There has been so much bad news lately that I couldn’t decide on just one current event to write about. Here’s a round-up of some of the worst (trigger warning!) stories trending lately:
- Rape Town USA: The more we learn about the (alleged) rape case in Maryville, MO, the more I worry about keeping my breakfast down. While the internet has been engulfed with cries of Steubenville Part 2, this seems like a good time to point out that the really terrifying news here is that this is happening all over America every day. These are just the stories we’re hearing about. But to recap, Daisy Coleman, aged 14, says she was raped by the town’s star football player (who is also the son of a prominent family) and then left on her front yard — in 22-degree January weather wearing nothing more than a tshirt and sweatpants, her hair frozen to the ground. Dogs are treated better. New reports are coming in that allege this same football player may have raped other girls. Meanwhile, the Coleman’s mother lost her job and their house was mysteriously burned down after the allegations surfaced. Unfortunately, many in the town, including Sheriff Darren White (phone number 660-582-7451), have accused the girls of lying. Now Anonymous, the internet hacker collective, has fired a virtual warning shot to Maryville, asking residents how they sleep at night and threatening, “If Maryville won’t defend these young girls, if the police are too cowardly or corrupt to do their jobs, if justice system has abandoned them, then we will have to stand for them. Mayor Jim Fall, your hands are dirty. Maryville, expect us.” And at least one person is taking all the attention to this case pretty seriously. Yesterday, Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder called for a grand jury to look into the Daisy Coleman case.
- Brown Vetoes Bill: California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a promising bill that would have extended the statute of limitations time-frame for survivors of sexual abuse. Brown faced major pressure from the Catholic Church and organizations like The Boys Scouts of America — each with major class-action cases of sexual abuse. Since many abuse survivors only come forward (or recover memories) later in life, this bill could have given justice and closure to countless people. It’s just another symptom of how little we value the health and rights of sexual abuse survivors. How is it that as a society we would rather protect the people and institutions who harbor criminals than protect those who need protection most?
- GOP doubles down on the anti-woman bet: What is this, Day 16 of the government shutdown? Even as Republicans are getting near-record low public polling results for how they are handling budget negotiations — 74 percent disappoval ratings! Even Obama only polls at 53 percent disapproval. But somehow, the reality of how much the public is pissed at them is not sinking in. Enter: Paul Ryan, who is apparently competing for most teabag-tastic, with his plan to use the debt ceiling vote to shut down women’s access to birth control. Yes, because holding the country hostage — and by proxy the entire global economy — has been working so well so far.
- The shutdown is causing babies to go hungry and women to go back to abusers: I wish that was hyperbole. Funds are running out for food stamps and WIC programs, which means we can’t feed babies. People! Babies are going hungry! Seriously?! And that is creating the perfect storm for parents who are trying to leave their abusive partners. Without money or assistance, many are being forced to go back to live with partners who beat them. There’s something especially horrible about this falling in Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Is this really how Republicans want to get things done?