Diana, Huntress of Bus Drivers

Vagina News usually covers the United States, simply because that’s where your host lives, and the US provides more than enough that warrants attention. But we’re breaking that rule today.

I’ve been watching The Bridge, a drama about US and Mexico police working together to solve cases involving the disappearance and murder of several women in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. It’s based in truth; Ciudad Juarez has been known for years as the “capital of murdered women”; home to the disappearance, rape, torture, and/or murder of hundreds of women since 1993, with little effort by law enforcement to catch the perpetrators. Many activists and others believe the Juarez murders are an example of femicide, or the killing of females by males because they are females. (The term is also used to refer to the impunity with with perpetrators are allowed to operate.)

The area is home to dozens of factories and assembly plants – of maquilas – owned and operated by multinational corporations, that draw women from all over Mexico who are looking for work; many of the victims were employees. The maquilas often operate 24 hours a day, and the women employed there live in remote areas with no electricity or public transportation, so they often wait in dark, isolated areas for a factory bus.  There have been several theories and arrests over the years, one of the most recent being that the women of Juarez are being preyed upon by factory bus drivers. Which brings us to last week.

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Sexual assault in the military, Part 2

On Saturday, we talked about the military’s failure to address the staggering issue of sexual assault among service-members. 

Now let’s talk about their failure to respond to military sexual assault once it’s happened.

– As we’ve discussed before, military health insurance (or
TRICARE) does not cover abortion, even in cases of rape. In many military
medical facilities, especially in combat zones, abortion services are
unavailable even to women willing to pay out-of-pocket. The Shaheen Amendment
would fix this, but House Republicans have blocked it. Google “Shaheen
Amendment” or click here to learn more.

– Sexism is baked into the benefits process. PTSD can
qualify a veteran for disability benefits, and the amount of the benefit is
determined by Veterans Affairs Department. Marine Capt. Anu Bhagwati, executive
director of the Service Women’s Action Network, says “Women were more likely
to receive a 10% to 30% rating and men were more likely to receive a 70% to
100% disability rating.” 

From 2008 to 2010, only 32% of PTSD claims stemming from
military sexual assault were approved for benefits by the Department of
Veterans Affairs – that’s compared to 53% of all other PTSD claims. Part of the
problem is that victims are required to prove the attack happened during their
service in order to receive benefits – hard to do if the person you’d have to
report to was your attacker.