26 Abuse of Women News Articles
for June 2018
Click on the links below to get the full story from its source
6-28-18 Is India really the most dangerous country for women?
A survey conducted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation has ranked India as the world's most dangerous country for women, ahead of Afghanistan, Syria and Saudi Arabia. But is this really true? The poll surveyed 548 experts on six different indices - healthcare, discrimination, cultural traditions, sexual and non-sexual violence, and human trafficking. They were first asked to name the five most dangerous countries from the list of 193 United Nations member states. And then they were asked to name the worst country in each of the above categories. India topped three - cultural traditions, sexual violence and human trafficking. A similar poll seven years ago had ranked India fourth, with Afghanistan top of the list. The new survey has been criticised in India, with many questioning how countries like Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, which grant far fewer rights to women, managed to perform better. The country's National Commission for Women rejected it outright, saying that countries where women could not speak out had done better. They also pointed out that rape, harassment and other forms of violence against women appear to have risen in India because more cases are being reported, driven by public outrage. The Ministry of Women and Child Development said in a statement that using "an opinion poll to peg India as the most dangerous country for women is clearly an effort to malign the nation and draw attention away from real improvements seen in recent years".(Webmaster's comment: America has over twice the number of reported rapes as India and only 1/4 the number of people. The rape rate in American is 9 times that of India!)
6-28-18 'Voodoo' nurse Josephine Iyamu guilty of sex trafficking
A British nurse has been convicted of trafficking five Nigerian women into Germany to work as prostitutes after subjecting them to voodoo rituals. Josephine Iyamu forced the women to swear oaths to hand over money to her during "juju" ceremonies. Iyamu, 51, formerly of Bermondsey, was convicted of five counts of arranging or facilitating travel for sexual exploitation at Birmingham Crown Court. Jurors also found her guilty of perverting the course of justice. The voodoo rituals saw the women forced to eat chicken hearts, drink blood containing worms, and have powder rubbed into cuts, the court heard. The case is the first in England and Wales in which a British citizen has been prosecuted for sexual trafficking offences committed outside the UK. Her husband, 60-year-old Efe Ali-Imaghodor, was acquitted of doing acts intending to pervert the course of justice. Iyamu declared a modest income of around £14,500 in 2016/17 from her work as an NHS agency nurse, the court heard. But after her arrest last year investigators found she was able to afford to spend thousands on air travel and a large home in Benin City, Nigeria. Prosecutor Simon Davis said the voodoo rituals gave Iyamu psychological control over the women. The court heard Iyamu was "willing to put the women at risk of serious injury and or death as they made their journey from Nigeria to Europe". They were too afraid to challenge her or fail to pay her back tens of thousands of Euros she charged them to be trafficked into Germany, the court was told. Opening the case, Mr Davis said: "The debts incurred by the women were enforced through fear.
6-27-18 50 Cent mocks Terry Crews over sexual assault claims
50 Cent is facing a backlash after mocking a Brooklyn Nine-Nine star for speaking out about sexual assault. Terry Crews had just given an emotional speech to US politicians where he talked about being "groped" by a Hollywood agent in 2016. 50 Cent then posted a photo - which has since been deleted - showing how muscular the actor is with the caption: "I got raped, my wife just watched." Fans have called the rapper's post "disgusting". Terry Crews, a former American football player, was appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee to back new laws for sexual assault victims. "I'm not a small or insecure man," he said. "But, in that moment... I've never felt more emasculated. "The assault lasted only minutes, but what he was effectively telling me while he held my genitals in his hand, was that he held the power - that he was in control. "This is how toxic masculinity permeates culture." He explained that, in the aftermath, he was told "over and over that this was not abuse, that this was just a joke, that this was just horseplay". But he now knows that "one man's horseplay is another man's humiliation." It's not the first time the star has gone public with his story - he originally came forward last year in the wake of allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. But this speech was to politicians trying to work out how best to implement a new set of rules called the Survivors' Bill of Rights Act, designed to better protect sexual assault victims. "Senator, as a black man in America you only have a few shots at success," he answered. "I have seen many, many young black men who were provoked into violence and they are in prison, or they were killed."
6-27-18 Spain 'new wolf pack' gang held over Gran Canaria sex attack
Four men and a boy have been detained by Spanish police over a sexual assault on a girl at a tourist resort on the island of Gran Canaria. Reports said the group had dubbed themselves "new wolf pack", after a notorious gang attack on a young woman that has shocked Spain. The five men in that case were cleared of rape but given jail terms for sexual abuse and released on bail last Friday. Protests took place across Spain in response to the decision to free them. The latest suspects are being held at a police station in the coastal town of Maspalomas, but police have given few details about the incident in the south of the island on Saturday night. According to Spanish media, the group had dubbed themselves while in detention as "la nueva manada" (new wolf pack), directly linking their actions to the earlier case that took place at the San Fermín bull-running festival in Pamplona in July 2016. In the Pamplona attack the gang had discussed their rape plans in a Whatsapp group they had named "la manada". In common with the five men who attacked an 18-year-old in 2016, the suspects on Gran Canaria were said to have filmed their assault on at least one mobile phone. Investigators were trying to find out if they had drugged the girl in advance. Women's groups have condemned the latest reports as both a consequence of media coverage of the initial Pamplona attack but also of the way victims are treated by the Spanish judicial system. Many saw the attack, one day after the Pamplona gang were freed on bail, as a direct result of the five Pamplona attackers being released.
6-26-18 World Cup reporter Julia Guimaraes' fury at on-camera kiss attempt
A Brazilian sports reporter fought back after a man tried to kiss her while she was doing a live report from the World Cup in Russia. Julia Guimaraes was in Yekaterinburg on Sunday at the Japan v Senegal match when a man approached her and tried to kiss her while she was on air. She dodged the kiss, and told him never to behave like that towards a woman. Last week, a Colombian reporter in Moscow was groped live on air at the tournament. "Don't do this! Never do this again," Ms Guimaraes shouted at the man, who can be heard apologising in the video. "Don't do this, I don't allow you to do this, never, OK? This is not polite, this is not right. "Never do this to a woman, OK? Respect." The TV Globo and SportTV journalist tweeted that she had never experienced this in Brazil, but that it had happened twice to her in Russia during the tournament. She told Globo Esporte the incident was "awful" and made her feel "helpless, vulnerable". "This time, I responded but it's sad people don't understand why people feel they have the right to do that." She said she had been harassed during the opening game of the World Cup between Russia and Egypt in Moscow. In March, female Brazilian sports reporters spoke out about the sexual harassment they suffer in the course of their work.
6-26-18 South Korea revenge porn: Sora owner arrested
Police in South Korea have arrested one of the owners of a notorious revenge porn site banned in 2016. Sora.net had more than a million users and hosted thousands of videos taken and shared without the knowledge or consent of the women featured. Korean police say the website's owners made money from illegal brothel and gambling ads on the site. But the suspect, surnamed Song, has denied this, saying the site's users created the illegal content. Producing and disseminating pornography is illegal in South Korea. Song has been charged under the Children and Juvenile Sex Protection Law. She is one of four people, including her husband, who ran the site from 1999 to 2016, using overseas servers, the Korea Herald reports. The other three, who have foreign passports, remain at large. Two suspects have already been arrested in connection with the case in South Korea. Many of the website's spy-cam videos were taken secretly in toilets and store changing rooms, or posted by ex-partners out for revenge. The site was shut following a public outcry. Some of the women who had appeared in the videos took their own lives. South Korea saw its largest women's rights rally in May, when more than 10,000 women gathered in Seoul to demand the authorities do more to investigate digital sex crimes. Many women have been angered by the arrest of a female model, who is accused of photographing a male colleague naked without his consent and posting the photo online. "Just because the victim is a man and the suspect is a woman this time, the country is investigating the case differently," wrote one signatory to a petition sent to the president, according to the daily JoongAng.
6-25-18 The Indian actresses caught in a US 'prostitution' racket
The arrest of an Indian couple in the US who allegedly ran a prostitution ring by luring female actresses from India has shone a spotlight on casting couch allegations surrounding the southern Telugu-language film industry. Also known as Tollywood, it is one of India's biggest regional film industries and routinely produces blockbuster hits that rival Bollywood's most popular films. According to recently revealed federal charges, Kishan Modugumudi and his wife, Chandra, arranged for at least five Telugu actresses to travel to the US on the pretext of attending cultural events as performers or guests. The women were allegedly taken to events where the Modugumudis would "identify potential customers" who would pay to have sex with the actresses. Men allegedly paid anywhere between $450 to $2,500 (£343-£1,907) for a single sexual encounter. BBC Telugu has acquired a copy of the 42-page affidavit that details the charges and evidence against the couple, who appear to have been under investigation by the US Department of Homeland Security since January 2018. They were arrested at the end of April and a federal court heard charges against them on 14 June. They have not entered a plea or made any public statement. But the case has been getting plenty of attention on Telugu news media in India - television news especially has devoted hours every day to the story and has used it to call out the alleged harassment and abuse of women in the Telugu film industry. According to the affidavit, Mr Modugumudi first arrived in Chicago in April 2015 and his wife joined him a few months later. He is said to have claimed in his visa application that he was "involved" with the Telugu film industry and wanted to travel to the US to "make contacts". The couple's visas expired six months after their arrival but they stayed on. The affidavit also says that they were arrested in January for overstaying as part of a separate investigation but they were released on bail in February.
6-22-18 Don't Look
Netflix is reportedly asking employees not to look at one another for more than five consecutive seconds. (Webmaster's comment: Nuts!) The gaze limit is part of new sexual harassment guidelines, issued in response to #MeToo, that also bar employees from flirting, “lingering hugs,” and asking each other for their personal phone numbers.
6-22-18 Fighting sexual harassment in science may mean changing science itself
A recent report highlights just how prevalent harassment is in academic science. The #MeToo movement has revealed sexual and gender harassment in every corner of American life. Science hasn’t been immune. High profile cases — such as decades’ worth of complaints against astronomer Geoff Marcy, and allegations that geologist David Marchant verbally and physically abused women scientists in Antarctica — make headlines. But it is the often underreported gender harassment, both serious and subtle, that contributes most to the scope of the problem. And efforts to recruit more women into scientific fields fall awfully flat when those women end up harassed out of their careers. A report published on June 12 by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine offers an exhaustive, 311-page look into just how pervasive the problem really is: More than 50 percent of women in academia say they have experienced sexual harassment. “I am sure that many were aware of the issue, but were perhaps surprised by the magnitude of the problem,” says Marcia McNutt, president of the National Academy of Sciences. The report offers a list of recommendations to combat harassment, many of which are focused on changing the culture of science to create an environment where there is more civility and safety. But when the entire scientific training system is based on huge power imbalances between professors and trainees, creating that environment will involve more than team-building exercises and casual Fridays. Real change may mean changing everything about the way scientific training works. One of the most shocking statistics out of the report was actually an old number. It was from a 2003 review estimating that 58 percent of academic employees had experienced sexual harassment. The only field with worse numbers? The military (at 69 percent).
6-22-18 India women: Anti-trafficking activists raped after staging street play
Five Indian anti-trafficking activists performing a street play were gang-raped at gunpoint in the eastern state of Jharkhand, police have confirmed. The women were forced into cars and raped in a "secluded area", police told BBC Hindi. Police say they are investigating the incident but have not made any arrests. The women were working with a non-governmental organisation (NGO) to raise awareness about human trafficking in the remote Khunti district. About 40,000 rape cases were reported in India in 2016. Many cases, however, are believed to go unreported because of the stigma that is attached to rape and sexual assault. "After performing, they headed towards a local mission school," senior police official AV Homkar told BBC Hindi's Niraj Sinha. "Around the same time, some armed people reached the school. They abducted five girls from their team and took them to a jungle and raped them. We have dedicated three teams of police to interrogate several people. Another police official told BBC Hindi the five women were now safe under police protection, awaiting the results of medical tests.
6-21-18 World Cup 2018: Female reporter groped and kissed on air
A female reporter groped live on air at the World Cup has spoken out about harassment by sports fans. Colombian correspondent Julieth Gonzalez Theran was working for DW Espanol in Moscow when a man grabbed her breast and kissed her cheek. She continued her report without interruption but has since addressed the incident online. "We do not deserve this treatment," Gonzalez Theran said. "We are equally valuable and professional." She told her employer, Deutsche Welle, she had been on the scene for two hours preparing for the broadcast. "When we went live, this fan took advantage of the situation," she said. "But afterwards, when I checked to see if he was still there, he was gone." The incident happened last week in the city of Saransk ahead of the Russia-Saudi Arabia game. DW posted the footage on social media, calling it an "attack" and "blatant harassment". Many online commentators, however, downplayed the incident. One labelled the criticism as "feminist hysteria", and others suggested the kiss should be seen as a "welcome" or a "compliment". Gonzalez Theran continued to speak out about her treatment on Twitter, retweeting messages of support from her colleagues. "This is not funny," DW presenter Cristina Cubas tweeted. "It's not a kiss. It's a non-consenting attack." On Wednesday, almost a week after the incident happened, DW published an article about the controversy, in which Germany's first female national league referee branded the behaviour "unacceptable". "For me it is an isolated incident," Gonzalez Theran said. "There are always fans that compliment you and behave respectfully. This one went too far." Harassment of female reporters is not uncommon in sports reporting. (Webmaster's comment: Notice all the excuses that are made for males attacking women!)
6-21-18 Medecins Sans Frontieres staff 'used local prostitutes'
Aid workers at charity Medecins Sans Frontieres used local prostitutes while working in Africa, whistleblowers have told the Victoria Derbyshire programme. Female former employees said the behaviour was widespread. One said a senior colleague said it was possible to barter medication in exchange for sex. The charity said it does not tolerate "abuse, harassment or exploitation". The use of prostitutes is banned by MSF under its strict code of conduct. The women spoke anonymously for fear of being blacklisted by foreign aid agencies, among which there can be a large crossover of staff. The allegations were made against logistical staff, and not doctors or nurses, at MSF - one of the world's biggest foreign aid agencies, also known as Doctors Without Borders. One former employee, who worked out of the charity's London office, said she had seen a senior member of staff bring girls back to MSF accommodation while posted in Kenya. "The girls were very young and rumoured to be prostitutes," she said, adding that it was "implicit" that they were there for sex. "My colleague, who was staying in the same residence for a long time, felt that this was a regular occurrence," she said. The whistleblower claimed they felt unable to challenge the man "because he was quite senior". "I felt that, with some of the older guys, there was definitely an abuse of power. They'd been there for a long time and took advantage of their exalted status as a Western aid worker," she said. "There's definitely a feeling that certain predatory men were seen as too big to fail. "You would often see men who were older, middle-aged, partying with much younger local girls. It was sexualised."
6-15-18 Where pimps prey on the desperate
The poverty racking Venezuela has left the country’s women and girls easy prey for international sex traffickers, said José Meléndez. This is no sad tale of a few duped young women. A vast transnational network, headed by Colombian crime syndicates but also involving corrupt cops and border guards, has ensnared hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans, some as young as 11 or 12. And as Venezuela’s economic collapse accelerates, emptying shelves of food and medicine, more women are at risk. An estimated 60,000 women were trafficked in 2016; that number hit 200,000 last year and could reach 600,000—or 2 percent of the population—in 2020. Most of the victims come from the poorest parts of the country, and many are indigenous. Flights out of Venezuela are insanely expensive and heavily policed, so the women travel by land to neighboring Colombia, where they are promised nightclub or waitressing work or even acting or modeling jobs. Those jobs don’t exist; instead, the women are flown to Mexico, Asia, or the former Soviet bloc for sex work. The gangs bribe immigration officials in those countries to let the women in. Having agreed to repay their traffickers the cost of travel, clothes, food, and lodging, the women become “trapped in a cycle of debt” they can never work off. “It is modern slavery.”
6-15-18 Florida college fraternity sued over 'revenge porn'
An Arizona woman is suing her ex-boyfriend and members of a university fraternity in Florida for sharing sexual content without her consent. Kathryn Novak's lawsuit alleges sexual exploitation by Delta Sigma Phi members at the University of Central Florida. The filing says images and videos of her and "many" other women were posted in a secret Facebook group they ran. The national Delta Sigma Phi Facebook page said it had suspended its Orlando chapter immediately. It called the allegations "disturbing and antithetical to our organization's values and mission". The lawsuit, filed in Orlando, alleges that Ms Novak's ex-boyfriend, Brandon Simpson, shared intimate images and videos of her with other fraternity members without her permission, during their long-distance relationship from October 2017 to February 2018. Speaking to the New York Times newspaper on Thursday, Mr Avenatti alleged that at least one sexual video had been recorded without his client's knowledge. The court filing alleges that Mr Simpson and other members of the fraternity used a secret Facebook page called "Dog Pound" to circulate nude images and videos "of their girlfriends and other unwitting victims, including images depicting the young women engaged in private sexual activity". In one alleged instance, a video where Ms Novak's face was identifiable was allegedly sent to five fraternity brothers and then viewed by as many as 200 people, the lawsuit alleges. The filing names Mr Simpson, the Delta Sigma Phi University of Central Florida chapter, and four other members of the group as defendants. US fraternities have been mired in controversy in recent years after being implicated in numerous campus sexual assaults, and deaths during harsh initiation ceremonies - so-called hazing - across the country.
6-15-18 Eurydice Dixon: Comedian's killing prompts anger in Australia
The alleged rape and murder of a young comedian as she walked home at night in Australia has prompted an outpouring of public grief and anger. The body of Eurydice Dixon, 22, was found at a football field in Melbourne early on Wednesday, only hours after she had performed a gig at a city bar. A man, 19, has been charged by police. Comedians and the public have inundated social media with tributes to Ms Dixon, in a case that has reignited local debate about violence against women. For many, it has evoked memories of the 2012 murder of an Irish woman, Jill Meagher, whose death in an adjacent Melbourne suburb prompted a peace march involving an estimated 30,000 people. Although not widely known, Ms Dixon has been remembered as a talented comedian at the start of her career. "She had a great passion for women's issues and social justice issues and she drew upon them a lot in the material that she produced as a comic," fellow comedian Nicky Barry told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. Authorities allege that Ms Dixon was attacked in the suburb of Carlton North sometime after leaving a bar in central Melbourne about 22:30 local time on Tuesday. A 19-year-old man, Jaymes Todd, handed himself to police on Wednesday and was charged with her rape and murder. Police say they did not know each other. Local media reported that Ms Dixon was a few hundred metres from home when she was attacked.
6-13-18 Miss Iraq and Miss Israel reunited after selfie controversy
Six months ago, a simple selfie between two Miss Universe contestants provoked a backlash that pushed one to flee her home country, her family in tow. Sarah Idan was representing Iraq at the 2017 pageant in Las Vegas when she snapped a picture with Miss Israel, Adar Gandelsman, and posted it online. In the caption, she wrote "Peace and Love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel". But some people in Iraq did not see it that way and, she said, sent her death threats. Iraq and Israel have no diplomatic relations, and Ms Idan's message was interpreted by some as an endorsement of Israel and a betrayal of Palestinian Arabs. "When I posted the picture I didn't think for a second there would be blowback," she told CNN at the time. "I woke up to calls from my family and the Miss Iraq Organization going insane. The death threats I got online were so scary." Ms Idan and her family relocated to the US, but on Monday she was reunited with Ms Gandelsman in Israel, where the two posted fresh pictures online. Ms Idan posted a photograph and a video on her Instagram page, with the caption "Sisters reunion". "I don't think Iraq and Israel are enemies, I think maybe the governments are enemies with each other," she said in an interview with Israel's Channel 2 News. "But there's a lot of Iraqi people that don't have a problem with Israelis."
6-12-18 US asylum: Domestic and gang violence cases 'no longer generally qualify'
The US attorney general has ruled that victims of domestic abuse and gang violence should no longer generally qualify for asylum in the US. Jeff Sessions' ruling overturns a 2016 decision which granted asylum to a woman from El Salvador who had been raped and abused by her husband. Activists criticised the move, saying it will affect tens of thousands. Mr Sessions has said he has a "zero tolerance" stance toward illegal immigration on the country's border. "Generally, claims by aliens pertaining to domestic violence or gang violence perpetrated by non-governmental actors will not qualify for asylum," Mr Sessions wrote in his 31-page ruling released on Monday. "The mere fact that a country may have problems effectively policing certain crimes - such as domestic violence or gang violence - or that certain populations are more likely to be victims of crime, cannot itself establish an asylum claim." US and international law currently say that people can seek asylum if they fear persecution at home on the basis of their race, political opinion, nationality, religion or because they belong to a particular social group. The US Board of Immigration Appeals found in 2016 that the woman qualified under the "particular social group" definition, but Mr Sessions overturned the finding on Monday. (Webmaster's comment: This is a ruling against women pure and simple. Jeff Sessions is a hate filled man and wishes to help no non-white female.)
6-12-18 Jean-Claude Arnault, photographer in Nobel prize scandal, charged with rape
A French photographer at the heart of a scandal that saw this year's Nobel Prize for Literature postponed has been charged with rape. Jean-Claude Arnault, who was charged with two counts of rape dating back to 2011, denies the allegations. The Swedish Academy, which handles the prize, last month postponed it amid criticism of its handling of the case. Swedish prosecutor Christina Voigt said the evidence against Mr Arnault "was robust and sufficient for prosecution". The photographer, who is well-known in Sweden, is married to a former member of the centuries-old Swedish Academy. "He maintains that he is completely innocent of the allegations," said Mr Arnault's lawyer, Bjorn Hurtig. "I do not share the prosecutor's view that the evidence is robust," he added. "Accounts differ, there is no technical evidence, there are no direct witness accounts and the events are a long time in the past." The two counts of rape concern the same woman, who has not been identified. It evolved out of Sweden's #MeToo movement. In late 2017, some 18 women came forward in a Swedish newspaper to accuse Mr Arnault of sexual harassment and assault, prompting an investigation by state prosecutors. He denied all the alleged incidents, many of which were said to have happened at properties owned by the Academy or at his literary club. Mr Arnault has also been accused of groping the heir to the Swedish throne, Crown Princess Victoria, during a formal dinner in 2006 - which he denies. In April, the Swedish organisation handed over an internal report it had conducted through lawyers to judicial authorities.
6-8-18 South African company apologises for sexist beer campaign
A South African company has apologised for the branding of its new range of craft beers, which sparked an outcry, especially among women. Vale Bru ran a marketing campaign for the beers with names such as Filthy Brunette‚ Easy Blonde‚ Raven Porra and Ripe Redhead. Easy Blonde came with the tagline: "All your friends have already had her". After being criticised for being sexist, the company promised to remove the labels and names. The social media campaign advertised Filthy Brunette as: "When gushing and moist are used to describe something‚ then you know." While the Raven Porra was described as, "a porter with the best head in town". According to South Africa's Times Live, Porra is a derogatory term for someone of Portuguese origin. Thandi Guilherme, author of the platform Craft Geek, wrote on Instagram that Vale Bru "should be absolutely ashamed of yourselves. Crass, sexist, misogynistic branding and labelling". The Johannesburg-based company issued its first apology, which has since been deleted, on Instagram. It said: "Our attempt at making you‚ and ourselves‚ uncomfortable‚ worked. However‚ we never meant to belittle or degrade you." (Webmaster's comment: They wnated to appeal to the worst within many men!) Ms Guilherme later wrote on her blog: "#Metoo, Rape culture and Trump's 'locker room' misogyny are not funny. These are real problems that society is trying to deal with. Don't go there." "Maybe they should have asked themselves whether these are things that they would appreciate people saying about their little sister."
6-6-18 Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani has no respect for Stormy Daniels
A lawyer for US President Donald Trump has said a porn actress who claims she had an affair with Mr Trump does not deserve "respect" due to her sex work. "I respect women - beautiful women and women with value - but a woman who sells her body for sexual exploitation I don't respect," said Rudy Giuliani. "Someone who sells his or her body for money has no good name," he added. A lawyer for actress Stormy Daniels, who is suing Mr Trump for defamation, called Mr Giuliani "an absolute pig". (Webmaster's comment: That's insulting to pigs!) Speaking at an investment conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, Mr Giuliani told a panellist: "I'm sorry I don't respect a porn star the way I respect a career woman or a woman of substance or a woman who... isn't going to sell her body for sexual exploitation." "I mean, she has no reputation. If you're going to sell your body for money, you just don't have a reputation. I may be old fashioned." he continued. In response, Ms Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, called the former New York mayor a "misogynist". He added: "His client Mr Trump didn't seem to have any 'moral' issues with her and others back in 2006."
6-6-18 Stanford rape case judge Aaron Persky removed from office
A US judge who was widely criticised for his leniency towards a campus rapist has been removed from office by voters. Judge Aaron Persky handed Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner a six-month sentence in June 2016. But county judges in California are elected, and if a petition to remove them from office garners enough signatures a vote will be held. Such elections are rare - the last time a US judge was recalled was in 1977. Tuesday's vote in Santa Clara County marks the first time a Californian judge has been removed in this way for more than 80 years. "We are outraged at [his] actions, and we don't just want talk, we want to take him out of office," an earlier statement from the campaign to remove him said. "Persky is unfit to sit on the bench," it added. The former Santa Clara County judge recently said he had no regrets about the case. He has also been cleared of misconduct by the California Commission on Judicial Performance. (Webmaster's comment: These bastards protect their own!) Turner was seen by two other students sexually assaulting his victim, now 23, behind a rubbish bin outdoors in January 2015. In March 2016, he was found guilty of three felony charges and faced up to 14 years in prison. But he was handed the much shorter sentence after Judge Persky expressed concern about the impact prison would have on him. The case sparked a national debate about sexual assault and whether wealthy white men are treated more favourably in court. Turner was released after serving only three months in county jail. (Webmaster's comment: This is many white man's idea of punishment for rape. Many white men even think it is not a crime. Women to them are property.)
6-3-18 Weinstein: Invulnerable no more
It could just as well have been the red carpet, as cameras flashed and reporters shouted, “Harvey! Harvey!” said Kevin Fallon in TheDailyBeast.com. But, with a “sinister grin,” Harvey Weinstein was turning himself in for arraignment at a Manhattan police precinct, where he was charged with raping an unnamed woman and forcing actress Lucia Evans to perform a sex act on him. For decades, the powerful Hollywood producer appeared invulnerable, and the sight of him in handcuffs was a major victory for the #MeToo movement, which began last fall when more than 80 women came forward to accuse Weinstein of sexual abuse. His “transformation from mogul to perp” is a watershed moment, said Melena Ryzik in The New York Times. This prosecution should send a clear message to abusers everywhere: “Stop behaving badly, or beware the consequences.” Sadly, it’s no mystery why Weinstein arrived with a smirk, said Maureen Callahan in NYPost.com. He “strode into court knowing he’d stride right back out” after paying $1 million to post bail, and his ultimate fate remains far from certain. His attorney, Benjamin Brafman, successfully defended Dominique Strauss-Kahn against sexual assault charges, and says Weinstein “fully expects to be exonerated.” Brafman even had the gall to tell the judge, “Mr. Weinstein did not create the casting couch in Hollywood,” indicating the defense will claim that the director’s accusers knowingly traded sex for stardom. Still, Weinstein is in real trouble, said Eliana Dockterman in Time.com. Authorities in Los Angeles and London are also looking into various allegations of assault, and Weinstein faces a federal investigation and nearly a dozen lawsuits. Many of Weinstein’s accusers could be asked to testify “to establish a pattern of bad behavior,” a strategy that helped convict Bill Cosby.
6-3-18 Abuse scandal
University of Southern California President C.L. Max Nikias agreed last week to resign, amid fierce criticism of the school’s handling of sexual abuse complaints against a longtime gynecologist at the student health center. The university has admitted that it failed to act on at least eight complaints about Dr. George Tyndall, 71, between 2000 and 2014. Police are now investigating claims from at least 52 women who have come forward to say Tyndall abused them, including accusations that he conducted pelvic exams without gloves, forced participants in clinical trials to strip naked, and took inappropriate photographs. An internal campus investigation in 2016 determined that many of the complaints were true, but Tyndall was allowed to quietly resign last year. Tyndall is estimated to have treated some 10,000 women over nearly three decades at USC.
6-3-18 Governor resigns
Facing possible impeachment amid accusations of sexual misconduct and campaign finance violations, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens resigned this week. The first-term Republican had been facing pressure to step down for months, beginning with a January report that he tried to use nude photos to blackmail a woman with whom he’d been having an extramarital affair. The woman later told a Missouri House committee that Greitens took the photos without her permission and also forced her to perform oral sex. Greitens also faces an unrelated felony charge that he illegally obtained a donor list from a veterans’ charity he founded. His announcement came just hours after a state judge ruled that Greitens’ campaign and a dark-money political group affiliated with him would have to reveal fundraising information to a legislative committee. Greitens, a former Navy SEAL with eyes on the White House, has insisted that he had committed no crimes or “any offense worthy of this treatment.”
6-1-18 Houston Texans cheerleaders sue NFL team for discrimination
Five cheerleaders for the Houston Texans are suing the NFL team for gender discrimination and for creating unfair and unsafe working conditions. The lawsuit claims the team failed to pay the women for overtime and that officials harassed and fat-shamed them. The women say they were paid around 10 cents per hour for their work. This is the second such lawsuit against the Texans in as many months and just the latest legal action against an NFL team over its cheerleading programme. "While their beauty and cheers provided ample entertainment for fans, the Houston Texans cheerleaders were never treated like the integral part of the team that they are," their lawsuit states. The legal action, which was filed by women's rights lawyer Gloria Allred, accuses the team of failing to pay overtime, intentionally inflicting emotional distress on the dance squad, breach of contract, and assault by threat of bodily injury. The accusers say they were paid the state's minimum rate of $7.25 per hour during the regular season, but that they were required to be present for countless additional activities for which they were not paid. They also say that cheerleader coaches weight-shamed them and mocked their ethnic backgrounds. One Hispanic cheerleader says she was told to straighten her hair or else the coach would "find another Latina girl to replace her". One woman says a coach duct-taped her "stomach skin underneath her shorts", then showed the rest of the squad how much "better it looks". The lawsuit states the cheerleaders had to tweet multiple times a day during the season and spend multiple hours in the gym, reports KPRC-TV. "Stop penny-pinching," Mrs Allred said at a news conference on Friday, arguing that the women are owed significant backpay.
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