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CCW class for black women at Cincinnati church draws big crowd


ROSELAWN, Ohio – New Prospect Baptist Church is home to one of the largest black congregations in Cincinnati. On any weekend there you’ll find weddings, funerals, and three Sunday services.

Not exactly a place you think you’d find 179 women firing .22-caliber handguns in the church basement.

But that’s exactly what happened on Feb. 8, when the church opened its doors to what state officials believe is one of the largest women-only, concealed carry gun certification classes held in the state of Ohio. 

Over and over, the women cited the same reason for coming to the class. They were tired of being scared – of guns, of being alone in a home, of walking in some neighborhoods. 

Ariel Gresham, left,  Nancy Robb, both of Finneytown hold an unloaded revolver during an all-female concealed carry and weapons class Saturday, February 8, 2020, at New Prospect Baptist Church in Roselawn sponsored Arm the Populace.

Karen Bolden, 56, was so scared of her husband’s guns she asked him to get rid of them when they got married two years ago. He did, but she’s working to conquer her fear. When Bolden’s sister alerted her to the class – and suggested they go together – she jumped at the chance.

“This is why this class is so important,” Bolden said. “We can’t be afraid.”

The class was organized by two men: the church’s pastor Rev. Damon Lynch III and Cincinnati City Councilman Jeff Pastor, a Republican who appeared at the class sporting a t-shirt reading “All gun control is racist.” 

On Jan. 8, Pastor spread the word of the class on Facebook. 

“FREE All Women CCW Course! After hearing about those girls in Columbus being kidnapped and other young ladies around the country being sold into sex trafficking, rape, domestic violence, and other acts of violence against women, I felt the only thing I could do is host another free basic gun course for all women!”   

Within a week, the class was sold out.

Two hundred women signed up. Despite an early morning snowfall that made driving treacherous, 179 women turned out for the class, all with varying comfort levels with guns. Some had never touched one. Others owned a gun, but wanted the license needed to carry it with them. Some came because their moms or sisters or friends suggested it.

The class was taught by certified CCW licensing firm Arm the Populace. It was an intense, nine-hour class, complete with a built-just-for-the class shooting range in an empty storage area above the church’s community center.

Opinion:Don’t pit slavery descendants against black immigrants. Racism doesn’t know the difference.

Women paid $25 each to cover the cost of the space, cheaper than the typical $65 class fee.

Arm the Populace, a Cincinnati-based company that offers firearms and personal defense training, donated its time. It billed the class as the largest CCW class of all women ever in Ohio.

A spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, which keeps CCW records, said the office does not track class size, but from his experience, 179 women in a class could be the largest. The office does not keep CCW permit statistics by race.  

A Pew Research Center report in 2017 delved into “America’s complex relationship with guns.” It found gun ownership varied considerably by race and gender. About four-in-ten men (39%) said they personally owned a gun, compared with 22% of women. And while 36% of whites reported that they were gun owners, only about a quarter of blacks and 15% of Hispanics said they own a gun.





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More than half of women in Zimbabwe have faced sextortion, finds survey | Global development


Zimbabwe has recorded an unprecedented number of women reporting being forced to exchange sex for employment or business favours.

More than 57% of women surveyed by Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) said they had been forced to offer sexual favours in exchange for jobs, medical care and even when seeking placements at schools for their children.

The report, seen by the Guardian, found women in the informal sector experienced sextortion as the main form of non-monetary bribes by various officials.

About 45% of women said they had received requests for sexual favours to access a service and 15% had used sex to get employment. The report, entitled Gender and Corruption, found women were increasingly vulnerable to sexual abuse amid the deteriorating Zimbabwean economy.

“57.5% of these respondents noted that sexual favours are the form of non-monetary bribe they had experienced. Sextortion is thus a part of the bribery culture in Zimbabwe. Women who do not have money to pay for bribes are thus forced to use sex as a form of payment. 15% used employment favours as a form of bribery,” reads the report.

Women in business were also found to have faced sexual harassment when seeking government tenders.

“At times you get asked for sexual favours in return for tenders or business. What makes the situation difficult, especially for state contracts, is how women in business are perceived by men in control of these processes. When they see a woman, for most of them sex is the first thing that comes to their mind. Hence women are sexualised and seen as sex-preneurs rather than entrepreneurs,” TIZ reports.

Studies carried out by TIZ in 2019 showed women are vulnerable to sexual abuse when seeking land for residential, business or agricultural use.

Sextortion is a global phenomenon that causes serious harm, robbing women of dignity and opportunity, and undermining confidence in public institutions, according to rights groups.

Zimbabwe ranks 158 out of 180 countries included in the Transparency International corruption perceptions index.

“Sex is a currency in many corrupt deals in Zimbabwe. Sexual harassment is institutionalised, and women have been suffering for a long time. There is need to actively deal with all forms of sexual harassment in all sectors,” says the report.

The study shows women are being coerced into corruption, while many fear reporting sextortionists as some police are thought to be part of the corruption chain.

“For some respondents it was fear of reprisal that stopped them from reporting whilst others indicated that there was no reward for reporting corruption. Regarding sextortion, respondents cited the justice system as too masculine, hence they opted not to report.

“All the key informants who took part in the research indicated that Zimbabwe lacks a robust corruption reporting system. They also highlighted the need for a system to promote and protect whistleblowers,” TIZ reported.

“Even the police officers require some form of payment to help you. They may ask for transport or fuel to enable them to investigate. In the end they also get bribed by the perpetrators.”

Globally, the poor suffer most from extortion, paying the highest percentage of their income in bribes, according to the World Bank. Zimbabwe loses close to $2bn (£1.5bn) to corruption annually.

Although Zimbabwe has made progress in advancing gender equality through the establishment of various institutional, legal and policy frameworks, the country still ranks low on the UN gender inequality index. Sexual extortion is rarely recognised as a form of corruption, yet gender activists say it reduces women’s access to land and markets and reinforces social and economic marginalisation.

Lack of political will to deal with corruption has frustrated the efforts of the Zimbabwe anti-corruption commission, which has a mandate to investigate corruption cases in the country.



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Women injured after double stabbing in Hindley | UK news


One woman has been seriously injured in a double stabbing in Greater Manchester, while another has sustained minor injuries.

Emergency services were called to the incident in Hindley at about 10.30am on Saturday.

A North West ambulance spokeswoman confirmed that two air ambulances were sent to the scene and the women, both believed to be in their 20s, were taken to hospital. One of the women had since been discharged with minor injuries while the other was still receiving treatment, police said.

Greater Manchester police said they were not looking for anyone else in connection to the attack, which it added was not being treated as terror related.

Photos circulating on social media showed a police cordon in place while emergency services worked at the scene.

Yunus Mulla
(@yunusmulla)

Two women stabbed and seriously injured in #hindley . Road closed . [email protected] pic.twitter.com/Kq5LYrUMmC


December 14, 2019

Atherton Road, where the attack occurred, was closed for a few hours, but had since reopened.





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Finnish minister sorry for Instagram poll on IS women


Katri Kulmuni, 12 Dec 19Image copyright
Reuters

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Katri Kulmuni’s controversial online poll hit a raw nerve in Finnish politics

A Finnish minister has apologised for an Instagram post which asked readers whether children should be repatriated with their mothers from a Syrian camp housing Islamic State-linked people.

Newly appointed Finance Minister Katri Kulmuni tweeted “I apologise for the poll”. And she has now deleted it.

The poll, which asked people to vote either “children only” or “children and mothers”, drew much criticism.

About 10 women and 30 children at the Kurdish-run al-Hol camp are Finnish.

Several Western governments have already repatriated some children from al-Hol and other camps in northern Syria holding foreigners linked to IS. Generally they are the families of IS jihadists killed, wounded or missing in the civil war.

But politicians are struggling over the issue: most recognise that young children are victims of war, but there are fears that many mothers are indoctrinated with violent jihadist ideology.

The nationalist Finns Party – in opposition, but the second-biggest party in parliament – opposes such repatriations.

Image copyright
AFP

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Displaced families linked to IS live in squalid conditions at al-Hol camp

Ms Kulmuni, 32, said: “I wanted to discuss this complex and difficult issue on social media. It failed and I apologise for it.”

She heads the Centre Party in a new coalition government led by women, which took office this week.

The Instagram post was tweeted by Helsinki-based Egan Richardson on Thursday.

Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto has said children cannot be repatriated without their mothers because the Syrian Kurdish forces running the camps oppose separating them.

Finland’s interior ministry says 20 people who went to the conflict zones in Iraq and Syria from Finland have returned.

“It is estimated that ten Finnish adults and about 30 children are currently living in the al-Hol camp,” a ministry statement said.

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The Finnish government says it is trying to supply food and medicines to the Finnish citizens there, but is not actively helping any of them to return.

The new government – a five-party, centre-left coalition – is led by the world’s youngest prime minister: Sanna Marin, 34. MPs will question the government on the al-Hol issue on Tuesday.

Andrew Stroehlein, European media director at Human Rights Watch, voiced outrage over Ms Kulmuni’s poll.

“Seriously, #Finland?” he tweeted. “This is awful, if true. A state should respect the rights of its citizens in all cases… What’s next, public hangings based on the volume of stadium cheers?”





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Bollywood’s Rani Mukerji wants women to protect themselves amid devastating rape crisis


Rani Mukerji is hoping new Bollywood film Mardaani 2 sparks a huge change in India, amid a devastating rape crisis.

In the sequel – which is released in cinemas on 13 December, the 41-year-old reprises her role as police officer Shivani – who attempts to hunt down a young serial killer, targeting young women, brutally raping and murdering them.

The movie comes after similar crimes have been devastating India, with reports of young girls being raped making worldwide news on a weekly basis.

And, speaking to Metro.co.uk about the film, Rani hopes that it will encourage women to protect themselves from attackers, by learning ‘self-defence’.

‘The most important change I would like to see is that women use their platforms to talk about what we can do, and how we can learn certain self-defence tricks to be able to protect them from difficult situations,’ she told us.

‘We need to accept that we are facing this reality today, which is horrendous and scary, but it’s the reality today so we have to deal with it, and face it with a lot of courage.

Rani is starring in Mardaani 2 (Picture: Yash Raj Films)

‘I think that’s the change I’m looking for.

‘There are people in power who can learn something, and become part of the discussion, that would be mean so much to me as an actor. At the end of the day I’m a woman, and these things do bother me. How do you talk to the nation and tell them to be aware?’

Rani has come under fire for similar comments in the past, following a round-table discussion with her fellow Bollywood actresses.

During the chat, she again suggested young girls should learn self-defence as a method of protection, with Deepika Padukone arguing that it shouldn’t even ‘get to that stage.

Rani hopes the film opens up a discussion on rape (Picture: Yash Raj Films)

Fans were unhappy with Rani’s words, explaining that women shouldn’t be the ones to change.

But the Kuch Kuch Hota Hai actress is adamant that women should not be ‘caught’ in that situation, and hopes to show females that they also have ‘power’ in scary situations.

‘Shivani’s character is the true embodiment of women empowerment,’ she continued. ‘When women and girls see her, they get empowered.

‘When you’re talking about victims, you always think a woman is a victim, but women have the power as well.

Rani insisted men will also feel empowered while watching Mardaani 2 (Picture: Yash Raj Films)

‘We have to start the conversation with every woman so that she’s not caught in a situation like that.’

And she also insists that men will also feel empowered while watching Mardaani 2 – which shows a strong female hunting down a violent rapist, reiterating that not all men are capable of the horrific crimes portrayed.

‘Men will take the same message,’ she said. ‘I don’t think, as a community, that all men are the perpetrators of the crime.

‘There are a lot of men who stand for women’s rights and empowerment, a lot of men who are disgusted when crimes like this happen, so I’m sure men will also appreciate the talk about empowering themselves.

More: Showbiz

‘Men will equally be very proud of the fact that women are being empowered.’

And she is thrilled the film is starting a conversation that should have been sparked a long, long time ago.

‘[The reaction] has been very, very positive. People are reacting to it very emotionally. It’s sparking a conversation, which is really powerful,’ she added.

‘This is the conversation we should be having.’

Mardaani 2 is released in cinemas on 13 December.



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Women Acquitting Themselves Well


My grandfather was one of the vice presidents of J.P. Morgan Bank in the mid-20th century.  He was V.P. in charge of the Department of Statistics, which was, apparently, the unit at the time that made the bank’s investment decisions.  He never saw himself as one of the bank’s great leaders; he talked of himself, while I was growing up, more as a functionary despite the fact that he sat on the board of directors of the bank, as well as several other corporations and organizations on Wall Street. While I was adopted from a mixed-race context (Philippine was considered “Black” by many Americans at the time), I nonetheless grew up with my grandfather’s social context rather nearby, as he and my grandmother retired to be near us when I was young.  When I was seven or eight years old, he and my grandmother hired me, for the first time, to act as “hostess” at their annual open house on Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont, where I met some now very famous people.  I was paid $12 to greet everyone who came to the door, to take their coats, to put the coats in a guest room, and to direct guests to the living room or kitchen where hors d’oeuvres awaited them.  Once everyone was there, I was to help spell my grandmother in taking hors d’oeuvres around to everyone in their various parts of the house where they stood.  The jazz pianist who filled the living room with quite beautiful music stood out to me the most in the whole affair, as I was then, as now, highly motivated by music and was studying classical piano.

In the course of this event, and several others that came in the years after it, my grandmother and grandfather trained me in a number of the rules of etiquette when greeting guests: things to say, things not to say, smile as much as possible, keep it positive, look people in the eye, and keep shoulders straight.  Somehow, with all of this, they did not need to press very much the need not to sneer or make random, strange facial expressions.  I knew, instinctively, to hold head high and avoid facial tics to the extent humanly possible. Because I began to learn these lessons at a ripe age, it was, needless to say, disappointing to me to see our country’s highest ranking woman official act with all the grace of a Hippopotamus at the State of the Union Address in February.  Perhaps ironically, pundits on the right have given Nancy Pelosi a pass on her atrocious facial tics, rolling her tongue across her teeth, shoving her hands into the President’s personal space, and hand gesticulations toward her women (apparent) compatriots during the speech.  It seems that no one ever taught her, with all of her millions, that statesman-like or stateswoman-like self-restraint and politesse is incumbent upon one sitting in that chair.

I cannot join pundits on right and left in giving her a pass.  Why?  Because, as a feminist, it is important to me that our women officials comport themselves with all the statesman-like and stateswoman-like etiquette required, still today, in order not to look like a buffoon on stage, in front of the camera, and before the world.  It reflects poorly on all women when our highest ranking woman official is unable to control her facial tics while sitting as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives during the State of the Union Address (and then stands and plays with papers and notes as though she were at an academic conference!).

As someone who was, in fact, required to read Emily Post’s 1922 Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home as a kid, I found Pelosi’s using her tongue to play with her teeth throughout the entirety of the State of the Union Address – as though it made her look cool and political and oppositional – to be appalling.  It read more adolescent than oppositional.  It was, frankly, an embarrassment.

So, while Emily Post’s 1922 edition may need updating for today’s world, many of the basic rules still stand, above all for a state event: stand up straight, sit quietly, and smile politely. Do not run your tongue across your teeth, sneer, smirk, or gesticulate wildly as though you are trying to be the center of attention at Woodstock or Summer Stock rather than standing as third in command of the United States intended to listen to the President give the State of the Union Address.  Speak when it is your turn.  Do not try to steal the stage when it is someone else’s turn to speak.  These are pretty basic rules.  Nor are they gendered rules.  Vice President Pence was a bastion of polite tranquility by comparison to the frenetic Pelosi sitting next to him.  (Honestly, it was such an insult to our national pride and honor that I have to say, I have a Chihuahua-Jack Russell with a very similar tic in regard to his tongue and his teeth.  I have been gently trying to teach it out of him, and he is not an officer of state.)

I should add that, while Emily Post was required reading for me, along with learning both  American and British etiquette for arranging table settings, I was also allowed to get dirty, play in mud puddles, and other normal wholesome American kid behaviors.  Technology and changing social norms accounted for, Emily Post still, apparently, has something to teach us about basic manners that some of us have not sufficiently internalized.

If you think I am being too harsh, consider:  Women are quite capable of statesman-like and stateswoman-like demeanor.  Excusing Pelosi does a disservice to women writ large.  Let us call it what it is instead of trying to hide it.  In so doing, we can avoid allowing the well-meaning and the not-so-well-meaning, in terms of women’s equality issues, to use Pelosi’s impish behavior as an excuse to say that women just do not have what it takes to be serious in politics.






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Hair Dyes And Straighteners Linked To Higher Cancer Risk, Especially For Black Women : Shots


Hair dyes and straighteners contain chemicals that are being studied for their health effects.

Srdjanpav/Getty Images


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Hair dyes and straighteners contain chemicals that are being studied for their health effects.

Srdjanpav/Getty Images

New research raises concern about the safety of permanent hair dye and chemical hair straighteners, especially among African American women. The study was published Wednesday in the International Journal of Cancer.

Previous research in animals has found links between certain chemicals in hair dye and straighteners and cancer. But findings from other human studies on the association between hair dyes and straighteners and cancer have been inconsistent. This large, prospective study provides firmer evidence of a link.

Researchers analyzed data from an ongoing study called the Sister Study, looking at medical records and lifestyle surveys from 46,709 women between the ages of 35 and 74. Women answered questions about their use of hair dyes and straighteners. While earlier studies on hair dye and cancer risk included mostly white women, the new study includes 9% African American women.

Researchers found that women who used permanent hair dye or chemical straighteners were at higher risk of developing breast cancer.

“The association was notably higher among black women,” says epidemiologist Alexandra White, study author and an investigator with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, who studies environmental risk factors for breast cancer.

After eight years of follow-up, White found permanent hair dye use was associated with about a 7% higher risk of developing breast cancer among white women, “whereas in black women that risk was about 45 percent.”

That risk was even higher among black women who dyed their hair frequently, every one or two months.

Researchers don’t know which ingredients in the products might be of concern. The study did not look at the specific ingredients in the products women were using, only at whether they had used the product and whether they developed breast cancer.

All women in the Sister Study were already at high risk for breast cancer since they had a sister who had breast cancer.

Researchers note that in the United States, breast cancer incidence remains high for all women and appears to be increasing for non-Hispanic black women, who also are more likely to be diagnosed with more aggressive forms of the disease and more likely to die from it.

Hair products contain more than 5,000 chemicals, according to researchers, including those with mutagenic and endocrine-disrupting properties such as aromatic amines, which can raise cancer risk, according to White.

When it came to chemical straighteners, risk didn’t vary by race. Both black and white women who used hair straighteners were about 30% more likely to develop breast cancer than those who didn’t use the products. However, black women are more likely to use them, with about 75% of black women in the study reporting they straighten their hair.

“For the chemical straighteners one of the big concerns there is formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen,” says White. She notes that in the early 2000s just before the study began, Brazilian keratin treatments came on the market. This new treatment, commonly called a Brazilian blowout, contains formaldehyde, while earlier hair straightening treatments did not.

The study findings should be understood in context, says Dr. Otis Brawley, a medical oncologist with Johns Hopkins University. The actual risk found for use of these hair treatments is quite low, he adds, especially compared with other known carcinogens like tobacco or radiation. “This is a very weak signal that these things might be causing cancer in the population,” he says.

Much more research is needed, he says, to know for sure how risky these products are. For example, long-term clinical trials with a control group and placebo would be more definitive, but this type of study “would be difficult if not impossible to do.”

“Sometimes science just cannot give us the answers that we want it to give us,” says Brawley.

In the meantime, Brawley says, there are certain lifestyle factors that have stronger evidence of a link to cancer and are more important for women to focus on. “It is for certain that obesity, consuming too many calories and lack of exercise is a risk factor for breast cancer, a definite risk factor,” he says, while the findings of this study only add up to a “perhaps” when it comes to risk.

Dr. Doris Browne, a medical oncologist and former president of the National Medical Association, suggests women start a conversation with their doctor about their risk for breast cancer.

“I think it’s important for women, particularly African American women, not to panic every time a study comes out,” she says. “But it should raise questions for our primary care providers.”

For example, Browne suggests doctors and patients discuss the use of hair products like dyes and straighteners along with other aspects of a “social history” like alcohol consumption, smoking, obesity and living near environmental contaminants.

According to Browne, the key lesson from this study for both doctors and patients is that “when we are aware of a new association (of breast cancer risk) we need to increase our surveillance” to include this potential risk factor in doctor-patient discussions.

For both races, there was no increased risk for women who used semi-permanent or temporary dyes, the kind that eventually wash out with shampooing. To reduce risk, researcher White says women might want to choose these products instead.



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