Lisa Montgomery is the only woman currently on federal death row. The accelerated timeline of Montgomery’s case, and the Justice Department’s determination to proceed despite an election loss and her lawyers’ incapacity due to COVID-19, is an example of the dangerous consequences of its misplaced priorities.
The defeat of Donald J. Trump feels like emerging from a misogyny-trauma-hangover. The fact that he was ever elected and, as of this writing, has received over nine million more votes than his first run, is a massive global metaphor for rape culture.
For survivors of abuse and those who care for them, it was traumatic to watch his first ascendance to power, horrific to live through, and dehumanizing to have the prospect of a second term dangled in front of us. From the perspective of a women’s studies professor and life-long-feminist, one who is closer to sexual assault than anyone likes to be, the whole process felt traumatic.
When women are elected to office they make a difference for woman. Kamala Harris has been committed to resolving the rape kit backlog and ensuring an administrative and legislative system that brings justice to all who have been raped or sexually assaulted.
Since 2016, when the Trump Administration rescinded Obama-era guidance on how schools should handle reports of sexual violence, colleges nationwide have struggled to responsibly respond in a way that’s fair and does not retraumatize the survivor. Survivors and advocates in California have decided to take matters into our own hands.
We want to protect students’ safety and access to education. California Senate Bill 493 would do exactly that.
Michelle Bowdler’s new book “Is Rape a Crime?” investigates why the justice system so often fails to treat rape as a crime.
“The hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits existed because hundreds of thousands of individual victims agreed to submit to an exam consisting of head and pubic hair combing; vaginal, anal, and oral swabbing; retrieval of saliva, blood, and fingernail clippings—evidence taken carefully under the bright light of an emergency room by strangers following a violation that defines vulnerability. The victims endured this examination for a reason; they wanted justice. Instead, their bodies and the evidence taken from them were treated like useless trash.”
“Referring to hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits as a ‘backlog’ of evidence is a misnomer if there was never intent to test them in the first place.”
If schools follow the Trump administration’s new Title IX rules, survivors no doubt will be reluctant to report sexual harassment and assault.
While some schools are accepting the rules and adopting restrictive policies, others are finding creative ways to get around the rules by designing policies that will minimize these harmful effects. We examined a few of these new policies—here’s what we found.
The mounting allegations against former McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook is just the latest development demonstrating how McDonald’s has historically failed to address sexual harassment at all levels of the company.
A recent poll found that 76% of non-managerial female McDonald’s workers have been sexually harassed. Of these women, 12% were sexually assaulted or raped.
Most tools of the patriarchy involve controlling—or attempting to control—women and girls. Much of these methods of control come from shaming, and when it comes to women’s sexual choices and histories, shame is the name of the game.
“I not only saw George Tyndall for an exam; I was sexually assaulted during that exam—thousands of us were. … Unraveling the narrative I built to protect myself is a slow, and oftentimes, painful process. It is the most important work of my life. I deserve the space I take up, in fact, I always have. I know it now, deep in my bones. I deserve to be here. We all do.”
I want this book to be a rallying cry. It’s the book I wish I’d read when I was 14 and hurt by Tim Coyne’s bizarre violence, or when I was 18 and humiliated by a gang of sexual bullies in the dining hall.