Jun 12
Her eye on the news

Six men have been convicted of involvement in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old Muslim girl in India’s Jammu and Kashmir state last year, according to The Guardian, in a case that sparked outrage and protests across the country.

The child, from a nomadic Muslim community, was drugged, held captive at a temple, and sexually assaulted for a week before being strangled and battered to death with a stone in January 2018. The crime was part of a plan to remove the minority nomadic community from the area, The Guardian reported, citing court documents.

“This is a victory of truth,” prosecution lawyer M Farooqi said outside the court. “The girl and her family have got justice today. We are satisfied with the judgment.”

The convicted men included a Hindu priest and police officers, raising tensions between Hindus and Muslims in the area. Some members of the country’s ruling party had supported one of the officers, drawing fierce criticism.

Women and children have long suffered from violence in India, with reported rapes climbing 60 percent to 40,000 from 2012 to 2016, and many going unreported, The Guardian reported, citing government statistics.

Read the full story at The Guardian.


Murder and rape of 8-year-old girl exacerbates religious conflicts in India

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Protests erupt after ‘chilling’ sexual assault videos go viral in India



The Nike flagship store in London has revamped its women’s department to include plus-size and para-sport mannequins, highlighting an extended line of clothing to “celebrate the diversity and inclusivity of sport,” the company said.

Sarah Hannah, Nike’s general manager and vice president for women in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, said, “With the incredible momentum in women’s sport right now, the redesigned space is just another demonstration of Nike’s commitment to inspiring and serving the female athlete,” according to CNN.

While many observers cheered the company for presenting realistic body types and encouraging body positivity, others criticized it, saying that Nike was promoting an “unhealthy lifestyle,” according to ABC News.

(Photo credit: Nike)

An editorial in the Telegraph argued that “obese mannequins are selling women a dangerous lie.” The editorial sparked swift backlash online, with actress and activist Jameela Jamil tweeting: “What a hateful, judgemental, uneducated stance to take on what is a positive, progressive and BRILLIANT move made by Nike.”

A spokesperson for Nike told Good Morning America that its mission is to “serve all athletes” regardless of size.

The move by Nike follows a recent controversy that came after a New York Times piece claimed the company reduced or withheld payment from female athletes who were pregnant or had recently given birth. As a result, two congresswomen said they were pressing the company for details about its treatment of sponsored female athletes.

Nike said in a statement on its site, “We have learned and grown in how to best support our female athletes and have always worked to do our best to play a strong role in championing, celebrating, and supporting female athletes. Last year we standardized our approach across all sports to support our female athletes during pregnancy, but we recognize we can go even further. Moving forward, our contracts for female athletes will include written terms that reinforce our policy.”

Read the full story at CNN and ABC News.


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'Wakeup call'

When a high school girl posted a selfie with friends on Snapchat with a hateful racial slur in the caption, the post shook up her community in Owatonna, Minn., sparking a clash among students, teachers, and police — and ultimately, sparking an important conversation about race.

After the high school student, who is white, shared the post in February, it quickly spread among students in the town of 25,000 residents, 90 percent of whom are white, according to The New York Times. Two other white students then shared posts with the same racial slur on Snapshot as well.

Black students came to school emotional and upset, demanding that the administration take action. “Students got out of control a bit, and we were losing what we thought was a safe, orderly environment in the school,” Jeffrey S. Elstad, the Owatonna High School superintendent, told the Times.

School administrators called the police. Students were directed to the gym, where the clash escalated. A black 16-year-old girl was tackled and arrested.

In the wake of the incident, black students told school officials that they didn’t simply want the school to ban racial slurs, according to the Times. They wanted deeper change, addressing why white students used the slur in the first place.

In response, school officials implemented training on race for teachers and students, and also hosted community events and forums. A mediator came to lead meetings in which the white students involved in the racist posts talked with the black students who were hurt by them.

The incident was a “wake-up call” for the predominantly white school, Elstad told the Times. “Race for us is something that we don’t have to think about all of the time because we are white,” he said. “Our students and our families of color think about race all the time. As white people, how are we OK with us just, only when it’s convenient, talking about race?”

Read the full story at The New York Times.


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University of Alabama honors its first black student — 60 years after her expulsion



An award-winning Jordanian American author has sued her publishing house for $13 million, alleging that the publisher defamed her when it canceled her book deal after she sent a tweet that sparked an online firestorm.

On May 10, Natasha Tynes tweeted a photo of a black female transit worker in Washington, D.C., who was breaking the rules by eating on a train.

“When you’re on your morning commute & see @wmata employee in UNIFORM eating on the train,” Tynes tweeted, according to The Washington Post. “I thought we were not allowed to eat on the train. This is unacceptable. Hope @wmata responds. When I asked the employee about this, her response was ‘worry about yourself.'”

Tynes deleted the tweet within a half hour and apologized for the “short-lived expression of frustration,” the Post reported, citing court documents. She also contacted the transit worker’s employer to ask that she not be disciplined, according to the Post, and the suit says no action was taken against the employee.

But the tweet had already gone viral, sparking fury. Accused of racism, Tynes became the subject of racial slurs herself, being called a “terrorist,” “a plane bomber,” “un-American,” and “a radical Muslim,” The Post reported, citing the lawsuit.

In response to the controversy, her publisher, Rare Bird Books, released a statement calling her tweet — which it described as the policing of a black woman’s body — “something truly horrible,” according to the Post. The publisher said it would halt shipments of an upcoming book by Tynes and take “appropriate next steps to officially cancel the book’s publication.”

The publisher said on Twitter, “We think this is unacceptable and have no desire to be involved with anyone who thinks it’s acceptable to jeopardize a person’s safety and employment in this way,” according to the Post.

Her attorney, William Moran, said, “What Rare Bird has done to Natasha Tynes is just beyond abhorrent,” according to the Post. “I’ve never seen a publisher throw an author under the bus like this before.”

Read the full story at The Washington Post.


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Child marriage is decreasing in many parts of the world, with global rates dropping substantially over the past decade, according to The New York Times, largely because of progress in South Asia. Yet in Nepal, one of the region’s poorest countries, activists say these marriages are on the rise in some villages.

Nepal’s government is moving forward with a campaign to combat the practice, but serious challenges loom, activists say. In rural areas, for instance, some local elected officials who publicly oppose the practice still marry off their children as teenagers. In addition, literacy rates are low, while mobile phones and social media have made it easier to find partners, the Times reports.

Further, some villagers see the practice as economically necessary, according to the Times. Every year, for example, hundreds of thousands of men leave Nepal for construction jobs in the Persian Gulf to earn money for their families. Poorer families see logic in marrying their daughters to boys before they head abroad.

With villages devoid of men, “families need girls to take care of the elderly and handle household activities,” said Tarak Dhital, an activist in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital.

Girls are often taken out of school once they start to menstruate, a sign to some families that they are ready for marriage.

“It is so hard to change people’s thinking,” said Ram Bahadur Chand, an official with Nepal’s child welfare board. “They do not see that child marriage destroys their futures. It is a kind of violence.”

Read the full story at The New York Times.


Marriage of 41-year-old man to 11-year-old girl prompts fierce debate over child marriage — and an investigation

Girl scout who led push to end child marriage becomes a state lawmaker at age 19

Woman explains the secret she discovered to putting a huge dent in child marriage problem


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