Last month, New York became the first state to propose decriminalizing sex work state-wide. Other parts of the United States, such as some counties in Nevada, have decriminalized sex work, but New York’s proposed bill is the first to address it on a state level rather than by region. The bill incorporated new language, such as gender neutral wording, and would decriminalize sex work between adults while excluding any acts with a minor.
You’ve likely been seeing a lot of news about the recent abortion legislation passed in Alabama and Missouri. Alabama is now the first state to institute a full ban on abortion, eliminating all exceptions, even in the case of rape or incest.
Missouri is the fifth state this year to pass a so-called “heartbeat bill.” These laws restrict abortion after six to eight weeks of conception (the time at which doctors can typically pick up a heartbeat from the fetus). While these laws aren’t technically bans, most experts consider them as such, since many women don’t even discover that they’re pregnant until they’re further than six weeks along in their pregnancy.
Most pro-choice advocates have been upset by this news, but for those who aren’t well-versed in the abortion debate, they may be wondering why these laws have become such a flashpoint in this ongoing back-and-forth between the pro-life and pro-choice camps. Here’s why these state laws are a big deal on a national scale.
The recent release of the Netflix documentary, The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann, has sparked an international dialogue about sex trafficking.
The film recounts the story of a young British girl who went missing in Portugal while on vacation with her parents. Although she was taken nearly 12 years ago, the case has never been solved. A number of theories persist about what happened to McCann, but one of the hypotheses endorsed by the documentary is that she was kidnapped and sold into a sex trafficking ring. If this is indeed what happened to McCann, it’s possible that someone might have seen something significant and not even known it, simply because they weren’t aware of the signs.
Here, we’ll take a closer look sex trafficking: what it is, who it affects, and what’s being done to stop it.
For women, particularly women of color, gender inequity can have life threatening costs. Women aged 16-24 experience the highest per capita rate of intimate partner violence, triple the national average, and the rates for women of color are the highest. But without women in positions of power, the problem is not addressed properly. This March, we acknowledge the women who are change-makers in the fight to end domestic violence, while realizing there is more work to be done.
Recently, we saw a long deserved victory for community organizers, survivors, and justice in general: sexual assault charges were brought against singer and known abuser Robert Kelly, better known by his stage name, R. Kelly. After decades of abusing Black girls, it appears that we are finally beginning to see the repercussions; Kelly was dropped from his record label earlier this year in light of Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly documentary. However, this action was too long overdue. It comes after years of Kelly preying on young Black girls, a failed trial, and countless horrifying stories from Black women who suffered abuse at his hands. Throughout this, he continued to receive support from his team, fans, and the larger public.
This points to a greater issue of the general disregard for Black girls in discussions of sexual assault; their stories are largely ignored both within and outside the Black community. White, affluent narratives of sexual harassment often take up most of the space in these discussions, silencing low-income women and women of color. This was seen in the #MeToo movement, despite its founder being Tarana Burke, a Black woman. In contrast, campaigns like #MuteRKelly meant to raise awareness about the issues Black women and girls face have taken immense work on the part of Black community organizers to obtain the same national attention.
February Is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM). Help us celebrate healthy relationships and join us in taking action to spread awareness and prevent dating violence!
Here’s how you can participate.
The Department of Health and Human Services under the Trump administration is proposing a change to the definition of gender, narrowing it to only male or female and making it determined by the genitals an individual was born with. This threatens to harm the already vulnerable trans* community, who as a group experience greater incidences of dating violence. What steps can you take to support the trans* community?
June is Pride Month, a time to celebrate and take pride in the LGBTQ+ community. It is a time to embrace the diverse orientations and identities that exist in our world and honor the people who struggled throughout history to get us here. And as we commemorate “love is love,” we must also acknowledge the difference between healthy and unhealthy love.