“We have a ride to the club tonight,” my friend announced. We left our dormitory and headed into the vehicle of a man my friend met a party.
In the vehicle, a young man that I recognized from a nightclub we frequented was in the driver’s seat. I asked his name because, other than dancing with him a few times, I knew nothing about this guy. As a matter of fact, I had no clue how he knew my friend, since the last few visits he was on my dance card.
“I recognize you,” I had actually said to him before asking his name.
His surprise and hesitation about revealing his name was all it took to make me suspicious. That’s because in addition to being a hypochondriac, I’m a killer-chondriac. As a killer-chondriac, I think everyone is the killer until proven otherwise. But what I realized that night was we don’t think of other ways strangers can do harm. So I dulled the alarm bells.
Two weeks ago, Belvedere Vodka tweeted an ad depicting a man pulling a surprised, open-mouthed woman down onto his lap. The headline read: “Unlike some people, Belvedere always goes down smoothly.” Decent people got the skeevies and called the ad out as rapey. Belvedere quickly tweeted that they were sorry “if any of our fans were offended” — but not sorry for the actual creepy ad — and made a donation to the Rape And Incest National Network.
Now, Alicyn Packard, the actress who starred in a comedy sketch from which Belvedere appropriated her image, is suing its parent company Moet Hennesey. Packard’s lawsuit claims emotional distress from appearing in such a reviled ad and claims Belvedere did not have permission to use her image (misappropriation of likeness). The company allegedly ganked her image from a comedy video made by her company, Strickly Viral Productions. “To be affiliated with an ad that’s so offensive to so many has just been horrible,” she told KTLA. Keep reading »
A Spanish court dismissed a rape case against a Saudi prince and billionaire, after it was decided there was not sufficient evidence to press charges. Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, 57, the nephew of King Abdullah, had been accused of raping a Spanish model on a yacht owned by the Saudi royal family off the island of Ibiza in August 2008. The prince claimed he had not been in Ibiza at the time and had in fact been in France with his family, which dozens of witnesses can allegedly confirm, his lawyers claim. It does not seem to be in dispute that the then-20-year-old woman was attacked, however. She sent a text message to a friend on the night of the alleged attack saying she thought her drink had been spiked; when the victim was examined afterwards, her urine contained a sleep-inducing tranquilizer and semen. Apparently that DNA evidence has never been tested against the prince’s DNA. The victim claims that the case — which was already dismissed once before by a lower court for lack of evidence — is not being handled with due seriousness because the man she has accused is one of the richest, most powerful men in the world with stakes in NewsCorp and CitiGroup.
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I’ll admit I was skeptical when I heard that the White House was holding a technology challenge for developers to create an app that would help prevent sexual violence. All of the stuff that I believe can change the prevalence of sexual violence — harsher punishments for criminals, a cultural change on what consent means, a modification of the way we use alcohol and drugs — cannot be found in the App Store. But I’m impressed — very impressed — by the contest’s winning app called Circle Of Six. Keep reading »
Occasionally, Twitter users take on a cause that isn’t just posting pictures of their cats or ruminating on the injustices of waiting in line at Shake Shack. Like today’s hashtag campaign, started by blogger and Twitter-er London Feminist. The #ididnotreport campaign (which definitely comes with a trigger warning for those who have suffered sexual assault or abuse), encourages women to share their stories of sexual assault and the reasons why they may or may not have reported their experiences. Keep reading »