News Can be Triggering for Survivors

When the News Itself is a Form of Trauma
With the repeated news coverage of the #MeToo movement, survivors of sexual assault and harassment have sometimes found themselves reliving their traumatic experiences. The New York Times reports, “victims of sexual violence, women and men included, are struggling to cope with the rapid pace of news that can provoke flashbacks to their own experiences.” Dr. Christine Nicholson, a clinical psychologist who treats survivors of sexual assault, said several of her clients have brought up the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh in their sessions. Nicholson explained to the Times that a survivor’s response to the #MeToo era alternate between anger and feeling helpless. A PRRI survey finds thatfifteen percent of millennial women report that they themselves have been sexually assaulted, and more than twice that number (34 percent) report that this has happened to a close friend or family member. Among millennial men, only three percent report that they themselves have been sexually assaulted, but 25 percent say that a close friend or family member has been the survivor of sexual assault.
School Administrator Placed on Leave After Recording Disparaging Comments About Women
A school administrator in Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee was placed on administrative leave after parents complained about a video the administrator posted to YouTube. Soddy-Daisy High School Assistant Principal, Jared Hensley, recorded a video for the school’s YouTube page explaining a change to school dress code, banning athletic shorts. “If you really want someone to blame, blame the girls,” Hensley says in the video. “They pretty much ruin everything. They ruin the dress code. Well, ask Adam – look at Eve… You can really go back to the beginning of time.” In the days since parents began to complain about the video, some students have campaigned for Hensley to return to school. Paige Dunny, the school’s senior class president, defended Hensley in an email to a local news channel. “While the comments he said were distasteful and uncalled for, I believe that he did not mean them, and they have been taken out of context,” Dunny wrote. The school has since removed all videos from its YouTube page. In a 2017 MTV/PRRI youth survey of people aged 15-24, 50 percent of respondents said that societal pressures on young men to act in traditionally masculine ways leads men to treat women as weaker and less capable.
Murphy Brown Returns to CBS
Thirty years after it debuted on CBS and twenty years since its first-run finale, Murphy Brown returned to TV on Thursday night. The workplace sitcom that focused on a star news anchor was known for tackling tough issues not often seen in a comedy. Candice Bergen, who stars as the title character, spoke to Stephen Colbert about why the show is coming back and what has changed. Bergen says, “There was no social media and people still had respect for the press, they weren’t the ‘enemy of the people.’ So that’s a big change. We’re trying to restore the respect for the press, for certain parts of the press.” The first episode finds Brown engaged in a Twitter feud with the President of the United States. In a 2017 survey, PRRI found that 53 percent of Americans, including 79 percent of Republicans, believe that reporters have a personal or political agenda in their reporting.
Keith Ellison: ‘Investigate Me’
As his Democratic colleagues call for an investigation into allegations of sexual assault against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) is also calling for an investigation—into himself. Ellison has been accused of being physically abusive to an ex-girlfriend, Karen Monahan. “I am taking this step now because I am innocent and eager to see this entire matter resolved,” Ellison said in a statement Wednesday. In a statement posted to her Twitter account, Monahan pointed out that Ellison would likely be out of Congress by the time the investigation was complete. “I am glad it will happen but he is well aware he will be out of Congress before it is complete. He makes himself look good before the election,” Monahan wrote. Ellison is currently running to be the next Minnesota Attorney General. According to PRRI data, a majority (57 percent) of Democratic women say domestic violence is a critical concern while only 41 percent of Democratic men say the same.
Homeless California Woman Finds a Home
The Los Angeles Times featured the latest chapter in the story of a California woman, Meg Shimatsu, who has struggled with homelessness. The article notes that “Shimatsu has spent years on a waiting list for a kidney transplant, and for more than a year, she parked the Toyota in the lot of the Glendale hospital where she gets dialysis treatment. At night, unable to afford a home on her disability check, she curled up in the back seat of the Corolla, closed her eyes and went to sleep.” Troubles like Shimatsu’s are becoming increasingly common across the state. According to PRRI’s California Workers Survey, one-quarter (25 percent) of California residents report that they or someone in their household put off seeing a doctor or purchasing medication for financial reasons. Fortunately for Shimatsu, her story has a happy ending, reports The Times. She is no longer homeless due to the work of The Women’s Room and Affordable Housing services, non-profits that assisted in her placement.