Cheerleader must compensate school that told her to clap ‘rapist’

Original post from the Independent newspaper website

Cheerleader must compensate school that told her to clap ‘rapist’

A teenage girl who was dropped from her high school’s cheerleading squad after refusing to chant the name of a basketball player who had sexually assaulted her must pay compensation of $45,000 (£27,300) after losing a legal challenge against the decision.

The United States Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a review of the case brought by the woman, who is known only as HS. Lower courts had ruled that she was speaking for the school, rather than for herself, when serving on a cheerleading squad – meaning that she had no right to stay silent when coaches told her to applaud.

She was 16 when she said she had been raped at a house party attended by dozens of fellow students from Silsbee High School, in south-east Texas. One of her alleged assailants, a student athlete called Rakheem Bolton, was arrested, with two other young men.

In court, Bolton pleaded guilty to the misdemeanour assault of HS. He received two years of probation, community service, a fine and was required to take anger-management classes. The charge of rape was dropped, leaving him free to return to school and take up his place on the basketball team.

Four months later, in January 2009, HS travelled to one of Silsbee High School’s basketball games in Huntsville. She joined in with the business of leading cheers throughout the match. But when Bolton was about to take a free throw, the girl decided to stand silently with her arms folded.

“I didn’t want to have to say his name and I didn’t want to cheer for him,” she later told reporters. “I just didn’t want to encourage anything he was doing.”

Richard Bain, the school superintendent in the sport-obsessed small town, saw things differently. He told HS to leave the gymnasium. Outside, he told her she was required to cheer for Bolton. When the girl said she was unwilling to endorse a man who had sexually assaulted her, she was expelled from the cheerleading squad.

The subsequent legal challenge against Mr Bain’s decision perhaps highlights the seriousness with which Texans take cheerleading and high school sports, which can attract crowds in the tens of thousands.

HS and her parents instructed lawyers to pursue a compensation claim against the principal and the School District in early 2009. Their lawsuit argued that HS’s right to exercise free expression had been violated when she was instructed to applaud her attacker. But two separate courts ruled against her, deciding that a cheerleader freely agrees to act as a “mouthpiece” for a institution and therefore surrenders her constitutional right to free speech. In September last year, a federal appeals court upheld those decisions and announced that HS must also reimburse the school sistrict $45,000, for filing a “frivolous” lawsuit against it.

“As a cheerleader, HS served as a mouthpiece through which [the school district] could disseminate speech – namely, support for its athletic teams,” the appeals court decision says. “This act constituted substantial interference with the work of the school because, as a cheerleader, HS was at the basketball game for the purpose of cheering, a position she undertook voluntarily.”

The family’s lawyer said the ruling meanst that students exercising their right of free speech can end up punished for refusing to follow “insensitive and unreasonable directions”.

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15 year old Rape Victim to be Publicly Flogged in Maldive

It’s hard to believe, but a 15-year-old rape survivor has been sentenced to be whipped 100 times in public! Let’s put an end to this lunacy by hitting the Maldives government where it hurts: the tourism industry.

The girl’s stepfather is accused of raping her for years and murdering the baby she bore. Now the court says she must be flogged for “sex outside marriage”! President Waheed of the Maldives is already feeling global pressure on this, and we can force him to save this girl and change the law to spare other victims this cruel fate. This is how we can end the War on Women – by standing up every time an outrage like this happens.

Tourism is the big earner for the Maldives elite, including government ministers. Let’s build a million-strong petition to President Waheed this week, then threaten the islands’ reputation through hard-hitting ads in travel magazines and online until he steps in to save her and abolish this outrageous law.

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Helping Victims of Domestic Violence

Published in Round The Town News, Spain. Original article at

EXPATS ARE playing a leading role in supporting the women and children flooding into shelters after falling victim to domestic violence.

Refugees forced to flee their family homes have filled five women’s refuges on the Costa Blanca as the problem of gender violence across Spain mounts.

Last year 60 women were killed by abusive partners or former partners and only 15 of them had reported their plight to the authorities before losing their lives.

Spanish newspaper El Pais revealed on Wednesday that two women have already died in 2012 in incidents being treated as domestic violence by police.

And officers of the Guardia Civil made 3,830 arrests on suspicion of domestic violence related incidents across the Valencian Community in 2011 – of those 1,684 were in the Province of Alicante. Over the festive period alone, the last two weeks of the year, there were 126 arrests, mostly men being taken into custody.

However, Costa Blanca networking group the Women in Business Club continues to spearhead a campaign to help the women and children lucky enough to escape abuse and reach the shelters.


Many of the victims arrive with nothing other than the clothes they stand up in and members of WIBC raise money to supply the necessities – also co-ordinating the help being offered by expat groups and charities.

Last November WIBC staged two White Ribbon Day events – a global stand against domestic violence – and the money went to the refuges the club helps to support.

RTN was told: “Domestic violence is on the increase and there are now five of these refuges filled with women and children who have suffered abuse.

“Due to the generosity of all our supporters we have been able to supply cots, mattresses, computers, televisions, and all manner of day-to-day items to make the living conditions of these families more comfortable through this transitional period in their lives.”

Amongst groups donating gifts and money to WIBC were the ladies of the ‘Knit and Natter’ circle who made jumpers and much needed baby clothes for women and children.

And the volunteers of the Benitachell Charity Shop made a donation of 5,000€ to WIBC to help victims.

New ‘get tough’ laws against domestic abuse were introduced in Spain in December 2004, one of the first pieces of legislation introduced by Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s new PSOE government.


Spain had become painfully aware of the domestic situation of battered women and the Gender Violence Law included judicial, educational and social measures – the most controversial piece of the legislation was harsher penalties for men abusers than female defendants.

But as the economic crisis has tightened its hold on Spain, incidents of domestic violence have risen – some 600,000 last year according to a Ministry of Equality survey – yet many attacks remain unreported.

WIBC President Chris Duffin accepted there was a link between the increase in domestic violence and the drop in the economic circumstances of many families.

“Many women came here as economic migrants with their families and arrived during the boom years when everybody had money,” she said. “Unfortunately now many don’t have the money to support their families and we have soup kitchens across the region.

“Sadly domestic circumstances have suffered. There is not enough money to put food on the table and it does not take long for pressures to build up.

“And the person who is normally the breadwinner become the guiltiest party and begins to blame the others around him.”

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Violence against women increased in 2011 in Pakistan

Article from Newstrack India. Original article can be seen at–Violence-against-women-rose-in-2011-in-Pakistan-.html

Islamabad, Jan 16 (ANI): Violence against women increased in 2011 in Pakistan, according to incidents reported and registered at different forums, including police stations, courts and complaint cells.

According to The Dawn, 8,000 cases were reported in 2011, a 13 percent increase since 2008. These crimes ranged from domestic violence to physical and sexual assaults.

“This number is still unrepresentative of the issue on the ground, as our social norms prevent a large majority of the cases from being reported,” Omer Aftab, National Coordinator of White Ribbon Campaign Pakistan (WRCP), said.

Bani Amin, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Islamabad, said that cases filed at women police stations remained in double digits for all months of the year.

There were many cases in 2011 in which women failed to get justice because the police were slow to take action.

“Unfortunately whenever a woman files an application against her family member, the issue is resolved through a ‘patch-up’ or ‘reconciliation’ Influential family members become judges and give decisions,” the IGP said.

“However, in case of dispute between two tribes or opposing groups, women are still able to get justice as their familiesare far more supportive of their stance then. It will take some years before women will rise for their rights,” he added.

Aftab further claimed that women who work late hours with male colleagues were especially vulnerable to assaults.

“On the other hand, non-working women face domestic violence. There are two ways to get rid of that issue: one, ensure proper implementation of law and second, by spreading awareness among both genders about it,” he added. (ANI)

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Canadian Muslims fight domestic violence

The original article can be seen at

iqradotca January 12, 2012 0

Canadian Muslims fight domestic violence

(January 12, 2012) – Stunned by an alleged honour killing, Canadian Muslims are joining an international campaign to fight domestic violence in their country.

“We are hoping the raise awareness about domestic violence in Canada with the White Ribbon Days,” Afaun Mandol, a spokesperson for Muslim Presence Toronto, told

“The White Ribbon Campaign is a means to start the conversation in our community to challenge everyone to speak out, and think about their own personal beliefs, language and actions.”

The WRC aims to empower men and boys to speak out against all forms of violence against women.

The campaign gained momentum among Canadian Muslims following a call by Muslim groups and leaders to end domestic violence in the country.

“Domestic violence and, in the extreme, practices such as killing to “restore family honour” violate clear and non-negotiable Islamic principles, and so we categorically condemn all forms of domestic violence,” the Muslim groups said in a statement titled “Call to Action to Eradicate Domestic Violence”.

The call was issued in the midst of a high-profile trial taking place in Kingston, Ontario, in which Afghan-born Mohammad Shafia, 58, his wife, and their 21-year-old son were accused by the prosecution of “honour killings” in the death of his first wife and three daughters.

“The Shafia family murder trial has caused anger, disbelief and sadness in those following it – Canadian Muslims along with everyone else,” wrote Sikander Ziad Hashmi, Imam at the Islamic Society of Kingston, in an editorial.

“Domestic violence, and even killing in the name of honour, is a problem that cuts across geographic boundaries and ethnicities,” he said.

“Such killings have been committed by members of other faiths, even in Canada.”


As part of the campaign, imams across Canada gave sermons on December 9 condemning domestic violence and honour-based killings.

The following day, the White Ribbon campaign, in which men undertook a pledge against domestic violence, was launched in Toronto’s Muslim community.

The campaign was also taken to the “Reviving the Islamic Spirit Convention”, which ran from December 23 to December 25 in Toronto.

Professor Tariq Ramadan, one of the world’s leading Muslim intellectuals, added his voice to the campaign during his speech at the convention with strong and forceful words condemning domestic violence.

“Domestic violence is unacceptable; stop it,” said Ramadan. “You who are beating women and listening to these talks, if you don’t stop it, then this is all for nothing.”

Tariq Ramadan Speaking about the White Ribbon Campaign.

Attendees at the convention were also asked to take a personal pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls and wear a white ribbon to signal their commitment to the campaign.

“We were particularly interested in reaching out to men and boys during the convention,” Mandol told

The campaign is also planned to be launched among the Muslim communities in the cities of Ottawa and Montreal to coincide with the International Women’s Day on Thursday, March 8.

Other Islamic organizations are planning educational programs on family issues.

A Toronto-based web portal,, has also partnered with the Muslim Presence Network to launch a site that will list resources and links to local agencies and centres that provide support to victims of domestic violence in the Greater Toronto Area.

“Our mission is to raise awareness, to educate, to advocate and to take action to end domestic violence, as part of our pledge to the Call to Action to Eradicate Domestic Violence statement,” stated


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Promoting gender sensitive reporting

Original article can be seen at
Published: January 12, 2012

Need for code of ethics to eliminate insensitiveness.

ISLAMABAD: Participants at a consultative dialogue organised on Wednesday agreed to develop a framework and a code of ethics for gender sensitive reporting. The discussion was organised by White Ribbon Campaign Pakistan (WRCP).

WRCP Country Director Omer Aftab said that the basic objective of the dialogue was to engage journalists on the gender sensitive issues through media-training programmes, activism and dialogue to promote a culture of gender sensitive media reporting. He added that in light of the media’s significance, WRCP has initiated a National Journalist Engagement Programme to sensitise media reporting.

“The findings of the study revealed that media personnel are generally insensitive towards women-oriented issues,” Aftab said adding that the baseline study was conducted to explore the attitude towards gender specific issues. The study further elucidates that men acknowledge their need to play a more instigative rule in ending violence, he said.

The participants felt that any code of ethics should include protection to a woman’s right to privacy and keep a check on any visual representation.

Participants, who included media persons from both print and electronic mediums and members of civil society, stated that during this transitional period, the media is playing a positive role.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2012.

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Christmas Rows

this one is from News Zealand. Full article at

FOR many women and children, the Christmas period will be as much about fear and pain as it is about gifts and the meal.

Every year the festive season corresponds with a marked spike in domestic violence cases.

Family therapist Les Simmonds, Relationship Services clinical leader for Bay of Plenty and Gisborne, says there are a number of reasons for more violence through the holidays, most of them stemming from stress.

“Christmas is a time that can turn stressful for a lot of couples. You certainly get a lot more domestic violence in the holidays, particularly around Christmas.

“One very big reason is people tend to drink a lot more, and parties going late into the night because people don’t have to go to work in the morning — that pays a huge part. People who usually spend a few hours together each day, spend a lot of time together. Time is a big thing.

“On top of all that, there are stresses about money and the kids are at home. You get more conflict between couples and the drinking just blows the top off.”

It is not until after the festivities are over, though, that counselling services find out about abusive relationships.

“There’s an interesting pattern. What you get is just around the Christmas period and after, things might get quite quiet. But after the hangover, a few weeks after Christmas, then we start to see a rise in referrals. People start to think ‘that’s the worst Christmas ever, he hurt me, I’m not having that again’,” .

Rob McCann, White Ribbon campaign manager with the Families Commission, says there are things people can do to ensure violence is avoided in their home.

“Around this time there’s an increase in family violence. The reality is that family violence can increase with certain triggers, and one of those is stress.

“We don’t always get to choose who our family is and those people are coming into our home.

“It’s fair to say that people are looking at different ways to do things for less. People shouldn’t be violent because of the stress, but it is a trigger,” he said.

Detective Sergeant Jason Perry, Tauranga family violence co-ordinator, says violence at Christmas is avoidable and there are ways to get help.

“Essentially, we encourage people to call before something happens. Neighbours, friends and families will call and that’s a good thing.”

He offers a sure-fire way to prevent abuse: “Keep your hands in your pockets, take a deep breath and go for a walk.”

Police advice:

•Agree on social and family arrangements in advance and stick to the agreed plans. Make sure children get to spend quality time with both parents if there is shared custody.

•Don’t spend what you can’t afford.

•If you are finding the whole idea of Christmas too stressful, talk to a friend or someone you can trust.

•Think of the children. Don’t let them grow up with memories of Christmas tarnished with violence.

•Go easy on the alcohol.

•If an argument starts to brew, take a deep breath and walk away. Take time out to let everyone calm down and if necessary, sober up.

•If you have real concerns for your safety or that of your children, contact the police.

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