POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Jun 03, 2015 AT 04:28 IST ,  Edited At: Jun 03, 2015 04:28 IST

Ireland may have said yes to gay marriage but they are still a little behind when it comes to accepting homosexuality among animals.

A "gay" bull who goes by the name Benjy recently made headlines in Ireland when his owner complained that he was not fulfilling his duties at home in County Mayo since he showed little interest in the opposite sex.

The BBC reported:

His (Benjy's) story was picked up by an animal rights group and an online gay daily magazine. A campaign to buy him and give him a new home at the Hillside Sanctuary in Frettenham, Norfolk, followed.

In under a week the campaign raised over £9,000, including a £5,000 donation from Sam Simon, co-creator of the TV cult cartoon The Simpsons.

But now that he has settled in his new home in Hillside Animal Sanctuary, in Norfolk, it seems that Benjy isn't gay after all. He just doesn't like Irish cows very much and prefers the English.

Wendy Valentine the founder of the sanctuary said: "Judging by what he was trying to do the other day with one of the cows... he isn't gay."

"He's a large, gentle animal, he's lovely and he's a very handsome boy, but a big gentle softie," she added.

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POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Jun 03, 2015 AT 04:28 IST, Edited At: Jun 03, 2015 04:28 IST
POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Apr 29, 2015 AT 22:03 IST ,  Edited At: Apr 29, 2015 22:03 IST

An Oxford University student allegedly raped near her family's home in north London earlier this month has struck back with an open letter to her attacker in which she refuses to change her behaviour or to become a victim.

20-year-old Ione Wells waived her right to anonymity with 'A Letter to my Assaulter', saying that she refuses to change her behaviour or to become a victim.

She said that her unnamed assailant, who has been charged with serious sexual assault, had not shaken her faith in community and that there were more good people than bad in the world.

She wrote in the university's 'Cherwell' student newspaper to launch its #NotGuilty campaign, which aims to emphasise that assault is never a product of the victim, their choices, their clothing or their neighbourhood.

Full text of the open letter:

cannot address this letter to you, because I do not know your name.

I only know that you have just been charged with serious sexual assault and prolonged attack of a violent nature.

And I have one question.

When you were caught on CCTV following me through my own neighbourhood from the Tube. When you waited until I was on my own street to approach me. When you clapped your hand around my face until I could not breathe. When you pushed me to my knees until my face bled. When I wrestled with your hand just enough so that I could scream.

When you dragged me by my hair, and when you smashed my head against the pavement and told me to stop screaming for help. When my neighbour saw you from her window and shouted at you, and you looked her in the eye and carried on kicking me in the back and neck.

When you tore my bra in half from the sheer force with which you grabbed my breast. When you didn’t reach once for my belongings because you wanted my body. When you failed to have my body because all my neighbours and family came out, and you saw them face-to-face.

When CCTV caught you running away and then following another woman twenty minutes later, from the same station, before you were arrested. When I was in the police station until 5am, while you were four floors below me in custody. When I had to hand over my clothes and photographs of the marks and cuts on my naked body to forensic teams.

Did you ever think of the people in your life?

I don’t know who the people in your life are. I don’t know anything about you.

But I do know this: you did not just attack me that night. 

I am a daughter. I am a friend. I am a girlfriend. I am a pupil. I am a cousin. I am a niece. I am a neighbour. I am the employee who served everyone down the road coffee in the café under the railway.

All the people who form those relations to me make up my community and you assaulted every single one of them. You violated the truth that I will never cease to fight for and which all of those people represent: that there are infinitely more good people in the world than bad.

This letter is not really for you at all, but for all the victims of attempted or perpetrated serious sexual assault and every member of their communities.

I’m sure you remember the 7/7 bombings. I’m also sure you’ll remember how the terrorists did not win, because the whole community of London got back on the Tube the next day. You’ve carried out your attack, but now I’m getting back on my Tube.

My community will not feel we are unsafe walking back home after dark. We will get on the last train home and we will walk up our streets alone, because we will not submit to the idea that we are putting ourselves in danger in doing so.

We will continue to come together, like an army, when any member of our community is threatened.

This is a fight you will not win.

Community is a force we all underestimate. We get our papers every day from the same newsagents, we wave to the same woman walking her dog in the park, we sit next to the same commuters each day.

Every individual we know and care about may take up no more than a few seconds of each day, but they make up a huge proportion of our lives. Somebody even once told me that, however unfamiliar they appear, the faces of our dreams are always faces we have seen before.

Our community is embedded in our psyche. You, my attacker, have not proved any weakness in me, or my actions, but only demonstrated the solidarity of humanity.

As you sit awaiting trial, I hope that you do not just think about what you have done. I hope you think about community. Your community – even if you can’t see it around you every day. It is there. It is everywhere.

You underestimated mine. Or should I say ours? I could say something along the lines of, ‘Imagine if it had been a member of your community,’ but instead let me say this.

There are no boundaries to community; there are only exceptions, and you are one of them.

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POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Apr 29, 2015 AT 22:03 IST, Edited At: Apr 29, 2015 22:03 IST
POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Apr 24, 2015 AT 21:04 IST ,  Edited At: Apr 24, 2015 21:04 IST

Britain's Conservative Party, in a pretty much desperate attempt to woo the ever increasing India-origin voters in the run up to the May 7 general elections has come up with a piece offering. A song in Hindi. 

Commissioned by a group that calls itself the 'Conservative friends of India', the song called 'Neela Hai Aasma' features Cameron doing all sorts of "India" things, which needless to say wreak a little of cultural appropriation, against a very blue London sky, so unnaturally blue that the top part of Big Ben appears blue as well.

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POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Apr 24, 2015 AT 21:04 IST, Edited At: Apr 24, 2015 21:04 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Apr 08, 2013 AT 23:23 IST ,  Edited At: Apr 08, 2013 23:23 IST

The Iron Lady managed to remain divisive in her death as well, just as she was in her prime during her primeministership when her privatisation policy, leading to confrontation with striking miners, and free-market politics transformed Britain in the 1980s. While tributes poured in from various quarters, including from heads of states and even British Labour party members, there were enough voices of dissent too on Twitter:

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Apr 08, 2013 AT 23:23 IST, Edited At: Apr 08, 2013 23:23 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Jan 01, 2013 AT 00:59 IST ,  Edited At: Jan 01, 2013 00:59 IST

The shocking gang-rape has been making news not only in India. In London press, Libby Purves writes in the Times: Indian women need a cultural earthquake :

Britain, in particular, tends to sentimentality about India and it has been easy, despite brave voices from within the country, to ignore the ugly faultline in the world’s biggest democracy. For murderous, hyena-like male contempt is a norm here too. Despite its modernisations, the country has taken little care to promote serious cultural change where women are concerned. A newspaper editorial there charitably describes a “twilight zone” where traditional social and religious norms are fading “while modern values based on individual liberty have not yet gained acceptance”.

But as a corrective for just this sort of view, Owen Jones had pointed out in the Independent a couple of days earlier: Sexual violence is not a cultural phenomenon in India - it is endemic everywhere:

But, in the West, Damini’s death has triggered a different response: a sense that this is an Indian-specific problem. “The crime has highlighted the prevalence of sex attacks in India,” says the Daily Telegraph; “India tries to move beyond its rape culture,” says Reuters. Again, it’s comforting to think that this is someone else’s problem, a particular scandal that afflicts a supposedly backward nation. It is an assumption that is as wrong as it is dangerous.

This is what is echoed in Emer O'Toole's widely cited article in the Guardian where she offers a critique of the press coverage ("commentators here are using the event to simultaneously demonise Indian society, lionise our own, and minimise the enormity of western rape culture"): Delhi gang-rape: look westward in disgust

Neatly excised from her account however is the relationship between poverty, lack of education and repressive attitudes towards women, and, by extension, the role of Europe in creating and sustaining poverty in its former colonies. Attitudes towards women in the east were once used by colonialists to, first, prop up the logic of cultural superiority that justified unequal power relations (the "white man's burden") and second, silence feminists working back in the west by telling them that, comparatively, they had nothing to complain about...

Elsewhere, the message is subtler, but a misplaced sense of cultural superiority shines through. For example, this BBC article states, as if shocking, the statistic that a woman is raped in Delhi every 14 hours. That equates to 625 a year. Yet in England and Wales, which has a population about 3.5 times that of Delhi, we find a figure for recorded rapes of women that is proportionately four times larger: 9,509. 

Heather Timmons and Sruthi Gottipati in the New York Times: Indian Women March: ‘That Girl Could Have Been Any One of Us’

The government does not keep statistics on gang rape, but over all, rapes increased 25 percent from 2006 to 2011. More than 600 rapes were reported in New Delhi alone in 2012. So far, only one attack has resulted in a conviction.

Sociologists and crime experts say the attacks are the result of deeply entrenched misogynistic attitudes and the rising visibility of women, underpinned by long-term demographic trends in India.

After years of aborting female fetuses, a practice that is still on the rise in some areas because of a cultural preference for male children, India has about 15 million “extra” men between the ages of 15 and 35, the range when men are most likely to commit crimes. By 2020, those “extra” men will have doubled to 30 million.

“There is a strong correlation between masculinized sex ratios and higher rates of violent crime against women,” said Valerie M. Hudson, a co-author of “Bare Branches: The Security Implications of Asia’s Surplus Male Population.” Men who do not have wives and families often gather in packs, Ms. Hudson argues, and then commit more gruesome and violent crimes than they would on their own.

Others point to the gains that women have made as triggers for an increase in violent crimes. “Women are rising in society and fighting for equal space, and these crimes are almost like a backlash,” said Vijay Raghavan, chairman of the Center for Criminology and Justice at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai. If poverty and unemployment were the only reason for these crimes, rates would already be much higher, he said, because both are constants in India.

Meanwhile, in the Hindu, Ananth Krishnan writes: In China, Delhi gang rape spurs online debate, then censorship:

The incident and the protests in New Delhi in recent days have received wide attention in China. While the brutal attack was initially highlighted by Communist Party-run outlets as indicative of the failures of India’s democratic system to ensure stability, the following protests in New Delhi triggered calls from pro-reform bloggers for the Chinese government to learn from India and to allow the public to express its voice.

The rape case was one of the most discussed topics in Chinese microblogs over the past week, prompting thousands of posts and comments. By Sunday, however, the authorities appeared to move to limit the debate: on Monday, a search for the topic triggered a message on Sina Weibo – a popular Twitter-equivalent used by more than 300 million people – saying the results could not be displayed according to regulations. The message is usually seen as an indicator of a topic being censored by the authorities.

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FILED IN:  Media|Rape|Women|Britain|China
POSTED BY Buzz ON Jan 01, 2013 AT 00:59 IST, Edited At: Jan 01, 2013 00:59 IST
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