• Erich Schlegel/Corbis

    A Mother’s Anguish

    Silk Road Mom Learns Sad Truth About Son

    Lyn Ulbricht was like any other mother, worrying about her son Ross, what he wore at trial. But she couldn’t look at him as testimony laid bare his life as an alleged drug kingpin.

    The light pink shirt that Ross Ulbricht was wearing when he came into Manhattan federal court from the holding pen on Wednesday seemed to make his mom forget everything else for one wonderful moment.

    “It looks good,” she told him.

  • Sex traffickig victims, not prostitutes get help in court
    Andreas Rentz/Getty


    Sex Trafficking Victims Finally Get Help

    “I don’t believe anyone’s open to prostitution unless you’ve been traumatized or abused. You’d beg, you’d go on welfare, you’d shoplift, for goodness’ sake. These people need to be treated as victims.”

    Lillin was 14 years old when she was kidnapped from her Mount Vernon home. She was tied and handcuffed, and taken to Queens, where she was kept for a year and forced to have sex with her abductor. When she managed to escape and return to her conservative family, the cultural shame associated with what happened to her kept her father from going to the police.

    A few years later, Lillin was lured from her home by a friend with whom she used to do homework. The friend introduced Lillin to a man who turned out to be the friend’s pimp, who already had pictures of Lillin and her family. He threatened to kill them if Lillin didn’t turn tricks for him, and so she did, for over two years. In the ensuing years, Lillin has been arrested over 50 times for prostitution and has accumulated 12 convictions. She is now 22 years old.

  • 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.

  • Getty


    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.

  • Ned Dishman/Getty


    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.

  • Getty

    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
  • Giles Clarke/Getty

    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.”