One in Seven Attending Military Academies Report Being Sexually Assaulted
The US Department of Defense released a report on sexual misconduct on three military academies' campuses, showing that one female student in seven reported being sexually assaulted last spring. In addition, half of the women attending the Navy, Air Force and Army academies reported being sexually harassed on campus, according to the Washington Post.
The Department of Defense is instituting a new policy that will begin in June to allow victims of sexual assault to report their attacks confidentially as a way to ensure privacy and to encourage victims to come forward and seek help. The new policy also requires that academy coordinators be informed of the assaults within 24 hours of the report and request for medical care or counseling, reports the New York Times. The undersecretary of defense, David S.C. Chu, said that “this policy change will encourage more victims of sexual assault to come forward and seek help, providing commanders with a better understanding of what’s actually happening in their commands,” reports the Washington Post.
The Defense Department conducted a survey in March and April of 2004 of 1,906 women and a sample of the 3,107 men who attend the three academies. The survey found that 262 students reported 302 incidents of sexual assault, including 94 cases of rape. It also found that only a third of those cases were reported to authorities. 176 cases of inappropriate touching and fondling were also reported.
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. . . .