More than 85,000 people worldwide have joined a Nigerian woman’s popular campaign on Change.org calling on officials in Nigeria to arrest five men who videotaped themselves gang-raping a young woman.
Adetomi Aladekomo, who grew up in Nigeria and still has family there, launched the petition on Change.org after being sent the horrifying video, which depicts an hour of a brutal gang-rape by five men reported to be Abia State University (ABSU) students. The ABSU vice chancellor, Abia State governor, and local law enforcement reportedly denied the assault without conducting a proper investigation. Adetomi, a rape survivor herself, decided to take action to hold the officials accountable.
“When I created this petition I was concerned with finding the men who committed this heinous act,” stated Adetomi. “Now I realize that the issue is bigger than these five men. We need to have an educated and caring government that bothers to fact-check before rashly taking a stand or declaring that despite video evidence, a rape did not take place.”
Father Roy Bourgeois, a Catholic priest of 39 years, felt obligated to speak his conscience — and it told him that women should be allowed to be priests too. His outspoken opposition to sexist discrimination could cost him dearly, however, as he now faces dismissal from his position and excommunication.
The Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC) has launched a petition on Change.org in support of Fr. Bourgeois and other Catholics who believe that women deserve the same clergy rights as men in the Church. “I cannot possibly speak out about injustice in society and at the same time be silent about this injustice in my church,” Bourgeois affirmed. WOC — along with cosponsors the Association of Roman Catholic Womenpriests, Call To Action, and Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA — wants the Vatican to know that a respected priest shouldn’t be kicked out for supporting women’s ordination when there’s no scriptural prohibition for this practice.
“After much reflection, study, and prayer, I believe that our Church’s teaching that excludes women from the priesthood defies both faith and reason and cannot stand up to scrutiny,” Fr. Bourgeois wrote in response to his threatened removal from office in the Maryknoll Catholic order. ‘This teaching has nothing to do with God, but with men, and is rooted in sexism. Sexism, like racism, is a sin. And no matter how hard we may try to justify discrimination against women, in the end, it is not the way of God, but of men who want to hold on to their power.”
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this week overruled a decision requiring a Texas cheerleader to pay $35,000 in legal fees after she sued the high school that forced her to cheer for a basketball player who pled guilty to assaulting her.
H.S. was removed from the cheerleading squad by Superintendent Richard Bain for asserting that she would not cheer for her rapist by name. This incident and the school’s general misconduct motivated her family to bring a lawsuit against the school district on free speech, equal protection, and due process grounds.
The decision, issued Monday, alters a ruling by a lower court which previously found the cheerleader’s entire suit “frivolous,” ordering the sexual assault survivor to pay the school district $35,000 in legal expenses. The new ruling finds that the free speech portion of the lawsuit was not frivolous, and orders the amount owed to be recalculated accordingly.
The news comes after more than 140,000 people joined a popular campaign on Change.org calling on Silsbee High School to admit to mistreating the student, apologize for the actions against her, improve district policy for dealing with sexual assault, and refuse to take money from the girl and her family. As of yet, the school has not responded. This court decision represents a golden opportunity for the Silsbee Independent School District Official to say they don’t force money from rape survivors.