Trending In Our News Feeds – PolicyMic hosts special discussion on sexual assault awareness. To mark Sexual Assault Awareness Month, PolicyMic is hosting a weeklong discussion on sexual violence. To kick things off, Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) writes an op-ed for PolicyMic describing her efforts to end sexual assault in the military. Here are some of the highlights from her incredible article, “I'm Fighting to Give Victims Of Sexual Assault in the Military Their Day in Court”:
On her personal experiences with victim blaming: “I’ll never forget sitting around a full conference table with senior prosecutors in my office. I was the only woman in the room. We were discussing… which cases would move to trial, which ones we’d try to plea, and what cases would be dismissed. Imagine my surprise when the man in charge of the criminal docket looked down at the file in front of him, and said, ‘You know, I think we’ve got to let this one go … I’ve looked at this file and the victim was on birth control.’ I thought surely that it was a joke. But it wasn’t. And so, I replied with a simple question: "I want to make sure I understand — if I get raped tonight, will you take the case? Because I’m on the birth control pill."
On the case that convinced her that now is the time for change: “In a much publicized case, Air Force Lt. Col. James Wilkerson was convicted in November of sexual assault. He was found guilty by a military jury, sentenced to one year in a military prison, and dismissed from service. But just a few months after Wilkerson began to serve his sentence, the Air Force commander overseeing Wilkerson's case, Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin, used his command authority to dismiss the charges against Wilkerson. It was a unilateral action, permissible under military law, and one which led Wilkerson to be released from prison and reinstated into service, his record expunged of wrongdoing. The shock and anger I felt when I learned about this reversal must pale in comparison to its effect on sexual assault survivors.”
On her commitment to ending sexual assault in the military: “As a member of the Armed Services Committee, I’ve introduced legislation to strip commanders of their authority to overturn jury convictions. And I’ve begun work with military leaders to change the military justice system to prevent this kind of injustice and to better protect survivors of sexual assault. I’m committed to seeing that work through, and ensuring that the message we’ve successfully embedded in our civilian justice system is implemented in our military justice system: if you commit sexual violence, you will go to jail.”
Read Senator McCaskill’s entire story here, and be sure to share with your friends on Facebook.
In other news, superstar editor Sam Meier explains what to expect in the week ahead, and why “sexual assault is a problem that requires our full attention to understand, combat, and solve.” Check out some other amazing stories: Pundit Liz Plank interviewed the multi-talented celebrity actress Aisha Tyler on sexual violence on the Internet, and author Michael Kimmel explains how friendship can help end rape.
Intelligence agencies knew of Tsarnaev threat before attack. Officials have revealed that the National Counterterrorism Center placed Tamerlan Tsarnaev on its “TIDE” terrorist list 18 months before the attack on the Boston Marathon. The revelation raises questions about whether authorities could have done more to prevent last week’s bombing. The parents of the suspects are traveling to the U.S. to help in the investigation. They could arrive as early as today. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Tsarnaev brothers planned to visit New York City after the attack to celebrate their bombing. Meanwhile, 10,000 Bostonians attended a service for the MIT security officer who was slain by the suspects.
Obama to speak at ceremony for Bush Presidential Center. President Obama will speak at the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Center later this morning. He will be joined by all the living presidents on the campus of Southern Methodist University. The Center will feature a library and interactive museum exhibits that ask visitors to navigate the decisions that Bush faced while in office. James Hohmann at Politico analyzes what we’ve learned about the 43rd president since he left office. On a lighter note, Business Insider has collected some very amusing photos of President Bush. Ahead of the event, one of the attendees, former President Bill Clinton, has finally decided to join Twitter. You can watch Obama’s speech live at 11:00 a.m. here.
Status Updates – British politician David Miliband publishes on PolicyMic. Former U.K. Foreign Minister David Miliband tells you why you should care about saving our oceans, how ocean mismanagement is costing us $50 billion a year, and why there’s hope for change in the future. Read PolicyMic advisor and Pundit Cameron Bell’s exclusive interview here.
PolicyMic's amazing pundits get featured across the media! PolicyMic pundits are taking the media by storm and changing how millennials engage with the news. Last week, PolicyMic-ers were featured in New York Magazine, Fark.com, and Al Jazeera, to name a few. Check out last week’s media highlights, here.
Sexual assault isn't funny, so why are so many joking about it? Our friends at MTV Act are taking a stand against sexual assault. Check out their interview with RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) spokeswoman Katherine Hull on why it’s not okay to joke about rape, and how you can make a difference.
Are you active in politics, art, or business? Let us know what you’re up to and we’ll feature you in this section!
Must Reads From PolicyMic – Last Week’s Boston Lockdown Sets a Frightening Precedent For American Civil Liberties (Robert Taylor, @Westernerd) – Terrorists will never dismantle our society. Only our acceptance of gross violations of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights can do that.
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