Study Says Family Separations are Causing a Mental Health Crisis in the Rio Grande Valley

Texas, United States (TexasTribune) – In a self portrait that a 10-year-old girl pencil-sketched after her father was deported, her expression is solemn, eyes downcast and tears stream down her face. “What I felt when [they] took my dad was the worst,” the girl wrote. “I felt like I was missing something, and that was part of my heart.” Her testimony is one of dozens collected during a study on the impacts of stricter enforcement of U.S. immigration laws, which has led to what the authors are calling a mental health…

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How a Wooden Bench in Zimbabwe is Starting a Revolution in Mental Health

Zimbabwe (Mosaic) – In the early 2000s, when there were just two psychiatrists serving over 12 million people, Zimbabwe had to get creative to treat depression. Now, one bright idea – the Friendship Bench – is spreading far and wide. Dixon Chibanda spent more time with Erica than most of his other patients. It wasn’t that her problems were more serious than others’ – she was just one of thousands of women in their mid-20s with depression in Zimbabwe. It was because she had travelled over 160 miles to meet him. Erica…

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How Washington Unleashed Fossil-Fuel Exports and Sold Out on Climate

United States (TexasTribune) – Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s keynote speech at the World Gas Conference in June opened with a marching band and ended with an exhibition by the Harlem Globetrotters. It was a spectacle befitting the industry symposium, which kicked off with a reception featuring a violinist perched on a pedestal in a 20-foot-long dress and trumpeters bearing ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips banners on their instruments. “We’re sharing our energy bounty with the world,” Perry gushed from a stage at the Washington Convention Center. “I wish I could tell you the entire…

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The Violence Against Women Act is Unlikely to Reduce Intimate Partner Violence – Here’s Why

United States (Conversation) – The Violence Against Women Act, the federal government’s signature legislation aimed at responding to domestic violence, rape, sexual assault and stalking, expired at the end of September. Legislative wrangling over the act’s provisions led to the expiration. This was not the first time controversy has gotten in the way of extending the legislation. Originally passed with strong bipartisan support in 1994, a previous reauthorization ran into problems as a result of disputes involving protection for Native Americans, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender victims of violence, and…

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How “The Wall” Could Kill a Texas City

Texas, United States (TexasTribune) – Molly Ferguson was 14 when she met Miguel Rodriguez Vasquez at a quinceañera in Mexico. Ferguson isn’t from Mexico — she’s lived in Presidio, a small Texas border town, all her life. And for Ferguson, that means she’s essentially lived her whole life in Ojinaga as well, the Mexican city right across the shimmery green-brown Rio Grande. That night, at the quinceañera in Ojinaga, Rodriguez asked her to dance, and this year, nearly a decade later on a warm July evening, they married. It might…

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Nepalese Citizens Fight Against Impunity with the “Rage Against Rape” Campaign

Nepal (GV) – Following the gruesome rape and killing of 13-year-old Nirmala Panta in southwest Nepal in late July 2018, shocked Nepalese citizens have launched the #RageAgainstRape campaign, sparking nation-wide conversations about violence against women in Nepal. अन्याय र अत्याचारले सिमा नाघ्यो, हामी सडकमा आउन बाध्य भयौं । देशैभरी प्रदर्शन होस्, पोखरा चुप बसोस् । यो त मिल्ने कुरै भएन । आज पोखराले गर्जेर न्यायको पक्षमा बोल्यो । यो एक्यवद्धताले नयाँ आशा दिएको छ । जनता जागेको बेला मात्र हुन्छ बृहद भेला ।#JusticeForNirmala #RageAgainstRape pic.twitter.com/Z3LIe0fKNP — दोस्रो दर्जाकी Mira Dhakal (@dhakalmira) September…

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Melania Trump’s Pith Helmet is Not Just a Hat

(Conversation) – Sometimes a hat is just a hat. But not when it’s a pith helmet worn by a white politician visiting Africa. Pith helmets are relics of colonialism and its big game hunting tradition. So why would Melania Trump wear one? On a solo tour of Africa, the United States first lady stopped in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and Egypt. She went on safari. The pictures of her in a pith helmet and looking rather inscrutable went around the world. Although the first lady said: “I want to talk about…

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‘Bystander Effect’ and Sexual Assault: What the Research Says

United States (Conversation) – Sexual assault, pushed into public conversation by the #MeToo movement, once again dominates the U.S. news cycle. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh faces allegations that he sexually assaulted professor Christine Blasey Ford, a former high school classmate. The allegations have led to a number of important questions regarding victim testimony, the veracity of memory and the justice system in America. However, as social scientists who study sexuality and violence, we found ourselves asking a different question: Where were Kavanaugh and Ford’s classmates during this alleged incident?…

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Debate: When Abortion is ‘Haram’, Women Find Strategies to Claim Their Rights

World Wide (Conversation) – Many women took to the streets worldwide on September 28, the global day of action for safe abortion successes and put forth new demands for women’s right to access safe, free and legal abortion. Right to access safe abortion is under threat in many countries, from the United States to Poland, from Argentina to Ireland where women are still fighting for it. Religion, specifically Catholicism, has often been stated as the main obstacle to birth control and abortions. As such, many Catholic majority countries have strict abortion…

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Warriors Against Sexual Violence Win Nobel Peace Prize: 4 Essential Reads

World Wide (Conversation) – In a world whose attention is fixed on the victims of sexual assault and violence, the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Denis Mukwege of the Congo and Nadia Murad of Iraq “for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.” The two winners, said the Nobel committee in its award announcement, “have made a crucial contribution to focusing attention on, and combating, such war crimes. Denis Mukwege is the helper who has devoted his life…

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