1-21-21 Christine Dacera: Police chief's removal ordered over 'botched' rape probe
An order has been made to remove a police chief of an affluent area of the Philippine capital, Manila, for his handling of a probe into the suspected rape and murder of an air stewardess. The case of Christine Dacera, found dead in a hotel room after a New Year's Eve party, made headlines for weeks. Police quickly said she had been raped and murdered, arresting three men. But the men have now been released while questions have been raised over officers' initial conclusions. The ordered removal of Makati Police Chief Colonel Harold Depositar is the latest development, and comes in the wake of massive criticism for their handling of the high profile case. Critics say the case represents a denial of due process, an issue that has been raised before in relation to their implementation of President Rodrigo Duterte's "War on Drugs." On 4 January, police issued a statement that they had "solved" the death of the 23-year-old flight attendant, adding that she had been raped and murdered. The statement added that police had arrested three suspects arrested while nine others were "still at large". All 12 men had been with her that night. Despite a pending legal medical review of the death, Colonel Depositar confirmed they had "already filed a rape with homicide" case. Initially, outrage. The story exploded on social media and was trending for days. The hashtag #JusticeForChristineDacera went viral following the police statement, although there were those who blamed her for partying with so many men. General Sinas called on the nine "at large" to "surrender within 72 hours or we will hunt you down using force if necessary". Senator, and decorated boxer, Manny Pacquiao offered a reward of US$10,400 (£7.600) for information related to the death. Senator Pacquiao, who is tipped to run for president in 2022, said the case was another example of why the death penalty should be revived in the Philippines.
1-20-21 Greece #Metoo: Women ending silence of sport abuse shake Greece
When former Olympic champion Sofia Bekatorou revealed she had been sexually assaulted by an unnamed Hellenic Sailing Federation (HSF) executive, few realised her powerful testimony would prompt a #Metoo movement in Greek sport. She was addressing a little-advertised online conference after all. But when the sailing federation hit back at her allegations the following day, the whole story exploded. It said it had never received any complaint from Bekatorou and essentially asked her to name the man, since she had "taken the initiative to speak about this unpleasant incident after so many years". Inspired by Sofia Bekatorou's courage and angered by the federation's cynicism, more athletes began going public with experiences of sexual harassment and abuse using the hashtag #metisofia (on Sofia's side). Now the Greek president has praised the former champion for ending a "conspiracy of silence" and the government says her story has shaken not just sport but society as a whole. Bekatorou was 21 when she went abroad with the rest of the Greek sailing team in 1998 to compete in qualifying trials for the Sydney Olympics. The team was joined by a sailing federation executive who celebrated their qualification with them. Now 43 and a mother of two children, she told the online conference she had been subjected to "sexual harassment and abuse" in the official's hotel room. The transcript of her speech circulated online. Bekatorou went on to win two Olympic medals and several world championship golds and was given the honour of carrying the Greek flag at the Rio Olympics in 2016. But she also maintains that the official became an obstacle to her career. Her decision to stay silent so she could keep on sailing took its toll. It took "years with a lot of work and therapy", she said, before she could take responsibility for not speaking out and seeking the man's removal.
1-17-21 Sofia Bekatorou: Olympic medalist's decision to speak out over alleged 1998 sexual assault sparks public outcry in Greece
Greek Olympic gold medalist Sofia Bekatorou's very public detailing of her alleged sexual assault in 1998 by a high-ranking Hellenic Sailing Federation (HSF) official has sparked an outcry in the Mediterranean country over the way her revelations were initially dealt with. Bekatorou did not name the person she is accusing. On Saturday, Aristides Adamopoulos -- the vice Chairman of the HSF Board -- resigned, according to the Greek sailing body. "It is expected that complaints against me made by a public figure, of great recognition and wide social impact, will gather public interest, create feelings of compassion for the complainant and disgust for the alleged 'perpetrator,'" said Adamopoulos in a statement as he called for due process. Later on Saturday, in a statement posted on the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) website, Adamopoulos said Bekatorou's accusation was "false and defamatory." "Nevertheless, I fully understand that due to the extensive negative publicity of the matter, it is very likely there will be damage to the status of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, which must always remain high for the good of Greek sport," said Adamopoulos. "For this reason alone and fully aware of my responsibility towards the HOC, I declare that from today and until the full clarification of this case by the authorities I will abstain from meetings of the HOC bodies which I am a member and I will generally abstain from the exercise of my duties from any position I hold." CNN does not usually identify people who say they were sexually assaulted, but Bekatorou came forward publicly with her allegations. Bekatorou said the alleged assault took place in 1998 during preparations for the Sydney Olympics, that were held two years later. One of Greece's best-known female athletes, Bekatorou won a sailing gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics and then bronze four years later at the Beijing Games. Now 43, Bekatorou said a male official performed a "lewd act" after inviting her to his hotel room to discuss preparations ahead of the Sydney Olympics. The athlete said the act was not consensual.
1-15-21 Rajini Chandy: The 69-year-old Indian actress trolled for ‘too sexy’ photos
When Rajini Chandy posted pictures from her glamorous photoshoot on Facebook recently, she didn't anticipate they would go viral and attract vicious trolls. The photos show the 69-year-old housewife-turned-actress, who's generally seen in colourful elegant saris, dressed in a jumpsuit, long dresses, a pair of distressed jeans, and a short denim dress. In some, she's wearing a crown of fresh white flowers picked from her garden. Described as "bold and beautiful" by the local press in the southern Indian state of Kerala, where she lives, the photoshoot has raised the hackles of many in a conservative state where most women still dress modestly in saris or traditional long skirts. The photoshoot, Mrs Chandy told the BBC, was the idea of Athira Joy, a 29-year-old photographer known for her unconventional work. Ms Joy said what attracted her to the actress was how she was so different from her own mother. "Indian women," she says, "spend their lives caged in this system of marriage and raising a family. Most give up on life once they reach 60. They become nannies to their grandchildren." Her 65-year-old mother, she says, is "a typical Indian woman who suffers from all sorts of health issues that 60 plus women face". "But Rajini is different - she takes care of herself, she's fit, she's bold, she's beautiful, she's fashionable. She's 69, but in her mind, she's 29, just like me." In traditional Keralan society, Mrs Chandy has always stood out. When she returned to Kerala in 1995 after spending decades in Mumbai where her husband worked with a foreign bank, she made heads turn as she stepped out in a pair of jeans or wore lipstick. Once, she tells me, she was reprimanded for wearing a sleeveless blouse. In the past few years, she's made news for her "unconventional choices" - in 2016, at the age of 65, she debuted as an actress in the Malayalam-language comedy-drama, Oru Muthassi Gadha (A Granny's Mace).
1-12-21 Irish government to apologise over mother-and-baby homes
The Irish government is to apologise after an investigation found an "appalling level of infant mortality" in the country's mother-and-baby homes. Established in the 19th and 20th centuries, the institutions housed women and girls who became pregnant outside marriage. About 9,000 children died in the 18 institutions under investigation. The government said the report revealed the country had a "stifling, oppressive and brutally misogynistic culture". Taoiseach (Irish PM) Mícheál Martin said the report described a very dark and difficult chapter in Irish history. "As a nation we must face up to the full truth of our past," he said. The greatest number of admissions was in the 1960s and early 1970s. Many children born in the homes were adopted or taken to orphanages run by Catholic nuns. The report said "the women and children should not have been in the institutions" and that many women suffered emotional abuse. The investigators say it appears there was "little kindness" shown to the mothers and "this was particularly the case" during childbirth, which many of the women found "a traumatic experience". The Irish government will apologise for the hurt experienced by the residents of the homes. Mr Martin said "one hard truth" was that "all of society was complicit" in the scandal. "We did this to ourselves as a society - we treated women exceptionally badly; we treated children extremely badly," he said on Tuesday. "We had a completely warped attitude to sexuality and intimacy and young mothers and their sons and daughters were forced to pay a terrible price for that dysfunction. "As a society we embraced judgementalism, moral certainty, a perverse religious morality and control which was so damaging. "But what was very striking was the absence of basic kindness. Children's Minister Roderic O'Gorman said the report showed that for decades a "pervasive stigmatisation of unmarried mothers and their children robbed those individuals of their agency and sometimes their future".
11-3-21 Racism in ballet: Black dancer's 'humiliation' at racist comments
Chloé Lopes Gomes says she has faced racial harassment while being a ballet dancer. The French performer is the first black female dancer at Berlin's principal ballet company Staatsballett. Ms Gomes claims she was told she did not fit in because of her skin colour, and was asked to wear white make up so she would 'blend in' with the other dancers. The company has responded by saying her allegation "deeply moves us" and an internal investigation is underway into racism and discrimination at Staatsballett.