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.

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.”

The Abolitionist Aesthetics of Patrisse Cullors, Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter

“Imagine if culturally we understood that protecting Black women meant protecting all of us,” said Patrisse Cullors, renowned for her activist work with Black Lives Matter, a global network she co-founded in 2013 with Alicia Garza and Ayo Tometi. “I think that’s what this show means to me.”

The show referenced here, “dedicated to all Black women and femmes around the world,” is the exhibit Between the Warp and Weft: Weaving Shields of Strength and Spirituality—an introduction to Cullors as an artist wielding her protection spell over Black women. The exhibit opens Saturday, June 15, at the Charlie James Gallery in downtown Los Angeles.

Who Is to Blame for the Death of Habiba el Shamaa?

On April 15, 2024, the Cairo Criminal Court sentenced an Uber driver to 15 years in prison with hard labor for attempted kidnapping, driving under the influence of drugs and document forgery. The victim, 24-year-old Habiba el Shamaa, died on March 14 after 21 days in a coma following critical injuries she sustained when jumping out of the moving vehicle.

Uber is partly to blame for the death of el Shamaa, but the larger misogynistic context that has normalized violence against women in the region should not be ignored. At the core of this violence in Egypt and throughout the region is the common belief that the home is a woman’s only legitimate space.

My Sexts Were Leaked in High School. I Learned the Hard Way How Sexuality Is Weaponized to Silence Women.

Each instance of gendered and sexualized narratives against high-profile women—and even ordinary people, including students like myself—serves as a warning to thousands of other women and those close to us. Witnessing these attacks often leads them to reconsider their own participation in public discourse.

The message is clear: Speak out, and your sexuality will be weaponized against you.

For the Women Who Accused the Trump Campaign of Harassment, It’s Been More Harassment

At least four women of color involved in the 2016 Trump campaign are embroiled in legal fights over workplace harassment, discrimination or violations of nondisclosure agreements. They have been subjected to scorched-earth tactics.

Trump is a well-known bully who has belittled and sought to dominate political rivals. It turns out that Trump’s campaign used similar bullying tactics against its own workers. These fights have been waged out of the public eye against women with few resources to stand up against the campaign’s battery of lawyers, paid from a seemingly bottomless trove of campaign money.

Black Women Caught in the Digital Crosshairs

Black women are often in the crosshairs of abusive discourse driven by social media. That recent targets are often public figures suggests that social media abusers find it profitable to attack high-profile Black women who have become symbolic avatars for the group as a whole.

(This article originally appears in the Spring 2024 issue of Ms. Join the Ms. community today and you’ll get issues delivered straight to your mailbox!)

The Rise of Deepfakes Demands Legislative Action

Women represent 99 percent of those targeted by deepfake “pornography,” which makes up 98 percent of all deepfake videos online. In 2023 alone, the volume of deepfake abuse videos surpassed the total of all previous years combined, with the number of nonconsensual videos doubling annually.

Those nonconsensual images are created and shared with the goal of humiliating and degrading the women and girls in them. The fallout is immense, and it goes beyond personal harm. The silencing effect leads to people stepping back from vital arenas like politics, journalism and public discourse. But that’s the point of this misogyny, isn’t it? It’s gender-based violence at its core.

Urgent action is needed, and effective legislation is a critical starting point.

New Title IX Rules Offer ‘Comprehensive Coverage’ for LGBTQ+ Students and Sexual Violence Survivors

Advocates for the LGBTQ+ community and sexual violence survivors are largely applauding the Department of Education’s newly released federal regulations to protect the rights of these groups in schools, though they also expressed reservations about the lack of clear protections for transgender athletes. Unveiled on Friday, the final rule under Title IX includes provisions that strengthen the rights of sexual violence survivors during investigations and of LGBTQ+ individuals to experience school in a way that aligns with their gender identity. Title IX is a historic civil rights law preventing federally funded academic institutions from practicing sex discrimination. 

“We are glad that the Biden administration finally fulfilled its promise to student survivors to return Title IX to its original intent of protecting their civil rights in the aftermath of sexual violence.”