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#hurtsmetoo Temporary Tattoos of Bruises

Hurtsmetoo-hashtag-964x644Budapest’s ACG advertising agency created the campaign #hurtsmetoo to raise awareness and money for the safe houses operated by the Hungarian Interchurch Aid, which provides a shelter for abused women. In partnership with the Hungarian designer tattoo brand TATZ, the agency developed a special set of temporary tattoos that look like bruises.

In Hungary, one in five women has experienced some sort of maltreatment at least once and they are often too ashamed to ask for help. In order to draw attention to this problem and stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves, a number of well-known personalities joined the campaign and captured selfies with the fake bruises on International Women’s Day.

The idea behind the campaign was to provide a tool enabling people to express their sympathy for the victims and their solidarity. To get involved they can take selfies with the bruise tattoos on their skin and post them to Instagram or Facebook with the #hurtsmetoo hashtag.


New Technological Ways that You can Be a Victim of Theft

NOT ALL THIEVES ARE STUPID - 4 Lessons:

I was surprised by the ingenious ways that thieves can steal from someone nowadays just using everyday devices that we leave unattended. Hopefully the following examples will help you avoid such a fate:

 

1. LONG-TERM PARKING:

Some people left their car in the long-term parking at San Jose while away, and someone broke into the car. Using the information on the car's registration in the glove compartment, they drove the car to the people's home in Pebble Beach and robbed it. So I guess if we are going to leave the car in long-term parking, we should NOT leave the registration/insurance cards in it, nor your remote garage door opener. This gives us something to think about with all our new electronic technology.

 

2. GPS:

Someone had their car broken into while they were at a football game. Their car was parked on the green which was adjacent to the football stadium and specially allotted to football fans. Things stolen from the car included a garage door remote control, some money and a GPS which had been prominently mounted on the dashboard. When the victims got home, they found that their house had been ransacked and just about everything worth anything had been stolen. The thieves had used the GPS to guide them to the house. They then used the garage remote control to open the garage door and gain entry to the house. The thieves knew the owners were at the football game, they knew what time the game was scheduled to finish and so they knew how much time they had to clean out the house. It would appear that they had brought a truck to empty the house of its contents. Something to consider if you have a GPS - don't put your home address in it. Put a nearby address (like a store or gas station) so you can still find your way home if you need to, but no one else would know where you live if your GPS were stolen.

 

3. CELL PHONES:

I never thought of this! This lady has now changed her habit of how she lists her names on her cell phone after her handbag was stolen. Her handbag, which contained her cell phone, credit card, wallet, etc., was stolen. Twenty minutes later when she called her hubby, from a pay phone telling him what had happened, hubby says, "I received your text asking about our Pin number and I've replied a little while ago." When they rushed down to the bank, the bank staff told them all the money was already withdrawn. The thief had actually used the stolen cell phone to text "hubby" in the contact list and got hold of the pin number. Within 20 minutes he had withdrawn all the money from their bank account.

Lesson:
a. Do not disclose the relationship between you and the people in your contact list. Avoid using names like Home, Honey, Hubby, Sweetheart, Dad, Mom, etc.
b. And very importantly, when sensitive info is being asked through texts, CONFIRM by calling back.
c. Also, when you're being texted by friends or family to meet them somewhere, be sure to call back to confirm that the message came from them. If you don't reach them, be very careful about going places to meet "family and friends" who text you.

 

4. PURSE IN THE GROCERY CART SCAM:
A lady went grocery-shopping at a local mall and left her purse sitting in the children's seat of the cart while she reached something off a shelf.   Wait till you read the WHOLE story!   Her wallet was stolen, and she reported it to the store personnel. After returning home, she received a phone call from the Mall Security to say that they had her wallet and that although there was no money in it, it did still hold her personal papers. She immediately went to pick up her wallet, only to be told by Mall Security that they had not called her. By the time she returned home again, her house had been broken into and burglarized. The thieves knew that by calling and saying they were Mall Security, they could lure her out of her house long enough for them to burglarize it.


Acid victims' photo shoot draws attention in India

This just in from AP:

Acid victimNEW DELHI (AP) — A fashion photo shoot featuring five victims of acid attacks is drawing wide attention in India. While the country keeps no official statistics on acid attacks, there are regular reports in the media of attackers targeting victims to disfigure or blind them, often because of spurned sexual advances.

The 41 photos show 22-year-old Rupa and four friends laughing and striking playful poses while wearing some of her fashion designs.

"I told them to be natural. I didn't do any makeup or editing. I told them, you look beautiful and you have to be the way you are," said the photographer, Rahul Saharan, who volunteers with the Stop Acid Attacks charity and is working on a documentary about acid victims. "They are very confident, so it was not too hard for me."

The photos have been shared widely since being posted Aug. 8 on the Facebook page run by the group, and have also been picked up by TV stations and newspapers.

The joy and confidence the five women display defy the horrific stories they tell.

Rupa's face was doused with acid when she was 15 years old by a stepmother unwilling to pay her marriage expenses. The wedding was called off. The photo shoot has brought in funding that will enable her dream of opening a boutique to come true.

Laxmi, now 22, was also 15 when she was attacked by her brother's 32-year-old friend after she refused his marriage proposal. Earlier this year, U.S. first lady Michelle Obama presented her with the International Women of Courage Award for campaigning against such attacks.

Ritu, 22, was attacked by her cousin during a property dispute. Sisters Sonam, 22, and Chanchal, 17, were asleep when acid was poured over them by a group of men who had been harassing them in their village in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

In all five cases, the girls' attackers were convicted, though such crimes in India often go unpunished.

Some 1,500 acid attacks are reported worldwide every year, according to the London-based group Acid Survivors Trust International, though it says the actual number is likely higher. India passed a law last year severely limiting sales of acid, but Stop Acid Attacks said it has since counted at least 200 attacks.

 

Acid Survivors Trust International -

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Nail Polish that Detects Date Rape Drug in Drinks

Nail polishIt is an unfortunate aspect of our society that predators find ways of incapacitating victims with things like date-rape drugs added to drinks. But there is an enterprising group of students who have created a quick way to test for drugs in drinks - nail polish! This from PSFK newsletter:

Undercover Colors allows women to find out if their drinks have been tampered with by just dipping their finger in it.

It is an unfortunate problem in our society that there is a practice of slipping drugs into someone’s drink in order to lead them away and sexually assault them while they cannot consent. They can be employed in any situation, whether at a bar, a party, or even in a person’s own home. Now, women can test their drinks before taking a potentially drugged sip just by dipping their manicured finger in it.

A group of students North Carolina State University, Ankesh Madan, Tyler Confrey-Maloney, Stephen Grey and Tasso Von Windheim, have created a drug-sensitive nail polish called Undercover Colors. The product changes color when it comes in contact with some of the more popular date-rape drugs. GHB, Rohypnol or Xanax will cause the chemical change indicating there is something extra is in the drink, though it may not be sensitive to other drugs or chemicals. They have been looking for potential investors, but have over $100,000 from both an interested investor and money they won from a competition.

There are other date-rape drug identifying supplies, including drug-sensitive coasters, (DrinkSafe Date Rape Coaster ) and cups and straws that change colors and other types of testing kits such as the Date Rape Drug Detection. The coasters are available for purchase at $5 USD each while the cups and straws should be available within the next year.

The ultimate question is why this nail polish needs to exist? The answer may seem obvious — because women are constantly worried about having drugs slipped into their drinks which can lead to being led away, raped and possibly even murdered. What this nail polish, and other drug testing paraphernalia, does is put the responsibly on the potential victim to find drugs rather than trying to stop the aggressor from placing drugs in drinks. Critics say that not only is it putting the burden on women but it is detracting from the real issue of sexual violence and assault.


Wearables that Want to Keep Women Safe

This article by Rebecca Hiscott is reprinted in its entirely because the ramifications are so important to protecting women from assault:

In December of 2012, a 23-year-old New Delhi woman and her 20-year-old male companion were returning home from an evening movie when they were lured onto a bus by a group of young men. The six men proceeded to beat the man into submission and take turns raping the woman, who eventually died from internal injuries sustained during the brutal attack.

Half a world away, in Amsterdam, Herman Veenstra was sickened by the news. Reading a Dutch newspaper article about the event, he was struck by a passing mention that in Amsterdam an average of two women each day report a sexual assault, and that police estimate the actual incidence of sexual assault is much higher.

"I was shocked by the statistic, but I was even more shocked when I realized this is not publicly known," Veenstra said. "The media doesn't write about these incidents on a daily basis. Apparently it's not worth an article anymore."

That same week, Veenstra's daughter gave a presentation at her school arguing that women in Amsterdam should be allowed to carry self-defense sprays like Mace, which is currently not permitted.

The two events prompted Veenstra, the CEO and cofounder of Dutch tech startup Everfind, to consider how technology might be able to give women a swift and legal way to call for help during a violent assault. He and a team of eight engineers, app developers, and marketing experts began to develop Safelet, a $129 connected bracelet that lets the wearer send out an alert to friends, family, and police during an attack. It's currently collecting funding on Indiegogo.

The device uses a Bluetooth low energy connection to sync to an app on the wearer's smartphone. The app lets the wearer decide who she wants to notify in case of an emergency: friends, family members, the police, or the "Safelet community," a group of Safelet users who agree to field emergency calls from other wearers. To activate the Safelet, the wearer must press two buttons, one on either side of the bracelet—a feature designed to cut down on false alarms, Veenstra said.

When the device is activated, the user's "guardian network" is notified of an emergency. Meanwhile, the app activates the user's smartphone microphone to record the incident. The app can also transmit the wearer's location and a recording of the incident to the police; in that case, one of the wearer's "guardians" would also call the police and indicate the location of the attack.


The geolocation feature is of particular importance in Europe, Veenstra said. Currently, emergency services in Europe are not permitted to use geolocation to zero in on a caller's location, meaning it's up to the caller to provide that information.

"If you call the police, the first question they will ask is, 'Where are you?'" Veenstra said. In the United States, in contrast, 911 operators can immediately pinpoint your location when you place an emergency call.

Safelet is hardly the only protection-oriented item out there. The wearable technology market could be worth as much as $5 billion this year, according to some estimates, and so far that market has concentrated mainly on smartwatches and fitness trackers. But now, a new crop of wearables is surfacing, and they’re taking aim at the largely underserved personal safety market.

There's First Sign, which offers a $95 hair band or hair clip that use a built-in gyroscope and accelerometer to detect head impacts indicative of physical assault, then activates a microphone that records the incident while the wearer's smartphone puts out a call to the police. There's Cuff and Artemis, two competing lines of connected jewelry pieces that sync with a user's smartphone via Bluetooth to alert police and family members when the wearer encounters danger. There's Bembu, a FitBit-like bracelet currently fundraising on Indiegogo that promises similar safety functions, although its clumsily-executed campaign page doesn't inspire much confidence.

And there are a slew of others, with more likely to come. Not only are safety-oriented gadgets a lucrative new space—the Yellow Jacket, a stun-gun iPhone case, recently leveraged a successful Indiegogo campaign into a booming business—they're also serving a real and pressing need.

"A woman would most likely carry [pepper spray] in her handbag, but at the moment of an incident, it would be difficult for her to reach into her bag." Veenstra said. Safelet, like similar safety gadgets, was designed to be easier to access than a smartphone or a can of pepper spray, which would likely be out of reach during an assault.

Of course, these products can all be worn and used by men, but most of them are designed and marketed to women. But the reason for this is obvious: In most countries, women are overwhelmingly the victims of violent crimes, and street harassment is largely directed toward females as well. 

Safelet is an ambitious and much-needed product, but, like any device that relies on crowdfunding to spread the word (including other safety-oriented wearables) its main hurdle will be adoption. Will women feel inclined to purchase and sport this $95 hair clip or that $129 bracelet? By that measure, Cuff, with its range of jewelry options at a number of price points, might have the best chance of scaling up, even though its functionality is relatively limited.

But there's another, perhaps more pressing problem with these devices: They're being produced by startups. Discoverability is one thing, but the mechanics behind any startup are dicey, prone to unexpected costs and challenges that a small, perhaps amateur team can't always handle. When it comes to a personal safety device, any misstep, whether a malfunctioning microphone or an app that's easy to hack, can cost a company its reputation. And crowdfunding campaigns are plagued by the extra hurdles related to delivering rewards and keeping backers happy.

In the case of Safelet, Veenstra insisted that most of the heavy lifting has already been done. The startup has already created a bracelet prototype and has begun designing and testing out the backend functionality of the smartphone app; Veenstra sees the Indiegogo campaign as more of a way to spread the word about the device. "We are more using it to test some marketing tactics in the online space than anything else, because we are already funded," he said.

Everfind has even run the product by Amsterdam's police, who Veenstra said were "thrilled" at the prospect of a product that would allow citizens to participate in keeping the women safe—so long as their actions "fit within the overall framework of how they want citizens to behave.”


Sick At Heart - Attacks Against Women All Around the World

Pink sariThe relentless barrage of articles about women being attacked - most recently in India, in Egypt, in Pakistan - makes me sick at heart. What is it about certain cultures, certain men and certain circumstances that make attacks on women not only routine but defendable? Something has GOT to change.

There are movements that are starting to get momentum that offer "safety in numbers" like the Pink Sari Revolution but you can't have a crowd following you everywhere. And it is difficult to protect yourself, even in a group, when there is an attacking group of men - often armed police - coming at you with mal intent.

I would like to make this a forum for comments. The question is: How can women in the global community best protect themselves (aside from always packing a gun which is not always possible) from any form of attack, whether on the street or in their homes?


Too Young to Wed: The Story of Child Brides

A recent article in the New York Times told of a 6 year old Afghan girl who was going to be married off to the 17 year olf son of a moneylender. Her father coiuld not repay the $2500 loan used for mediacl care for his wife and children. As a result of the story, an anonymous doner stepped in and paid the loan so the girl can stay with her family. She is lucky, despite her continued extreme poverty.

But so many girls from over 50 countries are routinely married off, often to much older men. Manizha Naderi, the executive director of Women for Afghan Women, a group that runs various shelters in the country, told the New York Times in a previous article that poverty is the motivation for many child marriages. That’s either because a wealthy husband pays a family well for his bride, or because the father of the bride will then have one less child to support. “Most of the time they are sold,” Ms. Naderi said. “And most of the time it’s a case where the husband is much, much older.”

Stories like Naghma’s come at a slow but steady clip out of Afghanistan and many other countries, including India. In 2010, two girls, ages 13 and 14, dressed as boys and fled their elderly husbands after refusing to consummate the marriages. They made it far from their remote village, but were eventually caught by police and returned home, where they were publicly, viciously flogged. Authorities did nothing, despite the flogging being caught on tape and human-rights groups’ efforts to intervene.

Here is a trailer for the new documentary "Too Young to Wed" that explains it. Please get involved.


Will Justice Prevail for Nirbhaya?

IMG_2414 STC_2424Four of the six men who lured a 23-year-old student onto a bus and then brutally gang raped her were to be executed as of four days ago and now, two days ago two of the rapists had their sentences stayed.

What is going on?

The Delhi High Court on Thursday afternoon confirmed death sentences for four men convicted of the heinous gang rape and murder of a medical student in the Indian capital. The incident sparked mass protests across the South Asian nation. A fast track court initially sentenced the four men to death in September last year. A fifth accomplice apparently committed suicide in his prison cell, while a sixth — a juvenile at the time of the attack — is serving a three-year sentence in a correction home.  Yet the four men on death row may still appeal to the Supreme Court, and failing that for Presidential clemency.

FAST FORWARD TWO DAYS

But then two days after the Delhi high court confirmed the death penalty awarded to 4 convicts for brutal gang-rape-cum murder of Nirbhaya, the Supreme Court stayed the extreme punishment for two in a special sitting on Saturday after one of them alleged that he was coerced to accept a lawyer chosen by police during trial.

A bench of Justices Ranjana P Desai and S K Singh stayed the HC decision to confirm the death sentence awarded by the trial court on Mukesh and Pawan Kumar Gupta after their counsel, M L Sharma, alleged that the advocate chosen by the police robbed the trial process of fairness. The bench stayed the execution of sentence till March 31.

On Thursday, the HC had upheld the trial court's decision to impose death penalty on Mukesh, Pawan, Akshay Thakur and Vinay Sharma. It said the gruesome manner in which Nirbhaya was gang-raped and mercilessly assaulted on December 16, 2012, which led her to death, was a crime that fell under 'rarest of rare' category warranting imposition of death penalty. Another accused Ram Singh had died during the trial.

This is an atrocity!

 

The Dec. 16 gang rape marked a watershed for the women’s movement in India and led to a new anti-rape law, which now makes even stalking and voyeurism punishable crimes


What is Rape Culture?

This article titled What is Rape Culture? offers a great overview of the many societal ways that rapists and rape-think occur.

“Rape culture” is a culture in which sexual violence is considered the norm — in which people aren’t taught not to rape, but are taught not to be raped. The term was first used by feminists in the 1970s but has become popular in recent years as more survivors share their stories.

Check out these sections. It is sobering to think that if anything, things are getting worse with the use of social media to spread vile and shaming messages - but of course also on the other hand, prove rape behavior) Haven't we heard of some of these for years and years?

Anyone Can Be A Rapist

The Idea of "Gray Rape"

"No" Means "Yes"

Victim Blaming

Slut Shaming

Street Harassment

The Myth of Preventing Rape

Anti-Rape Wear

Rape Jokes

The "Friend" Zone

Pick up Artists

Fear of Reporting

False Rape Accusations

The Power of Celebrity

The "Promising Future" Media Narrative

Male Rape

The Lack of Attention in Minority Communities