11-29-19 K-pop stars Jung Joon-young and Choi Jong-hoon sentenced for rape
A South Korean court has sentenced K-pop stars Jung Joon-young and Choi Jong-hoon to six and five years in prison for gang raping drunk unconscious women. Jung was also charged with filming the assault and distributing the footage. The men will have to do 80 hours of sexual violence treatment courses and are banned from working with children. The case is one of several sex and abuse scandals that have rocked the K-pop world in recent years. Judge Kang Seong-soo said that Jung, 30, had raped women who were "drunk and unable to resist, filmed them nude and having sex, then spread it on a group chat". "We can't imagine the pain the victims might have felt who found out later." He also said it seemed Jung viewed the victims just as a tool for pleasure. In the final testimony, Jung - who rose to fame on a TV talent show - said: "I deeply regret my foolishness and I feel great remorse." "From now on, I shall only... live in remorse," he added. In March, he quit the music business after admitting that he secretly filmed women and shared the videos. On Choi - a former member of the band F.T. Island, which had number one albums in South Korea - the court said the 30-year-old "did not feel remorse after mass-raping drunken victims". The allegations involving some of the the biggest stars of the K-pop world have become a growing scandal. When we investigated the issue earlier this year, lawyer Cha Mee-kyung described these rapes as "hidden crimes". I was told women did not want to come forward out of shame, and fear they would be judged - rather than their attackers. Take this chat-room reaction to today's sentence as an example. "This is rather too much for this type of crime. These women were not kidnapped on the street, but followed the handsome singers." But young women are realising that together, they do have a voice. In protests and marches they are speaking out. Thanks to them, things are changing. Two K-pop stars who joked about gang-raping women with their friends are now behind bars. At the very least, this horrific crime - which has taken place in the shadows of South Korean society - has been dragged into the light.(Webmaster's comment: All these men need a heavy dose of prison time!)
11-28-19 Gordon Sondland: US ambassador to EU accused of sexual misconduct
Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the EU, has been accused by three women of sexual misconduct. The allegations, published by Portland Monthly magazine and ProPublica, date back to before he became an ambassador. At the time of the alleged incidents he was developing hotels in Portland and Seattle in the Pacific Northwest. Mr Sondland denies all of the allegations, and accuses the women of targeting him for his role in President Donald Trump's impeachment hearings. "These untrue claims of unwanted touching and kissing are concocted and, I believe, co-ordinated for political purposes," he said in a statement. "They have no basis in fact, and I categorically deny them." All three women said Mr Sondland retaliated against them professionally after they rejected his sexual advances - by verbally abusing them at their workplace, reneging on a promised investment, and withdrawing offers of professional introductions. One of the women, Nicole Vogel, said she met Mr Sondland for dinner in 2003 in order to secure investment for her new magazine. Ms Vogel is the owner of Portland Monthly. The magazine said she was not involved editorially in the story, and it had teamed up with ProPublica, a respected non-profit news group, to report the claims independently. She said that after dinner Mr Sondland took her to one of his hotels and invited her to see a room. He then requested a hug, she added, but instead "grabs my face and goes to kiss me". She said she deflected him and left the hotel, and later received an email from Mr Sondland changing the terms of his investment. Another woman, Jana Solis, said she met Mr Sondland in 2008 when she was seeking work as a hotel safety expert. When he offered her the job, she said, he called her "my new hotel chick" and slapped her rear. She then said that on another occasion he invited her to his home in Portland to evaluate his art collection, before exposing himself. On a third occasion, he asked her to inspect his penthouse apartment and then forcibly kissed her, she said.
11-28-19 Makeup vlogger reignites Chinese domestic violence debate
A Chinese beauty vlogger's claims of suffering domestic violence have reignited conversations about whether enough is being done to help victims. He Yuhong, who goes by the online name "Yuyamika", is known for transforming herself into celebrities, including John Lennon and Taylor Swift. On Monday, she released a video on her Sina Weibo account on the United Nations' International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. In it, she claimed her former partner, a 44-year-old illustrator, abused her repeatedly during their year-long relationship. Her ex-boyfriend, Mr Chen, has not responded publicly to the allegations. Police investigating the allegations in the south-western city of Chongqing say Mr Chen has been placed in administrative detention for 20 days. The local Jiangbei District police force said on their Weibo account that it was "found out that Chen had committed illegal acts that threatened the personal safety of other parties through WeChat". Ms He filed a restraining order on Wednesday which the court had granted "based on the facts found", police said. Ms He has gained a huge following for make-up tutorial videos both in China and overseas. She has more than 750,000 followers on Instagram alone. But on 25 November, she posted on her Weibo account: "For the past six months, I seem to have been living in a nightmare." She shared surveillance footage from an apartment lift in August that she said was of her and Mr Chen. The footage showed a woman being violently dragged by her ankles. "He kept kicking my body, and I was so scared that I could only lie down on the ground and wait until he finished blowing off steam," Ms He said. She also shared video interviews with two women, who claimed to be his ex-wives, speaking of their own alleged experiences of domestic violence. The video also featured testimonials from people who claimed to have seen Mr Chen hit Ms He.
11-27-19 Jerry Sandusky
Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky briefly emerged from prison last week, only to be resentenced to the same 30 to 60 years he’d received in 2012 after being convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys. After a Pennsylvania appeals court found that mandatory minimum sentences were misapplied in his case, prosecutors successfully argued that Sandusky, 75, should remain behind bars for decades, guaranteeing that he will die in prison. They said he’s been a difficult inmate who fails to return his meal tray and complains about not getting to use his tablet computer. Sandusky, who’s spent more than five years in solitary confinement for his own safety, choked up in court, saying, “I apologize that I’m unable to admit remorse for this because it’s something that I didn’t do.”
11-27-19 Hunter Biden
Hunter Biden insists he’s never even had sex with Arkansas 28-year-old Lunden Roberts, yet Roberts told a court last week that a paternity test confirms the son of former Vice President Joe Biden fathered her child. Roberts says Biden, 49, agreed to the test after she’d filed a lawsuit seeking child support and health care for the child, born in August 2018. She says they met while Roberts was a student at the George Washington University. Biden, whose business dealings in Ukraine are at the center of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, had begun a relationship with his brother’s widow during the same time Roberts conceived this child. In response to news of the DNA test’s results, the Trump campaign tweeted, “Congratulations, Joe Biden!”
11-26-19 In pictures: Global protests denounce violence against women
People around the world have taken to the streets to demand an end to violence against women. Protests were organised in countries including Mexico, Italy, Turkey and Sudan. The global demonstrations were held to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on Monday. Some 87,000 women and girls were murdered around the world in 2017, according to the United Nations. The UN says violence against women and girls is one of the "most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today" and remains largely unreported because of issues including impunity and stigma. In Mexico City, demonstrators marched through the streets calling on authorities to do more to combat the high rates of femicide - the murder of a woman because of her gender - and rape in the country. Some women later clashed with security forces and vandalised monuments in the city. Other large protests were held across Latin America, where the UN says 12 women are killed as a result of femicide every day. In Chile, demonstrators marched with red hands painted over their mouths as they called for more action. Women in Argentina adopted a similar tactic, covering their mouths with purple painted hands as they gathered in front of the National Congress in Buenos Aires. Women and men in Uruguay's capital Montevideo wore black as they marched against gender-based violence. In Honduras, demonstrators hung stuffed animals from ropes in memory of murdered women. Women lay under sheets covered in fake blood in Panama City to represent those killed as a result of femicide. Large protests were also held in countries across Europe. Women at a demonstration in the French city of Nantes on Monday evening wrote "stop" and "138" on their hands to represent the number of women reported to have been killed by current or former partners in the country this year. (Webmaster's comment: In the United States that number is over 1,000 this year!)
11-25-19 Femicide: New French action amid protests - but is it enough?
France's silent problem has sparked a protest too loud to ignore. The names and faces of women who seemed invisible when alive are being paraded after their deaths through France's streets, in a steady stream of protests against the high number of domestic killings here. Support groups say that more than 130 women have been killed this year by a partner or ex-partner; that's one every three days. Lucien Douib lost his daughter, Julie, in March. Her estranged husband is facing trial for her murder. He says it's important that the police are better prepared to help. "When we talk with the families of the victims, it's always the same story," he told me. "The women file a complaint but are not taken seriously, are not listened to. That's what happened with Julie. It's horrible to think that, in nine months since the death of my daughter, nothing has changed." A report by the justice ministry last month found that almost half of those killed by their partners had previously filed a report with the police, but that 80% of the complaints did not lead to prosecution. On Monday, after two months of government consultations, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe promised more training for the police in assessing complaints, and 1,000 extra spaces in emergency shelters for women fleeing domestic violence at home. He also announced a new law, to go before the National Assembly in January, under which any partner who kills his companion will face the "automatic suspension of parental authority". Violent partners who fall short of murder could also face restrictions on parental authority for their children. Lucien says he welcomes the move. He and his wife are now caring for their two grandchildren, but routinely need to ask permission from the man charged with killing their daughter, in order to travel with the children, or enrol them in any kind of medical or psychiatric care.
11-23-19 Femicide: Big rallies across France to condemn domestic violence
Marches are being held in dozens of French cities to condemn femicide and other forms of gender-based violence. Using the hashtag #NousToutes (All of Us), protesters accuse the authorities of turning a blind eye to the problem. Measures to tackle domestic violence are expected to be unveiled on Monday. France has one of the highest rates of murders linked to domestic violence in Western Europe, with at least 115 women killed by their partners or ex-partners this year alone, local media say. (Webmaster's comment: In American it's at least 980 so ar this year!) About 30 street marches organised by a number of groups and unions are being held throughout France. In Paris, the rally began near the Opéra in the capital's centre. The city soon became a sea of purple - the colour of thousands of banners carried by protesters. "We think this will be a historic march," Caroline De Haas, one of the organisers, was quoted as saying by AFP news agency. She said "the level of awareness [about the problem] is moving at breakneck speed". Rallies are also being held in other major cities. In the southern port of Marseille, demonstrators held placards with the names of some of the victims of domestic violence. One woman is killed in France every three days by their current or former partner, according to the AFP. (Webmaster's comment: In America it's at least 3 per day!) Eurostat, the European Union's statistics agency, says there were 123 murders committed by a partner in France in 2017. The marches come at the end of nearly three months of consultations launched by the French government. Campaigners hope the talks will result in a set of specific measures against domestic violence. In September, the government announced a number of emergency measures, including the creation of 1,000 shelter places and emergency accommodation from next year, and an audit of 400 police stations to see how women's complaints are handled. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe also said €5m (£4.5m) would be released in the fight against femicide, and that the complaints procedure would be simplified, that the protection of women under threat would be improved, and that their partners would be removed more quickly. The PM also floated the idea that those convicted of domestic violence or under a restraining order would have to wear an electronic bracelet to protect women from further violence.
11-22-19 US domestic abuse victim pretends to order pizza to alert 911
A woman in a domestic violence situation managed to call 911 without the perpetrator realising, by pretending to order a pizza. Officers in Oregon city, Ohio, praised the caller's quick thinking, which led to the alleged abuser being arrested. The unnamed woman told local media her mum was being attacked at the time. This tactic for subtly calling the emergency services has been internet lore for years, but this is a rare confirmed case of it being effective. Officials have previously warned that the strategy is not guaranteed to work, as dispatchers are not trained to recognise a pizza order as a genuine call for help. The dispatcher who answered the call, Tim Teneyck, told local news station 13 ABC he initially thought the woman had dialled an incorrect number. When she insisted she was through to the right person, he realised what was happening - partly because he had seen similar scenarios being shared on social media. "You see it on Facebook, but it's not something that anybody has ever been trained for," Mr Teneyck said. "Other dispatchers that I've talked to would not have picked up on this. They've told me they wouldn't have picked up on this." It is unclear where exactly the idea originated, but a very similar scenario was used in a campaign by the Norwegian Women's Shelter Association in 2010. Four years later, in May 2014, a user on discussion website Reddit claiming to be a 911 operator described a domestic abuse victim calling to order a pizza. They wrote that the call "started out pretty dumb, but was actually pretty serious" - before describing a conversation similar to the one Mr Tenyck had. A few months later a number of news sites reported on the Reddit post, and in 2015 it was even turned into a Super Bowl ad addressing domestic abuse. The scenario later became a viral "public service announcement" on social media, with one Facebook post making the unsubstantiated claim that "dispatchers are trained" to recognise the pizza call as a call for help, and to ask specific questions.
11-20-19 Testosterone myths: How old ideas of masculinity sell us all short
OVER the past few years, gender gaps have become part of our cultural conversation. Women still earn less than men, shoulder more of the burden of domestic chores and are much more likely to experience sexual assault. All of this should be unacceptable, yet plenty of people still justify it with a single word: testosterone. The hormone is routinely used to account for bad behaviour by men. Some even blamed the 2008 global financial crisis on raging testosterone in male bankers. Others reason that US President Donald Trump’s bragging about grabbing women is just locker-room talk fuelled by the high levels of testosterone that might have endowed him with the power and aggression needed to secure beneficial business deals. This is possible partly because testosterone is seen as a male hormone, linked to stereotypically masculine characteristics: strength, power, aggression, high libido, success. Except that it isn’t and they aren’t. Researchers are starting to rewrite the story of testosterone, but changing its public image will take some work. This can’t happen fast enough for anthropologist Matthew Gutmann, whose book Are Men Animals? takes a broad look at how we understand masculinity. Gutmann argues that our ideas about masculinity “sell men short”. Our assumptions about maleness are not only based on flawed evidence and reasoning, but are also harmful to men. Part of the problem, he argues, is that we anthropomorphise animal behaviour. Claims that male mallard ducks “gang rape” females or that swans exhibit “infidelity” obscure why the birds behave as they do and normalise those behaviours in humans. By so doing, he says, we inadvertently create a biological excuse for human rape. “Human rape is a choice, not an accident or a hardwired compulsion,” he writes. The entrenched idea that there is something about maleness that generates violence and sexual aggression, and that “boys will be boys”, can also lead policy-makers astray. Keeping women out of the army isn’t a solution to rape in the military, just as sex-segregated train carriages on public transport won’t prevent assault. Such policies, says Gutmann, treat men as children who can’t control themselves, and ultimately fail to stop sexual harassment or assault. (Webmaster's comment: Many male's behavior contradicts these conclusions! See http://www.siouxfallsfeminists.com/abusive-and-violent-american-males.html)
11-19-19 Jeffery Epstein 'wielded great villainous power'
A woman has come forward to accuse the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein of sexually abusing her as a 15-year-old. Identified as "Jane Doe 15", she told reporters: "Epstein wielded great villainous power." She spoke out amid controversy over Prince Andrew's ties to Epstein. "Jane Doe 15" did not accuse Prince Andrew of any wrongdoing, but called on him to come forward with more information. The sex offender, 66, hanged himself in jail in August while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges. He was accused of sexually abusing dozens of young girls, some as young as 14. He pleaded not guilty. It came more than a decade after his conviction for soliciting prostitution from a minor.
11-19-19 New Jeffrey Epstein accuser calls on Prince Andrew to talk
A woman has come forward to accuse the disgraced late financier Jeffrey Epstein of sexually abusing her as a 15 year old, and urged Prince Andrew to share information on his former friend. The accuser, identified as "Jane Doe 15", told reporters she had suffered a "vicious, prolonged sexual assault". She is the latest of more than a dozen women to sue Epstein's estate for alleged sexual abuses. It comes amid controversy over Prince Andrew's ties to the sex offender. In an interview with the BBC aired on Saturday, Prince Andrew was pressed on his friendship with Epstein, and an accusation made by Virginia Giuffre that he had sex with her at Epstein's house when Ms Giuffre was 17. Prince Andrew denied having sex with Ms Giuffre, but the interview created a wave of criticism directed at the royal. Accountancy firm KPMG on Monday announced it would not renew its sponsorship of the prince's entrepreneurship initiative, Pitch@Palace. Jane Doe 15, now 31, gave a press conference in Los Angeles on Monday with her lawyer, Gloria Allred. She accused Epstein of abusing her at his New Mexico ranch when she was 15, after she had met his secretary during a 2004 school trip to New York. According to her lawsuit, the secretary told her Epstein was interested in helping girls from poorer backgrounds. She was flown on his private jet to his ranch in New Mexico with several other young girls, she said. She alleges he told her to give him a massage, then sexually assaulted her. "Epstein took my sexual innocence," she said during the press conference. Epstein, 66, hanged himself in jail in August while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges. He had pleaded not guilty to sexually abusing dozens of girls, some as young as 14. He was already a convicted sex offender, having been jailed in Florida in 2008 for procuring a minor for prostitution. Jane Doe 15 did not accuse Prince Andrew of any wrongdoing but called on him to come forward with more information. "Prince Andrew, and any others who were close to Epstein, should come forward and give a statement under oath on what information they have," she said.
11-15-19 Circle of silence
A professional referee said that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), then an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University, brushed off a complaint about disgraced team doctor Richard Strauss’ sexual misconduct, a lawsuit alleged last week. The ref says he reported that Strauss masturbated in front of him in a shower after a match, and Jordan replied, “Yeah, that’s Strauss.” The assertion comes in a lawsuit filed by 43 survivors against Ohio State, which alleges that Strauss drugged and raped athletes and abused kids as young as 14. Jordan, a coach from 1986 to 1994, called the referee’s statements “ridiculous,” maintaining he was unaware of Strauss’ predations. Former wrestler Dunyasha Yetts previously said he told Jordan that Strauss, who died in 2005, tried to pull down his pants. Yetts commended the unnamed ref for speaking out, adding, “Jordan and the other coaches knew what was going on and they blew it off.”
11-15-19 South Africa post office murderer given life for killing Uyinene Mrwetyana
South African post office worker Luyanda Botha has been handed three life sentences after admitting to the rape and murder of 19-year-old student Uyinene Mrwetyana. Her killing in August sparked large protests over the high levels of violence against women in the country. There were brief cheers in the court on Friday as the sentence was handed down. "This judgment won't in any manner replace Uyinene but we do appreciate it," her uncle said, IOL reports. In South Africa some 2,700 women were murdered by men last year. That is five times higher than the global average. In addition, at least 100 rapes were reported daily. In September, at an emergency sitting of parliament on this issue, President Cyril Ramaphosa said urgent action was needed and likened the figures for violence against women and children to those of a country at war. Shortly after her murder, reports emerged that Ms Mrwetyana had been lured into the mail room of a post office in Cape Town. She was then raped twice and bludgeoned to death, South African news site News24 reports. Botha hid her body in the post office's safe before taking it to another place and setting fire to it, News24 adds quoting the prosecution's summary. The first-year film and media studies student had been missing for a week before her body was found dumped in Khayelitsha township. The killing led to large protests, including an attempt to storm a conference centre in Cape Town where a meeting of the World Economic Forum was taking place. In September, the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, tied a ribbon at a memorial on her visit to Cape Town. She personally passed on her condolences to the victim's mother. Meghan made the visit to "show solidarity" with protesters against gender-based violence, a post on her official Instagram account said.
11-13-19 Apple Store worker 'texts himself customer's intimate photo'
An Apple Store employee allegedly texted himself an "extremely personal" photo of a woman from her phone after she took the device to be repaired. Gloria Fuentes brought her phone to a shop in California last week, after removing some personal data from it. However, she alleged via Facebook, an employee had found an intimate photo on the device and sent it to himself. Apple said it had investigated the incident and the worker was no longer associated with the company. Ms Fuentes's story was first reported by the Washington Post. She said she had made an effort to remove personal information, such as financial data, from her iPhone before taking the device in to be repaired. "I was going to delete all the pictures from my phone too but forgot because they were texting me that they moved my appointment time up, so I was trying to rush over there," she said via Facebook. The employee who worked on her phone had spent "quite a while" with it and asked her for her passcode twice, she wrote. It was only when Ms Fuentes had returned home that, she said, she had realised her phone had been used to send a text to an unfamiliar number. "This guy went through my gallery and sent himself one of my extremely personal pictures that I took for my boyfriend and it had my geolocation on, so he also knows where I live," she said. "I could not express how disgusted I felt and how long I cried after I saw this." Ms Fuentes said she had returned to the Apple Store but the employee in question had claimed he did not know how the text had been sent. "Apple immediately launched an internal investigation and determined that the employee acted far outside the strict privacy guidelines to which we hold all Apple employees," the company said in a statement to the Washington Post. "He is no longer associated with our company," In her Facebook post, Ms Fuentes said she would press charges against the former employee.
11-8-19 Alberto Salazar weight-shaming affected athletes' mental health - Steve Magness
Banned coach Alberto Salazar's "obsession" with controlling weight led to mental health problems in athletes, his former assistant has claimed. Steve Magness was reacting to American athlete Mary Cain's account of ill effects she suffered under Salazar, who received a four-year ban for doping violations. "I've witnessed the harm and damage that such a culture creates," Magness posted on social media on Thursday. "It's lasting mental health issues." In an interview with the New York Times, Cain claimed Salazar's methods at the Nike Oregon Project (NOP) training set-up resulted in her losing her period for three years and broken bones. She also stated she had "suicidal thoughts" and began to cut herself. Salazar told the publication he "denied many of Cain's claims and had supported her health and welfare". The BBC has also approached the 61-year-old American about Cain's allegations and those made by Magness. Nike told BBC Sport that Cain's allegations are "completely inconsistent" with its values. However, it added that it previously had not been made aware of the issues and that the athlete was "seeking to rejoin the Oregon Project and Alberto's team as recently as April of this year". It also said it would launch an investigation to hear from former NOP athletes. Earlier in November, the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) announced it would investigate those who trained with Salazar. He was found guilty of doping violations after a four-year investigation by the US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) and has said he will appeal against the ruling.
11-8-19 Gang rapists acquitted
Protests broke out in Spain this week after five men were acquitted of raping an unconscious 14-year-old girl at a party in an abandoned warehouse. The court said the attack did not meet Spain’s legal definition of rape, which requires that a perpetrator use violence or intimidation. That didn’t occur in this case, because the victim was unconscious from drugs and alcohol. The five were convicted instead on the lesser charge of sexual abuse and received sentences of 10 to 12 years in prison. The ruling recalled a 2016 case, in which five men were convicted of abuse rather than rape because the victim could not prove that the gang that surrounded her in Pamplona had used violence. The Supreme Court overruled that verdict this summer and found the men guilty of rape.
11-8-19 Hounding women out of Parliament
Abusive constituents are chasing female lawmakers out of Parliament, said Frances Perraudin and Simon Murphy. So far, 18 women legislators—including current and former cabinet members—have chosen not to run in next month’s election. They say that the Brexit debate and Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s rhetoric have created a toxic and dangerous work environment. One of those leaving, Amber Rudd, who quit her post as secretary of state for work and pensions in September, said Johnson’s use of terms such as “surrender” and “betrayal” over Brexit could incite violence. One opposition Labour Party lawmaker was targeted by a neo-Nazi who planned to kill her; another has seen six people convicted over threats to her family. “Politics has become a hostile environment for women, in which we are harassed, demeaned, and threatened,” said Mandu Reid of the Women’s Equality Party. The ruling Conservative Party’s lurch to the right has also alienated its moderate female members, while anti-Semitism turns off moderate Labour women. Women are leaving the House of Commons far faster than men, typically having “spent a decade less in Parliament than retiring male MPs.” Sarah Wollaston, a Conservative turned Liberal Democrat, said, “Why would you put up with all that abuse, if at the same time you’re unhappy about the direction of travel?” For many women, it’s just not worth it.
11-8-19 #MeToo: McDonald’s CEO ousted over affair
McDonald’s fired its chief executive, Steve Easterbrook, this week after the board learned he had been having a relationship with an employee, said David Yaffe-Bellany in The New York Times. Though the relationship was consensual, “the #MeToo era has brought new scrutiny to a wide range of workplace misconduct,” and the board said Easterbrook, who is divorced, had violated company policy. The move could have been motivated by “pressure facing McDonald’s” over its handling of sexual harassment cases at its franchises, which are the subjects of 23 complaints filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. But “changing attitudes about romance in the workplace” have also led more companies to enact strict “nonfraternization” rules for executives. “Easterbrook had to go,” said the Chicago Tribune in an editorial. It doesn’t matter that the relationship was consensual. As CEO, Easterbrook was the boss to every McDonald’s employee. “The reason nonfraternization policies exist” is because any workplace romance between a supervisor and a subordinate is “susceptible to abuse.” It’s tough enough for someone to have a relationship “with the person responsible for his or her paycheck.” It also raises the question of fairness toward other employees. McDonald’s did the right thing in immediately replacing Easterbrook with another senior executive, Chris Kempczinski. Bosses should “have the power to enforce their organizations’ priorities,” not to violate them.
11-3-19 Japan festival to show 'comfort women' film after backlash
A Japanese film festival will now show a documentary on forced wartime sex workers after its earlier decision to cancel the screening sparked a backlash. The festival in Kawasaki said safety concerns had now been resolved. Tens of thousands of so-called "comfort women" from around Asia were forced into brothels to work as sex slaves for Japan's military. Japanese nationalists deny the women were coerced into sex work. Earlier this year an exhibition on the issue of "comfort women" was forced to close for two months after it was threatened with arson. The decision not to screen the film was reversed after "lots of voices offering cooperation to address our safety concerns", a member of the organising committee told AFP news agency. Several directors involved in the film festival had criticised plans not to show the film. One even pulled his own film from the festival in protest. "Shusenjo: The Main Battleground of the Comfort Women Issue" will now be shown on the last day of the festival. However some of those who appear in the documentary have filed a lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court, demanding compensation and that the film not be shown. They claim they agreed to be in the documentary as they thought it was part of research and not part of a film, the Asahi Shimbun reports. Historians say an estimated 200,000 women were forced to work in brothels for Japanese soldiers. Many were Korean. Others came from China, the Philippines, Indonesia and Taiwan. Some Japanese nationalists deny the claims, insisting that there is no documented evidence that the Japanese military was ordered to recruit women against their will. The issue of comfort women among disputes that have led to fractious relations between Japan and its Asian neighbours. Tokyo argues that the 1965 treaty that restored diplomatic ties and provided more than $800m (£618m) in Japanese financial help to South Korea has settled the matter. In 2015, Japan signed a deal with South Korea in another attempt to settle the matter. Japan apologised and promised to pay 1bn yen ($9.5m, £7.9m) - the amount South Korea asked for - to victims. Critics say it was reached without consultation with victims.
11-2-19 Essex lorry deaths: Vietnam condemns 'human trafficking'
Vietnam says it "strongly condemns human trafficking," after UK police said they believed 39 people found dead in a lorry were all Vietnamese. The Vietnamese ministry of foreign affairs called on countries around the world to "step up cooperation" to combat the crime. Vietnamese and British authorities are working to identify the bodies, which were found in Essex on 23 October. Several arrests have been made in connection with the tragedy. The driver of the lorry, Maurice Robinson, 25, appeared in court on Monday on manslaughter charges. Prosecutors alleged that Mr Robinson was part of a "global ring" of people smugglers. Police are also seeking two brothers from Northern Ireland, Ronan, 40, and Christopher Hughes, 34, who are wanted on suspicion of manslaughter and people trafficking. Eamonn Harrison, 22, has been arrested in Dublin on a European Arrest Warrant to face charges of manslaughter in the UK. In Vietnam police have arrested two people over people smuggling. Le Thi Thu Hang, a spokesperson from the ministry, said the incident in Essex was "a serious humanitarian tragedy". "Vietnam calls upon countries in the region and around the world to step up cooperation in combating human trafficking in order to prevent the recurrence of such tragedy," she said. "We hope that the British side would soon complete the investigation to bring those responsible for this tragedy to justice, " she added. A number of Vietnamese families have come forward fearing their loved ones are among the dead. On the night before the bodies were discovered, Pham Thi Tra My, 26, sent her family a message saying her "trip to a foreign land has failed". Vietnamese feature prominently among those identified as potential victims of trafficking in the UK, according to a report by Anti-Slavery International.
11-1-19 European Union: Can human trafficking be stopped?
It looks like “mass murder,” said The Guardian (U.K.) in an editorial. The bodies of 39 people, most thought to be Vietnamese, were found in a refrigerated container in southeastern England last week. In search of a better life, they had paid smugglers to transport them to the Belgian port of Zeebrugge, where they entered the airtight container and set off for the English port of Benfleet. Three hours before the box was opened, passenger Pham Thi Tra My, 26, sent a harrowing text message to her mother in Vietnam. “I’m sorry, Mom. My journey abroad hasn’t succeeded,” she wrote. “I’m dying because I can’t breathe.” The Northern Irish driver of the container truck has been arrested and charged with manslaughter, but the trafficking ring surely extends further. These deaths come “in spite of better detection methods and greater official alertness”—or perhaps because of them. Improvements at ports such as Calais “may have diverted people smugglers to less tightly monitored ports, such as Zeebrugge.” And dangerous refrigerated containers are used because they are “more effectively sealed from scrutiny.” “How could this happen again?” asked Guillaume Goubert in La Croix (France). This isn’t the first time Europe has seen trucks become mobile coffins. In 2000, 58 Chinese migrants were found dead in a trailer in the English port of Dover. In 2015, the decomposing bodies of 71 migrants—including four children—were discovered in a truck abandoned on an Austrian highway. These tragedies are made possible by “the appalling cynicism of smugglers who don’t hesitate to risk the death of their ‘customers’ to maximize their profits.” In Western Europe, politicians routinely say we must “block the road to migrants.” But few offer serious proposals to crack down on the traffickers who “offer their disastrous services to those dreaming of a better existence.” Without legal routes to get in, human trafficking will continue, said Viktor Funk in the Frankfurter Rundschau (Germany). Over the past decade Europe’s leaders have thrown up border walls, restricted work visas, and tightened the process for gaining asylum—even though the fast-graying Continent needs more young workers. Unsurprisingly, “people-smuggling services have flourished.” EU interior ministers could cripple the trafficking industry by “creating safer migration routes, a modern immigration policy, and an asylum system that deserves the name.”
11-1-19 Kuwait moves on Instagram slave traders after BBC investigation
Kuwaiti authorities say they have officially summoned the owners of several social media accounts used to sell domestic workers as slaves. A BBC News Arabic investigation found online slave markets on apps provided and made available by Google and Apple, including Facebook-owned Instagram. Women were offered for sale as workers via hashtags such as "maids for transfer" or "maids for sale". Authorities say those involved have been ordered to take down their ads. They have also been compelled to sign a legal commitment, promising no longer to participate in this activity. Instagram said it had also taken action since it was contacted by the BBC. It said it had removed further content across Facebook and Instagram, and would prevent the creation of new accounts designed to be used for the online slave market. Many of the most widely used accounts for buying and selling domestic workers appear to have stopped their activity. Dr Mubarak Al-Azimi, head of Kuwait's Public Authority for Manpower, said it was investigating the woman featured in the BBC report who sold a 16-year-old girl from Guinea - whom we are calling "Fatou" - via an app. A police officer who also featured in the report is under investigation by the authorities. He said arrests and compensation for the victims were possible outcomes of the action. Kimberley Motley, an American international lawyer who has taken on Fatou's case, said: "I believe the app developers should definitely provide compensation for Fatou. As well as possibly Apple and Google. "On Apple Store they proclaim that they are responsible for everything that's put on their store. And so our question is, what does that responsibility mean?" Ms Motley also called for criminal charges against those involved in trafficking Fatou to Kuwait. On Thursday, BBC News Arabic published its undercover investigation which found domestic workers were being illegally bought and sold online in a booming black market.
11-1-19 Maids for sale: How Silicon Valley enables online slave markets
Google, Apple and Facebook-owned Instagram are enabling an illegal online slave market by providing and approving apps used for the buying and selling of domestic workers in the Gulf. BBC News Arabic’s undercover investigation exposes app users in Kuwait breaking local and international laws on modern slavery, including a woman offering a child for sale. The discovery of 'Fatou' in Kuwait City, her rescue and journey back home to Guinea, West Africa, is at the heart of this investigation into Silicon Valley’s online slave market. After being alerted to the issue, Facebook said it had banned one of the hashtags involved and taken down 703 accounts from Instagram. Google and Apple said they were working with app developers to prevent illegal activity.
11-1-19 Former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos
Former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos said last week that new evidence corroborates her sexual assault claims against President Trump. Zervos accused Trump during his 2016 campaign of unwanted groping and kissing in 2007 and is now suing him for defamation after he called her a liar. In response to her lawsuit, Zervos says the Trump Organization was forced to turn over Trump’s schedule, and that it confirms he was staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles for two nights at the time Zervos previously said Trump assaulted her there. The documents also confirm Trump was scheduled to visit his nearby golf club the next day; Zervos had claimed Trump invited her to visit him there after he allegedly assaulted her at the hotel.
11-1-19 Harvey Weinstein’s surprise visit
Harvey Weinstein’s surprise visit to a Manhattan variety show bombed last week, as the disgraced Hollywood producer was repeatedly heckled and called a rapist. Sitting with a small entourage at a prime booth, Weinstein got through the first few acts unmentioned before comedian Kelly Bachman said, “It’s our job to name the elephant in the room. It’s a Freddy Krueger in the room.” When Bachman joked she didn’t realize women “needed to bring our own Mace and rape whistles” to the event, several male audience members booed. One attendee, Zoe Stuckless, confronted Weinstein at his table, screaming that he’s a “f---ing rapist” before being escorted out of the small club. Weinstein’s spokesperson called the hecklers “downright rude” and complained that their hostile comments serve as “an example of how due process today is being squashed by the public.”
11-1-19 Hill: A congresswoman downed by #MeToo
Rep. Katie Hill’s resignation this week “is what accountability looks like—but it’s also what slut shaming looks like,” said Molly Roberts in WashingtonPost.com. The first-term California Democrat was a rising star until RedState.com revealed her “throuple” with her husband and a 22-year-old female campaign staffer. The openly bisexual Hill, 32, conceded the relationship was “inappropriate,” but adamantly denied the conservative website’s charge she was also conducting an active affair with a male Capitol Hill aide. RedState.com published photos of Hill kissing the female campaign staffer and holding a bong while naked, pictures Hill claims were supplied by her “monster” soon-to-be-ex-husband. Taking nudes with a subordinate was “unbelievably stupid,” said Robin Abcarian in the Los Angeles Times. But Hill’s resignation smacks of a “double standard.” Look at the all the male politicians who’ve survived far worse, including President Trump, who paid hush money to a porn star and a Playboy model and boasted of sexually assaulting women. RedState.com’s decision to publish the nude photos of Hill has crossed an “ugly line,” said Quinta Jurecic in LawfareBlog.com. “Nonconsensual pornography,” better known as “revenge porn,” is illegal in California and Washington, D.C. To my knowledge, the Hill photo “is the first instance in which a politically aligned publication—or, indeed, any publication—has released nonconsensual pornography” featuring a politician. Online partisan sites may be tempted by the rush of traffic RedState.com enjoyed and the political damage it caused. In an era in which many people in public life have taken nude or sexual selfies, we may have just seen “where things are headed.”
11-1-19 Spanish anger as five men acquitted of gang-raping teenager
A Barcelona court's decision to acquit five men accused of gang-raping a 14-year-old girl of the charge of sexual assault has provoked outrage. The court ruled out rape because the victim was in an "unconscious state" and the accused had not used violence or intimidation. This is a requirement under Spanish law for a charge of sexual assault, which is legally the equivalent of rape. Instead, they were convicted and jailed for the lesser crime of sexual abuse. The five were sentenced to between 10 and 12 years in prison. A conviction for sexual assault would have carried prison sentences of between 15 and 20 years. A review is currently taking place in Spain to decide whether to base rape cases on a woman's explicit consent to sex. A number of European countries have changed their laws in recent years to define rape as sex without consent. Sweden changed the law last year and Denmark is doing the same. The Barcelona verdict comes despite a ruling in a similar case by the Spanish Supreme Court upgrading a conviction from sexual abuse to sexual assault. Barcelona's Mayor Ada Colau denounced it as an "outrageous sentence" on Twitter. "I am not a judge and I do not know how many years in prison they deserve, what I do know is that it is not abuse, it is rape!" Women's rights groups have similarly reacted to the ruling with anger and dismay. Furious social media users have been commenting on the case under hashtags like JusticiaPatriarcal (Patriarchal Justice) and NoEsAbusoEsViolacion (It's not abuse it's rape). The case is known as the "Manada de Manresa" - Manresa Wolf Pack - for its similarities to a 2016 gang attack on a teenager which prompted widespread protests and an ongoing review of Spain's rape laws. Lila Corominas, a spokeswoman for the Manresa Feminist Strike Committee, told newspaper Nius Diario this was "an obvious case of sexual assault and intimidation". Leader of the Más País political party Íñigo Errejón said the sentence was "shameful", while Irene Montero, spokeswoman for Unidas Podemos, called for a change in the law "so we can speak proudly of living in a feminist country".
11-1-19 Cuba Gooding Jr denies new sexual assault charge
Actor Cuba Gooding Jr pleaded not guilty to fresh charges of sexual misconduct involving a third woman on Thursday. It comes less than a month after the star denied accusations of groping one woman's breasts and pinching another woman's buttocks. The 51-year-old Jerry Maguire star pleaded not guilty to the new charges of forcible touching and sexual abuse in Manhattan Supreme Court. He is due back in court on 22 January. The New York court heard that the latest allegations stem from an incident in Manhattan's Lavo nightclub in September 2018, but no further details were added. The Boyz N The Hood actor's lawyer, Mark Heller, called the charges "totally fraudulent". Gooding won the Oscar for best supporting actor in 1997 for his role as Rod Tidwell in the comedy-drama Jerry Maguire.