Your Thursday round-up!

Samantha Orobator has been told to deny she was raped while in prison in Laos, or face the death penalty.

Cara at Feministe says:

But, let’s assume for one moment, for the sake of argument, that she told the truth on the count of rape. It’s hardly the point. The point, those who would wish to make it something else, is that when asked the question of whether or not she was raped, a woman should be able to give an honest answer, whatever it is. She shouldn’t be explicitly told that the price for just answering “yes” to that question is her life.

The criminal justice system in the UK England and Wales is “institutionally sexist”, found a report by the Fawcett Society. The Guardian reports:

A five-year investigation by the Fawcett Society, which campaigns for gender equality, found that discrimination against women pervades the system in England and Wales at all levels, from the police forces where women officers are still forced to wear men’s uniforms to the way frontline staff doubt the credibility of victims reporting rape and domestic ­violence, with a gap seen between equality policy and its implementation.

The society’s commission on women and the criminal justice system, whose members include high court judges and Cressida Dick, one of the most senior women in British policing, warned that since it last reported in 2004 there has been a lack of consistent progress in ­promoting women into senior positions, and victims and offenders continued to be marginalised in a system designed for men.

It raised concerns over the number of women given short prison sentences for non-violent crime, including the non-payment of fines and television licences, and the effect it had on their children as well as its failure to address the causes of their offending.

In 2007, 63% of women sent to jail were given sentences of six months or less. Last month the female prison population stood at 4,309, compared with 2,672 in mid-1997. Ministry of Justice projections show that at best it may decrease by 200 by 2015, and at worst will increase to 5,100.

The earliest representation of a human to be unearthed so far as been discovered in southern Germany – and it’s a 35,000 year old fertility goddess. Hoyden About Town questions why it has been represented in the media as pornography:

And what I’m getting from this is that the sexual male gaze is the only lens through which many men can see the world.

Why are women writers not even in the running for crafting the Great American Novel, asks Elaine Showalter in the Guardian. (Although it would have been more interesting if she’d been a bit more critical about the entire concept of the GAN, as she abbreviates it.)

It’s not just that the GAN is about masculine themes. As Katha Pollitt pointed out on Slate in March, “there’s a certain kind of critical receptivity, a hope of greatness for certain kinds of books by men that hardly ever comes into play with books by women, no matter how wonderful they are”. Although many women novelists do write about “big public subjects” and many male novelists write about “intimate life”, Pollitt suggests, “we emphasise different elements in similar books and only notice the evidence that confirms our gender biases – and give men more benefits of more doubts.”

(Via Other Stories)

Trans woman Debbie Davies has called off a hunger strike in protest at Nottinghamshire PCT’s refusal to pay for her medication or surgery. However, as Helen notes, the Trust’s response is far from adequate.

Meanwhile, Daisy’s Dead Air wonders why only women bloggers seem to delete their entire blogs.

Sinclair has a poll on labels.

Finally, What Tami Said takes on the responses to Wanda Sykes’ performance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner:

Secondly, about my friends on the right…more disengenuous outrage I have never seen. (Well, I have, actually. The right does disengenuous outrage like no one else.) If conservatives are willing to let a person who routinely and without humor or irony, makes hateful, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, ugly and hypocritical statements like the ones above be the de facto spokesperson and leader of their movement, surely nothing that Wanda Sykes says could truly offend them. Limbaugh himself is an offense–one that the right and the Republican Party abide and abet.

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