The Liz Library presents Irene Stuber's Women of Achievement

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July 11

Georgine Barrymore
Georgine Barrymore

Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber.

New Day in Confronting the Evil of Rape


QUOTES by Jean Baker Miller.

"We Will Not Break Down the Stigma Until More Women Take Public Stands..."

A new day in confronting the evil of rape was begun July 11, 1989, when the Des Moines (Iowa) Register, editor Geneva Overholser questioned whether the media should publish the names of rape victims.
      Noting that it was her paper's policy not to publish this information, Ms. Overholser explained why the policy troubled her:
      "I believe that we will not break down the stigma (associated with being a victim of rape) until more and more women take public stands... Rape is an American shame. Our society needs to see that and attend to it, not hide it or hush it up."
      She urged women
"who have suffered this awful crime and attendant injustice to speak out." On February 25 of the following year, the first of five articles by Jane Schorer appeared in the Register that chronicled the abduction and rape of Nancy Ziegenmeyer (who subsequently wrote a compelling book, Taking Back My Life, 1992, about her experiences). The series won a Pulitzer Prize for the Register. Nancy Ziegenmeyer says that each rape victim must choose whether she comes forward or not, and she must choose the time. She emphasized that every woman recovers at a different rate.
      Of course there are different degrees and severity of rapes ranging from a relatively pain-free type of vaginal intercourse to brutalities and humiliations that defy description. Often the rapists are not able to perform without extreme violence, fellatio, sodomy, etc. A horrible percentage of women are physically ruined for life because of beatings of their faces and bodies, knife cuts, and biting as well as unspeakable horrors to their genitalia. Rape is an act of violence, not sex or love and that can be seen in the ruined lives of its victims.

[Postscript: The Ziegenmeyer book is extremely moving and a must read. Geneva Overholser resigned from the Register over a dispute regarding the lowering of salaries of employees as well as some philosophical differences. She is now with the Washington Post.
      GO is the younger sister of Nannerl Overholser Keohane, president of Duke University, the former president of Wellesley College - and a member of the Women's Hall of Fame.
      (It is the opinion of the author of WOA that rape is the shame of the man, not the woman, and that society should offer him up as a despicable creature and not make excuses for him. Not every abused person abuses... it is a choice.) Later, Ziegenmeyer approved a TV telling of her story that did not satisfy her. She also began to question her treatment at the hands of the Des Moines paper.]

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Event 07-11-1656: After five weeks of imprisonment to see if they were witches, the first two followers of the Quaker faith to come to the English Colonies in the Western Hemisphere - Ann Austin and Mary Fisher - were allowed into Massachusetts Colony.
      Their books were burned by the local hangman before their release. The Puritans came to America to find religious freedom for themselves and refused to extend it to others.

B. 07-11-1819, Susan Bogert Warner - remarkably prolific and popular author said to be the first U.S. author to sell a million copies of a book. SBW collaborated on several with her sister Anna Bartlett Warner (08-31-1827) also a successful writer.

B. 07-11-1839, Clara Adams-Ender - U.S. nurse who became the first black woman to be made Chief, Department of Nursing, Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

B. 07-11-1854, Georgiana Emma Drew Barrymore, U.S. actor. Her remarkable and very distinguished stage career was interrupted three times to birth Lionel, Ethel, and John, all distinguished actors who continued the tradition of the "royal family of the American stage." Today's movie star Drew Barrymore is a direct descendant.

B. 07-11-1871, Edith Rickert - U.S. author. She worked menial jobs to finance her education to a Ph.D. She instructed English at Vassar, became becoming a full professor at the University of Chicago.
      During World War I she worked as a decoder. ER authored several novels and a number of definitive texts.

B. 07-11-1887, Ellen Sullivan Woodward - U.S. federal official and state legislator.

Event 07-11-1953: France E. Willis became the first U.S. woman career diplomat to be appointed an ambassador. She was the third woman ambassador in U.S. history. FEW served in Switzerland during the mid 1950s.

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      "Women will not advance except by joining together in cooperative action. What has not been as clear is that no other group, so far, has had the benefit of women's leadership, the advantage of women's deep and special strengths. Most of these strengths have been hidden in this culture, and hidden from women themselves."

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© 1990-2006 Irene Stuber, Hot Springs National Park, AR 71902. Originally web-published at We are indebted to Irene Stuber for compiling this collection and for granting us permission to make it available again. The text of the documents may be freely copied for nonprofit educational use. Except as otherwise noted, all contents in this collection are © 1998-2009 the liz library.  All rights reserved. This site is hosted and maintained by the liz library.