sexual assault

Since this past weekend, women and men have been sharing their accounts of sexual violence with the hashtag #MeToo. While many assumed the movement started with actor Alyssa Milano's tweet about Hollywood producer/mogul and alleged sex offender Harvey Weinstein, some are pointing out that a black woman named Tarana Burke used the same terminology for a project also mean to address sexual assault.

Before last week, the Brooklyn-based punk band PWR BTTM was widely regarded as a promising, emerging rock act. Its two members, Ben Hopkins and Liv Bruce, both of whom identify as gender non-binary, had made a name with catchy songs that, in part, celebrate those identities, bolstered by actions such as requesting gender-neutral bathrooms be provided by venues where the band was booked to play. Last Wednesday, May 10, accusations of sexual assault against Hopkins began to circulate on social media.

Rachel Otwell

For over a year now, PWR BTTM has been my immediate family's most-listened-to band. I have head banged and twirled around my attic and living room countless times to their debut album with my child. Just Wednesday of this week I bought tickets for us to again see the duo perform in St. Louis over the summer. That will not be happening for us, in light of sexual assault allegations the band has gone public in acknowledging, as of Thursday. The tour might be canceled as the situation develops, but regardless I can't imagine going to see them perform again. 

Cody Duncum

U of I student and 22 year old singer/songwriter Emily Blue believes music has the power to heal and to educate. Herself a survivor of sexual assault - she devoted her new album, Another Angry Woman, to feminist issues and causes. The work includes interviews she did with friends about street harassment and other forms of sexism they face as females on a regular basis. What she earns from the record will be donated to the organization RACES, which stands for Rape Advocacy Counseling & Education Services,  in Champaign.

Screenshot - New York Times (Stephen Crowley)

If you watched Sunday night's presidential debate on television, chances are you caught a glimpse of Illinois' senior U.S. Senator in the audience. But his title is not why cameras turned in Dick Durbin's direction.

Before the debate began, Durbin says be noticed something curious. The row of seats just in front of his was empty: "I kept thinking: Why would they have an empty front row?"

Herwig Kavallar, Creative Commons

It can be scary for a victim of sexual abuse to have to testify about it in court; a state law taking effect in the New Year is meant to give them comfort. With it, children will be able to bring canine companions with them to court.

Illinois Department of Agriculture

Musical acts for the state fair were paid up front while the artist who sculpted the fair’s iconic butter cow is still waiting for her check. Meanwhile, an agency that helps survivors of sexual assault is in danger of closing as it waits for funding. 

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General Lisa Madigan pushed legislation calling for new policies to handle sexual assault cases on Illinois campuses. The bill was approved by both Houses in late May.

http://oiir.illinois.edu

University of Illinois officials say they will continue to convene meetings on the prevention of sexual assault on all three campuses. The group comprises about 20 people - including legal counsel, police, and women's rights advocates.

Dedra Williams is the Assistant VP for Academic Affairs at the University of Illinois, she says the goal is to ultimately shape effective policies: "If we need to make improvements, we want to be a leader and work with the legislators, with our campuses, and make a safe place for our students."

Did host Scott Simon unfairly—and sordidly—ambush Bill Cosby by raising rape charges in a Weekend Edition interview that was otherwise about art?

The 77-year old comedian and wife Camille—she was present—were being interviewed on air Saturday about the many pieces of art that they are lending to the Smithsonian Museum when Simon, at the end, changed the subject:

Sexual Assault: The Nationwide Campus Crisis Hits Home In Illinois

Nov 1, 2014

Veronica Portillo Heap became an advocate for sexual assault survivors as a sophomore at the University of Chicago. She got an email from a group of students organizing The UChicago Clothesline Project, which offers survivors a chance to tell their stories on T-shirts in an annual art installation. Portillo Heap was not a survivor herself, but she thought getting involved as an organizer with The Clothesline Project would be worth her time.