'ewish feelings about circumcision—for and against—are complex. The following quotes, all of them by Jewish people and all of them real, demonstrate the diversity of thought when it comes to questioning the ancient ritual. If you are Jewish and would like to add your quote, send Beyond the Bris a note and we'll include your statement in a future posting.
I believe that G-d instituted circumcision as a way of setting His people apart, but given how many other cultures and religions have adopted this practice, it is no longer a means of setting apart. Like many other commandments once practiced by Jews (that have now been set aside) there is now no more compelling religious or cultural reason to do so. I have a now-adult son for whom we had a “brit shalom” (no cutting) when he was eight days old.... This doesn’t make him any less Jewish or any less observant. He is a respected young man at shul, involved in many different areas and loved by all. I do not regret my decision at all to let him make his own choice, and it is my hope that other Jewish parents will also consider a brit shalom as a viable alternative to brit milah.
The importance that people attach to this act [circumcision] is almost laughable. Of all the behaviors we aspire to (charity, grace, forgiveness, kindness, industriousness) the amount of time spent thinking about foreskin just baffles me. We need to be good people and observant Jews. If this involves circumcision, fine. But what is peoples' hang up with this mitzvah? Out of the 613, there are about 612 I’d rate higher in importance.'
'The next National Women’s Studies Association annual meeting will take place in San Juan, Puerto Rico on November 13-16, 2014 and is aptly named “Feminist Transgressions.” Indeed, the conference itself is “transgressive” in that it minimizes the cause of women to focus, yet again, on the cause of Palestine, aka the destruction of Israel.
This is only the latest, among many other examples, of the way in which Women’s Studies—an idea which I pioneered so long ago--has been Stalinized and Palestinianized. I wonder whether the forces of evil will try to pass a resolution in favor of boycott, divestment, and sanctions—not against Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea, or Russia—but against Israel only.
The Association’s line-up of professorial and celebrity talent is 100% politically correct; the speakers are mainly African-American, African-Hispanic, and African/Asian Caribbean. While I may not agree with some of their views, e.g. the pro-sex “work” agenda which is being presented at this conference, I recognize that these speakers--my old friend bell hooks, Ana-Maurine Lara, Ana Irma Lassen, and Kamala Kempadoo--are all genuinely feminist.
'The recent murders of four family members in Petersburg has one Virginian man fighting for state lawmakers to create a domestic violence registry, similar to the sexual predator registry.
Marlow Jones created an online petition that proposes a person with two protective orders filed against him or her within one year would have to register as a “domestic violence offender,” just like a violent sexual offender has to register for a minimum of five years.
“It’s a win-win situation for everybody,” Jones told WAVY.com. “You and I can use it for our daughters, our daughters can use it when they date.”
However, some attorneys question whether a registry is constitutional, including Portsmouth’s Richard Davis.
“I don’t think it is legal. I mean, you have to be tried, you have to be convicted, you have to be charged before you can get some sort of sentence like that, and that is a sentence,” Davis said.
Davis points to issues with the sex offender registry, cases, for instance, where an 18-year-old dating a 16-year-old is blacklisted for life.
“That’s probably worse than jail, being on the registry for years and years and years, and you can’t do much of anything about it,” he said.
Women at a local domestic violence shelter voiced concern that it could victimize their clients again. If a woman fights back, or even if she doesn’t, her abuser can take a protective order against her, too.'
'North Kent Women’s Aid has decided to get into the spirit of the 2014 World Cup by setting up a clinic for victims of domestic violence during the tournament. Reports about the clinic cited a 2013 study published by the University of Lancashire that claimed the risk of domestic abuse rose by 26 per cent when England won or drew a match, and by 38 per cent when they lost. One police officer, quoted in the research, said ‘the World Cup appears a reason for many to party, however delight and expectation can turn into despair and conflict with the kick of a ball’.
Academic research into football and domestic violence is superfluous when you consider officialdom’s unflinching attitude to the public during the World Cup. Senior bobbies need no convincing that international football competitions are nothing more than an excuse for men to get bladdered and beat their wives. In 2012, there was widespread panic that the Euro 2012 tournament would lead to a surge in domestic violence, with police forces up and down the country commencing poster campaigns complete with alarmist slogans like ‘Winning strike – when is kick off in your house? Give your temper the red card.’ There was no spike in domestic violence during Euro 2012. In fact, 2012 represented a historic low for domestic violence, with reports of domestic violence having fallen by 18 per cent since 2005.'
There may be no way for us to know exactly what was going on in the lives of Richard and Roxanne Jeskey during the days that led up to his brutal murder inside the couple’s Ohio Street apartment three years ago.
Roxanne Jeskey recently was found guilty of her husband’s murder, with a judge dismissing the notion she was legally “insane” at the time. She awaits sentencing.
Shortly after the judge deemed her guilty, I received an email questioning where the domestic violence crowd was before, during and after the trial.
The suggestion being that because this was a case of a woman killing a male partner, the ‘DV’ professionals in the state were not terribly interested.
There was no indication of prior abuse to Roxanne Jeskey by her husband. The judge rejected any suggestion of self-defense as a motive for the murder.
Statistically it will be logged as a domestic violence homicide.
So where were they?
It turns out they were paying attention. They were watching and having discussions, but there were a number of unknown variables, including Roxanne Jeskey’s mental capacity, according to Julia Colpitts, executive director of the Maine Coalition To End Domestic Violence.
Prior to the homicide, it would appear there was no contact regarding the couple with any domestic violence resource center and there was no evidence leading up to the trial about a pattern of domestic violence in the household.'
'The Montana Supreme Court has ordered the reinstatement of charges against a Billings woman who is accused of repeatedly making false rape claims.
Prosecutors believe Christina Nadine Nelson, 23, made several false rape or assault claims between 2009 and 2012.
In addition, there is an arrest warrant issued for Nelson's arrest out of Flathead County in connection to one of the false claims.
Billings detectives learned that a total of five medical rape exams were conducted on Nelson and she made two reports of assault between 2009 and 2012.
"Christina had a motive or pattern of accusing young men that she had dated of raping her and assaulting her when no such rape or assault had occurred," prosecutors state in court documents.
It is unknown if Nelson is in Billings or if she has returned to Germany, where she was born.
After Baugh dismissed the case, Nelson was allowed to travel out of the country.'
'A law graduate faces jail after being found guilty of falsely accusing her former boyfriend of a series of rapes and assaults as an excuse for doing poorly in her barrister training.
The allegations made by Rhiannon Brooker meant Paul Fensome was arrested, charged and held in prison for 37 days.
Following an 11-week trial, the jury of 10 men and two women at Bristol crown court on Thursday found Brooker, who has an eight-month-old child, guilty of perverting the course of justice. She was given bail but could be jailed when she is sentenced later this month.
The campaign group Women Against Rape (War), which has supported Brooker, 30, claimed the police and Crown Prosecution Service put more resources into such cases than into investigating violent crimes including rape.
A War spokesperson said the prosecution of Brooker was "completely disproportionate", adding: "Time and again we see police resources diverted from rape and put into prosecuting women instead."
The jury heard that Brooker, who was living in south Gloucestershire, told fellow students she had been assaulted and raped. She also claimed Fensome had punched her in the ribs when she was pregnant, causing her to lose the baby.
She finally went to the police and made allegations against Fensome. But alibis, evidence from Fensome's phone and his work shift patterns undermined or disproved her accounts. Some of her injuries were judged to have been self-inflicted and the police discontinued their investigations into Fensome and turned their attention on Brooker.'
'The administration’s crucial and contradictory statistics are validated the usual way, by official repetition; Joe Biden has been heard from. The statistics are: One in five women is sexually assaulted while in college, and only 12 percent of assaults are reported. Simple arithmetic demonstrates that if the 12 percent reporting rate is correct, the 20 percent assault rate is preposterous. Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute notes, for example, that in the four years 2009-12 there were 98 reported sexual assaults at Ohio State. That would be 12 percent of 817 total out of a female student population of approximately 28,000, for a sexual assault rate of approximately 2.9 percent — too high but nowhere near 20 percent.
Department of Education lawyers disregard pesky arithmetic and elementary due process. Threatening to withdraw federal funding, DOE mandates adoption of a minimal “preponderance of the evidence” standard when adjudicating sexual assault charges between males and the female “survivors” — note the language of prejudgment. Combine this with capacious definitions of sexual assault that can include not only forcible sexual penetration but also nonconsensual touching. Then add the doctrine that the consent of a female who has been drinking might not protect a male from being found guilty of rape. Then comes costly litigation against institutions that have denied due process to males they accuse of what society considers serious felonies.
Now academia is unhappy about DOE’s plan for government to rate every institution’s educational product. But the professors need not worry. A DOE official says this assessment will be easy: “It’s like rating a blender.” Education, gadgets — what’s the difference?
'According to a now-expelled male student who has filed a Title IX lawsuit against Occidental College, a sociology professor at the Los Angeles liberal arts school believes she knows exactly how to spot a rapist.
This fall, a pseudonymous female student accused the pseudonymous student, John Doe, of rape.
Doe claims the professor, Danielle Dirks, indicated that he “fit the profile of other rapists on campus in that he had a high GPA in high school, was his class valedictorian, was on [a sports] team, and was ‘from a good family,’” reports the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a civil rights organization.
Under pressure from the federal Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to respond to allegations of campus sexual assault (and a lawsuit filed by Gloria Allred), Occidental officials kicked Doe out of school after finding him “responsible” for raping the female student despite a series of text messages that seem to indicate her sexual enthusiasm.
Both students were freshmen. Both were intoxicated.
In the days after the sexual encounter, the female student sought counseling from Occidental employees. Among those employees was Dirks, the professor who, Doe said, believes she knows how to spot a rapist based on his background.
Police investigated the incident, interviewing the students and various witnesses. On Nov. 5, local district attorney Alison A.W. Meyers chose not to prosecute. According to FIRE, she wrote: “Witnesses were interviewed and agreed that the victim and suspect were both drunk, however, that they were both willing participants exercising bad judgment.”
'Former Progressive Democrats minister of state for foreign affairs Liz O’Donnell has said making space for women in politics will mean “unseating” male politicians.
Addressing a National Women’s Council of Ireland conference in Dublin, Ms O’Donnell complimented the Government on introducing a quota law which will halve State funding to parties unless 30 per cent of general election candidates are women.
“Like it or not, making space for women in politics means unseating men. Women tend to do better in smaller parties where there’s space, but if a woman has to undo a man’s position then that’s when it gets tricky – and that’s why it hasn’t happened,” she said.
Ms O’Donnell said she thought the quota law would be a “game-changer”.
She said feminism was needed more than ever, and the debate about abortion legislation last year was “merely a rerun” of debates in previous years.
“If feminism was stronger and completely centred as a part of political ideology in Ireland we would not be dragging ourselves through this tortuous conversation and dialogue about the rights of women in pregnancy,” she said.
Journalist Una Mullally said Ireland had yet to deal sufficiently with the historical abuse of women and their children in religious and State-sponsored institutions.'
'The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights closed a Title IX investigation of Hanover College last month having found insufficient information to confirm the Indiana school retaliated against a reported sexual assault victim.
A student claimed in a federal complaint that the private college, affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, had mishandled her sexual assault report, ignored subsequent harassment from her alleged assailant, and subjected her to retaliation when the accused student filed harassment charges against her. In a letter to the complainant, identified in previous articles only by her first name, Samantha, the college had told her it considered her "not responsible" for harassment but did find her "behavior to be contrary to the principals [sic]" of the college.
The agency notified the college and Samantha it was closing the investigation in a May 20 letter, writing the "College's reasons for its actions with regard to [Samantha's] fall 2013 allegations of retaliatory harassment were not a pretext for retaliation."
In that letter, obtained by The Huffington Post, Hanover Associate Director of Residence Life Tracy Dubs said Samantha's attempts to have the accused punished for a "wide variety of alleged offenses, whether through campus security, the campus conduct review process, his fraternity, the court system, or the Department of Education, do appear to be a type of harassment." But because the college's student handbook does not identify those behaviors as harassment, Dubs said, Samantha cannot be held responsible.
'The parents of a 7-year-old western Pennsylvania boy say he was suspended from school -- and could be expelled -- after telling a teacher Tuesday that he accidentally brought a toy gun to school.
Chris Simak and Jennifer Mathabell say their son, Darin Simak, was suspended from Martin School in New Kensington, Pa.
Mathabell says the boy left his regular book bag at a friend's house, so she packed him another one, not realizing the toy was in it. The boy's parents say Darin immediately gave it to a teacher because he knew it was against the rules.
"He found the toy gun on the outside pocket," Simak told The Valley New Dispatch. "He took it straight to the teacher and said that he wasn't allowed to have it."
He said his son "did the right thing, and we're trying to teach him the right way, and now they're teaching him the wrong way."
'Hundreds of people were killed in raids by Boko Haram Islamic militants in northeast Nigeria's Borno state, on the border with Cameroon, with some sources putting the death toll at 400 to 500.
The attackers, who posed as soldiers, told residents they had come to protect them from Boko Haram and asked them to assemble. They singled out men and boys and opened fire on them, Biye said.
A local leader in Attagara village, who fled to nearby Madagali town in neighboring Adamawa state, said the death toll was staggering.
"The death is unimaginable. We have lost between 400 and 500 people in the attacks in which men and male children were not spared," said the local leader, who asked not to be named for security reasons.'
'This could be controversial: A North Carolina judge has blocked the expulsion of a male Duke University student accused of raping a fellow student. The ruling comes as Education Department efforts to micromanage campus sex crime policies have produced passionate debate over the role and responsibilities of colleges in handling rape and sexual assault claims.
In this case the accused student, Duke senior Lewis McLeod, claims the university expelled him without due process after he was accused of raping a female freshman. Superior Court Judge W. Osmond Smith III found McLeod "demonstrated a likelihood of success" concerning contentions that the school "breached, violated, or otherwise deprived the plaintiff of material rights related to the misconduct allegations against him" and granted a preliminary injunction against the expulsion.
Duke considers sexual conduct to be "without consent" if an individual is "incapacitated due to alcohol or other drugs." But it also notes that "being intoxicated does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain consent," which is a bit of a puzzling standard. "The perspective of a reasonable person will be the basis for determining whether one should have known about the impact of the use of alcohol or drugs on another’s ability to give consent," the student disciplinary code offers.
'The #YesAllWomen hashtag, as summarized here, displays a feminist view of men as being obvious threats to women citing 1 in 6 women being assaulted each year. This statistic is used to assert that 1 in 6 men must therefore be rapists, despite statistical acknowledgement to the contrary. Yet another statistic of 10% is used to state: “Not all Men? Imagine a bowl of M&M’s. 10% are poison. Go ahead and grab a handful. Not all M&M’s are poison!” Feminists tweeted that “Every single woman you know has been sexually harassed” and “Imagine how exhausted I am dealing with sexism and misogyny. Every. Single. Day.” A guide to “Rape Culture” details the many ways women face sexism from cruel, entitled men. For example when holding a conversation with a woman: “If you pursue a conversation when she’s tried to cut it off, you send a message. It is that your desire to speak trumps her right to be left alone.” It argues “Rape culture is telling girls and women to be careful about what you wear, how you wear it, how you carry yourself, where you walk, when you walk there, with whom you walk, whom you trust…” The overall theme is clear: “We refuse to accept that nice guys rape, and they do it often.”
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