11-17-18 Sabarimala: Why has a Hindu temple divided India's women?
It's been more than a month since India's Supreme Court revoked a ban on women aged between 10 and 51 entering a prominent Hindu temple in southern India. Yet no women have been able to enter so far. The Sabarimala temple in Kerala state officially opened its gates on Friday evening, the start of the annual pilgrimage season. The temple had also opened for a few hours twice after the court verdict. But ever since the ban was repealed, tens of thousands of protesters, including many women, have blocked roads, attacked female devotees and vandalised property in a bid to stop women from entering the shrine. They say that they are protecting their deity in accordance with an age-old belief that women of a menstruating age are a threat to his celibacy. A debate around this has been raging in the rest of the country as well. (Webmaster's comment: And we thought Christianity was a dark age religion.)
11-16-18 Students say Dartmouth ignored professor 'predator club'
Dartmouth College is facing a $70m (£54m) lawsuit from six women who claim the school ignored 16 years of sexual harassment by three ex-professors. They allege the Ivy League school allowed the tenured psychology professors to harass, discriminate against and rape female students. The federal lawsuit, filed on Thursday, names Dartmouth trustees as defendants, not the former professors. The college denies the claims and will respond in court, a spokesman says. The lawsuit says the elite school turned a blind eye to "bad behaviour by these professors for more than 16 years", having received many complaints about Professors Todd Heatherton, William Kelley and Paul Whalen. The six named women, and a seventh Jane Doe, allege the professors had a clear bias towards hiring attractive young women to work in their labs and treated female students as "sex objects". The three "predatory club" professors held meetings in bars, invited students to hot-tub parties, sent lewd photographs, groped and assaulted women, the plaintiffs say. When students spurned their advances or refused to participate in their "party culture", they were threatened with academic consequences, the lawsuit claims.
11-16-18 Protests: Tech giants end forced arbitration
“Amid a rising tide of employee activism,” tech firms are changing their policies around sexual harassment, said Davey Alba and Caroline O’Donovan in BuzzFeedNews.com. Last week, following protests over the handling of misconduct claims against executives, Google said it would end forced arbitration for sexual harassment issues. The policy had squelched any chance for employees “to air their grievances in open court” and kept bad behavior under wraps. Other tech heavyweights—Facebook, Airbnb, eBay, and Square—followed Google’s lead, joining Uber and Microsoft, which had already changed their policies in the last year. Good riddance to a bad practice, said Elizabeth Winkler in The Wall Street Journal. At nearly every big company rocked by sexual misconduct allegations, “forced arbitration helped keep the allegations quiet and allowed offenders to stay in their jobs or leave with big payouts.” The losers in such cases aren’t just employees. The policies keep “investors in the dark about major flaws in corporate culture and in protections for workers.” That lets “toxic cultures” persist and leads to ugly scandals that end up knocking down share prices and saddling companies with bigger costs than they would have faced if they’d dealt with the problems early.
11-16-18 Google bows to radical workers
The biggest danger Google faces now comes from its own employees, said Holman Jenkins Jr. A group of employees calling themselves the Tech Workers Coalition want to substitute their “political hobbyhorses” for their employer’s business interests. Google brought this upon itself with “its ill-considered practice of sponsoring internal debate and breast-beating about political and cultural topics.” The protesters got Google to walk away from a Pentagon deal for Google’s AI technology. Amazon and Microsoft got similar demands from employees, and both companies “used the opportunity to speak out against Silicon Valley attempts to treat the U.S. military as a pariah customer.” But Google acquiesced to protests and then got more, this time about “letting executives leave with nest eggs intact after being accused of inappropriate sexual conduct.” In response, “Google’s leaders conspicuously put their tails between their legs.” That won’t be the end of the demands. Google’s radicals hope to use “neo-Puritanism in the workplace” as a kind of “broom to sweep middle-aged white men out of the company”—including founder Sergey Brin. When Google went public, its bosses insisted on shielding their voting rights from shareholders to “make brave, long-term decisions without concern for short-term market reaction.” It’s time for them to show some of that bravery now.
11-16-18 Darren from Accounts
Darren from Accounts, with a new survey showing that 35 percent of companies won’t hold office holiday parties this year, largely to avoid “potential liability following the #MeToo movement.”
11-15-18 Stormy Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenatti arrested
Michael Avenatti, lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels in her suit against President Donald Trump, has been arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, police in Los Angeles say. Celebrity news website TMZ said this followed a physical confrontation between the lawyer and a woman. He denied the claim and was later released on $50,000 (£38,500) bail. The lawyer represents Ms Daniels, who alleges she and President Trump had a brief relationship - a claim he denies. Ms Daniels has sought to free herself from a non-disclosure agreement she signed before the 2016 election. Mr Avenatti has called the allegations "completely bogus" and said he was confident he would be fully exonerated. Speaking to reporters after leaving a police station, he said: "I have never struck a woman. I never will strike a woman. I have been an advocate for women's rights my entire career and I'm going to continue to be an advocate. "I am not going to be intimidated from stopping what I am doing." On Twitter, he also thanked "everyone who has reached out with supportive messages". The woman who made the allegations had "visible injuries" including bruises, according to an unnamed law enforcement official quoted by the Los Angeles Times. Mr Avenatti's estranged wife, Lisa Storie Avenatti, gave a statement to the broadcaster NBC saying he had never been violent to her. His first wife, Christine Avenatti-Carlin, also issued a statement on Wednesday, saying she had known Mr Avenatti for 26 years and describing him as "a loving, kind father to our two daughters". "He has never been abusive to me or anyone else. He is a very good man," she said. (Webmaster's comment: This accusation smells like a put up job to shut him up!)
11-14-18 Irish outcry over teenager's underwear used in rape trial
A series of protests over sexual consent have been taking place in Ireland, a week after a man was acquitted of raping a 17-year-old. In the trial, the defence lawyer told the jury: "You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front." The 27-year-old man was found not guilty of rape shortly afterwards. The controversy led one Irish MP to hold up a lace thong in parliament to highlight "routine victim-blaming". Ruth Coppinger produced the blue lacy underwear in the Dáil (Irish parliament) from her sleeve on Tuesday. "It might seem embarrassing to show a pair of thongs here... how do you think a rape victim or a woman feels at the incongruous setting of her underwear being shown in a court?" The case, in which the man was cleared of rape, was originally reported by the Irish Examiner newspaper on 6 November. The accused maintained that the sexual contact between him and the girl, which took place in a laneway in Cork, had been consensual. Details of the closing argument presented by his senior counsel Elizabeth O'Connell, however, attracted widespread attention and prompted a series of online protest movements. "Does the evidence out-rule the possibility that she was attracted to the defendant and was open to meeting someone and being with someone?" she asked, according to the Examiner's report. "You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front." (Webmaster's comment: So a woman is now at fault for being raped if she wears sexy underwear. "SHE WAS ASKING FOR IT!" Men will find any excuse for justifying rape! RAPE IS NEVER A WOMEN'S FAULT!)
11-12-18 In Year Two of #MeToo, Fears About Sexual Assault Remain
It's been just over a year since the #MeToo movement began, which revealed and prompted firings over cases of sexual assault and harassment committed by celebrities, politicians and other notable public figures. But as the movement heads into its second year, the percentage of American women who say they "frequently" or "occasionally" worry about being a victim of sexual assault has edged up from last year to 36%, the highest this figure has been since 2011. By contrast, just 4% of men worry this frequently about being a victim of sexual assault, little changed over the years. These results are from Gallup's annual Crime poll, conducted Oct. 1-10. While worry about sexual assault ranks low among all Americans on the list of 13 crimes measured in the poll and ranks last among men, it is the sixth-most-worrisome crime for women. The current 36% of women who worry is two percentage points below the all-time high of 38% registered in 2003. Overall, 29% of women vs. 19% of men say they rarely worry about being a sexual assault victim, leaving only 33% of women vs. 75% of men saying they never worry about it. Among all U.S. adults, 20% of all Americans say they frequently or occasionally worry about being a victim of sexual assault, matching the average Gallup has recorded since it first asked the question in 2000.
- Twenty percent of Americans worry about being a victim of sexual assault
- Concerns about being a sexual assault victim are stable since 2000
- 36% of women vs. 4% of men worry about falling prey to sexual assault
11-9-18 #MeToo: A moral crisis at Google
Google is facing a worldwide staff rebellion over its handling of sexual harassment cases, said Daisuke Wakabayashi in The New York Times. Holding signs such as “Don’t be evil, protect victims,” 20,000 of the tech giant’s 85,000 employees around the globe protested the company’s mishandling of charges against senior executives. In one instance, Google paid $90 million to Andy Rubin, the creator of the Android operating system, who the company determined had been credibly accused of coercing an employee into sex. Rubin denies the charges. By paying executives multimillion-dollar exit packages, Google “avoided messy and costly legal fights, and kept them from working for rivals.” Sometimes, Google took no action at all: Richard DeVaul, a director at Google X, the company’s research-and-development arm, told a job candidate he was “polyamorous” and invited her to the Burning Man festival, where he subjected her to inappropriate advances. The woman did not get the job, and DeVaul was not punished. He has since resigned. “Each time, Google stayed silent about the accusations against the men.” In its defense, Google said it fired 48 employees for harassment over the past two years without exit packages. The company apologized to workers, promising to create a “safe and inclusive” environment. What Google does about harassment can set a precedent for how other major companies deal with the issue, said Shirin Ghaffary in Recode.net. Accepting the protesters’ demand that Google eliminate mandatory arbitration in harassment and discrimination cases would force others to follow. But the protest is really about more than demanding workplace changes at Google, said Noah Feldman in Bloomberg.com. This was more like the national student walkout to support gun control than a traditional protest against an employer. Google’s employees knew they’d get coverage in news media worldwide and that their “cultural prestige put significant weight into their protest.” In effect, they forced management to back their “public, collective stand in the broader conversation about sexual harassment.” Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, even “promised his employees ‘the support you need’ in connection with the walkout.” In the future, you’ll see employees at more big companies taking public positions on national or international issues—and insisting that management join them.
11-9-18 Longing to be a submissive housewife
There are few clearer signs of the “conservative winds” blowing through Europe, said Jonna Sima, than the anti-feminist sentiments now being peddled by young Swedish women. Greta Thurfjell, a 24-year-old journalist, created a stir with a recent newspaper article in which she pushed an unapologetically traditional view of a woman’s role. She explained how she wants nothing more than to be a submissive housewife, devoted to making her man happy. For Millennial women raised in a culture of liberalism and political correctness, she says, conservatism’s forbidden status makes it new and exciting. Feminists, Thurfjell adds, are “not cool.” Having walked into a well-paid, secure job at a culture magazine straight out of college, she clearly has no idea how hard women had to struggle to achieve the freedoms she takes for granted. Thurfjell has bought into the retrogressive ideology pedaled by Steve Bannon, U.S. President Donald Trump’s former White House strategist, who has been traveling through Europe firing up the far right and calling the women’s rights movement “the biggest threat to the patriarchal social order.” Right-wingers in Sweden are now mobilizing against abortion rights and moaning that “feminism has gone too far.” Women like Thurfjell may get a thrill flirting with these ideas, but they probably wouldn’t like the long-term consequences.
11-1-18 Google staff walkout: How US employers silence sex accusers
Hundreds of staff at Google offices around the world have walked out in protest at sexual harassment and unequal pay for women. One of their key demands is ensuring women can settle misconduct claims in the courts, but why can't many do so already?. A female staff member at Google is harassed. She complains to her boss. She goes through an internal grievance hearing, then an arbitration process and loses. But if she wants to go public with her claims before a court of law, she can't. Google is one of many companies which gets employees to sign "forced arbitration" agreements, requiring all discrimination cases - not just sexual harassment but also racism and equal pay disputes - to be resolved internally, with no judicial oversight. It means they can't sue their bosses if they're unhappy with that outcome. One well-publicised example of this was when Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson first made a complaint about sexual harassment at the network. She said the channel's former boss Roger Ailes asked her for sexual favours. When she rebuffed his advances, she says her pay was cut and she was later fired. Ms Carlson's contract with Fox News included a forced arbitration clause, which meant she couldn't settle the case in court. But she got around that by suing Ailes directly for violating human rights law. Ms Carlson won $20m and Ailes, who died earlier this year, issued an apology. Her case encouraged other women at the network to come forward with claims. It's unclear how exactly she got around the loophole because a confidentiality agreement limits what Ms Carlson can say about it. But her case highlights the secrecy that allegations of sexual harassment can be shrouded in. (Webmaster's comment: How the hell did we let these Rich Corporate Executives have such power over us? We need to cut their ***** off!)
11-1-18 Weinstein accused of sexually assaulting teenager, lawsuit says
Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has been accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old Polish model in New York, legal documents show. The alleged victim claims that the film producer forced her to grope him and subjected her to years of harassment and abuse. She said she agreed to meet Mr Weinstein for a lunch in 2002 while trying to boost her acting career. Mr Weinstein's lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, denies the allegations. The woman, referred to only as Jane Doe in the court documents, claims Mr Weinstein took her to his Manhattan apartment and "wasted no time in aggressively and threateningly demanding sex", despite knowing her age. "He told her that if she wanted to be an actress, she would have to be comfortable doing whatever the director told her to do - including losing her inhibitions and getting naked", the documents state. She alleges that Mr Weinstein continued to harass her for almost a decade, offering her a role as a film extra in a 2004, claims that Mr Brafman said were "preposterous". "Like so many other women in this case who have already been exposed as liars, this latest completely uncorroborated allegation that is almost 20 years old will also be shown to be patently false," he said. (Webmaster's comment: Less than 10% of women accusing men of sexual attacks have been proven to be liars!) Mr Weinstein has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 70 women. The accusations against him helped awaken the #MeToo movement, which has seen hundreds of women accuse high-profile men of sexual abuse and harassment. The Jane Doe complaint is an update to a class action lawsuit against the film producer, the Weinstein Company and Miramax. The original lawsuit, which included assault, battery and racketeering, was dismissed in September.
11-1-18 Google staff walk out over women's treatment
Staff at Google offices around the world are staging an unprecedented series of walkouts in protest at the company's treatment of women.. The employees are demanding several key changes in how sexual misconduct allegations are dealt with at the firm, including a call to end forced arbitration - a move which would make it possible for victims to sue. Google chief executive Sundar Pichai has told staff he supports their right to take the action. "I understand the anger and disappointment that many of you feel," he said in an all-staff email. "I feel it as well, and I am fully committed to making progress on an issue that has persisted for far too long in our society… and, yes, here at Google, too." A Twitter feed titled @googlewalkout has documented the movement at Google's international offices. Google staff in Zurich, London, Tokyo, Singapore and Berlin were among those to take part. Web developer Sam Dutton who joined the walkout in London told the BBC: "We're walking out to support colleagues in any workplace that have suffered harassment and to ensure that perpetrators aren't protected or rewarded." Anger at the firm has boiled over in the past week since the New York Times alleged that one high profile executive received a $90m payout after he left the firm, despite what Google considered a “credible” allegation of sexual misconduct made against him. Andy Rubin, known as the “creator” of the Android mobile operating system, denies the allegation. On Tuesday, another executive - this time from the company’s X research lab - also resigned. Richard DeVaul was said to have made unwanted advances towards a woman who was recently interviewed for a job in which she would have reported to Mr DeVaul.