Tag: Doctors Without Borders

Silence Is The Enemy Continues

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | September 15, 2009 8:45 am

rape_by_slytherin_prince.pngI started Tuesday by donating last month’s blog proceeds to Doctors Without Borders.

Silence Is The Enemy, which began in June, was only the beginning. It’s one effort in the long and continued crusade to end sexual violence around the world.

Join us on facebook, Twitter, and become a part of our growing coalition. Contribute through blog entries, letters, Op-Eds, donations, and any means you can.

Rage against the silence.


End The Silence And Turn Up Your Speakers!

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | June 30, 2009 9:35 am

pistil1.pngOnce upon a time I was drumming in a pretty sweet band called Pistil with Megan Dawson on bass and Ann Starling and guitar. But they were practicing every week and booking shows around the Triangle, while I was sporadically in town between traveling and work commitments. We agreed that the very talented Ian Kleinfeld should take my place and now Pistil is better than ever…

Since this marks the final day that Silence Is The Enemy is raising funds for Doctors Without Borders, we’ll end the month with a bang–a song about two perspectives of rape called Mouse and Monster from the band. And remember, June was only the beginning. Momentum continues to build and our goal remains to draw attention to sexual abuse globally and encourage everyone to talk about it and act.

Megan explains why she wrote the song:

I’d been reading a lot of justifications for victim blaming, most specifically the term “Gray Rape” at the time.  I was so sick of hearing that there were legitimate reasons, under certain circumstances to coerce, force, or intimidate another person into sex.  There isn’t.  The line is always consent, and if its unclear, there isn’t consent.

In our society, we go around pretending like women bare the burden of sexual restraint, we refuse to place the blame on men to control themselves and allow them room to wiggle their way our of accountability.  Which means that blame falls on women.  I’m sick of feeling like if I dress a certain way, then some men get a free pass to behave a certain way.  I’m sick of feeling like if I drink too much, I am at fault for someone else’s behavior.  I’m sick of being a sexual gatekeeper.  I’m sick of our society not holding men accountable for their actions.  I’m sick of the lack of outrage regarding the made-up concept of “Gray Rape.” I’m sick of patronizing leaders assuming that the answer to rape culture is to corral women into behaving in a certain way.

The song is written from both  a victim and perpetrator’s perspective; from a man who is making all the stereotypical excuses and from a woman who is sick of taking blame.  Its both social commentary and narrative of a rape culture and the ambiguity surrounding it.

Mouse and Monster by Pistil

(lyrics after the jump) Read More


Do You Know The Enemy?

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | June 19, 2009 9:07 am

In just a few weeks Silence Is The Enemy has grown exponentially, with more support than I could have imagined.  The Facebook group alone approaches 5,000 members.  What comes next is up to you…

rape_by_slytherin_prince.pngYou see, June was only the beginning. The goal remains to draw attention to sexual abuse globally and encourage everyone to talk about it and act. We’re not focused on one gender or limited to a single specific region and now we must continue to bang the drum.

The lovely and talented Arikia Millikan of The Millikan Daily has voluntary started to build a website and the bare bones beta page is up and running! As you’ll see, there’s much work to be done, but the reason I want to announce the url now is because so many readers and bloggers are checking back throughout the month. So spread the word:


Participating blogs linked on both sides of the main page demonstrate the strength of support this initiative has already received.  Soon we’ll provide much more information with resources and links, and the site will serve to compile Silence Is The Enemy posts from across the blogosphere. Please join me in thanking Arikia for her wonderful work online in comments!  Readers are also encouraged to leave suggestions and ideas on the design below and we’ll incorporate the best into the website.

In the mean time, several bloggers have pledged to donate their June revenue (based on traffic) to Doctors Without Borders. So remember you can support the effort with each click on:


Thanks to everyone who has already joined the cause and contributed using their words, voice, mouse, and more.  Since I’ve been traveling, the coalition list below is no longer up to date because new bloggers are taking up the call everyday. That said, consider this a sample:

Read More


The Web Just Got Louder

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | June 5, 2009 5:25 pm

My oh my, what a week it’s been….

rape_by_slytherin_prince.pngSilence Is The Enemy has gone international with well over 130 posts in many languages from all sorts of places and people.  I’ve had trouble keeping track of everyone involved in the coalition, so if you don’t see your blog listed here, email me.  The facebook group will soon surpass 4,000 members and our official website is close to launch.

In addition, the number of bloggers donating revenue from June to Doctors Without Borders grows, and since income is determined by traffic, continue contributing with every click to:

The Intersection
On Becoming A Domestic And Laboratory Goddess
The Questionable Authority
Adventures in Ethics and Science
Blog Of The Moderate Left
Seattle Grassroots Examiner
the rugbyologist

Day 5 and the storm against silence has commencedIt’s time to make some noiseSpeak out.

You know what to do.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture, Education

The Coalition Grows…

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | June 2, 2009 9:52 pm

Tremendous thanks to everyone already contributing to Silence is the Enemy through your donations, letters to members of Congress, word of mouth, facebook, articles, and more.  And to those still unsure where to begin, just look to the online coalition so far for inspiration…

Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture, Education

Rage Against The Silence

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | June 2, 2009 8:54 am

I’m encouraged and grateful that so many of you have taken up the call Silence Is The Enemy.

Since launch yesterday, Arikia Millikan has volunteered to create a central website (I’ll share the url when it’s live) and reader Christine set up a facebook group, which already swells with over 1,100 members. There have been a deluge of excellent blog posts, including one by Nicholas Kristof–author of the NYTimes piece that inspired me to act. I’ve been most touched by your emails of personal stories, making it clearer than ever that sexual abuse continues to be dramatically under reported here in the United States as well.

rape_by_slytherin_prince.pngOur blogger coalition grows every hour and more bloggers have joined us in donating all June revenue to Doctors Without Borders. Since income is determined by traffic, readers can contribute with each click to:

The Intersection
On Becoming A Domestic And Laboratory Goddess
The Questionable Authority
Adventures in Ethics and Science
Blog Of The Moderate Left
Seattle Grassroots Examiner

We’ll continue posting stories, updates, and progress (as well as regular Intersection topics) throughout the month. Tremendous thanks to all who have joined the initiative so far.  In less than 24 hours, we’ve started to create momentum.

..and this is only the beginning.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Announcements, Culture, Education

Silence Is The Enemy

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | June 1, 2009 8:52 am

In 2006 I was sexually assaulted.  I never expected to blog about it.

One evening in DC, a stranger grabbed me as I walked from the metro stop to my apartment after work.  I wish I could say I screamed or fought back, but I was too horrified. Instead I could only stare in disbelief at the jackass holding me down. This can’t be happening. In a desperate scramble I somehow managed to break away before it escalated to rape and ran inside my building. He winked and blew a kiss from behind the glass door, as if to say ‘oh well, next time‘. I was the third women in the neighborhood to report a similar story to police in two weeks–also the luckiest.  The experience forever shattered a false sense of security, knowing that to monsters like this man, I’m nothing more than conquest, having no identity beyond what I can potentially provide for them. The reward isn’t about sex–but subjugation and power. And I will not be a silent witness to rape.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Today begins a very important initiative called Silence Is The Enemy to help a generation of young women half a world away.Why?  Because they are our sisters and children–the victims of sexual abuse who don’t have the means to ask for help.  We have power in our words and influence. Along with our audience, we’re able to speak for them.  I’m asking all of you–bloggers, writers, teachers, and concerned citizens–to use whatever platform you have to call for an end to the rape and abuse of women and girls in Liberia and around the world.

rape_by_slytherin_prince.pngIn regions where fighting has formally ended, rape continues to be used as a weapon. As Nicholas Kristof recently wrote from West Africa, ‘it has been easier to get men to relinquish their guns than their sense of sexual entitlement.’ The war has shattered norms, training some men to think that ‘when they want sex, they need simply to overpower a girl.’ An International Rescue Committee survey suggests 12 percent of girls aged 17 and under acknowledged having been sexually abused in some way over the previous 18 months.  Further, of the 275 new sexual violence cases treated Jan-April by Doctors Without Borders, 28 percent involve children aged 4 or younger, and 33 percent involve children aged 5 through 12. That’s 61% age 12 or under.  We read about their plight and see the figures, but it’s so easy to feel helpless to act in isolation. But these are not statistics, they are girls.  Together we can do more.  Mass rape persists because of inertia so let’s create momentum.

The movement began a couple weeks ago after I was feeling particularly outraged after reading Kristof’s terrific NYTimes piece. I wondered aloud to Isis how we might draw attention to the mass rape taking place across the globe. Very soon we began coordinating a blogospheric awareness campaign to say 1) this is happening 2) it’s completely monstrous, and 3) we want change.  But acknowledgment isn’t enough–people have to be motivated to care and act. We want folks thinking about these girls beyond a single morning they read a few coordinated posts.

Silence Is The Enemy was born–so named because we will not be. All through June, I’ll continue posting information, details, benchmarks, and let everyone know about progress made, new initiatives, and stories from the region. I encourage others to do so as possible.  The Intersection, On Becoming A Laboratory And Domestic Goddess, AetiologyBioephemera, Neurotopia, The Questionable Authority, DrugMonkey, Adventure In Ethics And Science, and Sciencewomen will be donating all revenue this month to Doctors Without Borders. The goal is two-fold:  Raising funds and–arguably more importantly–awareness. Since blogging revenue increases with traffic, we hope to get people to keep coming back for more information about what’s going on and thinking about how to make a difference. Do not feel obligated to donate, but it’s one idea. There are many ways to contribute:  Write and email Members of Congress (Congressional Directory here), speak at community meetings, encourage others to get involved, or donate to our chosen charity (Doctors Without Borders). Help us maximize our donations by visiting Isis, Jessica, Tara, Neurotopia, Mike, DrugMonkey, Janet, Sciencewomen and returning here often because every click will help raise money. Spread the word.  We want to make sure elected officials at multiple levels realize this is a global issue that matters to a large voting constituency!

Aside from inaugural posts around the blogosphere, I will keep a growing coalition list linked on the sidebar (as soon as WordPress cooperates) to every blog involved, ways to contribute, helpful urls, examples of letters to Congress, and more. We encourage readers and bloggers to join us, publicize, and speak out in a growing collective voice for those who cannot. Already many science bloggers, social justice groups, writers, and others have agreed take up the call. If you compose a post, make sure to email me at srkirshenbaum@yahoo.com with the link so I can add your blog to our growing membership.  Everyone is encouraged to get involved and dream up creative ways to participate.

Will you join us?

Update 1: The incredible Arikia Millikan of The Millikan Daily has volunteered to create a central hub for posts, news, progress, and more! Will post the site when it’s live…

Update 2: Join The Facebook group

Update 3: Check out all the new blogs now included above that will join us in donating June’s revenue to Doctors Without Borders!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture, Education, Personal

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