The Week in Women: Grace under fire, mommy cheerleaders and groomless weddings

Brides Halbast Khalili, 21, (L), and Mezgin Murat, 21, (C), during a wedding reception without their grooms on November 11, 2015 in Qamishli, Syria. (John Moore/Getty Images)

When it comes to this week’s news cycle, it was all in the family. Moms, daughters, husbands, and girlfriends dominated headlines over the past few days. Let’s take a look back, shall we?

The U.S. has been rocked by multiple deadly incidents of gunfire, both by and against police, after two black men were killed by police officers, and five police officers were fatally shot at a demonstration. Amid the violence, one mom and one victim’s girlfriend showed remarkable poise. Diamond Reynolds expressed outrage and grief over the death of her boyfriend Philander Castile, who was shot four times by a police officer during a traffic stop in Minnesota, and died by her side. Reynolds broadcast live video on Facebook of the moments just after Castile had been shot, footage that quickly went viral and has caused national outrage. Shetamia Taylor of Garland, Texas was hit by sniper fire, aimed at police, during an otherwise peaceful protest in Dallas against brutality. When the violence broke out, Taylor dove in front of one of her sons to shield him from the gunfire, and was shot in the calf. She is expected to make a full recovery.

Elsewhere, a 33-year-old woman posed as her teenage daughter so she could enroll in high school classes in Green Bay, Wisconsin, according to a feature in The Atlantic. In her first interview since being arrested for identity theft, Wendy Brown told the magazine that her tenure as a high school track star was cut short when she became pregnant at the age of 16. In 2008, banking on her youthful appearance, she re-enrolled in classes, even making it onto the cheerleading team. When Brown’s true identity was discovered by administrators and police, she said she had wanted to “regain a part of her life she had missed”—perhaps making her the only adult in history to willingly submit to suspect cafeteria lunches, merciless cliques, and the sweaty torture-fest that is PE (shudder).

With millions of citizens—most of whom are men—having fled the Syrian civil war during the past five years, some Syrian brides are celebrating their weddings without their fiancés. The Wall Street Journal reports that groomless weddings are so common in parts of Syria, it can be startling to attend a celebration with both partners present. “I remember going to a wedding where the groom was actually there, and I sat and stared at him,” college student Lava Ibrahim told the paper. “It was so weird.” Twenty-two-year-old Siwar was forced to Photoshop her husband into her wedding pictures, since he had escaped to the Netherlands some years earlier. The couple has since been reunited in Europe, and Siwar is hoping to retake a proper wedding photo, with her husband by her side.

The Roman Catholic Church’s top official in Philadelphia has urged Catholics who divorce and subsequently remarry to “refrain from sexual intimacy” with their spouses. Archbishop Charles Chaput issued new pastoral guidelines for church leaders, among which are instructions that remarried Catholics should live “like brother and sister” if they expect to receive Holy Communion. The Catholic Church considers second marriages—even after a legal divorce—to be adultery, unless the first marriage was annulled. Though Pope Francis recently encouraged clergymen to incorporate remarried couples into church life, Chaput evidently felt it was necessary to maintain a hardline stance on divorce. Because, you know, that approach has always gone over really well.

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