December 10, 2008 New York Times Can Find Terror for Women in the U.S.

December 10, 2008 New York Times Can Find Terror for Women in the U.S.

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In a commentary on On The Issues Magazine,, publisher and editor-in-chief Merle Hoffman commented on a recent column by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times, “Terrorism That’s Personal,” filed from Islamabad. It describes horrific acid attacks that leave women disfigured, blind and outcast.

But, notes Hoffman, Kristof didn’t have to travel to Asia to learn about the domestic terrorism commonly used to subjugate women. And he needn’t fixate on acid as the only weapon in the arsenal of terrorism deployed against women.

“Feminists have identified for years the dangers that women face. That’s what led us to create What Is Terror for Women (and what can we do about it), the current edition of On The Issues Magazine. “We consciously wanted to turn around the lens of the “war on terror” to women’s lives. We collected articles, art, poetry that described a stunning range of methods used to terrorize women — from rape and incest to honor killings, deprivations of healthcare, stigma, harassment, attacks on loved pets, murders of abortion providers, murders of women,” writes Hoffman.

Mahin Hassibi introduced the topic by providing historical and sociological context. “Even though different societies and different moral, religious and philosophical systems have attempted harm reduction to women through rules of conduct, legal limits and religious sanctions, no woman can truly feel safe from the vicissitudes of terror experienced by her sex. Any woman who has found herself in position to warn a female child about the dangers represented by men realizes this terror.”

In one article, The War I Know: Sidelined A to Z, playwright Carolyn Gage recalls being asked in 2003 to comment on how the war in Iraq affected her, so she scrolled the list of her friends and acquaintances, finding women battling rape, trauma from incest, domestic violence, and more.

In another story, Carol J. Adams describes how male batterers gain dominion and control over women by brutalizing the pets they love.

In the 16 years of the print publication of On The Issues Magazine (1983-1998), articles available for free Online, writers such as Charlotte Bunch, Jan Goodwin, Andrea Peyser, Betsy Swart and Jean Bethke Elshtain discussed the multitude of ways that terrorism diminished women’s lives.

“While it is gratifying to know that the Times brought information about the atrocities against women to their wide readership, the solutions, most likely, will be left to the few — the feminists who have dissected the topic for years,” writes Hoffman.

Read the full commentary by Hoffman in the Cafe of On The Issues Magazine.


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“Merle Hoffman has always known that in a democracy, we each have decision-making power over the fate of our own bodies. She is a national hero for us all.” —Gloria Steinem

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