Why violence against women and girls is in no way comparable to violence against men

This video is an excellent explanation of how and why female-on-male violence is in no way comparable to male-on-female violence.

This was made as a rebuttal to some social media claims that society’s focus on ending violence against women and girls is distorting the current situation and giving it more importance than it deserves. The explanation, from the Women’s Resource Centre, is thoughtful and well-reasoned.

Angry face cross-culturally universal

As part of a large study into the evolutionary function of anger, researchers at UC Santa Barbara and Griffith University in Australia recently published a new set of results that show that the anger face “expression is cross-culturally universal. Even congenitally blind children make [the] same face without ever having seen one.”

The human angry face “is a constellation of features, each of which makes a person appear physically stronger.”  The features are a lowered brow; raised cheekbones (as in a snarl); lips thinned and pushed out; the mouth raised (as in defiance); the nose flared; and the chin pushed out and up.

Lead author Aaron Sell, a lecturer at the School of Criminology at Griffith University in Australia, said that “Our earlier research showed that anger evolved to motivate effective bargaining behavior during conflicts of interest.”

The research appears in the Evolution and Human Behavior journal, and an article about the work was published by Science Daily.

Numbers of birds at risk of extinction rise

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’ (RSPB) rare breeding birds panel have increased the number of birds on its list of the rarest birds in the UK to nearly 100.  The list is in its 40th year, and in that time, a number of native breeding species have been named extinct or at risk of extinction within the UK.

Bad and changing weather and losses of habitat, especially as farming practices change, are considered the main causes of the changes.  The population of some types of bird continue to plunge at an alarming rate. For example, the numbers of known turtle doves are halving every six years.

Improving the health of our soil

The United States loses 1.7 billion tons of topsoil every year, largely due to crops that must be replanted annually, stripping soil of plant cover, nutrients and biodiversity.  Sixty-nine per cent of global crops are annual cereals, linseed and legumes.

The Land Institute is suggesting a change in agricultural practices to return to a more diverse method of farming that includes crops of perennials.  Rather than rely on the monoculture crops that must be replanted every year, perennial crops would help prevent soil erosion and improve the overall health of the soil.  Researchers have discovered food forests that have fed communities for centuries and are still viable and active.

Is momentum truly building to end sexual violence against women and girls?

A number of events, actions and campaigns in 2014 seem to be joining together to create a feeling of possibility that violence, and the threat of violence, against women and girls will finally be taken seriously as a crime against a woman’s basic human rights.

Most (all?) women carry some variation of fear with them at all times; mine is when walking alone in the dark.  Half the population should not have to bear the burden of a near-constant fear for their safety.

A few of the events, reports, movements and news pieces that have caught my eye this year include:

  • #EndSWHack – this was part of the first Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict event held in London in June 2014. Participants worked in small teams to create technology-based ways to support the Summit’s goals.
  • Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, head of UN Women, says women who have experienced sexual violence in conflict must get reparations, including psychological support, to help get their lives back on track.
  • Horrifying report from the UN revealing that one in 10 girls will be raped or sexually abused before they reach the age of 20.

At present we know only that the imagination, like certain wild animals, will not breed in captivity. George Orwell