Elissa Washuta is white and Native, bipolar, and lost her virginity to rape. Her first book, My Body is a Book of Rules, is a modern coming-of-age memoir that reaches into these tangles of the body and mind through American pop culture. “I didn’t want to create just a rape memoir, or a bipolar memoir, just a memoir of one small segment of my life,” she says. “Everything I have experienced has been so intertwined.”
• Lupita Nyong has optioned the rights to Americanah, one of the 10 Best Books of the year last year, according to the New York Times Book Review. The love story centers on a young man and woman from Nigeria “who face difficult choices and challenges in the countries they come to call home.” We’re looking forward to seeing how the project develops. [The Root]
• This week Mississippi joined Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Oklahoma and Texas in passing 20 week abortion bans. Governor Phil Bryant said about the ban, which takes effect in July, “Today is an important day for protecting the unborn and the health and safety of women in Mississippi." Ugh. [Reuters]
• In more collegiate news, a group of graduate student workers in the University of California system have made a huge advance in their fight for gender neutral restrooms and lactation stations on campus. The group has reached a tentative contract agreement that calls access to such facilities a “right.” If the contract is completed it would mean that students, faculty members, and employees on all UC campuses would be required access to these facilities. [Slate]
• Two members of Pussy Riot were attacked by a group of men while eating breakfast at a McDonalds. Video was captured of the men shooting paint into thier faces while they shouted "Go to America!" [Guardian]
• There has been a lot of activism on college campuses over the past year around getting school administrators to take sexual assault seriously. A new website called Know Your IX aims to be a resource to help students end sexual violence on their campuses. [Know Your IX]
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Over the past year, Academy Award-nominated documentary The Invisible War has shone a spotlight on the issue of sexual assault in the military. Politicians and civilians alike are talking about this problem more than ever. While progress is slow, it seems the military will make some change. I spoke with Coast Guard veteran and rape survivor Kori Cioca, one of the film's main subjects, to see what she thinks about the film, her experiences in the military, and her life since the documentary's release.
• This quote says it all: "If we as a society have any interest in preventing mass shootings -- crimes that seem so senseless, so unpredictable -- we have got to look at domestic violence." [The Stranger]
• Charting the impact of "Everyday Sexism": After a year, the project to collect stories of everyday harassment and discrimination is now provoking change among both individuals and at least one police department. [New York Times]