12-31-18 Duterte: Outrage as Philippines leader describes sexually abusing maid
There has been a wave of criticism after Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said he sexually assaulted a maid when he was a teenager. In a speech, he recalled confessing to a priest how he reached into the maid's underwear as she slept. Women's rights group Gabriela said Mr Duterte was "unworthy of his position and should resign". The Philippines president has sparked outrage with a number of provocative comments but remains popular. In his latest remarks, he described entering the room of his maid while she was sleeping. "I lifted the blanket... I tried to touch what was inside the panty," he said. "I was touching. She woke up so I left the room." He said he told the priest that he later returned to the woman's room and tried to molest her again. Mr Duterte said the priest told him to say "five Our Fathers, five Hail Mary's, because you will go to hell", according to news website Rappler. (Webmaster's comment: That is not punishment! That is just a license to do more of the same.) It is common for well-off families in the Philippines to employ maids and many women also work as domestic helpers across Asia and the Middle East. Mr Duterte's spokesman has since said that the president had merely "made up" and "added and spliced" the story during his speech on Saturday. Rights groups in the Philippines have strongly condemned the comments, which were made as part of a tirade against the Catholic Church over the sexual abuse of children. Gabriela, a political party representing women's rights groups, said the comments were tantamount to admitting rape. "Rape does not happen only through penile insertion," the organisation's secretary general Joms Salvador said. "If it is a finger or an object it is considered rape." The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Asia Pacific warned that the president's comments put domestic workers at risk. "Flaunting abusive practices encourages the rape culture and in this case, sexual abuse of domestic workers," said executive director Jean Enriquez.
12-30-18 The health risk of sexual harassment
When public-health researchers look at people — for studies, at least; not sure what they're like at dinner parties — they think in terms of "exposures." Exposures are factors in the environment that have the potential to affect people's health. Exposures can include everything from air pollution in people's neighborhoods, to how much radiation folks encounter at home and work, to the racism people face (which has been shown to hurt their health). One "exposure" that's gotten a lot of attention lately, but which hasn't been very much studied as a public-health risk, is sexual harassment and assault. "There's been such a dearth of research in this area," says Nancy Krieger, an epidemiologist at Harvard University who studies health inequalities. That lack is especially notable because so many Americans — women especially — face sexual harassment. In a recent study of more than 300 healthy, middle-aged women in Pittsburgh, about one in five reported having been sexually harassed at work. About the same number said they had been sexually assaulted before. "That's not a trivial exposure," Krieger says. The new study is one of the few to link having been exposed to sexual harassment and assault and health outcomes. Women in the study who said they had faced workplace sexual harassment were more likely to have high blood pressure. Women who said they had dealt with sexual assault — defined as unwanted contact involving either person's private body parts — were more likely to have symptoms of depression and anxiety. Both were more likely to have insomnia. The study didn't go into too much detail. Study volunteers were just asked to answer "yes" or "no" to whether they had experienced harassment or assault before. In a field where such measures are lacking, however, the study was an important start. "Given the high prevalence of sexual harassment and assault, addressing these prevalent and potent social exposures may be critical to promoting health and preventing disease in women," the study's authors, a team of psychiatrists and social scientists from the United States and Switzerland, wrote in their paper, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
12-24-18 Kevin Spacey: Actor charged with sexual assault in Massachusetts
US actor Kevin Spacey has been charged with sexually assaulting a teenager at a bar in Massachusetts. He will appear in court on 7 January over the incident, which allegedly occurred in Nantucket in July 2016. On Monday, Mr Spacey posted a video in which he appears to deny any wrongdoing while in character as Frank Underwood from House of Cards. "I'm certainly not going to pay the price for the things I didn't do," he says in the clip. "You wouldn't believe the worst without evidence, would you?" he asks. "You wouldn't rush to judgements without facts." The alleged victim is the son of former television news presenter Heather Unruh, who spoke publicly about the incident last year. She accused Mr Spacey of buying her then 18-year-old son alcohol - the drinking age in Massachusetts is 21 - and then groping him. In the video, Mr Spacey speaks in Frank Underwood's accent and addresses the viewer directly, much like he did throughout his five seasons on House of Cards. "Of course some believed everything," he says. "They're just waiting with bated breath to hear me confess it all." "They're going to say I'm being disrespectful, not playing by the rules," he adds. "Like I ever played by anyone's rules before. I never did. And you loved it." (Webmaster's comment: Why do we never believe the victims sworn testimony, but always believe the brute males protestations of innocence!)
12-21-18 India man held for rape of British woman in Goa
An Indian man has been arrested for allegedly raping and robbing a British tourist in the western state of Goa. The woman, 48, was attacked around 4:00 local time (22:30 GMT) on Thursday as she was walking to her hotel from a railway station, police told PTI news. The accused is a man from the southern state of Tamil Nadu. He fled after also taking three of her bags. Goa is one of India's top tourist destinations and its beaches attract thousands of foreigners every year. The woman is a regular visitor to the state. Police said she had been going there every year for the last 10 years. Police were able to track down the suspect with the help of CCTV footage from the railway station as well as the area where the crime occurred, according to the NDTV news website. This is one of several crimes against foreigners in the state. An Irish woman, Danielle McLaughlin, was raped and murdered while on holiday in Goa in 2017. Vikhat Bhagat, 24, was arrested soon after her murder and his trial, which began in April, is still under way. In 2008, Scarlett Keeling, a 15-year-old British teenager was raped and killed while on a trip in Goa. Her killers are yet to be caught. Two men who had faced charges of culpable homicide and grievous sexual assault were both cleared in 2016. (Webmaster's comment: There are over 250 rapes and 3 sexual attack murders of women every day in the United States. Why don't the news media cover these!)
12-18-18 The 'wary' #MeToo conversation in Australia
On Monday, Australia was transfixed by fresh sexual misconduct allegations against Geoffrey Rush - one of the nation's most celebrated actors. Australian actress Yael Stone alleged that Mr Rush behaved inappropriately towards her during a theatre production in Sydney in 2010-11. Mr Rush, 67, has denied her accusations. Ms Stone, 33, said that she had feared speaking out because of personal and career reasons, echoing concerns raised by many women around the world since the #MeToo movement began last year. But she also raised concerns that she could face legal consequences - because under Australia's strong defamation laws, people or publications making allegations often face threats of legal action. Experts say worries like this are a key reason why the #MeToo movement has not gathered as much momentum in Australia as in many other nations. Mr Rush is currently suing a Sydney newspaper for defamation after it published allegations against him involving another actress, Eryn Jean Norvill. Mr Rush denies wrongdoing. Ms Norvill did not speak to the newspaper and was not named in its reports, but she was publicly identified in the subsequent legal battle. She later agreed to give testimony in the defamation case. But like two other women at the centre of prominent Australian cases of alleged sexual misconduct in the past year, Ms Norvill had never wanted her experience to be known publicly. Last month, Luke Foley resigned as New South Wales state opposition leader over allegations that he groped a woman at a bar in 2016. They were first raised publicly by a political rival under parliamentary privilege - a method that affords additional legal protection. But alleged victim Ashleigh Raper, an Australian Broadcasting Corporation journalist, had wanted to remain anonymous. She only identified herself publicly in a bid to help resolve "ongoing media and political interest". "It is clear to me that a woman who is the subject of such behaviour is often the person who suffers once a complaint is made," Ms Raper wrote in a statement. (Webmaster's comment: And who leads the charge against women's testimony, males of course. They have a vested interest in denying the truth.)
12-18-18 Spain violence against women: Outrage at teacher's murder
The murder of a 26-year-old woman who had crossed Spain for a teaching job has sparked outrage in the country, the latest high-profile case to put the spotlight on gender violence. Laura Luelmo's partially naked body was found near the southern village of El Campillo after five days of searching. The murder is being investigated. She had travelled 500km (310 miles) to take up her first full-time job. She had travelled 500km (310 miles) to take up her first full-time job. Campaigners say violence against women is still ingrained in Spain's society. The issue made headlines around the world earlier this year following the trial of five men accused of gang raping an 18-year-old woman during the San Fermín bull-running festival in July 2016 in Pamplona. The men, who became known as La manada (the wolf pack), were acquitted of rape and convicted on a lesser offence of sexual abuse. Judges said the woman had not been assaulted as no intimidation or violence was involved. Ms Luemo, who had left the north-western city of Zamora, went missing last Wednesday, sparking a search that involved more than 200 volunteers and officials. Officials who searched her home believe she went out for a walk or run before disappearing, as they did not find her sports gear, smartphone and purse. Her body was found among some bushes in a remote area outside El Campillo with signs of sexual violence, El Mundo newspaper reports (in Spanish). It showed signs that she tried to defend herself and marks on her neck that could suggest a death by strangulation. She also appears to have been struck on the head. The location was some distance from the last point mobile phone antennas had located her. No arrests have been made.
12-18-18 Two Scandinavian women tourists found dead in Morocco
Two Scandinavian women tourists have been found dead in Morocco with cuts to their necks, the country's interior ministry said. Both bodies were found near the town of Imlil in the High Atlas mountain range. The families of the women, from Denmark and Norway, have been notified, officials from the two countries confirmed. A suspect has been arrested in the city of Marrakesh on suspicion of murder, according to Moroccan authorities. The man was being held in custody "to determine the motive of the crime while investigations continue to arrest other individuals who have been identified and suspected of taking part in criminal acts", the central bureau of judicial investigation said in a statement. The women had been sharing a tent 10km (6 miles) from Imlil and their bodies had been found inside the tent on Monday, near the foot of North Africa's highest peak, Mount Toubkal, reports said. One of the women was named as Maren Ueland, 28, from Norway. Danish officials have not yet confirmed the identity of the second woman. Maren Ueland's mother Irene told public broadcaster NRK that the pair had been studying together at the University of South-Eastern Norway and had gone backpacking for their Christmas holiday on 9 December. She shared a picture on social media of her daughter with the simple message: "Our Maren". The pair had taken all necessary safety measures before they had left, she told NRK.
12-18-18 Former CBS boss Les Moonves denied $120m exit pay
Les Moonves, the former boss of CBS, will not receive a $120m (£95m) severance package after an inquiry into alleged sexual misconduct. The US broadcaster said that he misled the company over the allegations and failed to work with investigators, meaning it had grounds to fire him. Mr Moonves stepped down in September following fresh claims he had sexually harassed or assaulted six more women. He said that the accusations made in The New Yorker magazine were untrue. In a statement, CBS said Mr Moonves had displayed "wilful and material misfeasance" and failed to co-operate fully with the company's investigation into the allegations against him. It also said he had had violated company policy and was in breach of his employment contract and as a consequence he would not receive any severance payment from CBS. At the time of Mr Moonves' departure as chairman and chief executive at CBS, where he had worked for 23 years, the company said it had set $120m aside as a possible payment to him pending an investigation. Actress and writer Illeana Douglas, known for her roles in the films Goodfellas and Cape Fear, was one of the first women to speak publicly about an alleged sexual assault by Mr Moonves. In the first of two articles The New Yorker published on Mr Moonves, Ms Douglas said: "What happened to me was a sexual assault, and then I was fired for not participating." The article also said there was a culture of harassment at CBS. "However, the investigators learned of past incidents of improper and unprofessional conduct, and concluded that the company's historical policies, practices and structures have not reflected a high institutional priority on preventing harassment and retaliation."
12-18-18 Hollywood's disappearing actresses
More than a year after the start of the #MeToo movement, men in Hollywood are still harassing women, and women are still paying the price. I had wondered what happened to Eliza Dushku. Even if her name is unfamiliar, you probably know her face. Over the years, the actress has played a badass cheerleader in Bring It On, a badass vampire slayer in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, and a badass FBI agent in Banshee. Whenever Hollywood goes looking for a woman who can kick butt with charisma — you know, a badass — Dushku has often been on the short list of stars who can deliver. So it wasn't much of a surprise last year when Dushku signed on with the CBS show Bull to play, naturally, a badass lawyer. It was a mild shocker, though, when her character disappeared from the show after only three episodes. What happened? As The New York Times reported, Dushku had complained about being sexually harassed by her co-star, Michael Weatherly. Then, suddenly, she found herself written off the show. CBS ended up paying her $9.5 million in a confidential settlement, but she hasn't been on TV or in the movies since then. Hollywood is missing one of its best badasses. It's been more than a year since the first #MeToo stories appeared in the Times and The New Yorker, and it seems like new stories still emerge every day. Just this week, actress Yael Stone went public with allegations of harassment by the actor Geoffrey Rush; model Babi Christina Engelhardt stepped forward, claiming to have been Woody Allen's secret, underage girlfriend while he made the movie Manhattan; and the CBS board of directors announced that Les Moonves, the former CEO outed over sexual harassment allegations, will be denied the $120 million severance package he was expecting. (Webmaster's comment: Women are the victims of male aggression and vengance all the time!)
12-18-18 The perils of our Great Awakening
"Baby, It's Cold Outside" and the death of seduction. Can a four-minute holiday ballad be a source of moral harm in the world? Plato, who suggested that the best political system should either expel artists or strictly censor their work, would certainly have thought so. So would the original Puritans settlers of New England, as well as the Americans who supported the many forms of state and local censorship that prevailed across the United States for much of our history until the mid-20th century. And so, of course, would the feminists and progressives who have lately directed their attention, and ire, toward the old 1940s duet of wintertime seduction (and, possibly, menacing threat), "Baby, It's Cold Outside." The song is problematic, we are told, because it takes the form of a kind of back-and-forth negotiation in which (in most renditions of the song) a man repeatedly tries to entice a woman to stay at his home later into the evening when she repeatedly states that she prefers to leave. In the #MeToo era, this sounds a lot like the kind of manipulative, exploitative, and potentially even violent behavior that men too often engage in to get their sexual way with women. (More than one critic has suggested that the song is a prelude to date rape.) That seems to make the controversy about the song very much a product of our moment. But it turns out that the song has stirred up negative feelings for a long time. As The New York Times notes in its account of the criticisms surrounding the song, Sayyid Qutb, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood and major influence on the development of Islamist ideology, took critical note of the song on his travels throughout the United States during the late 1940s. (This account was published by an Egyptian magazine in 1950 under the title "The America I Have Seen.")
12-16-18 John of God: Brazil 'faith healer' considered fugitive
A Brazilian faith healer accused of sexually abusing more than 300 women is now considered to be a fugitive. Joao Teixeira de Faria - known as "John of God", failed to comply with a court order giving him until 14:00 (1600GMT) on Saturday to turn himself in. A dozen women have come forward in Brazil to accuse the prominent self-styled spiritual healer of sexually abusing them at his clinic. He is based in the central town of Abadiania but has followers worldwide. Mr Faria's lawyer, Alberto Toron, said he would report to the authorities but did not say where or when. Mr Toron said he would file an appeal on Monday. A Dutch photographer, Zahira Leeneke Maus, told Globo TV that he had manipulated her into performing sex acts and then raped her. In a statement to Globo, Mr Faria's office strongly denied the allegations. It said the 76-year-old had used his powers to treat thousands of people, and "vehemently rejects [allegations of] any improper practice during his treatments". Nine Brazilian women, who remained anonymous, also told Globo TV that the self-declared healer had abused them on the premise of transferring his "cleansing" energy. Some said they had been seeking a cure for depression when the alleged abuse took place. The related O Globo newspaper later said it had spoken to two more women with similar allegations.
12-14-18 Baylor rape charges
Jacob Anderson, 23, a former Baylor University fraternity president accused of rape, avoided jail time this week after pleading no contest to a charge of unlawful restraint. In February 2016, a Baylor sophomore said Anderson led her behind a tent at a party hosted by his frat, Phi Delta Theta, then gagged, choked, and repeatedly raped her. An investigation by the private Baptist school led to Anderson’s expulsion and his fraternity’s suspension, and a grand jury indicted him on four counts of sexual assault. Yet prosecutors say they lacked sufficient confidence to take the case to trial, and offered a plea deal allowing Anderson to be placed on three years’ deferred probation while maintaining his innocence and avoiding having to register as a sex offender. “After all these years and everything I have suffered, no justice was achieved,” his accuser said in court.
12-14-18 Forty-six percent of the women murdered
Forty-six percent of the women murdered over the past decade were killed by an intimate partner, according to an analysis of 4,484 murders of women in 47 major American cities.
12-14-18 After #MeToo Wall Street avoids women
In the #MeToo era, Wall Street’s male executives are “making life even harder for women,” said Gillian Tan and Katia Porzecanski. Feeling “spooked” by a movement that has toppled numerous powerful men with harassment charges, the industry is adopting a new strategy for interactions with female colleagues—namely, avoiding them. Male executives say they make it a point to not sit next to female colleagues on airplanes, not have solo dinners with women under 35, and even avoid one-on-one meetings without a door being left wide open. Now “Wall Street risks becoming more of a boys’ club, rather than less of one.” The changes “can be subtle but insidious, with a woman, say, excluded from casual after-work drinks, leaving male colleagues to bond.” With few women in the upper ranks of Wall Street, such gender segregation can be devastating. “The industry has also long nurtured a culture that keeps harassment complaints out of the courts and public eye, and has so far avoided a mega-scandal.” Of course, not all male executives see treating women with the respect they would show a male colleague as a troubling dilemma. One investment adviser said he “briefly reconsidered having one-on-one meetings with junior women,” but then landed on a better solution: Just don’t be a jerk. “It’s really not that hard.”
12-14-18 No sexual consent means rape, Spain told by legal panel
Spanish law will be toughened to define any non-consensual sexual act as "assault" or "rape" instead of "sexual abuse", experts have decided. A panel of legal experts was set up by the government after protests when five men were cleared of raping a teenage woman. Judges ruled that the so-called "wolf pack" gang had not assaulted her. The panel will recommend that the maximum jail term for rape should remain 15 years, Spanish media report. The proposal is still being worked on. On 5 December judges in the northern Navarre region upheld the decision to clear the five men in the case known as La manada (wolf pack). The case will now go to the Supreme Court. According to their ruling, the 18-year-old woman was not assaulted as no intimidation or violence was involved. The men had had unprotected sex with her in a basement during Pamplona's bull-running festival in July 2016. Under the current law, proof of violence or intimidation has to be presented for a case to be treated as "rape". The new proposal, quoted by Spain's Europa Press news agency, calls for the "maximum penalty" in cases involving violence or intimidation against a victim "in degrading circumstances", or when the victim is assaulted by two or more people.
12-14-18 Indian national jailed over sex assault on US flight
A US court has sentenced an Indian man to nine years in jail for sexually assaulting a woman who sat next to him on a US flight in January. Prabhu Ramamoorthy, 34, was sitting between his wife and the victim, who said she was asleep at the time. The woman said she had woken up to find her shirt and trousers unbuttoned and his hand in her trousers. Ramamoorthy will be deported back to India after he serves his sentence, a federal court in Detroit said. The prosecution had originally sought an 11-year jail term. But the US District Judge Terrence Berg concluded that nine years was sufficient for what he described as "an extremely serious offence," according to the Detroit Free Press. When the accusations against Ramamoorthy surfaced, he had denied them, telling police he could not have committed the crime because he was also asleep. Ramamoorthy was held without bail after appearing in a federal court in Michigan after prosecutors argued there was a risk he could abscond. Prosecutors told the Washington Post that he had been charged with aggravated sexual abuse. The woman reported the incident to crew shortly before the plane, belonging to Spirit Airlines, landed. Ramamoorthy's wife alleged that the woman had been sleeping on her husband's knees.
12-12-18 'Every day I go to work and pray I'm safe'
Hotel room cleaners have long battled sexual harassment by guests. Now a group of them in New York City are hitting back.
12-12-18 Australian prisoner gave birth alone in 'degrading' cell incident
A woman in Australia was forced to give birth alone in a locked prison cell in a "degrading and high risk" incident, a report has found. The woman, identified only as Amy, had told staff two hours earlier that she believed she might be in labour. There were no complications at the birth. The March incident was in a maximum security cell in Western Australia's only women's prison. A review found the event had exposed a series of failures. One of them was that no alarm had been raised. Amy had been sent to Bandyup Women's Prison in the late stages of pregnancy after failing to meet the conditions of her bail, Australian media reported. At 17:30 local time (09:30 GMT) on 11 March, she called from her cell to inform staff that she was distressed and possibly in labour. After being taken for a health assessment, she reported abdominal pain but did not say she was in labour. Nurses were not informed of her earlier statement. She was given paracetamol and returned to her cell, but became "audibly distressed" about 18:30 and began pleading for help. Amy gave birth about 19:40. Nursing staff had arrived about five minutes earlier, but could not gain access to her cell because the only staff member with keys was not nearby. The nurses had been forced to communicate with her through a hatch in the door, said the review by the state Inspector of Custodial Services Neil Morgan. Amy and her baby were taken to hospital later that night.
12-11-18 Baylor University sexual assault suspect walks free after plea deal
A woman who watched the man she accused of repeatedly raping her walk free from a Texas court has said the justice system failed her. Jacob Walter Anderson, 24, faced charges of sexual assault after allegedly attacking the woman at a fraternity party two years ago. But after agreeing to a plea deal on a lesser charge, the former Baylor University student was given three years' deferred probation. The woman said she was "devastated". "He stole my body, virginity and power over my body and you let him keep it all for eternity," the woman told Judge Ralph Strother in a Waco courtroom after he agreed the deal, NBC News reported. "I not only have to live with his rape and the repercussions of the rape, I have to live with the knowledge that the McLennan County justice system is severely broken," the woman added, according to a family statement. "I have to live with the fact that after all these years and everything I have suffered, no justice was achieved." This is the third time Judge Strother has approved probation for sexual assaults of Baylor students in the last two years, news agency AP says. However, District Attorney Abel Reyna has defended the deal, which saw four counts of sexual assault dropped in return for a "no contest" plea to unlawful restraint, as achieving "the best result possible with the evidence at hand". The woman, who has not been named, alleged she was repeatedly raped at a party by Jacob Walter Anderson in February 2016. She accused him of attacking her after she was given a drink which made her feel ill. He had offered to take her outside for some fresh air, where she alleges he assaulted her until she passed out. (Webmaster's comment: Looks like rape is now almost legal and you can get away with it in the United States. Male brutes win again over their female victims.)
12-8-18 The sexual assault case that shook Ancient Rome
"You say that he raped an actress," Cicero told the court. "And this is said to have happened at Atina, while he was quite young." There was a low, subdued chuckle from the crowd. They were all men — women weren't allowed inside the courtroom — most from the town of Atina themselves. They'd made the 80-mile trip to support a man they respected, whom they believed had been unfairly accused. His name was Gnaeus Plancius, and in the year 54 B.C., he was one of the most powerful men in Rome. It was more than 2,000 years before the #MeToo movement, but a scene similar to the ones we've witnessed so often lately was already playing out. A prominent politician was on trial for corruption and bribery, charges bolstered by dirt his enemies had dug up from his past: the violent sexual assault of a young girl. Those charges of corruption and bribery were a serious matter, but to the men in the court, the rape charge was nothing. It was harmless boys-will-be-boys misbehavior — something half the men there were guilty of themselves. His lawyer, Cicero, didn't even bother to deny it. He just threw up his arms in a mock flourish and, to the gleeful delight of the men who surrounded him, declared: "O how elegantly must his youth have been passed! The only thing which is imputed to him is one that there was not much harm in." And that was it. Nobody bothered to bring it up again. Raping an actress, as Cicero assured them, was nothing more than following "a well-established tradition at staged events." It was hardly a crime, every man in the courtroom agreed. It was mudslinging; a cheap attack on a decent man's character, bogging down the process of something that actually mattered: a trial over bribery. (Webmaster's comment: Over 2000 years and hardly anything has changed. The rape goes on!)
12-7-18 Media: More details on a predatory CEO
CBS’s disgraced former chief, Les Moonves, repeatedly lied to investigators as new misconduct allegations emerged, said Rachel Abrams and Edmund Lee in The New York Times. The powerful executive was forced to step down in September, as CBS hired outside investigators to look into claims of sexual harassment. Investigators have compiled a 59-page report for CBS’s board, which found that Moonves had “transactional” sexual relationships with at least four CBS employees and kept a woman employee “on call” for oral sex. It also alleges that Moonves “engaged in multiple acts of serious nonconsensual sexual misconduct in and outside of the workplace.” “It looks like CBS might now have grounds to deny Les Moonves his $120 million severance package,” said Laura Bradley in Vanity Fair. CBS hired the outside investigators, in part, to determine whether it can withhold his whopping severance, and the “damning report” says the network had cause to fire him. The report says he deleted incriminating text messages and gave investigators his son’s iPad instead of his own. One of the most powerful responses to Moonves’ behavior came from CBS This Morning anchor Norah O’Donnell: “Women cannot achieve equality in the workplace or society until there is a reckoning and a taking of responsibility.”
12-7-18 A wrist slap for a serial sex abuser
A massive pedophile scandal has reached into the Trump administration, said Liz Mair, and it should cost Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta his job. In a major exposé, the Miami Herald last week detailed how the criminal justice system let a serial sex abuser, the billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, off the hook after he’d recruited and molested more than 80 girls, mostly between the ages of 13 and 16. Epstein, a politically connected slimeball who befriended both Bill Clinton and Donald Trump and hired famed lawyer Alan Dershowitz to defend him, faced a life sentence for his many crimes, which included an international effort to recruit underage girls for his sex ring. But Acosta, then the U.S. attorney in Miami, somehow let Epstein plead guilty to just two felony prostitution charges and gave him a mere 13 months in a county jail. Epstein was permitted to spend most of that sentence in work-release at his Palm Beach office. And Acosta and Epstein’s lawyers agreed to keep the whole plea deal secret. Why? “At best,” Acosta thought the rich and powerful deserved special treatment. “At worst,” he may be “crooked” and was bought off. Either way, he should not be heading up a federal agency.
12-7-18 Billionaire sex criminal settles
Jeffrey Epstein maintained for nearly a decade that attorney Bradley Edwards coaxed dozens of underage women to accuse him of sexual assault, but this week he abruptly settled a defamation suit brought by Edwards. Epstein, 65, a powerful hedge fund manager with extensive political ties, apologized to Edwards but not to his clients, who were slated to testify in a jury trial. Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to procurement of minors for prostitution and was sentenced to 13 months in jail. Federal prosecutors found that up to 40 minors were sexually abused at Epstein’s mansion. According to Edwards, the victims were forced to recruit other underage girls, forming “a spider web of child molestation.” Epstein claims he believed the women were of age, and says they consented. He avoided federal prosecution in a deal that drew revived scrutiny last week after a Miami Herald investigation.
12-7-18 Neil deGrasse Tyson
Celebrity astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has denied allegations of sexual misconduct by three women. A former assistant, Ashley Watson, said she quit her job after Tyson, host of the TV series Cosmos, called her to his home and made inappropriate sexual advances. Another accuser, Bucknell University astronomer Katelyn Allers, said Tyson reached into her dress and groped her while supposedly looking at her tattoo of the solar system. A third accuser, musician Tchiya Amet, said Tyson drugged and raped her while they were graduate students at the University of Texas. In a Facebook post, Tyson said he had a brief consensual relationship with Amet and that he hadn’t recognized Watson’s and Allers’ discomfort when those incidents occurred. The married father of two promised to be more mindful of “personal space.” Fox Broadcasting and National Geographic, which air Cosmos, said they would conduct a full investigation.
12-5-18 Spain 'wolf pack' sex attack gang not rapists, say judges
A Spanish court's controversial decision to clear five men of gang rape has been upheld by five appeal judges, and the group are now set to go to jail for a lesser offence of sexual abuse. There were protests across Spain when the men, who became known as La manada (the wolf pack), were acquitted of rape and then later freed on bail. The appeal judges agreed that the 18-year-old victim was not assaulted as no intimidation or violence was involved. The case now goes to the Supreme Court. "We don't like it," the teenager's lawyer said, after the five judges in the northern Navarre region upheld the nine-year jail terms for abuse. Under current Spanish law, an offence of rape has to involve sexual assault, which includes violence or intimidation. Significantly, two of the five judges said that the attackers had used intimidation to carry out a "continuous offence of sexual assault" and called for 14-year jail terms. But they were outvoted by the other three judges. The case sparked such a wave of revulsion that a committee of experts was formed to reform Spain's penal code on sexual violence. Among those outraged by the verdict was Pedro Sánchez, who has since become prime minister and has promised to introduce a new law on sexual consent. During the San Fermín bull-running festival in July 2016, in the crowded streets of Pamplona, the 18 year old was led to a basement where five men in their late 20s surrounded her and had unprotected sex. Some of the men filmed the attack on their phones and sent it around their WhatsApp chat group entitled "La manada". A police report said the victim maintained a "passive or neutral" attitude throughout the scene, keeping her eyes closed at all times. The appeal court accepts as proven that the "wolf pack" victim did not give consent to sex and that the five men took advantage of circumstances and their own position of superiority to carry out the crime of sexual abuse. (Webmaster's comment: Protect the men, blame the woman for not getting beaten in the attack!)
12-4-18 Jeffrey Epstein apology deprives accusers of day in court
An influential billionaire accused of sexually abusing dozens of young girls has deprived his alleged victims of the chance to testify against him for the first time, by settling a lawsuit. Financier Jeffrey Epstein reached a last-minute agreement on Tuesday in the civil case in Palm Beach, Florida. The lawsuit had pitted Epstein, 65, against a lawyer representing women who say the tycoon abused them as teens. Epstein admitted prostitution charges in 2008 and served a year in jail. In his latest legal battle, the registered sex offender originally sued lawyer Bradley Edwards, who has represented alleged Epstein victims. When the financier dropped the lawsuit, Mr Edwards counter-sued. Just before jury selection was due to begin on Tuesday, Epstein issued a public apology to the attorney. Read out in court, it said he had filed an "unreasonable" lawsuit against Mr Edwards. Epstein said he did so because the defence attorney's "aggressive investigation and litigation style was highly effective and therefore troublesome to me". "I am now admitting that I was wrong and that the things I said to harm Mr Edwards' reputation as a trial lawyer were false." None of the other details in the settlement, including a monetary payout, have been divulged. Until his disgrace, Epstein rubbed shoulders with the likes of former President Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Prince Andrew. (Webmaster's comment: Except for his billions this man would have been convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole!)
12-4-18 Afghan women's football dream turns into nightmare
In post-Taliban Afghanistan, the women's football team was hailed globally as a symbol of the new freedoms enjoyed by the country's women. But now one of Afghanistan's top sports officials has admitted that female footballers - who defied hard-liners and militants by daring to take to the field in the first place - have been sexually abused. And it's not only football - he admitted the problem extends to other sports too. Most women athletes are too frightened to speak publicly about alleged abuse by coaches and sporting officials. But several have now disclosed privately to the BBC what they have experienced. The scandal has exploded in the last few days. On Friday, football's governing body Fifa said it was investigating claims made by women in the national football squad. The Afghan Attorney General's Office then announced its own investigation too. On Monday, President Ashraf Ghani addressed the allegations head on, saying they were "shocking to all Afghans". "Even if mere allegations cause our people to stop sending their sons and daughters to sports, we need to act immediately and comprehensively," he said. Hummel, a Danish sportswear company, has pulled sponsorship of the Afghan Football Federation (AFF), which is at the heart of the allegations. But the furore is showing no signs of abating. Questions were asked in both houses of Afghanistan's parliament on Monday. Then Hafizullah Rahimi, the head of Afghanistan's Olympic committee, made a surprising statement to reporters in Kabul. "Sadly, these sorts of concerns have reached us," he said. "Sexual abuse does exist, not only within the Football Federation but in other sports federations as well. We have to fight it."
12-3-18 Iceland scandal over MPs' crude and sexist bar talk
There are calls for several Icelandic MPs to resign after they were recorded using crude language to describe female colleagues and a disabled activist. Icelanders were especially shocked that the MPs' targets included ex-MP Freyja Haraldsdottir, a disabled woman and well-known disability rights activist. Iceland has long been seen as a beacon for women's rights and has a female prime minister, Katrin Jakobsdottir. Four Centre Party MPs, including an ex-PM, apologised for the crude language. On Facebook Ms Haraldsdottir - who has osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease) - said former Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson had apologised to her personally. But she said the apology did not go far enough. "To apologise, while trying to explain, explain, and just lie about what happened, is not an apology." "There are a thousand and one ways to express differences of opinion other than mocking a woman's body and appearance," she wrote on Facebook (in Icelandic). The four Centre Party MPs and two MPs from the People's Party - all opposition politicians - were secretly recorded by a member of the public in a Reykjavik bar, Klaustur. They are heard repeatedly using the word "bitch" and sexually-charged language. A woman MP was in the group, but did not make similarly offensive comments. The anonymous eavesdropper sent the recording to Icelandic media, and it then went viral on social media. He said he recorded them on his mobile phone because he was shocked by the language they used, the Iceland Monitor reported. The MPs' conversation was more than three hours long. On Saturday about 1,000 people protested against the MPs involved, at a rally in Iceland's Parliament Square. Anna Margret Björnsson, a reporter at Iceland Monitor, told the BBC that "most Icelanders are very shocked and offended" by the recording. For nine years Iceland has topped the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Index, which tracks progress towards gender equality. (Webmaster's comment: The male hatred of women is obvious!)
12-1-18 Kareem Hunt: Kansas City Chiefs release running back over video
One of the NFL's best running backs, Kareem Hunt, has been released by the Kansas City Chiefs after a video appeared to show him shoving and kicking a woman. The video, filmed at a Cleveland hotel in February, was released by American news website TMZ on Friday. The Chiefs say they spoke to Hunt, 23, about an incident earlier in the year and he was "not truthful in those discussions." "The video released today confirms that fact," the Chiefs said in a statement. Hunt, who was the NFL's leading rusher with 1327 yards in 2017 and is fifth on the list this season, has apologised, saying: "I deeply regret what I did. I hope to move on from this." The Chiefs, who are 9-2 this season, are one of the favourites to win the Super Bowl. Cleveland Police told NFL.com that no arrests were made in the incident and Hunt has not been charged. The NFL has placed Hunt on the Commissioner Exempt list - meaning he can not practice, play or attend games. "The NFL investigation, which began immediately following the incident in February, will include a review of the new information that was made public today," the league said in a statement.
12-1-18 The safehouse for women and pets to flee abuse
Shari delayed leaving a violent domestic situation because she was worried about her dogs. Almost half of domestic violence survivors with pets wait to leave because they're concerned about their animal's welfare. But often, when they do leave, it's impossible to find a refuge that will also accommodate pets.