This week, Michelle Obama stole the show with killer Balenciaga boots at the Barclays Center.

World

12.21.2018

This Week In Women: Breaking The Internet With Balenciaga

Statements have been made this week from Rachel McAdams’s break-the-internet moment with Versace, Bulgari diamonds and a breast pump for Girls. Girls. Girls. magazine to Michelle Obama’s killer Balenciaga boots at the Barclays Center. Also, actresses Eliza Dushku and Amber Heard are advocating for sweeping change in the face of harassment and protected-male power.

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That's a wrap! When I think about all the people who have come out to our events over these past few weeks, I think about a little working-class kid named Michelle LaVaughn Robinson—an ordinary girl who had some tales to tell, some failures and some successes, too. She had a lot to learn, a lot to experience, a lot to give—more than she ever could have imagined. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my story lately, and what I keep coming back to is that no matter where we came from, we all share so much. People of all backgrounds, skin colors, and political persuasions can relate to feeling uncertain or overwhelmed. We’ve all been a little frustrated by the slow, frustrating growth necessary to get where we want to go. We’ve all struggled with the balancing act that can take over days, years, or decades of our lives. And I want us all to remember that these are the moments and lessons that make us who we are — every little twist and turn, every little bump and bruise, and ultimately every joys and every triumph, no matter how large or small. So I hope all of you believe in your story. I hope you recognize that what you see as a weakness might actually be a strength. I hope you recognize the power of your voice. And I hope you remind yourself that there isn't one right way to be an American. There isn’t one way to make your contribution in this country. So thank you all for your part of our story. Thank you for being who you are. And to everyone who’s read my memoir, or come to one of our events, or posted something online, thank you for being on this journey with me. Thank you for helping me continue to become. I hope my story can serve as a boost in your own process of becoming, too. I love you all. #IAmBecoming

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Get ready, it’s time for This Week in Women!

Eliza Dushku Speak Outs About Harassment On-Set

This week, The Boston Globe published a piece penned by actress Eliza Dushku that details oppressive sexual harassment on the set of “Bull.” She calls out actor Michael Weatherly for persistent behavior that was “demeaning” and “unwelcome” on-set and and writer-producer Glenn Gordon Caron for his complicity and role in her subsequent firing from the show. While she reached a confidential settlement with CBS earlier this year for $9.5 million—a portion of the potential six-year contract—she decided to share her story and detail the harassment that was experienced. Her op-ed is in response to Weatherly’s public statements in a recent piece by The New York Times, in which he excuses his behavior as ill-timed jokes and brushes off his comment about taking her over knee and spanking her (said in front of the crew) as an “ad-libbed a joke, a classic Cary Grant line.”

“There was daily undeniably demeaning conduct that is unacceptable in an absolute sense. Everyone should be allowed to work without harassment. Weatherly sexually harassed and bullied me day-in and day-out and would have gotten away with it had he not been caught on tape, and had the CBS lawyers not inadvertently shared the tapes with my counsel, Barbara Robb,” wrote Dushku. “Reflecting on the whole ordeal, it often makes me think with sadness of the majority of victims who do not have the benefit of the fortunate evidence—the tapes that I had.”

“I found uneasy solace in the important conditions I imposed on CBS, and that I would get paid for at least some of my contract. I am still trying to make sense of how this could happen, especially in these times.”

Dushku has been a vocal participant in the #MeToo movement. CBS has been embattled by recent scandals around central network figures, including Les Moonves, Charlie Rose and Jeff Fager.

Amber Heard Advocates for Cultural Change Around Protecting Abusive Men

Actress and ambassador to the American Civil Liberties Union Amber Heard is no stranger to male-sympathetic headlines. After a particularly nasty, tabloid-sensationalized split from actor Johnny Depp and her request for a restraining order after allegations of his abuse (in May, 2016), the industry and media rushed to salvage Depp’s reputation. In an op-ed for The Washington Post, published this week, Heard writes about feeling the “full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.”

“Friends and advisers told me I would never again work as an actress—that I would be blacklisted. A movie I was attached to recast my role. I had just shot a two-year campaign as the face of a global fashion brand, and the company dropped me. Questions arose as to whether I would be able to keep my role of Mera in the movies Justice League and Aquaman,” wrote Heard. “I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse.”

Without calling out Depp by name, Heard details some of the obstacles she was up against to protect her career and her daily well-being, and stresses the importance of legislation and policies that support survivors of domestic and sexual violence. This includes an urge to Congress to strengthen and continuing funding for the Violence Against Women Act, which was initially passed in 1994, as well as enforcing Title IX protections for survivors in academic settings (currently at-risk with some of Betsy DeVos’ proposed changes to reporting and handling cases).

“I want to ensure that women who come forward to talk about violence receive more support. We are electing representatives who know how deeply we care about these issues. We can work together to demand changes to laws and rules and social norms—and to right the imbalances that have shaped our lives.”

Federal Judge Smacks Down Sessions’ Asylum Ban for Migrants Fleeing Domestic Violence 

In June of this year, Trump-appointed former Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued an “expedited removal” policy that gutted asylum protections for migrants fleeing gang violence and domestic violence. The ACLU and Center for Gender & Refugee Studies brought the lawsuit on August 9, representing 12 asylum-seeking individuals (both adults and children).

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan declared the restrictions “unlawful” and wrote in 107-page opinion that “Many of these policies are inconsistent with the intent of Congress as articulated in the INA. And because it is the will of Congress—not the whims of the executive—that determines the standard for expedited removal, the court finds that those policies are unlawful.”

“This ruling is a defeat for the Trump administration’s all-out assault on the rights of asylum seekers. The government’s attempt to obliterate asylum protections is unlawful and inconsistent with our country’s longstanding commitment to provide protection to immigrants fleeing for their lives,” said Jennifer Chang Newell, managing attorney of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project who argued the case, in an official statement.

Featured image via Glamour

Stay tuned to Milk for more of This Week in Women and check out our previous installments here.

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