A huge part of the Northeast region of the United States spent most of the weekend waiting for Frankenstorm to arrive. It's a 'Perfect Storm': a convergence of Hurricane Sandy, a nor'easter and a cold front from Canada, or something like that. In any event, it's big. When casinos in Atlantic City start boarding up and the mayor of New York City posts a mandatory evacuation, you know just how really big it is.
It's not the only 'Perfect Storm' that's been brewing during the last few days, however. A few explosive stories have been reported in the news that are converging on the collective consciousness of women across the country, causing anger, angst, sadness and outrage.
There isn't a single woman who isn't completely spooked by each of these stories, taken individually. But when you mash them together, in one week no less, it makes one wonder why the universe is conspiring against us:
Women's Pay Gap Starts Right After College: "Graduating to a Pay Gap," a report released by the AAUW, outlines all the reasons why women are less likely to have a job when they graduate and, if they are fortunate enough to land one, why they earn less. One reason, the report points out, is because "women typically earn less can be explained by the subjects they studied in college. Men are more likely than women to major in fields like engineering and computer science, which typically lead to higher-paying jobs." But, there's more. A woman with a business degree earns just $38,000 compared to a $45,000 salary for men. The studied looked at everything, sector by sector, and the bottom line is this: Women still earn less, and the older they get, the wider the gap.
New York City Nanny Allegedly Murders Two Children: Women are torn: Should they stay home for awhile to take care of their kids or immediately return to work? Most women return to work, but when they do, child care is always an issue. Because extended families can be far-flung, relying on family members to help out is not always an option, which is why many women rely on nannies to care for their children. For many working women who leave their homes each morning thinking their children are safe and secure in their nanny's hands, this horror story has put a major damper on their belief in the system. Mother and neighbor of the Krim family Denise Albert spoke for many women when she told the AP, "For working parents this is a nightmare. Every mother I know is asking today, 'How do I go back to work?'"
College Student Comes Forward with Story About Campus Rape: Rape and other forms of sexual assault are the least reported crimes on college campuses. The former Amherst student who, this week, published her account of being raped and the terrible ordeal she experienced once she reported it to the college, offers the reason why: Women are still made to feel as though as it's their fault if they get raped. Writing in the Times, Nicholas Kristof makes the point that America averts its eyes when it comes to rape, including "when it comes to the trafficking of teenage girls by pimps, which amounts to rape many times a day." The police, he writes, treat the girls as criminals, not victims. Which leads us to the next story.
Pregnancy From Rape Is 'Something God Intended': Indiana GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock is anti-abortion in all cases, even if a pregnancy occurs due to rape, because "it is something that God intended to happen." Representative Todd Akin famously implied that women would lie about getting raped just so they could obtain abortions and he believes that rape victims are physically unable to get pregnant. And an article stated that "at the heart of these comments is their belief that rape victims who become pregnant should not be able to have access to abortion." Not for rape, incest or even if the mother's life is in danger.
Cannibal Cop Allegedly Made Plans to Torture, Kill and Eat Women: Right on cue, just in time for Halloween and seemingly out of the worst kind of gore-fest movie, a police officer from New York City is alleged to have made elaborate plans to kidnap, torture, kill and finally... eat at least 100 women. We all cringed and nervously laughed when we talked about the story the day after it was reported. Some experts believe he was never going to carry through with his plans, that it was all part of his sexual fantasies. But the truth is, this hellish nightmare totally spooked us because it was someone who was supposed to protect us from the bad guys.
The thread that ties these stories together is clear: it's a scary time for women in America.
And that has a lot of us very spooked, indeed.
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