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Senate Threatens Aid to UN Over Sexual Abuse

The Editors
April 18, 2016 9:00 AM

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Senate Threatens Aid to UN Over Sexual Abuse
Last Wednesday, a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing castigated U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as Senators discussed accountability for allegations of sexual abuse against United Nations peacekeeping forces. The allegations arose after it was discovered that French soldiers were sexually abusing children in the Central African Republic in exchange for food. The scrutiny quickly spread to other members of the U.N.'s peacekeeping mission. Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Republican Senator Bob Corker, called the situation one of “moral depravity,” saying he would drop everything to rush home to Tennessee if peacekeeping forces were to be dispatched there.  The U.S. has indicated it would also cut bi-lateral aid to countries that fail to investigate and hold soldiers accountable.

BYU Punishes Rape Victims For Attacks
Brigham Young University, commonly referred to as “The Lord’s University,” is not making a godly case for Mormonism. Victims of sex crimes at the university report that they face investigation and disciplinary action upon reporting their abuse, reaffirming the idea of victim blaming. Students say that upon reporting crimes, Title IX personnel bring the issue to the Honor Code Office (which sounds like an office that gives middle-schoolers time-outs.). In cases of sexual misconduct or violence, the Honor Code Office has and uses the authority to discipline victims if they were violating the code of conduct at the time of attack: breaking curfew, drug or alcohol use, inappropriate dress code, or even consensual sexual contact. Then the women are banned from registering from classes – just for admitting what happened to them. On top of all of this, at an on-campus rape awareness conference last week, the university’s Title IX coordinator Sarah Westerberg said her office “does not apologize” that the school’s honor code might prevent survivors from reporting crimes.


FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Since 1976, men have been behind about 95% of all patents in the United States and 75% of patents relating to menstrual products (which explains cardboard applicators and commercials with skipping, maniacally happy women). Women like Miki Agrawal and Harvard engineerRidhi Tariyal are now changing those statistics. Tarival – along with business partner Stephen Gire – has devised a tampon that tests for endometriosis, a disorder recently made more know by writer, director, and actress Lena Dunham. But after years of perfecting her ingenious design, Tariyal still faces sexism at the investor roundtable. Many investors have expressed doubts on the grounds that her product could only be used by half of the population and disgust over representations of blood (because god forbid we see any blood on a woman unless she's being killed in a horror movie). Maybe if they smiled more while presenting it would have helped? 


WHAT WE'RE WATCHING

If you've been looking to expand your feminist video library (or if you've already binged watched the new season of your favorite show), check out InStyle's, "5 Feminist Documentaries to Watch Now on Netflix." Thankfully they conveniently clued in where to watch them right the title, so all you'll have to do to is switch over to the search bar to watch these probably. Their list covers difficult subject matter like campus sexual assault and rape culture in The Hunting Ground (2011), and the stigmas and difficulties women with dark skin face in Dark Girls (2011). Another film on the list, Miss Representation (2011), covers the media's negative influence and contribution to a lack of women in positions authority in influential and important sectors of society. Well, here we are, media, and we're not going anywhere!

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