#MeToo Revival Amidst World Cup Kiss
A nonconsensual kiss at the Women’s World Cup Award Ceremony is prompting a legal investigation over sexual assault in Spain. After the team’s victory, the President of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), Luis Rubiales, grabbed the team’s forward, Jenni Hermoso, and kissed her on the lips. In the aftermath, Hermoso said the event was an “impulse-driven, sexist, out-of-place act without any consent on my part.” The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) initially issued a ninety-day suspension from all football activity and barred him from any contact with Hermoso. This week, Spain’s top criminal court launched a preliminary investigation into his actions, and the RFEF called for his resignation. Rubiales initially apologized for the kiss but later insisted that the act was “spontaneous, mutual, euphoric, and consensual,” calling the repercussions a witch hunt by “false feminism” and refusing to resign. In condemnation of Rubiales’ controversial history in this World Cup and previous games, all of the Spanish women’s team coaching staff have resigned. Jorge Vilda, a close ally of Rubiales, has also been dismissed. “We are ready for this to be the #MeToo of Spanish football and for this to be a change,” said Victor Francos Díaz, the director of Spain’s National Sports Council.
Taliban Continues Bans on Women’s Education and Movement
The Taliban has banned women from visiting Band-e-Amir, one of the country’s most popular national parks. This is the latest in a series of actions aimed at erasing women from public life. The Taliban minister for the propagation of virtue and prevention of vice was cited as saying, “Going sightseeing is not a must for women.” In 2013, the park made history in the country by hiring four female park rangers. This week, the Taliban also prevented women from leaving for the United Arab Emirates to study on academic scholarships. Over one hundred women were sponsored for university education by the Al Habtoor group, which was to provide accommodation, education, transportation, and security. In the final moments before boarding, their student visas were invalidated to leave the country. “This was an amazing opportunity for us, but like everything else, this opportunity was taken from us,” said one student.
Discrimination in U.S. Army’s Elite Special Operations
A new study by the U.S. Army’s elite Special Operations Command (USASOC) revealed that women face significant discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexism, from their male counterparts in the special operations units. Women have made great strides in obtaining high-level command posts in the eight years since the Pentagon opened all combat jobs to women. Yet the study found that there is rampant gender bias and “overtly sexist sentiment” among male senior non-commissioned officers and company-grade officers that prevents women from fully integrating into the special operations community. The study also revealed that 44 percent of the female soldiers surveyed said they are given ill-fitting equipment that can impact their ability to perform basic skills. Many have needed to purchase their own body armor. The report outlined forty-eight recommendations and actions that USASOC has taken to address the problems. “It is not about providing accommodations for women,” said USASOC Command Sgt. Maj. JoAnn Naumann. “It’s providing tools that allow women to maximize their performance and continue to serve at all levels and across time.”