Air Force Ordered Study on Sexual Misconduct and Rape
An Air Force five-month review found that ninety-two accusations of rape by Air Force personnel were reported to military officials from 2001 to 2003 in the Pacific. According to the New York Times, the report examined how sexual assault is reported, how it can be prevented, and how commanders deal with victims. The report covered Air Force personnel in Hawaii, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Alaska, and Diego Garcia. After reviewing the report, the vice chief of staff of the Air Force ordered commands worldwide to conduct a more extensive survey on their sexual assault response programs, reports the Washington Post.
The report comes at a time when the US military faces major accusations of sexual misconduct in other areas of the world such as Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan where there have been 112 reports of sexual misconduct and rape. Last month, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ordered an investigation into how the Pentagon is working to prevent sexual assaults.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International and the Miles Foundation announced data on sexual and physical abuse of female troops, spouses and partners committed by members of the US military. The Miles Foundation has confirmed 83 sexual assaults against women in the military over the last 18 months in Kuwait, Iraq, and Bahrain. In addition, their report shows a sharp rise in domestic violence by US servicemen. The Executive Director of the Miles Foundation is urging the "military to do what it does best: give orders. Leaders must make clear that violence against any woman, anywhere, of any nationality, age, race, rank, or marital status will not be tolerated," Amnesty International reports.
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. . . .