By Alison Bowen
Saturday, April 14, 2007
A widespread outcry spurred the firing of radio host Don Imus after he slurred members of a women's college athletetic team on his "Imus in the Morning" radio show and simulcast.
CBS and MSNBC pulled Imus from the schedule after he referred to female Rutgers basketball players as "nappy-headed hos." The comments caused a wave of advertisers to withdraw support and angry letters demanding stronger action than the initial two-week-long suspension Imus received.
CBS chief Leslie Moonves, in a memo announcing the firing, said Imus flourished in a culture that permits demeaning speech. "In taking him off the air, I believe we take an important and necessary step not just in solving a unique problem, but in changing that culture, which extends far beyond the walls of our company."
The National Congress of Black Women and other prominent African American advocacy organizations held a press conference in Washington, D.C., April 13 to discuss the denigration of women in media and entertainment.
"That these ad hominem attacks occur repeatedly--from the mouths of Imus, rappers, some entertainers and other racists and sexists--can be attributed to the low esteem in which women and blacks too often are held," Yvonne Scruggs, executive director of Sojourner Truth Center for Interactive Justice, wrote in a an e-mail to Women's eNews.
Imus received word of his firing shortly before he met with the Rutgers basketball players April 12 for several hours.
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About 70 percent of rape victims do not receive specialized care in New York City emergency rooms, according to research released April 12 by the advocacy group New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault.
The care a rape victim receives depends on whether the hospital's emergency room has a sexual assault response team or a sexual assault forensic examiner program. Known as SAFE programs, these procedures ensure that victims have access to vital resources, including specialized equipment for forensic evidence collection, specially trained nurse practitioners, and physicians and victims' advocates.
"I suspect more people in my situation would have a very difficult time explaining (what they need) without a victim's advocate," said Cheryl Wheeler, a rape survivor during a press conference announcing the research findings. She said she was taken to the emergency room wearing only a coat, which was taken away as evidence, had to repeatedly ask for something to cover herself, was questioned and photographed by male detectives and accompanied by men in the ambulance and cab ride home.
Debi Fry, the alliance's research director, said the group's goal is to ensure victims the option of transport to a hospital with SAFE services and to expand those services to five more hospitals, adding to the 17 that currently exist in New York City.
More women than men will use the Internet this year, Reuters reported April 12. About 97 million women will log on, edging out the 91 million male users. Reuters reports that men who watch videos online surpass women, however, with 78 percent of men compared to 66 percent of women.
Alison Bowen is a New York-based reporter with Women's eNews.
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