TIME Crime

Ferguson Cop Darren Wilson on Michael Brown’s Death: ‘I Have a Clean Conscience’

Police officer Darren Wilson breaks his silence about the shooting of Michael Brown in an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on Nov. 25, 2014.
Police officer Darren Wilson breaks his silence about the shooting of Michael Brown in an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on Nov. 25, 2014. Kevin Lowder—ABC/Getty Images

Officer speaks for the first time after the grand jury decided not to indict him

The Ferguson police officer whom a grand jury has chosen not to indict in the August shooting death of an unarmed teenager said in an interview Tuesday he would not have done anything differently because he was trying to save his own life.

In an interview that aired Tuesday evening with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News, Darren Wilson recalled the incident and said “the reason I have a clean conscience is because I know I did my job right.” The sit-down marked his first since Monday evening’s announcement that a grand jury had declined to charge him for the killing of Michael Brown, which ignited bouts of looting and arson in Ferguson despite state efforts to prepare for the possibility of violence. Demonstrations from New York to Los Angeles played out into the night.

MORE: Ferguson Erupts Again After Cop Cleared in Killing

On Aug. 9, Wilson said he and Brown, who was 18, got into a physical altercation after he approached him, and that Brown threw the first punch, hitting the left side of his face. “I didn’t know if I’d be able to withstand another hit like that,” he said.

Over the course of their altercation, which Wilson said involved punching and the slamming of his vehicle’s door, he said he got a sense that Brown, who was 6-ft. 4-in. and 289-lb., could easily overpower him. “I felt the immense power of this man … It was like a five-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan.”

Wilson said he threatened to shoot Brown, which is when he said the teen reached for his gun: “He grabbed the top of my gun, and he said ‘you’re too much of a p—y to shoot me.'” Next, he recalled aiming his gun at Brown “thinking this has to work, otherwise I’m going to be dead.” That moment was apparently the first time he ever fired his gun in the line of duty.

After Brown started walking away, Wilson chased him, explaining “that’s what we were trained to do.” Then, he added, when Brown started to approach him, “he ignored all my commands and just kept running.” The officer said there was “no way” Brown put his hands up, as has been widely reported.

MORE: President Obama Says There Is ‘No Excuse’ for Violence in Ferguson

Wilson said at that point there was nothing he could have done to prevent Brown’s death. When asked if he thought he would have still shot Brown if he had been white, Wilson said there was “no question” he would do the same thing.

“I don’t think it’s a haunting,” he admitted. “It’s always going to be something that happened.” After the short clip, Stephanopoulos added that Wilson expressed sympathy for Brown’s family.

TIME gender

The Brutal Triple Murder Behind the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Busts of the Mirabal sisters at the muse
Busts of the Mirabal sisters at the museum in the village of Salcedo, north of Santo Domingo. The Mirabal sisters were assasinated in 1960 during the dictatorial regime of Rafael Trujillo. (RICARDO HERNANDEZ--AFP/Getty Images) RICARDO HERNANDEZ—AFP/Getty Images

Nov. 25 kicks off 16 days of activism to advance equality for women

The Empire State Building was lit up orange Monday night, but the color wasn’t a reference to a Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. It was to mark Nov. 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which hits its 15th anniversary this year.

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women isn’t just a single day — it’s the beginning of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, which culminates on Human Rights Day on Dec. 10. The days are meant to “symbolically link violence against women with human rights, and to emphasize that such violence is the worst form of violation of women’s human rights,” explains Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary-General of the U.N. and Deputy Executive Director of U.N. Women. “Violence against women is one of the most tolerated violations of human rights. It’s unacceptable.”

And Nov. 25 wasn’t randomly chosen. Though the day now addresses the issue of violence against women everywhere, its story starts with one particular — and particularly brutal — act.

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women was started in 1999 to commemorate the Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic who were assassinated on this date in 1960 for opposing dictator Rafael Trujillo. The three sisters started an anti-Trujillo group called the Movement of the Fourteenth of June, named after a massacre reportedly ordered by the dictator. They called themselves, “Las Mariposas,” or “the butterflies,” and openly protested Trujillo and his regime. To retaliate, his henchmen beat the sisters to death in a cane field and faked a car accident to explain their deaths.

Puri says the day was chosen to commemorate the Mirabal sisters’ courage in taking political action despite the brutality they faced. “Violence against women in politics is also a very particular form of violence, to intimidate them so they don’t engage in politics,” she says.

The 16 Days of Activism are meant to raise global awareness of the violence endured by women and girls around the world, Puri explains. The 16 days will include marches, marathons and other public activism to promote gender equality and improve the lot of women everywhere. According to U.N. estimates, 35% of women in the world have experienced physical or sexual violence, 700 million women alive today were married as children and more than 133 million girls and women have experienced female genital mutilation. The U.N. estimates that in 2012 over half of murdered women were killed by partners or family members, and that 120 million girls worldwide have been forced to have sex at some point in their lives. “Together, we must end this global disgrace,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said at a ceremony before the lighting of the Empire State Building.

“It’s a very difficult issue to tackle without a mindset change,” Puri says, adding that the 16 Days of Activism are intended to challenged the entrenched gender inequality in most societies. Activists in Mexico City will run a marathon to end the violence, a film series about women’s lives will be screened in Uganda and public spaces in India will turn orange to support the cause. But do any of these actions really help women who are trapped in forced marriages or subjected to brutal violence? “It creates a culture of zero tolerance,” she says. “It creates awareness, it shows the determination of people, and it becomes the new normal.”

The day has been celebrated every year since 1999, but it takes on extra significance this year. It’s not just the 15th anniversary of the first The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, but it’s also an occasion to look forward to 2015, which will mark 20 years since the groundbreaking Beijing Platform for Action. That’s where Hillary Clinton made her famous speech saying, “human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights.”

The U.N. is also taking greater steps to include men in their mission to elevate global women, with their He for She program launched this year. Puri says they’re trying to challenge the idea “that it’s a right of a man to be violent and that it’s the fate of the woman to be subjected to violence.”

“These things,” she says, “have to change.”

TIME Crime

Wrongfully Convicted California Man Released After 36 Years

Hanline waits in a cell during a hearing at Superior Court in Ventura
Michael Hanline waits in a cell during a hearing at Superior Court in Ventura, California on November 24, 2014. Mario Anzuoni—Reuters

He was the longest-serving wrongfully convicted inmate in the state

A California man will leave prison Monday after 36 year behind bars, after new DNA evidence proved his innocence.

Michael Hanline, 68, will be released after DNA from the crime scene failed to match Hanline’s, according to the Los Angeles Times. In 1980, Hanline was convicted of the first-degree murder of J.T. McGarry, also known as Mike Mathers, and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Police reports that cast doubt on the testimony of Hanline’s then-girlfriend Mary Bischoff were not disclosed to defense attorneys at the time, even though they could have been used to discredit Bischoff or indicate that Hanline may have been framed.

Bischoff’s testimony was instrumental in convicting Hanline– she testified that McGarry owed her money, that there was a contract out on his life, and that Hanline said he would “blow his brains out.” She also said she saw Hanline leaving the house with a gun and come back muddy, even though Hanline says he was home that night.

Bischoff was smoking PCP-laced pot and using cocaine on the night in question, and she was also on drugs at the time she gave her testimony, leading the judge to adjourn court.

Hanline will be released from prison, but will have to wear a GPS ankle monitor. He is also expected to appear back in court in February for a pretrial hearing, because prosecutors have not yet decided whether to re-try him.

“It’s been a roller coaster,” Hanline’s wife Sandee Hanline said. “I prayed that this day would come.”

[Los Angeles Times]

TIME Gaming

Blood-Sucking Video Game Pulled From Kickstarter

The game would have extracted blood when you lose a point

A video game that sucks players’ blood has been pulled from Kickstarter for unspecified reasons.

“Blood Sport” is a project designed to “raise the stakes” of gaming, so that whenever a player gets hit in the video game, they lose blood in real life. Instead of the normal “rumble” that indicates an avatar has suffered a blow, Blood Sport players would be hooked up intravenously to their consul, so that blood could be taken out of their arteries.

“All we’re doing is hacking a pre-existing blood collection machine to take your gaming experience to the next level,” the creators wrote on their Kickstarter page. The technology is equipped with a feature that determines how much blood a player can lose without passing out.

The gaming technology could be used to stage “blood donation gaming events,” they said.

The Kickstarter was suspended Monday, for unspecified reasons. It had already raised almost $4,000 of its $250,000 goal.

TIME celebrities

Everything You Need to Know About the Bill Cosby Scandal

Bill Cosby during an interview about the upcoming exhibit, Conversations: African and African-American Artworks in Dialogue, at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art in Washington. ON NOV. 6, 2014.
Bill Cosby during an interview about the upcoming exhibit, "Conversations: African and African-American Artworks in Dialogue," at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 6, 2014 Evan Vucci—AP

A cheat sheet to all the sexual abuse allegations

It’s hard to keep track of the sexual abuse allegations swirling around Bill Cosby, with fresh ones popping up seemingly every day and an unusual mix of decades-old accusations and brand new claims all getting a very public hearing in the news media.

All in all, 16 women have publicly accused Cosby of sexual abuse, 12 of whom have accused him of drugging them to facilitate the abuse. Some of those women may be among 13 anonymous “Jane Doe” accusers who agreed to testify against Cosby in a 2005 lawsuit that was settled out of court. Taken together, the accusations span the length of Cosby’s long career in the public eye as a beloved actor and comedian, from the mid-1960s to the mid-2000’s. They were given new light last month by a comedian’s standup routine that caught fire on social media, and new accusers coming forward has led to a drip-drip effect of even more coming forward.

Cosby and his legal team have at various times issued wide-ranging, categorical denials or refused to discuss individual cases, with Cosby saying last week that “a guy doesn’t have to answer to innuendos.”

MORE: A timeline of the Bill Cosby sexual assault allegations

So how is anybody supposed to make heads or tails of all this? Here’s a reader’s guide to understanding the story.

Why are we hearing about all this now?

Much of the current outrage can be traced to a standup bit in October by comedian Hannibal Buress, in which he mocked Cosby’s “respectability” schtick by saying, “well, yea, you’re a rapist.” The clip quickly went viral, and led one of Cosby’s longterm accusers, artist Barbara Bowman, to give an interview to the Daily Mail about her alleged abuse.

An apparent public relations effort by Cosby’s team to come out in front of the brewing scandal backfired badly when a request for “Cosby memes” became an avalanche of rape jokes on social media. Shortly after that, Bowman published an op-ed piece in the Washington Post entitled, “Bill Cosby Raped Me. Why Did It Take 30 Years for People to Believe My Story?”

“Only after a man, Hannibal Buress, called Bill Cosby a rapist in a comedy act last month did the public outcry begin in earnest,” Bowman wrote. “While I am grateful for the new attention to Cosby’s crimes, I must ask my own questions: Why wasn’t I believed? Why didn’t I get the same reaction of shock and revulsion when I originally reported it? Why was I, a victim of sexual assault, further wronged by victim blaming when I came forward? The women victimized by Bill Cosby have been talking about his crimes for more than a decade. Why didn’t our stories go viral?”

From there, the story spun out of Cosby’s control.

What has Cosby said about all this?

Cosby and his legal team have either issued blanket denials or refused to discuss the issue at all.

“The new, never-before-heard claims from women who have come forward in the past two weeks with unsubstantiated, fantastical stories about things they say occurred 30, 40, or even 50 years ago have escalated far past the point of absurdity,” Cosby lawyer Martin Singer said in a statement last week. “These brand new claims about alleged decades-old events are becoming increasingly ridiculous, and it is completely illogical that so many people would have said nothing, done nothing, and made no reports to law enforcement or asserted civil claims if they thought they had been assaulted over a span of so many years.

Cosby, for his part, told a Florida newspaper that “a guy doesn’t have to answer to innuendos.” And he wouldn’t even discuss the matter in a later-released excerpt of an interview with the Associated Press.

So if so many of the accusations are old, what’s this really about?

In many ways the story has evolved beyond what Cosby did or didn’t do, morphing into an all-out debate about why some accusers are only now coming forward, why others weren’t taken seriously before, how Cosby might have been able to keep doing this for so long, and what it might mean for his legacy.

Are the accusers’ stories consistent?

Yes. The alleged victims tend to be young, starstruck women, many report being drugged, and almost all say they didn’t come forward for fear that they would not be believed.

Where can I go if I want to learn more?

Here’s an excellent timeline of everything we know (and don’t know) so far about the allegations against Cosby. You can also check out Slate‘s complete list of all his accusers, and this in-depth Washington Post investigation that includes video testimony from some of the alleged victims. The New York Daily News reports on a former NBC employee who now says he delivered money to women for Cosby and stood outside his dressing room while Cosby was with them. (One of the women said Monday that the money was just “generosity.) And a 2006 story in Philadelphia magazine was one of the earliest and most in-depth looks at the history of allegations against Cosby.

So what happens next?

Many hard questions are being asked about Cosby’s legacy in entertainment and his place in African-American history. John McWhorter wrote for TIME that the rise of black public figures like Herman Cain and Barack Obama has allowed American society to “judge black icons like everybody else,” without fear that criticism will descend into racial stereotyping.

TIME TV critic James Poniewozik questions whether audiences can separate Cosby from his iconic Cliff Huxtable character. Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote in The Atlantic that one of his only regrets in his writing career is failing to address the rape allegations against Cosby when he wrote a big piece about him for a national magazine, calling his attitude “reckless.” And Lindy West, writing for GQ, says, simply, that “Bill Cosby is done. It’s over. … Cosby needs to throw in the towel and go live out the rest of his life in cushy ignominy.”

— Additional reporting by David Stout

Read next: So What Do We Do About The Cosby Show?

TIME weather

Thanksgiving Travel Will Be Snarled by Snow

Bad Weather Driving
Dan Barnes—Getty Images

Roads north and west of I-95 will likely be blanketed by snow Wednesday night, and the National Weather Service says the New York area could see 6 to 10 in. of snow. Travelers should expect clogged roads and airport delays up and down the east coast into Thursday

Hate to break it to you, but if you are traveling anywhere on the East Coast this Thanksgiving, you may have a tough road ahead of you. Snow and ice is expected from New England to Georgia on Wednesday, which promises to snarl traffic on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

According to the Weather Channel, roads north and west of I-95 are likely to be blanketed by snow Wednesday night, and the National Weather Service says the New York area could see 6-10 inches of snow. Travelers should expect clogged roads and airport delays all up and down the eastern seaboard from Wednesday into Thursday morning.

Four-wheel drive is always something to be thankful for.

TIME health

New Global Study Calls Violence Against Women ‘Epidemic’

A Pokot woman holds a razor blade after performing a circumcision on four girls in a village about 80 kilometres from the town of Marigat in Baringo County, Kenya, Oct. 16, 2014.
A Pokot woman holds a razor blade after performing a circumcision on four girls in a village about 80 kilometres from the town of Marigat in Baringo County, Kenya, Oct. 16, 2014. Siegfried Modola—Reuters

Governments need to step up their game to protect women, says extensive new research

When it comes to stopping violence against women, actions speak louder than words. So even though there’s increased worldwide awareness about violence against women, the problem won’t be solved unless countries make significant policy and financial changes to support victims, according to a five-part series of studies in The Lancet, one of the world’s premier medical journals.

The series, entitled “Violence Against Women and Girls,” calls the violence a “global public health and clinical problem of epidemic proportions,” and the statistics are bleak. 100-140 million women have undergone female genital mutilation worldwide, and 3 million African girls per year are at risk. 7% of women will be sexually assaulted by someone besides their partner in their lifetimes. Almost 70 million girls worldwide have been married before they turned 18. According to WHO estimates, 30% of women worldwide have experienced partner violence. The researchers said that these problems could only be solved with political action and increased funding, since the violence has continued “despite increased global attention,” implying awareness is not enough.

“No magic wand will eliminate violence against women and girls,” series co-lead Charlotte Watts, founding Director of the Gender Violence and Health Centre at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said in a statement. “But evidence tells us that changes in attitudes and behavior are possible, and can be achieved within less than a generation.”

One of the major problems highlighted in the Lancet series is that much of the current research on violence against women has been conducted in high-income countries, and it’s mostly been focused on response instead of prevention. The study found that the key driver of violence in most middle-and-low income countries is gender inequality, and that it would be near impossible to prevent abuse without addressing the underlying political, economic, and educational marginalization of women.

The study also found that health workers are often uniquely positioned to help victims, since they’re often the first to know about the abuse.

“Health-care providers are often the first point of contact for women and girls experiencing violence,” says another series co-lead, Dr. Claudia Garcia-Moreno, a physician at the WHO, in a statement. “The health community is missing important opportunities to integrate violence programming meaningfully into public health initiatives on HIV/AIDS, adolescent health, maternal health, and mental health.”

The series makes five concrete recommendations to curb the violence against women. The authors urge nations to allocate resources to prioritize protecting victims, change structures and policies that discriminate against women, promote support for survivors, strengthen health and education sectors to prevent and respond to violence, and invest in more research into ways to address the problem. In other words: money, education, and political action are key to protecting the world’s most vulnerable women. Hashtag activism, celebrity songs, and stern PSAs are helpful, but this problem is too complicated to be solved by awareness alone.

“We now have some promising findings to show what works to prevent violence,” said Dr. Cathy Zimmerman from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. “We urgently need to turn this evidence into genuine action so that women and girls can live violence-free lives.”

The study comes just in time for the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, on Nov. 25.

TIME Birth Control

Going Off the Pill Could Affect Who You’re Attracted to, Study Finds

New research shows that going off the pill could affect how attracted you are to your mate

Your birth control pill could affect your relationship, and not just because it halts baby-making. A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science followed 118 couples who met while the woman was on hormonal birth control and found that going off the pill could impact how attracted she was to her partner.

Whether a woman’s attraction to her mate shifted post-Pill seemed to be determined by how objectively good-looking he was by evolutionary standards, which means his attractiveness is an indicator of genetic fitness. Some women with partners who were not conventionally attractive reported being less attracted to him after stopping oral contraceptives, whereas a decrease was not seen in women whose partners were conventionally handsome.

“Women who choose a partner when they’re on hormonal contraceptives and then stop taking them will prioritize their husband’s attractiveness more than they would if they were still on it,” says Michelle Russell, the Florida State graduate student who is the lead author on the study. “The effect that it would have on her marital satisfaction would carry more weight.” That means that if your husband is not conventionally attractive and you go off the Pill, his attractiveness might bother you more than before. Conversely, if you’re bored of your foxy husband, going off the Pill might make you more excited about him. Maybe.

Russell says the change may be attributed fluctuating estrogen levels, but says there could be many hormonal reasons for this effect. She also doesn’t suggest that this finding should dissuade women from using oral contraceptives. “This is just one finding,” she says.

Other studies have looked at how the Pill affects female attraction. A 2008 paper published in The Proceedings of the Royal Society B found that while women are usually attracted to the scent of men who are genetically different from them, women on the Pill are attracted to the scent of men who are more genetically similar. This may be because the Pill fools your body into thinking it’s pregnant, and pregnancy can affect attraction. In discussing the 2008 study, Scientific American hypothesized that while non-pregnant women would be more attracted to genetically dissimilar men (to avoid the possibility of incest and maximize immunity of their offspring,) women on the Pill may be more drawn to genetically similar men because pregnant women seek out family members.

Another study of 365 couples published this year in Psychological Science found that women who went on or off the Pill during a relationship were less sexually satisfied than women who were consistently on the Pill or who had never been on it.

While the exact mechanisms for how oral contraceptives affect female attraction aren’t totally clear, there is mounting evidence that hormonal birth control can affect more than just fertility. But scientists are not necessarily advocating that the risks outweigh the benefits. “Any drug that you take, people want to be informed consumers,” Russell says. “This is just one factor women might want to consider when deciding whether or not to use them.”

TIME beauty

Reese Witherspoon Sticks Up For Renee Zellweger After Face-Shaming

Actress Reese Witherspoon attends the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter on March 2, 2014 in West Hollywood.
Actress Reese Witherspoon attends the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter on March 2, 2014 in West Hollywood. David Livingston—Getty Images

Calls sniping "cruel"

Reese Witherspoon is very disappointed in everyone who participated in the kerfuffle over Renee Zellweger’s face.

In the The Hollywood Reporter‘s annual actress round-table with Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Amy Adams, Hilary Swank, Patricia Arquette and Felicity Jones, the conversation turned to Renee Zellweger’s face-shaming last month. Witherspoon stuck up for Zellweger:

It’s horrible. It’s cruel and rude and disrespectful, and I can go on and on and on. It bothers me immensely…I know this is so Pollyanna of me, but why — and it’s particularly women — why do they have to tear women down? And why do we have to tear other women down to build another woman up? It drives me crazy. Like, this one looks great without her makeup but that one doesn’t look good without her makeup, and it’s all just a judgment and assault that I don’t — look, men are prey to it as well. I just don’t think it’s with the same sort of ferocity.

Later in the interview, when she was asked if there was a contemporary woman she wanted to play, Witherspoon said, “Beyonce.”

[THR]

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