Tag: Sexual Harassment

The Gillette Ad Lets Men See Themselves in a Different Light

By Cassandra Twining | United States

Recently Gillette released an ad addressing and highlighting the changes that our society is moving towards when it comes to men. Namely, it addresses how we as a society are starting to hold men accountable for their inappropriate actions.

This ad has been very controversial and has received a lot of backlash from various media outlets and viewers alike. However, I think these critics are missing the main lesson that should be taken away from this video. Men do not understand what it’s like to grow up as a woman.

That seems like a given, right? But it’s not something people are paying enough attention to. Of course, there are differences in how people grow up. That’s obvious, but how blatant are these differences once you start to look closer?

Before I start I want it to be known I recognize while the way I’ve grown up is certainly different from others, but I certainly think there are a lot of similarities between me and most girls my age. Furthermore, these are just my experiences. I would never pretend to speak for women or men as a whole. It’s just not my place.

The main takeaway of this video is that men don’t know what it’s like to grow up as a girl can be narrowed even further. From as young as I can possibly remember I was taught to take responsibility for myself and the situations I’m in. If there was a man staring at me inappropriately it was my job to dress in such a way that eliminated his desire to do that. It was never his job to perhaps, not stare at a young girl in that way. This line of logic can be applied to many situations in my childhood.

I’m not the only one who has dealt with this either. 77% of women report they have experienced some kind of verbal sexual harassment in their life. That’s 3 out of 4 women. Sadly, it is not at all uncommon for women to experience this all throughout their life. It can make them feel very unsafe and scared. This is where I suggest men start to take a stand and attempt to help.

I certainly think people should be responsible for their own safety and should consider situations they’re getting themselves into, no matter their gender. However, we as a society could try to start changing the balance of who holds the responsibility. What if I was not only aware of putting myself in safe situations, but the men around me were also making sure they were doing their part to make sure I wasn’t in a situation I would feel uncomfortable in. If we shared the responsibility you would move towards women being able to feel safer and more accommodated.

Not only that, but men should want to learn how to make situations more comfortable for women. If you purposely try to make situations scary or uncomfortable for women the problem is much deeper than this ad addresses. If that’s not you, be open to learning! Ask the women in your life what are some things you could do to help them feel safer, or ask them things they fear in everyday life that you probably don’t even think twice about and think of ways you could make that a better experience for women all around you.

I’m not asking that men take all the responsibility for ensuring the safety of women everywhere. I think women should still be aware of themselves and their surroundings and be responsible for their own safety. However, if men started to notice things like a creepy man staring at a woman and stepped in to offer support to the woman, this would revolutionize our interactions and the feelings of fear women suffer from on a daily basis.

The fact of the matter is, women fear things men don’t even think to be afraid of. I encourage men everywhere to start a conversation about it. Whether that be with your mom, your sister, your girlfriend, or just a female friend. I can guarantee they will appreciate your proactiveness, and you will also be able to learn ways to make the world safer for the women around you. Why anyone wouldn’t like the idea of doing that is beyond me.


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Sexual Assault Claims Are Turning into Witch Trials

By Jack Parkos | United States

The term “witch hunt” has been popular ever since the 1692 Salem Witch Trials. Through history, it often describes cases in which either the public or authorities ignore the principle of innocent until proven guilty. Most popularly, the allusion links the witch trials to the McCarthy-era politics of the American 1950s. When linking the two, most make a clear distinction that such mob mentality is severely detrimental and that society should never revert to such a thing again. However, it seems that it now is coming back into American politics.

The Modern American Witch Trials

What is the new witch hunt? Sexual assault allegations. Recently, Christine Ford, and now another woman, Deborah Ramirez, have accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Kavanaugh has denied both incidents and refuses to back down. Yet, many senators are still calling for him to withdraw before anyone finds him guilty. It seems very clear, thus, that those particular senators are not giving him a fair treatment. We simply do not know the facts of the case yet.

It is easy to observe that in specific crimes regarding sexual assault, different people hold drastically different standards for both the accuser and accused. A high-school civics course will teach the idea of innocent until proven guilty in the court of law. Yet, as the #MeToo movement continues, many are ignoring this critical principle. It is particularly interesting how many of his Democratic opponents are members of the party that overwhelmingly supports social justice, but at the same time, are now denying due process and equal treatment under the law.

Sexual assault, without a doubt, is a serious and deeply-running issue in American society today. Those who are guilty should not go without consequence. But, especially due to the gravity of the issue, they should first go through a fair and legal system.

All It Takes

Just a single accusation of sexual assault may cost someone his or her social life and reputation. Many employers will fire workers over as much. The claim could be completely false and without evidence, but this is inconsequential in an era of mob mentality. The similarities to Salem are horrifying. All it takes is one blasphemous claim to influence the life of an individual and the broader political realm.

Suppose that Ford had accused Kavanaugh of another crime, like theft. Most likely, the justice system would treat him more fairly than in the case of a sexual assault. In this case, innocent until proven guilty would maintain. Why is this not the case for sexual assault and misconduct cases?

Of course, sexual assault is considerably different from theft. It is more deeply personal and to many, more serious as well. However, this is not how the rule of law works. All individuals have the same due process rights, no matter the crime. Legally, the Bill of Rights guarantees this, and morally, it is simply wrong to assume guilt without evidence. Admittedly, the Kavanaugh case is beyond the statute of limitations, but the moral point still stands.

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

Society should apply this principle equally. If all people have this right in the legal system, why not in the court of public opinion? This essential idea should not falter based on a different setting.

The public does not know all of the facts of the case and has not seen all of the evidence yet. Thus, it is wrong to jump to conclusions in any way. We must not call “liar” to the accuser nor must we call “guilty” to the accused. Kavanaugh may be guilty, and Ford may be a liar. To assert either at this point in the game is incredibly unfair and illegitimate. Without the evidence, nobody can suggest so with any degree of certainty. Hence, both parties should receive the same treatment: innocent until proven guilty. Neither side should allow political, personal, or partisan goals to interfere with the virtue of American justice.


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Confirming Kavanaugh is Republicans’ Duty

Glenn Verasco | Thailand
I do not know who Casey Mattox is, but a June tweet of his popped up in my Twitter feed the other day:
I rate this a perfect tweet. It is both concise and evergreen.
The Supreme Court of the United States is supposed to be the clear third of three branches of the federal government. The Judicial Branch is not supposed to make laws or give orders of any kind. Courts are meant to determine the constitutional legality of disputed actions between individuals and groups. The legislature legislates, the executive executes, and the judiciary judges. It’s not a difficult concept. Unfortunately, bad-faith reading of the Constitution has resulted in a politicized court system in which many actually make the ridiculous argument that judges should conjecture what the consequences of a law will be, instead of simply reading the law itself, and rule based on those assumptions. SCOTUS Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Sonia Sotomayor do not even try to hide their use of this method when writing decisions from the bench. As outraged as everyone should be with the state of liberal jurisprudence, Brett Kavanaugh is not my ideal Supreme Court justice either. As Judge Napolitano has eloquently explained, Kavanaugh’s understanding of the 4th Amendment is wrongheaded and dangerous. If this were the case being made against Kavanaugh, I would be all ears. Instead of criticizing the processes and actions of the federal government based on constitutionality, philosophy, and the individual human rights the United States of America was founded upon, hazy memories from many decades ago, that have conveniently resurfaced exclusively in their owners’ minds only as Kavanaugh’s illustrious career is set to culminate in the highest court in the land, are being used to railroad his confirmation. The accusations made against Kavanaugh are unverifiable and uncorroborated within themselves. They are also immaterial to the situation at hand. As someone who generally disagrees with but respects Ronan Farrow, I am shocked and disappointed that he agreed to publish something as salacious, hazy, and irrelevant as his September 24th story. Its publishing undermines the credibility of actual sexual assault victims and needlessly politicizes the #MeToo movement which the entire country, albeit to varying degrees, is generally supportive of. The point of view of the Democrats regarding this matter deserves no consideration from honest and thoughtful people. They decided to vote against Kavanaugh as soon as he was nominated and almost entirely forewent asking relevant questions during his confirmation hearings. Instead, they delayed the process on the basis of arcane technicalities and focused on creating sound bites and video clips throughout the duration of an agonizing and embarrassing process. They have since done their best to capitalize on allegations against Kavanaugh to delay his confirmation even further, certainly hoping that they can run out the clock through midterm elections or at least keep Kavanaugh from being confirmed before the Supreme Court begins their October session. GOP Senators now have a choice. They can allow the media and opposing political party to bully and shame them into submission, or they can grow a pair by taking a stand against a ballooning culture of hyperbole and hysteria. The GOP Senators will set a historical precedent either way. The former choice would make it clear that loosely-characterized sexual assault allegations from decades ago are a political weapon they will not fight back against. This will be the end of the current GOP and likely the end of textualist jurisprudence in the Supreme Court for decades. The latter choice would promote the dignity of the accused and take the wind out of bad-faith political actors’ sails, at least for the time being. I am not a Republican and have never voted for a Republican. I registered as a Democrat when I first became eligible to vote and will officially become a member of the Libertarian Party in 2019. If GOP Senators cave, they can bet that more and more of their constituents will join me in the LP or simply stay home and laugh as Democrats wipe the floor with them in November.

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STD Rates Hit Record High In United States

By Spencer Kellogg | @Spencer_Kellogg

According to a report released this week by the Centers for Disease Control, Americans are in the middle of a sexually transmitted disease epidemic. For a fourth consecutive year, STD rates have continued a “steep and sustained increase” with over 2.3 million documented cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis.

Increasing STD Rates

Gonorrhea rates nearly doubled in men, from 333,004 to 555,608 cases within a four year time period. Syphilis is also on the rise, particularly affecting gay and bisexual men. Since 2013, there has been an overall increase of 70% in diagnosed cases. The most common condition, though, was chlamydia, which affected over 1.7 million Americans in 2017.

Fear of a Biological Resistance

Michael Fraser, CEO of ASHTO, told USA Today: “You don’t need a medical degree to prevent an STD. You need to talk to people about using condoms.” Gonorrhea, especially, worries members of the health community. Over time, the disease has progressively built a resistance to modern antibiotics.

“We expect gonorrhea will eventually wear down our last highly effective antibiotic, and additional treatment options are urgently needed,” said Gail Bolan, M.D., director of CDC’s Division of STD Prevention. “We can’t let our defenses down — we must continue reinforcing efforts to rapidly detect and prevent resistance as long as possible.”

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Source: Centers for Disease Control

NCSD executive director David Harvey took a strong stance in light of the new data. He adamantly asserted that the increase in STD rates is due to poor federal funding and sex education. Moreover, he was blunt in his dire assessment of the staggering growth of infections:

“It’s not a coincidence STDs are skyrocketing – state and local STD programs are working with effectively half the budget they had in the early 2000s. If our representatives are serious about protecting American lives, they will provide adequate funding to address this crisis. Right now, our STD prevention engine is running on fumes.”

What Can Everyone Do?

These record high rates should serve as a warning to any sexually active citizen. First and foremost, they need to take matters of sexual health into their own hands. It is important to communicate with your partner(s) regarding sexual history. It is also essential to take protective action, such as wearing condoms and frequently testing for STDs. For more information about sexually transmitted diseases and how to get tested, please visit Planned Parenthood’s site or your local physician.


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Court: Civil Rights Law Protects Claims Of Employment Discrimination Based On Sexual Orientation

By Jason Patterson | United States

On Monday, a federal appeals court in New York ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a federal law that bans employment discrimination because of sex and gender, also includes protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

“Sexual orientation discrimination is a subset of sex discrimination because sexual orientation is defined by one’s sex in relation to the sex of those to whom one is attracted,” the court ruled in a 10-3 decision.

The ruling is a loss for the Trump administration, which had argued that Congress did not mean Title VII to extend to claims of sexual orientation.

The court, based in New York, becomes the second appeals court to rule that the civil rights law covers discrimination based on sexual orientation. Last year, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a similar ruling.

The case came to be from in 2010, where Zarda was an Altitude Express instructor for Rosanna Orellana. Zarda’s role was to be tied to the back of Orellana, deploy the parachute and supervise the jump. According to court papers, at some point, Zarda informed Orellana that he was gay. After the jump, Orellana’s boyfriend learned that Zarda had disclosed his sexual orientation and called Altitude Express with various complaints about Zarda’s behavior and actions. Zarda was later fired and became unemployed.

On the other hand, the company claimed that Zarda was fired for failing to provide an enjoyable experience to customers. Zarda asserted that his actions were appropriate and he was fired because of his sexuality. He then filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging sex discrimination in violation of Title VII.

The case was out of the ordinary , since the EEOC supported Zarda, while the Justice Department was on the other side.

“The EEOC is not speaking for the United States,” Justice Department lawyers said in their brief.

After the ruling, Justice spokesman Devin O’Malley issued a statement saying the department is “committed to protecting the civil and constitutional rights of all individuals” but that it is dedicated “to the fundamental principle that the courts cannot expand the law beyond what Congress has provided.”

Saul D. Zabell, an attorney for Altitude Express, claimed he has not decided whether to appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

He said that while his clients recognize that sexual orientation needs to be protected under the law, a jury in the case found that Zarda had not been terminated because of his sexual orientation but instead it was based on his inappropriate behavior.

Coming more than two years after the Supreme Court cleared the way for same-sex marriage, government lawyers wrote in briefs that “to be sure,” there have been “notable changes in societal and cultural attitudes about such discrimination,” but they insisted that Congress has “consistently” declined to amend Title VII in light of those changes.

They said that even changes in societal attitudes “do not present courts with a license to rewrite a constitutionally valid statutory text under the banner of speculation about what Congress might have done to implement a clear statute’s policy objectives.”