Anita Hill: Companies Should Treat Sexual Harassment as an Abuse of Power

After the Congressional testimonies of Christine Blasey [f500link, ignore=true]Ford[/f500link] and Brett Kavanaugh in September, professor Anita Hill met with students at Brandeis University to discuss and process the event.

“There were a range of feelings,” said the attorney, known for her own testimony accusing then-U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. “Anger, a feeling of disgust with leadership, and unfortunately a feeling of abandonment–a sense that they were not recognized, their experiences weren’t recognized.”

Hill said the students have been very engaged in the effort to combat sexual violence on college campuses, where currently one in four women can expect to be sexually assaulted during their time at school.

“They have put a lot of energy in it and taken a lot of risk to make known the problem of sexual assault for their generation,” she said Wednesday at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit in Laguna Niguel, Calif.

Many women felt rage watching the Kavanaugh confirmation, Hill acknowledged, but disagreed with the idea that the outcome–Kavanaugh was later confirmed–meant no progress had been made in the 27 years since her own appearance on Capitol Hill.

“Maybe the Senate hasn’t changed enough, but we have,” she said. “And there’s a new generation of women coming up who are going to be even more empowered for change.”

That change needs to be large and institutional, Hill told a ballroom of executives, from college campuses to the workplace.

“I think we have to understand the root problem for what it is,” she said. “It’s not just about sexual harassment. In many ways, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It is about the abuse of power that occurs.”

Hill added: “We have to see this as a problem of power–power alignment and abuse, overall.”

If you don’t look at the issue as a comprehensive problem, it’s like playing whac-a-mole attempting to address instances of harassment as they occur, Hill said. Organizations instead need to understand the ways that people in positions of power can, and do, take advantage of others in the workplace.

“One way abuse of power is manifested is through sexual harassment,” she said. “But it’s also manifested through pay inequity. It’s also manifested through lack of leadership opportunities. It’s also manifested just by day to day aggressions that occur.”

It’s the power dynamic that often makes it difficult for people to report sexual misconduct. In the workplace, 75% of employees who report sexual harassment experience retaliation from managers or coworkers.

Because the fear of retaliation is real, companies need to make it clear from the highest levels that sexual misconduct will not be tolerated and create a standard process to rectify reports of harassment, Hill said.

“We need to make sure that we have very clear policies that are accessible and let people know, if they come forward, exactly what is going to happen to them,” she said.

It’s also important an employee knows that there will be an outcome when an issue is raised, rather than it disappearing into a human resources file, Hill added. It will require organizations to implement strong policies and live up to the promises they make to workers to begin to reduce the rates of sexual assault and harassment.

“We have to view this as a cultural problem, not a behavioral problem,” Hill said. “Do not be content with the idea that if we fire one or two high profile people, we’ve changed the culture of an institution. That is just not accurate. It’s not true and it’s not going to be effective.”

Fortune

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Afghanistan suspends officials after women’s soccer team abuse investigation

Afghanistan’s Attorney General has suspended the head of the Afghan Football Federation after a probe into allegations of sexual abuse of members of the national women’s soccer team, a spokesman for the attorney general said on Sunday.


Reuters: Sports News

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Why USA Gymnastics’ Bankruptcy Will Delay Abuse Survivors’ Search for the Truth

USA Gymnastics’ announcement Wednesday that it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection was in some ways expected. The embattled organization is currently under investigation by Congress and under threat of losing its status as the national governing body for gymnastics by the US Olympic Committee (USOC). It faces more than 100 lawsuits by gymnasts who claim that the organization failed to act to protect them against sexual abuse by Larry Nassar, who for many years was the national team doctor, even after reports of his abuse were made to USA Gymnastics officials.

Board chair Kathryn Carson said in a statement that the move is meant to “expedite resolution of claims by the Nassar survivors.” However, John Manly, the attorney who represents more than 100 of those survivors – including Olympians McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross and Jordyn Wieber – says the bankruptcy filing will delay, not speed up resolution of those lawsuits. Manly is currently taking depositions and discovery in some of those suits, which are now on hold because of the bankruptcy filing.

“If the goal is to delay, this is what you do,” he tells TIME. “We have depositions and request for other discovery and subpoenas lined up to get at the meat of what they knew and when they knew it [about the sexual abuse]. Bankruptcy stops that because there is an automatic stay on litigation.”

In its filing, USA Gymnastics lists former CEO Steve Penny, who led the organization during much of the time Nassar abused gymnasts, as the largest creditor, with a nearly $ 340,000 claim. Penny resigned in 2017 as the sexual abuse allegations mounted, and he and the organization were criticized for how they handled the abuse reports. He left USA Gymnastics with a reported $ 1 million severance, approved by the board. And in October, Penny was arrested after he was indicted on charges of tampering with evidence in the Nassar case. Texas law enforcement officials charged Penny with ordering removal of documents from USA Gymnastics’ national training center, the Karolyi Ranch, in 2016.

In her statement, Carson said that any money USA Gymnastics may owe as a result of the lawsuits — when they resume — would be covered by the organization’s insurance policies.

But those athletes with pending lawsuits will have to take yet another legal step because of USA Gymnastics’ decision to file for Chapter 11 protection. The federal bankruptcy court in Indianapolis, where the organization is based, will set a time during which all creditors must step forward and file a claim for any funds they are owed by USA Gymnastics. Creditors usually have four to six months to file these claims, and the gymnasts currently suing USA Gymnastics must also file this separate claim for any damages or recompense they feel they are owed.

From the survivors’ perspective, the delay in the litigation means they will continue to search for answers about why the organization they believed was protecting their best interests allowed Nassar to continue to treat them — at competitions, including in hotel rooms, and at training camps — even after many of them had reported his abuse to USA Gymnastics officials.

“I think USA Gymnastics thinks this is now just about money,” says Manly. “My direction from my clients is that we are not discussing money until we get the truth. The bankruptcy definitely makes it difficult; it delays things and is definitely not a win for us. But we have trial dates set, and we are moving toward trial.”

Sports – TIME

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USA Gymnastics Files For Bankruptcy in Wake of Sex Abuse Scandal

USA Gymnastics is turning to bankruptcy in an effort to ensure its survival.

The embattled organization filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition on Wednesday as it attempts to reach settlements in the dozens of sex-abuse lawsuits it faces and to forestall its potential demise at the hands of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

USA Gymnastics filed the petition in Indianapolis, where it is based. It faces 100 lawsuits representing 350 athletes in various courts across the country who blame the group for failing to supervise Larry Nassar, a team doctor accused of molesting them.

Kathryn Carson, who was recently elected chairwoman of the board of directors, said the organization is turning to bankruptcy to speed things up after mediation attempts failed to gain traction.

“Those discussions were not moving at any pace,” Carson said. “We as a board felt this was a critical imperative and decided to take this action.”

The filing does not affect the amount of money available to victims, which would come from previously purchased insurance coverage, she said. Carson said the insurance companies “are aware we’re taking this action and our expectation is they will come to the table and pay on our coverage.”

Carson added: “This is not a liquidation. This is a reorganization.”

One that USA Gymnastics hopes will buy it enough time to fend off the USOC’s intent to decertify it.

The USOC on Nov. 5 took steps to remove USAG as the sport’s governing body at the Olympic level — a step that’s taken only under the most extreme circumstances. In an open letter to the gymnastics community, USOC CEO Sarah Hirshland said “you deserve better,” and that the challenges facing USA Gymnastics were more than it was capable of overcoming as currently constructed.

Carson said the legal maneuvering Wednesday delays the USOC’s efforts to strip its designation as a national governing body.

“We always have a dialogue going with them and intend to make it clear with them we have a lot to talk about and we want to keep that going,” Carson said.

USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky disagreed.

“While we fully understand that USAG believes this restructuring will begin to solve deficiencies we’ve identified, the filing does not impact our Section 8 complaint and that process will move forward,” Sandusky said.

Sports – TIME

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USA Gymnastics files for bankruptcy as it seeks to resolve sexual abuse claims

USA Gymnastics filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, which will allow it to continue operating while also resolving the sexual abuse claims made by several athletes against former USA Gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar. 
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An understudied form of child abuse and ‘intimate terrorism’: Parental alienation

According to Colorado State University social psychologist Jennifer Harman, about 22 million American parents have been the victims of behaviors that lead to something called parental alienation. Having researched the phenomenon for several years, Harman is urging psychological, legal and child custodial disciplines to recognize parental alienation as a form of both child abuse and intimate partner violence. Harman has authored a review article in Psychological Bulletin defining the behaviors associated with parental alienation and advocating for more research into its prevalence and outcomes.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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Former Michigan State President Charged With Lying to Police About Nassar’s Sexual Abuse

(LANSING, Mich.) —Ex-Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation of the handling of serial sexual abuser Larry Nassar — the third current or former campus official other than Nassar to face criminal charges in the scandal.

Simon, who stepped down under pressure in January, spoke with state police investigators on May 1. She is accused of making two false and misleading statements — that she was unaware of the nature of a sexual misconduct complaint that sparked the school’s 2014 Title IX probe of Nassar, and that she only knew a sports medicine doctor, not Nassar himself, was under investigation at that time.

If convicted of two felony and two misdemeanor counts of lying to a peace officer, the 71-year-old Simon faces up to four years in prison. The Mason resident is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday in Eaton County near Lansing.

The Associated Press left a message seeking comment from Simon’s attorney, Lee Silver. University spokeswoman Emily Guerrant said Simon — who remains on faculty despite resigning as president — is taking an immediate leave of absence, without pay “to focus on her legal situation.”

Simon is the fifth person to be criminally charged in the wake of Nassar’s convictions for molesting young female athletes under the guise of treatment. Numerous other people have lost their jobs or have been sued.

In August, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette charged former MSU gymnastics head coach Kathie Klages with lying to an investigator when she denied that witnesses told her years ago about being sexually assaulted by Nassar. In March, the ex-dean of the osteopathic medicine school, William Strampel , was charged with neglecting his duty to enforce examining-room restrictions imposed on Nassar after the 2014 Title IX investigation.

That probe, initiated by a patient, resulted in the school clearing Nassar.

In Texas, former USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny was charged last month with tampering with evidence while a former sports medicine trainer, Debra Van Horn , was charged in June with “acting as a party” with Nassar in the sexual assault of a child.

Hundreds of girls and women have said Nassar molested them when he was a physician, including while he worked at Michigan State and Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics, which trains U.S. Olympians. Nassar, 55, last year pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting nine victims and possessing child pornography, and his sentences equate to life in prison.

Sports – TIME

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Ron Galimore, USA Gymnastics COO Tied to Sexual Abuse Scandal, Resigns

Ron Galimore, the last remaining USA Gymnastics official who was in a leadership role during the explosive sexual abuse scandal that emerged in 2016, has resigned.

The organization made the announcement in a two-sentence press release. “The USA Gymnastics Board of Directors has accepted the resignation of Chief Operating Officer Ron Galimore. We wish him well in his future endeavors.“

Galimore, a gymnast who competed in the 1980 Olympics and was employed by Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics since 1994, has been a lightning rod for criticism by abuse survivors. His resignation comes less than two weeks after the U.S. Olympic Committee initiated proceedings to remove USA Gymnastics’ status as the sport’s governing body in the country.

The Indianapolis Star first reported in 2016 that USA Gymnastics had received reports of sexual abuse but did not immediately contact law enforcement authorities. Several hundred gymnasts, including the entire Fierce Five 2012 Olympic champion women’s team, later came forward with reports they had been sexually abused by Larry Nassar, who was the organization’s team doctor.

Earlier this year, the Star obtained emails that revealed Galimore was among the USA Gymnastics officials who were involved in finding excuses for Nassar’s absences from events even after the organization became aware of growing reports of Nassar’s abuse beginning in 2015.

Olympian Aly Raisman, who was abused by Nassar, has been vocal in questioning why Galimore remained at USA Gymnastics given his role in the Nassar abuse scandal. Galimore is the only U.S. member of the International Gymnastics Federation executive committee, and at the recent world gymnastics championships in Doha was among those distributing medals.

“Why is Ron Galimore (someone who covered up Nassar’s abuse) allowed to have the honor of handing out medals at world championships? What an awful message this sends to athletes,” she tweeted on Nov. 2.

Raisman has noted that the mass of resignations from USA Gymnastics due to the sexual abuse scandal — the top leadership of its board, two CEOs, and the development training coordinator — are important steps toward rebuilding the organization, but don’t provide any answers for survivors who still want to know how and why Nassar’s abuse was allowed to continue for years.

“USA Gymnastics has not been transparent at all,” she told TIME last month. “There have been so many resignations, and no answers.”

Sports – TIME

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Ex-Wife Of Chicago Cubs Star Addison Russell Describes Years of Alleged Abuse

When Chicago Cubs star Addison Russell hit a home run in the 2016 World Series his wife Melisa Reidy-Russell said she cried – not out of happiness, but relief that he would be in a good mood later.

“I was bawling in the stands,” she said. “Like, ‘Oh my God, thank God, finally. I don’t have to expect him to be grumpy when we go back to the hotel.’”

Reidy-Russell detailed of years of alleged physical and emotional abuse in an interview this week on Chicago TV station WGN-TV.

Major League Baseball suspended Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell 40 games this week for violating the league’s domestic violence policy.

ESPN reports Russell, who denies the allegations, accepted the suspension from MLB.

Addison Russell and Melisa Reidy-Russell met when they were both 20 years old. Noticing some red flags soon into their relationship, Reidy-Russell said she tried to break it off with Russell multiple times. He would reassure her and convince her to stay each time, she said.

“The physical stuff wasn’t every day. Or every month,” she said. “It was just when sh-t hit the fan. Fights started getting worse. He started breaking things. He broke my phone in half with his hands one day over something.”

MLB began investigating Russell in 2017 after since-deleted Instagram posts from Reidy-Russell suggested the couple was breaking up; in a separate post, a commenter who was a close friend to Reidy-Russell accused Russell of abusing his wife. The league did not take disciplinary action against Russell at the time.

The investigation picked up again this year after Reidy-Russell wrote a blog post about two weeks ago describing the physical and emotional abuse she says she endured at the hands of Russell. MLB placed Russell on administrative leave on Sept. 21.

“After gaining a full understanding of the situation, I have concluded it’s in the best interest of my family to accept MLB’s proposed resolution of this matter,” he said in a statement. “I wish my ex-wife well and hope we can live in peace for the benefit of our child.”

Sports – TIME

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