Forced Sterilization

 

wgsWhat is sterilization? Well you can imagine that the word sterile means clean, or rid of bacteria. Comparing it to women’s rights, it is also known as not being able to produce children. Sterilization is a medical procedure where after the procedure, the patient is left unable to conceive for the rest of their life. In history, the United States has had many cases involving the forced sterilization of minority women, usually targeting women that were highly sexually active, or produced too many children. Scientists, and doctors believe that sterilization is a way to control overpopulation.

In a documentary called “No Mas Bebes”, many untold stories are brought to light by multiple immigrant Latina mothers and grandmothers that were affected by the sterilization process performed by the LA County Hospital. Many of these women spoke of the similar experiences they shared, an experience that took away their reproductive rights completely. Because these women were immigrants and some had kids before, they were forced into signing a sterilization release contract during labor. Many of these women look back and remember the high pain they were in when the doctors told them to sign the form before they could proceed with the birth. Some of these women woke up and didn’t even recall signing the papers due to how incoherent they were during labor. These women sued the LA doctors that were involved in this sterilization process against Latina immigrant women.

The articles “Sexual Violence as a Tool of Genocide” by Smith and “Killing the Black Body” by Dorothy Roberts covered the history and the United States involvement in forced sterilization among Native American women as well minority women fighting for their reproductive rights. As said by Smith, the reason for this sterilization was because american society, “white” society, thought out Native American women to be dirty, alcoholics, “torture” to white men, and a sin. Through the 1970’s, assisted under U.S. government help, 25-50% of Native women were sterilized. A legislation that was passed in 1974 to protect women under these circumstances, the abuse kept continuing especially towards Native women and overall women of color or the women that doesn’t fit the general “women” or “mother”, or even being a minority. When a woman defines herself as a minority but then is reproductively restricted based on her color, how can she feel positive in taking over motherhood? How can she reconstruct her social identity?

Forced sterilization affects many women’s lives and families. Not being able to conceive a child and being forced to do so is something every woman should have control over, especially if it has to do with our bodies. This highly goes against reproductive justice as well as women’s justice. I find that there are many other ways to reduce over population other than sterilizing women, like educating young women all around the world about sex; how it works, how can you get pregnant, etc. I find that depending on the area, the community, sex education varies and when a women is not adequately educated on sex the risk of unwanted pregnancy, abortion or sterilization could occur, when it could be helped by having knowledge about it.

No Mas Bebes Trailer

Zika and the Politics of Abortion

The Zika outbreak has been a major issue in Africa and Latin America for the last few decades. In 2016, Brazil reported around 2,000 cases every month (during the spring and summer). You may be wondering, what does this have to do with women’s health? One major side effect of the Zika virus is birth defects. Women who carry the virus can give birth to babies with microcephaly.  This birth defect can result in the babies death after the first few years of being born. Essentially, the baby’s brain is unable to full develop while in the womb. So, it could be born with intellectual disabilities, developmental delays, and seizures. The baby’s head is often abnormally small as well. In Brazil, 4,000 cases of microcephaly were reported between October of 2015 and January of 2016. zika_map-4tt768.pngUnfortunately, microcephaly can’t be detected until 20 weeks after the fetus has begun development. It is illegal for almost all Women in Latin America and Africa to have abortions, and it is also illegal in many US states to have late-term abortions.

With the continual spread of Zika, awareness of this issue has been raised- especially since the virus has reached parts of the United States.  The goal was to provide women in Latin America and Africa with abortion services, preventing the possibility of giving birth to babies with defects. However, this entire issue could be avoided if people had access to treatment and medication that would help prevent the virus from spreading in the first place. Abortions would no longer be necessary.

It can be hard for women living in small villages in Africa and South America to get access to preventative methods like mosquito nets, repellant, and medication. The Zika virus can be sexually transmitted as well.  Since the virus can be hard to detect, and the symptoms can range from subtle to sometimes non- existent, a woman’s partner may be carrying it without knowing. It could be easily transmitted to her, and could affect the possibility of her having healthy children.

Organizations like UNICEF, the WHO, UNFPA, and CDC are sending doctors and scientists to affected countries in order to help with education, prevention, and treatment of the virus. A “Zika strategic-response plan” was implemented in July of 2016, in order to provide Africa and South America with financial aid. UNFPA is specifically working with governments in Latin America and the Caribbean to supply contraceptives and sexual/reproductive health information and services to those with ZikazuYjbXLuiZYaxlw-800x450-noPad.jpg.

Sadly, it took the virus spreading to the United States to get the attention of these organizations. The virus has been an issue since the 1950’s, but no major support was provided until over 60 years later.

It’s never too late to get involved, and fight for women’s rights to health care and treatment. Want to help? Visit Project hopes website to donate or sign a petition to urge congress to pass Zika Virus Funding.

Transgender women’s experiences with violence

Transgender women have often been the target for unwanted violence and nearly nothing is being done to stop this from happening. Since the 20th century these women would be unnecessarily called out or attacked in all different kinds of ways and scenarios and whether they were the one’s who instigated it or not, they’d be the ones transgender sign.jpgbeing taken away or put into holding cells by police. And even though this is a common occurrence around the U.S., there’s nearly never any media coverage talking about what’s happened. The first example of complete trans erasure by the media was the Compton Cafeteria Riot. Even just looking it up online, it was difficult finding information explaining exactly what happened. This event took place in the 1960’s and even right after it happened, there was no news coverage, and not nearly enough people were talking about it, so often times it gets erased from history. The Compton Cafeteria Riot took place in the Tenderloins of San Francisco, transgender people and drag queens often visited this restaurant, being it was one of the only places they were allowed to go and not completely discriminated against, but one night, when the SF police showed up and began getting aggressive with these people, all hell broke loose and a riot of over 60 transgenders, policeman, drag queens, and civilians took place on the streets. Many people were arrested and severely injured, a substantial amount of those being members of the LGBT community. You’d think a story like that would’ve been covered in the media for people to talk about, but because of the people involved in the riot, it was swept under the rug, where the story would only get shared by people directly affected, and only truly heard by people going out of their way to get information on the matter.

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Now I wish I could say that was because in the past people were closed-minded and everyone’s different now and more understanding of others that aren’t the same as them, sadly, that’s just not the case. Transgender people are still the most effected minority when it comes to police brutality, even today. They also have increased risk of sexual assault, job discrimination, and have a very high rate of suicide attempts. As common as these things are, how often do you hear about them? On rare occasions you will hear of a transgender teen committing suicide, but only because of social media coverage and it being spread originally by the persons peers. Large news cites don’t like to show what is happening to these people, and often times they won’t unless they consider the one case ‘big enough.’ They don’t talk about the statistics and how likely transgender people are to being assaulted. The only way these people’s stories are going to be told is by the public proving to big companies that we do care about what happens to these people and that we do see them as equal to ourselves.

Gender Violence and Causes of it

 

It is estimated that 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives. However, some national studies show that up to 70 per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.

In 2012, a study conducted in New Delhi found that 92 per cent of women reported having experienced some form of sexual violence in public spaces in their lifetime, and 88 per cent of women reported having experienced some form of verbal sexual harassment (including unwelcome comments of a sexual nature, whistling, leering or making obscene gestures) in their lifetime.

There are many more statistics where that comes from. So, what is Gender Violence? Any act of genderbased violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”

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What can be the causes of thus violence? It can be due to environment, mentality etc.

According to Genderviolence.org, there are many factors that cause someone to be violent. It is not just one cause, there are a combination of factors. A man named Heise created a framework that shows risk factors at four levels; the individual, the relationship, the community and the structural level. It gives someone more of an understanding as to why people are victimized or perpetrators.

Individual factors are biological and personal history factors such as a low level of education, young age, low economic status, and exposure to violence during childhood.

The relationship factors includes level of relationship with peers, intimate partners and family members. family members can pretty much give approval for a man raping a women, making it sound like it is the norm. it is not!

The community factors refers to the tolerance towards gender based violence in schools, workplace or neighborhood. Also, women living in poverty who work or live by themselves are at a higher risk of sexual assault.

Societal factors refer to the cultural and social norms that shape gender roles and the unequal distribution of power between women and men. Violence seemed more prevalent where men have more power making decisions and women do not have easy access to divorce.

So, knowing that there are multiple factors, what can we do to prevent Gender based violence?

We need to bring awareness. Without awareness, it will continue to happen. No one should be victimized. Everyone should have a voice. Because, without a voice the cycle of gender violence will continue and it will be a norm in society which will not help the cause. Don’t give in, speak up!

Citations

Facts and figures: Ending violence against women.” UN Women. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 May 2017.

“Strengthening Health System Responses to Gender-based Violence in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.” 1.3. Causes of gender-based violence | The response to Gender-Based Violence in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 May 2017.