Last weekend in Chicago, a 15-year-old Black girl was raped by a gang of five or six boys and men. Making it several levels more horrific, this vicious assault was streamed on Facebook Live.
Award season is officially underway for the arts, and some of our favorite films, television shows, and actors and actresses are finally getting the recognition they deserve. But one film is noticeably missing.
Though initially predicted to be both a box office hit and a strong contender for awards, Nate Parker’s “Birth Of A Nation” fell flat in both areas, most likely because of the college rape scandal Parker was embroiled in as well as his unrepentant attitude concerning the case. However, Casey Affleck (younger brother of Ben Affleck) has already nabbed a Golden Globe nomination for his role in the film “Manchester By The Sea,” despite multiple sexual harrasment allegations.
This week, First Lady Michelle Obama gave a stirring speech in response to Republican nominee for president Donald Trump’s lewd comments about sexual assault. It was pretty epic.
Last week, a 2005 Access Hollywood tape was released by The Washington Post, where Trump claims that women will let you do anything you want to them if you’re a star, including grab them by the genitals. While campaigning for Clinton in New Hampshire, Mrs. Obama was visibly shaken while discussing Trump’s words.
Brock Turner, the Stanford swimmer who raped an unconscious woman, offered to speak to college students about the dangers of “drinking and promiscuity.” The problem here, however, is not alcohol or promiscuous behavior: it is Turner’s crime, his refusal to acknowledge his wrongdoing, and the suggestion that alcohol and promiscuity are the same thing as rape.
Brock Turner, the Stanford swimmer who was convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, will be let off early after serving only half of his six month sentence. This case highlights the incredibly problematic way the criminal justice system deals with those who commit and are convicted of sexual assault. Only focusing on retribution (defined as “length of time in prison”) will prove ultimately dissatisfying for all affected by these crimes. Instead, the courts should prioritize achieving justice for sexual assault victims, in addition to thorough rehabilitation the perpetrator.
In recent years, movements to address sexual assault on college campuses have gained attention and achievements across the United States. Activists Wagatwe Wanjuki and Kamilah Willingham are adding their voices to the conversation with their #JustSaySorry campaign, highlighting the importance of colleges acknowledging their failures in addressing sexual violence on campus. In an interview, Wanjuki shared the goals and guiding principles of the campaign.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard has declined to bring sexual assault charges against three men at Morehouse and one at Georgia Tech. The two cases had lingered without charges for over two years because, according to Howard, they involved complexities surrounding whether one can consent under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
In a letter Dean of Students in the College John Ellison informed incoming first year students at the University of Chicago to expect an environment committed to freedom of inquiry and freedom of expression. He additionally warns students not to expect “intellectual safe spaces where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.”
Among the worst findings from the Department of Justice’s report on the Baltimore Police Department is the revelation of BPD’s disrespect and dismissal of women facing sexual assault in Baltimore. The report discloses a pattern of gender discrimination and apathy toward individuals brave enough to report their sexual assault to the police. In a city that is 63% black and where 25% of citizens live in poverty, that means many low-income black women receive little assistance and support when they report sexual assault.
Following a ruling from a judge in Montgomery County, PA, 78-year-old Bill Cosby will now stand trial for sexual assault—11 years after survivor Andrea Constand first pressed charges against the entertainer.