Fight for the Safety of Children and Women

Each and every one of us tends to have an innate desire to preserve the innocence of children, regardless of our differences in terms of personal identity. However, there has been a longstanding debate over the exact age at which children should be able to make their own decisions. Although this remains indefinite across the world, nations have had to come to their own conclusions in the process of setting a legal age of sexual consent. The consequence of a lack thereof is apparent in recent cases. Four months ago, the alleged rapist of an eleven-year-old girl was exonerated from rape charges. The absence of elements such as violence, threat, surprise and constraint ultimately led to the thirty-year-old man’s discharge.

With the implementation of France’s new policy towards setting the legal age of sexual consent at fifteen-years-old, sexual contact with anyone under that age will be convicted with rape charges, regardless of context; Children are never in the position to give consent. This move is supported by Marlene Schiappa, the Equality Minister, following the advice of legal professionals. This is an extremely uplifting news seeing as these offenders could only be accused of sexual abuse of a minor instead of rape prior to this. At worst, they could only be forced to serve a five-year sentence, in addition to an $87,000 penalty. That is the same punishment for both minors and legal adults. That leaves room for plenty of alleged rapist to break free. Those who are behind such horrific acts deserve a far more punitive consequence.

 “Setting a legal age of sexual consent would allow a collective awareness and that everyone would see what was legal and illegal,” quoting Agnès Buzyn, the Minister of Solidarity and Health in Le Figaro, the French newspaper reports.

Even the current fixed age seems too young in comparison to Cyprus, who has set their legal age of sexual consent at seventeen-years-old. Austria, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Portugal, on the other hand, have set their age at fourteen-years-old. Furthermore, France had some uncertainty regarding the exact age, be it thirteen or fifteen. In that period of time, many activist organizations that supports the cause of fighting violence against children were pushing for the higher age, reaffirmed by the Equality Minister and President Emmanuel Macron.

All of the aforementioned components concerning sexual assault policies are awaiting the government’s approval in the coming weeks. A separate case that incriminated a twenty-eight-year-old man with sexual assault charges have had some changes recently. The victim was initially described as “not physically forced to have sex” but the change in policy have decided that it is indeed, rape. With varying legal age of consent across the world, ranging from thirteen to eighteen, how do we determine when children have the ability to make the right judgements?

Perhaps we should focus on improving the safety of these women (and men) by eliminating the callous criminals. In the meantime, we can only attempt to do so through the platform of legal proceedings. Children and women should be able to feel safe in their environments as well as everybody else. Legal age or otherwise, children will eventually reach the consented age but that still does not ensure that no harm will come in their way. As a matter of fact, sexual assault is a usual occurrence on the streets of France as well. Findings have revealed that one in every eight French females has been sexually assaulted before. Hence, new plans for anti-street harassment policy are vital to the safety of women in France.

Further updates will be posted when it is announced.

Featured Image via Flickr/wp paarz

American Apparel CEO Dov Charney Canned for Sexual Assault — Company Struggles with Debt

American Apparel Inc.’s board of directors moved to fire founder, President and CEO Dov Charney for an “ongoing investigation into alleged misconduct.”

Charney inappropriately discussed his personal sex life in the work place, and he was even known to stroll through the factory in nothing but his underwear. He is at the center of several cases, filed in courts in New York and Los Angeles, with claims of “sexual harassment, assault and battery, impersonation through the Internet,” among others.

When four female employees filed to sue Charney for sexual harassment in 2011, American Apparel’s lawyers defended Charney, as reported in a 2011 Los Angeles Times article. They asserted that the plantiffs’ claims were “meritless” and a way to “shake down Mr. Charney and American Apparel for money.”

In 2012, a store manager, fired by Charney, filed a wrongful termination lawsuit. The plaintiff, Michael Bumblis, claimed that Charney called him “a wannabe Jew,” and a “fag.” There was also a report of an altercation in which Charney attempted to choke Bumblis and rub dirt into his face, according to a 2012 Times article.

CFO John Luttrell will fill in as interim CEO. Public relations executive and board member Allan Mayer, along with board member David Danziger, was appointed co-chairman.

“This is not easy, but we felt the need to do what we did for the sake of the company,” Mayer told the Times. He claims the decision to terminate Charney’s employment “was not the result of any problems with the company’s operations.”

However, the company has been struggling in recent years. In 2013, American Apparel reported a net loss of $106.3 million, compared to a loss of $37.3 million in 2012.

According to a Wall Street Journal article, the company reported a net loss of $5.5 million for the opening quarter of this year, which is an improvement from the $46.5 million loss reported a year earlier.

American Apparel announced in March they intended to sell $30.5 million in stocks to pay off debts, according to the Times.

The decision could leave the company in default for its inability to restructure its debts with lenders.

With about 27 percent of American Apparel stock, Charney is the largest individual shareholder of the company.




Photo:  Keith Bedford/Bloomberg


Former Disney Executive David Neuman Sued Again for Sexual Assault

Michael Egan, 32, had charged former Disney executive David Neuman for sexual assault, and then dropped the charges. However, Egan is now re-filing the case. Additionally, he has made some changes to his accusation.

In April, Egan held a news conference to publicly claim that Neuman molested him, several times, when he was a teenager. According to him, these incidents took place at pool parties in L.A. and on vacation in Hawaii. That same month Egan also accused director Bryan Singer and other Hollywood executives of sexual abuse.

Subsequently, Egan’s lawyer, Jeff Herman, filed the lawsuit in Hawaii. In California, the law stipulates that a person can press charges of childhood sexual assault up to the age of 26 which is 8 years after no longer being a minor. Therefore, Egan went to Hawaii to make these claims. Legislation has passed in Hawaii which allows victims of childhood sexual abuse to file charges after the normal statute of limitations has passed.

Egan was only able to press these charges if he declared that some of the accused abuse took place in Hawaii. Nevertheless, Egan signed a 2000 disposition in which he had sworn that he never had been in that state.

Without any warning Egan dropped the case last week. This can largely be attributed to the fact that Egan’s signed declaration from 2003 surfaced. In this document, Egan declares that Neuman was never inappropriate to him. In response, Egan claims that he signed this declaration “under fear, threats, and duress.” When he signed this document in 2003, Egan had also been making similar allegations against 3 other men.

Egan’s other charges were against another 3 members of Digital Entertainment Network’s (DEN) board. These defendants included Marc Collins-Rector, Chad Shackley, and Brock Piece. Charges against Pierce were all dropped, Collins-Rector was found guilty of transporting minors across state lines in a separate case.

According to TMZ, Egan now filed a lawsuit that primarily focuses on his allegations which occurred at the L.A. pool parties. In his lawsuit he refers to Neuman as “John Doe”, exempting his name from the case. Nevertheless, he still extensively describes Neuman, referring to his specific position at Disney.

Currently, Egan’s new allegation also asserts that Neuman paid Egan a certain amount of money during and after the assault incidents. In the document of Egan’s declaration, he argues that the payment consolidated for his sexual abuse with “partial or advance damages.”

Egan claims that the abuse caused repression of memories that had only resurfaced around Jun. of 2013. The complaint says, “Through trauma therapy and quitting alcohol abuse. Plaintiff challenged his maladaptive defense mechanisms. This allowed Plaintiff to finally recognize the childhood sexual abuse by Defendant DOE and how it contributed to the severe psychological and emotional injuries for which he was suffering.”

In this complaint, psychologist Frederick Stampler asserts that there is reasonable evidence to believe that Egan could have repressed his memories. This statement will certainly aid Egan’s case as he may be able to avoid California’s standard statute of limitations. As of 2003, California has employed leeway with such cases allowing charges for 3 years following the re-emergence of memories.

Still, Neuman’s lawyer views Egan’s actions as a “shakedown of an innocent man.”



Photo: TMZ