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Today’s Lady News: France Considers Making “Psychological Violence” A Crime

  • On Thursday night, France‘s government approved a proposal to add “psychological violence” to a law that intends to help domestic abuse victims. The proposal does not allow a husband or wife to “act or repeatedly say things that could damage the victim’s life conditions, affect his/her rights and his/her dignity or damage his/her physical or mental health.” Punishment for breaking the “psychological violence” law could be three years in prison or a fine of around $100,000. Some are skeptical that the law will be applicable, but the sponsors say it will help victims by taking into account non-physical acts of intimidation, like aggressive text messages or emails. [New York Times]
  • Nineteen-year-old Hani Khan, who is of Indian and Pakistani descent, said she lost her job at the mall clothing store Hollister because her Muslim headscarf violated the “look policy.” Khan’s manager had told her, in accordance with the “look policy,” she had to wear a scarf that was white, gray or navy blue. Khan consented and worked in the stockroom without any problems for six months. Then the store manager popped in for a visit and six days later when Khan came to work, she was put on the phone with Abercrombie & Fitch‘s human resources. (A&F owns Hollister.) The HR person told Khan her headscarf violated the “look policy” and when Khan refused to remove it, she was taken off the work schedule. A&F declined to comment. [AOL News]

  • New York Governor David Paterson may not have had the sex scandal we all were anticipating, but the actual scandal — a potential domestic violence cover-up for one of his top aides — that has come to light is just as sordid. Paterson’s senior aide, David Johnson, has been accused of a Halloween night incident of choking his girlfriend, banging her head against a dresser, and taking two phones to prevent her from calling for help. The victim went to court last fall to try to get a protective order against him. The woman has since claimed a member of the state police, who have no jurisdiction over the matter, had been pressuring her to drop her case. The state police have since confirmed that a senior member of Paterson’s secret service was in touch with the woman. The woman also apparently received a phone call from Gov. Paterson himself prior to skipping a Feb. 8 hearing. Her case against Johnson, who began working as Paterson’s driver and had a history of altercations with women, has since been dismissed. [New York Times]
  • Idaho’s State Senate approved a “conscience” bill, which will allow pharmacists and other trained health employees to refuse to administer services, such as providing the morning-after pill. Senate Minority Leader Kate Kelly, who opposed the bill, said it would also allow pharmacists to intentionally not inform patients of all options. Others opposed the bill because it would allow pharmacists to refuse to offer the morning-after pill in cases of rape. [Idaho Reporter]
  • White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers announced today she is stepping down. “As we turn the corner on the first year,” Rogers said, “this is a good time for me to explore opportunities in the corporate world.” I think that is code for “all that s**t with the party-crashing Salahis has finally hit the fan.” [The Root]
  • A family court judge granted a divorce to Jenny Sanford and her soon-to-be-ex-husband, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. Now the guv is free to hike on the Appalachian Trail or visit his mistress in Argentina all he wants. [ABC News]
  • A special ed teacher was fatally shot this morning when walking to work at a school in Tacoma, Washington, by a man she had obtained an anti-harassment order against. Police said the shooter had a “major infatuation” with the victim. [Seattle Times]
  • Oklahoma’s House of Representatives passed a bill today that would prevent women from selling their eggs, although they would still be allowed to donate them. Supporters for the bill say the financial incentives to sell eggs take advantage of low-income women and college students. [KOAMTV]
  • Two employees of the city of Knoxville, Tennessee, have been suspended after circulating photographs of women that could be deemed offensive, but not explicit, on their work computers. [WBIR]
  • Experts in the case of a South Dakota woman who murdered her ex-boyfriend, who she said shoved her, disagree about whether she suffered “battered woman syndrome,” meaning she killed him because she sincerely believed her life was at risk. [Argus Leader]

INTERNATIONAL

  • South African officials are investigating a girls’ dormitory at an unnamed boarding school, which was allegedly closed because girls were engaging in “lesbianism” by kissing each other. Interestingly, South Africa is the only African nation protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination. [BBC]
  • The High Court of Swaziland in Africa decided this week to allow some married women — notice that’s some women who are married — to own property in their own name. It was not until five years ago that Swaziland’s constitution gave women equal status to men; previously, their status was classified as minors. [Nation.co.ke]
  • The BBC profiled a 21-year-old woman in the Israeli Defense Forces who talks about how she named her gun “Jack Black.” [BBC"]
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