RAINN announced its strong support of the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry (SAFER) Act, just introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Ted Poe (R-TX). The SAFER Act will lead to the elimination of the DNA backlog and establish better standards for future tracking, storage and use of DNA evidence in sexual assault cases. The SAFER Act also allows victims to monitor the progress of forensic testing in their own case online, anytime.
"The SAFER Act is the vital next step in our efforts to eliminate the backlog of untested DNA evidence. This bill will help us shine a light on the remaining backlog, and give victims access to the status of their forensic evidence. Ultimately, it will lead to testing more DNA evidence and taking more rapists off our streets," said Scott Berkowitz, president and founder of RAINN.
The SAFER Act will increase the efficiency of the criminal justice system by more effectively targeting areas with the most significant backlogs, while making the entire process transparent to the public. The bill has strong bipartisan support, making supporters optimistic that it will move quickly through Congress.
Friday, April 29, 2011
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
|National Organization for Women-NYS Decries Court Ordered Visitation with Convicted Sex Offenders|
Court Ordered, Visitation with Convicted Pedophiles/Sex Offenders is dangerous for women and children.
ALBANY, NY 4/20/11 The New York State Appellate Division 3rd Department recently affirmed the outrageous decision of a Saratoga Family Court Judge Courtenay Hall, ordering a five year old girl visitation in a maximum security prison, with her father, a convicted pedophile. Mr. Culver plead guilty to twenty-nine counts of first degree sexual abuse after molesting eight of his first grade students. He was afforded a free attorney to drag his ex wife through the Family Court, forensics and the Appellate Court, all on the taxpayers dime. Though the Appellate Court overturned the lower courts order for the mother to absorb the cost for the child's 3 hour transportation and escort fees, the child's mother, who committed no crime, lost her right to decide what is best for her daughter and now they both are court ordered to suffer the consequences of this mans crimes.
In June 2010, Sukhwant Herb of Brooklyn, NY, was sentenced to 50 days in Rikers Island for refusing to allow her 9-year old son to visit with his father who is a convicted serial rapist father in an Arizona prison. She was denied bail, and though technically not charged with a crime, she served 19 days before public outrage and a Daily News article won her an early release. Brooklyn Family Court Judge Robin Sheares is still a sitting judge though reassigned to Civil Court. The father, Seon Jonas, was able to obtain a visitation order while in jail.
Suffolk County Family Court Judge, Andrew Tarantino, granted overnight visits for children whose father was convicted of third-degree rape of a minor and possessing child pornography. The judge refused to hear expert testimony and stated in his decision, "to consider sinister every activity in which there may be contact may approach paranoia in some circumstances and this court can not render a decision based upon paranoia". Notably Judge Tarantino was recently censured for taking a teenage litigant to an out of the way beach park for a chat without notifying his attorney or opposing council. The young man has since committed suicide. Judge Tarantino has been reassigned though still a sitting judge.
These orders defy common sense and ignore the laws that are set up to protect citizens and their children. It further exemplifies how judges have been given too much discretion and too little oversight. Judges do not have to detail the reasons for their decisions that are often made on personal preferences rather than legal precedent and suffer little to no consequences for the damage they do. Though commissions were set up to address these matters, we still see no ability for the court to correct itself.
Along with NOW-NYS, urge the NYS Assembly to pass common sense legislation immediately halting all court ordered, forced visitation with pedophiles and sex offenders. We ask that all taxpayer funded programs used for this purpose be cut off immediately and completely. Finally, we ask for a means to remove bad judges. They suffer no consequences for their actions and their actions are often careless and dangerous.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Call your NYC Councilmembers to list their name on Resolution 712, which urges Gov Cuomo to halt the Medicaid Redesign Team
Ask them to list their name on New York City Council Resolution 712
which urges Governor Cuomo to halt the Medicaid Redesign Team
The New York City Council
New York, NY 10007
Res. No. 712
Resolution calling upon New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York Legislature to halt
the Medicaid Redesign process and create a process that is prudent and inclusive in order to reduce the
Medicaid budget and raise additional revenue to pay for services without compromising health care for needy
By Council Members Mendez, Barron, Brewer, Dickens and Jackson
Whereas, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo established the Medicaid Redesign Team,
through Executive Order, to find ways to save money within the Medicaid program for Fiscal Year 2012; and
Whereas, The Governor named a 27-member Medicaid Redesign Team that is composed of a
significant number of hospital administrators, with only one community representative and only four people of
color as members; and
Whereas, The Governor charged the Medicaid Redesign Team with executing its goal without
compromising care for New Yorkers; and
Whereas, The Medicaid Redesign Team was asked to come up with recommendations on how to cut the
state's share of the Medicaid budget by $2.85 billion for Fiscal Year 2012; and
Whereas, This proposed cut will result in the loss of matching federal dollars bringing the total loss of
Medicaid program funding for New York to almost $6 billion for Fiscal Year 2012; and
Whereas, Medically underserved communities exist in New York City; and
Whereas, Most recently there has been a notable loss of services in underserved, immigrant and
communities of color, due to the closing of St. Mary's Hospital and its community-based health centers in
Central Brooklyn, Mary Immaculate Hospital and St. John's Hospital in Queens, and North General Hospital in
Whereas, Many critically needed services such as primary care for all New Yorkers, especially theunderserved, and mental health services, are reliant upon funding from Medicaid programs to continue; and
Whereas, There are hospitals and health centers in New York City that are financially vulnerable, such
that the loss of Medicaid revenue could result in the closing of these providers; and
Whereas, The Medicaid Redesign Team was given proposals to consider that do not take into account
many of the factors for providing need based health services; and
Whereas, The approved recommendations do not protect safety net health care providers that exist in
underserved communities that serve the uninsured and Medicaid beneficiaries; and
Whereas, The Health and Hospitals Corporation could lose approximately $150 million per year in
funding based upon the recommendations that were adopted, and have already been implementing in services
because of a financial deficit; and
Whereas, The Governor has incorporated the recommendations of the Medicaid Redesign Team,
making them part of the State Executive Budget; and
Whereas, As currently proposed, the State Legislature will not be allowed to modify any of these
proposals, but rather only vote them up or down; now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York calls upon New York State Governor Andrew M.
Cuomo and the New York Legislature to halt the Medicaid Redesign process and create a process that is
prudent and inclusive in order to reduce the Medicaid budget and raise additional revenue to pay for services
without compromising health care for needy New Yorkers.
The New York City Council Page 2 of 2 Printed on 4/20/2011
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
By Galia Slayen
Some people have skeletons in their closet. I have an enormous Barbie in mine.
She stands about six feet tall with a 39" bust, 18" waist, and 33" hips. These are the supposed measurements of Barbie if she were a real person. I built her as a part of the first National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (NEDAW) at my high school, later introducing her to Hamilton College during its first NEDAW in 2011.
When I was a little girl, I played with my Barbie in her playhouse, sending her and Ken on dates that always ended with a goodnight kiss. I had fond times with my Barbie, and I admired her perfect blonde locks and slim figure. Barbie represented beauty, perfection and the ideal for young girls around the world. At least, as a seven-year-old, that is what she was to me.
In January 2007, I was looking for a way to make my peers realize the importance of eating disorders and body image issues. I was frustrated after quitting the cheerleading squad, frustrated with pressures to look and act a certain way and most of all frustrated with the eating disorder controlling my life. I wanted to do something that would turn others' apathy into action. That evening, my neighbor and I found two long pieces of wood and started measuring. With a little math, nails and hammering, we built a stick figure that stood about six feet tall.
The chicken wire came next. Surrounding her wooden frame, we created a body that wasn't much thicker than a stick figure, but had the womanly and unattainable curves and proportions that impressionable young girls idealize. We stuffed the chicken wire with newspaper and created a body that creepily leaned against the wall in my neighbor's basement. She now needed some skin, so I brought her back to my apartment and employed the masterful art of papier maché.
Taking stacks of newspaper, glue and water, I skipped my high school semi-formal dance to give my girl some skin. Oddly, I started to feel my fondness for Barbie return, now not as a plaything but as a tool to reveal the negative body image that she promotes. As I papier machéd, I couldn't forget Barbie's impressive bust and blew up balloons over and over again to achieve a perfect 39" measurement. Once her chest was secured, I spent hours dipping and smoothing the paper, and later mixed paints to replicate her seemingly perfect white skin tone. With a little hard work and a lot of time, a headless, footless and handless body soon stood in my apartment.
But it was then I became stumped. I couldn't figure out how to recreate the recognizable face of the Barbie we all know and love. With NEDAW just around the corner, I was panicked. On my way to get office supplies, I drove by a Toys 'R' Us, and that's when it hit me. Remember that Barbie with just shoulders and a head, meant for you to practice brushing her hair? I confidently walked into the toy store for the first time since I was a kid. I found the Barbie head, found a friend to assemble that head, and clothed Barbie for her first debut.
I dressed Barbie in my old clothes. The skirt she still has on today is a reminder of who I once was. That skirt, a size double zero, used to slip off my waist when I was struggling with anorexia. I put it on Barbie to serve as a reminder that the way Barbie looks, the way I once looked, is not healthy and is not "normal," whatever normal might mean. My Barbie's role is simple. She grabs the attention of apathetic onlookers and makes them think and talk about an issue that thrives in silence. In the last four years, Barbie has surpassed my expectations, attracting attention and sparking conversation among listeners and readers across the nation.
Once a year, at the end of February, Barbie comes out of the closet to meet my friends, strangers, and those apathetic onlookers. During NEDAW, she reminds people that eating disorders and body image issues are serious and prevalent. Holding an awareness week in high school or college is just one way to get students to discuss these important issues. However, constant discussion and education is key to dealing with and overcoming eating disorders.
Despite her bizarre appearance, Barbie provides something that many advocacy efforts lack. She reminds of something we once loved, while showing us the absurdity of our obsession with perfection.
More "Get Real, Barbie" statistics:*
• There are two Barbie dolls sold every second in the world.
• The target market for Barbie doll sales is young girls ages 3-12 years of age.
• A girl usually has her first Barbie by age 3, and collects a total of seven dolls during her childhood.
• Over a billion dollars worth of Barbie dolls and accessories were sold in 1993, making this doll big business and one of the top 10 toys sold.
• If Barbie were an actual women, she would be 5'9" tall, have a 39" bust, an 18" waist, 33" hips and a size 3 shoe.
• Barbie calls this a "full figure" and likes her weight at 110 lbs.
• At 5'9" tall and weighing 110 lbs, Barbie would have a BMI of 16.24 and fit the weight criteria for anorexia. She likely would not menstruate.
• If Barbie was a real woman, she'd have to walk on all fours due to her proportions.
• Slumber Party Barbie was introduced in 1965 and came with a bathroom scale permanently set at 110 lbs with a book entitled "How to Lose Weight" with directions inside stating simply "Don't eat."
For more information, call the South Shore Eating Disorders Collaborative at 508-230-1732 or visit the National Eating Disorders Association at www.nationaleatingdisorders.org.
* Source: Body Wars, Margo Maine, Ph.D., Gurze Books, 2000.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Obama caught on audio slamming GOP By Rachel Rose Hartman
Yesterday, President Obama delivered some of his harshest criticism yet of his recent battle with Republicans to fund the government.
However, Obama may not have intended for everybody to hear him.
While listening to an audio feed from a Chicago fundraiser Thursday night, CBS News reporter Mark Knoller heard Obama speaking with donors after other reporters had left the room. That's when the president really opened up about his disdain for the recent GOP pushback:
"I said, 'You want to repeal health care? Go at it. We'll have that debate. But you're not going to be able to do that by nickel-and-diming me in the budget. You think we're stupid?'" the president said.
Obama also complained about GOP attempts to attach a bill to the resolution to fund the government that would defund women's health services provider Planned Parenthood.
"Put it in a separate bill," the president said he told House Speaker John Boehner and his staff, CBS reported. "We'll call it up. And if you think you can overturn my veto, try it. But don't try to sneak this through."
The president also made clear he is no fan of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the GOP's Budget Committee chairman.
"When Paul Ryan says his priority is to make sure... he's just being America's accountant and trying to be responsible-- this is the same guy that voted for two wars that were unpaid for, voted for the Bush tax cuts that were unpaid for, voted for the prescription drug bill that cost as much as my health care bill--but wasn't paid for," Obama said.
N. Jerin Arifa
National NOW Board of Directors
National NOW Young Feminist Task Force, Chair
NOW – NYS Young Feminist Task Force, Chair
National Organization for Women (NOW)
Friday, April 15, 2011