Visible Women

Women’s Daily Dispatch: The news you need to know on 11/1/18

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Moya Crockett
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As part of our Visible Women initiative, brings you the Women’s Daily Dispatch: your new daily digest of international news relating to women. It’s the good, bad, inspiring and urgent stories you need to know from around the world, all wrapped up in one bitesize piece. 

In today’s WDD, we take a look at developments in the John Worboys case; the woman behind the “S****y Media Men” list comes forward; a study into the link between empathy and sexual objectification has bleak results; and the political spotlight swings onto the North Korean cheerleading squad. 

Women attacked by John Worboys demand that CPS reassess allegations 

John Worboys after being found guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting 12 women in 2009. 

Last week, it was revealed that serial rapist John Worboys is to be released after serving just nine years in prison. Worboys, a former London black cab driver who is feared to have sexually assaulted more than 100 victims, was convicted in 2009 of drugging and sexually assaulting 12 women, including one rape.

Much of the handling of the case has been clouded in controversy. In 2010, the Independent Police Complaints Commissioner (IPCC) ruled that Metropolitan Police officers had failed to take Worboys’ victims seriously, allowing him to continue attacking women. Most recently, the Parole Board has been criticised for neglecting to inform some of Worboys’ victims that he was to be released.

Now, lawyers for several of Worboys’ victims and alleged victims are demanding that prosecutors reassess 93 cases for which he was not previously prosecuted.

“Our clients were led to believe their attacker would not be walking free for many many years, so there was no point in prosecuting him for their allegations,” said lawyer Richard Scorer.

“This clearly has not happened and we are left with dozens of women fearing for their safety and feeling sorely let down by the very system that is meant to protect them.”

The Guardian has more on the story; read it here

The author of the “S****y Media Men” list comes forward 

US journalist Moira Donegan has identified herself as the creator of the “S****y Media Men” list, an online document that contained the names and alleged inappropriate sexual behaviour of men working in the media industry.

The list, which took the form of a Google spreadsheet, gained public notoriety last autumn. It contained unverified allegations against men in media, ranging from claims of dubious comments to rape. Earlier this week, speculation mounted on social media that the creator of the list was to be named in an article in Harper’s magazine – leading to fears that she would be ‘doxed’ by those angry at the list’s existence.

Now, however, Donegan has taken the unexpected step of coming forward herself. In an essay for The Cut, she says that while she was “incredibly naïve” when she made the list, she believes that it served an important purpose.

“None of this was what I thought was going to happen,” she writes. “In the beginning, I only wanted to create a place for women to share their stories of harassment and assault without being needlessly discredited or judged.”

You can read Donegan’s essay in full here

Objectified women are treated less empathetically, study finds

Sometimes, a study emerges that doesn’t so much reveal new information as confirm the blindingly obvious. Put your hand up if you’re surprised by this: an international team of researchers, led by psychologists at the University of Vienna, has found that people tend to treat women who they perceive as sexualised objects with less empathy.

The researchers found that participants demonstrated a reduced ability to recognise and relate to the emotions of women who wore revealing clothes. Depressing, certainly, but perhaps not shocking – given the way that female victims of crime, particularly sexual crime, are often viewed through the lens of the clothes they wear.

You can read a full breakdown of the research at Science Daily

North Korean cheerleaders are being used as a “propaganda tool” by Kim Jong-un

North Korean cheerleaders performing in China in 2015

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will send an “army of beauties” to cheerlead at the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February, it has been reported. The presence of the cheerleading squad is thought to signify an improvement in diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Apparently, North Korean cheerleaders must be around 20 years old, “pretty and from a good household”, smart and “uniformly pleasant”. They must also pass a full background check, and agree never to speak about what they see in foreign countries when they return to North Korea.

You can find a fascinating breakdown of what the presence of the North Korean cheerleading squad means for international relations over at iNews – read it here

Images: Rex Features / iStock