Wade Horn Departs; Rape Rate High in New Hampshire

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(WOMENSENEWS)–

Cheers

Wade Horn, an influential fathers’ rights advocate whose views shaped much of the 1996 welfare law, resigned as assistant secretary for children and families, the Washington Post reported April 3. Horn oversaw a $46 billion budget and 65 programs that serve vulnerable children and families for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He will join the accounting firm Deloitte and Touche

Women’s groups recently criticized Horn and Health and Human Services for providing discriminatory funding to men’s groups. According to a report from the Washington-based National Organization for Women, the department awarded $5 million to the National Fatherhood Initiative, an organization previously directed by Horn. NOW and Legal Momentum filed complaints on March 28 with the government alleging sex discrimination in program funding.

“Wade Horn takes the cake. His buddies at National Fatherhood Initiative–the organization he founded–already receive millions in government grants, and now Horn is sending another $5 million their way,” said NOW President Kim Gandy in a statement related to the lawsuit.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of women April 2 when it declined to hear an appeal of a lower court’s decision by the Michigan High School Athletic Association, the National Women’s Law Center, who represented the plaintiffs, said March 29. The association had scheduled six girls’ sports to compete in off-seasons, but was ordered to schedule an equal amount of girls and boys’ teams during regular seasons. The high court’s decision not to take the case brings closure to a nearly decade-old legal dispute.
  • Muslim religious leaders in northeastern Kenya have decided to talk about the danger of female genital mutilation during Friday prayers in mosques, reported U.N. news agency IRIN March 30. The Muslim Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya will rely on the Quran to educate people and convince many parents, including those with strong traditional beliefs, that circumcising girls is not a religious requirement. Anti-FGM activists estimate that 32 percent of all women between the ages of 15 and 49 in more than half of Kenya’s districts have been cut and up to 98 percent in northeastern Kenya.
  • The emerging role of women in Islamic finance was a key topic at the 12th International Islamic Finance Forum held April 3, the Middle East business Web site AME Info reported. Women were invited to take their place in Islamic finance not only to broaden the appeal of the finance world to women, but also to address a general shortage of qualified professionals. “Women are increasingly controlling large amounts of capital and the industry is responding, but more appropriate investment vehicles need to be established to address the issue of women’s wealth,” Rushdi Siddiqui, a global director with Dow Jones, said during the forum.
  • Nazanin Fatehi, the 19-year-old Iranian woman who was sentenced to death for stabbing a man who tried to rape her, has had her sentence suspended, according to blogger Maryam Namazie, who cited the International Committee Against Execution for the news. The report says Fatehi will be released from prison soon, but will have to pay a fine to the government.
  • Prosecutors in Lawrence, Mass., have decided not to press homicide charges against Amber Abreu, an 18-year-old immigrant woman who took an ulcer drug to induce an abortion in January, the Boston Globe reported March 29. Abreu, who gave birth to a 1-pound infant that later died, will still face a charge of illegally procuring an abortion, which carries a potential prison sentence of seven years. A medical examiner determined that the fetus was 25 weeks old, and prosecutors said they would not be able to prove viability, the key issue in whether a homicide charge could be made.

Jeers

More than half of New Hampshire women say they’ve been physically or sexually assaulted in their lifetimes, and almost one-fifth say they’ve been raped, the Associated Press reported March 30.

The survey of 508 women, conducted by the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, the University of New Hampshire and the state government, is the first time experts have tracked violence against women in the state. Across the nation, 1 in 6 women are victims of sexual assault during their lifetimes, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.

“We wanted to get better information and a more accurate picture of the depth of this problem in our state,” said Attorney General Kelly Ayotte. Reported sexual and physical assault correlated with more frequently reported chronic diseases or medical problems. Abusers often were people the women knew, such as a husband, boyfriend or relative.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • The Equal Rights Amendment faces a tough road, with fewer than 200 original co-sponsors in the 435-member House of Representatives and 21 sponsors in the Senate, according to an April 3 Associated Press article. One House Republican, Ralph Hall of Texas, dropped his sponsorship after one day. Opposition groups have also mobilized quickly. In 1971 and 1972, the amendment moved through both chambers easily, passing by 354-24 in the House and 84-8 in the Senate. “I would love for the American people to see who votes against women’s equality,” said Terry O’Neill of the National Council of Women’s Organizations.
  • Female survivors of the 2004 Asian tsunami face increased violence both in their homes and in relief camps, Reuters reported March 31. Research conducted by 174 organizations reported that women were vulnerable to husbands who drank more and were more abusive after the tsunami. Women in camps were coping with violence, impoverishment and lack of privacy. The report interviewed 7,000 women, 174 organizations and covered Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Thailand, India and Somalia. The report precedes an April political meeting of South Asian leaders in New Delhi in hopes the governments will provide better protection to female survivors.
  • A compensation fund to assist “comfort women” forced into prostitution expires April 7 as Japanese officials maintain the government was not responsible for the sexual enslavement of thousands of women in military camps during World War II. The privately run Asian Women’s Fund provided 285 women with about $17,800 compensation, helped set up nursing homes and offered medical assistance.

Noted:

The American College of Physicians issued new breast cancer screening guidelines for women in their 40s that leaves the decision about whether to get a mammogram up to the women and their doctors, Reuters reported April 3. The guidelines recommend that younger women may not necessarily need an annual mammogram and should consider the potential harmful effects, which include false-positive results, radiation exposure, false reassurance and pain during the procedure.

In Memoriam:

Charlotte Winters, the last surviving female veteran of World War I, died in her Boonsboro, Md., home on March 27, the Chicago Tribune reported. Winters was ranked Yeoman (F)–for female–and was a clerk at the Naval Gun Factory at the Washington Navy Yard from 1917 to 1919. She enlisted through a loophole that allowed “citizens and persons” to join rather than men only. She was 109.

Alison Bowen is a New York-based reporter with Women’s eNews and Nouhad Moawad is managing editor of Arabic Women’s eNews.

Women’s eNews welcomes your comments. E-mail us at editors@womensenews.org.

For more information:

“Conservatives Push for Marriage Promotion Programs”:
http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm/dyn/aid/1073/

“Rape May Be Most Common in Rural Areas”:
http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm/dyn/aid/1534/

“In Tsunami, Women Put Modesty Above Survival”:
http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm/dyn/aid/2195/

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