Department of Defense Report Indicates Sexual Assault in the Military is Sharply Rising
The Department of Defense released a report this week that shows an 8 percent increase of sexual assault involving service members from fiscal year 2007. Sixty-three percent of the 2,908 reported sexual assaults were rape or aggravated assault. The report (see PDF), also showed that 8 percent more cases were referred to trial from 2007.
The Department of Defense estimates that only about 20 percent of cases are reported. Dr. Kaye Whitley, director of the Pentagon Sexual Assault and Prevention Office, told the BBC that "Given the fear and stigma associated with the crime, sexual assault remains one of our nation's most under-reported crimes in both the military and civilian community." She also indicated that the rise in reporting could be because "The department has been aggressively pursuing efforts to increase reporting and convince more victims to seek care and support services."
Media Resources: BBC 3/18/09; US Department of Defense Report 3/17/09; US Department of Defense Press Release 3/17/09
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. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .