A new defense secretary has just been confirmed and already he has a big issue to address: sexual assault in the military. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) (Full disclosure: I used to work in her office), and Senator Janeane Shaheen (D-NH) recently sent a letter requesting Chuck Hagel immediately review a decision by an Air Force Lieutenant General to dismiss all charges against an officer who had been convicted of sexual assault.
Lieutenant Colonel James Wilkerson, a fighter pilot, had been charged with aggravated sexual assault on former colleague Kimberly Hanks at Aviano Air Base in Italy. Hanks had been socializing with Wilkerson and his wife at their home and stayed the evening in their guest bedroom; in the middle of the night, she woke up to find Wilkerson on top of her. He was found guilty and sentenced to a year in the brig (AKA military prison). But he never served any time in prison because his superior, Lieutenant General Craig A. Franklin, dismissed the jury’s conviction and reinstated him. Senators Boxer and Shaheen and others are rightfully concerned that a troop charged with sexual assault was let off scot-free.
Keep reading »
NO MORE. It is a simple, direct message representing a broad and pervasive issue. No more sexual assault. No more violence against women. Today, March 13 marks NO MORE day, a day to join the movement to stop domestic violence and sexual assault, and launch the organization’s new symbol — a thick “O” of light blue. Keep reading »
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 »
Women’s rights activists in Italy are supposedly upset that the town of Corinaldo has widened and repainted hundreds of parking spaces as pink to signify they are for pregnant women and new moms. The wider, moms-only parking spaces were debuted for International Women’s Day last Friday. But the UK’s Sun newspaper quotes feminist activists pointing out the gesture only serves to reinforce women’s traditional role as mothers: Keep reading »
Something nice for a change: here’s a clever new video from the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault about “breaking the box” of society-prescribed gender stereotypes. Boys can cry. Girls can play football. Taking advantage of a drunk woman doesn’t make you a “man.” It’s 2013, everyone!
What do you think of the PSA? [Feministing]
In 2011, Idaho banned abortions after 20 weeks based on the medically unproven claim that at that point in gestation a fetus can feel pain. Back in December 2010, Jennie Linn McCormack purchased RU-486, the abortion pill, online and terminated her pregnancy at 20 or 21 weeks. McCormack was initially charged for breaking a 1972 Idaho law which said a woman couldn’t terminate her own pregnancy; the case against her was dismissed and she won a court order blocking the law from being enforced. She then took up the state’s ban on abortions after 20 weeks. Keep reading »