Australian Border Force accused of targeting women suspected of fleeing Saudi Arabia

Witnesses and activists have accused Australian Border Force officers of targeting Saudi Arabian women whom they suspect will apply for asylum and blocking them from entering the country when they arrive at Australian airports.

Key points

  • Australian Border Force officers are accused of targeting Saudi women they suspect will apply for asylum.
  • Activists say some Saudi women have been questioned about why they are travelling without a male guardian.
  • At least 80 Saudi women have sought asylum in Australia in recent years.

Activists have also reported that Australian Border Force officials have asked for the phone numbers of women’s male guardians.

“They started to meticulously interrogate girls at the Australian airport at least since August 2017. It is getting worse,” Saudi activist Dr Abdulmohsen said.

[category Australia, domestic violence, violence]  

Safeguarding adolescents from premature, permanent medicalisation

Susan Bewley, Professor Emeritus Obstetrics & Women’s Health writes in the British Medical Journal:

As working with people with gender dysphoria requires a different model of understanding, it remains legitimate to listen, assess, explore, wait, watch development, offer skilled support, deal with co-morbidities and prior traumas, and consider use of a variety of models of care. While respecting individuals’ right to a different viewpoint, it is neither mandatory to affirm their beliefs nor automatic that transition is the goal, particularly when dealing with children, adolescents and young adults. These risk closing the ‘open future’, as well as life-long physical problems including lack of sexual function, infertility and medical dependency. With 85% desistance amongst referred transgender children (8) and increasing awareness of detransitioning (9, 10), unquestioning ‘affirmation’ as a pathway that leads gender dysphoric patients to irreversible interventions cannot be considered sole or best practice.

More good-quality research trials are required to provide reliable evidence of clinical and cost-effectiveness of a range of approaches, including patient selection. These will surely include exploration of underlying unhappiness with the goal of achieving body/mind reintegration. In contrast to previous medical scandals that pathologised homosexuality, something different may be happening here. In effect, transitioning children who would otherwise have grown up lesbian, gay or bisexual may introduce another form of conversion (6). A well intentioned but permanent medical pathway for all is unlikely to achieve the best long-term outcomes. Confirming disgust in natal sex or external sexual organs, especially for those with prior childhood trauma, risks medical collusion with, or reenacting of, abuse.

Source: Safeguarding adolescents from premature, permanent medicalisation | The BMJ

High Court rules against ATO, finding tax debts can be shifted between spouses

A recent High Court case has found that a tax debt of one spouse can be shifted to another during a divorce property settlement, which lawyers say is unprecedented and could leave the richer spouse with the debts of their former partner. [category Aust, inequity]

Pope Acknowledges Nuns Were Sexually Abused by Priests and Bishops

Pope Francis said on Tuesday that the Roman Catholic Church had faced a persistent problem of sexual abuse of nuns by priests and even bishops, the first time he has publicly acknowledged the issue.
Catholic nuns have accused clerics of sexual abuse in recent years in India, Africa, Latin America and in Italy, and a Vatican magazine last week mentioned nuns having abortions or giving birth to the children of priests. But Francis has never raised the issue until he was asked to comment during a news conference aboard the papal plane returning to Rome from his trip to the United Arab Emirates. [category global, sexual violence]

Students told not to ban speakers for ‘transphobia’

Feminists who believe that transgender women are still men should not be barred from speaking at universities because their views do not break the law, students have been told.
A 51-page set of guidelines also informs students that views that “offend, shock or disturb others” are not grounds to prevent someone expressing them. Concerns have been raised that free speech at universities is being restricted because groups have deemed that some opinions are too offensive to be heard or amount to hate speech. [category global, trans]

Attorney Kara Dansky slams trans activism as ‘men’s rights movement’

  • Kara Dansky believes the Equality Act would cause women’s rights to ‘disappear’
  • The act would add both sexual orientation and gender identity to Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans discrimination on race, color, sex, religion, national origin
  • Dansky claims it isn’t possible to both ‘enshrine gender identity’ and ‘protect women and girls as a distinct legal category’
  • Her organization – radical feminist group Women’s Liberation Front – sued Obama administration for allowing trans kids to use bathroom of their choice
  • Hacsi Horvath, who once identified as transgender, also claimed that women have been ‘overwhelmingly’ resisting transgender activism
  • ‘Straight men are all about the trans, and you have to wonder what the heck is going on,’ he claimed
[category global, trans]


‘Thrown to the wolves’ – the women who drive for Uber and Lyft

“I had to report a passenger who grabbed me while I was driving,” said Zuwena Belt, a Lyft driver in Portland, Oregon. Ms Belt runs a Facebook group for female ride-share drivers.

“After ending the ride, I placed a call to Lyft’s critical response team and the police. While [Lyft] were on the line, they refused to share information with the officer on scene.”

Lyft said it worked closely with law enforcement and had a process for providing passenger information but in almost all cases a warrant was required.

Several drivers told BBC News how both Uber and Lyft’s “lost and found” function – where passengers can get in touch directly with drivers to recover things left in the car – were being abused by those seeking to have more contact with drivers well after a trip had ended
[category global, sexual violence, sexual harassment, workforce discrimination]


A Mother’s Fatal Fall on Subway Stairs Rouses New Yorkers to Demand Accessibility

Like so many New York City parents, Ms. Goodson faced a familiar but perilous challenge: hauling her stroller and daughter down the steps of a station that, like most stops in the city’s creaking subway system, had no elevator.

As Ms. Goodson made her descent, she fell, tumbling down a flight of stairs and onto the subway platform at the Seventh Avenue station, at 53rd Street, officials said.

Her daughter survived the fall. Ms. Goodson did not.

A lawsuit filed in 2017 against the transit authority, which operates the subway, described New York’s subway system as one of the least accessible in the country and accused the agency of violating the federal Americans With Disabilities Act.

[ed: and it is also a form of sex discrimination that disadvantages women with children.]
[category global, reproductive rights, inequity]


Judges told they must consider Facebook defamation in ‘the real world’

Nicola Stocker, 51, has asked the Supreme Court to overturn the ruling that she was guilty of defamation when she told her ex-husband’s new lover that he had tried to strangle her.

Mr Justice Mitting, who heard the original trial, said that based on the definitions of the word strangle in the Oxford English Dictionary she must have meant Ronald Stocker was trying to kill her.

Mr Justice Mitting ruled in 2016 that his intention when putting his hand round her neck was “to silence, not to kill”. 

He noted that the dictionary defines strangling either as killing someone by compressing their throat or to “constrict painfully” the throat and ruled Ms Stocker must have been using the first definition as she had used the word “tried” and her husband had succeeded in the second definition.
[category global, domestic violence]


‘Snake oil’: the popular IVF therapy that has just been proven useless

A common IVF treatment marketed as a fertility booster and costing hundreds of dollars is useless and clinics should stop offering it, experts say.

The procedure known as ‘endometrial scratching’ does not offer women a better chance of taking home a baby after IVF, found the largest and most comprehensive trial of the treatment.

Professor Mol, who wrote an accompanying editorial, said it was “great news” to discover the procedure didn’t help.

“The concern is that there are many more of these add-on therapies that are offered without a sound scientific base, and many of these will turn out not to be effective once properly evaluated,” he said.

He pointed to a British evaluation of 38 IVF add-ons that found a lack of evidence for all but one treatment.
[category global, reproductive rights]