The Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the United States Military Service Academies, issued by the Department of Defense late last week, revealed a 64 percent increase in sexual harassment and assaults at West Point, the Naval Academy, and the Air Force Academy in the past year. Department of Defense officials stated in a press release that the increase might be due, in part, to an increased rate of reporting, although the report reveals that only 20 percent of men and women in the armed forces who experienced unwanted sexual contact filed a report.
The Air Force Academy had an increase from eight incidents in 2008-2009 to 20 in 2009-10, a 150 percent increase. The Naval academy had an increase of three assaults this year, and West Point, an increase of one. According to the survey, 56 percent of women and 12 percent of men reported sexual harassment last year.
Dr. Kaye Whitley, Director of the Department of Defense's Sexual Assault Prevention Program, announced that a military-wide hotline will be established for victims that will enable them to seek expert advice and services.
In March 2009, the Department of Defense released a report that showed an 8 percent increase in the number of sexual assaults involving service members. Sixty-three percent of the 2,908 reported sexual assaults were rape or aggravated assault, but only eight percent of those investigated for sexual assault were referred to courts martial.
Media Resources: American Forces Press Service 12/15/10; Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the United States Military Service Academies 12/10/10; NPR 12/15/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 3/19/09
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. . . .