Sex Assault Expert Appointed to Air Force Academy Panel
The Pentagon on Thursday appointed a sexual assault expert to a panel investigating the recent rape scandal at the Air Force Academy. Anita Carpenter, the chief executive officer of the Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault, is the only sexual assault expert or victim advocate appointed to the panel. Carpenter was appointed shortly after panelist Amy McCarthy resigned under heavy criticism for blaming the female cadets for being raped because they were engaging in "high-risk behaviors." In fact, Carpenter told the Denver Post that one of her biggest challenges would be in dispelling myths, such as "if she went back to his room, she must have wanted intercourse. ... Or [people] say, 'Well, she shouldn't have been drinking'." In addition, the panel's executive director Anita Blair, a former vice president of the ultraconservative Independent Women's Forum and outspoken opponent of women in the military, was removed.
Women's rights advocates hail Carpenter's appointment as an important step in ensuring that the review of rape and sexual assault allegations at the Air Force Academy is fair and thorough. The National Organization for Women has issued on its website a call for all future national investigations into sexual violence automatically include sexual violence experts and victim advocates.
Documents released Thursday show that dozens of cases of sexual assault and rape have been investigated by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations since 1993. A report issued in late June by the Air Force Working Group found that though first-year cadets make up only 29 percent of the school's population, they made up 53 percent of the alleged victims, according to the Associated Press. The Air Force documents note several incidents involving first-year women and senior men.
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .