n 2016, state investigators found that a New York City Parks Department supervisor, Jeffrey Blount, had pressured a woman employee into having sex with him, threatening to fire her unless she agreed. According to the New York Times, this was not the only time investigators found that Blount had sexually abused and harassed women whom he supervised. Instead of being fired, he was allowed to resign, and as part of his agreement with the city, officials promised not to mention his history of sexual abuse and harassment to any prospective future employer—a common practice that allows abusers like Blount to continue to find work, potentially putting other unsuspecting coworkers at risk.
Blount was not the only New York City employee who, after being found to have sexually harassed fellow workers, was allowed to resign with few consequences for their future employment prospects.
“To be a black ballerina today … is extremely difficult. So I cannot imagine what it was like for Raven in the 1950s,” said Misty Copeland when reflecting on her friend, mentor and shero, Raven Wilkinson.
In 1955, Wilkinson became one of the first black women to dance with a classical ballet company. Pursuing a career in ballet during the Jim Crow Era was no sashay across the stage—Wilkinson had plenty of naysayers, and even a run-in or two with the Ku Klux Klan. Still, Wilkinson danced with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo for six years, and in that time was even promoted to soloist.
Copeland, who herself made history as the first black principal ballerina at the American Ballet Theater, learned who Raven Wilkinson was by watching a documentary on the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.
These numbers point to a reality that has been clear for a long time: that putting immigrants in detention creates conditions that are ripe for abuse and exploitation. The HHS numbers echo a ProPublica report from July 2018 that found hundreds of incidents of abuse at ORR-run shelters housing immigrant children, from sexual abuse to other violent incidents. In 2017, one worker at a Southwest Key detention center in Mesa, Arizona was charged with sexually abusing at least eight immigrant boys under his care, and last year, another worker at a Phoenix shelter run by Southwest Key was arrested after he was alleged to have molested a 14-year-old girl. As Lisa Fortuna, the director of child and adolescent psychiatry at Boston Medical Center, told ProPublica at the time of the ORR shelter system report: “If you’re a predator, it’s a gold mine.”
Sexual violence has “become an inescapable part of the collective migrant journey” for women who cross the border—and it doesn’t end once they enter the United States, as a new report from the New York Times makes painfully clear. From smugglers who exploit women making the journey north to Customs and Border Protection agents and Border Patrol officers who then use their authority to abuse women in their custody, the threat of violence can be ever present.
The current dangers associated with the journey are largely a product of U.S. border policy, which has forced people to rely even more on human smugglers and take increasingly dangerous routes to the United States. As a team of researchers wrote in 2016, “As migrants were diverted away from relatively safe and well-trod pathways in urban areas into more remote, isolated, and environmentally hostile sectors of the border, crossings grew increasingly difficult and hazardous and the share relying on the services of a paid guide, which had always been high, steadily rose.” Our border policy, specifically the Clinton-era policy of “prevention through deterrence,” said No More Deaths’s Justine Orlovksy-Schnitzler in an earlier interview with Jezebel, is “functioning exactly as intended.” She added, “The Trump administration has emboldened both government and non-governmental actors against migrants, which often creates deadly outcomes.”
According to reports and the anti-abortion blogosphere, the bill’s detractors have argued that one of its measures, which reclassifies state abortion law as a health statute rather than letting it remain under the penal code, will have the side effect of doing away with legal punishment for violence that ends pregnancies. To further their disingenuous anti-abortion campaign, the New York Time reports Republicans have cited the case of Anthony Hobson, arrested and charged earlier this month with second-degree murder of his ex-girlfriend, 35-year-old Jennifer Irigoyen. Hobson stabbed Irigoyen while she was 14 weeks pregnant. Queens district attorney Richard Brown said that the bill is to blame for his decision not to charge Hobson with criminal abortion as well.
A new report from the Guardian found that a manufacturer for F=, a UK company that advertises itself to be “all about inspiring and empowering girls,” has fired 100 workers for protesting their low wages. Ironically, the company sells £28 t-shirts printed with the words “GIRL POWER” on them, and offers £10 of each sale to Worldreader, a nonprofit that provides people in the developing world free access to digital books. “In one case,” reports The Guardian, “a female employee was beaten on the orders of the management and threatened with murder.”
If you buy the products airbrushing is used to advertise, you won’t look like the person in the photograph.
It’s used to smooth lines, hide blemishes, lighten skin, slim features, lengthen limbs, and brighten eyes and teeth.
It exists to sell a fantasy to the consumer that this “perfection” is indeed possible. If you have yet to achieve this beauty standard, it tells you, you should buy some expensive products immediately, because then you will look like the person in the photo. (But, as I said just a moment ago, you won’t.)
We tend to talk about young people and gun violence almost exclusively in the context of school shootings, but the reality is that home can be a very dangerous place for children. More than 130 children were shot and killed in domestic violence incidents in the last year, according to the Miami Herald, McClatchy, and gun-violence outlet The Trace, which have worked with hundreds of teenagers to document the number of children killed in shootings of any kind since the Parkland shooting last February.
Most of the domestic incidents were murder-suicides committed by a family member, and the perpetuator in many cases was also a romantic partner with “clear signs” of a history of domestic violence. In one case, a Texas woman’s ex-husband shot and killed their three children, her new boyfriend, and himself after she told him she was ready to move on. “I’m not going to kill you,” the shooter told Amanda Simpson. “I’m going to leave you to live with it.”
Federal agents are preparing to indict a New York woman who, for two years, sold abortion pills to more than 2,000 people. Mother Jones reports that in May 2016, Ursula Wing discreetly began selling abortion pills, mifepristone and misoprostol, on her blog, Macrobiotic Stoner, where she had written about “terminating her own pregnancy with pills she’d bought online, and women regularly posted comments asking for help to do the same.” Wing offered them without any consultation or prescription for $85, and soon became invested in the work:
While filling them, she corresponded with many more women—a teenager afraid to tell her parents she was pregnant, a woman hiding her abortion from an abusive partner, another who wrote that she wore the necklace included in her package to remind her of what she had been through. One woman, Wing recalled, told her she was doing “God’s work.” Wing had thought hers was one in “a sea of websites offering this,” but she came to see just how few options the women who contacted her had. “It started changing into something political,” she says. “I felt very obligated.”
It appears that an powerful group of male journalists in France, known online in a group cornily dubbed the “Laughing Out Loud League,” have been casually promoting the harassment of their women peers.
RFI (Radio France Internationale) reports that the group was a private Facebook group started in 2009 by the Libération writer Vincent Glad. The “Ligue du Lol” sort of sounds like the “Binders” groups that American women have created for writing and other fields, except this is for influential douchebags. “The original idea was for this group of young males-on-the-make in the world of Paris media to share private jokes, sometimes about their female colleagues,” RFI reports.