US Female Soldiers Speak Out Against Sexual Assault
With over 190,000 women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, female soldiers have brought sexual assault in the military to the attention of military authorities and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). According to the Associated Press, 15 percent of women veterans who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan have reported being sexually assaulted, raped, or sexually harassed to the VA.
To focus more on the needs of women veterans, the VA has opened a new ward in New Jersey to treat these survivors of military sexual trauma. Carolyn Schapper, of the Virginia Army National Guard, reported repeated sexual harassment from a male superior who would come into her room unannounced. Schapper feared that reporting this behavior would result in her removal from the house, not the other solider. “I didn’t want to be moved, and basically I’d be punished in a sense,” Schapper commented to the Associated Press.
The Miles Foundation, a non-profit that supports survivors of sexual assault in the military, reported that depression, anxiety, and domestic abuse could follow from instances of sexual abuse, according to the Associated Press.
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .