Author: Vianne Brown

How ISIS is Recruiting Women And Why Its Working

Recent headlines have howled at the atrocities: mass executions, public beheadings, and communities terrorized by Islamic State. Last week, CNN.com shared the ill-fated story of Jana, a 19-year-old Yazidi woman kidnapped by the militant group, also known as ISIS or ISIL. She was held hostage and sold to a 70-year-old man who attempted to convert her to Islam at gunpoint. Previously, Jana had once aspired to finish her education and become a doctor. She has since given up. Regrettably, Jana’s story is one of many. Over 2,500 Yazidi and Iraqi minority women and girls were kidnapped last August, says Dr. Nazand Begikhani, an advisor to the Kurdistan regional government. Moreover, a report released by Amnesty International details that “girls in their teens and early 20s, have been subjected to rape or sexual abuse, forced to marry fighters, or sold into sexual slavery.” There are reports of enslaved girls as young as 10 being offered for purchase as wives. Against the case of women, ISIS is notorious for promoting child marriage, sexual violence, and eradicating girls’ hopes for education and careers. …

Becoming Papa: The Final Phase of Feminism?

“The final phase of feminism is getting men involved.” This statement is upheld by Bonnie Érbe, host of women’s news analysis program, To the Contrary. She promotes the notion that if men and women are ever to reach gender parity, men must also get on board. Érbe’s statement has been explored in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, many of which are affected by gangs, police, and militia. Despite the Maria da Penha Law enacted in 2006 by the Brazilian government in efforts to criminalize rape and domestic violence against women, rates of various forms of violence against women in the favelas remains high. Although the government has made impressive strides in rolling out services for women affected by violence, there is much that remains to be done. According to a study on gender-based violence (GBV) published by the Institute for Applied Economic Research, it was reported that between 2009 and 2011, Brazil registered nearly six murders for every 100,000 women. In a culture where dominance is established by the size of your gun, how do you bring men …

#RapeCultureIsWhen We Don’t Know What Rape Culture Looks Like

Last week, political analyst and writer Zerlina Maxwell began tweeting with the hashtag, #RapeCultureIsWhen in response to claims made by TIME Magazine and the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) that rape culture is “over hyped.” Over the next two hours, #RapeCultureIsWhen proceeded to become a trending topic in the United States. The tweets expressed frustrations and thoughts that rape culture cannot be devalued. #Rapecultureiswhen people question the survivors’ actions but not the rapists’ actions. — Zerlina Maxwell (@ZerlinaMaxwell) March 25, 2014   #RapeCultureiswhen CNN bemoans lost football careers of bright young felons with nary a word for what victims suffer. — the smitten word (@suzannahpaul) March 25, 2014   While all can agree that rape is a despicable crime, last month RAINN argued that rape doesn’t occur because our society is affected by rape culture, but rather “by the conscious decisions, of a small percentage of the community, to commit a violent crime.” Caroline Kitchens affirms this critique of rape culture in her TIME magazine post by highlighting that the majority of men have absorbed enough rape prevention messages throughout their lives to conclude that rape …