Following an investigation into the handling of sexual assault reports at the University of Montana in Missoula launched last spring, the university is receiving a $300,000 grant to hire a violence intervention director and expand campus wide programs addressing violence. The director position will be funded for one year, and will work out of the Student Assault Resource Center, which currently relies primarily on volunteer advocates. The grant will also support the university's Men Can Stop Rape program.
The DOJ investigation of the University of Montana in Missoula was prompted by an alarming number of sexual assaults-there were 80 reported cases of rape at the university in the three years leading up to the investigation. There were 11 sexual assault reports involving students at the University of Montana in the eighteen months prior to the investigation.
"This grant is an important step toward demonstrating a zero-tolerance approach to sexual violence against our sisters, daughters and friends," Senator Max Baucus said to the Missoulian, a local newspaper. "The more we can work together to target the scourge of domestic violence on campus and off campus, the better we'll be as a society."
According to Baucus, this grant was available through the old version of the Violence Against Women Act, which was passed in 1994 and has been reauthorized and updated with bipartisan support ever since, until this year. The House is currently blocking the passage of the Senate-approved, bipartisan VAWA reauthorization.
Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 5/8/12; Missoulian 9/24/12; Jezebel 9/25/12
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. . . .