Rape Case Highlights Inadequacy of Yale Sex Assault Policy
A federal judge dismissed on April 30 charges of breach of contract, negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress made by a former student who claims she was raped while at Yale, but her charges of defamation and inadequate protection from harassment will go to trial. The plaintiff's lawyer, Robert Berke, believes that Yale violated Title IX in the way it handled the alleged assault. "Once an educational establishment is aware of a potential problem, they have an obligation to protect students from harassment," Berke told the Yale Daily News. "Yale didn't do that." University officials have declined to discuss the case, the News reported.
The Yale Women's Center has been advocating for reforms of Yale's sexual assault policy for over four years, including establishing offender profiling in order to aid victims pressing charges, but these reforms have been rejected by university administrators, according to the Yale Herald. Madhumita Lahiri, the Yale Women's Center director of political activism, said that the administration has argued there is no need for reform because of the low incidence of sexual assault, but there are indications that rape and sexual assault are underreported, according to the Herald. Though the October 2002 University Report on Campus Security shows only one incident of sexual assault in 2001 and two each in 2000 and 1999, the New Haven Rape Crisis Center received six calls from Yale students between September 2002 and January 2003, the Herald reports.
Berke expects the trial to begin sometime in the next few months, and said he is optimistic about the outcome, the News reports. Patrick Noonan, who represents Yale in the matter, said he expects Yale to win the lawsuit because he believes it adequately followed its procedures for protecting students from sexual assault. "Even if she was raped, that wasn't Yale's fault," said Noonan, according to the News.
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .