Coming on the heels of the ongoing Air Force Academy scandal, a US marine accused of punching and raping a 19-year-old Japanese woman in Okinawa was arrested this week, highlighting the continuing problem of sexual violence in the military. According to reports by the Okinawa Police, lance corporal Jose Torres allegedly punched the woman in the face and then raped her on the street, reported Reuters. While the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) which details legal rights for US military personnel in Japan does not require the US to hand over suspects until they are indicted, a Japan-US Joint Committee agreed on Torres' immediate transfer, given the nature of the crime.
The incident strikes sensitive chords among Okinawan residents, who in 1995 witnessed the gang rape of a 12-year-old girl by three US servicemen. Inhabitants of the small Japanese island, which hosts over half of the nearly 50,000 US troops stationed in Japan, have repeatedly called for a reduction in US military presence.
7/27/2015 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Blocked Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood - An attempt in the Senate to defund Planned Parenthood by Mike Lee (R-UT) was blocked this weekend by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Lee tried to attach the elimination of federal funds for Planned Parenthood to a vote for highway legislation, a move which was rejected by McConnell as out of order.
Republican legislators have redoubled their efforts to block funding for Planned Parenthood since the release of two heavily edited clandestine videos of different PPFA employees taken without their knowledge. . . .
7/24/2015 Katherine Spillar Urges Cleveland to Dramatically Increase Hiring of Women Police to Mitigate Police Violence - In a well-received speech at the City Club of Cleveland today, Katherine Spillar, Executive Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation urged Cleveland city officials to dramatically increase the hiring of women police officers as a way to decrease police brutality incidents.
Following a number of high profile police killings in Cleveland of African Americans, and an eight-month investigation by the US Attorney's office of the Northern District of Ohio, the City of Cleveland has now entered into a Consent Decree that requires numerous reforms in how the city oversees and investigates police operations, including training in use of force.
"Among the most important reforms mandated by the consent decree - and the most easily overlooked - are the changes the Cleveland Division of Police must make in its recruitment and hiring practices,
said Spillar. . . .