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, […]

Feminism Is Not Just About Women’s Oppression

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A community in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, continues to mourn and protest the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager shot dead by the police on Saturday. The details of Brown’s death are still unfolding as witnesses come forward and the Justice Department pursues a federal investigation. But there is one […]

Justice for Renisha McBride

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Justice was carried out for the late Renisha McBride Thursday when a jury found Theodore Wafer guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the shooting death of the 19-year-old. In the early morning hours of Nov. 2, McBride crashed her car on the west side of Detroit, Michigan, not far from Wafer’s Dearborn Heights home. […]

When 9-1-1 Can’t Find You: How Wireless Providers Can Save Women’s Lives

Last month, Michelle Miers was shot and stabbed at her home by an attacker. Still breathing but in need of urgent medical care, she picked up her cellphone and dialed 9-1-1. Like most Americans, Miers probably presumed that calling 9-1-1 guaranteed help was on the way. For the 26-year-old mother of two, however, help would come too […]

Does Comic-Con Condone Rape Culture?

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Sexual harassment and assault are prevalent everywhere in our culture, including at public events. In some cases, though, the atmosphere of particular events actually seems to promote, or at least tacitly condone, harassment. San Diego’s Comic-Con, the biggest convention of its kind, is one such event. In my piece, “Comic-Conned: Gender Norms in a Carnivalesque […]

Senate Considers Anti-TRAP Legislation

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The U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing Tuesday on the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would outlaw many TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws that have unnecessarily restricted access to abortion services. While many of the nine witnesses presented eloquent testimony in support of the act, the hearing also served as […]

California Seeks to End Gay-Panic Defense

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In 2005, a transgender woman in Fresno was stabbed to death, but the defendant pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to only four years. In the trial of cross-dressing gay teenager Larry King‘s killer in Oxnard in 2011, the defendant wound up pleading guilty to second-degree murder (instead of the more-deserved first-degree murder). […]