Today’s Lady News: Lesbian Student In KY Attacked By Classmates

  • High school student Cheyenne Williams of McKee, Kentucky, an out lesbian, claims three female classmates kidnapped her and brought her to the woods where they beat her up and tried to push her off a 50-foot cliff. The alleged attack occurred on April 16, which high schools across the country recognize as the “Day of Silence” in a nod to gay and lesbian students. Police say Ashley Sams, 18, Corrinne Schwab, 18, and a 17-year-old female took Williams against her will to Flat Lick Falls, where they tried to push her off a cliff and she fought them off with a stick before running away. The suspects have been charged with kidnapping and attempted murder; police say they don’t have enough evidence to qualify the attack as a hate crime. [CBS News]
  • Eighty schoolgirls in northern Afghanistan are sick after a strange odor enveloped their classroom. Police are investigating whether extremists may have poisoned the school because they oppose girls receiving an education. [ABC News]
  • A court in San Francisco has ruled that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. must face a class-action lawsuit alleging the store discriminates against female employees. All women who have worked at Wal-Mart since 2001 may join in the class-action lawsuit, which Bloomberg News called “the biggest gender-bias case in U.S. history.” [NPR]

  • Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry vetoed two abortion-related bills on Friday, claiming they invaded citizens’ private lives. One bill would have required a woman to have an ultrasound and listen to a description of the fetus’ development before an abortion. Lawmakers in the OK House and Senate are threatening to override the veto. [AP]
  • This weekend, for the first time ever, Minnesota endorsed a female candidate for governor. Margaret Anderson Kellier of the Democratic Farm-Labor party is the state’s current House Speaker. []
  • Meghan McCain, daughter of Arizona senator John McCain (R), penned a piece for The Daily Beast disagreeing with a law recently passed in her home state that allows police to ask individuals to show proof of their legal status in America. “The concept that a law-enforcement official can stop an individual when ‘reasonable suspicion exists that a person is an alien, who is unlawfully present in the United States’ is essentially a license to pull someone over for being Hispanic,” McCain wrote. [The Daily Beast]
  • In response to a flier by her local Republican Party that read, “Let’s take Betty Sutton out of the House and send her back to the kitchen,” House Rep. Betty Sutton (D-OH) had this to say:
    “Belittling comments devaluing women are not educational or engaging. It wasn’t just in poor taste. The words reflect a callous dismissal for the millions of ways that women add value to our society and our country, whether they work within the home or outside of the home … The problem with standing by the mailer and saying it was not intended to be offensive is that it misses the point. It was offensive and it was sent to 15,000 households.” [Huffington Post]

  • Writing for The Daily Beast, author Peter Beinart says President Obama should nominate not only a woman, but a mother to fill the Supreme Court vacancy soon to be left by Justice John Paul Stevens. “It’s important not just to have lots of women in positions of political power, but to have lots of women with kids,” Beinart wrote. “It’s important because otherwise, the message you’re sending young women is that they can achieve professionally, or they can have a family, but they can’t do both.” [The Daily Beast]
  • The Georgia chapter of the NAACP (a rights group for African Americans) has rescinded its prior endorsement of a proposed bill that would ban physicians from performing abortions that are wanted because of the fetus’ race or gender. According to a statement, the NAACP said, “At the time, we were of the understanding that this bill would work to benefit the women in our community. However, after many conversations with membership and constituents, we now realize that this is nothing more than using women’s health as a political tool.” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
  • Amanda Hess, blogger at The Sexist, argues that universities should notify students when acquaintance rape (also called date rape) occurs on campus, such as this past weekend at George Mason University. Not only are students confused about what’s going on when they see police on campus without a formal announcement from administrators, Hess wrote, but most students are undereducated about the problem of acquaintance rape. [The Sexist]
  • In Long Beach, CA, police are looking for the person who attacked a 27-year-old transgender student in a USC-Long Beach campus bathroom on April 15.[ABC News]
  • The Supreme Court will hear an appeal by Ohio prison guards who were accused of doing nothing when one guard sexually assaulted an inmate, Michelle Ortiz, and then punished her for talking about it. Ortiz said she was assaulted twice by a guard at Ohio Reformatory for Women and then shackled and sent to solitary confinement when she told other inmates about it. A federal appeals court had thrown out Ortiz’s $625,000 award. [Washington Post]
  • Fast Company rounds up the most powerful women in tech, like Marissa Mayer from Google, Judy McGrath from MTV and Sheryl Sandberg from Facebook. [Fast Company]
  • Virginia Campbell of Lake Oswego, Oregon, 99, suffers from glaucoma and used to struggle to read and write … that is, until she got an iPad. Watch a totally adorable video of Virginia and her new toy here. [CNET]


  • Mosques in the French city of Nantes have spoken out after a Muslim woman was fined by police for wearing a niqab veil while driving. Police said the niqab, which fully covers the body and has slits for the eyes, restricted the driver’s vision. [Thank for to commenter Karadyan for pointing out it was a niqab veil, not a hijab.] A statement of the Association of Nantes Mosques condemned the “politicization” of the incident, adding, “Once again, Muslims and Islam are the victims of a wave of media frenzy surrounding a minor, insignificant incident which does not represent the beliefs or lifestyle of the vast majority of Muslims living in France.” [France24]
  • A court in Australia has granted permission to a 14-year-old-girl (referred to in court papers as “Sally”) permission to have her testicles surgically removed. “Sally,” who carries the XY genotype, was raised as a girl but developed testicles at age 11. I’m sorry, but why is this the court’s business to decide? [My Fox Atlanta]
  • Victoire Ingabire, a female presidential candidate in Rwanda, was arrested last week for denying the country’s 1994 genocide. Eek. [France24]
  • Nissim Aharon, a former Israeli defense ministry employee, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for rape and other charges for tricking teenaged girls and women into sexual acts by claiming his semen was “holy.” Police said Aharon would pretend to be a rabbi who claimed his “holiness” could heal people who touched him physically. [BBC]
  • Did you love “Bend It Like Beckham”? The BBC spoke with the director, Gurinder Chadha, who has a new movie out called “It’s A Wonderful Afterlife.” [BBC]