In our newsroom discussion on November 2nd, 2021, we discussed the feminist issues within recent news including sexual assault controversies in public schools, updates on the Texas abortion ban, and girls’ education after the Taliban. The stories we shared allowed for conversation and thought through a feminist lens.
New Virginia laws are under scrutiny amid a recent Loudoun County sexual assault controversy. The same teen was accused in two cases of assault that happened fives months apart from each other. The incidents took place at different high schools. The father of one of the victims has accused school officials of trying to cover up the incident. He claimed he was initially told it would be handled within the school, rather than reported to the police. This happened after the General Assembly passed a bill removing a requirement that a principal must report misdemeanor crimes to law enforcement, which can include sexual assault. Gov. Northam noted that the law was meant to remove requirements for low-level offenses that would give students criminal records and keep them from getting off track in their education. The father and other locals blamed it on new transgender policies, believing the attacker was pretending to identity as a transgender person to use the girl’s bathroom. This was not the case. Upon further investigation, it was a labeled as relationship violence. The students had been in a previously consensual relationship before the assualt had occured.
Justices on the Supreme Court appeared on November 1st to let abortion providers in Texas continue their challenge against the state’s strict abortion law. The Supreme Court heard two challenges to Texas’s six-week abortion rule, which was enacted on September 1st of 2021. Both United States v. Texas and Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson had their sides heard in the court. Several justices suggested that the federal courts have no authority to block a lawsuit against state court judges. Some argued that the law would allow all state legislatures to “pass laws invalidating other constitutional rights such as those related to same-sex marriage, gun ownership, and religious freedom.”. The justices must decide whether abortion providers in Texas and the Justice Department have the legal right to challenge the law in court. On December 1st, the Supreme Court will hear another abortion ban case (Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban).
At a speaking engagement the foreign minister of the Taliban, Amir Khan Mottaqi, avoided questions about girls’ education. He uses different reasoning to argue why girls should not have an education. One of the reasons being, “Cultural Appropriations,” claiming it goes against their traditions. Girls above grade 6 are not allowed to attend school and instead told to stay home until further notice. Additionally, women are only allowed to work in healthcare. The Asia Foundation did a survey in 2019 in support of educational rights, and the results were 86.6% in support of it. More surveys were done, and about 76% of people also supported women’s right to employment. With the Taliban, the little progress that was made when fighting for equal rights for women and girls, has regressed back in time.
Future Newsrooms: By posting these stories, future newsrooms can expand on sexual assualt cases in public school systems, the Texas abortion law, and access to education for girls globally. We also can expect to see more stories about abortion laws as more cases are brought to court. With upcoming weekly discussions, students can follow these stories and ones similar to stay educated with current feminist issues.