Kristof writes column and my new comment gets posted underneath!

The bad news is the NYT still hasn’t posted my comment on its sexist coverage of the rape of Jyoti Singh Pandey in India. The good is that Nicolas Kristof, one of the world’s greatest modern feminists, wrote an amazing column for Sunday’s NYT: “Taking Violence Against Women Seriously:”

Gender violence is one of the world’s most common human rights abuses. Women worldwide ages 15 through 44 are more likely to die or be maimed because of male violence than because of cancer, malaria, war and traffic accidents combined. The World Health Organization has found that domestic and sexual violence affects 30 to 60 percent of women in most countries.

In some places, rape is endemic: in South Africa, a survey found that 37 percent of men reported that they had raped a woman. In others, rape is institutionalized as sex trafficking. Everywhere, rape often puts the victim on trial: in one poll, 68 percent of Indian judges said that “provocative attire” amounts to “an invitation to rape.”

Americans watched the events after the Delhi gang rape with a whiff of condescension at the barbarity there, but domestic violence and sex trafficking remain a vast problem across the United States.


That’s just a couple graphs. You should read the whole thing, its all so important.

No comments taken there, but Kristof invites you to go to his blog “On the Ground” to post comments. There, he writes a few graphs ending with:

Then on top of all that, I’ve been thinking of the events in Steubenville, Ohio, in which football players allegedly carted a comatose 16-year-girl around and raped her, possibly even urinated on her. We’ve got so much work to do right here at home — and Congress can’t even bother to renew the Violence Against Women Act or the Trafficking Victims Protection Act! Grrr. Read the column and post your thoughts.


In case you’re not familiar with the Violence Against Women Act, it was just stalled in congress, by the good old government of the USA, because violence against women isn’t a problem in America, right? Here are some stats from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

One in four women (25%) has experienced domestic violence in her lifetime.

85% of domestic violence victims are women.

Women ages 20-24 are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.

Nearly three out of four (74%) of Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence.

On average, more than three women are murdered by their intimate partners in this country every day.

Domestic violence is one of the most chronically under reported crimes.

I think it’s interesting that Kristof invites you to go to his blog if you want to comment. It looks the same as the NYT site in many ways, but I wonder if there’s a different procedure for comment approval? On the blog I posted this comment which got approved, basically the same as the first as best as I can recall:

Hi Mr. Kristof,

I was shocked to read in the NYT a post on this story from Jan 11 (… Jyoti Singh Pandey’s name is not printed. The NYT explains this:

“The daughter — whose name is being withheld because it is illegal to name a rape victim in India without permission from the victim or her next of kin — showed as a very young girl a love for school, her father remembered.”

Why would an American publication follow Indian law on how to report on rape? At what other time does a country’s laws dictate how its news is reported in The New York Times? Especially when the US media keeps calling India sexist, unlike us. Why would an American publication follow India law in how it reports a crime? If this law referred to political dissidents from India, would the New York Times refuse to print their names?

Not only that, but days earlier, Jyoti’s father told the Mirror: “We want the world to know her real name,” says Badri Singh Pandey…“My daughter didn’t do anything wrong, she died while protecting herself. I am proud of her. Revealing her name will give courage to other women who have survived these attacks. They will find strength from my daughter.”

I commented on the NYT piece but my comment has not yet been approved. I blogged about it here:


Why am I going on and on to you about one damn comment? Because so much of the issue here is that women don’t get a name, a voice, or space to tell their own stories, and that issue is what this blog, Reel Girl, is all about.

The NYT has posted my comments before and posted a similar comment to mine, from Ann, who I just found out, went to the NYT from Reel Girl. So what’s the big deal?

If one person makes the comment, its better than no one making it, but it would have more impact if people were allowed to see that many others responded in a similar way.

What the New York Times did– censoring the identity of a victim of a crime because India law requires that– is not only disgraceful but harmful to women. I am shocked that the NYT would not only capitulate to India law in its reporting of a crime, but to go ahead and state that it did, as if that were perfectly OK. It’s not OK. Can you imagine if American publications always followed the laws of the country they were reporting on when stating the facts of a crime? What kind of news would we have?

If crimes against women are treated this way, as if its acceptable, violence against women will never stop.

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