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51 Abuse of Women News Articles
for February 2018
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2-28-18 Evan Rachel Wood: Actress tells Congress about sexual abuse
Westworld actress Evan Rachel Wood has given powerful testimony to Congress in the US about her experiences as the victim of violent sexual assault. She said she was raped by an ex-partner while unconscious and was "mentally and physically tortured until my abuser felt I had proven my love for them". Wood was one of three women giving evidence in support of the Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights Act. Wood described the bill as a "safety net that may help save someone's life". The actress, 30, is known for playing Dolores Abernathy as well as roles in Mildred Pierce and Thirteen. She told the House Judiciary Subcommittee she had been subjected to "toxic mental, physical and sexual abuse", which had "altered the course of my life". The abuse included "sick rituals of binding me up by my hands and feet", after which she would be "beaten and told unspeakable things", she said. "My self esteem and spirit were broken. I was deeply terrified and that fear lives with me to this day." Wood told the committee that what happened in the aftermath of a rape was "a huge part of the conversation that needs much more attention". She said: "So often we speak of these assaults as no more than a few minutes of awfulness, but the scars last a lifetime. Even though these experiences happened a decade ago, I still struggle with the aftermath. "Seven years after my rapes - plural - I was diagnosed with long-term PTSD, which I had been living with all that time without knowledge about my condition. The Sexual Assault Survivors' Rights Act establishes statutory rights for survivors and has been passed at federal level. But Wood and other campaigners want it to be applied in all 50 states of the US. It has currently been passed in nine. The actress said she wanted to use her position as "an artist, survivor, mother and advocate to bring a human voice to the population of 25 million survivors in the US who are currently experiencing inequality under the law and who desperately need basic civil rights".
2-28-18 Meet the woman teaching others how to fight off sex attackers
Emily Moser was beaten up in an attempted rape and now teaches self-defence classes for women. She says there has been a surge of interest following revelations of sexual harassment in the US.
2-28-18 Ryan Seacrest: US TV host rejects harassment allegations
US TV host Ryan Seacrest has hit back at allegations of sexual harassment after his accuser went public. Suzie Hardy alleged Seacrest harassed her for six years, starting in 2007, while she worked with him at E! News. The American Idol presenter publicly denied the claims last year and was cleared by an internal inquiry. Hardy, however, made her allegations public for the first time on Monday. Seacrest said: "I have no choice but to again deny the claims against me." In an article published by Variety, Hardy - who is Seacrest's former stylist - claimed the presenter "cupped" her crotch, "forcefully slapped" her buttock and "tightly grabbed" her groin. She alleged that her employment was terminated in 2013 after she told E! human resources executives about the alleged abuses. Seacrest issued a statement on Tuesday, dismissing the Variety article as a "salacious story". He said that while he "unequivocally" supports the #MeToo and Time's Up movements and "applaud[s] all the brave souls who have come forward to share their stories", he had to remind people that he was cleared of any wrongdoing. The 43-year-old said he had "eagerly participated" in the two-month internal inquiry, carried out by an independent third-party, "in order to demonstrate my innocence because I know my truth, and I believe in due process". Seacrest went on to make allegations of his own against Hardy. "This person who has accused me of horrible things offered, on multiple occasions, to withdraw her claims if I paid her millions of dollars. I refused," he said.
2-27-18 Syria conflict: Women 'sexually exploited in return for aid'
Women in Syria have been sexually exploited by men delivering aid on behalf of the UN and international charities, the BBC has learned. Aid workers said the men would trade food and lifts for sexual favours. Despite warnings about the abuse three years ago, a new report shows it is continuing in the south of the country. UN agencies and charities said they had zero tolerance of exploitation and were not aware of any cases of abuse by partner organisations in the region. Aid workers told the BBC that the exploitation is so widespread that some Syrian women are refusing to go to distribution centres because people would assume they had offered their bodies for the aid they brought home. One worker claimed that some humanitarian agencies were turning a blind eye to the exploitation because using third parties and local officials was the only way of getting aid into dangerous parts of Syria that international staff could not access. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) conducted an assessment of gender based violence in the region last year and concluded that humanitarian assistance was being exchanged for sex in various governorates in Syria. The report, entitled "Voices from Syria 2018", said: "Examples were given of women or girls marrying officials for a short period of time for 'sexual services' in order to receive meals; distributors asking for telephone numbers of women and girls; giving them lifts to their houses 'to take something in return' or obtaining distributions 'in exchange for a visit to her home' or 'in exchange for services, such as spending a night with them'."
2-26-18 Heather Locklear arrested: Actress accused of domestic assault
US actress Heather Locklear was arrested on Sunday for alleged domestic violence at her home near Los Angeles, police say. She is also accused of three counts of battery against a sheriff's deputy. Her brother dialled 911 after seeing the actress and her boyfriend fighting at her home in Thousand Oaks, celebrity news site TMZ reports. Sgt Eric Buschow of Ventura County Sheriff's Office said Ms Locklear, 56, was "extremely hostile". He told the LA Times more police had to be called to the house because she was physically resisting arrest. The officer said deputies had struggled to get Ms Locklear, a former star of US soap opera Melrose Place, into a police patrol car. Ventura County Sheriff's Captain Garo Kuredjian said Ms Locklear's boyfriend had a physical injury, though he declined medical treatment. The actress was taken to Ventura County Jail and released after posting $20,000 (£14,300) bail. She is due to appear in court on 13 March. Ms Locklear, who was previously married to Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora, first rose to fame as Sammy Jo Carrington in the 1980s TV show Dynasty. As well as Melrose Place, she later appeared on TV police drama TJ Hooker and sitcom Spin City, for which she was twice nominated for a Golden Globe. The actress had a previous brush with the authorities in 2008 when she was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of prescription medication. She was fined $900 and sentenced to three years' informal probation after pleading guilty to reckless driving. (Webmaster's comment: It's not just males who are guilty of domestic violence.)
2-26-18 Ivanka Trump: 'I believe my father's denials' of sexual misconduct
Ivanka Trump says she finds it "pretty inappropriate" for a reporter to have asked if she believed women who accused her father of sexual misconduct. "I don't think that's a question you would ask many other daughters," she replied when interviewed by NBC News. Multiple women have accused Mr Trump of touching or kissing them without their consent before he became president. he has denied the accusations. "I believe my father, I know my father," she said. "So I think I have that right as a daughter to believe my father." Ms Trump's comments, in an interview that aired on Monday, came at the end of the Winter Olympics in South Korea. While there, she met South Korea's president to discuss new US sanctions against North Korea. "I think it is a pretty inappropriate question to ask a daughter if she believes the accusers of her father when he has affirmatively stated that there is no truth to it," she responded after bristling at the question. During the election, Mr Trump threatened to sue several of his accusers, but he never did. Shortly before his election, Mr Trump was caught on tape boasting about grabbing women by the genitals in a 2005 recording. (Webmaster's comment: Then why didn't he sue them Ivanka?)
2-26-18 Weinstein Company to file for bankruptcy
The New York studio co-founded by disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein is to file for bankruptcy after talks to sell its assets to an investor group collapsed, reports say. Talks ended two weeks ago when the New York attorney general's office filed a lawsuit against the Weinstein Company. Directors were quoted as saying bankruptcy was the only viable option. Mr Weinstein faces dozens of allegations of sexual abuse, including rape, but denies non-consensual sex. "The Weinstein Company has been engaged in an active sale process in the hopes of preserving assets and jobs," the board said in a statement reported by several US newspapers. "Today, those discussions concluded without a signed agreement." The statement said "an orderly bankruptcy process" was the "only viable option to maximise the company's remaining value". The civil rights lawsuit against the company alleges that Mr Weinstein sexually harassed and abused women employed by the studio for years, as well as making verbal threats to kill staff members. It accuses senior executives at the company, including Mr Weinstein's brother Robert, of failing to prevent the mistreatment of staff despite being presented with evidence. (Webmaster's comment: Forget bankruptcy, put this man in prison for life.)
2-24-18 Joanna Demafelis: Employers of Filipina maid found dead in freezer arrested
The employers of a Filipina maid found dead in a freezer in Kuwait have been arrested in the Syrian capital Damascus after a manhunt lasting several weeks. Joanna Demafelis, 29, was found frozen in her employers' apartment more than a year after she was reported missing. Both Nader Essam Assaf and his Syrian wife Mona are being held on suspicion of murder, officials said on Saturday. Mr Assaf, who is a Lebanese national, was transferred to Beirut but his wife remains in custody in Damascus. On Saturday, a Lebanese judicial official said the couple had left Kuwait and made a "very brief stopover" in Lebanon before travelling on the neighbouring Syria. "Lebanon has asked Kuwait to pass on [Mr Assaf's] police record," the official added. Ms Demafelis's death prompted outrage in the Philippines and a ban on Filipinos travelling to work in Kuwait. Both suspects became the subject of an international manhunt aided by Interpol. Philippines foreign secretary Alan Peter Cayetano welcomed the news of the arrests, calling it a "critical first step in our quest for justice for Joanna". The maid's body was found this month with apparent signs of torture, Philippine officials said, in an apartment that had apparently been abandoned for at least a year. In the aftermath of the discovery, Philippine authorities say they facilitated the return of more than 1,000 "distressed overseas Filipino workers" in Kuwait, most of whom had worked as household servants.
2-24-18 Red Cross reveals 21 staff paid for sexual services
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says 21 members of staff have left their jobs for sexual misconduct in the last three years. The ICRC's director-general, Yves Daccord, said the individuals had paid for "sexual services" and had resigned or were dismissed from the aid agency. Mr Daccord said on Friday that it was "a difficult but important day". The revelations come as the aid sector has been hit by numerous allegations of sex abuse and exploitation by workers. Mr Daccord said that it was the recent reports of sexual misconduct from humanitarian agencies that had spurred the Geneva-based ICRC to conduct an internal review. Its code of conduct has explicitly forbidden the purchase of sexual services since 2006. Friday's statement follows reports that Plan International, a children's aid agency, confirmed six cases of sexual abuse and child exploitation by staff or associates. "I have instructed my teams to scour the data we do have on sexual misconduct, and I can tell you that since 2015 we've identified 21 staff members who were either dismissed for paying for sexual services or resigned during an internal enquiry," Mr Daccord said.
2-23-18 Missouri Governor Eric Greitens charged over nude photo
Missouri Governor Eric Greitens has been charged with felony invasion of privacy in connection with an inquiry into his extramarital affair. The woman alleges that he tied her up, photographed her and threatened to release the image if she ever revealed their trysts. The Republican, who was taken into custody on Thursday, says he made mistakes but "did not commit a crime". Mr Greitens admitted last month he had a relationship with his hairdresser. Critics have called his alleged actions "revenge porn" and blackmail. The charge sheet alleges Mr Greitens took a picture of the unidentified woman in "full or partial nudity" without her knowledge or consent. It further alleges that he transmitted the image "in a manner that allowed access to that image via a computer". St Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner vowed in a statement on Thursday to "hold public officials accountable in the same manner as any other resident".
2-23-18 Kelly Lindsey: Afghanistan women's coach says it is 'life or death' for players
Spat at, stoned in the street, and having to avoid bombings on the way to training. All because you want to play football. That is the reality for some of Afghanistan women's international team. Their coach - retired former USA international Kelly Lindsey - has never set foot in the country because of security concerns. Some of her players have not even played 11-a-side football before they join up with the national squad, which was formed in 2010. Yet, in Lindsey's two years in charge, they have climbed from 128th in the Fifa rankings to 106th. Progress - in spite of the "unique" nature of a job which means all matches and training camps are held overseas for safety reasons. Lindsey's squad is a mixture of players from the worldwide Afghan diaspora and those who still live in Afghanistan. Those in Australia, Europe and North America have female role models in the shape of their mothers, many of whom emigrated with their children when their husbands were killed in conflict. The players who have remained face threats of violence and - just as bad in the eyes of the Afghan culture - risk damaging their family's dignity and reputation. "It's not easy to get to training," Lindsey, 38, tells the BBC's World Football programme. "They get spat on, they get stoned, there are bombings that happen on the way. "It's important for the girls outside to understand that this is real. It's not stories. These girls go through it every day."
2-23-18 One French woman in eight has been raped, study says
About four million French women - 12% of the total - have been raped at least once in their lives, a survey suggests. The study for the Fondation Jean Jaurès, a Paris-based think tank, also says 43% have been subjected to sexual touching without their consent. Like many other countries, France has seen women take to social media to highlight abuse in recent months. Many have shared their experiences under the hashtag "Balance ton porc" ("rat on your pig"). The campaign was launched following the rape allegations against Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein last October. In addition to the 12% who say they have been raped, 58% have been subjected to disturbing propositions and 43% to "sexual touching without consent", the study says. Most of the women reporting such abuse have experienced it several times, it adds. The report highlights the "heavy consequences and long-term repercussions suffered by the victims". But the "rat on your pig" movement has generated national debate around what constitutes harassment. Last month French movie star Catherine Deneuve was one of 100 women who signed an open letter claiming the movement had gone too far. It warned of a new type of "Puritanism" and insisted men should be "free to pester women". "Rape is a crime, but trying to seduce someone, even persistently or clumsily, is not - and nor is men being gentlemanly a chauvinist attack." (Webmaster's comment: Many women have been so well indoctinated by men they actually defend sexual abuse. At least one in four American women have been raped.)
2-22-18 Another sex scandal: Trump’s ‘hush money’
In any normal administration, the revelations would be “a Category 5 hurricane,” said Dana Milbank in The Washington Post. Former Playboy model Karen McDougal had a nine-month affair with Donald Trump back in 2006, just months after his wife, Melania, gave birth to their son, Barron, according to a handwritten account from the time obtained by The New Yorker. In 2016, McDougal sold the rights to her story for $150,000 to American Media Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer—but the company, which is owned by longtime Trump friend David Pecker, never published it, as a favor to then presidential candidate Trump. That report comes at the same time President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen confirmed that shortly before the 2016 election, he personally paid $130,000 in hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels. Daniels says she also had an affair with Trump in 2006. Can you imagine how these revelations would affect any other president? asked Ryan Cooper in TheWeek.com. “Sean Hannity’s eyes would have popped out of his sockets in rage if Barack Obama had paid secret hush money to anyone, let alone a porn star.” Trump’s past conduct was “gross and unworthy,” said Rich Lowry in NationalReview.com, but there’s a reason why these stories won’t bring down his presidency. Voters elected Trump despite extensively aired accusations of sexual misconduct by 19 women. Unless he has been “stupid enough” to continue misbehaving in the White House, as President Clinton did, this scandal won’t hurt him. Still, Trump must be nervous, said Jeremy Binckes in Salon.com. Cohen’s payment to Daniels may have violated campaign finance laws, and the porn star says the Trump lawyer’s public statement about the payments breached their nondisclosure agreement, freeing her to speak openly about the affair.
2-22-18 Meryl Streep slams 'pathetic' Harvey Weinstein lawyers
Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence have condemned Harvey Weinstein's lawyers for using their names in his defence against a legal action. Six women are bringing a class action lawsuit against the disgraced producer. His lawyers want it dismissed because it is too broad, arguing that actresses such as Streep haven't accused him. But Streep said the way they used the fact he didn't abuse her "as evidence that he was not abusive with many OTHER women is pathetic and exploitative". And Lawrence said he and his company were trying to "take things out of context and use them for their own benefit". The six women are suing Weinstein and the "Weinstein Sexual Enterprise", which they say includes his brother Bob and their film studio The Weinstein Company. Weinstein has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by dozens of women. He denies all allegations of non-consensual sex. The women's lawsuit describes Weinstein as a predator and accuses him of widespread sexual misconduct. They argue that the statute of limitations on the allegations - a legal time limit within which claims should be filed - does not apply because they were under duress not to make the claims earlier. Weinstein's legal team used the names of Streep, Lawrence and Gwyneth Paltrow in papers filed in New York in an attempt to get the case dismissed. (Webmaster's comment: Winstein should spend the rest of his life in prison!)
2-21-18 Ford executive leaves over inappropriate behaviour
The head of Ford's US operations is leaving the company immediately following an internal investigation into inappropriate behaviour. The carmaker said its inquiry had concluded that some of Raj Nair's conduct had been "inconsistent with the company's code of conduct". Ford did not specify why the investigation was started nor what it uncovered. Mr Nair said in a statement that "I sincerely regret" certain behaviour. Ford President and Chief Executive Jim Hackett said in a statement: "We made this decision after a thorough review and careful consideration. Ford is deeply committed to providing and nurturing a safe and respectful culture and we expect our leaders to fully uphold these values." Mr Nair had been President of Ford North America since 1 July. He was previously head of global product development and chief technical officer. He apologised, without elaborating on the reasons for his going. "I sincerely regret that there have been instances where I have not exhibited leadership behaviours consistent with the principles that the company and I have always espoused," Mr Nair said. He added: "I continue to have the utmost faith in the people of Ford Motor Company and wish them continued success in the future." A spokesman for the US's second biggest carmaker said the company would not be commenting on the nature of Mr Nair's departure.
2-20-18 Fifty Shades and the secret compromises of women
It's an uncomfortable fact that at the very moment the #MeToo movement advocates for equal treatment in the workplace, women are rushing to theaters to watch the final movie of the Fifty Shades trilogy, in which the female protagonist happily marries her obsessive stalker-cum-employer. For many feminists, it's frustrating that the hardscrabble fight for true equality coincides with fantasies about subordination. It seems to play into the worst myths about women: specifically, that they liked their oppressed status as second-rate citizens, and experience "women's lib" as a burden they long to shrug off. This, after all, is the kind of thinking that leads to schools informing teenage girls they're not allowed to say no to boys who ask them to dance. And to presidents and senators praising men who beat their wives as "hard workers" and "good guys." That we don't like that something is happening, however, is no argument for ignoring it. We won't get anywhere with these conversations about sex and consent if we can't speak frankly about how women are getting off. And Fifty Shades is how droves of women are getting off — all kinds of women, but cis, heterosexual women especially. Why? One possibility is that Fifty Shades captures aspects of the secret compromises many women make that softer romances don't. The fact is, people lie about sex all the time: not always on purpose, and not always for themselves. Many say, for example, that they wanted to give what was taken from them. Why? Because it produces an acceptable story of the self and the relationship. To have had something done to you (like sex, or abuse) without your wanting it? This, in our culture, makes you a victim. It makes your partner a monster. Easier to say you wanted it and convince yourself it's true.
2-20-18 Lawmaker accused of firing aide who refused kissing game
A state lawmaker who rose to national prominence as a campaigner against sexual assault is accused of firing an aide who refused to play "spin the bottle", according to court papers. David John Kernick filed a complaint against California Democrat Cristina Garcia about the alleged 2014 incident. He claims she wrote him up for insubordination and fired him two days after he refused to play the game. Ms Garcia has denied previous allegations against her. Mr Kernick said in the complaint that Ms Garcia, who was featured in a Time magazine profile of #MeToo victims last year, approached him at fundraiser at a whiskey bar and invited him to sit on her hotel room floor to play the kissing game. The latest complaint against Ms Garcia accuses her of disciplining Mr Kernick "with a write up for insubordination" before firing him two days later. He described his time working as a field representative for the California assemblywoman as "extremely stressful", claiming she used vulgar language and discussed inappropriate topics at work. Ms Garcia was first accused of harassment by former aide Daniel Fierro, who said a drunken Ms Garcia cornered him after an annual legislative softball game in 2014 in the team dugout. He claims Ms Garcia stroked his back, squeezed his buttocks and attempted to grab his crotch. Mr Fierro told Politico he did not originally report the incident. He said he was 25 years old at the time. When the allegations first emerged, Ms Garcia said she had "zero recollection of engaging in inappropriate behaviour". "Such behaviour is inconsistent with my values," she added.
2-20-18 Channel 4 documentary accuses Harvey Weinstein of physical assault
The producer of Golden Globe-winning film My Week With Marilyn has accused embattled movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of physically attacking him. David Parfitt said Weinstein was "in a fury" about a test screening of the film doing so well with the audience as he wasn't happy with the final cut. "He pinned me up against a Coke machine and threatened all sorts of stuff," Parfitt told a Channel 4 documentary. "It was very scary. He was just furious the film in our version worked." Parfitt said Weinstein "had decided there wasn't enough of Marilyn in the film and that he wanted more Marilyn". The film won Michelle Williams a Golden Globe for her portrayal of the Hollywood legend opposite Eddie Redmayne. A spokesman for Weinstein said: "Mr Parfitt and Mr Weinstein had creative differences on the film, any conflict between them was solely over their different visions for the film... while Mr Weinstein has apologised for boorish behaviour in certain situations in the past, Mr Weinstein unequivocally denies he ever engaged in criminal misconduct of any kind." Channel 4's Working with Weinstein is the first documentary about the film producer to be aired since allegations against him first surfaced in October. It looks at UK-based claims of sexual harassment and assault against Weinstein over the past 30 years. Weinstein says all the allegations in the documentary are untrue.
2-19-18 Oxfam Haiti scandal: Suspects 'physically threatened' witnesses
Oxfam has revealed that three of the men accused of sexual misconduct in Haiti physically threatened witnesses during a 2011 investigation. The charity has published its internal report on alleged abuse by some of its staff following public pressure. In the 2011 report, Oxfam said "more needed" to be done to prevent "problem staff" working for other charities. Despite the warning, several men linked to the alleged abuse subsequently took up roles at other charities. Theresa May told BBC London the revelation that three Oxfam staff physically intimidated witnesses during the charity's investigation was "absolutely horrific". "This is exactly the problem that we see which means that all too often people don't feel able to come forward to report what has happened to them," the prime minister said. Oxfam - which has almost 10,000 staff working in more than 90 countries - has released a redacted version of its report, saying it wants to be "as transparent as possible" about the decisions it made. Parts of the 11-page document are blacked out to hide people's identities, including the names of the three men accused of intimidating witnesses.
2-15-18 President threatens women
Human rights activists have condemned Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte after he ordered his troops to shoot female rebels “in the vagina.” In a speech to some 200 soldiers last week, Duterte said that when he was mayor of Davao City many years ago he gave a directive on how the military should treat captured female communist insurgents. “There’s a new order coming from the mayor, ‘We will not kill you. We will just shoot you in the vagina,’” he said, explaining that the women would then be “useless.” Philippine women’s rights group Gabriela said the comments reveal Duterte to be a “dangerous macho-fascist.” Duterte’s spokesman said, “Do not take the president seriously.”
2-15-18 Porter: The Trump White House’s women problem
“It’s no secret that President Trump respects men who keep women in their place,” said Jessica Valenti in TheGuardian.com. In 1992, he told a magazine interviewer, “‘You have to treat ’em like s---.’” So it should come as no surprise that the president gave White House staff secretary Rob Porter a “hero’s goodbye” last week, “even as a picture of his ex-wife’s battered face was splashed across the news.” Porter, 40, a former Mormon missionary and Harvard graduate, resigned after his two former wives accused him of persistent verbal and physical abuse. His first wife, Colbie Holderness, said Porter choked, kicked, and punched her, and shared a photograph with The Daily Mail of the black eye he allegedly gave her during an Italian vacation. Porter’s second wife, Jennifer Willoughby, said that his abuse started on their honeymoon, that he constantly berated, cursed, and manhandled her, and that in 2010, after she left him, she had to obtain an emergency protective order against him after he punched in her glass door. In any “normal White House,” said Jennifer Rubin in The Washington Post, the reaction to such revelations would be “horror and revulsion.” Instead, Chief of Staff John Kelly initially defended Porter as “a man of true integrity and honor,” while Trump sent the departing alleged wife beater his best wishes. “It’s a tough time for him,” said Trump, never once mentioning Porter’s ex-wives.
2-15-18 68 high-profile men
At least 68 high-profile men in the entertainment, news media, and other industries have been fired or resigned since the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal broke. The latest include casino magnate Steve Wynn, Metropolitan Opera stage director John Copley, and Wayne Pacelle, the chief executive of the Humane Society.
2-15-18 United Kingdom: Prostitution scandal shakes Oxfam
Aid workers at one of Britain’s biggest charities have been accused of sexually exploiting disaster victims, said Sean O’Neill in The Times. Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Oxfam spent more than $100 million on relief efforts in the country. But an investigation by this paper has revealed that senior officials with the charity, including its country director, Roland van Hauwermeiren, routinely paid disaster survivors for sex. Drivers were sent to pick up girls—some possibly underage—for sex parties at an Oxfam-rented guesthouse. A source described one party as “a full-on Caligula orgy.” Yet after a whistleblower alerted Oxfam to the misconduct, Van Hauwermeiren and two other officials were allowed to resign without sanction, because sacking them “would have potentially serious implications for the charity’s work and reputation.” Oxfam kept quiet about the transgressions, and Van Hauwermeiren got a new job running a different charity in Bangladesh. Oxfam’s deputy CEO, Penny Lawrence, who was in charge of the Haiti program at the time, resigned this week as reports emerged that Van Hauwermeiren and members of his team allegedly hired prostitutes while working in Chad in 2006. Other heads may roll.
2-15-18 Canadian broadcaster CTV amends Patrick Brown sex claim story
A Canadian news outlet says some of the facts in an expose of sexual misconduct claims against a politician were wrong. Patrick Brown resigned as leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative party in January, months before the provincial election. In its original story, CTV reported that a woman met Mr Brown at a bar a decade ago when she was 17 and under the legal drinking age. The broadcaster now says she was not under age at the time. But her allegations remain the same, it added. The woman told the network that Mr Brown picked her up at a bar more than a decade ago, and brought her back to his house with the promise of booze. When they were alone, he exposed himself and asked for oral sex, she said. Mr Brown has denied those allegations and he says he will pursue legal action to defend himself.
2-15-18 Oxfam scandal: Ex-director hits out at 'lies and exaggerations'
The former Oxfam director at the centre of a sex scandal that has engulfed the UK charity says some allegations of his use of prostitutes are "lies and exaggerations". Roland Van Hauwermeiren, 68, said some details were "correctly described" and vowed to share his version of events. He has been accused of hiring prostitutes while delivering aid in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. A UK charity watchdog is investigating claims that Oxfam covered up the case. Mr Van Hauwermeiren, who was director of Oxfam's operations in Haiti, has been accused by UK newspaper The Times of using prostitutes at a villa rented for him by the charity. "A lot of people - even in the international media - will be blushing when they hear my version of the facts," Mr Van Hauwermeiren told Belgian newspaper Standaard (in Dutch) from his apartment on the Belgian coast. "Not that I deny everything. There are things that are correctly described. But I also read a lot of lies and exaggerations. Party every week? Chic villas? Women paid with money from the organization?" In his first comments since the claims emerged, he said "it was especially bad" that his family did not want to see him anymore, and that his lawyer would soon release an official statement.
2-15-18 Barnaby Joyce: Australia PM bans ministers from sex with staff
Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull has said he will prohibit sex between ministers and their staff, after it was revealed his deputy had an affair with a former staffer. In a press briefing, he condemned Barnaby Joyce for a "shocking error of judgement". Mr Joyce will take a leave of absence from Monday amid scrutiny over whether he breached ministerial standards. Both Mr Joyce and Mr Turnbull deny that any rules, as defined, were broken. But the prime minister said he would overhaul the "truly deficient" ministerial code of conduct. "Ministers must behave accordingly. They must not have sexual relations with their staff - that's it," he told reporters. Mr Turnbull earlier told parliament that Mr Joyce would not fill his post as acting leader next week when the prime minister travels to the US. The scandal has dominated Australian politics since last Wednesday when Mr Joyce's affair with media adviser Vikki Campion was publicly revealed. Mr Turnbull said Mr Joyce would be on leave for a week from Monday. Opposition parties called on him to resign. (Webmaster's comment: But what if it's a matter of true love. It can happen.)
2-14-18 Stormy Daniels 'free to tell her story' after Trump lawyer statement
An adult film star who has been embroiled in allegations of an affair with President Donald Trump is free to tell her story, her manager has said. "Everything is off now, and Stormy is going to tell her story," Ms Rodriguez told the Associated Press on Wednesday. Her statement comes after Trump lawyer Michael Cohen told the New York Times he paid Ms Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. "Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly," Mr Cohen told the New York Times. He said he told the Federal Election Commission the same after a watchdog group filed a complaint about the payment, claiming that it had served as an "in-kind" political contribution to Mr Trump's campaign. "The payment to Ms Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone," Mr Cohen said. The lawyer has previously said Mr Trump "vehemently denies" it occurred. The revelations on Wednesday follow US media reports that the porn actress known as Ms Daniels was paid to sign an agreement stopping her discussing an alleged affair. She first said she had a relationship with Mr Trump in a 2011 interview. In a 2011 interview with InTouch magazine, the actress said she began a sexual relationship with Mr Trump in 2006, shortly after Melania Trump gave birth to his son Barron. The reports re-emerged in January when the Wall Street Journal reported that she was paid to sign a non-disclosure agreement in the run up to the 2016 election, which prevented her from discussing the alleged liaison.
2-14-18 Shaun White apologises for calling harassment claim gossip
US Olympic snowboarder Shaun White has apologised for calling allegations of sexual harassment against him "gossip". He said he used "a poor choice of words to describe such a sensitive subject", after becoming the first snowboarder to win three Olympic titles. The 31-year-old Californian was accused of sexual harassment by a former member of his band. He denied the claims but settled with Lena Zawaideh last year for an undisclosed amount. Ms Zawaideh was the drummer and only female member of Mr White's band, Bad Things, until she was fired in August 2014. Two years later, she filed a lawsuit against the Olympian saying he "repeatedly sexually harassed her and forced his authoritarian management style on her for over seven years". In the lawsuit, Ms Zawaideh claimed Mr White sent her sexually explicit and graphic images and forced her to watch pornographic videos. The drummer initially sued Mr White for not paying her on time and later filed the sexual harassment claim after she switched lawyers, according to USA Today. She also reportedly accused him of pressuring her to cut her hair and to wear revealing clothes. The two reached a settlement in May 2017 and never went to court.
2-14-18 Ex-Canadian PM says women's bare arms on TV 'demeaning'
A former Canadian prime minister has said that female television newscasters who show bare arms "undermine credibility and gravitas". Kim Campbell, who served briefly as prime minister in 1993, came under fire shortly after her tweet on Tuesday. Ms Campbell included a link to a blog post that suggested people who wear more clothing are viewed as smarter. She said the blog post proved she was right to think it was "demeaning" to go sleeveless on television. Her tweet pointed to a blog post by US communication coach Nick Morgan, who referenced a study suggesting people are seen as smarter when they cover up. "Apparently, we humans are pretty simple creatures. If you show up in front of us with skin exposed, we're going to think about your body. If you're wearing lots of clothing, we're going to think about your mind," he wrote. He told readers preparing for a public speech to "think about what this means when you put on that sleeveless dress, women, or that expensive, cool-looking casual t-shirt, men. It means you're going to look less brilliant than if you covered your arms". (Webmaster's comment: Back to the dark ages and the Greek women who also had to wear Burkas in public. (That's where the Muslims got the idea.) All women should wear Burkas in public as well as at home and in bed!)
2-14-18 Winter Olympics: Kim Boutin target of online abuse after bronze medal
Canadian short track speed skater Kim Boutin has received online threats and abuse after winning a bronze medal in Tuesday's 500m final. Boutin took third place after South Korean athlete Choi Min-jeong was disqualified for interfering. But the 23-year-old was forced to block her social media accounts on Wednesday after abuse from angry Korean fans. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued a statement asking the public to "respect the athletes". South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported "angry" fans rushed to Boutin's Instagram and Twitter accounts to attack her, with messages including death threats in Korean and English. The Korean Herald said some became "especially angry after the overjoyed Boutin hugging her team-mates was broadcast live after she was informed that she had just won bronze". The newspaper added that at least 10,000 comments, many of them abusive, were posted on Boutin's Instagram account.
2-13-18 Haitian Oxfam workers tried to warn of sex scandal before
For an industry that generally operates in the shadows, prostitution in Haiti is barely hidden from view. On certain street corners of Pétion-Ville, an upscale suburb of the capital, young sex workers huddle in groups, hoping to persuade one of the scores of SUVs driving around the hillsides to pull over. It is no coincidence that many of the bars popular with expats are nearby. From Save the Children to the Caris Foundation, some international aid agencies have traditionally tried to help to Haiti's sex workers through sexual health clinics or HIV/AIDS-testing programmes for mothers and infants. However, it appears that instead of offering unconditional support to these women, in 2011 several members of Oxfam's team in Haiti preyed on them. Various senior aid workers, including the disgraced country director Roland Van Hauwermeiren, allegedly paid local prostitutes for sex. That men could be exploiting some of the most vulnerable people in the poorest country in the Americas, all the while being paid to advocate for their wellbeing, is a hypocrisy not lost on Josefine. The former Oxfam employee, whose name has been changed, worked under Mr Van Hauwemeiren at the time and said there was a culture of abuse, which included sexual harassment, in the Port-au-Prince office. "Powerful people did whatever they wanted and they got away with it," she tells me in a hotel cafe in the capital, kneading her hands anxiously. "That's what I would say, there was no protection for victims."
2-13-18 Pakistan gang 'stole spinal fluid from women'
Pakistani police have arrested four people accused of stealing spinal fluid from women. The suspects told women they had to provide blood samples to qualify for financial assistance from the Punjab government, police told BBC Urdu. However, they extracted spinal fluid instead, and attempted to sell it on the black market, police added. The gang is thought to have stolen spinal fluid from over 12 women, including a teenager. The authorities became aware of the scheme after a man noticed that his 17-year-old daughter felt weak after the procedure. One member "went around posing as an employee of the District Headquarters Hospital, telling his victims they would need to provide blood samples in order to qualify for the Punjab government's dowry fund". "But instead of taking them to the hospital to obtain their 'blood samples', he would take them to the house of a female member of the gang to perform the procedure," Mr Khan added. Spinal fluid is a transparent liquid found around the brain and spinal cord that protects them from shock and injury. It is not the first time a health-related scam has made headlines in Pakistan. In late 2016, police rescued 24 people held hostage by an organ trafficking gang in Rawalpindi. Pakistan made the sale of human organs illegal in 2010, but experts say the country is still a hot spot for organ trafficking.
2-13-18 Russian court rejects mother's adoption bid after breast surgery
A Russian court has ruled that a woman who chose to have her breasts removed cannot look after two adopted boys since she identifies herself as a man. The long-running case of Yulia Savinovskikh affects two mentally disabled boys who were removed from her care last August. She appealed against the decision, but now the court in Yekaterinburg, in Russia's Urals region, has said they must remain with the social services. She insists that she is still a woman. She says she underwent surgery because her large breasts were ruining her health. Before her breasts were removed, she wrote a transgender blog but insists it was just fiction and a way for her to prepare psychologically for the surgery. A higher court had asked the district court in Yekaterinburg to reconsider its ruling against Mrs Savinovskikh, but now the district court has stuck by its original decision. The ruling, quoted by human rights lawyer Pavel Chikov, said "Yu. V. Savinovskikh's self-identification as a male and her marriage to a man, her striving to fulfil a male role in society, essentially contradict our country's family law principles, and the traditions and mentality of our society". Her lawyer Alexei Bushmakov says another appeal will be submitted, and he is prepared to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary.
2-12-18 Harvey Weinstein: New York state sues Weinstein Company
New York prosecutors have filed a lawsuit against The Weinstein Company, alleging that the studio failed to protect staff from Harvey Weinstein. The film producer is facing dozens of allegations of sexual abuse, including rape, but denies non-consensual sex. The lawsuit alleges Mr Weinstein abused female employees and made verbal threats to kill staff members. A lawyer for Mr Weinstein said a "fair investigation" would show that many of the allegations were without merit. The Weinstein Company's board of directors said it was "disappointed" by the lawsuit. In a statement to Deadline, the board said: "Many of the allegations relating to the board are inaccurate and the board looks forward to bringing the facts to light as part of its ongoing commitment to resolve this difficult situation in the most appropriate way." New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said on Sunday that he had filed the suit against The Weinstein Company, as well as Mr Weinstein and his brother Robert, who co-founded the studio. He is seeking an unspecified sum to cover damages, plus penalties, for victims of alleged abuse by Harvey Weinstein, 65. The document alleges that Mr Weinstein sexually harassed and abused women employed by the studio for years. It accuses senior executives at the company, including Robert Weinstein, of failing to prevent the mistreatment of staff despite being presented with evidence.
2-11-18 Donald Trump: Lives are being 'destroyed' by allegations
President Donald Trump says lives are being "destroyed by mere allegation" after two White House aides quit amid accusations of domestic abuse. "There is no recovery for someone falsely accused," Mr Trump tweeted. This week saw the departure of White House speechwriter David Sorensen and staff secretary Rob Porter. The White House has been criticised for its handling of the allegations and Mr Trump's comments quickly drew scorn. His remarks also come amid a worldwide debate over sexual harassment and the abuse of power. In his tweet, Mr Trump did not mention either man, but warned allegations could result in a person's "life and career gone". Among those to react with anger was Democratic Senator Patty Murray, who responded by saying that women's lives were affected every day by sexual violence and harassment. "I'm going to keep standing with them, and trusting them, even if the president won't," she said. Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier tweeted that Mr Trump's comments were "offensive". Some commentators objected to his reference to due process, for example pointing to his promotion of a conspiracy theory about former President Barack Obama's nationality. Mr Sorensen has been accused by his former wife of being violent and emotionally abusive, while Mr Porter faces allegations of domestic abuse involving two ex-wives. Both men deny the allegations. (Webmaster's comment: Nevermind the photos of their black eyes and bruises!)
2-11-18 Do 'dead' models live on in fashion magazines?
A fashion photographer in LA asks why female models pose as dead bodies or sexual objects in magazines. (Webmaster's comment: Because it turns on many American males that's why!)
2-10-18 David Sorensen becomes second Trump aide to quit over abuse claims
A speechwriter has become the second White House aide this week to resign amid allegations of domestic abuse. David Sorensen denies his former wife's allegations he was violent and emotionally abusive. His departure comes just days after another Trump official, Rob Porter, quit over allegations of abuse from two ex-wives, something he denies. Questions have been raised over how long it took the White House to act on the accusations facing Mr Porter. Mr Sorensen's ex-wife Jessica Corbett told the Washington Post that he was physically abusive to her while they were married. She said that on separate occasions her former husband ran a car over her foot, threw her against a wall and extinguished a cigarette on her hand. In response, Mr Sorensen released a statement in which he said he had "never committed violence of any kind against any woman in my entire life" and that instead it was he who had been physically abused. He said he was considering legal action, but said he quit because he "didn't want the White House to have to deal with this distraction". White House officials said they learned of the accusations by Mr Sorensen's wife late on Thursday. "We immediately confronted the staffer, he denied the allegations and he resigned today," deputy press secretary Raj Shah said. (Webmaster's comment: In a White House mostly staffed by males selected by a sexual predator what would you expect?)
2-9-18 Trump doesn't get the 'best people.' He gets the worst. Here's why.
"I'm going to surround myself only with the best and most serious people," Donald Trump said in 2015. "We want top of the line professionals." Oddly enough, that doesn't seem to have been what happened. In fact, President Trump seems to have gone out of his way to surround himself with the worst people — a collection of grifters, liars, swindlers, resume padders, domestic abusers, and just hard-core, unadulterated jerkwads. I'm sure there are some very fine people who work for President Trump. But there's a reason we keep hearing stories like that of Rob Porter, the president's staff secretary who was accused by both his ex-wives of domestic violence — and still got that very sensitive job, which includes being a kind of traffic cop for every document that crosses the president's desk, despite the fact that those ex-wives told the FBI about Porter's behavior when they were interviewed as part of his background check. The Porter scandal exposes personnel problems that go beyond Porter himself. As CNN reported, "Senior aides to President Donald Trump knew for months about allegations of domestic abuse levied against top White House staffer Rob Porter by his ex-wives, even as Porter's stock in the West Wing continued to rise." That included Chief of Staff John Kelly, who knew that the allegations were the reason Porter's security clearance was being held up (the White House has yet to explain how Porter could possibly have performed the staff secretary job without a security clearance). And Kelly is quite a piece of work himself. In recent months he has slandered a congresswoman, said that the Civil War happened because of "a lack of an ability to compromise," and said DREAMers who didn't sign up for DACA "were too lazy to get off their asses."
2-9-18 #MeToo California assemblywoman accused of groping
A California state assemblywoman who rose to national prominence as a campaigner against sexual assault is now herself accused of misconduct. The state legislature is investigating Democrat Cristina Garcia, who featured in a Time magazine profile of #MeToo victims last year. Ms Garcia denies groping another lawmaker's male aide and attempting to fondle a lobbyist. She said she would take a leave of absence during the inquiry. When the allegations first emerged, Ms Garcia said she had "zero recollection of engaging in inappropriate behaviour". "Such behaviour is inconsistent with my values," she added. Ms Garcia, who was elected in 2012 and chairs the Legislative Women's Caucus and the Natural Resources Committee. pledged to participate in any investigation. "Every complaint about sexual harassment should be taken seriously," she said. But in a follow-up statement, the influential Los Angeles-area lawmaker added: "Upon reflection of the details alleged, I am certain I did not engage in the behaviour I am accused of." She says she volunteered for an unpaid leave of absence "so as not to serve as a distraction or in any way influence the process of this investigation", adding that she looks forward to returning to work.
2-9-18 Rob Porter: White House says "we could have done better'
The White House has expressed regret over its handling of domestic abuse allegations against a top aide. Rob Porter, 40, quit on Wednesday as he denied two ex-wives' claims of physical and emotional abuse. "We all could have done better over the last few hours, or last few days, in dealing with this situation," said deputy press secretary Raj Shah. He told reporters Mr Porter, who was gatekeeper to the president, had been given an interim security clearance. The White House staff secretary had yet to receive full security clearance because his background check was ongoing, said Mr Shah during Thursday's daily press briefing. The president's chief of staff, John Kelly, is facing questions about when he knew of the allegations against Mr Porter. The claims surfaced during FBI background check interviews with Mr Porter's ex-wives. Mr Shah said the chief of staff only "became fully aware about these allegations" on Wednesday when photographs of an ex-wife with a black eye emerged. Mr Kelly issued a statement late on Wednesday saying he was "shocked by the new allegations" against Mr Porter, referring to the black eye. "There is no place for domestic violence in our society," he said. Mr Kelly had previously defended Mr Porter as "a man of true integrity and honour". US media report that Mr Kelly and other White House officials were aware for several months of the domestic abuse accusations because they were holding up Mr Porter's security clearance application. Mr Shah said President Donald Trump "was surprised by it. He was disheartened by it. He was saddened by it." (Webmaster's comment: He was only saddened because a fellow abuser got caught.)
2-8-18 Serial rapist to go free
Victims are protesting the decision to release on parole one of Britain’s most notorious rapists, alleged to have drugged and assaulted more than 100 passengers in his London black cab. John Worboys, now 60, was jailed indefinitely in 2009 after being convicted of 19 sexual offenses against 12 women, although a High Court judge said the true number of his victims was at least 105. Police assured victims that Worboys would never get parole, yet the Independent Parole Board voted last month to release him just nine years into his sentence. “I literally felt like somebody had kicked me in the stomach,” one victim said of the decision. After an outcry, the release was delayed pending a High Court review.
2-8-18 Uma Thurman has joined Harvey Weinstein’s litany of female accusers
Uma Thurman has joined Harvey Weinstein’s litany of female accusers, months after saying she was “waiting to feel less angry” to offer her own story to the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment. In a New York Times interview, the actress accused the disgraced Hollywood producer of pushing her on a hotel bed and trying “to shove himself on me. He tried to expose himself. He did all kinds of unpleasant things.” She said she managed to fight him off. Weinstein admitted making an “awkward pass,” but denied any physical contact. Thurman also strongly criticized director Quentin Tarantino—accusing him of ignoring her complaints about Weinstein, of physically endangering her on the set of Kill Bill by demanding she drive an unsafe car that then crashed, and of spitting on her during filming. Tarantino “didn’t like to hear no,” Thurman said.
2-8-18 Gambling: Wynn resigns amid misconduct scandal
Billionaire casino owner Steve Wynn resigned this week as chairman and CEO of his company following accusations of a “decades-long pattern of alleged sexual misconduct,” said Chris Kirkham in The Wall Street Journal. The 76-year-old mogul conceded that “the avalanche of negative publicity” from mounting accusations had rendered him ineffective in his role. Wynn began his Las Vegas career in the 1970s as a bingo parlor operator and liquor distributor, before building the Mirage, Treasure Island, and Bellagio megaresorts.
2-8-18 Before #MeToo, female janitors were already fighting workplace harassment
Immigrant janitors, working alone at night in isolated buildings, are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence. When I first met a janitor named Georgina Hernández, she was timid and teary-eyed. She had worked at a hotel where she cleaned the lobby and, in a lawsuit, said she was raped on the job by her supervisor. She was a single mom, supporting her children. "When you need the job, you become a victim by not having the courage to say no," she told me in her native Spanish. "And if you say no, you are going to lose the job. I didn't have someone to tell or anyone I could trust." I met Hernández in Los Angeles in 2015 while reporting for a project that started long before the #MeToo movement. "Rape on the Night Shift" — which became a documentary — exposed how immigrant janitors, working alone at night in isolated buildings, are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence. We spent months talking with janitors and following a watchdog group of undercover investigators in Southern California. They are former janitors who go into buildings at night to make sure workers are being paid fairly. Hernández was one of the women these investigators met on the job. She cleaned a movie theater and a restaurant, scrubbing grease off the ceiling fans. "I worked from 11 at night until 11 in the morning," she told us. "I didn't get overtime, I didn't have rest breaks. I worked without stopping." It was another job — cleaning a hotel lobby — where her supervisor harassed her constantly. In a lawsuit she filed, Hernández alleges he sexually assaulted her in the parking garage, where there were no security cameras. (Webmaster's comment: Sexual attacks know no economic boundaries.)
2-8-18 Rob Porter: John Kelly 'shocked' by Trump aide abuse claims
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has said he is "shocked by the new allegations" against a Trump aide who resigned amid domestic abuse claims. "There is no place for domestic violence in our society," he said in a statement released on Wednesday night. Rob Porter, 40, quit hours after denying his two ex-wives' accusations of physical and emotional abuse. The White House would not comment on a report that he failed to receive a security clearance due to the claims. Mr Kelly is now facing questions about when he knew about the allegations against Mr Porter, which the FBI learned during interviews with Mr Porter's ex-wives for a background check. "I was shocked by the new allegations released today against Rob Porter. There is no place for domestic violence in our society," he said in a statement. "I stand by my previous comments of the Rob Porter that I have come to know since becoming Chief of Staff, and believe every individual deserves the right to defend their reputation." Mr Kelly had previously defended Mr Porter as "a man of true integrity and honor". US media have reported that Mr Kelly and other White House officials had been aware for several months that the claims were keeping the White House staff secretary from obtaining security clearance. Mr Kelly has yet to comment on reports that he knew of the allegations against Mr Porter. The accusations of abuse were first reported in the DailyMail.com and include accounts of physical and emotional abuse.
2-7-18 Steve Wynn: Casino mogul quits his company amid harassment claims
US casino mogul Steve Wynn has stepped down as chairman and CEO of his Wynn Resorts company amid sexual misconduct allegations. A Wall Street Journal report alleged that the 76-year-old billionaire harassed massage therapists and forced one staff member to have sex with him. Mr Wynn denied any misconduct and called the story "preposterous". Last month Mr Wynn also resigned as finance chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC). "In the last couple of weeks, I have found myself the focus of an avalanche of negative publicity," Mr Wynn said in a statement on Tuesday. "As I have reflected upon the environment this has created, one in which a rush to judgment takes precedence over everything else, including the facts, I have reached the conclusion I cannot continue to be effective in my current roles," he said. Wynn Resorts owns and operates several casino complexes including Wynn Macau, Wynn and Encore Las Vegas, and Wynn Palace Cotai. Wynn Macau's shares were suspended from trading in Hong Kong following the firm's announcement on Tuesday. (Webmaster's comment: He will never face any charges and still has all those Billions. Life is really tough for him now.)
2-5-18 Larry Nassar jailed for another 40 to 125 years
Disgraced ex-sports doctor Larry Nassar hahs been sentenced to another 40 to 125 years for sexual assault. Eaton County Judge Janice Cunningham issued the sentence on Monday. Last week he received 40 to 175 years in jail in a different Michigan county. "It's impossible to convey the depth and breadth of how sorry I am to each and every one involved," he told the court before his final sentencing. The number of women who accuse Nassar of abuse has grown to more than 250. Over 100 of his victims, including Olympians Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber, have confronted him in court to share details of how he molested them. Last week Judge Cunningham decided not to formally charge a father of two sexual assault survivors who leapt at Nassar after asking the judge for "five minutes in a locked room with that demon".
2-3-18 Uma Thurman breaks silence on Weinstein attack
Actress Uma Thurman has detailed long hinted-at allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein. In a New York Times article, she says Weinstein pushed her down and "tried to expose himself" at the producer's hotel room in London during the 1990s, before she managed to "wriggle away". Harvey Weinstein's spokeswoman said the claims about an assault "are untrue". The 47-year-old star also said she was forced into sex as a teenager by an unnamed actor 20 years older than her. Thurman had expressed anger at Weinstein last November, saying: "I'm glad it's going slowly - you don't deserve a bullet." She did not make specific allegations against Weinstein at the time. But she details her claims in a 3,000-word feature published in the New York Times on Saturday, entitled: "This is why Uma Thurman is angry". Among the revelations in the article are that Thurman was sexually assaulted at age 16, at the beginning of her career. She met an actor - who is not named - at a Manhattan nightclub, and was "coerced" when she returned to his home for a late-night drink. "I was ultimately compliant," she told the newspaper. "I tried to say no, I cried, I did everything I could do. He told me the door was locked but I never ran over and tried the knob." "When I got home, I remember I stood in front of the mirror and I looked at my hands and I was so mad at them for not being bloody or bruised." Her allegations regarding Weinstein took place in the time period after the success of the 1994 Quentin Tarantino film Pulp Fiction, which was produced by Weinstein. The alleged incident took place at his suite in London's Savoy Hotel. "He pushed me down. He tried to shove himself on me... He did all kinds of unpleasant things," Thurman told the Times. "But he didn't actually put his back into it and force me. You're like an animal wriggling away, like a lizard." She said a bunch of flowers arrived the next day with a note reading: "You have great instincts." And that in the aftermath, Weinstein's assistants kept calling about new film projects.
2-2-18 Nassar: How a predator got away with abuse for decades
“He gave them gifts, invited them to his house, and brought them ice packs and wiped away the blood when they were injured,” said Christine Hauser and Maya Salam in The New York Times. Over the years, young female gymnasts were told to view Dr. Lawrence G. Nassar as a “sports medicine guru” and “magician” who could relieve their pain and improve their performance. But last week, in a Michigan courtroom, 156 “sister survivors” lined up to tell graphic stories of the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of the former U.S. Olympic and Michigan State University osteopath. In the guise of medical treatment, Nassar molested girls and teens in various ways, but his specialty was “pelvic manipulation”—a process in which he aggressively penetrated girls as young as 6 vaginally and anally with his ungloved fingers, sometimes for as long as 15 minutes. In her testimony, Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman stared Nassar down, saying, “Imagine how it feels to be an innocent teenager in a foreign country, hearing a knock on the door—and it was you.” Another Nassar victim, Kyle Stephens, said her father refused to believe her for years—and then committed suicide over his failure to protect her. “Little girls don’t stay little forever,” Stephens told Nassar. “They grow into strong women that return to destroy your world.” These brave young women finally received some justice when Nassar, 54, was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison.
2-2-18 Mogul accused
Billionaire casino magnate Stephen Wynn stepped down as finance chair of the Republican National Committee last week after a Wall Street Journal report detailed decades of sexual misconduct allegations against him. Dozens of people described how Wynn, the chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts, would routinely demand naked massages from female employees, often pressuring them to perform sex acts. In one case, Wynn allegedly paid $7.5 million to settle claims that in 2005 he forced a manicurist at his Wynn Las Vegas casino to have sex with him. Wynn, a high-profile Republican donor, has adamantly denied the allegations, but nevertheless he resigned his post as RNC finance chair. The RNC, which has called on Democrats to return donations from disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein, says it will not return Wynn’s donations until Wynn Resorts completes its own investigation. “Steve has denied these allegations,” said RNC chair Ronna Romney McDaniel. “He should be allowed due process.”
2-2-18 Atwood’s words of warning
Margaret Atwood doesn’t think of herself as a prophet, said Lisa Allardice in The Guardian (U.K.). The Canadian author is enjoying an unexpected resurgence, thanks to the Netflix adaptation of her 1985 dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. With its themes of male power, sexual abuse, and misogyny, the book has special resonance for feminists amid the #MeToo movement and the backlash against the Trump administration; during public protests, women have even taken to donning the distinctive red gowns and white bonnets worn by the novel’s oppressed female characters. “I’m sorry to have been so right,” says Atwood, 78, insisting, however, that today’s situation was entirely predictable. “Why are you so shocked by it all? The real reason people expect so much of America in modern times is that it set out to be a utopia. That didn’t last very long. Nathaniel Hawthorne nailed it when he said the first thing they did when they got to America was build a scaffold and a prison.” In imagining a world where women are held in reproductive slavery, Atwood says, she simply had to look at current efforts to deprive women of “contraceptive information, reproductive rights, [and] a living wage.” But Atwood advises against despair. “Can we remember World Wars I and II, just for a minute? And in the ’50s we all thought we were going to be blown up with nuclear bombs. So there are different kinds of scary.”