"Some time ago, we informed our viewers of a singular action taking place in Portland, Oregon," the Famous Moderator began. "The women's strike, which refers to itself as WAR, still has not let up. In fact, according to our sources, it is spreading nationwide. There is a certain difficulty in judging the extent of the movement, however." The Famous moderator allowed himself a discreet grin. "Our correspondents Jane Kirk and John Cake are in Portland to tell us more."
The picture changed form the Famous Moderator's famous face in the T.V. studio to Jane Kirk, the Portland skyline and threatening rain clouds in the background. "In Southern California it may be sunnier at the moment," Kirk began, and no one with any sense would have denied it, "but Portland is where it's happening, and has been happening now for over three weeks. 'War' continues to determine the political and social life of the city. Despite frequent bouts of chilly, rainy weather, rallies, lectures and concerts are held here in Waterfront Park regularly. Self-help and self-defense courses are given free of charge by movement activists. Volunteer female patrols roam the city streets nightly to insure the safety of the women out late, who, we assume, are participating in the strike. And these patrollers don't even complain of a lack of night-life, because they are on strike anyway. The men are left out in the rain, so to speak.
"These actions are now being imitated all over the country, making the streets of several major cities, notably those on the West Coast, safer than they have been in years. Nowhere, however, is the strike as widespread as in the city where it got started. There are a number of complications in determining the true extent of the strike, however. On the one hand, support of the movement regionally differs widely, and on the other, there appears to be a marked difference along gender lines which transcends regional differences. I asked a number of women here in Portland if they were participating in the strike."
A woman pushing a stroller appeared on the screen, and the disembodied voice of Jane Kirk asked professionally, "Are you participating in the strike?"
"Sure," the woman said. "And I'm going to a self-defense class right now."
The next woman was lugging books under one arm. "Am I ever!" Here several words were deleted. "...need to be taught a lesson!"
"Certainly," said a woman out for a jog in shiny, skin tight spandex and a sweatshirt. "And this city has never been safer."
"Those are just some of the voices from the women's side," Jane Kirk said, reappearing on the screen. "And how does it look on the men's side, John?"
The picture changed to Kirk's male colleague John Cake in front of the Portland Building. "Well, Jane, if statistics are to be believed, then the women who haven't joined the strike must be very busy!" Cake replied, allowing himself a journalistically proper chuckle. "According to surveys taken here in Portland and elsewhere, approximately 90% of women claim to be participating in the strike, while only 10% of the men admit that their partner is. Very few of the men that I was able to interview admitted to being affected by the strike at all. We were able to find one very vehement opponent, however."
"Beep, beep, beep women!" the opponent swore. "They don't know their beep place! A bunch of beep and beep, that's what they are. Beep. If they weren't patrolling the beep streets, I would beep beep beep..."
The man with the mouthful disappeared and Jane Kirk took his place. "Given the attitude of some men, it seems astonishing that police records have shown a dramatic decline in rape cases in the areas where WAR is the strongest. In Portland itself this month there have been none. I talked with several of the organizers of the action about the reasons for their success."
Myrine's beautiful freckled face appeared on the screen. "It's the patrols," she said. "If we weren't doing that, there wouldn't be any difference at all."
Mercy was next, one little boy clinging to each hand. "Men are afraid to admit defeat through their behavior," she stated. "If there were more rapes, it would prove the strike is working and they're getting desperate. They don't want to be shown up by a bunch of women." Mercy smiled.
"Well, a lot of women aren't going out with men right now," Lily said and laughed. "They're here, participating in our workshops. And they're becoming a little more aware and a little more wary."
Lyssa appeared, her head inclined thoughtfully to one side. "Perhaps men are sympathetic. Perhaps they want the voluntary attentions of the women back," she suggested optimistically.
"Whatever the reason may be," Kirk commented, "the strike has taken this city by storm and shaken it up a bit. We were at one of the regular rallies in the park, where a director of the local rape crisis center spoke."
There followed a lengthy excerpt from Carrie's lecture. They had managed to film her from an angle that kept her from being dwarfed by the lectern, and she was very impressive in her somber serenity.
The report finished with Slight of Hand and Diana's hopeful blues.