October 2002 by Letha Dawson Scanzoni
- The World Wide Web and You: Warning about another nasty trick
- Resources for Christian Living: Discipleship; Soul Nourishment; Women Mystics
- Special Topic: Violence against women, Part 2
- Current Issues: Recent news about women
Three points to keep in mind in using “Web Explorations for Christian Feminists”:
1. When you click on the links below (words underlined in a contrasting color) you’ll be taken outside the EEWC site. In most cases, you can come back to the EEWC website by clicking on the back button on the toolbar at the top of the screen. (In some cases, when you click on a link taking you to an external site, a new window opens up and the back button won’t take you back to the site you just left. In such cases, try clicking on the X in the upper right corner of the new window to close it. You’ll find yourself back at the EEWC site — which was there the whole time, but underneath the new site’s window.)
2. Since the links take you outside the EEWC website, the Evangelical and Ecumenical Women’s Caucus cannot be responsible for their content. The inclusion in this column of any particular external link doesn’t necessarily mean EEWC endorses all or any of the content you may find on that site. A listing under “Web Explorations” only means it’s a website that I think you’ll find of interest.
3. All of the “Web Explorations for Christian Feminists” columns are archived, so be sure to visit the archives from time to time to check out tips and links in previous columns.
Warning about another nasty trick
In past columns, we’ve not only looked at the many positives offered by the World Wide Web, but we’ve also examined examples of annoying and undesirable (or worse!) Internet use — such things as spreading viruses, cluttering our e-mail boxes with unwanted advertising (spam), perpetrating hoaxes and spreading urban legends, trying to manipulate us into passing on chain letters, “mouse-trapping” in advertising, and “cyber-napping” domain names.
Now comes along another nasty trick: fooling people into thinking they’re receiving an e-mail greeting card from a friend, only to find that they’ve been tricked by pornography marketers who have not only invaded their computer but have stolen their e-mail address book to send out similar deceptive notices to everyone on the innocent victim’s address list. Read about it in this article from CNN news.
(This trickery is really unfortunate because there are a number of legitimate e-greeting card companies that make sending and receiving e-cards a convenient way of keeping in touch with friends, family, and colleagues. We just have to become more aware of which are safe and which are suspicious. And we can take the technical precautions mentioned in the article.)
Those who attended the 2002 EEWC Conference in Indianapolis were deeply moved by the speech presented by DeeDee Rischer, co-editor of The Other Side Magazine. Portions of that speech were adapted for an article entitled, “Living into Hard Choices” and published in the November-December, 2002 issue of The Other Side (Dee Dee has also prepared a companion article, based on other parts of her speech, to be published in our own EEWC Update. Watch for it on this site as well.)
Souls, like bodies, need nourishing; so you might find some useful ideas for your own life by reading “Fifty ways to nourish your soul” compiled by Rosemary Cunningham and published in the spring, 2002 issue of Spirituality and Health. And for more food for thought and spiritual nourishment, check out “Confessions of a deep Catholic” by Thomas Moore in the same issue.
Recently, I’ve been finding nourishment for my own soul by listening to the latest CD by Kathryn Christian, entitled “Come, Holy Mother.” All of us who attended the last three EEWC biennial conferences were deeply moved and inspired as Kathryn led the music. Her story (and that of her spouse Brian) was featured in a 2-part series in EEWC Update in the fall, 2000 and winter, 2000issues.
Kathryn’s music is based primarily on passages of Scripture and on the writings of the great Christian women mystics, with their emphasis on communion with God and deep trust in God’s loving care and God’s faithfulness which banishes our fears. Her songs are in the spirit of Isaiah 66:13, calling our attention to the motherly love of God, an emphasis that has too often been neglected as the church has concentrated on the analogy of fatherhood alone. If you’re interested in receiving a listing of the songs and other information, you can e-mail Kathryn at .
And if you’d like to know more about the medieval mystics, check out “Why read the mystics?“ as well as specific sites on such women as Julian of Norwich, Catherine of Sienna, Hildegard of Bingen,Teresa of Avilon, and Mechtild of Magdeburg.
Violence Against Women (second of 2 parts)
In the August-September issue of “Web Explorations for Christian Feminists,” we looked together at websites that increased our awareness of violence against women as a group globally – in other words a macro view. We looked at social customs that have demanded that women be punished for certain alleged infractions (a recently reported example being “stove deaths,” the name human rights workers in Pakistan use for incidents in which women are burned alive by relatives who then claim the deaths were caused by exploding stoves).
This time, we’ll be taking a micro view and looking at violence closer to home — abusive behavior one-on-one in intimate relationships. To set the stage, here is a poem about a tragic victim, entitled “Another Woman.” It helps us see and feel the devastating effects of extreme violence “up close and personal.”
The Feminist Majority Foundation has compiled a disturbing list of facts about domestic violence that indicates the extent of the problem and why it needs to be taken seriously.
And Amnesty International regards the violence that many women endure in their intimate-partner relationships as nothing less than torture.
Violence against women in domestic relationships doesn’t happen only in heterosexual marriages; it can happen in lesbian relationships, too. And it can happen in dating relationships. Violence in intimate relationships is really about power and control.
One of the most helpful sites I’ve found on the Web that addresses all these concerns is an award winning site called “When Love Hurts“, which comes from the Domestic Violence and Incest Resource Center in Victoria, Australia. “When Love Hurts” is designed to help young women especially to understand what abuse is in a relationship and why it happens. The site also provides a checklist of warning signs of an abusive relationship, help on building self-esteem, and a checklist showing what comprises respect in a relationship.
The American Psychological Association (APA) has excellent online materials on all types of domestic violence, such as intimate partner violence, child abuse, and elder abuse. Check out the APA’s online pamphlet especially for teenagers entitled,”Love Doesn’t Have to Hurt.” And be sure to read about the APA program called Adults and Children Together (ACT) — Against Violence and the very helpful materials online there.
The Alabama Coalition against Domestic Violence is another source of useful material, including a graphic of the “wheel of violence” used by many counselors in explaining the cycle of violence. The tragic outcome of such a cycle can be seen in the poem, “I Got Flowers Today.” (It’s at the bottom of the page so be sure to scroll down when you go to this site.)
You might also want to check the Domestic violence handbook and the resources available through Violence Against Women Online Resources, which is a cooperative project of the Office on Violence Against Women (U.S. Department of Justice) and the Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse.
Women with disabilities are especially vulnerable to violence, including violence in intimate relationships. You can read articles about various aspects of this problem in a special online issue of Impact, the publication of the Institute for Community Integration. It may be an eye-opener (and, hopefully, a heart-opener and empathy builder). Be sure to read the first article, “You’re My Pretty Bird in a Cage”: Disability, Domestic Violence, and Survival,” written by a survivor who is now a domestic violence counselor working with disability services.
Emotional abuse is a form of abuse that is often downplayed and not recognized as the violence it is. Yet it causes much pain and psychological damage. Check out these sites for valuable information on emotional abuse:
“But He Never Hit me,” — a resource from Virginians against Domestic Violence with helpful information
Education Wife Assault. This Canadian website has a menu where you can click on numerous topics relating to abuse in intimate relationships, including emotional abuse in both heterosexual and same-sex relationships. Just click on any subject of interest on the menu. This site also has a link telling viewers how to decrease chances that anyone else who uses the computer will know they visited there — a precaution especially helpful for those already in an abusive relationship and who might face serious harm if their research on the topic were discovered by the perpetrator.
Religion is another topic that can’t be ignored in any discussion of women and violence. Various communities of faith are recognizing that violence against women not only occurs among their membership but is sometimes justified by interpretations of the Bible and the Quran. Check out these websites to see some perspectives from Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
“The Legitimation of Abuse against Women in Christianity,” an article by Dr. Mary Ann Rossi originally published in Feminist Theology and reprinted with permission on the Women Priests.org website.
“Taking Domestic Violence to Task” an article from Jewish Action, the magazine of the Orthodox Union. Be sure to read the side bar, “Sandie’s Story” as well as the article.
“Violence against Women” Suggestions for a group discussion and text study from the World Union of Jewish Students website.
“Quranic Perspective on Wife beating and Abuse” — an Islamic perspective.
Finally, although I’ve mentioned it in previous columns, be sure to check out the website of the Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence and explore its many outstanding resources available online. You’ll find wise and sensitive discussions of religious questions and concerns relating to sexual and domestic violence. The Center’s purpose is education and prevention.
Recent news about women
In case you missed them, here are some stories about women in the news during October and November 2002.
An update on women in Afghanistan since the overthrow of Taliban
San Francisco Chronicle, October 14, 2002
For the first time, women in Bahrain vote and run for office
(Source: BBC, October 31, 2002)
Iran’s first woman bus driver
(Source: BBC, Nov. 2, 2002)
Arab Women’s Summit
(Source: BBC, November 4, 2002)
Women candidates face uphill battle in politics
(Source: Feminist Majority, November 13, 2002)
Nancy Pelosi becomes “highest ranking woman in 213- year history of Congress”
(Source: San Francisco Chronicle, November 15, 2002)
That’s all for this time. I hope you’ll find your explorations enjoyable and informative and will come back for the next edition.
Your Web Explorations tour guide,
Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Editor, EEWC Update
© 2002 Evangelical and Ecumenical Women’s Caucus