last updated: Thu, 19 Oct 2017 19:31:32 -0400
Everyone has a bad day at work now and then. But if you have one of these 15 Most Stressful Jobs in the World, even one bad day can get you or someone else killed. From EMT to Coal Miner to Ice Road Trucker, these are the jobs that will keep you up at nights!
last updated: Sun, 28 Aug 2016 22:01:00 GMT
Canal jumper released on bail
AN 18-year-old man who jumped into a canal at Surfers Paradise to avoid being arrested by police on Wednesday night has been granted bail.
last updated: Fri, 20 Oct 2017 09:59:46 -0400
last updated: Mon, 20 Jun 2016 09:41:00 GMT
Response from Eddie, AFL not nearly enough
THERE'S so much wrong about the Eddie McGuire-James-Brayshaw-Danny Frawley pack mentality attack of Caroline Wilson. As was the AFL's insipid response on Monday.
Secret tape not the only talking point
THE reasons behind a decision to release a secret expletive-laden recording of former Chief Justice Tim Carmody are almost as juicy as the tape is expected to be.
last updated: Sat, 21 Oct 2017 13:15:48 +0000
How People Inside Facebook Are Reacting To The Company's Election Crisis
Many employees feel like they're part of an unjust narrative that's spiraled out of control.
U.S. warns public about attacks on energy, industrial firms
(Reuters) - The U.S government issued a rare public warning about hacking campaigns targeting energy and industrial firms, the latest evidence that cyber attacks present an increasing threat to the power industry and other public infrastructure.
last updated: Sat, 21 Oct 2017 13:16:03 -0400
Gold Star Dad Attacked By Trump Hasn’t Given Up On The American Dream
College Says Its Response to Flyer Urging LGBT Students to Kill Themselves Was ‘Inadequate’
A flyer at Cleveland State University had urged LGBT students to kill themselves
(CLEVELAND) — Cleveland State University says it will create an advisory committee and offer more sensitivity training after officials were criticized for their response to a flyer that urged LGBT students to kill themselves.
The school said Friday in a statement that its initial response had been “inadequate” and left students and staff feeling “unsafe, unheard and unvalued.”
“Hate has no place in our community. It never will,” the statement said. “We unwaveringly value our marginalized students, faculty and staff.”
The flyer appeared on a bulletin board Oct. 12, the same day a new LGBT center opened on campus. It urged LGBT students to “follow” those who had killed themselves and showed a silhouette of a man hanging from a noose. It contained a gay slur.
The flyer was taken down but officials said at the time it would have been allowed to stay if the unknown people behind it had followed school posting procedures.
University president Ronald Berkman originally said the school was committed to upholding free speech rights instead of explicitly condemning the flyer.
“We will continue to protect free speech to ensure all voices may be heard and to promote a civil discourse where educational growth is the desired result,” Berkman said at the time.
The school’s response angered students and provoked protests, petitions, and a tense, crowded town hall meeting where students spoke about LGBT people they knew who took their own lives.
Peter Sherman, a 23-year-old gay Cleveland State theater major, says he participated in the protests and town hall session because he believes the school should ban flyers urging students to kill themselves.
“People are free to believe whatever they want, but free speech doesn’t protect incitements to violence,” Sherman told The Associated Press on Friday. “Asking people to commit suicide is an incitement to violence.”
The controversy comes as universities across the country struggle to balance concerns over freedom of speech while ensuring campus safety following a violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Officials at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland said Thursday that such flyers would be prohibited on their campus and should be considered a violent threat against students.
Mike Brickner, policy director at the Ohio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the flyer should be considered protected speech because it didn’t target specific individuals, but that it raised novel questions about the legality of speech that encourages suicide. Brickner said it echoed the controversial case of Michelle Carter, a Massachusetts woman convicted of involuntary manslaughter in August after she sent her boyfriend text messages urging him to kill himself.
“That has opened up a dangerous concept. We start to walk down the path of criminalizing speech in that way,” Brickner said. “It’s a question courts may continue to grapple with.”
The debate has left many students feeling torn. School newspaper editor Katie Hobbins, 22, says that as a journalist, she sympathizes with free speech advocates, but that as a bisexual woman, she feels threatened.
“Because it is a first amendment issue, they can’t take that down, but it also pains me that there’s nothing the universities can do on that matter,” Hobbins said.
All 5 Living Former U.S. Presidents to Attend Hurricane Relief Concert
The concert will raise money for Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
(AUSTIN) — All five living former U.S. presidents will be attending a concert Saturday night in a Texas college town, raising money for relief efforts from hurricane devastation in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Democrats Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and Republicans George H.W. and George W. Bush are putting aside politics in contrast with President Donald Trump, who has vowed to help Texas and Florida for as long as it takes but has criticized Puerto Rican leaders while suggesting aid there won’t be unlimited. Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria, which made landfall after Harvey and Irma had battered other areas.
Having so much ex-presidential power in one place is unusual. George H.W. Bush spokesman Jim McGrath said all five of Saturday night’s attendees haven’t been together since the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library in Dallas in 2013, when Obama was still in office. He didn’t answer a question about whether Trump was formally invited.
The concert features the country music band Alabama, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer ‘Soul Man’ Sam Moore, gospel legend Yolanda Adams and Texas musicians Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen. It’s happening at Texas A&M University’s Reed Arena in College Station, home to the presidential library of the elder Bush. At 93, he has a form of Parkinson’s disease and uses a motorized scooter or a wheelchair for mobility, though he participated in the coin flip at February’s Super Bowl in his hometown of Houston.
George W. Bush was Texas governor before leaving for the White House and now lives in Dallas.
There is precedent for former presidents joining forces for post-disaster fundraising. George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton raised money together after the 2004 South Asia tsunami and Hurricane Katrina the next year. Clinton and George W. Bush combined to seek donations after Haiti’s 2011 earthquake.
“It’s certainly a triple, if not a home run, every time,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston. “Presidents have the most powerful and prolific fundraising base of any politician in the world. When they send out a call for help, especially on something that’s not political, they can rake in big money.”
Amid criticism that his administration was initially slow to aid storm-ravaged Puerto Rico, Trump accused island leaders of “poor leadership,” and later tweeted that, “Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes” while saying that Federal Emergency Management Agency, first-responders and military personnel wouldn’t be able to stay there forever.
But Rottinghaus said those attending Saturday’s concert were always going to be viewed more favorably since polling consistently shows that “any ex-president is seen as less polarizing than the current president.”
“They can’t get away from the politics of the moment,” he said of current White House occupants. “Ex-presidents are able to step back and be seen as the nation’s grandfather.”
Hurricane Harvey slammed into Texas’ Gulf Coast as a Category 4 hurricane on Aug. 25, eventually unleashing historic flooding in Houston and killing more than 80 people. Shortly thereafter, all five ex-presidents appeared in a commercial for a fundraising effort known as “One America Appeal.” In it, George W. Bush says, “People are hurting down here.” His father, George H.W. Bush, then replies, “We love you, Texas.”
A website accepting donations, OneAmericaAppeal.org, was created with 100 percent of proceeds pledged to hurricane relief.
Hurricane Irma subsequently hit Florida and Hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico, while both affected the U.S. Virgin Islands. Organizers expanded the fundraising campaign to help those storm victims, too.
‘We Have Someone Terrorizing the Neighborhood.’ Autistic Man’s Death Could Be Linked to Other Killings
‘We have someone terrorizing the neighborhood’
(TAMPA, Fla.) — Police believe the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old autistic man who took the wrong bus home from work on Thursday night is linked to two other suspicious deaths in a Florida neighborhood.
The deaths, which took place in the same neighborhood over the past 10 days, prompted Tampa police to warn residents in the Seminole Heights neighborhood not to walk alone at night. And they’ve asked residents to leave porch light and other external lights on at night.
“Now we have someone terrorizing the neighborhood,” Interim Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan said during a Friday news conference.
He said the three victims have no ties to one another. Dugan asked the public to look at surveillance video of a man who was walking in the area on Oct. 9 when Benjamin Mitchell, 22, was killed. On Oct. 13, Monica Caridad Hoffa, 32, was found dead in a vacant lot.
On Thursday night, officers were patrolling in the area when they heard gunshots. Dugan said they rushed to the area, where they found Anthony Taino Naiboa dead on the sidewalk, about 100 yards (91 meters) from where one of the other victims was killed.
“You can imagine the frustration of these officers to hear gunshots and not be able to find this person,” Dugan said. “He was in the prime of his life and was taken instantly.”
He said Naiboa’s parents became worried Thursday and called police when he didn’t come home.
Investigators have few leads. Officers have blanketed the neighborhood, are talking to residents and showing them the video of the man walking.
“It’s clear to me that they’re all linked,” Dugan said. “I’m convinced we are going to catch this person. It’s frustrating and it makes me angry they are able to vanish so quickly.”
He said the FBI and the Hillsborough and Pinellas county sheriff’s officials have pledged support.
Lawmaker Draws Backlash After Asking If HIV Patients Could Be ‘Legally’ Quarantined
"What are we legally able to do?"
A Georgia lawmaker who is married to former U.S. health and human services secretary Tom Price drew backlash after she inquired if HIV patients could be “legally” quarantined to stop the spread of the virus.
“What are we legally able to do? I don’t want to say the quarantine word, but I guess I just said it,” State Rep. Betty Price (R -Roswell) asked Tuesday during a study committee meeting on barriers to adequate health care, which was live streamed online.
Price worked as a anesthesiologist for 20 years and has served on the boards of multiple medical associations in Atlanta and the state of Georgia, according to her legislative biography.
“Is there an ability, since I would guess that public dollars are expended heavily in prophylaxis and treatment of this condition, so we have a public interest in curtailing the spread,” Price went on. “Are there any methods, legally, that we could do that would curtail the spread?
“It seems to me it’s almost frightening the number of people who are living that are potentially carriers, well they are carriers, with the potential to spread, whereas in the past they died more readily and then at that point they are not posing a risk, Price added.
The lawmaker’s comments prompted criticism online.
“Outrageous is an understatement,” former first daughter Chelsea Clinton tweeted.
Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, told Stat News that Price’s comments were “incredibly disturbing” and shows that HIV can still have a stigma similar to the fear surrounding the disease during its initial outbreak in the 1980s.
“It’s very troubling to hear comments like that,” Graham said. “It shows the amount of work that still needs to happen to educate elected officials on the reality of the lives of people living with HIV.
“I’m hoping Rep. Price would be open to sitting down, meeting with folks, hearing how those comments sound, and recognizing that’s not the direction we need to go in,” he added.
Suspect Arrested in Munich Knife Attack That Injured 8
No one was seriously hurt in the incident, and police do not believe it was an act of terrorism
(BERLIN) — A man with a knife attacked eight people in Munich on Saturday and then fled, police said. The suspected assailant, a local German already known to police for theft and other offenses, was arrested a few hours later.
No one was seriously hurt in the attack that started at around 8.30 a.m. in the Haidhausen area, east of downtown Munich. Police said they believe it was not a terror attack, they suspect instead that the assailant had psychological problems.
The lone attacker apparently went after passers-by indiscriminately with a knife, police said. He attacked eight people in all, including a 12-year-old child, at different sites. They mainly had superficial stab wounds and in at least one case had been hit.
About three hours later, police arrested a man matching a description they had issued based on witness reports. They said he was heavy, unshaven with short blond hair and had a black bicycle and a backpack.
The 33-year-old suspect, who was carrying a knife when he was arrested, was already known to police for bodily harm, drug offenses and theft, city police chief Hubertus Andrae told reporters.
The suspect didn’t immediately give police any information on his motive.
“There are absolutely no indications at present of a terrorist, political or religious background, though we can only rule things out when all the questioning is finished,” Andrae said. “Rather than that, we believe that the perpetrator had psychological problems.”
He said police have “no serious doubts” that the suspect was the assailant, and that there was no longer any danger to the public.
Trump Responds After Congresswoman Says White House Is ‘Full of White Supremacists’
Trump called Frederica Wilson "wacky"
(WASHINGTON) — Unwilling to put the tussling behind, President Donald Trump on Saturday jabbed back at the Democratic lawmaker who has slammed him for his words of condolence to a military widow, calling Rep. Frederica Wilson “wacky” and contending she is “killing” her party.
Trump’s broadside came a day after the White House defended chief of staff John Kelly after he mischaracterized Wilson’s remarks and called her an “empty barrel” making noise. A Trump spokeswoman said it was “inappropriate” to question Kelly in light of his stature as a retired four-star general.
The fight between Trump and the Miami-area Democrat began Tuesday said Trump told the pregnant widow of a service member killed in the African nation of Niger that her 25-year-old husband “knew what he signed up for.” Wilson was riding with the family of family of Sgt. La David Johnson to meet the body and heard the call on speakerphone.
The administration has attempted to insist that it’s long past time to end the political squabbling over Trump’s compassion for America’s war dead.
But Trump added to the volley of insults with his tweet on Saturday morning: “I hope the Fake News Media keeps talking about Wacky Congresswoman Wilson in that she, as a representative, is killing the Democrat Party!” That came after she had added a new element by suggesting a racial context.
His tweet came hours before mourners were to attend Johnson’s funeral in a suburb of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Kelly asserted that the congresswoman had delivered a 2015 speech at an FBI field office dedication in which she “talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building,” rather than keeping the focus on the fallen agents for which it was named. Video of the speech contradicted his recollection.
Wilson, in an interview Friday with The New York Times, brought race into the dispute.
“The White House itself is full of white supremacists,” said Wilson, who is black, as is the Florida family Trump had called in a condolence effort this week that led to the back-and-forth name calling.
Trump, in an interview with Fox Business Network, then called Wilson’s criticism of Kelly “sickening.” He also said he had had a “very nice call,” with the late sergeant’s family.
The spat started when Wilson told reporters that Trump had insulted the family of Johnson, who was killed two weeks ago in Niger. She was fabricating that, Trump said. The soldier’s widow and aunt said no, it was the president who was fibbing.
Then Kelly strode out in the White House briefing room on Thursday, backing up the president and suggesting Wilson was just grandstanding — as he said she had at the FBI dedication in 2015.
After news accounts took issue with part of that last accusation, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders chastised reporters for questioning the account of a decorated general.
“If you want to go after General Kelly, that’s up to you,” she said. “But I think that if you want to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general, I think that that’s something highly inappropriate.”
Video of the FBI office dedication in Miami, from the archives of South Florida’s Sun-Sentinel, shows that Wilson never mentioned the building’s funding, though she did recount at length her efforts to help name the building in honor of the special agents.
That did nothing to deter Sanders, who said “If you’re able to make a sacred act like honoring American heroes about yourself, you’re an empty barrel.”
Sanders also used a dismissive Southwest rancher’s term, calling Wilson, who often wears elaborate hats, “all hat and no cattle.”
Wilson was in the car with the family of Johnson, who died in an Oct. 4 ambush that killed four American soldiers in Niger, when Trump called to express his condolences on Tuesday. She said in an interview that Trump had told Johnson’s widow that “you know that this could happen when you signed up for it … but it still hurts.” Johnson’s aunt, who raised the soldier from a young age, said the family took that remark to be disrespectful.
The Defense Department is investigating the details of the Niger ambush, in which Islamic militants on motorcycles brought rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns, killing the four and wounding others. The FBI said it is assisting, as it has in the past when American citizens are killed overseas.
Sanders said Friday that if the “spirit” in which Trump’s comments “were intended were misunderstood, that’s very unfortunate.”
Donald Trump Plans to Allow Release of ‘Long Blocked and Classified’ JFK Files
Trump says he doesn't plan to block the scheduled release
(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump says he doesn’t plan to block the scheduled release of thousands of never publicly seen government documents related to President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
Trump says in a tweet that “Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened.”
The National Archives has until next Thursday to disclose the remaining files related to Kennedy’s 1963 assassination.
But Trump could have blocked the release on the grounds that making the material public would harm intelligence, law enforcement, military operations or foreign relations.
The documents include more than 3,000 that have never been seen by the public and more than 30,000 that have been previously released, but with redactions.
Spain Takes Control of Catalonia, Pushing a Crisis Into Higher Gear
Spain has acted upon Article 155
Carles Puigdemont woke up this Saturday morning as president of Catalonia, but by lunchtime, he was out of a job. For the first time in its nearly 40 years of democracy, Spain has acted upon Article 155, the provision in its constitution that permits it to revoke powers from autonomous regions during times of crisis. And as Puigdemont knows better than anyone, Catalonia is nothing if not a crisis.
Three weeks after a referendum on secession that was banned by the Spanish constitution, but nonetheless brought more than 2 million to the polls to vote, Catalonia’s — and Spain’s — moment of truth has arrived.
Although those who turned out to cast ballots (only 43% of eligible voters) resoundingly supported independence, Catalans today saw their self-determination dramatically diminished, rather than increased. Once the measures that Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy proposed this morning are approved by the senate, the region will be under direct Spanish rule.
Not that Rajoy put it like that exactly.
“We are not suspending the autonomy or the self-government of Catalonia,” he said at a press conference after a cabinet meeting in which the measures were hammered out. “Rather, we are asking the Senate for the cessation [in power] of those persons who have put [Catalonia] outside the law.”
Those persons include Puigdemont, the vice president and the rest of his cabinet. In their places, Spanish ministries will assume their responsibilities until elections can be held sometime in the next six months — which, to many Catalans, sounds exactly like the suspension of their autonomy.
“They’re doing away with the government, they’re rescinding nearly all of its powers. That’s a textbook suspension of autonomy,” says Ferran Requejo, professor of political science at Barcelona’s Pompeu Fabra University. “It’s a coup d’etat from within.”
Supporters of the prime minister’s decision, however, point out that Mr. Puigdemont refused requests that he repeal the independence bid, which is clearly illegal under the Spanish constitution, and that now he is facing the consequences of that refusal.
“In the past, whenever there were conflicts with the state over autonomy, Catalonia at least maintained what it had; it might gain more but it didn’t lose anything,” says José Ignacio Torreblanca, opinion editor of the newspaper El País. “That’s not necessarily the case anymore.”
Although the Spanish Senate must first approve the measures Rajoy proposed, two other parties, including the main opposition party, have expressed their support for the prime minister’s use of Article 155, and no obstruction is expected when the upper house convenes on Friday. Yet even with that resounding determination, the game of cat and mouse that has occupied the Spanish and Catalan governments is hardly over.
On Thursday, Puigdemont suggested in a letter to the prime minister that although the Catalan parliament had not declared independence yet, it may well do so were Article 155 invoked. As of this writing, he has not divulged what his next move will be, but the Spanish attorney general confirmed this morning that should Puigdemont go ahead with the declaration, he would be charged with rebellion — a graver crime than sedition and one punishable by 30 years in prison.
Whatever happens next, Catalonia’s options are diminishing.
Previously, some factions within the Catalan government were floating the idea that Puigdemont might call elections on his own, or form a new “concentrated” government that could project an image of unity as it amplifies its requests for dialogue. But if he is stripped of office, he will not be able to do either of those things.
The only thing that is for certain at this point is that Puigdemont and his cabinet will attend a rally Saturday afternoon to protest the imprisonment earlier this week of two leaders of the independence movement for sedition. If the caceroladas — the spontaneous banging of pots in protest — that broke out immediately following Rajoy’s speech are any indication, they will have plenty of support.
Meet the Women Who Are Breaking Glass Ceilings All Over the World in When Women Rule
Three women who went against the grain to become politicians
Women account for nearly half of the global population, but only one in four of the world’s current politicians are female. That number goes down to less than 7% when it applies to heads of government.
Jacinda Adern became New Zealand‘s youngest female prime minister on Oct. 19, but the world is a long way from the U.N. 2030 goal of equal participation for women in government. More radical steps are needed to reach that goal.
In an effort to understand the structural, legal and social barriers women face when entering public life, the Thomson Reuters Foundation followed three women who went against the grain to become politicians in the documentary When Women Rule.
Here’s more about them:
Peris Tobiko, Kenya
Tobiko became the first Maasai woman to be nominated into parliament in 2013 with the ruling Jubilee party. Kenya’s Maasai community, which is an ethnic group that live in the southern part of the country, is largely patriarchal and women struggle to find a voice. Around 78% of Maasai women have endured female genital mutilation (FGM), which Tobiko says has led to numerous deaths due to over-bleeding. “I feel like I need to protect the women, I need to protect the girls” the 48-year-old says of maternal deaths and FGM driving her to get into politics.
Aida Kasymalieva, Kyrgyzstan
The 33-year-old is the youngest female member of Kyrgyzstan parliament. The Central Asian country might be referred to as an ‘island of democracy’ due to its less democratic neighbors, but it suffers from entrenched patriarchal attitudes that has led to around 12,000 girls to be abducted and forced into marriage each year. “We have problems with domestic violence, kidnapping, child marriage” Kasymalieva says.
The country introduced statutory quotas in 2007 that requires a third of all political party candidates to be female. But Kasymalieva’s male colleagues show little interest in participating in parliamentary discussions tackling social, economic and political parity for women. “We need to work in different directions in order to get gender equality for girls” she says. “We should show them that they can work, they can be active, that they’re equal, same as men.”
Soledad Chapeton, Bolivia
Soledad Chapeton thwarted Edgar Patana, the incumbent and ruling party candidate, in 2015 to become the first female mayor in Bolivia’s most politically influential city, El Alto. Once in power, the 36-year-old challenged the status quo by an anti-graft drive in an attempt to right the wrongs done by her predecessor, who was jailed for corruption this July. Not everyone likes her new style and protestors— believed to be her opposition sympathizers— ransacked city hall in 2016, which led to the deaths of six civil servants. “I didn’t run my campaign based on the fact that I am a woman because I think men and women are equally able” she says. “But it’s not easy for a woman to enter political life. That’s for sure.”
This project was co-funded by the European Journalism Centre (EJC) via its Innovation in Development Reporting Grant Programme (www.journalismgrants.org). Watch the full documentary above.
I Posted a Graphic Selfie of My Beating to Tell the World #MeToo
“Get undressed!” the taxi driver demanded and gestured with a knife. He pulled over the deserted side of the highway with piles of construction rubble. I realized we had veered off course and ended up far on the desert road leading out of Cairo. I tried to get out of the car, but he had…
“Get undressed!” the taxi driver demanded and gestured with a knife. He pulled over the deserted side of the highway with piles of construction rubble. I realized we had veered off course and ended up far on the desert road leading out of Cairo. I tried to get out of the car, but he had locked the doors. He pulled back his driver’s seat and pinned me down with it, pressing hard on my chest. He then began head-butting me on the face. My vision blurred, but I did not lose consciousness. I fought back with the only thing I had in my hands, an iPhone. While hitting his temple as hard as I could with the corner of the phone I told him I had money in my purse and to let me go. “I don’t want your money,” he replied, and continued the beating.
Each time I halfway climbed out of the car, he grabbed me by the hair and dragged me back inside. After some struggle, I finally managed to crawl out of the cab completely. A passing car slowed down. Perhaps someone saw me. The offender then realized he might be getting caught and finally let me go. I did not catch the cab’s license plate as my main priority was to escape from the scene. I knew at the time that it would be impossible to punish the criminal. When I got home I looked at my face in the mirror, swollen and bloodied. Instinctively, I decided to photograph myself. I wanted to have a record of what had happened, a visual document.
I held on to the photograph and did not share it publicly. About a year after the incident in 2012, harrowing accounts of sexual abuse in Cairo’s streets began to gain wide coverage in the media. Female journalists and activists were harassed and raped on Tahrir Square during the uprising. Local activist groups organized an anti-abuse rally in downtown Cairo. In support of that rally I gathered strength and shared my photograph and the story along with it for the first time. I called on the women to keep their guard and encouraged people to join the movement in Cairo. Over 10,000 people reacted to the graphic image of my face. A kind of anti-selfie, it was shared several thousand times. Later on I decided to remove the image from Facebook. I felt that it had served its purpose by challenging the stigma around the issue and encouraging more people to speak up.
Five years since the incident, while reading the coverage of the Harvey Weinstein’s case, I catch myself thinking again: what constitutes a sex crime? On one end of the spectrum there is a violent offender who attempts rape by using sheer physical force. On the other is a sexual predator who abuses his power. Both to me are gradations of criminal behavior, whether it is an abuse perpetrated with physical force or by exerting mental pressure with influence and authority. Encouraged by the testimonies of so many women who came forward in #metoo campaign, I decided to re-post the image of my face.
Sexual abuse and harassment is a global, pervasive human epidemic and I did not mention Cairo in this latest post, because I did not want to make it about a specific place. It is endemic to all societies. I cannot think of a single female friend who has not experienced it to some degree. It begins early, at times even before we reach adolescence. Taking public transportation to school at age 9 in the Soviet Union, I distinctly remember being groped by men on the bus. I was force kissed by an older teenager in my school and saw girls being forcefully disrobed by boys during break time. I am a mother today and I shudder at the thought that something so reducing and humiliating could ever happen to my daughter.
There is still a great amount of stigma and shame that stands in our way. I have documented survivors of rape from the wars of Congo DRC and Bosnia, many refused to publicize their testimonies of abuse in fear of being stigmatized and I respect that. In the United States, I photographed survivors of repeated sexual abuse inside small and peaceful communities. In some cases it was perpetrated by family members at home, the safest place imaginable. Most women I spoke to were not able to prosecute the offenders, some even had to face them regularly at work or family gatherings, due to the culture of shame around the issue. They were discouraged from reporting the incidents, often by people close to them: parents, friends, relatives. As a result, the perpetrators remained unpunished and repeated their crimes. I became convinced that the social stigma is the most damaging phenomenon preventing these criminals from being caught and penalized.
Perhaps the ideal hashtag for my post should have been #notashamed. Since I published the picture of my battered face, once again, in defiance of social taboos, the reactions to the image have been varied. Many people, however, expressed compassion and sympathy. What I would have really liked to see more is an expression of outrage, anger, a call for action, a show of support, but not sadness and pity for the people, including myself, who I call survivors and not victims. I respect everyone’s privacy and personal choices, but I can also feel that one of the reasons why many people do not speak out is because they do not want to be portrayed as victims. I posted a gruesome photograph of myself that goes against the notion we all support on social media — projecting an image of success, happiness and fulfillment. Nobody wants to be seen suffering on Facebook, we want everyone to envy us, not pity us. Yet I recognize the power of social media as a platform for public discourse and hope that the picture will inspire a change in attitude. As a photographer I have met many brave survivors of sex crimes. They shared their stories with me and allowed me to photograph their faces, why should I treat myself differently? By putting ‘the face’ on the deed I do not just want people to be repulsed by the crime it documents, I want them to feel less ashamed.