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]

TIME Crime

Missouri Governor Declares State of Emergency Ahead of Grand Jury Decision

Demonstrators yell "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" alongside a highway overpass to voice their opinions as the area awaits a grand jury decision on Nov. 15, 2014 near Ferguson, Missouri.
Demonstrators yell "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" alongside a highway overpass to voice their opinions as the area awaits a grand jury decision on Nov. 15, 2014 near Ferguson, Missouri. Joe Raedle—`Getty Images

Activates National Guard to keep the peace if there is unrest following the Grand Jury's decision

Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency in Missouri on Monday, in anticipation of the public response to a grand jury decision about whether Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson will be charged in the August 9 killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.

Citing the “possibility of expanded unrest,” Nixon announced that the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the St. Louis County Police Department, and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department would operate together as a “Unified Command” to keep the peace in the event that the findings of the investigation provoke further violence in Ferguson and St. Louis.

He also mobilized the National Guard and any reserve officers into active service, and specified that this Unified Command could expand to other jurisdictions to protect civil rights and public safety. This means that even though there are 90 municipalities in St. Louis County, the Unified Command would have equal authority in all of them (as opposed to individual police forces claiming authority over individual towns.)

Legal experts say that the move, while unusual, could help Nixon maintain a sense of order if the protests lead to the sort of tumult that followed the days and weeks after Brown’s August death. “You’ve got all these various civil authorities, but they’re not in any way a unified command structure,” says Michael Wolff, Dean of the Saint Louis University School of Law and former chief justice of the Missouri Supreme Court. He also noted that this may help avoid repeating the mistakes made in the the police’s response to the initial Ferguson protests, which “showed poor command structure, and poor discipline.”

“If there is unrest, he won’t be coming late to what’s going on,” says Peter Joy, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis. “And it’s a signal that if there is violence, there will be a coordinated response.”

Many protesters have been trying to plan a coordinated response in the event that Wilson is not charged. The possibility that the grand jury would not deliver an indictment and the fears about what could result have led to heightened tensions in the St. Louis region, as Kristina Sauerwein reported for TIME.

At the Metro Shooting Supplies gun shop in Bridgeton, the sense of threat has driven record sales, including more than 100 handguns and other weapons sold over a three-day stretch ending last Sunday. Shooting lessons are booked through 2015. “You can literally see the fear in people’s eyes,” says owner Steve King. “People are anticipating far worse than last time.”

Most groups are emphasizing a nonviolent response, but Nixon’s declaration of a state of emergency underscores the potential worst case scenarios. Nixon’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“If there are peaceful protests as a result of whatever the decision is, then it’s a better-safe-than-sorry situation,” Joy says. I hope in hindsight this is looked at as a precaution that didn’t end up being necessary.”

Read next: U.S. Cities Brace for Unrest As Ferguson Grand Jury Decision Nears

TIME Parenting

Woman Sues Peppa Pig Producers Over Goat That Shares Her Name

Peppa Pig rides her bicyle in a scene from one of the "Tickle U" series of cartoons.
Peppa Pig rides her bicyle in a scene from one of the "Tickle U" series of cartoons. Cartoon Network/AP

Grown woman says she's been mocked because she shares a name with a children's character

An adult Italian woman who shares a name with an animated goat in the popular Peppa Pig children’s series is demanding €100,000 ($124,500) in compensation from the show’s producers because she’s been “teased” about it.

Gabriella Capra, 40, is suing London animation firm Astley Baker Davies for damages after she was mocked by her presumably adult friends for sharing a name with “Gabriella Goat,” a minor character in a television show aimed at toddlers.

“Capra” means “goat” in Italian, so when the series was broadcast in Italy, “Gabriella Goat” became “Gabriella Capra,” the Guardian reports.

In the show, Gabriella Goat is a friendly Italian goat who shows Peppa Pig around when she and her family visit Italy on vacation. She is also the niece of Uncle Goat, who makes pizza. She bleats, because she is a goat.

Capra says she will donate any damages to charities for abandoned children.

[The Guardian]

 

TIME celebrities

Orange Is the New Black Star: My Parents Were Deported When I Was 14

The Television Academy And SAG-AFTRA Present Dynamic And Diverse: A 66th Emmy Awards Celebration Of Diversity
Actress Diane Guerrero attends the Television Academy and SAG-AFTRA's presentation of Dynamic and Diverse: A 66th Emmy Awards celebration of Diversity on August 12, 2014 in North Hollywood, California. (Paul Archuleta--FilmMagic) Paul Archuleta—FilmMagic

Diane Guerrero plays Ramos on the hit Netflix series

On Orange is the New Black, Diane Guerrero plays inmate Maritza Ramos, whom she describes as a “tough Latina from the ‘hood,’” but her real-life story isn’t so rosy either. In an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times published Friday, Guerrero writes about her parents and older brother getting deported when she was only 14.

Guerrero, who also has a supporting role on Jane the Virgin, is a U.S. citizen, but her parents and brother are from Colombia. She writes that they struggled to get citizenship, but despite going through numerous ineffective lawyers and mountains of legal fees, they remained undocumented. Then, when Guerrero was 14, the worst happened:

One day, my fears were realized. I came home from school to an empty house. Lights were on and dinner had been started, but my family wasn’t there. Neighbors broke the news that my parents had been taken away by immigration officers, and just like that, my stable family life was over.

Not a single person at any level of government took any note of me. No one checked to see if I had a place to live or food to eat, and at 14, I found myself basically on my own.

Guerrero ends her op-ed by calling on President Obama to provide deportation relief to keep families together. The President is expected to announce a new immigration plan imminently that could give temporary papers (but not citizenship) to millions of immigrants.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times

 

TIME movies

You Can Live in ‘The Godfather’ House for About $3 Million

And it has a "man cave" in it

Here’s a real estate offer you can’t refuse: The house that was used as the Corleone family home in The Godfather is on the market for a cool $2.895 million.

The 6,248-square-foot English Tudor in the Emerson Hill area of Staten Island was home to Don Vito Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s iconic 1972 movie. The home has changed hands only once since Marlon Brando and Al Pacino filmed there.

The exterior and nearby gardens were the setting for Corleone’s daughter’s wedding at the beginning of the movie. And while the interior of the house wasn’t used in the film, the owners renovated it in 2012 to make some rooms look like the ones in the movie.

The real-estate listing for the property notes that the house has an English pub and a “man cave” area. Sounds perfect for watching, well, The Godfather.

TIME Television

Watch Allison Williams Sing in the New Peter Pan Live! Trailer

The Girl who wouldn't grow up

The newest trailer for NBC’s live production of Peter Pan is out, and it features just the tiniest clips of singing from Allison Williams (as Peter) and sing-song talking from Christopher Walken (Captain Hook.)

The televised live musical is set to follow up on last year’s live production of The Sound of Music, which snagged over 18 million viewers despite mixed reviews (and even though nobody was flying).

Peter Pan Live! is scheduled to air on NBC Dec. 4

 

 

TIME India

Kim Kardashian Will Guest Star on Indian Reality Show

Kim Kardashian attends the Hairfinity UK Launch Party on Nov. 8, 2014 in London.
Kim Kardashian attends the Hairfinity UK Launch Party on Nov. 8, 2014 in London. Karwai Tang—WireImage/Getty Images

Called 'Bigg Boss's House'

Kim Kardashian will guest-star on Indian reality show “Bigg Boss,” a TV channel there announced Sunday.

The show is similar to the show “Big Brother,” but following small-time celebrities locked in a house for 90 days without phones or internet access. Kim won’t be one of the locked-in celebrities, but her guest appearance could boost the show’s falling ratings, Reuters reports. The reality star made headlines last week by posing nude in Paper magazine.

In a press release announcing the appearance, Kim made a statement in Hindi which translates to: ““Hello India… I, Kim Kardashian, am coming to India… in Bigg Boss’s house.”

[Reuters]

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