March Madness! News Edition

Featured photo from Orlando Gutierrez on Unsplash.

Good evening and happy post-St. Patty’s Monday!  We hope everyone felt super lucky this past weekend!  If you spent too much time going green and not enough time keeping current, do not fret.  @EndlessRipples and I are here to update you on this week’s feminist progress, chaos, and everything in between.


Off-campus housing company The Retreat faces reported ableism:  Gregory Mather, a senior psychology major who lives with chronic pain, reported ableist experiences to The Breeze.  Mather expressed frustration at The Retreat for incorrectly towing his car twice, neglecting to prevent neighbors from parking in his handicapped space, and acting with indifference (and even disbelief) towards his disability.  The Retreat is being accused of not adhering to the Americans with Disabilities Act and could face legal action in the future. So, what do we think? How does Mather’s experience tie into larger issues of oppression and gaslighting towards differently abled students?  In what ways can The Retreat hold themselves accountable and prevent these issues in the future?


Harrisonburg hosts successful Women’s Day March: Harrisonburg has an annual Women’s Day Event. Woman from all different backgrounds come together and march from City Hall and gather at Court Square to hear speakers discuss the importance of women locally and internationally. Among these speakers were Cynthia Prieto, the Principal of Harrisonburg High School, and Deanna Reed, Harrisonburg’s first African American female mayor. After the speeches follows a banquet. This event has been around for 5 years and continues to grow.


House Judiciary Committee votes on VAWA reauthorization:  The Violence Against Women Act, which expired during Trump’s border wall government shutdown, is up for reauthorization.  It now includes language that would increase protections for LGBTQ+ communities, especially transgender women, who experience extremely high rates of sexual violence.  Although the Judiciary Committee passed the vote along party lines, bitter negotiations are expected once the vote goes to the floor. Specifically, Democrats and Republicans hold different views on whether gender-specific domestic violence shelters should house trans women alongside cisgender women and children.  We want to know- how can the government protect all survivors of power-based violence? Do legislators have genuine concerns about housing trans women in shelters, or is the concern misguided or ill intentioned?


Incarcerated VA women allege dangerously poor medical treatment: In January, a federal judge ruled that the Virginia Dept. of Corrections was not upholding its obligations to provide medical care to women incarcerated at the Fluvanna Correctional Center.  The judge ordered changes, but VDOC is fighting the decision. VDOC medical workers didn’t follow post-surgery instructions for Tina Smith, an incarcerated woman. Their negligence resulted in Bell’s palsy, a condition that paralyzes muscles on one side of the face.  Another incarcerated woman, Julie Payne, was requested emergency care due to a swollen, oozing lump on her breast. VDOC denied the request. Doctors later diagnosed Payne with MRSA. “They seem to ignore it. Like we’re dumb or don’t know what we’re talking about (with) our own health,” she said. “It feels like (the women) are being seen and not heard at all.” -Julie Payne


Alabama court makes threatening abortion ruling: An Alabama man by the name of Ryan Magers filed a lawsuit against  the manufacturer of the pill his ex-girlfriend used to end her 6-week pregnancy and the clinic that supplied it. Mager states, “I’m here for the men who actually want to have their baby.” He goes on to say, “It was just like my whole world fell apart. I believe every child from conception is a baby and deserves to live.”  Frank Barger, Madison County Probate Judge states “Baby Roe” is indeed a person and allows plaintiff Ryan Magers to name the fetus as a co-plaintiff in the suit for “wrongful death.” This case has the potential to create a really scary and lasting legal precedent nationwide.


Madrid study establishes domestic violence guidelines for police: Police in Madrid, Spain are planning to increase protections for survivors of domestic violence following analysis of results from a comprehensive study.  The changes will include observation of men listed as “medium” risk, taking online threats more seriously, and investigating potential harm to children when minors are living with a threatened caregiver.  The study comes at a time of reckoning for Spain and Latin America, when the “Ni una menos” movement has brought higher levels of attention to femicide. Let’s connect- can we compare Spain’s attitude towards intimate partner violence with American attitudes? How could Harrisonburg police increase protections?  What sort of studies are needed for American law enforcement to improve practices?


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