Why Outing the Domestic Violence Survivor — and Her Abuser — Might Just Save Lives

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[TRIGGER WARNING: Discussion of domestic violence] I’m outing myself. It’s not an easy thing to do, out yourself. I’ve kept a lot of my story secret for many years, for many reasons. Reflecting on my life with my abuser, I now realize I minimized the conflicts, marginalized the incidents, telling myself I was making more […]

The Nation’s Police Have a Sex-Discrimination Problem

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The death of 18-year-old Michael Brown at the hands of a Ferguson, Missouri police officer last month prompted the Department of Justice to launch an investigation into Ferguson’s policing practices. (This investigation comes on the heels of a separate federal probe into the killing of Brown). The new investigation will look at departmental practices that may have […]

Danièle Watts, Slut-Shaming and Supporting the Black Female Victim/Offender

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Recently reports surfaced that actress Danièle Watts, who appeared in the film Django Unchained, was detained by Los Angeles police responding to a complaint that a white man and black woman indecently exposed themselves while parked in a Mercedes in Studio City. Watts and her partner, Brian James Lucas, said that the officers mistook them […]

President Obama: “It’s On Us” to Prevent Campus Rape

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In a further attempt to bring campus sexual assault into the national conversation, President Obama launched the It’s On Us campaign Friday, a national public service campaign that urges college students to combat sexual assault on their campuses. Calling for a “fundamental shift in our culture,” Obama, joined by Vice President Biden in the East Room […]

Thirteen Years After 9/11: How Expensive is Guantánamo Justice?

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Imagine how the billions being spent by the U.S. on the never-ending imprisonment and proceedings against alleged 9/11 terrorists could be used to support health care and other social services in the U.S.—a first-hand report on what’s happening in Cuba. After spending a week at Guantánamo Bay Naval Base (GTMO, or Gitmo) serving as an […]

Of Ray Rice and Aunt Gracie’s Black Eyes

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TRIGGER WARNING: VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN My Aunt Gracie is one of my mother’s 10 sisters, the one with the gentle half smile. She’s always been a favored sister and aunt, beloved in our family for her sweetness and generosity and her quiet, seemingly eternal good nature. But sealed in my mind’s eye is an image […]

How Prison Killed Sex Worker Marcia Powell

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In 2009, filmmaker PJ Starr received an email from a friend bringing news of the horrific and unnecessary death of Marcia Powell. Powell had been serving a 27-month sentence for solicitation of prostitution. While in Perryville Prison outside of Phoenix, corrections officers left her out in a metal cage for four hours in searing heat. As a […]

Will the NFL Ever Get it Right About Violence?

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TRIGGER WARNING: VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN. Today, the Baltimore Ravens professional football team terminated the contract of running back Ray Rice. Soon after, he was suspended indefinitely by the National Football League (NFL). We would be cheering heartily for these actions—because Rice punched out his soon-to-be-wife, and such off-the-field violence should have serious consequences. But we’re […]

Where Are the Women Police in Ferguson?

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Images from Ferguson, Missouri, have filled TV and computer screens around the country since the tragic killing of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson—everywhere we’ve looked we’ve seen vulnerability and anger, chaos and peaceful resistance, tragedy and triumph. But we couldn’t help but notice there seems to be one thing missing in the deluge […]

Steubenville and Girls’ Futures

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Remember when the mainstream media wrung their hands over Steubenville, Ohio, football players and convicted rapists Ma’lik Richmond’s and Trent Mays’ futures? Reporters at CNN and NBC, in particular, fretted over their guilty verdicts on air. The outcome of the case entailed not a triumph of justice for the 16-year-old Jane Doe who was raped, […]