Caturday: Same LovePosted: August 24, 2013
I see “Batman” is still trending on my social media feeds for the second day in a row. Gahhhh. Please alert me when the next super-shero blockbuster is due out, thanks.
Honestly, I’ve been super busy this week and really out of the loop news-wise, and even just feminist junkie wise this week, so y’all please chime in, in the comments, with whatever you’ve got on your blogging list this weekend. All I know is I still believe in equal rights for every last person on this earth! And, I really love this graphic from “Have a Gay Day” on fb.
Speaking of human rights for ALL–I’ll start with a super depressing story on one of the most marginalized and forgotten populations I can think of, then build my way up to some more inspiring stories.
So here it is, read it and, literally, weep… First Nations Women Are Being Sold into the Sex Trade On Ships Along Lake Superior:
Native women, children, and unfortunately even babies are being trafficked in the sex trade on freighters crossing the Canadian and U.S. border on Lake Superior between Thunder Bay, Ontario, and Duluth Minnesota.
Next month, Christine Stark—a student with the University of Minnesota, Duluth, who is completing her Master’s degree in social work—will complete an examination of the sex trade in Minnesota, in which she compiles anecdotal, first hand accounts of Aboriginal women, particularly from northern reservations, being trafficked across state, provincial, and international lines to be forced into servitude in the sex industry on both sides of the border.
Stark’s paper stems from a report she co-wrote, published by the Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Centre in Duluth in 2011, entitled, “The Garden of Truth: The Prostitution and Trafficking of Native Women in Minnesota.” Through the process of researching and penning this report, Stark kept hearing stories of trafficking in the harbours and on the freighters of Duluth and Thunder Bay. The numerous stories and the gradual realization that this was an issue decades, perhaps centuries, in the making, compelled Stark to delve further into what exactly is taking place.
She decided to conduct an exploratory study, “simply because we have these stories circulating and we wanted to gather information and begin to understand what has happened and what currently is happening around the trafficking of Native American and First Nations women on the ships” said Stark, in an interview with CBC Radio’s Superior Morning. “Hearing from so many Native women over generations talking about the ‘boat whores,’ prostitution on the ships or the ‘parties on the ships,’ this is something that… was really entrenched in the Native community and we wanted to collect more specific information about it.”
Through her independent research and work with the Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Centre, Stark interviewed hundreds of Native women who have been through the trauma of the Lake Superior sex trade. The stories she’s compiled are evidence of an underground industry that’s thriving on the suffering of First Nations women, which is seemingly going unchecked and underreported.
And, appalling, racist, misogynist, capitalist/classist, the whole she-bang of despicableness that is patriarchy:
In an article written for the Duluth Star Tribune, Stark describes one disturbing anecdote of an Anishinaabe woman who had just left a shelter after being beaten by her pimp—who was a wealthy, white family man. He paid her bills, rent, and the essentials for her children, but on weekends, “brought up other white men from the Cities for prostitution with Native women…he had her role play the racist ‘Indian maiden’ and ‘European colonizer’ myth with him during sex.”
Another important snippet:
I spoke with Kazia Pickard, the Director of Policy and Research with the Ontario Native Women’s Association based in Thunder Bay. Their organization has also been researching this issue. Kazia told me over email: “People assume that trafficking always takes place across international borders, however, the vast majority of people who are trafficked in Canada are indigenous women and girls from inside Canada and sometimes, as we’re now starting to understand, across the US border.”
In an earlier interview with the CBC, she also alluded to the possibility that there was trafficking taking place across borders in Southern Ontario as well. She made it clear to me that the image most people imagine when they think about “human trafficking” often isn’t accurate: “The majority of women who are trafficked in Canada are indigenous women and girls. So it’s not that you have people being trafficked across international borders in shipping containers or something like that.”
This is all too reminiscent of what I call the “stranger danger from within”… the manipulators and abusers with which women and children share a community, as opposed to the creepy guy no one ever knew:
In most cases it’s a lot more subtle. “Women may say they [have been pulled into it by] a boyfriend, there have been some reports of family members recruiting women into the sex trade… so it doesn’t appear in this sensationalized way that we may [think it is].”
All that said, there are nearly 600 aboriginal women who are currently missing or believed to have been murdered in Canada, a number the RCMP—who have are being accused of human rights abuses against aboriginal women on a monthly basis—have publicly questioned.
Well, now that I’ve sufficiently depressed you, how about a pick-me up? H/t to Joyce Arnold on this one–it’s a Bert and Ernie montage to Macklemore’s “Same Love”… Enjoy! … :
Here’s another one for smiles, just because:
Okay keep those warm and fuzzies somewhere nearby in your spiritual reserves, because this next one is depressing again…a not-so great development on a not-good story we’ve been following here at Sky Dancing…
Storage tank leak sparks fears more could follow suit
Tokyo Electric Power Company workers have detected high levels of radiation in a ditch that flows into the ocean from a leaking tank at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Japan’s nuclear watchdog said Thursday the leak could be the beginning of a new disaster – a series of leaks of contaminated water from hundreds of steel tanks holdng massive amounts of radioactive water coming from three melted reactors, as well as underground water running into reactor and turbine basements.
A new disaster? Uh, have we even resolved any of the previous disasters?!
This just sounds horrible, and I don’t want to be alarmist…I defer to experts on this stuff in our Sky Dancing community who can make better sense of all this of course, but WTF?!! Is this like a domino effect of Fukushimas? :
Tokyo Electric Power Co. says about 300,000 litres of contaminated water leaked from one of the tanks, possibly through a seam. The leak is the fifth, and worst, since last year involving tanks of the same design at the wrecked Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, raising concerns that contaminated water could begin leaking from storage tanks one after another.
“That’s what we fear the most. We must remain alert. We should assume that what has happened once could happen again, and prepare for more,” Nuclear Regulation Authority chairman Shunichi Tanaka told a news conference. “We are in a situation where there is no time to waste.” The watchdog also proposed at a weekly meeting Wednesday to raise the rating of the seriousness of the leak to level three, a “serious incident,” from level one, “an anomaly,” on an International Nuclear and Radiological event scale from zero to seven.
The watchdog urged TEPCO to step up monitoring for leaks and take precautionary measures.
Yeah, I’m not holding my breath waiting for TEPCO to do that. /sigh
I think I could use some more feminist lolcat, how about you? I really love this one:
And, as the trend of this post has been established, yes, I’ve got another sad one for you… via SocialistWorker, Struggling for their lives:
Orlando Sepúlveda reports from Chicago on a struggle led by immigrants whose loved ones are being denied a place on transplant lists at local hospitals.
Some of the hunger strikers at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Anglican Catholic Church (Orlando Sepúlveda | SW)
IMMIGRANT RIGHTS activists in Chicago held a memorial march, followed by a daylong occupation outside Northwestern Memorial Hospital following the death of Sarai Rodriguez, a 25-year-old undocumented woman who was in critical need of a liver transplant, but had been denied by the hospital last March, according to her mother, because she was uninsured and couldn’t afford the procedure.
Once again, I’m so exhausted by this. We can and must do better. This is an inhumane system. Human beings are not illegal. Insurance is not healthcare. And, healthcare is not a privilege–it is a right.
Here’s something cool to end with on Howard Zinn’s birthday:
“I feel very lucky to have been Howard Zinn‘s student. He was a very creative, magical teacher. He taught us how to think for ourselves, to analyze, to question what we read, and speak truth to power. He was just engaging in every way. . . .I don’t think I would have survived at Spelman in the late ’50s without Howie. But he was extraordinary. He didn’t just teach; he lived what he taught.” — Marian Wright Edelman
Continue reading this and other stories collected by the Zinn Education Project from former students in honor of Zinn’s birthday today and in honor of the impact of powerful teachers every day. Please read and share: http://bit.ly/1bQtaGI
Well, that’s what caught my eye this afternoon, Sky Dancers. Please share what’s caught yours and have a great Caturday!