Over the past few months, India has been racked with high-profile gang rapes and deaths of little girls and women. From the three sisters under age 11 who were sexually assaulted and murdered to the student who was gang raped with a metal rod, which mangled her insides so badly it eventually killed her, the brutality of the country’s rape culture is horrific. One of the main problems with the rape culture in India has been placing the onus on the victim instead of the perpetrator — society as a whole, including police, had been blaming women for being out in public where they could be attacked, instead of punishing the men who hurt them.
The new laws aren’t perfect. First of all, as legal scholar Karuna Nundy for the BBC notes, the laws only protect the “modesty” of women, not boys, men or transgender folks. Additionally, marital rape is still legal (including if the wife is a minor ages 15 through 18) and homosexuality is still criminalized.
Alas, it is with cautious optimism that we welcome India’s new spate of laws criminalizing rape and other acts of violence which went into effect yesterday. Keep reading »
The New York City Police Department is infamous for the controversial “stop and frisk” program, critiqued for how it is used for racial profiling. This story, however, is more like stop and grope.
According to NYMag.com, a Brooklyn woman, Latonya Ratcliff, 39, is suing the city after Officer Joseph Jette entered an apartment, where Ratcliff works as a live-in caregiver, to search for guns and ended up sexually assaulting her. During a not-so-routine patdown, Latonya claims officer Jette “cupped her breast and butt,” according to the Post. Then, when questioning Ratcliff alone in the apartment’s bedroom, Officer Jette allegedly picked up a porn DVD. The Post reports that Ratcliff said, “He asked me if I liked these positions and if I wanted to do them with him and I told him no.” Keep reading »
There’s a new Twitter hashtag #IAskedPolitely chronicling all the times that women have spoken up about sexual harassment/sexual situations in the workplace and not a single thing changed. It’s come about following “Donglegate,” the incident I wrote about earlier this week in which former SendGrid developer evangelist Adria Richards tweeted a picture of a guy who was cracking sexualized jokes at a recent tech conference. The incident has spurred a huge debate about sexism in tech, privacy, and professionalism — both sides convinced the other is just being butthurt. I won’t wade too deeply into the critiques, although I linked to some in Today’s Lady News on Friday. But I did want to point out the #IAskedPolitely hashtag, which is turning into a list of all the awful things that have been said to women who’ve spoken up about sexism in the workplace. You have no sense of humor! It must be your period! You’re overreacting! Of course that’s the reason. No, no, no, it couldn’t be that sexist culture is f**ked up. [Twitter.com #IAskedPolitely]
It wouldn’t be a day at The Frisky if I didn’t get to write about a sleazy politician! Today’s subject: New York Assemblyman Vito J. Lopez, a Democrat from Brooklyn.
According to The New York Daily News, the 71-year-old complained to a fellow staff members about statutory rape laws in New York, because he thought his 14-year-old intern was “sexy.” The intern in question had only been working there six days and is the daughter of a Brooklyn judge he helped elect. There is currently a police probe into whether any criminal actions were committed.
Alas, this is not the first accusation of sexual harassment against Vito Lopez. (Sadly, it usually isn’t.) Keep reading »
Last week Connecticut State Rep. Ernest Hewett (D) creeped out America with his lewd and inappropriate comment to a 17-year-old girl about the “snake” under his desk. (He meant his dick.) Now Hewett has explained to the Hartford Courant that this was not his typical behavior. How has he kept his record clean? Keep reading »