This week in Women: Female Perpetrators + Gigi Fights Back
This was a bad week—or maybe 2016 is just a bad year? From (more) street harassment and assault to (somehow, more) police brutality, this week shows that women can be both victims and perpetrators of violence (and btw, that’s not a good thing). Welcome to another this week in women: the perpetrators vs paragons edition.
U.S. Maternal Mortality Rate Skyrockets
First, some good news: the global maternal mortality rate is plummeting. In the U.S., however, the maternal mortality rate has actually risen despite improvements in healthcare, The New York Times reports.
In 2013, there were 28 maternal deaths per 100,000 births—in 2005, there were 23. The U.S.’s 2013 rate is more than three times Canada’s rate. There were particularly high rates of maternal mortality in Washington, D.C., New Jersey, Georgia, and Arkansas—especially among black women, which raises questions about various communities’ access to quality medical care.
A quarter of all deaths are related to chronic medical conditions like heart problems and diabetes—perhaps due to an increase in obesity— particularly in low-income communities.
“The really scary thing to us is all the deaths from cardiovascular disease and heart failure,” Dr. William Callaghan, head of the Maternal and Infant Health Branch in the Division of Reproductive Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Times. “It’s a quarter of all deaths. There were almost none in the remote past.”
Gigi Gets Snatched
Gigi Hadid was grabbed by a strange man on Thursday as she was leaving the Max Mara show in Milan. She screamed “Let go of me! Who the fuck are you? You piece of shit!” before swiftly elbowing him in the face and breaking free (side note: damn, girl), but this was presumably a pretty terrifying situation for her. Apparently, Vitalii Sediuk, the man who grabbed her, is an online “prankster,” but we’ve never heard of him until now.
Gigi defended herself when a man grabs her after the Max Mara show. pic.twitter.com/IsHEkTkkER
— Hadid News (@HadidNews) September 22, 2016
Sediuk later told the Hollywood Reporter he assaulted Hadid as a form of “protest.”
“You can call it a manifest or a protest,” he said. “This is also a wake-up call for Anna Wintour, who turned Vogue into a tabloid by putting Kardashians and other similar celebrities on a cover of a well-respected magazine.”
Afterwards, she took to Twitter to discuss the incident—and the British media’s horrifying response.
and had EVERY RIGHT to defend myself. How dare that idiot thinks he has the right to man-handle a complete stranger. He ran quick tho 👊🏼😏🐱
— Gigi Hadid (@GiGiHadid) September 22, 2016
Thanked my boxing coach today.
— Gigi Hadid (@GiGiHadid) September 22, 2016
Unlike the average person, Hadid has a team of security guards following her around at all times. Now we know why.
There seems to be this notion in America that actors, models, musicians, and other celebrities have to be more accessible than the average person—in exchange for their wealth and fame, they have to hand over all of their personal information. To some extent, that’s true; celebrity breakups regularly make the news, whereas your latest Tinder ghosting experience does not. And yet to some extent, it also isn’t true; you can’t just go up to a model (or to anyone, really) and grab her on the street. That is not okay. That will always be harassment.
Justice Is (Sort Of?) Served
Last Friday, a man’s car broke down in the middle of the road in Tulsa, Oklahoma. While that man was waiting for assistance, he was approached by police officers who, after briefly deliberating what to do, shot and killed him. That man was black. That man was named Terrence Crutcher.
In a helicopter video of the shooting, Crutcher appears to have his hands up before being shot. The video evidence shows Crutcher walking away from the officers with his hands in the air. The aerial recording shows an officer saying Crutcher “looks like a bad dude, probably on something” based entirely on his appearance.
Officer Betty Shelby, the woman who shot and killed Crutcher, later said she believed Crutcher was on PCP at the time of the shooting. She reportedly found it “strange” that Crutcher put his hands in the air without being told to do so and didn’t follow “dozens” of other commands. So she shot him.
Now, for the only good news that can come out of a situation like this: Steve Kunzweiler, the Tulsa County District Attorney, has filed first-degree manslaughter charges against Officer Shelby. Shelby turned herself in early Friday morning but was released less than 15 minutes later on a $50,000 bond.
It’s bad enough that this shooting happened—it’s even worse that we’re surprised Shelby is facing any serious consequences.
Image via Pinterest.
Stay tuned to Milk for more of This Week in Women and check out our previous installments here.