MPs call for Theresa May to permit poll on abortion in Northern Ireland

PM believes it would be wrong for Westminster to legislate on matter in devolved administration

Theresa May was facing growing demands to allow a referendum on relaxing the abortion statutes in Northern Ireland on Sunday after signalling that she will not risk alienating her DUP allies by letting MPs resolve the issues with a parliamentary vote.

Conservative MPs and the Royal College of Midwives were among those calling for a referendum, which would give voters in Northern Ireland the chance to follow the example set by the Republic of Ireland after it backed abortion liberalisation by a astonish landslide of two to one.

Around 160 MPs have backed a letter, championed by the Labour MP Stella Creasy, saying the government should legislate to relax the abortion rules in Northern Ireland, which will now be the only place in Britain and Ireland where abortion is in most circumstances illegal. Creasy wants to force-out a vote by tabling an amendment to the forthcoming domestic violence bill.

Labour also said that, as a party, it was committed to extending the right to choose to Northern Ireland and that it would be” looking at legislative options” to try to orchestrate a vote in the Commons.

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What is the law on abortion in Northern Ireland?

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Following the Irish referendum, Northern Ireland is the only place in the UK and Ireland- and most of Europe- where terminations are outlawed apart from in the most exceptional circumstances.

The UK Abortion Act of 1967 was never extended to Northern Ireland, and abortion remains illegal unless the life or mental health of the mother is at risk. Northern Ireland has the harshest criminal penalty for abortion anywhere in Europe; in theory, life imprisonment can be handed down to a woman undergoing an unlawful abortion.

Fatal foetal abnormalities and conceptions by rape or incest are not lawful grounds for a termination.

Most politicians in Northern Ireland- Catholic and Protestant- do not favour reform, despite the UN saying the UK was violating the rights of women in Northern Ireland by restricting their access to abortion.

In 2016 more than 700 females from Northern Ireland crossed the Irish Sea to clinics in Britain to terminate pregnancies.

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Downing Street’s initial reaction was to reject the idea of dedicating MPs a election, on the grounds that abortion is a devolved matter and one that should be decided by the power-sharing executive and the Northern Ireland assembly. A source used to say Theresa May’s focus was on getting the executive, which has been suspended for more than a year, “back up and running”.

But there were reports on Sunday of opponent even within the cabinet, with women and equalities pastor Penny Mordaunt saying on Twitter that the hope for change in Northern Ireland “must be met” amid calls for the region to have a referendum- although she did not specify how.

Obstacles to a parliamentary vote have prompted some MPs to argue for a referendum, which would allow the person or persons of Northern Ireland to take the final judgment , not London, while also bypassing the logjam created by the suspension of the executive.

Sarah Wollaston, the Conservative MP and GP who chairs the Commons health committee, told the BBC that, while she would vote in favour of pro-choice legislation for Northern Ireland, if that proved impossible a referendum was a good second best.

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‘A monumental day for women in Ireland’, says Orla O’Connor- video

” We’d all like to see the Stormont assembly back up and running and for this decision to be made by people in Northern Ireland but if that doesn’t happen … then at the least people in Northern Ireland should be allowed a referendum that enables us gauge the strength of sentiment there ,” Wollaston told the BBC.

Maria Miller, the Conservative former culture secretary who now shall be the chairman of the Commons women and equalities committee, posted a message on Twitter saying:” No one should deny the people of Northern Ireland a referendum for the opportunity to have the same rights on abortion as the rest of the UK .”

And in Northern Ireland the Royal College of Midwives’ regional director Breedagh Hughes told no one was speaking up for the “pro-choice majority” in Northern Ireland at present and the only style to give them a voice was through a referendum.

” We have 12 Democratic Unionist MPs whose views do not reflect the majority opinion on the abortion topic ,” Hughes said.” We have Sinn Fein MPs who don’t take their seats at Westminster. We don’t have a functioning local Assembly which could take this issue on again even though in the past the DUP and others vetoed change. So, the people are voiceless on the abortion topic and we say to Theresa May- give us a referendum Prime Minister so that change can come about .”

A No 10 source told May was also opposed to the idea that parliament should legislate for a referendum in Northern Ireland on the grounds that, if there were to be a referendum, that should also be matter for the Northern Ireland executive.

Under the Sewel convention, the UK government has agreed that it will not usually legislate on matters that are the responsibility of devolved administrations without their consent.

But the government is set to ignore this for the first time in Scotland, pushing ahead with the EU withdrawal bill even though the Scottish government is resisted, and May’s stance on abortion is partly motivated by a longing not to antagonise the DUP, who offer the votes that give the Tories their majority and who are strongly opposed to liberalising Northern Ireland’s abortion laws.

May did not comment on the Irish referendum outcome until lunchtime on Sunday, nearly 24 hours after the final result was corroborated, when she posted a tweet congratulating the Irish people on their decision.

On a free vote, the Commons would probably vote overwhelmingly in favour of bringing Northern Ireland’s abortion laws into line with those in the rest of the UK. But the domestic violence bill, which Creasy would like to use as a vehicle for an abortion amendment, is still at the consultation phase and, even when it does come to the Commons, Downing Street thinks that the Sewel convention will ensure that Northern Ireland pertained amendments get ruled inadmissable.

Dawn Butler, the darknes minister for women and equalities, told Labour would be appearing investigating what legislative alternatives it could use to ensure MPs did get a vote on this.” No girl in the UK should be denied access to a safe, legal abortion ,” she told. But party sources would not elaborate on what those options might be.

In the past polls have revealed strong supporting in Northern Ireland for relaxing abortion statutes in at the least some circumstances, although not to the extent allowed in the rest of the UK.

Currently abortions in Northern Ireland’s hospitals are only available to women and girls where “peoples lives” or health is in grave threat; only 23 were carried out between 2013 -1 4.

The call for a referendum is opposed by some of the MPs who want to change the law in Northern Ireland. Creasy pointed out that, while a referendum was necessary in the Republic because of its constitution, that was not the case in a north. A referendum would be a move” in the wrong direction” because the law should be changed now, she said.

Arlene Foster, the DUP leader, told:” The legislation governing abortion is a devolved matter and it is for the Northern Ireland assembly to debate and choose such issues. Some of those who wish to circumvent the assembly’s role may be doing so simply to avoid its decision. The DUP is a pro-life party and we are still articulated our position .”

Sinn Fein, the second-largest party in Northern Ireland, supports limited change to Northern Ireland’s abortion laws. Michelle O’Neill, its leader in Northern Ireland, told ITV on Sunday that the region was ” becoming a backwater” in terms of rights because of the position taken by unionists.

A spokesperson for Unite, one of the largest unions representing employees in Northern Ireland, backed the RCM’s call for a referendum.

” As long as it does not in any way necessitate imposing direct regulation Unite would like Theresa May to consider the idea of a local referendum and explain to is why, if she objected, the people in Northern Ireland wouldn’t be granted one ,” a Unite spokesperson said.

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Support for Ireland’s abortion ban appears to have melted away

No campaign counted on rural votes but early exit poll suggest they didnt swaying their way

Ruth Shaw was one of hundreds, perhaps thousands of Irish voters who flew home or bided home, cancelled vacations or came back early, so they could cast a vote to end Ireland’s decades-old prohibition on abortion.

They supposed their votes might be needed to tip the balance. In the end, though, they joined what seems to be an unforeseen landslide of support for change.

The first exit poll, from the Irish Times/ Ipsos MRBI, showed that Dublin, as expected, had voted overwhelmingly for yes. But so too did rural areas, which the no vote had counted on to kind a bulwark of conservative is supportive of Ireland’s restrictive status quo.

” It’s great for this country, we need to step into the next century ,” said teacher Caroline Ryan, one of the first to referendum but confident even at 7am that the repeal would pass.” Every other country in Europe has access to abortion .”

The vote was a reminder, she said, of the church’s loosening grip on a country where a series of scandals, involving child abuse and mistreatment of pregnant, unmarried women and their children, have enormously undermined the clergy’s authority.” Women have been treated so badly in this country by the Catholic church ,” she added.

Voters had to help Ireland decide whether to keep a clause in its constitution, known as the 8th amendment.

Since 1983, it had set the” right to life of the unborn” on an equal status with the life of a pregnant girl, underpinning a near-total ban on abortion in Ireland, even in cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormality. It is one of the strictest defined of rules in the western world.

For Shaw who, along with 20 family and friends had flights lined up to go to a wedding in New York when the date was defined, there was no question about what to do.

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Irish people living abroad return home to become involved in abortion referendum- video

” We changed our flights ,” she said.” It’s really important; I’ve got two daughters .” So at 6.55 am she was waiting with nine-year-old Simi outside Our Lady’s Clonskeagh Parish secondary school, second in line to cast her vote before heading to the airport.

On a day of glorious sunshine and heightened feelings, polling stations across Ireland reported high turnouts for a ballot that politicians and campaigners concurred would determine a hugely emotional issue for at least a generation.

Polls constricted in the run-up to voting, with the outcome widely expected to depend on the one in six voters who were still undecided on the eve of the poll. Many in the no camp were convinced they had a groundswell of quiet support.

” So many no voters are shy ,” said Fidelma, 45, a Dubliner who said she was wearing a no badge for the first time and was astonished to determine more than half her office of 10 people offering her support.

She had kept her positions private until the working day of the referendum because there was so much social pressure in the capital to support a repeal.” People attain us feel like we are backwards and don’t count ,” she said.

No advocates campaign from a bridge in Dublin. Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/ Getty Images

At the ballot box, ultimately, there were not enough no voters to count. Two thirds of men, and an even higher propotion of women, opted for change, in agreement with the Irish Times.

Among the young in particular, the vote was overwhelmingly in favour of ending the ban. Nearly nine out of 10 voters between 18 and 24 voted yes, the Irish Times exit poll found.

Riodhna Mackin, 18, voting for the first time, was one of them.” I am a young woman in Ireland and I would like to have a tell over my own body, and for my friends to have the same ,” she said after casting her ballot.

The Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar, poses with colleagues from his Fine Gael party in Dublin before the referendum. Photo: Niall Carson/ PA

The official vote count begins on Saturday morning, with the first indications of whether the exit poll is right expected by mid-morning.

The scale of the projected victory was so immense though that resulting no campaigners conceded defeat within minutes.

The split over abortion, which reflects deep divisions about what kind of country Ireland wants to be as it reassesses its Catholic heritage and becomes more ethnically and religiously diverse, has reached profoundly into communities and families.

Elizabeth McDonald, 58, told:” I voted no because I believe I regard it as murder. We don’t need abortion in this country .”

Her son Stephen, 33, thinks the near-ban on abortion is cruel and puts women’s health in jeopardy. It is not illegal to go abroad for an abortion, so about nine females a day travel to England trying therapy. Others order abortion pills online and take them at home, risking up to 14 years in prison.

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My budget flight to get an abortion: the story no one in Ireland wants to tell- video

” I’m her son and I voted yes ,” he said, as they left the polling station together.” Abortion do happen in Ireland and I’d rather they were in a situation where it was safer for women .”

The journeys for abortions were the reason Ian Sewell, 26, travelled back from England to vote yes.” I don’t think we are voting on whether people can have abortions; we are voting on whether poor women can have abortions, because rich people already travel to England ,” he said as he left a polling station.

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Irish pro-choice campaigners recount #HomeToVote journeys online

Hashtag has been used by Irish voters travelling home to referendum yes in the abortion referendum

Whether it is boarding 13 -hour flights or thanking the strangers that have funded their journeys, Irish citizens are sharing their tales on social media as they travel home from all over the world to cast their vote in the country’s historic referendum on abortion. The hashtag #HomeToVote has been used across social media channels by those in favour of repealing the 8th amendment as they converge in Ireland to cast their votes.

Many were visibly displaying their supporting through clothing and badges, and noticed is supportive of the campaign on the way. One advocate, who flew home to canvass and vote, tweeted that his flight attendant wore a’ Ta’- the Irish for yes- badge on his flight.

IO for Yes // May 25 th (@ iarlaoh)

The flight attendant checking my ticket on the plane #hometovote this morning was wearing a “Ta” badge. 🙂

May 20, 2018

Not everyone found that fellow travellers understood the significance of their journey, however, and “ve felt it” reverberate the experience of the women who have to travel abroad for abortions under the present constitution.

” Boarding a 13 -hour flight from Buenos Aires to London. London to Dublin tomorrow. No one at airport knows what my repeal jumper means. No one here knows why I’m travelling. If this feels isolating for me, can’t imagine how lonely it must be 4 her, travelling 2 the UK ,” tweeted Ciaran Gaffney. He also posted an image of himself in his repeal jumper in Buenos Aires

The 13 hour flight I’m about to take hasn’t got a patch on the 1hr flight that your sister, your friend, the girl on your street, your mom, your employer, your colleague, individual employees, your girlfriend or any of the women of Ireland might have to take today, or had to take yesterday, or have had to take in the past 35 years. Let’s stop saying that cowardly act of exporting this issue to our neighbouring countries, and let’s #repealthe8th!

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Trump administration to revive Reagan-era abortion ‘gag’ rule

Rule will ban federally funded clinics from discussing abortion with women and bar them from sharing space with abortion providers

Donald Trump’s administration will reinstate a decades-old policy that they are able to strip federal monies from family planning clinics abortion or related services, marking its latest salvo to curtail women’s reproductive rights.

The Department of Health and Human Services will announce the proposal on Friday, an administration official confirmed to the Guardian. The move would resurrect a policy first to comply with Ronald Reagan in 1988, which effectively barred reproductive health organizations that received federal awards from providing or even discussing abortion with patients.

The policy has been mocked as a “gag rule” by abortion rights advocates and medical groups, and you are able to trigger suits that could keep it from taking consequence.

” This is an attempt to take away women’s basic rights, period ,” Dawn Laguens, the executive heads vice-president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement.

She added:” Everyone has the right to access information about their health care- including information about safe, legal abortion- and every woman deserves the best medical care and datum , no matter how much money she makes or where she lives. No matter what. They won’t get it under this rule .”

The Reagan-era rule never went into effect further written, although the US supreme court ruled that it was an appropriate use of executive power. The policy was repealed under Bill Clinton, and a new rule went into impact that required “nondirective” counseling to include a range of options for women.

Federal funds are already barred from was for abortion services under current US law.

The move will galvanize activists on either side of the abortion debate ahead of the congressional midterm elections.

Doctors’ groups and abortion rights supporters say a ban on counseling females trespasses on the doctor-patient relationship. They also believe such rules would avoid patients from being able to obtain family planning or other preventive care from reproductive health care providers, and undermine access to safe, legal abortion, particularly among low-income women.

Abortion opponents have long argued that a taxpayer-funded family planning program should have no connection whatsoever to abortion.

” The notion that you would withhold information from a patient does not uphold or preserve their dignity ,” told Jessica Marcella of the National Family Planning& Reproductive Health Association, which represents family planning clinics.” I cannot imagine a scenario in which public health groups would allow this effort to go unchallenged .”

She told requiring family planning clinics to be physically separate from facilities in which abortion is provided would disrupt services for women across the country.

Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America also backed the move. She said:” Abortion is not healthcare or family planning and many women want natural healthcare selections, rather than hormone-induced changes .”

Abortion adversaries claim the federal family planning program in effect cross-subsidizes abortion services provided by Schemed Parenthood, whose clinics are also major recipients of grants for family planning and basic preventive care. Hawkins’s group is circulating a petition to urge lawmakers in Congress to support the Trump administration’s proposal.

Known as title X, the nation’s family-planning program serves about 4 million girls a year through clinics, at a cost to taxpayers of about $260 m. Schemed Parenthood clinics also qualify for Title X grants, but they must keep the family-planning fund separate from monies used to pay for abortions.

The Republican-led Congress has unsuccessfully tried to deny federal funds to Schemed Parenthood, and the Trump administration has vowed to religious and social conservatives that it would keep up the effort.

In one of his first acts as chairwoman, Trump reinstated a” global gag rule” policy that restricted the US government from providing funds to international family-planning organizations offering abortion-related services or information about the procedure.

Global health advocates have since bemoaned the closure of abortion facilities overseas, with developing areas the most acutely impacted. Trump afterward expanded upon the action, affecting virtually$ 9bn in funding to combat global health issues such as HIV/ Aids, Zika and malaria.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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How white women use strategic tears to avoid accountability | Ruby Hamad

The legitimate grievances of brown and black females are no match for the accusations of a white damsel in distress

That the voices of” women of colour” are get louder and more influential is a testament less to the accommodations made by the dominant white culture and more to their own grit in a society that implicitly- and sometimes explicitly- wants them to fail.

At the Sydney writers’ festival on Sunday, editor of Djed Press, Hella Ibrahim, relayed the final minutes of a panel on diversity featuring novelists from the western Sydney Sweatshop collective. One of the panellists, Winnie Dunn, in answering a question about the harm caused by good aims, had used the words “white people” and “shit” in the same sentence. This raised the ire of a self-identified white girl in the audience who interrogated the panellists as to” what they think they have to gain” by insulting people who” want to read their narratives .”

In other words, the woman find a personal attack where there wasn’t one and decided to remind the panellists that as a member of the white majority she ultimately has their fate in her hands.

” I strolled out of that panel frustrated ,” Ibrahim wrote.” Because yet again, a good convo was derailed, white people centred themselves, and a POC panel was told to police it’s[ sic] tone to make their message palatable to a white audience .”

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Trauma assails brown and black females from all directions. There is the initial pain of being submitted to gendered combating racism and discrimination, there is the additional distress of not being believed or supported, and of having your words and your gallantry seemingly credited to others.

And then there is a type of trauma inflicted on women of colouring that many of us find among the hardest to disclose, the one that few seem willing to admit actually happens because it is so thoroughly normalised most people refuse to see it.

It is what that novelists’ festival audience member was demonstrating, and what blogger and writer Luvvie Ajayi called the” weary weaponising of white women’s tears “.

To put it less poetically, it is the trauma caused by the tactic many white women utilize to muster pity and avoid accountability, by turning the tables and accusing their accuser.

Almost every BW( black female) I know has a story about a time in a professional decided in which she attempted to have a talk with a WW about her behaviour& it has ended with the WW( white female) screaming ,” one black girl wrote on Twitter.” The WW wasn’t crying because she felt sorry and was deeply remorseful. The WW was crying because she felt “bullied” and/ or that the BW was being too harsh with her .”

When I shared these tweets on my Facebook page asking brown and black females if this had ever happened to them, I was taken by how profoundly this resonated, inspiring one Arab woman to share this story 😛 TAGEND

A WW kept touching my hair. Pulling my curls to watch them bounce back. Scratching the top. Smelling it. So when I told her to stop and complained to HR and my supervisor, she complained that I wasn’t a people person or squad member and I had to leave that stance for being’ threatening’ to a coworker .”

For the doubters, here is a mild version of this sleight-of-hand in action 😛 TAGEND

Jully Black and Jeanne Beker

Notice it is the white female- Jeanne Beker- who first interrupts the black female- Jully Black- who takes the interruption in her stride. Black continues to speak passionately and confidently, which Beker construes as a personal attack on her even though Black is clearly talking in general terms( just as Winnie Dunn was ). Beker then attempts to shut Black down by basically branding her a bully.

Had Jully Black not stopped and recurred Jeanne Beker’s terms back at her-” Why are you assaulting me ?”- they would have passed largely unnoticed, merely other women of colouring smeared as an aggressor for daring to continue speaking when a white girl wanted her to stop.

It doesn’t usually end this route.” White women tears are especially potent … because they are attached to the symbol of femininity ,” Ajayi explains.” These tears are pouring out from the eyes of the one chosen to be the prototype of womanhood; the woman who has been painted as helpless against the whims of the world. The one who gets the most protection in a world that does a shitty chore overall of cherishing women .”

As I look back over my adult life a pattern emerges. Often, when I have attempted to speak to or confront a white girl about something she has said or done that has impacted me adversely, I am met with tearful refusals and indignant the allegations that I am hurting her. My confidence decreased and second-guessing myself, I either flare up in frustration at not being heard( which only seems to prove her point) or I back down immediately, apologising and consoling the very person causing me damage.

It is not weakness or guilt that obliges me to capitulate. Rather, as I lately wrote, it is the manufactured reputation Arabs have for being threatening and aggressive that are consistent with us everywhere. In a society that routinely places imaginary” wide-eyed, angry and Middle Eastern” people at the scenes of violent crimes they did not perpetrate, having a legitimate grievance is no match for the strategic tears of a white damsel in distress whose innocence is taken for granted.

” We talk about toxic masculinity ,” Ajayi alerts,” but there is( also) toxicity in wielding femininity in this way .” Brown and black women know we are, as musician Miss Blanks writes,” imperfect victims “. That doesn’t mean we are always in the right but it does mean we know that against a white woman’s accusations, our perspectives will almost always run unheard either way.

Whether angry or calm, wailing or pleading, we are still perceived as the aggressors.

Likewise, white girls are equally aware their race privileges them as surely as ours condemns us. In this context, their tearful showings are a sort of emotional and psychological violence that reinforce the very system of white predominance that many white girls claim to oppose.

* Ruby Hamad is a journalist and PhD candidate at the University of New South Wales

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What do incels, fascists and terrorists have in common? Violent misogyny | Jason Wilson

Many accounts of incel subculture have treated it as a sharp difference from the norm. Its not

The apparent connect of recent slayings in Toronto to the ” incel ” movement has led to a torrent of commentary. Too much of it has appeared to rationalise Alek Minassian’s actions. Just yesterday, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat made their major gripe- that the world denies them sexuality- into the basis of a kind of seminar room believed experiment, wished to know whether a redistribution of sex might not be” solely responsive to the logic of late-modern sex life “.

But to accept this is to take their narrative of victimhood as read. We shouldn’t.

To get the measure of this movement, and its danger, we could turn to their sympathisers on Twitter, who have been busy blaming “‘ empowered’ w* myn on oral contraceptive” and” anti-male culture” for the incel phenomenon, and warning of insurrection.

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Don’t ask! Why do new mothers find it so hard to ask for help? | Jamila Rivzi

Weve reached the perverse point where being a mom who acknowledges she requires help is akin to saying your child wasnt worth the sacrifice

What wouldn’t a mom do for her newborn baby? The reply expected of us by the media, by our history, by nothing less than the laws of nature is: nothing. There is nothing a mother wouldn’t do for their offspring, for they are our charge, our creation and our responsibility. As a new mother you’re required to be singularly devoted, while requiring in return only the blissful happiness of is available on your baby’s presence.

The truthful answer voices a little different.

I’ve recently published a volume of letters from 32 remarkable Australian women about their experiences of new motherhood. I asked each contributor to take on the enormously socially challenging task of being honest about what those early weeks at home with a newborn are really like. I asked them to deviating from the persist narrative. Not to give the required answer but instead, to share their truth. Exquisitely brutal and greatly differed, the letters deliver precisely that.

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The Photograph: Penguin Random House

Open letter: Our call for an R Kelly boycott, by the Women of Color of Time’s Up

The full statement calls on corporations and venues to cut ties with the musician and demands that investigations be made into allegations of abuse

Below is the full statement released by the Women of Color of Time’s Up on Monday morning, which released a inundation of online debate about musician R Kelly and kindled a conversation about the activism of black women. The statement, first published by the Root, expressed support for the #MuteRKelly protest and called on the music industry to cut ties with Kelly.

To Our Fellow Women of Color:

We see you. We hear you. Because we are you.

For too long, our community has ignored our ache. The pain we bear is a burden that too many women of coloring have had to bear for centuries. The meanders run deep.

As women of color within Time’s Up, we recognize that we have a responsibility to assist right this wrong. We intend to glisten a bright light on our WOC sisters in need. It is our hope that we will never feel ignored or silenced ever again.

The recent court decision against Bill Cosby is one step toward addressing these ailments, but it is just a start. We call on people everywhere to join with us to insist on a world in which women of all kinds can pursue their dreamings free from sexual assault, abuse and predatory behavior.

To this end, today we join an existing online campaign called #MuteRKelly.

Over the past 25 years, the man known publicly as R Kelly has sold 60 m albums, toured the globe repeatedly and accumulated hundreds of millions of plays on radio and streaming services.

During this time, he also …

Married a girl under 18 years of age;

Was sued by at least four women for sexual misconduct, statutory rape, aggravated assault, unlawful restraint and rendering illegal drugs to a minor;

Was indicted on 21 counts of child pornography;

Has faced allegations of sexual abuse and imprisonment of women under threats of violence and familial harm.

RCA Records: The venerable music label currently creates and distributes R Kelly’s music.

The venerable music label currently creates and distributes R Kelly’s music.
Ticketmaster: The popular ticketing system is currently issuing tickets for R Kelly’s prove on 11 May.

The popular ticketing system is currently issuing tickets for R Kelly’s show on 11 May.
Spotify and Apple Music: The popular streaming platforms are currently monetizing R Kelly’s music.

The popular streaming platforms are currently monetizing R Kelly’s music.
Greensboro Coliseum Complex: The North Carolina venue is currently hosting an R Kelly concert on 11 May.

More than #MeToo: 10 ways workplaces can turn the hashtag into action | Tracey Spicer

In an edited extract of a speech given at the Global Summit of Women, Tracey Spicer advises employers to step up and stamp out sexual harassment

My first task was running behind the Yummies Bar at our local roller-skating rink, swirling soft serves ice-creams into crispy cones to a soundtrack of Sweet with Ballroom Blitz for the speed skate and Barbara Streisand for the couples’ skate.

I recollect being so proud to be 14 years old in the workforce, earning the stellar sum of$ 2 an hour.

One day a human swaggered over to the counter and asked for a soft serve with extra sprinkles.

” Don’t worry about the change, luv ,” he leered.” Just give us a kiss .”

I did not want my first kiss to be with an unkempt chap in his early 30 s. But, I had no choice.

Before I could step back, he grabbed me by the elbows and began feeing my face. It wasn’t a kiss: he was biting, chomping, devouring.

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When he finally let go, I could savour blood. My lips and tongue were numb.

” See ya !” he smirked, slouching off.

I stood, in shock. I finished my change. Then I went home.

I thought, what’s the point in complaining? No one listens to teenage girls. The victim is always to blame.

My first kiss- supposed to be a sweet, consensual event- was actually my first experience of workplace sexual harassment. Countless encounters followed on a spectrum from indecent assault to attempted rape, which I wrote about in my memoir The Good Girl Stripped Bare.

I’ve worked on documentaries around the world about the plight of women and girls. My own experiences are not as serious as employing rape as a weapon of war. But as the #MeToo movement has shown, every woman has a tale. That’s why we launched Now Australia. For everyone. For the survivors in some of the lowest-paid sectors in the workforce. For the nurses, the cleaners, those on the factory floor. For the marginalised women, and those from diverse culture backgrounds.

Now Australia is a nonpartisan , not-for-profit alliance with one intent: to end sexual harassment in the workplace. We’re nearing the end of our initial stage of crowdfunding to build a triage service, connecting anyone who has experienced sexual harassment with the right counselling and legal support.

In Australia, one in four humen have been sexually harassed during their lifetime and one in two women. And girls from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are twice as likely to be sexually harassed at work.

Long-term, we plan to collate research to make education programs for colleges and businesses.

The message emerging is that there are a number of proven strategies to eradicate sexual harassment in the workplace, but none of them will work in isolation.

We need revolutionary cultural change involving quantum transformations in legislation, education and corporate structures, with cooperation across multiple sectors, from the grassroots to those above the glass ceilings.

These are our top 10 suggestions to activate the hashtag:

1. Hire and promote more females

Research displays consistently that companies with more women in management have fewer instances of sexual harassment. This is partly because harassment prospers when humen feel pressured to chuckle along with the sexualised behaviour of their colleagues and superiors. Many women then internalise this misogyny and, yes, become offenders as well.

2. Protect employees, don’t just reduce liability

This is an issue identified in multiple papers. As Frank Dobbin and Alexandra Kalev in the Harvard Business Review explain,” Executives … have installed training and grievance procedures and called it a day. They’re satisfied as long as the courts are. They don’t bother to ask themselves whether the programs work .”

3. Don’t penalise those who lodge complaints

Around a third of people who formally complained are demoted, fired or- believe it or not- further harassed. Several large-scale surveys show people who file complaints are much more likely to lose their jobs than those who experience similar levels of harassment and say nothing.

4. Provide multiple avenues of redress

Many big workplaces around Australia provide anonymous whistleblower hotlines. These are confidential electronic systems, operated by an external third party, permitting employees to report harassment. Sometimes the report is embargoed until someone else complains about the same person, to expose serial harassers.

A note of caution here: this was put in place at a television network in this country, but few people utilize it because of a lack of trust in the workplace.

5. Take responsibility as leaders

CEOs must take a strong public stand against harassment and maintain repeating that message. They should be first in line for train, and chair the committees tasked with solving the problem. Training must be mandatory for all levels of management- not just staff.

6. Train to change behaviours , not attitudes

In 2017, the writer Nora Caplan-Bricker alerted that telling people what not to do tends to trigger their” inner toddler”, causing defiance and tantrums.
Trying to impart knowledge and skills- for example” this is what harassment looks like “;” this is what you can do if you witness harassment”- runs better than trying to change stances. Directors need to feel like they’re part of the solution.

7. Implement spectator training

Sadly, people who enter sexual harassment train with the most biased positions tend to exit having learned the least.

As Claire Cain Miller explains in the New York Times,” Bystander training equips everyone in the workplace to stop harassment, instead of offering people two roles no one wants: harasser or victim .”

At its heart, “its about” having a conversation with a friend about the route they talk about girls.

8. Reward managers and staff for an increase in incidents

This sounds counterintuitive. But basically, we are all really tall children. Offering us a treat now and then is incredibly motivating.

We know that most women don’t report harassment for anxiety of retaliation, or fear that it won’t be taken seriously. The route to fix this is to reward directors if harassment complaints increase, at the least initially, because it means employees have faith in the organizations of the system.

You can’t solve a problem you can’t see.

9. Take strong disciplinary action against delinquents

Our investigations at Fairfax and the ABC disclosed a system that promoted the perpetrators, and stillness, sidelined or sacked the survivors.
Sometimes, HR departments characterise sexual harassment grievances as examples of poor management or interpersonal difficulties, rather than as violations of the law.

There required to consequences and follow-through.

10. Put your fund where your mouth is

Consider stimulating compliance with sexual harassment guidelines a condition of doing business. Especially if you have a family business: it reflects your values.

This is the perfect style to amplify your influence. After all, fund talks.

But so does storytelling. Yes, we need data. Certainly, policies and procedures are important. But my tale of the Yummies Bar; your narratives, and those of your family, friends and colleagues- these are the solid foundations of the #MeToo movement.

As Gloria Steinem once said,” You can’t empower women without listening to their narratives .”

We must continue to speak our truth- for the sake of our daughters AND our sons- so the next generation doesn’t have to live through this horror.

* To donate to NOW Australia, go to

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Making it as a female farmer in a man’s world

How Wisconsins Soil Sisters grow veggies, create animals, run their businesses and create community

In November 2009, Lisa Kivirist pulled out a map of Wisconsin. Using her Green County farm as the center phase, she depicted a circle with a 40 -mile radius, then identified every female sustainable food activist who fell inside it. Organic agriculture can be a lonely endeavor in the rural Midwest, the 50 -year-old explains, and winters are long:” I felt the need to connect .”


The following month, 12 females assembled around the woodstove at Kivirist’s five-acre make operating and farmstay in Browntown. One dairy owned attempted counseling on dehorning goats. A vegetable grower posed questions about canning. Most guests were simply grateful for a night off, a glass of wine and the company of kindred spirits.


Inn Serendipity Farm and B& B
Browntown, WI



  • Lisa Kivirist( left) kickstarted the establishment of the Soil Sisters in 2009, when she invited a number of like-minded Wisconsin women for dinner at her wind- and solar-powered produce operation- also home to a pop-up farm store and a bed and breakfast.” Being connected to these women feeds my soul ,” Kivirist says.” I draw inspiration, advice and support from them in ways I could never have imagined .” And Nantes carrots( right) are among the more than 50 vegetable varieties that Kivirist and her husband, John Ivanko, grow organically on their five acres.


  • Yoda spouts sound nutritional wisdom from the side of an equipment shed .

Among them: Dela Ends of Scotch Hill Farm, an organic CSA founded in 1994. Ends had done it all- created poultry, sheep, goats and kids of the human range; conducted seed trials for the University of Wisconsin; and educated Senegalese subsistence gardeners on the merits of the communication of composting. She had not, however, experienced a whole lot of adoption in the hamlet of Brodhead.” My family didn’t cultivate the standard commodity crops. We were a set of stamps amid a sea of chemicals ,” recollects Ends, 64.” That constructed us weird to our neighbors, except for perhaps the Amish ones. And it’s hard to be the weirdos in a small town .”


Scotch Hill Farm and Innisfree Farmstay& Retreat
Brodhead, WI



  • Since founding their organic produce CSA 23 years ago, Dela Ends( left) and her husband, Tony, have expanded its offerings to include cut flowers and free-range eggs. Dela has also developed a line of goat milk soap and, last year, opened Innisfree Farmstay& Retreat. Next on the agenda? A series of horticulture and wellness classes.” Tony and I want to help connect more people with the land ,” she explains. And she readies various heirloom tomatoes( right) for her solar food dehydrator.


  • The couple’s grandsons, Charles( foreground) and Louis, are often underfoot now that son Micah has returned home to run the farm’s goat dairy.

Kriss Marion, on the other hand, feared that she hadn’t paid enough heed to her neighbors in Blanchardville( population 805 ), instead marketing CSA shares to urbanites in Madison.” I was working for people I didn’t know ,” tells the 50 -year-old of her eventual decision to shutter the CSA and launch a farmers marketplace and bed-and-breakfast closer to home.” Last year, I earned $26,000 renting out two bedrooms and a camper ,” Marion reports.” I owe all of it to Lisa Kivirist and the group she assembled, since they are furnished the guidance I needed to take health risks .”


Circle M Market Farm
Blanchardville, WI



  • Kriss Marion( left) credits the guidance she received from fellow Soil Sisters for the success of her farmstay, comprising two guest rooms and this 1968 Holiday Rambler Trav’ler camper. In 2015, the entrepreneur established the Blanchardville Main Street Farmers Market, where she sells approximately 100 ranges of heirloom veggies; hand-spun and hand-dyed skeins of wool; and meat from her pastured kine, swine and lambs. As if all that doesn’t sound depleting enough, Marion plans to run for the state senate this autumn. Nearby, an ancient Farmall( right) is more outdoor sculpture than working tool.


  • Marion’s gaggle of mixed-breed geese provides eggs as well as meat.

In the near decade since Kivirist’s initial outreach, that group has swelled into a multi-generational gale force-out of 150-plus south-central Wisconsinites who maintain a lively Yahoo listserve, through which they share advice, swap goats and garlic and offer up, say, 60 bales of organic hay on short order.

Officially titled Green County Area Women in Sustainable Agriculture, the collective and its members are more commonly referred to as “Soil Sisters”, a moniker that signifies something” broader and bigger”, per Kivirist.

” It encompasses all women tied to the land and one another. If a woman asks how she can become a Soil Sister, my answers is:’ You already are one .’ We don’t have a bank account or policemen or, frankly, expectations. But things get done when women cross-pollinate .”

Especially when they get political. In January 2016, Kivirist, Ends and Marion filed suit against the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture over a statute banning the sale of home-baked goods- a key revenue source for entrepreneurs of the agricultural and inn-keeping persuasions. Some 21 months later, Lafayette county circuit court judge Duane Jorgenson proclaimed the law in direct conflict with the state’s constitutionally insured right to earn an honest livelihood.


Bluffwood Landing
Monticello, WI


  • If the Soil Sisters awarded a trophy for “Best Instagrammer”, it would probably go to Linda ” LindaDee ” Derrickson. Derrickson was introduced to the social-media platform by Lauren Rudersdorf.



  • Among the many reasons to start following @lindadeederrickson: She croons Pete Seeger songs to her bio-dynamically farmed vegetables( left) and gives her sheep( right) names like June Carter Cash, and often invites her adherents over for fresh-baked cookies .

A few years ago, Soil Sister Jen Riemer, 40, learned of a concentrated animal feeding operation, or CAFO- shorthand for a farm with a large number of confined animals–that threatened to put 5,800 cows on 128 acres abutting her Riemer Family Farm in Brodhead. Worried the resulting manure might contaminate region waterways and wells, Riemer helped launch Green County Defending Our Farmland to mobilize resistance. Says Kivirist:” When Tuls Dairy knocked on Jen’s door in the summer of 2015, asking to rent land, they had no idea they’d awakened the Erin Brockovich of Green County .” Last August, the county’s board of superintendents issued a moratorium on permits for new CAFOs and created a select committee to examine the environmental impacts of such massive livestock outfits.


Riemer Family Farm
Brodhead, WI


  • Nicknamed” the Erin Brockovich of Green County” for the combat she waged against a proposed concentrated animal feeding operation, Jen Riemer has also shaken things up on her husband Bryce’s 91 -year-old family farm. Since taking over in 2010, the couple has added heritage Red Devon kine to the existing herd of Herefords and instituted pasture-raised and grass-finished standards for the beef. Jen and Bryce also brought in Rhode Island Red laying hens and Cornish Cross broiler chickens, as well as Broad Breasted Bronze turkeys and St Croix-Dorper sheep for meat.

Occasionally, agitating for change involves far more intimate arenas. Katy Dickson seeded a small revolution amid her family’s conventional soybean, corn, and hay fields by pumping out eggs and organic vegetables on seven acres she purchased from her mothers. The imminent birth of Dickson’s first child spurred the globe-trotting Peace Corps volunteer to return home to Browntown in 2007, and the existence of the Soil Sisters enabled her to become comfy there.” I don’t think I ever find a female farmer growing up ,” explains the 44 -year-old. So how’s Dad handling the situation?” He’s happy to have his grandkids around, but the weeds, they bother him ,” acknowledges Dickson of her refusal to spraying Roundup.


Christensen’s Farm
Browntown, WI



  • After two years expended volunteering for the Peace Corps- which sent her to Nepal, where she gratified her future spouse, Mark- Katy Dickson( left) decided to return to her family’s farm when she became pregnant with her first child.” I was overcome with the sudden desire to grow organic vegetables ,” she recollects. Eleven years later, the mommy of three tends some 80 assortments on seven acres bought from her parents, who farm corn, soybeans, and hay conventionally. Dickson has also acquired 400 Leghorn, Brown, Special Black, Ameraucana and Crested Polish hens, who lay between 20 and 30 dozen eggs a day, and lately bought two Scottish Highland kine, including Streak( right ).

Lauren Rudersdorf, too, has carven an organic sliver from her family’s sizeable commodity-crop operation. The 29 -year-old and her BFF, Bethanee Wright, 26, have also proved instrumental in turning elder Soil Sisters on to the PR potential of social media.” Lauren got LindaDee on Instagram for the first time ,” says Kivirist, referencing 70 -year-old Monticello sheep farmer Linda ” LindaDee ” Derrickson.” She espoused the platform and really observed her voice .”


Raleigh’s Hillside Farm
Brodhead, WI



  • Lauren Rudersdorf( left) and her husband, Kyle, have carved out a sustainable four-acre oasis on her family’s conventional soybean, corn, and alfalfa farm- doubling their CSA customer base and achieving profitability in the three years since they received organic certification.” My parents didn’t earn a real income for decades ,” Lauren points out. The couple grows 45 different veggies, including candy-sweet’ Sun Golds'( right ).