotism and egocentrism are indisputably hazardous, and they give rise to authoritative stances and ideologies that become unduly convinced of their own faultlessness.

It is in the GOP’s interests to eschew all guilt of misconduct, while also throwing blame onto every vulnerable target in sight. From blaming Katrina victims for their misfortune to lobbing accusations at the victims of predatory loans for the subprime mortage crisis to claiming that the Democratic leadership in Congress should take responsibility for the death threats hurled against them — and not to mention the numerous historical examples of Republican callousness and hypocrisy of which I am too young to have clear memories — the GOP has a lengthy pattern of placing the blame for tragic occurrences on those who have been wronged. Still, even my awareness of that convention does nothing to lessen my shock at some of their more appalling finger-pointing.

And this case is really beyond the pale.  

The Pro-(R)ape Party

I think it’s a reasonably well accepted fact among educated individuals that Republicans aren’t known for believing in or supporting women’s rights. Whether it’s the traditional party policy of standing against a woman’s right to choose, conservative gubernatorial candidates joking that rape victims should “relax and enjoy it,” presidential nominees voting against equal pay legislation for women, or the unofficial GOP spokesperson Rush Limbaugh himself popularizing the term “feminazi” to describe women who refuse to live their lives barefoot and pregnant in front of the oven, Republicans have come up with plenty of creative ways to demean women and oppose gender equality.

Image from Republicans For Rape

Former Federal Prosecutor Speaks Out About Palin

When asked why we were attacked on 9/11, Sarah Palin answered because the terrorists hate our freedoms.  While she has been derided for her lack of foreign policy experience, she may have come up with the most innovative program yet to deter terrorists: taking those freedoms away.  

Just like many Middle Eastern countries, Mayor Palin punished the women of Wasilla for reporting rape.  Her administration charged them substantial fees for the rape kits used to prove the crime. After being attacked, a Wasilla woman could look forward to being billed up to $1200 in return for a grueling forensic pelvic exam.

Sarah Palin has provided the ultimate example of why a female candidate is no substitute for a candidate who cares about women.  Compare Palin and Biden’s records on violence against women, an issue on which both sides normally agree.  The political right may not always prioritize the cause, but it does not disagree that domestic violence is destructive of families and that rape is fundamentally wrong.  Yet Palin sailed right past apathy to downright punishment of women for reporting rapes.