The Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar, who is openly gay, brought his partner to a meeting on Thursday with the US vice-president, Mike Pence, a conservative Christian once dubbed “the face of anti-LGBTQ hate in America”.
Varadkar, who is in Washington this week to reaffirm the longstanding shared history between the two countries, brought his partner, Matt Barrett, to a St Patrick’s Day breakfast at the vice-presidential residence at the Naval Observatory.
Varadkar tweeted that he and Matt had received a “warm reception” at Pence’s home, but in pointed remarks to Pence and gathered media, he also called out various forms of discrimination.
Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women is a former prosecutor and rightwing culture warrior who notably believes that women who are armed with guns are less likely to be raped. Surely this will all end well.
While the nomination of Shannon Lee Goessling was announced in June and a hearing date has not yet been set, anti-violence organizations are mobilizing to play defense. Part of that has included publicizing her record on violence against women and related issues that would come under her purview in the office. Goessling does not have a long career working on issues of violence against women; even as the White House highlights Goessling’s time as the “head [of] the Crimes Against Women and Children Unit in Georgia’s largest county,” her own LinkedIn profile states that she was only in that position for nine months.
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.”
In 2017, two NYPD detectives admitted to having sex with a teen in their custody. The detectives were charged with rape and kidnapping, but on Wednesday, Brooklyn prosecutors dismissed those charges.
According to the New York Daily News, former cops Richard Hall and Eddie Martins now face bribery and official misconduct charges for the September 2017 incident, in which they admitted to having sex with a teen identified as Anna Chambers after arresting her on a minor drug charge in Brooklyn.
Chambers, now 20, alleged the cops raped her, and DNA was found on her. The Brooklyn DA’s office, however, claimed Chambers made a number of “false, misleading and inconsistent statements,” including “false statements under oath,” which may have contributed to the dismissal. And though it is now (at long last) illegal for cops in New York to have sex with people in custody, that law did not exist in 2017. The age of consent in New York is 17.
fter Pixar co-founder and animator John Lasseter left the company following allegations of sexual harassment, it wasn’t long until he got a new gig at Skydance Media. But the hiring didn’t sit right with Emma Thompson, who recently left the “large-scale” animated film Luck produced by Skydance because of Lasseter’s presence at the company.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Thompson officially withdrew from the project on January 20 but had begun conversations to withdraw ever since Lasseter’s hire was announced. Thompson sent the LA Times a letter she sent to Skydance’s management explaining her decision, in which she acknowledges that the situation is “complicated,” but asks these questions of management:
Footballer Blair Hamilton says “the barriers are coming down” to transgender athletes competing in sport, after recent criticism from Martina Navratilova and Sharron Davies.
Navratilova – one of the most successful tennis players of all time – has been criticised as “transphobic” for writing that transgender women had “unfair” physical advantages over female opponents. She later apologised for using the term “cheating”.
On Saturday, former British swimmer Sharron Davies told BBC Sport that many current athletes “feel the same way” as Navratilova and that trans athletes should not compete in female events to “protect women’s sport”.
Cecilia Gentili, originally from Argentina, was undocumented for much of her time in the United States. She’s been incarcerated for substance use and trading sex, hassled by immigration agents at Rikers, and struggled for years to find access to unbiased medical care. Like many sex workers, when she was in unsafe situations she feared being wrung through the criminal justice system more than almost anything else.
Since getting clean and being granted asylum almost a decade ago Gentili has been active in a number of organizations, most recently working as a director of policy at the AIDS organization GMHC. But “one thing I’ve always wanted to take part in was the decriminalization of sex work,” she tells Jezebel. “Because of having a history of being arrested for doing the work that allowed me to survive.”
It took New York five long years, but finally, the state passed a bill that will make revenge porn illegal across the state. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo supports the bill, which would make New York the 42nd state to pass a revenge porn law.
The law will allow victims to sue anyone who shares explicit or intimate photos of them without consent, an offense punishable by up to one year in prison. Per the New York Times, the law would also be the first in the nation to “allow judges to order websites or social media platforms — in addition to the original poster — to take down the photos or videos.” The law would also apply to minors, who would appear before a Family Court judge.
n investigation by Buzzfeed News has found that date rape drug testing is notoriously unreliable and inconclusive, yet continue to be presented in courtrooms and by investigators as evidence. The end result, former prosecutors say, is that rapists are walking away free.
Buzzfeed reports on the broken, notoriously flawed system in place for the forensic toxicology of date rape drugs:
America’s system for date rape drug testing is riddled with flaws, according to a review of thousands of pages of lab manuals from every state across the country, as well as dozens of interviews with nurse examiners, toxicologists, law enforcement officials, advocates and lawyers. The testing equipment in some labs isn’t sensitive enough to detect substances at low concentrations, despite the fact that drugs break down quickly in the body, and it may be hours or even days before the victim has recovered sufficiently to report an assault. Other labs test only blood, even though evidence of drugs last much longer in urine, or don’t have the resources to test sexual assault cases at all.
And some labs rely entirely on a type of drug screen so notoriously fallible that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime recommends that it never be used in drug-facilitated sexual assault cases — noting that “false negative results” caused by its “insufficiently sensitive methods” risk bringing investigations to a premature end.