iOS Conceal Carry: Women in India Fight Sexual Harassment with Smartphones

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Interest in phone apps with SOS buttons to alert contacts and websites to report sexual harassment has surged as more women challenge the view that they have a lower status than men

New Delhi —  Nita Bhalla and Alisa Tang, report: Indian women armed with smartphones are using the clout of social media to fight sexual harassment by filming and publicly shaming men who molest them as greater awareness of violence against women spreads.

In the latest of a series of incidents, a young Indian woman used her smartphone to shoot video of a man sitting behind her on an IndiGo airline flight who tried to grope her between the seats. She filmed her rebuke of him in front of the other passengers.

“A video is a weapon that scares patriarchy. The proof, like in the IndiGo case, is mostly undeniable. It leaves the woman with more power than usual to fight for her own cause with little need of either empathy or logistical help from a man. It pins a man down for his crimes with little scope of escape.”

— Piyasree Dasgupta, on leading news website firstpost.com

The video, posted on YouTube last week, went viral, adding to growing anger over gender violence in the world’s second most populous country where women are frequently sexually harassed in public and on transportation.

The trend to name-and-shame sex offenders comes after the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman on a bus in Delhi in 2012. The incident sparked public protests and led to a national debate about the security of women – encouraging victims once embarrassed to come forward to use smartphones to expose perpetrators.

Interest in safety apps with SOS buttons to alert contacts and websites to report sexual harassment has surged in the past year or so as more women challenge the age-old patriarchal attitudes in India that view women as lower status than men. Read the rest of this entry »


Unfree Speech on Campus

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A new study shows too many colleges still behave like censors

Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky famously postulated that the test of a free society is the ability to express opinions in the town square without fear of reprisal. Most American colleges wouldn’t pass that test, according to a new report by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (Fire).

“The foundation reports that 55% of the 437 colleges it surveyed this year maintain ‘severely restrictive’ policies that ‘clearly and substantially prohibit protected speech.’ They include 61 private schools and 180 public colleges. Incredibly, this represents progress from Fire’s survey seven years ago when 75% of colleges maintained restrictive free speech codes.”

Perhaps the biggest breakthrough for First Amendment advocates this year was a Virginia law that bars “free-speech zones” on public campuses. As Fire explains, free-speech zones are a common tool that administrators use to restrict demonstrations to remote areas of campus. Colorado Mesa University shut_up_zip_it_t_shirts_tshirt-rf25624acd3ce42aa9ddf6f71a39d8dcb_804gy_324limits free speech to “the concrete patio adjacent to the west door of the University Center.”

“The University of West Alabama bans ‘cyberbullying,’ which can include sending ‘harsh text messages or emails.’ Would that include scathing evaluations that professors email to students?”

Such restrictions are unconstitutional, and many public colleges have lifted their quarantines after being threatened with lawsuits. In January a University of Hawaii administrator tried to stop students from handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution outside the campus’s free-speech zone. After students sued, the university revised its policies to allow free speech in “all areas generally available to students and the community.”

Meantime, campus speech police continue to stretch the bounds of what they prosecute under the banner of threats and intimidation. Read the rest of this entry »


‘You Can’t Be On The Wrong Side of History. History Does Not Actually Take Sides’

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The Most Bullying Argument in Politics

editor-commen-deskIs it just me? Or is everybody in the media stealing ideas from Jonah Goldberg these days? I’m not suggesting Dougherty‘s column was inspired directly or indirectly by previously-articulated arguments calling attention to this phrase, to the contrary, Dougherty’s take here is insightful and original. But readers familiar with Jonah’s book will recognize the “wrong side of history” cliche as one of its funniest chapters. And it gives me another excuse to encourage people to read it. (Plus, any orders made through links to Amazon helps support my cigar habit, so there’s that)

As Dougherty illustrates, the verdict of history is never really final. Enjoy. The whole text is here.

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For The WeekMichael Brendan Dougherty  writes:

There is no more bullying or empty piece of rhetoric in political conversation today than to accuse someone of being on the wrong side of history.divine-judgment-2

“To tell someone that the story of history will be the story of their demise is to make a bet on your future power and to make a frightening promise: The arc of the moral universe is long, and those who disagree with me should be impaled on it.”

And yet, we do it all the time. Over the past month, we’ve heard that the Washington Redskins are on the wrong side of history because of their refusal to change their name. Vladimir Putin, of course, is an enemy of the future. Politicians who are against gay marriage, them too. Even poor Scarlett Johansson is set to fall under the opprobrium of tomorrow.

“We invoke the future’s verdict of guilt precisely because we’d like to smuggle back into our politics the moral force of Divine judgment. But our appeals to progress are a pathetic substitute for the concept of Providence.”

These days, the phrase is most often deployed against social conservatives. But in the 1980s, it was often aimed at advocates for strong labor unions, tight industrial policy, and trade tariffs.tyranny-cliche

[You’re on the wrong side of history if you haven’t read Jonah Goldberg‘s book, “The Tyranny of Cliches, but you can order it from Amazon]

At its most innocent, telling someone they are on the wrong side of history is an assertion that they stand in the way of others who will deservedly soon acquire more power and respect.

But often, the phrase has the ring of a threat. Read the rest of this entry »


Wired to Haze: Part of our Evolved Psychology?

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 writes: Hazing may have once been a way to protect members of an established community from the threats of newcomers, a new study suggests.

It happens in military units, street gangs, and athletic teams. In some cultures, the rituals mark the transition from adolescence to adulthood. And in fraternities and sororities, it’s practically a given.

“Hazing exists in radically different cultures around the world, and the ethnographic record is replete with examples of initiation rites that include hazing,” says Aldo Cimino, a lecturer in the department of anthropology at University of California, Santa Barbara.

“It is a practice that cultures continually rediscover and invest themselves in. The primary goal of my research is to understand why,” says Cimino, whose study is published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior.

Hazing vs. bullying

One hypothesis Cimino is exploring involves evolved psychology. “The human mind may be designed to respond to new group members in a variety of ways, and one of those ways may be something other than a hug,” he says.

Read the rest of this entry »


FLASH MOB: 100-Strong Insta-Posse Swarm Oregon School to Support Teen Standing Up to Bully

Halsey Parkerson, a bullied teen, is backed by a 100-member flash mob that came to his aid.

Halsey Parkerson, a bullied teen, is backed by a 100-member flash mob that came to his aid.

Linsey Bald reports: Bullying is all about the numbers. The so-called strong flout their perceived position on those they distinguish as weak. “Ganging-up” gives those in the numbers the feeling they can impose their will and verbal abuse on whomever they want.

Not in this case. Score one for all those being bullied. MSN Now carried the inspiring story Saturday of Oregonian teen Halsey Parkerson, a South Salem High School student who, backed by a flash mob of at least 100 new friends, got his bully to back down. Read the rest of this entry »