N.Y. Bill to End Statute of Limitations on Sex Crimes Could Help Survivors Seek Justice

“We have to crawl our way out, even though we tripped our way in,” said Gabrielle Prieto, who was sex trafficked at 12 years old and is not challenging the stigmas surrounding survivors of sex trafficking and advocates to end sex trade.

In New York, a new bill could afford survivors seeking legal recourse for the crimes committed against them a real chance for justice—removing the five-year statute of limitations on sex crimes.

In Rahimi, SCOTUS Averted a Catastrophe. Now Let’s Protect People Facing Abuse.

The country breathed a collective sigh of relief last week when the U.S. Supreme Court averted catastrophe with its ruling in United States v. Rahimi. The decision allows the government to continue denying firearms to people who are the subjects of domestic violence protective orders. The carnage caused by an adverse ruling in Rahimi would have been tragic. 

But make no mistake: Last week’s victory was not a step forward. It only maintains the status quo, which is grim. Right now in the U.S., 70 women, on average, are shot and killed by a partner each month. Gun violence is now the leading cause of death for children and teens ages one through 19. Domestic violence-related homicides have increased, and one reason is that we have more guns than people.

The ruling was indeed a relief, but it will not stop gun violence from making domestic violence more deadly and causing harm in our homes, schools, streets and gathering places. We can and must do more.

Ain’t I a Princess? Including Black Women and Girls in Fantasy and Play

It is only fitting that Netflix chose Juneteenth to debut the Shondaland-produced documentary film, Black Barbie. The film tells the story of Black women who worked at Mattel and gave us the titular doll, showcasing the joy of freedom through play. And yet, while the film shows that today’s Black children may no longer have feelings of being “ugly” or “bad,” as demonstrated during Clark’s doll experiment, they clearly understood Black Barbie wasn’t the “real Barbie,” wasn’t the “hero” of her own story. 

To that end, are we needing to ask a similar question about other fantasies: “Ain’t I a princess?”

It is not enough for Black women and girls to enter fantasy and play as “corrective” heroes. While we are as indebted to the Black women imagineers who worked on the new Disney ride, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, as we are to the Black women at Mattel for giving us Black Barbie, we are equally in need of imaginations that transcend our limited realities and revel in our most whimsical dreams.

The Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban Survives Yet Another Attack

The Feminist Majority—the advocacy arm of the Feminist Majority Foundation, which publishes Ms.—together with the National Network to End Domestic Violence and its then director, Donna Edwards, played a pivotal role in passing the original Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban at the heart of the Rahimi case, often referred to as “the Lautenberg Amendment,” after its sponsor, the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), in 1996. After passage, feminists stood firmly against all attempts to gut the law, like the 1997 and 1999 attempts to exempt police officers and military service personnel from its coverage (which both failed). 

“The law prevented countless tragedies,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority. “It has saved the lives and harm of countless domestic violence survivors, most of whom are women.” Here’s to the feminist allies and advocates ensuring those days stay behind us.

In U.S. v. Rahimi, Domestic Violence Victims Live to Die Another Day

Friday morning, the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that a law restricting firearms access for a narrow class of individuals subject to a specific kind of domestic violence restraining order does not violate the Second Amendment. The ruling is a “win” in much the same way the Court’s ruling in the mifepristone case FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine earlier this month is a win: The Court did the “bare minimum” necessary to cling to the last vestiges of its legitimacy.

The threat posed by violent abusers like Zackey Rahimi might be temporarily disarmed today, but the threat posed by the Supreme Court’s patriarchal agenda remains a loaded weapon.

‘My Journey From Guerilla to Grandmother’: The Ms. Q&A With Katherine Ann Power

In 1970, college student Katherine Ann Power became involved with a revolutionary anti-war guerilla group. Power was the getaway driver when the group attempted to rob a Massachusetts bank to help finance the anti-war movement.
For years, Power lived as Alice Metzinger: baker, cook and eventually— mom. As she reflected on her own responsibility for the officer’s death, she concluded that she needed to turn herself in to begin the long process of redemption and restitution.

Power has just written a memoir about her experience, Surrender: My Journey from Guerilla to Grandmother. She recently talked with Ms. about her involvement in the anti-war movement, the killing of police officer Walter Schroeder, her time in prison and her reflections on it all. 

Racist Graffiti on Angela Alsobrooks’ Campaign Sign Is a Reminder of the Threats Black Women in Politics Face

The recent defacement of Maryland U.S. Senate Democratic candidate Angela Alsobrooks’ campaign sign with hateful and threatening messages highlights the persistent racism and abuse that women—especially Black women—endure when seeking to run, win, serve and lead in our politics. Such acts, including the brandishing of “KKK” by vandals and a target drawn on her forehead, assault both individual dignity and democratic principles.

‘The Other Roe’: Forthcoming Abortion Documentary Spotlights Atlanta Attorney Margie Pitts Hames

Most people are unaware that Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton were both argued on the same day before the Supreme Court and upheld in the 1973 decision that legalized abortion. Roe legalized the right to abortion, while Doe ensured its availability and accessibility.

After nearly 50 years, both decisions were overturned in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health case in June 2022, leading to a fragmented legalization of abortion across the country. Ironically, the Jackson clinic that brought the suit was started by Susan Hill and me in 1995.

I was puzzled that the Doe decision and the lawyer who argued it, Margie Pitts Hames, did not have a more prominent place in the history of abortion rights. So I’m making a documentary about her and the case, called The Other Roe.

All Pregnant Women Should Have the Same Privileges I Had When I Gave Birth Prematurely

Over the last 15 years, I have had the privilege of meeting mothers and their children around the world. The universal experiences of motherhood—from the challenges of pregnancy and birth, to cooing over a newborn child—can make it seem that pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood are a great equalizer. But my own experience and my work have reinforced that motherhood remains undeniably influenced by privilege and power.

There is no single intervention that will stop complications in pregnancies, halt premature births and end neonatal deaths. But that shouldn’t stop us from making full use of what we know can make a difference for many.

Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey Signs Coercive Control Bill Into Law

Massachusetts just became the seventh state in the country to pass legislation classifying coercive control as a form of domestic violence.

Attorney Jamie Sabino of the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute said the survivor and expert testimony that influenced legislators “spelled out the lifetime and generational harm caused by coercive control. Non-physical abuse like revenge porn, which is a form of technology abuse, is typically a precursor to more serious and violent acts, including sexual and physical assault or homicide.”