Apr 11, 2011
NATIONAL – A new White House report on the status of women in America finds that women remain disproportionately the victims of sexual and intimate partner violence. It also notes that the percentage of women coming into contact with the criminal justice system as offenders is increasing. Women were 18 percent of all arrestees for violent felony offenses in 2008 – up from 11 percent in 1990 – and the number of adult women under some form of correctional supervision increased 121 percent between 1990 and 2008. Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being is the first federal initiative to look at the status of women since 1963, when the Commission on Status of Women, established by President Kennedy, produced a report on the conditions of women.
NATIONAL – Signaling a commitment to anti-bullying efforts, the White House created a new website – www.StopBullying.gov – with resources on bullying prevention for kids, teens, parents, teachers and community members. The Administration also hosted a White House Conference on Bullying Prevention on March 10 and discussed risk factors for bullying, effective bullying and violence prevention programs, cyberbullying and reducing bullying targeted at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered youth. White House Council on Women and Girls Chair Valerie Jarrett told the Washington Post that “there is a perception that bullying is a rite of passage. And it’s just not… It’s just not acceptable.”
MILITARY – Suicide rates for female soldiers triple when they go to war, according to preliminary data from an Army study. Reasons behind the rate increase are unclear; researchers plan to explore whether women feel isolated in a male-dominated war zone or suffer greater anxiety than men about leaving children or loved ones behind. Suicide rates for both genders in the Army have more than doubled since 2004.
MILITARY – One in five women serving in the Air Force say they have been sexually assaulted since joining the service, mirroring rates of sexual assault in the civilian population but with added complexities. The vast majority of these crimes were committed by male airmen and nearly half were not reported; some female airmen said they did not report because they didn’t want to “cause trouble in their unit,” the Christian Science Monitor reports. In April during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Air Force officials plan to promote a bystander training program that stresses acting as a team and taking collective responsibility for assault prevention. Overall, the Department of Defense reports that sexual assaults in the military declined two percent last year.
CA – Actor Mel Gibson pled no contest to charges that he battered his then-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, on March 11. Gibson will pay $600 in fines, serve 16 hours of community service and undergo 52 weeks of court-mandated counseling. Gibson remains in a custody battle with Grigorieva, who still could file a civil suit against him.
CT – Earlier this month, a Virginia grand jury indicted the “East Coast Rapist” – a man police believe attacked 17 victims and committed 14 sexual assaults in four states over the past 13 years – on charges of rape, forcible sodomy and abduction with intent to defile. DNA from a cigarette butt linked Aaron Thomas to the attacks in Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island and Virginia. An anonymous tip, which authorities believe was a result of the publicity surrounding electronic billboards in the states where women were assaulted, triggered Thomas’ arrest, the Associated Press reports. Arrested in New Haven on March 4, Thomas is being held there.
MN – Susan McCormick Hadley, an advocate for battered women and creator of WomanKind, is being honored with a 2011 Ann Bancroft Award for her work persuading health care professionals to address violence and abuse with their patients. With no financial support, Hadley trained health care professionals to ask appropriate questions and direct women in need of services; the result was WomanKind, one of the premier model programs of its kind in the country. Through Hadley’s tireless efforts, the WomanKind model is the national prototype for providing integrated, structured services and resources for victims of domestic violence. Hadley will receive the award on April 28.
NY – Former White Plains Mayor Adam Bradley – accused of throwing hot tea on his wife, slamming her fingers in a door and trying to intimidate her into not testifying against him – was sentenced on March 17 to three years’ probation. The court also issued a permanent order of protection barring Bradley from having any contact with his estranged wife, Fumiko Bradley. Bradley was convicted of attempted assault, harassment and contempt in December. He resigned February 18. The Westchester Journal News reports that Bradley also was under scrutiny on unrelated charges of “potential conflict of interest and favoritism involving a temporary landlord.”
INTERNATIONAL – Some 67 million of the world’s children aren’t attending school, including 28 million who live in poor countries affected by conflict, finds UNESCO’s 2011 Global Monitoring Report. The Hidden Crisis: Armed Conflict and Education warns that “there could be more children out of school in 2015 than there are today.” Other findings: in Afghanistan, the number of attacks on schools increased in 2009; in Congo, one-third of rapes involve children and 13 percent of those involve children under ten; and 21 of the world’s poorest developing countries spend more on the military than education.