Sara Benincasa’s struggle with panic disorder began with childhood anxiety attacks and intensified until, at the age of 21, she developed full-on agoraphobia. Her fears were so severe she was afraid to leave her own bedroom. She sank into suicidal depression. Garbage piled up against the wall as her appetite for food—and life—slipped away. Finally, one day two college friends contacted Sara’s family out of fear for her safety and state of mind. Here is an excerpt detailing when Sara’s parents have first been notified that their daughter was dealing with some very real problems.
“Hello?” I said hoarsely.
“Hi, Ra-Ra!” chirped one voice.
“Hey, Ra!” boomed another.
It was my parents. Keep reading »
State Representative Maureen Walsh was one of only two Washington state republicans to break rank and vote in favor of the marriage equality bill, which passed. When the governor signs the legislation into law, as she has stated her intention to do, it will legalize gay marriage in Washington. In this video, choking back tears, Maureen Walsh explains why she voted for fairness: she has a gay daughter. Walsh describes the bond she had with her late husband and the experience of her daughter coming out of the closet a couple years ago: “She’s a fabulous human being, and she’s met a person that she loves very much, and someday, by God, I want to throw a wedding for that kid.” You know the old cliche, “Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes?” Here is a real life example of just how powerful that shaky voice can be. [YouTube via The Atlantic]
This is a sad story that underscores how the age requirement on the morning-after pill doesn’t work: a math teacher in Austin, Texas, resigned after she was caught having helped a student acquire the morning-after pill. Two weeks ago, a 16-year-old came to her teacher, Tracy Lee Steinberg, 32, in tears and told her she was afraid that she was pregnant. Steinberg told the student she had a bright future and that she would help the 16-year-old get the morning-after pill, which is only available over-the-counter without a prescription for women ages 17 and up. Steinberg got money for the Plan B from the student and the student’s boyfriend, purchased it at a Planned Parenthood, and the student took it.
But when the student started experiencing normal side effects of Plan B like nausea, the student — surely in fear — told her mother she’d taken the morning-after pill and that Steinberg had gotten it for her. The mother called the school district and the administrators notified Steinberg she’d be put on leave. Instead, Steinberg offered to resign. Keep reading »
“I want to create every opportunity for women to be able to serve this country … but I do have concerns about women in front-line combat. I think that could be a very compromising situation, where people naturally may do things that may not be in the interest of the mission because of other types of emotions that are involved. It already happens, of course, with the camaraderie of men in combat, but I think it would be even more unique if women were in combat. And I think that’s not in the best interests of men, women or the mission.”
Yesterday the Pentagon announced new rules that will open up 14,000 more positions for women in the military that put them closer to combat positions, like missile launcher crew members and tank mechanics. The new rules go into effect this summer. But Sen. Rick Santorum told CNN’s John King he’s not too sure us ladies would be able to handle combat roles because of “other types of emotions” getting in the way, whatever that means. Fear? Having a sadz because of our periods? Does it matter? Keep reading »
Earlier this week, Anna North, a writer at the women’s blog Jezebel, posted an article about a video uploaded to YouTube which appeared to show, in graphic detail, a woman being gang raped. Just writing that sentence made me shudder, as the thought of someone brutally raping a woman, filming it, and then putting it on the internet for public consumption is horrifying beyond words. The video — titled, in Arabic, “Original video of foreign journalist being raped in Benghazi” — was quickly taken down, but Jezebel rightly wondered who raped this woman, who uploaded the video to the internet, and “will she ever get justice?”
To illustrate their post, North (or someone else at Jezebel) posted four somewhat pixelated screengrabs from the video in which the victim’s identity is obscured, though you can see parts of her mostly naked body. Images of the three men assaulting her are also pixelated, but Jezebel included accompanying captions describing the assault, just incase it wasn’t already abundantly clear that the video depicts a rape in progress. It should go without saying that the crime committed against this woman is sickening and deplorable; but I am also disgusted by Jezebel’s approach to reporting this story — which I will not link to, for this very reason — which is nothing short of callous and exploitative pageview bait. Keep reading »