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Violence Against Women_Exanding the Coverage

mgarcias Icon Posted by michelle garcia

June 22nd, 2010

The game just ended. Uruguay vs Mexico, the score 1-0. For women, there are other terrifying numbers, one in four South Africa men admitted to having raped a woman. How about 40,000? That was the estimated number of prostitutes expected to travel to South Africa for the month-long global sportsfest.

I might not have taken note of the 40k number if it had not been for the one photograph last year. Just one photo, that’s all it took to trigger a rush of questions in my mind. The New York Times had, on page 2 published a photograph taken with a cell phone of a woman gang raped after Guinea erupted in chaos. I couldn’t believe such a thing and then I couldn’t figure out what I couldn’t believe– that it happened in public, that it was caught by phone, or that the NYT had published the photo. Was this a good thing or a bad thing? I expected a huge outcry in response and perhaps there was one but it didn’t reach my ears. Even so, the photo along with stories of the rape of U.S. female soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan by their fellow comrades forced my attention on the question of violence against women and rape as a tool of war.

My initial attempt to report on this crisis focused on the common themes in these stories-concepts of masculinity as tied to violence against women. And this, led me to Jimmie Briggs, journalist and co-founder of Man Up. I produced this report for Independent Sources, a program on CUNY TV on his personal journey and his aspirations for Man UP, a youth targeted campaign to work with men and boys to end violence against women, which is expected to launch with a summit in South Africa during the World Cup. I was interested in his experience of war and his own sense of personal redemption through his work to address the violence that men inflict on women. I was struck by how he tied together his personal sense of manhood and masculinity with the need to end the violence, physical, institutional and verbal directed at women by men. What does it take to be a man?

This is just the beginning. Please consider this an invitation to please send your suggestions and thoughts about how to approach this story to me as I research and report out a series of segments that can be produced from New York City. I appreciate your time. mgarcia@cuny.tv

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