“The Vagina Monologues” playwright Eve Ensler has been speaking out about violence against women and girls with her V-Day movement for years. But she took things to a whole new level on February 14 of last year: One Billion Rising, her call to action that made headlines all over the world and even prompted celebrities like Anne Hathaway to speak out about gender-based violence. The premise was simple: on February 14, all over the world, women and men were asked to stop what they were doing and dance in the name of ending violence against women. Last year, one billion people “rose and shook the earth” through dance to strike back against the startling UN statistic that 1 in 3 women will be raped or beaten in their lifetime. One Billion Rising will be back in 2014 for a second round, and we are all invited to participate. This year, Ensler is screening a short film she created with Tony Stroebel about last year’s movement. “One Billion Rising” will be available to watch online on January 19, the same day it’s set to premiere at Sundance Film Festival. The film compiled footage of One Billion Rising from all over the world, and was put together with contributions of filmmakers from 207 countries. Check out the trailer and share it with everyone you know so we can make this year’s movement even bigger.
Calling himself only “Jean Paul,” the photographer who snapped over 1,000 photos over 27 minutes of Charles Saatchi and Nigella Lawson during their now-infamous lunch in London on June 9 is interviewed in the upcoming issue of Vanity Fair. “I saw her lurch violently backwards,” the paparazzo told the magazine about the incident. “I thought Charles was demonstrating something. It lasted about 30 seconds. Then he did it a second time, and it was so violent, with such force, that her head snapped backwards … I was taking pictures the whole time.” Keep reading »
Earlier this month, 20-year-old Alisha Hessler went out clubbing with two male friends, who brought a third male friend with them. At some point in the evening, when that guy tried to reach up Hessler’s skirt, she slapped him. He, in turn, beat her so badly that she suffered a concision and a broken nose. Hessler went to the hospital and filed a police report, but before officially filing charges against her attacker, she gave him a choice. Either he would be arrested and likely face charges for beating her or he could opt to stand in the middle of a busy Tampa intersection for either hours, wearing a dunce cap and holding a sign that read “I BEAT WOMAN. HONK IF I’M A SCUMBAG.” He chose the latter. (Apparently, Hessler originally wanted to the dickbag to sign a waiver allowing her to beat him for 10 minutes, but friends talked her out of it, given that, waiver or not, beating someone senseless, even if they hit you first, is illegal.) Keep reading »
This summer, George Zimmerman was acquitted in the murder of Travyon Martin, a 17-year-old unarmed Black teenager. Last month, Zimmerman was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, battery domestic violence, and criminal mischief after he allegedly pointed a shotgun at his girlfriend. Yesterday, Zimmerman submitted a signed affadavit from Samantha Scheibe stating she does not want him charged and requesting contact with each other.
Scheibe called 911 outside her Florida home after an argument with Zimmeran during which she asked him to leave. He allegedly pointed a shotgun at her “for a minute,” smashed a table, and then shoved her out her front door and barricaded it with furniture. She can be heard on the call yelling at him while some of this is allegedly happening. (He made a 911 call of his own while she was talking to police, claiming Scheibe was “going crazy on me.”) Scheibe also told police that Zimmerman had choked her during an argument recently, but she had not reported it. Zimmerman was released on bail under the condition that he not possess any weapons. Keep reading »
On November 18, a 23-year-old woman in St. Louis, Missouri, was punched in the face. She told police she was ambushed late at night while she and her boyfriend were picking up a drunk friend from a bar and punched as part of what’s been called the “knockout game.”
The “knockout game,” in case your grandmother has not been emailing you repeatedly about it, is an alleged game teens are playing in which they attack random folks on the street and knock them out. The woman appeared on KMOV local news, describing the alleged attack and discussing how she had a double fracture of the bone under her eye and needed reconstructive surgery.
Now the woman has admitted it was all a lie. Ashley DePew, 23, was actually punched in the face by her boyfriend, Justin Simms, 25. Keep reading »
Following an outcry over some complete and utter bullllllshit, an Alabama judge will resentence a convicted rapist who got exactly zero prison time for his crimes. Austin Clem was found guilty by a jury of raping a teenaged girl, who was his neighbor, twice when she was 14 and again when she was 18. Two weeks ago, Judge James Woodroof sentenced Clem to two years in a program for non-violent offenders — despite the fact that rape is one of the most violent acts there is — and three years of supervised probation. Everyone but Austin Clem himself promptly asked Judge Woodroof, What the fuck are you thinking? The district attorney for the Limestone County jurisdiction appealed the sentencing as too lenient. His victim, who is now age 20, even went on Melissa Harris-Perry’s show to speak out against his slap-on-the-wrist sentencing. The judge has responded accordingly: yesterday, he filed paperwork for re-sentencing. Put that criminal behind bars where he belongs so he can’t hurt someone else again. [WHNT, Mother Jones]
You’ll never hear me offer up much praise for Dr. Phil, but his wife, Robin McGraw, is owed some props. Her foundation, When Georgia Smiled, has released a free app for smartphones called ASPIRE News that seeks to aid women who are in abusive relationships. ASPIRE News is, on the surface, just your standard news reader, offering “summaries of top stories in world, sports, and entertainment news” — but the app also has a help section, filled with resources for victims of domestic violence, like phone numbers for shelters and help lines. Additionally, the app can be set up to secretly alert the user’s “trusted contacts” that they’re in an emergency situation, simply by tapping the top of the screen three times. Because the app looks and operates just like your standard news reader, it won’t draw the attention of abusers who closely monitor their victims’ every move.
ASPIRE News makes clear that it’s not a replacement for emergency services, and that 911 should still be called if necessary, but for DV victims that don’t want or aren’t yet ready to call authorities, the app’s ability to alert a trusted love one that they need help could be a lifesaver. [iTunes via When Georgia Smiled]
Earlier today we learned about the charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter against 54-year-old Theodore Wafer in the death of 19-year-old Renisha McBride.
On November 2, the Michigan man shot McBride in the face through a closed and locked screen door at his home when she knocked on his front door earlier this month after getting into a car accident nearby. Wafer claims his gun went off accidentally and also that he believed she was an intruder. Prosecutors said there was no sign of a forced entry at all.
After two weeks of frustration for civil rights activists, Detroit prosecutors have finally charged Wafer. MSNBC spoke today with Renisha’s mom and dad, Monica McBride and Walter Simmons, who have stayed out of the public eye these past few weeks. Keep reading »