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Entries in Women (20)

Tuesday
Mar052013

More Women Are Giving Guns, Shooting Clubs a Shot

Thinkstock/Comstock(AUSTIN, Texas) -- For the Sure Shots, a women-only shooting league in Austin, Texas, girl power equals firepower.

"You have to think defensively all the time," said Holly Gaylor, a mother of two. "You have to think about it when you are in your car, you have to think about it when you are at the grocery store, I mean, it just takes a second for everything to change."

More women than ever now own guns -- a record 23 percent, according to Gallup polls. The surprising spike has spawned a cottage industry from Hello Kitty-decorated assault rifles to bling-ed out revolvers, like the one tweeted by Kim Kardashian.

But make no mistake. The women of the Sure Shots are dead serious about the right to bear arms.

Gaylor is running through a series of intensive drills with the Sure Shots designed specifically for women who own and carry guns. The drills teach self-defense tactics, including how to shoot and reload in high-pressure situations. She said she joined Sure Shots to learn the best way to protect her family. If someone were to break into their home, she told her children that she and their father would be there to "defend" them.

"I also know that my 10-year-old will be able to pick up my AR and he will be able to use it," she said.

During one drill for advanced defensive pistol training, two women welding handguns run up to a piece of mounted plywood, duck and roll on the ground so they are lying sideways, and take aim at a target several feet away. Then they fire off a few rounds.

In another exercise, the women have to carry a beach ball, which stands in for a baby, under one arm while holding a gun with the other and trying to defend themselves.

In the two years since the Austin Sure Shots formed, this sisterhood of local gun enthusiasts has quickly drawn hundreds of members, from 9-year-old Gia, who hopes to shoot in the 2020 Olympics, to 62-year-old Marcia Macha, who discovered her passion for shooting three years ago.

"It's tough," Macha said. "You got to be a tough Texan girl to do this."

Niki Jones, the Sure Shots' founding member, has a homemade assault rifle she named "The Snow Queen." Her guiding philosophy for the group is simple: Empower women so that they won't become victims.

"If I'm in an alley and an attacker comes up and has malicious intent I can't bare-knuckle fight him, but I can train with my gun and then if the time comes, I can use it to save my life," Jones said.

The gun industry markets directly to women with smaller, more female-friendly firearms, such as customizable handguns and high-powered rifles awash in hot pink, as well as loads of accessories for the fashion-conscious shooter. One product on the market is the Flash Bang bra holster, which can conceal a weapon on a woman's body.

The National Rifle Association, which is overwhelmingly male, has started to court this new wave of potential members with new ad campaigns that feature female shooters and lines like, "This NRA women's network is designed with you in mind." The NRA claims nearly 30 million women own guns -- a number that critics say is grossly exaggerated.

But no one is disputing that more women than ever have been flocking to gun clubs like the Sure Shots. Although none of the Sure Shots women said they have had to use their guns to defend themselves in real life, they believe in preparing for the worst-case scenario. All of them said that they feel safer having a lethal weapon nearby.

But gun control advocates say that feeling safer because they own a gun provides a false sense of security. A woman with a gun in her home is almost three times more likely to be killed than a woman who does not have a gun in her home, according to Laurie Saffain, who works with Women Against Gun Violence, an advocacy group that was created in the '90s in a response to what it says were "fear tactics" used in marketing guns to women.

"For every time a gun is fired in self defense, there are four accidental shootings, there are seven homicides or assaults and 11 attempted or successful suicides," Saffian claimed.

Saffian believes that guns don't make women any safer, but reasonable gun control laws will.

"Let's come together where we can around common sense solutions and laws that are really going to make a difference for women and are going to save their lives," she said.

But universal background checks, even a ban on high-capacity magazines, are gun control measures Holly Gaylor of the Sure Shots firmly opposes.

"Nobody has the right to tell us what's good for the next person," Gaylor said. "I don't dictate what goes best for your family and you shouldn't dictate what goes best for my family...if you want to carry a 30-round magazine then, by golly, do it."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug032012

Two Doctors Arrested for Filming Unsuspecting Women

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Two doctors, including a prominent plastic surgeon, were busted in Los Angeles and New York in separate incidents this week for filming unsuspecting women.

Dr. Lance Everett Wyatt, a Los Angeles-based plastic surgeon, was arrested Thursday after a patient allegedly noticed a hidden camera in his office while she was disrobing. The woman ran from the office with the camera and turned it over to police, said Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen A. Trutanich.

Wyatt faces four counts of surreptitious filming, one count of batter and one count for inappropriately touching a patient, according to the Los Angeles City Attorney's office.

"Patients deserve to feel safe and secure while in the care of their physician," Trutanich said. "Our charges allege that Dr. Wyatt violated that sacred trust and he should be held accountable."

The Harvard-educated doctor, who has appeared on The Doctors and was featured on an episode of ABC News' 20/20 discussing butt augmentations for African-American women, may have more victims, police said.

"There might be additional victims, so anyone who has any information needs to call the California Medical Board," said a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department.

In New York City, Dr. Adam Levinson, a respected urologist at Mount Sinai Hospital, was arrested Wednesday after he allegedly used a pen camera to film up the skirts of two women during rush hour on the subway.

Sheldon Birthwright, who used to be a screener for the Transportation Security Administration, said he spotted Levinson on the subway and noticed he had something that looked like a pen hidden in a rolled-up newspaper as the doctor stood up near a woman in a miniskirt.

"Pen is directly inside [the newspaper], just on the thigh, calmly just moving it around...I guess he was getting different angle shots of whatever he was getting," Birthwright told WABC.

Once he realized what Levinson was allegedly doing, Birthwright alerted officers, who arrested Levinson.

Levinson has been suspended from his position at Mt. Sinai during the pending investigation, the hospital said in a statement.

Neither doctor has had any complaints filed against them, according to online records.They also appeared to be popular with patients. Both scored high marks in the trust category on HealthGrades.com, a site that allows patients to review their doctors.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun112012

Clinton Tells Young Women Leaders: 'Keep Pushing at that Glass Ceiling’

AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images(WELLESLEY, Mass.) -- Young women from around the world attending a women’s leadership conference at Wellesley College in Massachusetts had only to look to the stage to see examples of how women can rise to become among the most powerful people in the world. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both addressed the Inaugural Women in Public Service Institute and took questions from the young women in the audience, considered to be some of the best and brightest in the world.

In Clinton’s nearly hour-long question and answer session, she reflected on her life in public service and her time at Wellesley as a student more than 40 years ago.  Inevitably Clinton’s possible run for the presidency in 2016 came up, with one audience member beginning a question with “If you are elected the first woman president…” that saw the crowd erupt in such a sustained cheers and applause that it took a few minutes for the young woman to finish her question.

Clinton herself talked about the role of women in American politics. “We know we’ve got to keep pushing at that glass ceiling. We have to try to break it,” she said.

“Obviously, I hope to live long enough to see a woman elected president of the United States,” said Clinton to thunderous applause.

Secretary Clinton also spoke about foreign policy challenges in conflict areas like Sudan and South Sudan, Yemen and Afghanistan, but when she reflected on her time at Wellesley and the course of her own life, she gave deeply personal advice. Speaking as if she were dishing to a group of girlfriends, Clinton told the students to believe in themselves and their causes, and to be open to life’s opportunities.

“When I was here all those years ago I never could have predicted the course of my life, never.  I never could have sat where you are sitting and said to myself:  Okay.  I’m going to graduate from Wellesley, then I’m going to go to Yale Law School, then I’m going to meet a guy from Arkansas and I’m going to fall in love,” she said to a laughing crowd. “And then I’m going to move to Arkansas, and then I’m going to marry him, and then he’s going to be governor, and then he’s going to President.  I mean, that is not how life works. I mean, really, right?” she said smiling.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who graduated from the college 10 years before Clinton, greeted the current secretary of state warmly with a hug when Clinton first took to the stage. Amid raucous applause from the crowd, Albright and Clinton held each other’s hands and faced the audience. Clinton paid tribute to the first woman secretary of state in her speech.

“There are many longtime friends here in the audience and distinguished leaders, young and young at heart, from around the world, but I am particularly pleased that you just had a chance to hear from my friend and predecessor both at Wellesley and in the State Department,” said Clinton. “I’ve had apparently a habit of following in Madeleine’s footsteps, and I have to say it always does work out for the best.  So thank you so much, Madeleine,” she joked.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
May252012

Smooth Sailing for First Women to Serve on Navy Submarines

U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kimberly Clifford(WASHINGTON) -- Two years after the Navy decided  to allow women to serve as officers aboard its submarines, the integration of women into the submarine force appears to be going smoothly.

That’s the word from some of the first women selected to become “submariners,” who say the challenges they have faced during the last two years of training have had nothing to do with gender, but with the overall challenge of becoming a junior officer in the elite submarine force.

“It’s a challenge to be a junior officer on a submarine, in general,” said Ensign Abigail Holt, who is currently serving aboard the USS Wyoming.  ”Outside of being female on a submarine, all of us are trying to qualify, all of us are trying to support the ward room and trying to be a team member.  That is challenging, in itself.”

Holt was among several of the first 24 female naval officers selected to serve aboard submarines who participated in a Navy news conference held Thursday in Washington.  They were joined by male junior officers with whom they are currently serving with aboard submarines.

The first female officers began serving aboard submarines last November after completing the rigorous 18-month educational and training requirements required of all naval officers who set their sights on becoming submariners.  Serving aboard the submarines provides them with the real-world experience they need to earn the insignia known as the “dolphin” pin, or “fish” that sets them apart as fully qualified submarine officers.   

All of the officers at Thursday’s news conference are in the qualification phase of their service.

The current program allows female officers to serve on large ballistic and guided missile submarines, but not on the smaller, fast-attack submarines. 

Participating via phone link, Vice Adm. John Richardson, commander of submarine forces, said no decisions have been made about whether to allow women to serve on the attack submarines or to expand the program and allow enlisted women to also serve in the submarine force.  He said those decisions would await the feedback and lessons learned from the current program. 

Richardson described the feedback that’s come in so far as “very positive and very encouraging.”  He said that, beginning in 2013, the Navy hopes to add about 20 additional women a year under the program. 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May222012

Taser Pain May Be Considered by Supreme Court as Excessive Force

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- Seattle police officers say they chose one of the safest tools in their arsenal when they used a Taser gun against a pregnant woman resisting arrest.

Before using the device one officer asked, "Well where do you want to do it?" according to court papers. Another counseled, "Well, don't do it in her stomach, do it in her thigh."

The woman, who was 60 days from her due date, was tased three times in less than a minute.

A lawyer for the woman says the officers used excessive force.

"The officers put thousands of volts of electricity through my client causing her tremendous pain," says Michael F. Williams of Kirkland and Ellis. "The concept that officers can cause tremendous pain on a suspect over a trivial offense is completely alien to our Constitution."

On Thursday, the Supreme Court will meet behind closed doors and discuss whether to take up the issue.

The case stems from a 2004 traffic stop. Malaika Brooks was pulled over by Officer Juan Ornelas, who informed her that she was going 32 miles per hour in a 20-mile-per-hour school zone. He issued a speeding violation.

Court papers describe the following scenario:

Brooks denied that she had been speeding and said she would not sign the citation because she believed that her signature would amount to an admission of guilt. Ornelas told her that she was mistaken, but that her failure to sign would subject her to arrest under state law. She continued to refuse to sign. Eventually two other officers came to the scene, Brooks was told she was under arrest, and she was ordered out of the car. Again, she refused to get out of the car.

"I have to go to the bathroom, I am pregnant, I'm less than 60 days from having my baby," she told the officers. The officers told her if she did not obey orders, she would be subject to the Taser device. They then conferred about using the Taser on a pregnant woman.

In court papers the officers say they knew from training and experience that the use of the Taser in drive-stun mode (where a charge is delivered through two blunt contact probes) would provide localized pain without risk of lasting physical injury and that it would have no adverse effect on a pregnant woman.

Eventually Officer Ornelas opened the driver's side door, and twisted Brooks' arm up behind her back. Officer Donald Jones applied the Taser to Brooks' left thigh, at which point she shouted and honked the horn, but continued to refuse to get out. Thirty-six seconds later he applied it to her left arm, and six seconds later he applied it to her neck.

Finally, the officers managed to drag her out and handcuff her. She was seen by a doctor before she was taken to King County Jail. Brooks was eventually convicted for failing to sign a speeding ticket.

Her healthy baby girl was born in January 2005.

She sued the police officers for excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment's ban on unreasonable search and seizure.

Last year a federal appeals court sided with Brooks in ruling that her claims constituted a constitutional violation.

Although the court found a constitutional violation on the facts presented to it, it ruled that the officers were entitled to qualified immunity from Brooks' constitutional claim because the law was "not sufficiently clear at the time of the incident."

Chief Judge Alex Kozinski disagreed strongly with the majority's conclusion that the use of the Taser gun qualified as excessive force.

"Bull Pucky!" Kozinski wrote in his 2011 partial dissent. He pointed out that Brooks had been resisting arrest and that the officers had chosen the safest tool in their arsenal to deal with the woman's defiance.

He chastised the majority for counting the seconds between tasings and finding that the rapid succession provided no time for her to recover. "Although Brooks claims she was 'scared' and 'in shock" after the initial tasing, she also admits that she began yelling for help and honking her horn with a "deliberate decision to continue her defiance," Kozinski wrote.

Both Brooks and the officers have appealed the case to the Supreme Court. Brooks wants the court to find that the officers should not be immune from her suit, and the officers want the justices to overrule the lower court on the constitutional violation.

The officers say they need guidance from the Supreme Court. In court papers their lawyers write that the appeals court "abolished application of a useful pain compliance technique without describing why the technique was unreasonable and without evaluating or even discussing alternatives that the officers could have used to reasonably effect their lawful duties."

Each side cites a 1989 Supreme Court decision regarding the use of excessive force that said such cases should be analyzed using an "objective reasonableness standard." The court held that "the 'reasonableness' of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight."

But experts think the court might be reluctant to take up the Taser case.

"This case looks very dramatic on its facts," says Robert Weisberg of Stanford Law School. "But that doesn't mean it's a very good case for the court to take." Weisberg notes that both parties have filed petitions asking for the court to step in and that there is no decision below imposing damages.

"The Supreme Court might say, 'This is procedurally too weird a situation to be the right vehicle for us to say something about Tasers,'" Weisberg says. "I think the court is likely to view Tasers as a legitimate means of inflicting non-lethal force. If so, it may find it impractical to declare a constitutional rule about when Taser use is okay and when it isn't because the legitimacy of Taser use may just depend on the situation. If so, the court's view might be, 'we don't want to treat Tasers differently from other non lethal means of force' therefore it's not desirable to have a rule for Tasers. The rules governing Tasers will be the general rules governing excessive force and therefore we don't want to make a constitutional doctrine out of Tasers."

He says in general that lower courts have tended to defer to police on the use of Tasers, but there have been a few cases where a person has won a lawsuit against police, where the Taser use was arguably unnecessary and where it happened to inflict serious harm.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb102012

Pentagon Eases Restrictions on Women Serving in the Military

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- America’s fighting women are getting closer to the front lines.

The Pentagon announced rule changes Thursday regarding the roles of women in the military that must first be approved by Congress before taking effect as soon as this summer.

Basically, nearly 14,000 combat support positions will be available to female service members that will put them near the front lines although they still won’t be allowed to join infantry combat units.

Once only reserved for men because the jobs were at the combat brigade level, the new positions will now be available at the lower battalion level and include communications, intelligence and logistical jobs.

Most of the women affected by the changes are enlisted in the Army, which deploys the greatest number of ground combat units.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb082012

Pentagon to Lift Some Restrictions on Women in Combat

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Pentagon on Thursday will propose rule changes that will allow more women to formally serve in jobs closer to the front lines.

Defense officials say as many as 14,000 positions could be opened up, though the restrictions on women serving in infantry combat units will remain in place.

The rule change reflects the ongoing reality that in a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, women were already dying in combat with the blurring of the traditional definition of front lines.  Nearly 300,000 women have served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and 144 of them have died in those conflicts.

The rule change is included in a report required by Congress as part of last year’s Defense Authorization Bill that has been overdue for months.  The new rules likely will not go into effect until the summer if Congress raises no objections to the change.

Women will still be barred from serving in infantry combat units, defense officials say, but the changes will formally open up new positions at the combat battalion level that, until now, have been off-limits.

The new jobs opening up for female service members will be combat support positions, including communications, intelligence and logistical positions, defense officials add. Typically, these jobs have been made available at the combat brigade level, but not at the lower battalion level, which was deemed too close to combat situation.  

However, the insurgent nature of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has blurred the line for combat situations. That often meant that all units likely could be exposed to some combat, including units where women were allowed to serve.

For example, in Iraq it was a regular occurrence that units that were technically not combat units were seeing combat. For example, women have been allowed to serve in military police units for years, but when those units were dispatched to Iraq to provide security and training, they were often under risk of attack.    

In 2005, Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, serving with a military police unit in Iraq, became the first woman to receive the Silver Star since World War II.  Hester received the medal for valor for her role in fighting off a large insurgent attack on her convoy.

The rules to be announced Thursday will apply to all of the military services, but will have the greatest impact on the Army, given the large number of ground combat units it has.

A year ago, the Military Leadership Diversity Commission recommended that the military lift the ban on women serving in combat units.

The advisory panel of current and retired military officers said that keeping women from serving in combat units was an obstacle to promotions and career advancement.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec272011

Murdered Women in Detroit Linked to Backpage.com, Cops Say

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(DETROIT) -- Three of four women whose dead bodies were found in the trunks of burning cars in Detroit over the past eight days had profiles on the adult services section of Backpage.com, police said on Monday, warning women that the killer may be trolling the site for more victims.

The bodies of two women were found in a burning car on Dec. 19, and then another pair were found on Christmas, police said.  They were both found within blocks of one another on the city’s east side.

Detroit police chief Ralph Godbee Jr. stopped short of saying the crimes were the work of a serial killer, but said he felt it was important to get the word out about the link investigators had found.

“This tie for us is disconcerting,” Godbee Jr. said Monday at a news conference.  “We’re stopping short of calling it a serial pattern."

“We are not passing judgment on any individual who is utilizing this website, yet we felt it was imperative to alert the public that deciding to meet unknown persons via the Internet can be extremely dangerous,” he said.

Investigators have not determined a cause of death for the four women.

Backpage.com, like craigslist.com, is an Internet bulletin board with listings for everything from child care to auto parts and forums on numerous topics.

Craigslist.com took down its “adult services” section after several widely publicized cases, including the so-called “Craigslist Killer” case, in which Phillip Markoff was charged with the armed robbery and murder of a masseuse he had hired through the website, and the armed robbery of two other women he also found through the site.  Markoff committed suicide in jail awaiting trial.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov162011

Poll: One in Four US Women Reports Workplace Harassment

Fuse/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- One in four American women has experienced workplace sexual harassment, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll.

One in 10 men say they’ve experienced it as well, and a quarter of men say they worry about being falsely accused of sexual harassment.

With harassment allegations against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain dominating the headlines, this survey, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, shows the extent to which the subject resonates in the personal experiences and concerns of many Americans.

Overall, 64 percent see sexual harassment as a problem in this country, soaring to 88 percent of women who’ve been harassed.  Still, the overall number is far below its peak -- 85 percent -- in late 1992.  That was a year after the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, who was accused of harassment by former co-worker Anita Hill, and during the sexual misconduct scandal that forced then Sen. Bob Packwood, R-Ore., from office.

Experience of harassment is also down from its peak, from 32 percent of women in surveys in late 1992 and mid-1994 to 24 percent now.  Additionally, among women who’ve been sexually harassed, somewhat more now say they reported it to their employer -- 41 percent, compared with 33 percent in 1994.

Further, the number of men who worry about being falsely accused has eased a bit from 31 percent in 1994 to 25 percent now.  And fewer men think they’ve said or done things that might be construed as workplace sexual harassment -- 10 percent now vs. 25 percent in 1994.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep272011

Biden, on 'The View,' Disputes White House Sexism Claims

ABC/Donna Svennevik(NEW YORK) -- Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday disputed the controversial characterizations of the Obama White House made by author Ron Suskind in his new book, Confidence Men, that depicted a bastion of sexism that was insulated from a diversity of opinions.

“I don’t know who they’re talking about,” Biden said on The View of former White House aides who reportedly told Suskind that the administration fostered a hostile work environment for women. “Obviously, they didn’t talk to Michelle Obama or Jill Biden. Because if there’s sexism in the White House, the person engaging in it is in trouble.”

The vice president made the comments during an appearance on ABC's chat show to talk about his nearly two-decade campaign to end violence against women.

“I’m not suggesting there’s not some instance where a staffer thought they were not treated well,” Biden said. “But look at the high-ranking staff on my staff, on the president’s staff -- 70 percent of the high-ranking people on my staff...they’re all women. I literally, when this came out, I asked them, I asked them had they seen it. And nobody is aware.”

Biden also strongly pushed back on Suskind’s suggestion that President Obama only received advice from an isolated, exclusive group.

“When the president and I agreed that I’d be on the ticket...the one thing I asked, and he’s kept it this promise, was that I’d be the last guy in the room -- literally the last in the room on any major decision. I can tell you without fear of contradiction that he has -- he seeks opinions from everyone in his inner circle,” Biden said.

“I have a bad reputation for being very blunt and straight, and I have made clear to the president my views. And on 85 percent of what he’s asked my opinion on, we’ve agreed,” he said.  ”I’ve been here for eight presidents. There are only two I knew who seemed totally prepared to listen to an alternative view. And if you made the better case they say, ‘Ok, I understand that.’ He’s one of those guys.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio