How about a little less rape culture, humanity?

It’s not just an American thing, and it needs to stop everywhere.

This gang rape case in India has my stomach twisted in knots. I can’t believe what this poor woman had to endure before she died, and how people are reacting to her attack. This is freaking 2013 and we are still blaming women for getting attacked.

Do we really have to keep going over this? I don’t give a flying crap if this woman was drunk and naked on the subway. If she didn’t want to have sex—if the words NO came out of her mouth—then she is completely, 100 percent blameless. If you rape someone, YOU are to blame. Period.

Three of the rapists are actually pleading not guilty because the evidence used against them was supposedly manipulated. The youngest attacker, who was apparently not only the instigator and the most brutal of the six rapists, may only get charged with three years in a “correctional house” if he turns out to be under 18 as he claims to be. The lawyer of some of the rapists made the statement that “respected ladies” do not get raped.

So 1 in 3 women are not respectable, folks. Is he actually insinuating that his clients are just respectable men who simply could not control themselves when they saw a woman walk by? And given that a rape occurs in India at least every 20 minutes, there must be a lot of “disrespected ladies,” including mothers and young daughters and students, walking around.

I hope they rot in jail. These beasts deserve the maximum penalty, just as every rapist does—though fewer than 10 percent of rapists will ever spend a day in jail in America alone.

Speaking of America, a court in the states recently ruled that the rape of an unmarried woman wasn’t rape. Had she been married to the man who pretended to be her boyfriend and raped her, he would be in jail. Due to our freaking misogynist, primitive laws, he’s off scot-free after raping her.

Then, in Canada, a 21-year-old man met and seduced a 13-year-old girl on Facebook, and after he raped her in a park, he only received 14 days in jail for “touching” her. Police aren’t even investigating the situation properly, requesting information from Facebook, zilch. The man, who claims he was beaten up by the girl and her friend (though admits to “having sex” with her, apparently), will also receive a measly year of probation and be added to a sex offender registry for just 10 years. Is it just me, or is consent here not even important? You have sex with a 13-year-old child and you’re over 18, you need to be charged with much more than improper touching!

These incidences only highlight the fact that girls aren’t considered important anywhere in the whole planet. Violence against women is rarely prosecuted, and some women even experience more harm—whether in the military, at the hands of “honor killings,” or other retribution—for simply reporting it. And this heinousness has got to stop.

Click here to find out about this year’s Violence Against Women Campaign, One Billion Rising, and find out what you can do about it.

Take the Students Rebuild Challenge

Join this humanitarian effort as a classroom, school or other group and make a difference.

The humanitarian group Students Rebuild recently contacted one of our homeschool groups inviting us to take part in one of their projects, and after reading about it I found it to be a very powerful, positive activity. Keep in mind that this project does deal with genocide, so it may not be appropriate for many young children.

Students Rebuild is hosting a project called One Million Bones. To participate, people around the country can create a bone to send in to the project. It can be made out of anything—paper mache, pipe cleaners, clay, wood, whatever you have. That bone will generate $1donation to CARE, which will go directly toward helping people in Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo recover from genocide. It will also be used in a massive awareness campaign when one million bones are displayed at the National Mall in the spring of 2013 as a visual reminder of what is happening in this world—something that we vowed, in fact, would never happen again.

If you choose to participate, you can be as creative as you want! You can write a message of hope on your bone, you can personalize it with your name or something else, whatever you like. You can participate as a family, individual, or even a group; Students Rebuild has an excellent page here to help you get organized and set up your own bone building day. You can learn how to make a bone as well as tips on how to ship them and more. Those who want to learn more or teach about genocide today may find other resources at the site to help them do so as well.

Many people might wonder why bones are being used, as they might be a bit of a gruesome image. Students Rebuild remind us that bones are a strong, universal symbol of our humanity, no matter where you are from. They serve as physical proof that people were here, there, everywhere—no matter what happened. Each of us is made up of bones and together as humans, it will take each of us to help one another survive this planet and stop violence like this. For more information, click here.

To learn more about how you can use Students Rebuild in your homeschool community, classroom, or other group setting, click here. For interested youth who might want to do more, or to create a service project of their own, click here.

Slavery going strong in Mauritania


I remember watching Oprah do a show a few years back about countries outside of the States that were great to live in. Oprah had a few guests on from Mauritania to speak about the culture’s open and accepting attitudes towards bigger women. Oprah seemed thrilled that there was a place on earth that actually preferred bigger women rather than smaller ones. However, in true Oprah fashion, her team doing the research for the show managed to miss one large detail about life in Mauritania; a detail that broke wide open on CNN this week. Mauritania is the last country on earth where slavery, an open secret, is still widely practiced.

Mauritania, located in West Africa and a bit larger than Egypt, has about 3.4 million people. Of these 3.4 million, it is estimated that between 10 to 20 percent (340,000-680,000) of the population is enslaved and works without pay in brutal conditions for their owners. Although Mauritania officially abolished slavery in 1981, and it became a crime in 2007, the practice is still widely accepted. To demonstrate how tolerant Mauritanians and their government is of the practice, it should be known that only one slave owner has been successfully tried and prosecuted for the crime. 


In Mauritania, as in many other countries in Africa, many different ethnic groups live amongst one another. In Mauritania, it is lighter skinned Berber people, or White Moors, who have dominated dark skinned Moors for many centuries and have forced them to work without pay and in unspeakable conditions. Black Moors are enslaved upon birth if their parents are slaves and will be forced to work for a lighter skinned family for the rest of their lives. 


Slavery in Mauritania is an open secret and the government mostly looks the other way on the issue. If abolitionists gather or rise up against the practice, they are quickly sought by the police and face imprisonment or work camps. So far, there have been a few small efforts to raise awareness in the country and throughout the world, about slavery’s last stronghold, yet so far, little pressure has been felt by the government to seriously stop slavery. 


Read more about personal accounts of those who’ve lived in Slavery and are fighting to end this practice in Mauritania. 



Know the facts about Kony 2012


A new video has been circulating around the world and has many people talking about one man. The 30 minute video, Kony 2012, has already hit 58 million views and is increasing awareness about Ugandan war lord, Joseph Kony, and the atrocities he’s been committing in Uganda and surrounding countries. But viewers and people just learning about this human rights crisis should watch the video with a discerning eye and not that the film was created to cause awareness and bring about action, rather than state the cold hard facts. 

Although Kony 2012 is an inspiring and moving short documentary about Joseph Kony and his Lords Resistance Army, the film does not always present the whole story. For instance, in the 30 minute film, there is only a passing reference to Kony and his army’s whereabouts now. In 2006, Kony fled with his army from Ugandan military forces. They are no longer established in northern Uganda but operate and continue to torture and kill civilians in neighboring countries. If you are just learning about this and watching the film for the first time, you may still believe that Kony is operating in northern Uganda and has a franchise of army troops in surrounding countries. But this is not the case.


Also, the film, which was created by the non-profit group Invisible Children, really focuses on Kony’s victims and states that his army is made up of 30,000 mindless children who have been abducted. Although Kony has abducted upwards of 30,000 children in the past 25 years, which is horrible, this statistics makes it seem as if these 30,000 children are still under his control and in captivity, which is not true. 


In addition to presenting moving facts about Kony and the LRA, the film asks viewers to take action. For 30 dollars, people can sign a pledge to spread awareness about Kony and his atrocities, and they also receive a wristband and other items. However, these things alone are not going to help catch Kony this year. Instead, the main purpose of the  video (which you may not know) is to keep pressure on the US military that’s already stationed in Uganda, to support Uganda’s efforts in hunting for Kony. Do not be fooled into thinking that signing a pledge and a wristband will bring justice in Uganda.


And one more point to think about. It’s already complicated enough that Obama has sent troops to aid a country that is not necessarily a democratic state. This could become a slippery slope for us, as we’re also trying to navigate the situation in Syria. And, by supporting the Uganda’s efforts to hunt down and capture Kony’s LRA we must remember that many of these soldiers are brainwashed children. Are we going to simply storm in and massacre an army of children because through fear and brainwashing they’ve been forced to commit atrocities of their own?


There is no doubt that the Kony 2012 film raises awareness about this horrible man and will help educate the world about his crimes. But when watching the documentary, one must have the whole story.


UN passes resolution on Syria


United Nations General Assembly voted this past Thursday and has passed a resolution that condemns the violence in Syria and calls for President Assad to relinquish power. 

The UN General Assembly is comprised of 193 members and the vote was an overwhelming 137 to 12. Again, Russian and China were against the measure. They vetoed a similar resolution earlier in the month.


The new resolution supports The Arab League’s plan to call Syria’s President Bashar Assad to relinquish his position to the former vice president and it also condemns the regime’s violent actions against the syrian people


The UN and supporters of the resolution feel that the overwhelming “yes” votes will send a clear message to President Assad that he is no longer a legitimate leader and his regime is oppressive. It also sends a message to Syrian protestors and civilians that the world is on their side and supporting their fight for a democratic nation.


There are other measures of the resolution that are aimed at helping Syria transition its’ government to a more democratic institution. The resolution states that a national unity must be established within two months in order for people to prepare for a national presidential election and parliament election that will be supervised by the international communities in the UN. And of course the resolution also condemns the violence that has raged throughout Syria for a year now and calls for immediate cease fire. Along with the cease fire all troops and armed individuals or groups must vacate towns and cities and those who have been detained during the year long upheaval must be immediately released. Peaceful demonstrations must also be allowed (protesting and rioting after the Arab Spring is what brought about Assad’s wrath on his own people). Also, the Syrian government must allow Arab League officials to monitor the transition and allow international media to return and report on the situation.


Although it is unlikely that Assad will step down and commit do the demands of the UN, at least for now, Syrians know that they are not alone in their fight and that majority of nations support their cause.


Self-immolation and violent clashes on the rise in Tibet


Self-immolation is the practice of setting oneself on fire, often as the last and drastic measure of protest. Over the past year over two dozen monks and nuns have underwent this practice in order to protest China’s repressive actions against culture and religion in Tibet.

Many of these acts of self-immolation have taken place in the Sichuan province of China. The Tibetans that are forced to live in this region have little, if any, democratic

outlets for people to protest and the desperate act of lighting one’s body on fire seems to make the greatest statement. With the Tibetan New Year just around the corner (February 22nd) many fear violent clashes and self-immolators will increase. Already, Chinese military forces have flooded into Tibetan cities and are ready to combat any actions of protest. 


So far, the past year has been the bloodiest in term of Tibetans rioting and protesting since 2008, when Chinese troops implemented a deadly crackdown upon Tibet’s capital, Lhasa.


Although China tries to blame the “violence” and spike in self-immolation on the Dalai Lama, claiming the religious leader as forcing monks and nuns to burn themselves, of course these is no evidence that the peace loving Dalai Lama would requires such action. In any case the unique thing about those who self-immolate is that fact that they typically are acting on their own volition. Self-immolation is not considered a terrorist act because it’s not a group or organized effort but solely one individual’s will.


One thing is certain, the sheer rise of self-immolators in Tibet is a scream to western nations that China is abusive and continues to repress these people.


If you want to help those fighting for their freedom in Tibet and feel that the Dalai Lama should be able to return and lead his people sign the Stand up for Tibet Pledge.




The real cost of iphones


There’s a new “blood diamond” coming to surface and its not being dredged up in deep muddy pools in Sierra Leone in order to fund West African wars. No, this is being produced in factories across China, ruining the lives and health of Chinese workers, all in the hopes that another American can play a game of “angry birds” on his and her’s new iphone or ipad

We’ve watched as companies like Nike and Hershey have climbed their way to the top of their markets and sacrificed great human costs to achieve their success. Now it’s Apple’s turn to come under fire.


Although we may all love to think that iphone and ipads everywhere are the culmination of technology and western invention, boasting this product as entirely American is not the truth. While we sit with our significant others at a fancy restaurant, pay $70 for a nice meal and never look up from out iphone screens to even enjoy the moment, thousands upon thousands of Chinese workers are standing in a factory in China building the gadget so many of us can’t live without.


But here’s a few things these workers could live without. The swelling in their legs caused from working 9 plus hours seven days a week without being able to sit down. The toxic fumes they inhale as they rub our ipad screens to a shiny gloss. The chemicals that shred their skin from their hands. The yearly factory explosions that kill some and injure many more. Along with the physical abuses, these workers could also due without the emotional abuses their superiors inflict upon them all in order to meet a pre-determined deadline that Apple execs have outlined in the suppliers contract.




Will Washington state be the next to legalize same-sex marriage?



Washington state, once again is nearing closer to become the next state to allow same-sex marriage, but there are a few obstacles standing in the way of getting the votes.

It’s true that in a few months, Washington may become the seventh state to legalize same-sex marriage. According to House Speaker Frank Chopp, there are enough votes to move the bill from his chamber and into the house, where he feels the bill could pass. However in the senate, the bill is still in danger of falling apart. 


The bill was introduced on January 13th and many believe it has a good chance of passing but it will be it will be a close one. In order for the bill to pass the senate, 25 votes are required. But, so far there are only 23 “reliable” yes voters out there. Of these 23, 21 are democrats and two are republicans. That leaves a short margin of only two people that need to be swayed to vote yes. There are also 20 senators who will definitely against the bill. So out of 49 total senators there are 6 individuals out there who will sway for or against. This is still promising as we need only two of them to vote yes in order to pass the historic bill.


Here’s the gang of six:


Mary Margaret Haugen D-10

Jim Kastama D-25

Joe Fain R-47

Brian Hatfield D-19

Andy Hill R-45

Paull Shin D-21


I sure hope at least two of these senators can be swayed to vote for the bill. If they know what’s good for them they’ll decide to be on the right side of history in this landmark vote. Let’s face it, same-sex marriage will pass. It’s only a matter of time. So why not be one of those earliest pioneers who made gay marriage a reality in Washington state.



Marines' despicable act should be considered a war crime


We all remember the despicable pictures that came out of Guantanamo bay detention centers, depicting American troops torturing and mistreating detainees. Now, a new pictorial scandal has erupted and it threatens to unhinge our efforts to work with Afghanistan.

On Tuesday night, a 39 second video was uploaded onto YouTube, showing what appeared to be four U.S. Marines urinating on three dead Afghani bodies. One of the Marines can be heard saying “have a nice day, buddy”.


This horrible clip has become an international spectacle in a matter of days and both American and Afghani officials are condemning the acts as inhuman. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has declared is own outrage and ordered the Marine Corps to conduct a full investigation into the authenticity of the video and the men involved, saying they will be held accountable “to the fullest extant”. Some individuals have even declared this act to be a war crime, and I think I would agree. No matter if these Afghan men were our enemies, no deceased person deserves this defilement. 


With America’s recent move towards leaving Afghanistan, how will Afghanis ever have our trust when clips like these are circling. Anti-western attitudes are already surfeit in this country, why damage the reputation of American troops more.


There is no doubt that these four Marines will swiftly be prosecuted for their crimes. They weren’t intelligent enough to even cover their faces before uploading the video to the biggest video site on earth. I hope these ignorant imbeciles will soon be stripped of their title as a “Marine”, cause they are certainly a disgrace to America.











Mass suicide threatened at factory in China

"The workers were threatening to jump from the roof after their requests for wages to be raised was denied days earlier"


For the second time in two years, Chinese factory workers are threatening to sacrifice their lives if their wages are not increased and working conditions are not improved.

On January 2nd, In Wuhan China, 150 workers secured positions on the top of Foxconn Factory, the largest manufacturing company of electronic devices for companies such as Sony, Microsoft, HP, Apple, and Nintendo. They camped out for several days before being coaxed down by the Major of Wuhan. 


The workers were threatening to jump from the roof after their requests for wages to be raised was denied days earlier. The company stated that any workers who were unhappy with the present conditions were free to leave with a severance pay of sorts. But after many left and no money was ever issued, outraged men took to the roofs in protest. Although the outcome was not deadly, this is not the first time these tactics have been used, and it is not the first time Foxconn factories have come under fire for mistreating and exploiting their workers. In 2010, 18 men threw themselves from the factory roof of a Shenzhen plant, resulting in 14 deaths. 


Although these methods seem horrific, Chinese laborers have suffered physical pains and ailments from the military like methods in which the factory runs its operations and many are living in poverty, with wages not enough to support their families. The production lines of these factories are controlled with an iron fist and workers complain of daily blisters on their hands and skin and being choked by fumes and dust. 


At Foxconn’s plant in Longhua, 24,000 people are reported to quite every month.