• Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast


    I Was Gang Raped at a U-VA Frat

    In the same house where Rolling Stone's Jackie says she was. No one did anything about it until one of my rapists contacted me to apologize.

    I was gang-raped at the University of Virginia. I was gang raped at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house. 

    We are all left with questions and opinions in the exhausting wake of the now-infamous Rolling Stone article about campus sexual assault, and how victims are treated at the University of Virginia. 

  • Photo Illustration by Emil Lendof/The Daily Beast

    Undue Burden

    Jailed for Being Pregnant

    States like Wisconsin and Tennessee are handing down stiff jail time to mothers-to-be caught with drugs—far harsher penalties than for men caught in the same situation.

    Tamara Loertscher went to the Eau Claire Mayo Clinic in early August when she thought she was pregnant. The 30-year-old wanted to know for sure, but she also knew she needed help for the many other medical problems that had gone untreated since losing her insurance. Without insurance, she couldn’t pay for the medicine for the hypothyroidism she had suffered from since she was a teenager. On top of that, Loertscher struggled with depression. “I wanted to go for the health of my baby,” she says. According to Loertscher and her attorneys, that clinic visit would lead to her being locked up in jail, placed in solitary confinement, and threatened with a taser, all during the first months of her pregnancy.

    Tests at the clinic proved what she suspected: she was pregnant. Tests also showed that Loertscher had recently taken methamphetamines and marijuana. She freely admits that she was using both to self-medicate after she lost her insurance. However, Loertscher says she stopped using the drugs as soon as she suspected she was pregnant, even before the clinic confirmed it.

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    A Sexism Problem at The New York Times

    Alessandra Stanley, the ‘New York Times’ writer behind the paper’s much-mocked profile of Shonda Rhimes, has a long history of attacking prominent women in media.

    For days, New York Times columnist Alessandra Stanley has been mired in controversy. The coverage generated by her recent piece on television powerhouse and Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes has officially disproved the age-old adage “all press is good press.” Stanley has inspired countless articles, blog posts and tweets that have accused her of being a sloppy journalist at best, a racist at worse. (Even her own publication, The New York Times, issued a stinging critique.) While the column offended different people for different reasons, most were upset with her opening line: “When Shonda Rhimes writes her autobiography, it should be called ‘How to Get Away With Being an Angry Black Woman.’ ”

    When I finally got a chance to read the piece in question, I was somewhat surprised by the firestorm. Not because I didn’t understand how some might perceive Stanley’s words as offensive, but because I was surprised anyone else would be surprised that she wrote them. Many of Stanley’s most memorable pieces have followed a predictable formula: write about a powerful woman, but do so in an unflattering way that takes her down a peg. Rhimes just happens to be the latest target.

  • The Daily Beast

    Deep Pockets

    NRA Pissed Off the Wrong Nerd Genius

    Billionaire Michael Bloomberg already had the gun lobby in his sights. Now Bill Gates is donating $1 million for universal background checks—and there’s more where that came from.

    Somewhere in a large glass tower in Northern Virginia, there’s a guy who runs guns with a French name having a bad day. With good reason.

    It was reported Monday that Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder and incredibly wealthy guy, and with his wife, Melinda, have given $1 million to Initiative 594 in Washington state. The ballot initiative, if passed by voters on November 4 (and it currently enjoys overwhelming support), will require universal background checks for all firearm purchases in the state.

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    Women’s Sports Are Getting Less Airtime

    Thanks to Title IX, more American women are playing sports than ever before—so why is coverage of women’s sports actually declining?

    My son doesn’t think women can play sports. He’s five. Who taught him this?

    When I looked around to point the finger at the forces corrupting my child, I was surprised when my search led right back to us: We love to watch sports on TV. And on TV women athletes wear a cloak of invisibility.

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    Scare Tactics

    Duggar Mom Makes Transphobic Calls

    The “19 Kids and Counting” star and religious conservative is fear-mongering to block an ordinance that would allow transgendered individuals to use gender-specific bathrooms.

    Michelle Duggar, the proud mama on TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting and prominent member of the Baptist church, is using her celebrity to foster transphobia.

    On Monday, Dugger narrated a robocall to local voters in Fayetteville, Arkansas protesting an anti-discrimination bill that would allow transgender individuals to use bathrooms and other gender-specific facilities as they feel comfortable.

  • Nancy Palmieri/AP

    Kangaroo Courts

    Is UMass Biased Against Male Students?

    Two new lawsuits say the University of Massachusetts at Amherst is overzealous in its prosecution and punishment of male students in Title IX assault hearings.

    The University of Massachusetts at Amherst was one of the first of 55 institutes of higher education declared to be under investigation for Title IX violations over the way it handled sexual violence and assault. As a result, its ability to protect victims has been under intense scrutiny. However, two lawsuits against the university filed by male students who were expelled for misconduct—one for sexual, the other physical—alleged that the school struggles just as much to deliver justice for the accused. 

    Although the two complaints were filed completely separately—months apart by different lawyers—and both deal with different kinds of abuse charges, the school's alleged treatment of the accused students appears strikingly similar. Both lawsuits allege that the school violated Title IX in its dealings with male students. Both allege that UMass denied accused male students the right to present key testimony or ask essential questions at their disciplinary panels. Both tell stories of male students who were already presumed guilty by university administrators.

  • Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

    ‘Teen Mom’ Effect?

    Unwed Women Are Having Fewer Babies

    Hear that, family values warriors? The upward trend in the birth rate for unmarried mothers has reversed—dropping 14 percent, according to a new CDC report.

    In recent years, the Internet has nearly buckled under the weight of think pieces dedicated to explaining the rise of the unmarried mother. And for good reason. The birth rate to unmarried mothers has, with a few pauses, steadily climbed since the 1940s.

    But as a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows, the most recent upward trend, begun in 2002, seems to have reversed, in the steepest decline ever recorded, dropping 14 percent from its 2007 peak, to 44.8 per 1,000 women of childbearing age (15-44). The number of births to unwed mothers also dropped 7 percent, to approximately 1.6 million, from 2012 to 2013. Mostly women under 30 years old drove the declines. Hispanic and black women saw the biggest drops.

  • Showtime/Magical Elves


    Mississippi Is Hell for These Lesbians

    What’s most shocking about Showtime’s chilling documentary ‘L Word Mississippi’ is that these lesbians see themselves—as the rest of the Bible Belt does—as sinners.

    From the opening scene, L Word Mississippi is on a mission to show that the relatively accepting and glamorous West Hollywood lesbian scene is not reality for most.

    “How is being a lesbian in Mississippi different from what you see on TV?”

  • Mike Theiler/Reuters


    Justice Ginsburg: Court Fails Women

    While embracing gay rights.

    While gay rights charge full-force ahead, women's equality is stagnant, if not backwards, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says. While the court is using language of "equal dignity" in recent rulings supporting same-sex couples, gender cases rarely get the same consideration of equality. The court has yet to embrace "the ability of women to decide for themselves what their destiny will be," she said in a law school speech last week.

    Read it at The New York Times
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    Crisis at the border

    ‘We Cannot Return to Guatemala’

    Conservatives are blaming the immigration crisis on the president, but one mother who crossed the border says she’s never heard of Obama’s laws—she just wants to save her children.

    SAN DIEGO — “No podemos volver a Guatemala. We cannot return to Guatemala,” Elvina tells me. She’s just arrived at Border Angels, a local San Diego charity, with three of her four children. Her eldest son, an 18-year-old, is being held separately as an adult in a detention center. He may have already been deported back to Guatemala; Elvina has no way to find him or contact him.

    She tells me about the amenaza de muerte—the death threats—that keep her from wanting to return home.  “Los mareros”—the notorious MS-13 gang—“threatened us. They beat up my husband. They wanted my sons to join their gang.”

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    Feminism 3.0

    Whither the Women’s Movement?

    Despite massive gains in the 20th century, the women’s movement has reached a stalemate in the 21st. How to move forward?

    William Barnett, my paternal grandfather, came to America in 1910, and became a union organizer with the International Cap Makers Union.  Although William was enamored with his newly-found freedoms in America, and angered by the horrendous working conditions of his fellow laborers, my grandmother Lottie was not amused.  With four children living in a tenement on the Lower East Side in two tiny rooms, Lottie knew that the only way they could stay in their adopted country was to earn a paycheck.  And when William was eventually blacklisted due to his union involvement, the situation became desperate. 

    Lottie believed, as an Orthodox Jew, that the next thing that happened was divine intervention.  She found two $ 20 dollar bills in the communal washrooms, moved the family to Canada, and advised my grandfather that he was welcome to join only if he intended to stop organizing and get a real job.  Their children became doctors and businesswomen, but all were infused with a sense of justice for the millions who remained in the poverty that their family once knew.

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    Girls Love Science. We Tell Them Not To.

    A recent article argued that ‘biology and nature sway females away from science.’ Not so fast.

    How do we get more women involved in science? This is an important and complex topic, but to some, it seems like an unnecessary question. They point to equal treatment under law and policies against discrimination. The opportunities are there, it’s just up to women to take them!

    Or maybe they won’t, because as Mary Kenny recently wrote in The Telegraph, perhaps “females as a whole, are not hugely engaged by science.”