Tag Archives: men

Study: Sexist men more likely to have mental health problems

Men who behave like promiscuous playboys or feel powerful over women are more likely to have mental health problems than men with less sexist attitudes, according to a study released this week.

The analysis found links between sexist behavior and mental health issues such as depression and substance abuse, said the study which appeared in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association.

“Some of these sexist masculine norms, like being a playboy and power over women, aren’t just a social injustice but they are also potentially bad for your mental health,” said Joel Wong, an associate professor of counseling psychology at Indiana University Bloomington and lead author of the study.

Its release comes on the heels of the election to the U.S. presidency of Donald Trump, whose comments about women that emerged during the election campaign were condemned by many as sexist and misogynist.

The research synthesized results of more than 70 U.S.-based studies involving more than 19,000 men over 11 years.

This involved looking at 11 norms generally considered by experts to reflect society’s expectations of traditional masculinity including a desire to win, risk-taking and pursuit of status, Wong said.

The traits, or norms, most closely linked to mental health problems were playboy behavior, or sexual promiscuity, power over women and self-reliance, he said.

“Men who have trouble asking for directions when they’re lost, that’s a classic example of self-reliance,” Wong said.

Also, men who exhibited those attitudes were also less likely to seek mental health treatment, the study said.

The researchers said there was one dimension for which they were unable to find any significant effects.

“Primacy of work was not significantly associated with any of the mental health-related outcomes,” said Wong in a statement.

“Perhaps this is a reflection of the complexity of work and its implications for well-being. An excessive focus on work can be harmful to one’s health and interpersonal relationships, but work is also a source of meaning for many individuals.”

 Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith. Published via  Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org.

Conduct code may have silenced rape victims at Baptist school

The sexual assault scandal that took down Baylor University’s president and football coach also found a problem with a bedrock of the school’s faith-based education: a student conduct code banning alcohol, drugs and premarital sex that may have driven some victims into silence.

Investigators with the Pepper Hamilton law firm who dug into Baylor’s response to sexual assault claims determined the school’s rigid approach to drugs, alcohol and sex and “perceived judgmental responses” to victims who reported being raped “created barriers” to reporting assaults.

Some women faced the prospect of their family being notified.

“A number of victims were told that if they made a report of rape, their parents would be informed of the details of where they were and what they were doing,” said Chad Dunn, a Houston attorney who represents six women who have sued Baylor under the anonymous identification of Jane Doe.

The nation’s largest Baptist university is a notably conservative place in one of the most conservative states in the country. Dancing on campus was banned until 1996. Fornication, adultery and homosexual acts were included in an official list of misconduct until May 2015, and the current policy stresses that “physical sexual intimacy is to be expressed in the context of marital fidelity.”

Students can still be expelled for using drugs or alcohol, though late last year it included amnesty for minor offenses.

Pepper Hamilton investigators urged the school to expand amnesty to sexual conduct code violations; the federal government told all U.S. universities in 2011 that conduct policies may have a chilling effect on reporting sexual assault.

“Amnesty is a no-brainer,” said Shan Wu, a former federal sex crimes prosecutor who is now a criminal defense attorney specializing in student legal issues. “Unfortunately, these codes force students to engage in life-or-death calculations,” added Wu, who isn’t involved in the Baylor case.

Baylor officials say they are already making changes. Interim President David Garland, who took over in late May for ousted president and chancellor Ken Starr, said the university considered all of the firm’s recommendations as “mandates.”

“Expectations for our students are outlined in university conduct policies and are a reflection of our faith-based mission,” school spokeswoman Tonya Lewis said, noting that the amnesty provisions for drug and alcohol use should assure sexual assault victims that Baylor will focus on their allegations. Baylor has repeatedly declined to comment specific cases.

“Student safety and support for survivors of all types of interpersonal violence are paramount to the mission of Baylor University,” Lewis said.

But such offers of amnesty are too late for women who previously reported assaults and told Pepper Hamilton investigators about hurdles they faced in dealing with Baylor officials. Eight former Baylor students have brought three federal lawsuits against the school, outlining rape allegations as far back as 2005 that they say were either ignored or discouraged from reporting.

Dunn would not allow his clients to be interviewed by the AP to protect their identity, but relayed questions to them.

Two women said they were pushed to accept alcohol conduct violations when they reported their assaults, or feared sexual conduct violations if they did.

One woman said her case began when she called police to report a physical assault on another woman at an off-campus party. Police demanded to know if she was underage and had been drinking, then arrested and reported her to the school office that investigates conduct code violations, she said. She told Baylor officials her drinking was a result of being raped a month earlier and detailed what happened in person and in a letter.

She received an alcohol code violation and told to do 25 hours community service, and when she tried to appeal, the woman said Baylor officials urged her to drop it. The school never pursued her rape claim.

“I was told by many Baylor staff that they couldn’t do anything for me because my assault was off campus, yet they had no problem punishing me for my off-campus drinking,” the woman said. Schools are bound by federal law to investigate on- and off-campus sex assault allegations.

The threat of a sexual conduct violation was a “common issue” that Baylor did nothing to dispel, another woman said.

Even when the code of conduct wasn’t an overt issue, some women who reported sexual assault said they were grilled about their behavior.

Stefanie Mundhenk, a former Baylor student who The Associated Press is identifying because she has publicly blogged about Baylor’s investigation into her 2015 rape allegations, told the AP that she was never threatened by conduct code violations but was repeatedly questioned about her sexual history.

“I was alarmed,” said Mundhenk, who is not among those suing Baylor. “It was biased and it was unfair. They were trying to gauge if I was a loose woman. They were looking to attack my reputation.”

On the web

For information about reporting sexual assaults and addressing the crisis on college campuses:

SurvJustice

It’s On Us

With confidence and determination, Clinton accepts nomination

Madame secretary accepted the presidential nomination from the Democratic Party July 28, putting the deepest, widest crack in the glass ceiling yet. Driving roar after roar from the crowd at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Hillary Clinton forcefully explained why she is the best candidate for the White House and how she will become madame president.

Clinton, the first female nominee for president from a major U.S. party, had a lot of support from family — daughter Chelsea and husband Bill — and many friends, a solid contingent of progressive activists and political powerhouses, rising political stars and even entertainment stars.

On the fourth and final night of the convention, Katy Perry and Carole King performed for an audience in the center and millions in TV-land.

King performed “You’ve Got a Friend.” The song she wrote in 1971 echoed what so many of Clinton’s friends and colleagues said about the candidate from the podium:

“When you’re down and troubled

And you need some love and care

And nothing, nothing is going right

Close your eyes and think of me

And soon I will be there

To brighten up even your darkest night

You just call out my name

And you know wherever I am

I’ll come running, to see you again

Winter, spring, summer or fall

All you have to do is call

And I’ll be there

You’ve got a friend.

Perry performed “Roar,” the pre-anthem to Clinton’s anthemic address, and, “oh, oh, oh,” did the crowd roar: “I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter/Dancing through the fire/ ‘Cause I am the champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar.”

The pop star, who has been campaigning with Clinton since the primary start in Iowa, urged people to vote. “On Nov. 8, you’ll be just as powerful as any NRA lobbyist,” Perry said. “You’ll have as much say as any billionaire. Or you can cancel out your weird cousin’s vote.”

Chelsea Clinton followed Perry to the stage to talk about a caring, compassionate woman with steely resolve to help people.

“People ask me all the time how she does it,” Chelsea Clinton said. “How she keeps going amid the sound and fury of politics. Here’s how. It’s because she never forgets who she’s fighting for.”

She left the stage while a video told the story of Hillary Clinton’s life and then the daughter returned to welcome her mother to the stage. To borrow from another Carole King song, the earth moved — or at least the arena rocked.

“Thank you! Thank you for that amazing welcome,” Clinton said.

She called for unity, because the nation is “stronger together” and the party is “stronger together.”

“America is once again at a moment of reckoning,” Clinton said. “Powerful forces are threatening to pull us apart. And just as with our founders, there are no guarantees. It truly is up to us. We have to decide whether we all will work together so we all can rise together.”

She recited the national motto, e pluribus unum, out of many, we are one.

“Will we stay true to that motto?” Clinton said and then referred directly to general election opponent Donald Trump, who defeated a crowded field of candidates, including Scott Walker, for the GOP nomination.

“Well, we heard Donald Trump’s answer last week at his convention,” Clinton said. “He wants to divide us — from the rest of the world and from each other. He’s betting that the perils of today’s world will blind us to its unlimited promise. He’s taken the Republican Party a long way, from ‘Morning in America’ to ‘Midnight in America.’ He wants us to fear the future and fear each other.

“Well,” Clinton continued, “a great Democratic president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, came up with the perfect rebuke to Trump more than 80 years ago, during a much more perilous time. ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.'”

Aides said Clinton worked weeks on the speech, in which she had to tell the American people she is not the cartoon that the far left and the right has drawn.

Clinton made a direct appeal to independents, whose choice is a longtime Democratic leader or a Republican who’s abandoned traditional Republican values.

And she made a direct appeal to supporters of Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator who waged a hard-fought primary campaign with his progressive, political revolution.

“I’ve heard you,” she said to Sanders supporters. “Your cause is our cause.”

Still, in the arena, there were occasional boos from Sanders supporters, who wore neon shirts to stand out in the crowd and held signs that read “Get it done,” “Walk the walk” and “Keep your promises.”

Clinton supporters drowned every “boo” with rousing chants of “Hillary.”

After the convention, hard feelings remained evident between Sanders and Clinton supporters in the corridors of the Wells Fargo.

But when the red, white and blue balloons and confetti came down and golden fireworks shot up, there seemed to be only joy in the hall.

 

The general election

The Democrats ended their convention with polls showing Clinton and running mate Tim Kaine locked in a tight contest with Trump and running mate Mike Pence. Trump has no record in public office, but Pence is known nationwide for his anti-woman, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT efforts as Indiana’s governor and a U.S. senator.

Trump had received a slight bump in his poll numbers after the GOP convention in Cleveland. But after a multitude of speeches and videos at the Democratic convention, the numbers already were shifting more in Clinton’s favor before she took the stage July 28.

“I’m an independent and I’ve heard what I needed to hear. I’m an independent for Hillary,” said convention-goer Mary Plumber of Camden, New Jersey. She had arrived hours early to the Wells Fargo Center to  claim a seat for the historic night and was entertained with King’s soundcheck.

Plumber’s friend, Chrissy Nikomi of Philadelphia, also attended. She’s a longtime Clinton devotee who hoped her candidate could bring in more people to the campaign.

“It’s really hard out there, with all the false information and this myth created by the right and perpetuated by some on the left that she’s not trustworthy,” Nikomi said.

 

They’re with her

By the time Clinton took the stage to accept the nomination, dozens of speakers had declared their support and explained why she is the best-qualified person for the presidency.

First lady Michelle Obama and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey delivered emotional and rousing speeches the first night of a convention that offered sunny optimism about America’s future but also much sadness about division in the United States.

The next night, Bill Clinton painted a loving portrait of the woman, wife, mother and advocate he admires.

On the third night, Vice President Joe Biden, President Barack Obama and Kaine championed Clinton’s candidacy.

“She’s been there for us, even if we haven’t always noticed,” Obama said.

And those are just the biggest names to make the case.

Many others talked about Clinton and her years of dedication as activist, attorney, first lady, senator and secretary of state.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin joined other Democratic women of the U.S. Senate at the podiums on July 28.

“I entered public service to fight for health coverage for all, especially children and young adults. Hillary Clinton has led that fight for decades,” Baldwin said. “With the help of her relentless advocacy, 8 million children are insured and their families more secure. …That’s Hillary. As president, she’ll fight for healthier families and a fair shot for all.”

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin also addressed the convention on the fourth night, sketching contrasts between Clinton, who famously went to China decades ago to declare women’s rights are human rights, and Trump, who infamously has called women “pigs” and “dogs.”

“Pigs? Dogs? Disgusting? Too many women know where this toxic language leads,” said Moore. “Too many women have experienced sexual violence and abuse. And I’m one of them. But we are not victims. We are survivors. We have been bullied, beaten and berated. Told to sit down and to shut up. Well, my voice matters, and I won’t shut up.

“Our voices matter, and we won’t shut up. Women make our communities better — stronger each and every day. That’s why Hillary Clinton has spent her life fighting for us.”

Others spoke about Clinton’s work and policies on jobs and industry, civil rights and equality, immigration reform and the environment, diplomacy and national security. They also spoke of Trump’s lack of experience, as well as the Republican’s disinterest in national issues and disrespect for many people.

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar introduced a film about Capt. Humayun Khan, one of 14 U.S. Muslim soldiers to die in the service since Sept. 11, 2001. In an unscripted moment, Abdul-Jabbar introduced himself as Michael Jordan because, he said, Trump can’t tell the difference.

Sarah McBride, the first transgender person to address a major party’s political convention, said, “Today in America, LGBTQ people are targeted by hate that lives in both laws and hearts. Many still struggle just to get by. But I believe tomorrow can be different. Tomorrow, we can be respected and protected — especially if Hillary Clinton is our president. And that’s why I’m proud to say that I’m with her.”

Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights group, introduced McBride with a high-energy speech that paid tribute to the victims of the massacre at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in June.

“While the nation mourned, Donald Trump strutted before the cameras and exploited a national tragedy,” Griffin said. “He had the audacity to tell the American public he was the true champion for LGBTQ people in this race and that our community would be better off with him in the White House. He even challenged his skeptics to  ‘ask the gays.'”

Griffin, met Clinton as a closeted kid growing up in Arkansas. He said, “Long before Donald Trump struggled to read the letters ‘LGBTQ’ off a teleprompter, Hillary Clinton stood before the United Nations and boldly declared that gay rights are human rights.”

Twenty years before Hillary Clinton accepted the nomination for president in Philadelphia, Bill Clinton accepted the nomination for his re-election in Chicago.

At that convention, LGBT people anxiously waited to hear whether and how Bill Clinton would refer to gays in his acceptance speech.

At the Philadelphia convention, there was no question. Speaker after speaker spoke about equality and justice as delegates waved “Love trumps hate” signs and rainbow flags.

Hillary Clinton told them, “We will defend all our rights – civil rights, human rights and voting rights, women’s rights and workers’ rights, LGBT rights and the rights of people with disabilities! And we will stand up against mean and divisive rhetoric wherever it comes from.”

There was little rest for the candidate who, following the convention, was embarking on a bus tour of Pennsylvania and Ohio, crucial states in the general election. The tour was to begin with a rally at Temple University in Philadelphia.

 

On the Web

Read Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech online.

Women more likely than men to face poverty during retirement

During their working years, women tend to earn less than men, and when they retire, they’re more likely to live in poverty.

These are women who raised children and cared for sick and elderly family members, often taking what savings and income they had and spending it on things besides their own retirement security.

The National Institute on Retirement Security, a nonprofit research center, reports that women are 80 percent more likely than men to be impoverished at age 65 and older. Women age 75 to 79 are three times more likely.

While experts cite a pay gap as a major cause for retirement insecurity, other factors play a role, from single parenthood and divorce to the fact that women typically live longer than men.

For Marsha Hall, 60, the process of trying to save for retirement has been nearly impossible.

“I’ve had jobs that included a 401(k) and I was able to put some money aside, every month,” she says.ß “But then I would get laid off and have to cash out the 401(k) to have money to live on.”

Born and raised in Detroit, Hall is divorced and doesn’t have any children. She works part time as a file clerk. She and her siblings pitch in to care for their 75-year old mother. Hall says she tries not to think about what her situation will be like at that age.

“My bills are current, I have food,” she says, “but I’m still living paycheck to paycheck, if it wasn’t for Section 8 (a housing subsidy), I don’t know where I’d be living.”

Joan Entmacher, vice president for family economic security at the National Women’s Law Center, says “the solution to the retirement (funding) crisis starts with the earnings and wage gap.”

The wage gap

That gap narrowed between the 1970s and 1990s, but stopped shrinking in 2001. Women earn about 76 cents to 79 cents on the dollar, compared with men.

Women are more likely to report that Social Security is the biggest source of income _ 50 percent to 38 percent for men, according to a recent poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Women are 14 percentage points less likely to say they will receive a pension.

Entmacher says women are more likely to take on caregiving responsibilities, which increases the likelihood they will end up working part-time jobs, often for lower wages, and without benefits such as pensions, sick leave and health care.

“The bulk of stay-at-home moms are not these high income, well-educated women that you read about,” she says.

Over a 40-year career, the pay gap between men and women adds up to an average of $430,480, according to the Census Bureau. For minorities and women of color, the number is much higher.

“If we are talking about a 65-year-old black woman, she was born before desegregation,” says Karen Lincoln, a professor at the University of Southern California and director of a center for geriatric social work.

“This has a huge impact on things like the quality of education they receive, the employment opportunities available to them, and their ability to accumulate wealth,” Lincoln says.

Lincoln points to additional census data showing African-American women are paid 64 percent of what white men get, compared with 54 percent for Hispanic and Latina women. In addition to making less, women are much more likely to be single parents, putting additional economic strains on them.ßIn 2013, almost 83 percent of custodial parents were mothers, according to the census.

The war on poverty

Starting with the Johnson administration’s “War on Poverty” in 1964, and the creation of safety-net programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, poverty rates among both men and women have been falling steadily. In 1966 the percentage of women over 65 living below the federal poverty line stood at 32 percent, compared with 12.1 percent in 2014. For men over 65, the numbers are 23.5 percent and 7.4 percent, respectively.

Yet some analysts say the poverty rate is a poor gauge to assess the quality of life for aging seniors.

“The poverty rate is a deceptive number, it doesn’t reflect the money they (men and women) need to actually exist,” says Jennifer Brown, manager of research at the National Institute on Retirement Security.ß

Brown says that increasing life spans mean a woman in the United States today will live five years longer than the average man, and about four years longer than her grandmother.

“Those increases in longevity come with huge increases in medical costs,” Brown says. “Especially if you’re talking about things like long-term care or treatment for mental disabilities such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.”

Medicare does not cover long-term care. To get some subsidized coverage, seniors would need to spend down their assets to qualify for Medicaid or have a long-term care insurance policy.

In 2016, the census poverty threshold for a single person is $11,880. According to UCLA’s Elder Index, a measure of the cost for housing, food, transport and health care, for a 65-year-old renter shows that the base cost for these needs is $24,024 and growing.

Same work is worth the same wage

April 12 was Equal Pay Day, a day to reflect on the appalling fact that in Wisconsin women earn 79 cents for each dollar men earn when working the same job. Equal Pay Day is the day when the average woman’s earnings for that year plus the prior year equal those of a male counterpart’s earnings for the prior year alone.

The pay gap between women and men has been shown to be a constant issue regardless of the educational level of the workers. Since the initiation of the Fair Pay Act of 1963, there has been a continual decrease in the pay gap. However, the pace is so slow that wage parity will not be reached until 2133.

The pay gap for women of color is even wider. For every dollar earned by a white man, Asian women are paid 65 cents, African-American women are paid 61 cents and Hispanic women are paid a mere 53 cents.

Nearly half of Wisconsin households are headed by women, 31 percent of which exist below the poverty line.

In 2009, Wisconsin’s Equal Pay Enforcement Act took effect, increasing access for women to press charges when their rights were violated. Within one year of the law’s inception, Wisconsin jumped up 12 places from 36th to 24th in the nation’s gender/wage parity rankings. Additionally, hardworking Wisconsin women saw their median earnings rise 3 percent.

Despite these accomplishments, just a few years later every Republican legislator in Wisconsin voted to repeal the Equal Pay Enforcement Act. Every Democratic legislator in the state voted against the repeal, but they were outnumbered and Gov. Scott Walker signed the repeal into law.

Earlier this session, I co-sponsored Senate Bill 145, which would have reinstated Wisconsin’s Equal Pay Enforcement Act. It defies logic that the Republican-led Legislature failed to pass this bill before session ended — without even giving it a public hearing — when the wage gap results in Wisconsin women earning an average of $10,000 less per year than their male peers.

By ignoring this issue, Wisconsin’s economy is deprived of an additional $8 billion annually in consumer spending. My Democratic colleagues and I will continue to fight for what is right and fair, including bringing back the Equal Pay Enforcement Act, and doing more to close the wage gap for good. Wisconsin families and our economy depend on it.

Rep. Jonathan Brostoff is a Milwaukee Democrat who represents the 19th Assembly District.

Damning study finds a ‘whitewashed’ Hollywood

In one of the most exhaustive and damning reports on diversity in Hollywood, a new study finds that the films and television produced by major media companies are “whitewashed,” and that an “epidemic of invisibility” runs top to bottom through the industry for women, minorities and LGBT people.

A study by the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism offers one of the most wide-ranging examinations of the film and television industries, including a pointed “inclusivity index” of 10 major media companies — from Disney to Netflix — that gives a failing grade to every movie studio and most TV makers.

Coming days before an Academy Awards where a second straight year of all-white acting nominees has enflamed an industry-wide crisis, the report offers a new barrage of sobering statistics that further evidence a deep discrepancy between Hollywood and the American population it entertains, in gender, race and ethnicity.

“The prequel to OscarsSoWhite is HollywoodSoWhite,” said Stacy L. Smith, a USC professor and one of the study’s authors, in an interview. “We don’t have a diversity problem. We have an inclusion crisis.”

The study, the Comprehensive Annenberg Report on Diversity, examined the 109 films released by major studios in 2014 and 305 scripted, first-run TV and digital series across 31 networks and streaming services that aired from September 2014 to August 2015. More than 11,000 speaking characters were analyzed for gender, racial and ethnic representation and LGBT status. Some 10,000 directors, writers and show creators were examined, as was the gender of more than 1,500 executives.

The portrait is one of pervasive underrepresentation, no matter the media platform, from CEOs to minor characters. “Overall, the landscape of media content is still largely whitewashed,” the study concludes.

In the 414 studied films and series, only a third of speaking characters were female, and only 28.3 percent were from minority groups — about 10 percent less than the makeup of the U.S. population. Characters 40 years or older skew heavily male across film and TV: 74.3 percent male to 25.7 percent female.

Just 2 percent of speaking characters were LGBT-identified. Among the 11,306 speaking characters studied, only seven were transgendered (and four were from the same series). 

“When we start to step back to see this larger ecology, I think we see a picture of exclusion,” said Smith. “And it doesn’t match the norms of the population of the United States.”

Behind the camera, the discrepancy is even greater. Directors overall were 87 percent white. Broadcast TV directors (90.4 percent white) were the least diverse.

Just 15.2 percent of directors, 28.9 percent of writers and 22.6 percent of series creators were female. In film, the gender gap is greatest: Only 3.4 percent of the films studied were directed by women, and only two directors out of the 109 were black women: Ava DuVernay (“Selma”) and Amma Asante (“Belle”).

Following a request made in May by the American Civil Liberties Union (which cited previous USC studies, as well as those by UCLA and the Directors Guild in claiming women have been “systematically excluded” from directing jobs), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last year began investigating gender discrimination in Hollywood.

The federal investigation is just one element of growing scrutiny for the industry. But for protesters, finding a target for what some consider a systematic problem isn’t easy. Even many of those, like Spike Lee, who have criticized the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, have insisted the issue goes far deeper than Oscar nominees. When academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs recently announced dramatic steps to diversify the overwhelmingly white and male film academy, she said: “The academy is going to lead, and not wait for the industry to catch up.”

USC’s study, which the school has been publishing in various forms for the last 10 years, also seeks to add a new metric in the conversation. The “inclusivity index” is a report card for the performances of 21st Century Fox, CBS, NBC Universal, Sony, the Walt Disney Co., Time Warner, Viacom, Amazon, Hulu and Netflix. Those companies encompass all the broadcast networks, most major cable channels, all of the major movie studios and three of the dominant streaming services. 

Each was rated by their percentage of female, minority and LGBT characters; and of female writers and directors. None of the six major studios rated better than 20 percent overall; Time Warner fared poorest of all with a score of zero. The report concludes that the film industry “still functions as a straight, white, boy’s club.”

Disney, Sony, Paramount, Fox, Universal and Warner Bros. didn’t immediate comment.

Some of the same companies, however, scored better when their TV and digital offerings were evaluated. Disney, the CW, Amazon and Hulu all scored 65 percent and above.

“When we turn to see where the problem is better or worse, the apex to this whole endeavor is: Everyone in film is failing, all of the companies investigated,” said Smith. “They’re impervious to change. But there are pockets of promise in television. There is a focus that change is possible. The very companies that are inclusive — Disney, CW, Hulu, Amazon to some degree — those companies, if they’re producing and distributing motion pictures, can do this. We now have evidence that they can, and they can thrive.”

USC researchers also, for the first time, added analysis of those 10 companies’ executives. Researchers didn’t have racial or ethnic background information, but found that women represent about 20 percent of corporate boards, chief executives and executive management teams.

“As prestige or power of the title increases, we see fewer women at the top,” said Katherine Pieper, who co-authored the study with Smith and Marc Choueiti. “Film still has a prestige to it, so we see fewer women filling those positions.”

The research offers the chance for comparison between mediums. Do streaming services adhere to the established patterns of traditional television or deviate from them?

In some cases, they do, but in many, they don’t. Netflix (20 percent on the inclusion index) scored about the same as NBC Universal, CBS and Fox. There were far fewer female directors working in digital series (11.8 percent) than in broadcast (17.1 percent), in the shows studied. Broadcast, cable and steaming series also all revel in sexualized female characters and nudity more than movies do.

But some of the study’s most troubling finds are simply absences. Roughly 50 percent of the examined content didn’t feature one Asian or Asian-American character; 20 percent didn’t include one black character. Researchers argue for change beyond “tokenism,” including making target goals public and creating a system of checks and balances in storytelling decisions.

“People are still erased. It’s 2016 and it’s time for a change,” said Smith. “We’ve laid out concrete actionable steps because we don’t want to do this again in 10 years.”

More sex abuse by UN troops reported in C. African Republic

A human rights group said this week that at least eight women and girls were raped or sexually exploited by U.N. peacekeepers late last year in Central African Republic, and the world body announced that, following a new policy, more than 100 troops would be sent home.

Human Rights Watch said a 14-year-old and an 18-year-old said peacekeepers gang-raped them near the airport in Bambari, the country’s second-largest city.

The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic said later on Feb. 4 tht it had identified seven new possible victims in Bambari in cases that Human Rights Watch brought to its attention.

The U.N. said the soldiers implicated in the cases are from the Republic of Congo and Congo.

The mission said 120 soldiers from the Republic of Congo who were deployed to Bambari from Sept. 17 to Dec. 14 will be repatriated after an investigation is carried out. In the meantime, it said, they will be confined to barracks.

A fact-finding expert sent to Bambari found “sufficient initial evidence” that five minors had been sexually abused, and that one adult had been sexually exploited, the mission said. The expert was unable to interview a seventh person. One claim by Human Rights Watch had been previously reported and is currently under investigation, the mission said.

Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, the U.N. envoy for Central African Republic who traveled to Bambari on Feb. 4, expressed outrage and shame at the latest reports.

The U.N. has been unable to explain why so many rapes and other sexual abuse by peacekeepers have been reported in Central African Republic, which has been gripped by deadly violence between Christians and Muslims since late 2013. Thousands of U.N. and other peacekeepers have been in the country since then.

U.N. Assistant Secretary-General Anthony Banbury came close to tears as he described four new child sex abuse cases in the country involving U.N. troops and police from Bangladesh, Congo, Niger and Senegal. It was the first time the world body had publicly named countries whose U.N. personnel are accused, as part of a new policy.

For all of 2015, Banbury said, there are likely to be 22 confirmed reports of sexual abuse or exploitation in the U.N.’s peacekeeping mission in CAR, though that may rise as a result of this week’s statements.

Human Rights Watch said it documented the latest eight cases of sexual exploitation and abuse during research in Bambari from Jan. 16-30. The organization said the temporary deployment of Republic of Congo peacekeepers to protect the city’s airport corresponds with most of the cases.

The group quoted a 14-year-old saying that in November, two armed peacekeepers attacked her as she walked by the base at the airport.

“Suddenly one of them grabbed me by my arms and the other one ripped off my clothes,” she was quoted as saying. “They pulled me into the tall grass and one held my arms while the other one pinned down my legs and raped me. The soldier holding my arms tried to hold my mouth, but I was still able to scream. Because of that they had to run away before the second soldier could rape me.”

An 18-year-old was quoted as saying that when she visited the Republic of Congo troops’ base near the airport seeking food or money, armed peacekeepers forced her into the bush and gang-raped her.

“There were three of them on me. They were armed. They said if I resisted they would kill me. They took me one by one,” she was quoted as saying. 

Oscars’ president announces plans to increase diversity

When the Oscar nominations revealed a second consecutive year of all-white acting nominees, it lit a fire under film academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the first African-American to lead the organization.

“I really was disappointed,” she said after the Jan. 14 nominations.

That disappointment — and the firestorm of criticism that followed — spurred action. On Jan. 22, Boone Isaacs announced sweeping reforms to the organization that include doubling the number of female and minority members by 2020 and adding three new governors to the leadership board.

The academy now aims for women to comprise 48 percent of its 6,000 members and “diverse groups” at least 14 percent as an initial step. Its 51-member board of governors voted unanimously for the changes, which also include limiting members’ voting rights to 10 years, adding new members to key decision-making committees and expanding recruitment outreach globally.

“We all are aware that our membership is pretty closed, if you will,” she said. “However, life has changed. Things have changed.”

Boone Isaacs said she is ready to embrace “any and all ways we can increase the conversation about storytelling and how to bring more diverse voices in storytelling into the marketplace.”

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had been working to diversify its membership for several years before the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag trended on Twitter following the all-white slate of acting nominees last year, she said. The organization invited 322 new members to join last year, with an emphasis on women, young people and people of color. The new inductees included a record number of international filmmakers.

But when the 20 acting nominees were announced — once again, all white actors — the hashtag resurfaced, along with a weeklong storm of criticism and calls for an Oscar boycott. Some of Hollywood’s most prominent African-Americans, including Will Smith and Spike Lee, publicly said they won’t attend this year’s Academy Awards ceremony, which is to be hosted by Chris Rock. 

Boone Isaacs and her academy colleagues realized the work thus far was not enough.

“We all kind of looked at each other and said, ‘We need to step this up,’” she said. “That was really important. It needs to be timely. There’s a lot of conversation out there. We need to get out there with what we’ve been talking about internally, but now we have to put it into action. So that is what we did.”

Other approved academy changes include limiting members’ voting status to a period of 10 years, to be extended only if the individual remains active in film during that decade.

Lifetime voting rights will be granted only to Academy Award nominees and winners, and to members after three 10-year voting terms. Previously, all active members received lifetime voting rights.

Actor-director Don Cheadle applauded the move, but he said it deals with the symptom rather than the cause.

“(This) has to do with inclusion and access and the ability of people of color, women, minorities to get entry-level positions where you can become someone who can greenlight a movie,” he said. “So until the product that’s being spit out is created at a point where there is more diversity, I don’t know that these changes will substantively affect much.”

Boone Isaacs, though, hopes changes at the academy will spread through the Hollywood community and into studios’ executive offices.

“This conversation is penetrating everywhere and that’s the good thing,” she said. “Certainly right now there’s a lot of focus on the academy. But the industry as a whole is listening.

“I think it’s going to affect every single level, whether it’s in front of the camera or behind the camera or in the studio suite,” she added. “Inclusion is the right thing to do, it’s the best thing to do, and for an industry that’s already extremely healthy, it will make it even healthier.”

Audiences are hungry to see their stories on screen, she said, so diverse stories also make good business sense.

Ava DuVernay, director of last year’s best picture-nominee Selma, tweeted that the changes were “one good step in a long, complicated journey for people of color and women artists.”

“Marginalized artists have advocated for academy change for decades,” DuVernay wrote. “Actual campaigns. Calls voiced from the state. Deaf ears. Closed minds.”

A 2012 Los Angeles Times study the academy was 94 percent white and 77 percent male.

UCLA’s latest annual Hollywood Diversity Report concluded that women and minorities are substantially underrepresented in front of and behind the camera, even while audiences show a strong desire for films with diverse casts. 

UCLA also surveyed film and TV executives and found that 96 percent are white.

Last year’s Oscar broadcast, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, was boycotted by some viewers because of the all-white slate of acting nominees. Ratings dipped to a six-year low for ABC.

This year’s telecast is on Feb. 28 and again will air on ABC. Despite calls for him to quit, Rock will host the event, although he has reportedly rewritten his opening monologue to address the controversy.

German police say New Year’s sexual assaults may be linked to crime ring

Police in Germany said they are investigating whether a string of sexual assaults and thefts during New Year’s celebrations in Cologne is linked to a known criminal network in the nearby city of Duesseldorf.

The assaults last week have prompted outrage in Germany and a fresh debate about immigration, after police said the perpetrators appeared to be of “Arab or North African origin.”

A more nuanced picture of what happened in the New Year’s Eve chaos outside the Cologne train station emerged on Jan. 6.

Police said about 1,000 men gathered there and that smaller groups surrounded individual women, harassed them and stole their belongings. Police do not believe all 1,000 men were involved in the attacks, though they have not said how many were.

The interior minister of North Rhine-Westphalia state, where Cologne and Duesseldorf are located, told news agency dpa that police have identified three suspects but have not yet arrested anyone.

About 90 people filed criminal complaints, though police have not said how many of them were women who were sexually assaulted. At least one woman said she was raped.

Police said some of the assaults in Cologne appeared similar to incidents that have been reported over the past two years in Duesseldorf, where men have groped women to distract them before stealing their belongings. The two cities are 25 miles apart.

Duesseldorf police were working closely with their counterparts in Cologne to determine whether crimes in the two cities might be connected.

Cologne police have faced criticism for their response to the New Year’s Eve assaults, the scale of which emerged only slowly. On Jan. 1, they issued a statement saying that the celebrations had been “largely peaceful.”

Mayor Henriette Reker said she expected police to analyze what went wrong and “draw consequences from that.”

She didn’t elaborate on what that would entail. Police chief Wolfgang Albers has shrugged off questions about his own future, saying that he will stay in his post.

Reker herself was mocked on social media for saying, when asked about what women can do to protect themselves better: “There is always the possibility of keeping a certain distance, more than an arm’s length” from strangers.

Some of those who criticized her felt that Reker was blaming women for the attacks and lambasted the idea that women could have simply protected themselves by keeping men at arm’s length.

Reker said that she regretted any misunderstanding, but had merely been pointing to existing prevention and counseling programs in response to a journalist’s question.

“The priority is for concrete security to be provided on our streets and squares,” she said in a statement.

Authorities have cautioned that the nationality and residency status of the Cologne suspects is still unknown, since no one has been arrested.

Germany’s top security official stressed that those involved must be punished regardless of where they come from. Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said that “you cannot draw a general suspicion against refugees from the indications that they were perhaps people who looked North African.”

He added that “a bit of patience is necessary to clear up as completely as possible the structure of the perpetrators and the organizational structures there might have been,” including whether there was any link to similar, smaller-scale incidents on New Year’s Eve in Hamburg.

Unintended result: John Wayne Gacy probe clears 11 unrelated cold cases

His task was to solve a cruel mystery decades after a serial killer’s death.

Sgt. Jason Moran’s work began in a graveyard, his first stop in his quest to identify the eight unknown victims of John Wayne Gacy. More than 30 years had passed since Gacy had murdered 33 young men and boys.

Investigators now had more sophisticated crime-solving tools, notably DNA, so the Cook County sheriff’s detective was assigned to find out who was buried in eight anonymous graves.

Moran quickly helped a family confirm Gacy killed their brother.

Since then, though, Jason Moran’s search has led him down a totally unexpected path: He’s cleared 11 unrelated cold cases across America. After eliminating these young men as Gacy victims, he’s pored over DNA results, medical and Social Security records, enlisted anthropologists, lab technicians and police in Utah, Colorado, New Jersey and other states — and cracked missing person’s cases that had been dormant for decades.

Most recently, Moran identified a 16-year-old murder victim in San Francisco who’d been buried 36 years ago.

He’s brought comfort to some by proving, through science and dogged research that their missing loved ones are dead.

He’s brought joy to others, finding long-lost brothers and sons still alive.

Marveling at this remarkable detour from the ghastly Gacy trail, Moran says he recently told his boss:

“Is it possible that an evil serial killer has done some good?”

Moran’s work began four years ago after Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart publicly urged anyone who thought a relative was an unidentified Gacy victim to submit to a DNA test.

Moran prioritized about 170 tips from more than 20 states, representing some 80 missing young men.

He focused on those similar in age (14 to 24) and background to Gacy’s victims: Many had troubled families or substance abuse problems. Some were gay. Others had worked construction for Gacy, a building contractor. He was executed in 1994.

Authorities had long ago removed the jaw bones and teeth of the eight unknown victims, hoping for eventual identification. Decades later, they were buried, only to be exhumed in 2011. Moran took them to the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification, where lab workers developed solid DNA profiles for four victims. For the other four, the entire remains had to be exhumed.

Within weeks, Moran cracked one case.

William Bundy’s mother had suspected Gacy killed her son, but the case was stymied because his dentist had destroyed his patients’ records after retiring.

Three decades later, Bundy’s mother was dead, but his sister and brother provided DNA, resulting in a match to the unknown victim. It wasn’t enough for a firm identification.

Moran then studied the man’s dental records, noticing empty spaces where his upper canine teeth had been removed. Bundy had those same teeth removed, saved them — and his sister kept them all those years.

Case cleared.

Bundy is the only Gacy victim Moran has identified. But he’s helped other families who feared their loved ones died at Gacy’s hands.

In every case involving DNA, Moran told families the results would be entered in CODIS, the federal Combined DNA Index System. If a genetic link emerged, he’d call.

It took almost four years for Willa Wertheimer to get that life-changing call.

In 2011, she’d told Moran about her half-brother, Andre Drath. Their mother died when both were very young.

When the grief-stricken little boy began getting in trouble, his stepfather turned him over to the state. Drath was abused in foster homes. Then one day he disappeared.

“I used to fantasize about finding him,” Wertheimer says. “I just wanted to hold him and tell him I love him and say I’m sorry about everything that had happened.”

Her DNA eliminated any link to Gacy victims, but last fall, a Texas lab worker notified Moran it was associated with an unidentified body found in San Francisco in 1979. That DNA hadn’t been submitted to CODIS until late 2014.

Moran reviewed the San Francisco police and medical examiner’s reports, which showed the man had been shot multiple times. It also disclosed an all-important detail: A tattoo — Andy — on his right shoulder.

Moran found more evidence in files from the Illinois agency that supervised Drath as a state ward — including dental records matching those of the teen buried in Ocean Beach.

It was bittersweet news for Wertheimer.

“I was relieved that he wasn’t hurting,” she says, “but knowing how he died … I felt awful.”

San Francisco police have reactivated their investigation. Moran hopes to soon have Drath’s remains exhumed from a California cemetery.

“I brought her to this point,” he says, “now I’d like to help bring him home.”

___

Jason Moran cradled an urn as he arrived at the North Side home.

It had been 36 years since Edward Beaudion left that house, a 22-year-old heading to a wedding. Now, the detective was delivering his cremated remains to his sister, Ruth Rodriguez, and elderly father, Louis.

DNA and old-fashioned police work brought this mystery to a frustrating end.

The case had a suspect: A petty criminal named Jerry Jackson told police in 1978 that he’d fought with Beaudion in downtown Chicago, dragged his body into a car, then dumped him in a suburban forest preserve, according to Moran.

Jackson was arrested in Caruthersville, Missouri, with the car Beaudion had been driving. It belonged to his sister; she found a bullet inside.

A search of the woods, though, turned up no body. Jackson was convicted only of stealing the car and items inside.

Decades later, Moran started investigating. “I really felt the sadness and desperation in their voices,” he says.

Last year, their DNA was linked to skeletal remains that had recently arrived at the Texas lab. Some kids had spotted a leg bone in the woods where Jackson said he’d dumped Beaudion’s body.

That discovery was in 2008. Unfortunately, the remains sat in the Cook County medical examiner’s office five years before being sent to be tested. Studying the autopsy report, Moran noticed the leg bone contained a surgical screw in one knee. Beaudion had one, too. 

That was enough to confirm his identity — yet that five-year delay thwarted Moran’s bigger plan: While preparing to go to Missouri to arrest Jackson in Beaudion’s death, he discovered: Jackson had recently died.

Still, Moran sensed the family was relieved.

“His father told me when he dies, he’ll have Edward’s ashes in his casket and said, ‘All of three of us will be together in perpetuity.””

Thousands of miles away, a 75-year-old Army vet had his own lingering questions.

Ron Soden contacted Moran about his younger half-brother, Steven, who’d vanished in 1972.

He’d run away during a camping trip organized by the New Jersey orphanage where he lived with his sister, April. Their mother had placed them there.

Steven’s father lived in Chicago. Could he have traveled there looking for him? Moran thought it possible, and teamed with New Jersey State Police to work the case. 

April’s DNA was ultimately linked with skeletal remains found at New Jersey’s Bass River State Forest, about a mile from where Steven was last seen. That discovery was in 2000, but it wasn’t until 2013 — and more DNA tests from another half-brother — that Steven was identified. Hypothermia is suspected as the cause of death.

“We always held out that hope … then all of sudden you find out and it’s not there anymore,” says Ron Soden, who lives in Tacoma, Washington. “To realize he probably died at 17 … it’s just a shame his life had to be that way through no fault of his own.”

These poignant stories, Moran says, motivate him.

“You’ve got these young kids who struggle through their short lives,” he says. “Now they’re anonymous. They don’t have a headstone saying they were ever on this earth. I want them to have some dignity and respect so the world knows they once lived.

“I mean, everybody deserves a name.”

There are happy endings in Moran’s work.

Amazingly, he’s located five living men who’d vanished in the 1970s. “I scold them and say, ‘Why would you do this to a loving family?””

In 2013, Moran reunited Edyth and Robert Hutton — after 41 years.

Edyth had made numerous attempts to find her brother, including mailing about 300 postcards to various Robert, Rob, Bob and Bobby Huttons nationwide. 

A relative who is a private investigator thought he’d located Hutton in Colorado. But when Edyth and her father wrote letters to that address, they were returned as undeliverable. 

In a last-ditch effort she searched NamUs, a website featuring missing and unidentified people, narrowing her list to seven. She contacted the respective law enforcement agencies. One person replied: Jason Moran.

Using Hutton’s vital statistics, Moran thought he’d tracked him to Colorado but when police arrived, the man was gone.

Moran waited several months and when the sheriff’s analysts checked updated databases they found a match in Montana.

“Your brother is alive,” Moran told Hutton’s sister. The siblings re-connected the next day.

“I felt like a hole in my heart had been filled,” she says. 

Her brother, she says, told her he’d gotten involved with drugs, straightened out and returned to the family’s hometown in California but everyone had moved. He declined to be interviewed for this story.

Robert Hutton recently moved to Nevada to live near his sister.

“We see each other almost daily,” she says, “and we love it.”