Doctors aim to turn San Diego’s large African community away from female genital cutting, while developing culturally competent medical care for women who have been cut, with help from a nonprofit well-known in the community for its advocacy efforts on behalf of African women in the city.
Five years ago, when Lisa Conn became a mental health provider for juvenile justice in Santa Barbara County, she noticed a disturbing trend: A large number of the incarcerated girls were displaying symptoms of complex trauma and, in particular, sex trauma.
Aswad Thomas made a quick stop at a convenience store to buy a bottle of pink lemonade on a hot summer night in 2009. He had recently graduated from college—the first in his family to attend a university—and he’d been recruited to play professional basketball overseas. He was leaving the market when two men approached him in the parking lot. One pointed a gun at Thomas; the other pointed two at him. They shot him twice in the back.
The 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey reported more than one in four women has experienced severe physical violence inflicted by an intimate partner, including being slammed against something, hit with a hard object or beaten. Studies show that many of these women would disclose abuse to health care providers if they were asked—but few are.
Studies have found that the prevalence of domestic violence and dating violence among college students is on par with the number of female college students who’ve experienced sexual assault. “About 21 percent of college students report they are experiencing violence from a current partner,” says Jessica Merrill, communications manager for California Partnership to End Domestic Violence.
In 2014, a storm of protests erupted at Stanford University after student Leah Francis sent an email with a message that went viral: “Stanford did not expel the man who raped me.”
On a late spring afternoon last year, Andrea* drove herself and her three children directly from her ex-husband’s home to the local police station, seeking protection for herself. She was shocked by what followed: a petition from the county that challenged her fitness as a parent on the grounds that she failed to protect them from an abuser.
Some days, Celia Díaz doesn’t want to get out of bed. But, since she’s the major wage earner in her household, she doesn’t have much choice. Six days a week, she drags herself to the Santa Cruz restaurant where she works 10- and 12-hour days as head prep cook.
In the predawn hours of Oct. 3, 2012, two farm labor crews arrived at fields southeast of Salinas to harvest lettuce. A light breeze blew from the north across rows of head lettuce and romaine. As the sun rose higher in the sky, the workers started to smell an acrid odor that some described as paint, others as cilantro seeds or diesel fumes. The workers’ eyes began to burn and water; many complained of nausea, headache, dizziness and shortness of breath. No pesticides were being sprayed at the time, but still, the workers were displaying classic symptoms of pesticide illness.
More than 35,000 Monterey County schoolchildren will attend schools near fields treated with high levels of potentially dangerous pesticides—including chemicals that are known to harm the brain and nervous system, cause genetic mutations and disrupt hormonal regulation.