1-24-20 Women managers face harassment
A survey of more than 26,000 women found that workplace sexual harassment got worse the further they advanced in their career, said Arianne Cohen in FastCompany.com. “Female supervisors experience 30 to 100 percent more harassment” than rank-and-file female employees, according to a study involving women in Japan, Sweden, and the U.S. “Low-level leaders receive the brunt of it.” They face harassment both from “subordinates and from higher-level management,” so they have it “coming at them from all sides.” When reporting the misbehavior, “supervisors face more professional and social retaliation,” say researchers at the Swedish Institute for Social Research, who surmise male subordinates demean women managers because of jealousy.
1-23-20 Annabella Sciorra says Harvey Weinstein brutally raped her
US actress Annabella Sciorra has testified in Harvey Weinstein's trial that the film producer pinioned and raped her at her home 25 years ago. Ms Sciorra, best known for her role in The Sopranos, said Mr Weinstein forced himself into her apartment and attacked her. "I was trying to get him off me," Ms Sciorra said to the New York jury. "I was punching him, kicking him." The 67-year-old denies all charges, which include rape and sexual assault. If convicted, he could face life behind bars. But prosecutors intend to use her testimony to support their argument that the accused is a sexual predator. To do so, they must prove Mr Weinstein committed a serious sexual offence against at least two people. Mr Weinstein is charged with raping one woman, Jessica Mann, in a hotel room in the New York borough in 2013, and performing a forcible sex act on a second woman, Mimi Haleyi, in 2006. His defence team said his actions were consensual, including one "loving" relationship. According to her emotional testimony, Ms Sciorra had dinner with Mr Weinstein in the winter of 1993-94. The Hollywood mogul then offered to drive the actress back to her Manhattan apartment. Soon after Mr Weinstein dropped her off, the actress heard a knock at her door. The producer shoved his way into her apartment, she said, and took her to a bedroom where he forced her on to a bed and sexually assaulted her. Mr Weinstein ignored her attempts to fight him off, Ms Sciorra testified on Thursday, fighting back tears. "He got on top of me and he raped me," she said. "He had intercourse with me and I was trying to fight him, but I couldn't fight anymore because he had my hands locked." She said he then forcibly performed oral sex on her, telling her: "This is for you." "It was just so disgusting that my body started to shake in a way that was very unusual," she said.
1-17-20 Alphabet: Top lawyer leaves after misconduct claims
Google parent company Alphabet said this week that its controversial chief legal officer, David Drummond, will step down, said Jillian D’Onfro in Forbes. “One of the most long-tenured, influential employees at the company,” which he joined in 2002, Drummond was being investigated by the board over claims that he had inappropriate relationships with other employees. The board is also looking into Drummond’s handling of complaints against former Android chief Andy Rubin, “who reportedly received a $90 million exit package” despite credible allegations of sexual assault. Drummond will receive no exit package but has sold more than $200 million in stock in the past few months.
1-17-20 Kill your ex, get soccer contract
Brazilian soccer clubs are falling all over themselves to sign a vicious murderer, said Renata Mendonça. Bruno Fernandes de Souza was a successful goalkeeper before he was convicted of ordering the gruesome 2010 murder of his ex-girlfriend, Eliza Samudio, whose body he had chopped up and fed to his rottweilers. Bruno, the court heard, wanted to avoid paying child support for his then 4-month-old son. Sentenced to 22 years in prison, he was released in 2017 on a technicality and was promptly showered with multiple offers from eager teams before being sent back to prison two months later. Now that he has been transitioned to house arrest and given leave to play pro soccer, he is again being pursued by interested teams. Fluminense de Feira announced it wanted to sign Bruno, only to backtrack after a huge outcry by female fans and women’s groups. Moral issues aside, we’re talking about a player “who hasn’t played in 10 years” and is surely out of shape. So why the rush to sign this brute? Clubs say they believe in second chances, but we don’t see them hiring ex-cons to work as janitors or office staff, do we? The real reason is that teams know his hiring will generate publicity, and it’s disgusting. Let Bruno have his second chance, sure, but “not on the pitch.”
1-17-20 Andrew Yang's wife says gynaecologist sexually assaulted her
The wife of Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang has said she was sexually assaulted by her gynaecologist while she was pregnant with their first child. Evelyn Yang has accused Robert Hadden of assaulting her at his New York practice in 2012. Speaking to CNN, Ms Yang said she didn't tell her husband at first. Ms Yang is one of 32 women suing Hadden and the university where he practised. Hadden has denied the allegations in a court document. He was convicted of sexual assault in 2016 and surrendered his medical licence, but did not serve any jail time after accepting a plea deal. Ms Yang, 38, said she was encouraged to speak out by the warm reception she and her husband had received when talking to voters about their son's autism. "Something about being on the trail and meeting people and seeing the difference that we've been making already has moved me to share my own story about it, about sexual assault," Ms Yang revealed to CNN. She said "everyone has their own Me Too story", referencing the global movement against sexual assault, but added "not everyone has the audience or platform to tell their story". When victims of abuse come forward, they deserve our belief, support, and protection," Mr Yang said in a statement on Thursday. "I hope that Evelyn's story gives strength to those who have suffered and sends a clear message that our institutions must do more to protect and respond to women." Ms Yang has accused Hadden of assaulting her in his examination room when she was seven months pregnant with her first child. "I was dressed and ready to go," she told CNN. "Then, at the last minute, he kind of made up an excuse. He said something about 'I think you might need a C-section' and he proceeded to grab me over to him and undress me and examine me internally, ungloved." Ms Yang said she told her husband about the alleged assault after the birth of their child, Christopher. Ms Yang said she was prompted to do so after reading about a woman who had accused Hadden of sexual assault. Other women came forward and a case against Hadden was opened by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.
1-16-20 Allison Donahue: US lawmaker Peter Lucido probed for comments to reporter
A US lawmaker is facing investigation for telling a reporter schoolboys "could have a lot of fun" with her. Allison Donahue, 22, said she felt "humiliated" by the comment Michigan state senator Peter Lucido made when she went to him for comment on a story. His remark was "belittling and it came from a place of power", she said. Mr Lucido, 59, initially told US media the incident was "blown out of proportion", and tweeted an apology for what he called "the misunderstanding". Two state senate leaders have called for an investigation into whether his remarks amounted to sexual harassment. In a report for her newspaper, the Michigan Advance, Ms Donahue said she was seeking comment from Mr Lucido, a Republican, about claims he was a member of a since-deleted Facebook group targeting Michigan's Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Members of that group had also posted messages advocating violence against Democrats and Muslims, local media reported. Ms Donahue wrote that Mr Lucido told her he would speak to her after honouring a group of students from an all-boys' high school, who were standing just behind him. As she turned to leave, she said that he told her: "You should hang around! You could have a lot of fun with these boys, or they could have a lot of fun with you." Ms Donahue added: "The teenagers burst into an Old Boys' Network-type of laughter, and I walked away knowing that I had been the punch line of their 'locker room' talk. "Except it wasn't the locker room; it was the senate chamber. And this isn't high school. It's my career." On Wednesday morning Mr Lucido didn't dispute the quotes, but told the Detroit Free Press that he didn't feel he owed Ms Donahue an apology. He then tweeted: "I apologise for the misunderstanding yesterday and for offending Allison Donahue." Later the same day, he alleged that he was misquoted - telling local broadcaster WDIV-TV that he had actually said "we're going on the [senate] floor to have some fun, you're welcome to join us". (Webmaster's comment: LIAR!)
1-16-20 'I was sexually abused by a shaman at an ayahuasca retreat'
The psychedelic powers of a traditional Amazonian plant medicine called ayahuasca are attracting more and more tourists. It's said to bring spiritual enlightenment and to help with addiction, depression and trauma. But a string of allegations suggests there's a darker side to the ayahuasca scene. Rebekah first tried ayahuasca on a "complete whim" when she was travelling in Peru in 2015. "I thought it sounded interesting and I thought I might as well give it a try," says Rebekah, a New Zealander in her 20s who asked the BBC not to use her surname. "So I found a retreat centre that I felt was good and I just went for it and it was amazing." Ayahuasca can induce visions of things like serpents, palaces, and alien beings - and bring up long-forgotten memories. Like many who've drunk the brew, Rebekah has a wide-eyed distant look as she reminisces about the experience. "It was like being guided very gently and very kindly through some really awful experiences that I'd had in the past," Rebekah says. "And returning back home after that, I felt like my relationships were a lot stronger. I felt it was a lot easier to share and receive love. "They do say that ayahuasca is like 20 years of psychotherapy. And I completely believe that." Ayahuasca is usually taken in ceremonies at night, led by a healer - sometimes called a shaman. He or she will drink the sticky brown liquid - a brew of two Amazonian plants - then dole out helpings to the participants. It's been used by tribes in the Amazon region for centuries but now there's a boom in what's become known as "ayahuasca tourism", with ever more specialist retreat centres opening. Travellers often come for help dealing with mental health problems - and a growing body of scientific research suggests ayahuasca could be an effective treatment.
1-10-20 Tavis Smiley
Longtime PBS host Tavis Smiley spent years sexually harassing and pursuing sexual relationships with subordinates and guests on his show, according to an external investigation released last week. Smiley, 55, sued PBS after being fired in 2018, claiming he had only consensual relationships with employees. Yet several women told investigators that Smiley subjected them to unwanted advances, including inappropriate touching, sexual comments, and requests that they “hook up.” Smiley denied the allegations, which he called “weak,” and said he was looking forward to “my day in court.”
1-10-20 Facing justice
Forty out of 120 potential jurors said they couldn’t be impartial this week in Harvey Weinstein’s trial, which could see testimony from actresses Salma Hayek, Rosie Perez, Charlize Theron, and Annabella Sciorra. The disgraced movie producer, 67, hobbled into court for jury selection using a walker, which some thought was a theatrical plea for sympathy. He’s charged with forcing oral sex on a production assistant, Mimi Haleyi, at his Manhattan apartment in 2006 and raping a woman at a hotel in 2013. Numerous other women could be called to testify about Weinstein’s alleged predations; his brother and producing partner, Robert, could also testify. In the courtroom, Judge James Burke threatened to jail Weinstein, who still wields two cellphones, for texting in court. Just hours after the hearing—with timing that Weinstein’s lawyers argued was calculated to taint the jury pool—Los Angeles prosecutors charged Weinstein with rape and sexual assault in separate 2013 incidents.
1-9-20 Are Europe's rape laws letting women down?
Women across Europe have taken to the streets over the past year to demand their governments do more to protect them from sexual violence. Their anger was fuelled by two high-profile Spanish cases, which have forced countries to question how they prosecute rape. A minority of countries in Europe base their legal definition of rape on a lack of consent. In others, rape must involve some sort of violence or threat. But pressure is growing on this to change.
1-7-20 Reynhard Sinaga: Father of rapist says ‘punishment fits his crimes’
The father of Reynhard Sinaga, the worst rapist in British legal history, has said his son's punishment "fits his crimes" after he was jailed for life. Sinaga, a 36-year-old PhD student from Indonesia, was found guilty of 159 sexual offences against 48 men. He picked up his victims outside clubs in Manchester and lured them to his flat, where he drugged and assaulted them while filming the attacks. On Monday, a judge jailed Sinaga for life, with a minimum term of 30 years. As Sinaga's family and friends come to terms with his fate, they have painted a picture of his life in Indonesia before he became a serial sexual predator. Speaking for the first time since his son was jailed, his father Saibun Sinaga told BBC Indonesian over the phone: "We accept the verdict. His punishment fits his crimes. I don't want to discuss the case any further." Sinaga's friends at the University of Indonesia say he was a flamboyant and popular student. "He was very social, friendly, easy to get along with and fun to work on projects with," one friend, who wished not to be named, said. She lost contact with him when he went abroad to continue his studies in the UK in 2007. Sinaga is said to have fallen in love with the city of Manchester and told his family that he wanted to live in Britain forever. Living close to Manchester's Gay Village, he was able to express his sexuality openly in a way that was impossible to do back in Indonesia. The oldest of four children, Sinaga was born in 1983 into a conservative Christian family, part of the Batak tribe from the island of Sumatra. "His family describe him as a good, very bright, religious boy who was a regular churchgoer," said Gulfan Afero, a consular official at the Indonesian embassy in London. When sentencing him to life in prison, Judge Suzanne Goddard QC noted the reference and said directly to Sinaga that his family "know nothing of your true nature". Police say they have evidence Sinaga targeted at least 190 victims in total. Further potential victims have come forward following his sentencing by contacting a dedicated helpline.
1-6-20 Harvey Weinstein trial: 'Why I broke my silence'
Jasmine Lobe is a "silence breaker", one of the dozens of women who have come forward to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault after allegations about his behaviour became public in 2017. Ahead of the Hollywood producer's trial on criminal charges, she spoke to the BBC's Nick Bryant about what a guilty verdict would mean for alleged survivors. Mr Weinstein is accused of raping one woman in a hotel room in 2013 and sexually assaulting another in his apartment in 2006. He has pleaded not guilty and denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.