Five more US states sue Purdue Pharma over its role in opioid crisis

Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland and West Virginia sign up with a number of lots other states, declaring business pressed incorrect claims

Five more US mentions took legal action against the pain reliever maker Purdue Pharma on Thursday, declaring misbehavior in the marketing and sales of opioids such as the business’s extremely rewarding OxyContin narcotic.

Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland and West Virginia submitted comparable however different claims, bringing the variety of states taking legal action against the pharmaceutical business to 45, over its supposed function in the United States opioids crisis that has actually triggered countless drug overdose deaths. Pennsylvania took legal action against the business 2 days back, while New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art on Wednesday signed up with a host of scholastic and cultural organizations in revealing it would stop accepting philanthropy from the Sackler member of the family behind Purdue Pharma.

The 5 states that submitted on Thursday are likewise taking legal action against Richard Sackler , who was formerly Purdue’s co-chairman and president and is among the leading members of the Sackler household who entirely own the personal business.

Sackler has actually been taken legal action against in a number of other such suits in current months and Purdue is likewise being taken legal action against by more than 1,500 cities and counties from all throughout the United States.

West Virginia’s suit declares Purdue Pharma strongly pressed misleading practices and incorrect claims, even in the previous training brand-new marketing staff members with the marketing slogan: “We offer hope in a bottle.”

“This claim exposes several years of painstaking examination,” West Virginia’s chief law officer, Patrick Morrisey, stated. “The ridiculous death and destroyed lives of unknown thousands should stop.”

Purdue Pharma and Richard Sackler have consistently and strenuously rejected the claims in the different claims versus them, and all misdeed.

In Wisconsin, opioids cost 916 lives in the state in 2017, the state’s match stated.

“The opioid epidemic has actually shattered lives and stretched neighborhoods throughout the nation and the state,” stated Wisconsin’s chief law officer, Josh Kaul. “Today, we submitted fit … declaring that they misinformed the medical and public experts about both the advantages of and the threats postured by OxyContin and other opioids, which the opioid epidemic is partially attributable to their conduct.”

Wisconsin’s suit, submitted in Dane county circuit court, looks for an irreversible injunction, reduction of the general public annoyance, and civil charges. It declares that the business entities Purdue Pharma LP and Purdue Pharma Inc, and Sackler consistently made misleading and incorrect claims relating to opioids, consisting of OxyContin.

Purdue Pharma’s incorrect and misleading marketing produced a shift in the understanding of the efficiency and threat of opioids, the problem declares. “In order to fight the issues about opioids being mistreated, Purdue released an aggressive marketing project that looked for to increase sales of OxyContin, while altering the accepted standards about opioid prescribing.”

The Wisconsin problem even more declares that, after a 2007 settlement in a federal criminal case versus Purdue and a few of its leading executives, in a case that did not consist of any charges versus any members of the Sackler household, Purdue continued to take part in incorrect, deceptive and misleading marketing practices in relation to its prescription pain reliever and the threats of abuse, death and dependency.

Kaul declares that Purdue and Richard Sackler were completely familiar with the prospective earnings of OxyContin.

OxyContin was introduced in the mid-90s as an advancement in discomfort relief, due to the fact that of its formula for regulated, continual release of its active component, which is originated from the opium poppy.

Iowa’s chief law officer, Tom Miller, stated: “Purdue Pharma is accountable for a public health crisis that has actually exceptionally impacted clients, their households, our neighborhoods, and our health care system,” Miller stated. “The business and its executives were recklessly indifferent to the effect of their actions, regardless of ever-mounting proof that their deceptiveness were leading to an epidemic of dependency and death.”

Purdue Pharma released a declaration on Thursday, stating: “Purdue Pharma strongly rejects the claims in the claims submitted today and will continue to protect itself versus these deceptive attacks.”

The business indicated the substantial current advancement in its favor that North Dakota’s state claim versus it was tossed out previously this month, and kept in mind that: “As the judge mentioned in his choice, one business can not be held responsible for a complicated public health concern such as the opioid crisis.”

The North Dakota attorney general of the United States is appealing versus the choice.

On Thursday, in action to the current flurry of suits, Purdue included: “These problems become part of a continuing effort to attempt these cases in the court of popular opinion instead of the justice system. The states can not connect the conduct declared to the damage explained, therefore they have actually created strikingly over-broad legal theories, which if embraced by courts, will weaken the bedrock legal concept of causation.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/16/purdue-pharma-states-sue-opioids-crisis-role

Welcome to the Departure Lounge. Destination: death

An ingenious job backed by the Wellcome Trust intends to assist individuals pertain to terms with their death

Images of sandy beaches, sun-kissed pool and azure blue skies shine from the window and walls of what seems a brand-new travel representative opening in a London shopping center. Web browsers might be shocked by the location, for it is a journey every one of us will one day take: death.

Look more carefully at the posters and it ends up being clear that the words are everything about “diing” (half of British grownups choose to prevent the word “death”, obviously). The Departure Lounge, in Lewisham, south London, is the creation of the Academy of Medical Sciences , whose objective is to promote biomedical and health research study. Death, it ends up, is among the most under-researched locations in health care, representing less than half of 1% of loan invested.

The concept of the Departure Lounge, describes the academy’s president Professor Sir Robert Lechler, is to allow visitors to ask any concerns they may have about the passing away procedure, and likewise to gather concepts and experiences that might notify future research study. “The finest time to have discussions about death most likely isn’t when you’re facing it, however well prior to,” he stated. Which is why a shopping center was considered a proper area– the hope is that the Departure Lounge will draw in individuals who may not be routine visitors to science museums.

Death has actually been a zeitgeist topic for some years now– witness the Death Caf phenomenon , the development of conferences and books on passing away and TELEVISION series like the current Ricky Gervais Netflix funny After Life. States Lechler, the discussion is ending up being more immediate. In other words, there’s more of it about. “Between now and 2040 we’ll see a boost of 25% in the variety of deaths each year,” he stated. And it’s more than numbers: the run-up to passing away is various. “We’re living longer, and the context of death is altering. Longer life implies we build up more long-lasting conditions, and individuals tend to be frail for longer,” he stated. “The danger is that individuals are going to pass away severely, instead of passing away well.”

Dr Katherine Sleeman, a palliative care specialist at the Cicely Saunders Institute at King’s College London and a member of the advisory group behind the Departure Lounge, states clients typically wish to discuss death. “People call it the last taboo, however that’s not my experience. Health care experts can be afraid about raising the topic, however I discover clients are typically alleviated when it’s pointed out. They understand they’re passing away, and they wish to discuss it.”

Also much misinterpreted, she states, is that palliative care, far from spelling completion, can indicate better results. “Research reveals that when offered early, palliative care is related to less medical facility admissions, much better discomfort relief and lower monetary expenses to the NHS,” she stated. “I constantly state that my objective isn’t to assist you live longer, it’s to assist you live much better.”

On hand will be guides consisting of Yvonne Oakes, a previous palliative care nurse who now works as a “soul midwife” or end-of-life doula, supporting clients and their households. In her experience, many individuals have actually had unfavorable experiences of death with family members, and presume that when their time comes pain, seclusion and discomfort will be inescapable. That, she states, just isn’t real. “There is certainly such a thing as an excellent death. It comes mainly, I think, from accepting death instead of resisting it.” And The Departure Lounge, she hopes, will make it possible for individuals to begin to consider approval of death, “in a non-threatening, and unforced, method.”

Research into passing away, states Sleeman, truly matters and can make a genuine distinction. “Many individuals, which consists of academics and physicians, state: what’s the point of research study if it’s not going to lengthen life? That isn’t the point. Quality is important: research study is rather clear that the majority of people would select lifestyle over length of life.”

The Departure Lounge is supported by the Health Foundation and Wellcome Trust; more info at departure-lounge. org

Top ideas for an excellent death

Remember this is your death: it’s OKAY to think of what you truly desire and do not desire, and be clear about it.

Don’t hesitate to request for aid, and to accept aid if it’s used and you desire it. You do not need to have a hard time on alone.

Make amends for previous injures and dissatisfactions. Some individuals compose letters– you do not need to publish them.

Consider making a death strategy, which is the life-end equivalent of a birth strategy. Where would you like to pass away? Who do you desire with you– and who do you not desire there? Would you like music to be playing? Do you wish to prevent efforts to resuscitate you?

Be mindful that death includes loss, so there is undoubtedly going to be psychological discomfort, both for you and for those you like. That does not imply you can’t look for the delights in life, even as your health weakens. Life can have significance and satisfaction right approximately completion.

Yvonne Oakes

This post was modified on 5 May 2019. An earlier variation estimated Prof Sir Robert Lechler as stating: “Between now and 2014 we’ll see a boost of 25% in the variety of deaths annually.” This has actually been fixed.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/may/05/welcome-to-the-deaprture-lounge-destination-death

Dont tell women to shut up about childbirth. Sharing stories saves lives | Suzanne Moore

Giving birth is bloody uncomfortable. Why reject it? Its likewise the experience of a life time, states Guardian writer Suzanne Moore

Mumsnet may be accountable for a lot of doubtful things– penis beaker , anybody?– however will it in fact end the mankind? Will it stop us recreating? This appears a little extreme however obviously by sharing stories about giving birth there, ladies are terrifying other females into “a pathological horror of giving birth”, states a professional. Catriona Jones is a speaker in midwifery at the University of Hull who studies “tocophopbia”. She recommends social networks is partially to blame for this fear-with-no-name (which, obviously, now has one).

Let’s break this down, shall we? Women worry giving birth since pressing out another human being through a little opening in your body is to be divided asunder. They fear the discomfort that preceedings it: labour. They fear the discomfort throughout the real pushing-it-out bit, and frequently have little concept about the discomfort that follows. We “feel the worry and do it anyhow”– simply as that dumb mantra informs us to.

The worry is logical. This is not a workout in fiction when ladies inform each other birth scary stories nowadays. They are informing the fact.

My mom explained giving birth to me therefore: “I was sitting beside your nana on the sofa. I felt a twinge, and she stated, ‘It’s time to pop upstairs’– and you were born.” She likewise stated there was no have to “make any sound”. That expression returned to me when, off my skull on pethidine, I was bring to life my 2nd kid, I believed I remained in a field of huge cows mooing; then I understood these deep, groaning sounds were really originating from me.

For my sins, I have had one natural birth, one on screens (with stated beautiful pethidine), and a caesarean. My experience is that I recuperated far more rapidly from vaginal shipments than caesarean ones. Anecdote is not information, however, and basically I feel females need to have the option.

Choice can not be made in a vacuum. And this is why females talk with each other. You may get the odd sadist who gets a kick out of explaining torn perinea, infection, the destruction of their whole “undercarriage” (!). You likewise find out. In theory everybody desires a low-lit birth swimming pool. In truth, when the shit strikes the fan– or often the birth “partner”– one is eliminated that hi-tech, medicalised births are to be had.

The feminist discourse around birth looks for just a smidgen of control. Ladies need to not need to plead for discomfort relief or caesareans, anymore than they must need to ask to keep whatever as natural as possible. Severe discomfort makes us feel out of control– everyone. To get ready for that, it is needed to understand exactly what alternatives are readily available.

This is not sharing “scary stories”. While children might be stunning, let’s not pretend birth is. It is full-body scary. Why reject it? Who understood that once the infant comes out you still need to provide exactly what appears like a huge internal organ– the placenta? Who really wishes to be sewn up in the most delicate part of your body, while being informed you do not feel it, although you do?

The ecstasy might soothe, however this does not imply you will not be sent out house in discomfort, greatly bleeding– whichever method you have actually delivered. All the squidgy toys and soft infant blankets and consumable cuteness is a big rejection of the blood-and-guts experience of birth. It is informing that numerous female obstetricians choose optional caesareans.

They state you forget the discomfort of giving birth. Yes and no. You primarily question how you survived it. Exactly what I remember is the discomfort after giving birth, which in fact is exactly what much discussion on Mumsnet has to do with. Females feel harmed, aching, cut, fretted about ever making love once again. They fear incontinence and the loss of the capability ever to feel satisfaction once again, along with absolutely deserted by medics. They are implied to be pleased, however their bodies feel broken. They feel that nobody informed them it would be in this manner, and they hesitate.

This does not sustain worry: it fuels action. How else would the scandal of vaginal mesh have been made popular? The truth of an NHS extended to it restricts is: inadequate midwives, too couple of anaesthetists on call, and ante- and postnatal care lowered to six-minute slots. In this context, then, worry of giving birth is not ungrounded, or to be treated with a little CBT.

I would state to any ladies: yes, it bloody injures, however it’s normally just a day approximately from your life. If it does not go as prepared, do not blame yourself. The very best strategy is the one where both you and the kid live at the end of it. It is the experience of a life time. Please do keep talking if you feel psychologically and physically traumatised. You are not spreading out worry. Since females sharing their facts, nevertheless bloody untidy these are, is in fact how we alter things.

Suzanne Moore is a Guardian writer

  • Comments on this piece are premoderated to guarantee the conversation stays on the subjects raised by the author.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/13/women-childbirth-stories-giving-birth-painful

‘I don’t think I look like a stoner’: the women changing the face of the cannabis industry

US cannabis laws are slackening, and a number of enterprising women are tapping into female interest in the drug through magazines, cooking, health and fashion. Candice Pires reports

As weeds legal status loosens across the US, the way cannabis is being marketed, sold and celebrated is evolving. An industry that has been dominated by men is finding a female voice in consumers and new business owners. Search #womenofweed on Instagram and youll find a female chef drizzling cannabis oil on to a soup, and a woman relaxing in a rose-petalled bath with a spliff in hand. These are women who are celebrating cannabis as an important part of their lifestyles an aid to their health, as much as their creativity.

The legality of using cannabis differs from state to state (and within states) in the US. In California, youre able to possess an ounce if youre aged 21 or over. In Indiana, possessing any amount could land you up to 180 days in jail. (In the UK, being caught with cannabis in small doses comes with a fine or warning, but production and supply can lead to a prison sentence.)

Still, new business opportunities are emerging. There are now yoga retreats, workouts, day spas, parties, conferences all for women who like weed. One female artist is making gold-trimmed porcelain hash pipes that look more sculptural than functional. Whoopi Goldberg has started a line of cannabis products, including body balms and bath soaks, that help with PMT.

As the weed market continues to grow, women are shifting perceptions of the drug and its users. Stoner stereotypes are being knocked back and women are talking openly about the place weed has in their lives. Ideas of community and equitable access to the industry are held as highly as enjoyment of the leaf. And aesthetic representations are being made through a female lens.

Anja Charbonneau

Editor of womens weed magazine Broccoli

Anja
Women see Broccoli as an invitation to communicate about this really private part of their lives: Anja Charbonneau. Photograph: Jules Davies for the Observer

In Portland, Oregon, a city in one of the nine states to legalise recreational marijuana, Anja Charbonneau recently launched Broccoli (a slang term for the drug). Broccoli looks like a design publication and calls itself a magazine created by and for women who love cannabis. The cover of the first issue featured weed ikebana, where a stylist crafted cannabis leaves according to the rules of the ancient Japanese art of flower arranging. Inside issue two, Donisha Prendergast, granddaughter of Bob and Rita Marley, speaks about her grandparents legacy. And theres a photo story set in an imaginary cannabis dispensary for cats. Since Broccolis inception, other design-focused cannabis magazines have appeared.

The idea for Broccoli came from cannabis dispensaries and seeing the little stacks of free magazines. I noticed they were all for men, by men, Charbonneau explains. Last summer she decided to test her idea of creating a weed magazine for women. She began by speaking to other women who enjoyed cannabis, as well as women in the industry, asking if theyd be interested in a magazine aimed at them. I almost didnt have to ask, she says. As I was explaining what I wanted to do, I was met with this resounding, Yes! Please do that, we want it. She got together a couple of ex-colleagues from the slow-living lifestyle magazine Kinfolk: a writer she knew and an editor shed admired online. Because cannabis is so new as a legal industry, it feels like theres this opportunity to make womens voices heard while its being built and thats pretty much never, ever happened with any other industry.

Charbonneau has been receiving hundreds of messages of support from women sharing stories of their relationships with weed. It seems women felt like they didnt have permission to talk about this really private part of their lives, she says. Theyve seen Broccoli as an invitation to communicate about it, and theyre like, Let me tell you about my life. Its unlocked something.

Andrea Drummond

The marijuana chef

Andrea
I hope Im bringing some normalcy to cannabis: Andrea Drummond. Photograph: Amanda E Friedman for the Observer

Andrea Drummonds path into the cannabis industry was rocky. Despite her religious upbringing, she tried cannabis aged 12 or 13, but the experience made her uncomfortable and after getting into a fight with a friend, she ended up doing community service. That made me think that if you smoke marijuana, you end up in jail, she says.

For the bulk of her adult life, Drummond worked largely in roles advising kids to say no to drugs. But when she moved to California in her mid-30s, she looked at people around her and came to the conclusion that cannabis wasnt the gateway drug it had been touted as. I worked for a successful attorney who was an avid user and I became more open-minded.

At 37, Drummond decided to follow her passion to become a chef and signed up for Le Cordon Bleu culinary school, later honing her craft at top Los Angeles restaurants and starting her own catering company. One evening, a friend asked her to make him some brownies from leftover cannabis leaves. I took it on as a challenge, Drummond says. It smelled so beautiful and Im not really big on sweets so I thought, This wants to be something else. Drummond made a cannabis butter for bruschetta. It completely enhanced the flavour of the dish, she says. Another friend insisted Drummond needed to sell her creation. That night in 2012, while high on bruschetta, the trio hatched a plan to start a cannabis catering company: Elevation VIP Cooperative.

After obtaining a medical licence, they were able to serve anyone who held a California State Medical Marijuana ID Card, which werent difficult to acquire, but It wasnt received well, says Drummond. People were afraid and I was begging them to come for dinner at ridiculously low prices, like $30 a head for five courses. But Drummond kept at it, starting a side business in cannabis education to help people understand the plant better. For a while she was homeless and slept in her car. Then, one day, while working on the business from a Starbucks, she received a call from Netflix. They wanted her to cook for a documentary series called Chelsea Does, where host Chelsea Handler would be doing drugs. The exposure led to a flood of enquiries.

On a personal level, she started using cannabis to treat the sciatica shed developed while working in kitchens. I didnt want to take prescription drugs but there were times I was completely immobile, she says. But as soon as I tried cannabis I knew it was the alternative for me.

Last year Drummond published a cookery book, Cannabis Cuisine. I hope Im bringing some normalcy to cannabis with it, she says. I dont think I look like a stoner, she adds. Hopefully that helps normalise it, especially for other women.

Tsion Sunshine Lencho and Amber Senter

Supernova Women, marijuana advocacy organisation

Portrait
The plant can be used to heal our communities: Amber Senter, above right, with Tsion Sunshine Lencho of Supernova. Photograph: Winni Wintermeyer for the Observer

In Oakland, California, Amber Senter focuses daily on getting other women into the cannabis industry. Her own introduction to weed came via pain relief. As an adult, Senter was diagnosed with lupus, and credits smoking with alleviating sore joints and digestive issues. Her medical condition led her to research the plant extensively and gave her a career in the industry.

In 2015 Senter was working for a consulting firm that helps entrepreneurs apply for cannabis dispensary and cultivation permits. At a networking event she met Tsion Sunshine Lencho, an African-American, Stanford-educated lawyer who was looking for a job in the industry. Senter recruited Lencho and the two began working closely together. We noticed that the groups that we were writing applications for were all well-funded, all male and very white, she says. This is an industry that was built on the backs of black and brown people. We thought, Man, were gaining all this knowledge and essentially gentrifying our industry.

The pair decided to start Supernova Women, to help people in the black community get into the cannabis industry. They recruited two other women with existing cannabis-delivery businesses, Nina Parks and Andrea Unsworth, and the four now work in advocacy, education and networking, primarily for women of colour.

The biggest barrier to the cannabis industry is funding, says Senter. And all the people who know each other with money are white guys. Were teaching women of colour how to raise money and how to be good negotiators. The women we work with are equipped with the skills to run businesses they just dont have the resources or the pathways to money.

On 1 January 2018, cannabis went from being medically to recreationally legal in California. There is a finite number of dispensary licences available. Supernova is now working with city councils on equity legislation for creating licensing programmes that give priority and assistance to marginalised groups.

Ultimately, Supernova wants money made from the industry pumped back into the communities its affected. We dont just want people in the community becoming owners we also want to see the money reinvested in social programmes and education, says Senter. The plant can be used to heal our communities, she says, even though its been used to destroy them.

Harlee Case & Co

Ladies of Paradise, cannabis creative agency

Harlee
We want to help remove the stigma: Harlee Case, above left, with Jade Daniels, both of Ladies of Paradise. Photograph: Evie McShane for the Observer

Harlee Case started smoking behind her super-religious, strait-laced parents backs when she was 17. She had grown up around cannabis without knowing it. Her small hometown of Central Point in southern Oregon is surrounded by land and perfect cannabis-growing conditions. Now I understand why everyone had these big farms in their back yards, says the 26-year-old, and why people always had cash.

Case is one third of Ladies of Paradise, a women-in-cannabis blog and creative agency. The collective, which includes co-founder Jade Daniels, 30, and new recruit Leighana Martindale, 23, creates cannabis marketing for the female gaze.

Case and Daniels met three years ago. Danielss boyfriend was buying a cannabis farm in southern Oregon and the couple moved to work on it. Both Case and Daniels had fashion backgrounds and large online followings through their Instagram shops, which led them to collaborate on photography and styling.

Last autumn, working the harvest season on the farm and burnt out from their online work, they decided they wanted to redirect peoples eyes to the cannabis industry in a female-driven way, says Case. Our first idea was to spotlight women working in the industry by interviewing them about what theyre doing and styling them in a unique way. They took Danielss online jewellery shop, Ladies of Paradise, and set it off in a new direction. It felt risky and we lost a few followers, but most people were really up for it, says Daniels.

Having recruited Martindale, who had been managing a cannabis dispensary, the trio now work with small cannabis brands that want to bring a female perspective to their photography, styling and events. When a vape pen company approached the women for a revamp of their Instagram feed, the first thing Case decided had to go were the bong girls. Theyre all over the internet, she explains. Case, whos a photographer, likes to feature different types of women. Its about women being women. When we do boudoir stuff, its for us. Not men.

They are keen to broaden the appeal of cannabis among more women. Ideally, if youre my mum and youve never smoked cannabis, seeing a photo of a woman your age with a joint might make it seem less intimidating, says Case. We want to help remove the stigma.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/aug/12/i-dont-think-i-look-like-a-stoner-the-women-changing-the-face-of-the-cannabis-industry

Women are turning to birth control smartphone apps for a reason | Dawn Foster

Contraception technology isnt foolproof, but doctors must realise why we find the idea so appealing, says Guardian columnist Dawn Foster

Amid the targeted ads in my social media feeds, a war is playing out: two apps aggressively vie for my attention, stalking me from the sidebars of my browser and comprising every third photo in my Instagram feed one offering to track my ovulation and get me pregnant, the other offering to do the same, but promising I wont find myself in the family way.

The latter seems to be winning the war, with quirky gifs and videos showing young women waking up and gleefully taking their temperature, inputting digits into their colourful app, and being told they can throw barrier contraception to the wind that day. Its sold as being hyper-scientific, with the founders and developers formerly working at Cern, and without a single side-effect: unless, of course you count unintended pregnancy as a side-effect.

The novelist Olivia Sudjic, writing for the Guardian, revealed her shock at getting pregnant within months of starting to use the Natural Cycles app, and found many other women had too. In bare bones, the app is simply the Vatican-favoured rhythm method repackaged in shiny, Silicon Valley jargon and a slick interface. And the rhythm method doesnt have the greatest reputation as a diecast means of preventing pregnancy: the Catholic church recommend it for married couples both trying to plan and delay pregnancy, but with the very clear message that couples employing it should be open to the possibility of new life. Happy accidents can bring as much joy as planned babies as a Catholic, I back the churchs teaching that sex is about far more than pleasure, and also comes with responsibility and consequences for you and your family. I could use the app to try to avoid pregnancy but would have to accept pregnancy as a possible outcome of any bedroom antics.

But other women are perfectly entitled to want a contraceptive less prone to chance and failure, and deserve the truth about the app sold as super accurate. Its unreliable because our bodies are unreliable: fertility waxes and wanes with an assortment of biological factors, and tracking ovulation is never an exact science.

Its this fact that makes the marketing behind Natural Cycles so insidious: the science is pushed hard even though the founders are physicists, not gynaecologists. Id no more listen to a physicists advice on my fertility than I would let a mechanic cut my hair. To use the app correctly, women must record their temperature at the same time each morning, immediately upon waking, before sitting up . Many things can throw off the accuracy: oversleeping, having a fever, being hung over, insomnia, taking your temperature shortly after waking, irregular periods and polycystic ovary syndrome. According to these criteria I couldnt have recorded a single day accurately in the last week Ive had heat-induced insomnia, slept late, woken early, had a mild hangover, and woke one morning with a slight fever. Trying to remember all of these conditions, when the apps marketing tells you it is reliable, gives some clue as to the reason why so many women are unhappy.

But its not surprising that promises of natural birth control are so alluring. The side-effects of most forms of contraception are maddening. Friends on the pill have had their weight explode, their mental health suffer, and their skin return to teenage form, with migraines drastically worsened by daily hormones. My experiences with doctors echo those of most of myfemale friends with dysmennorrhea, endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome: for years my complaints were dismissed as though I werecomplaining about a mild discomfort. Only when my periods lasted three weeks out of four, I was seriously anaemic from blood loss and repeatedly lost consciousness with pain was I granted a referral to a specialist that led to an operation and a diagnosis of adenomyosis, a severe form of endometriosis. One GP told me the contraceptive implant Id had in my arm for three years had been rendered useless by the epilepsy medication I took every day.

The backlash against birth control apps is growing. Yet, women do need more readily available information about their own fertility, as well as about the side-effects of the contraceptives they are prescribed. Technology appeals because the medical profession too often dismisses and fails women, and has ignored the concerns of many women disenchanted with the side-effects of hormonal contraception. No wonder Silicon Valley steps in, seemingly offering a natural and smart solution that looks and is too good to be true.

But doctors should ask why so many women would consider trusting an app over a medical professional, and researchers should look at why so many people are unhappy with the prescribed pills, injections and implants, and work to improve them. All of us emerged blinking into the light from a uterus: fertility should be taken more seriously, and women should be trusted when reporting symptoms and anxieties, rather than be treated as unreliable witnesses and hysterics.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/24/women-birth-control-smartphone-apps-contraception-technology

What does childbirth feel like? You asked Google heres the answer | Nell Frizzell

Every day countless individuals ask Google lifes most tough concerns. Our authors address a few of the commonest inquiries

T wenty-4 hours into my labour I might be discovered using a set of XXL hi-vis pants– the kind used by obese building employees as they repave freeways– pacing a little, rat-scuttled stretch of the River Lea, rubbing my nipples like kindling and murmuring to my partner in the stable, driving rain.

Six hours into my labour I was consuming a chicken bagel on a bouncing birth ball, seeing Dr No with my cousin; 48 hours into my labour, I got up, damp and light-headed, my waters broken; 51 hours into my labour, I was kneeling in a birth swimming pool in Homerton medical facility, holding a gorgeous, howling prune in my arms.

Like cheese sandwiches, the Milibands and snowflakes, no 2 labours are ever the exact same . The very same mom with the very same daddy in the very same space will have entirely various experiences with each kid, not to mention the distinctions from lady to lady. You might have a caesarean, you might have an epidural, you might provide in the restroom, you might be sent out house from the healthcare facility; you might tear, you might take no discomfort relief, you might be caused, you might provide early, you might require interventions; you might error the early indications, you might not.

But remember this: any labour that leads to a healthy child and a healthy mom is an excellent labour. Any lady who goes through any kind of giving birth is a hero. The blood, the guts, the self-sacrifice, the endurance, the body-shuddering pressure, the worry, the gore: no surprise guys needed to create war to relieve their sensational sense of insufficiency. Giving birth is an act of bravery, strength and endurance no guy will ever understand.

When I was pregnant, individuals appeared excited to inform me scary stories about the ladies they ‘d understood who had actually suffered significantly. Those experiences are legitimate and genuine and come from the females who experienced them. If you are pregnant, or thinking of getting pregnant while reading this, might I merely state: it isn’t really constantly like that. It can be extremely various.

Let us start with contractions, for that is most likely how things will begin. My buddy, the author Amy Liptrot, explained contractions as “an earthquake going through your body”. It is, for me, an ideal description. I was anticipating nuclear duration discomforts– exactly what I got, as my mom did prior to me, was a sensation like an HGV reversing into my lower back. They were seriously heavy weather condition and I keep in mind believing, 2 days in, as I held on to the windowsill, in the dark, my partner rubbing my back, my face versus the glass, “I am never ever doing this ever once again.”

They were unrelenting– a near-total block on idea, a thick black sound filling every inch of my body, an unshareable weight, a main focus for all the gravity in deep space. They weren’t precisely uncomfortable– stressful and simply frustrating. Due to the fact that they kept coming.

u-responsive-ratio”>
alt=”Mother” with kid “src=”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/94a8761f31a48b839c8bd91dcec7c3b2cce79f6a/321_346_4999_2999/master/4999.jpg?w=300&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=28e2eb3d0754676b63755151e4b8e966″/> ‘Anyone who births a kid, by whatever implies, deserves our appreciation and our assistance.’Photo: Sarah Lee for the
Guardian

Of course, individuals do experience amazing discomfort and if you are caused, your contractions will feel completely various. I discuss my own just to explain that contractions, like all aspects of labour, might not be exactly what you’re anticipating. If you perhaps can, do not withstand them, for they are efficient, essential and they do pass. I discovered this balloon metaphor rather handy .

My waters lastly broke after 2 days and 2 nights of contractions. I felt all of a sudden light, glowing, made from something like glass– whatever was sharp and brilliant however likewise shining. As I strolled through the health center I felt each breath entering like something white and icy.

I had actually been sent out house two times that previous night, hunkered over like an animal, a towel over my go to shut out the world, heaving, groaning, sweating, impatient, pulsating. I had actually withstood contractions pushing a bed, under a shrieking fluorescent bulb, 2 screen belts throughout my stubborn belly. I was not prepared. I needed to go house. I have actually never ever been so dissatisfied.

When I returned that early morning, light-headed, my pyjamas damp, not able to sit, strolling like sand, the midwife analyzed me to find that I was completely dilated. I have actually never ever felt such relief.

“Nell, can you feel anything in your bottom?” the gorgeous, clear-faced midwife asked me as I lay naked on a bed mattress next to the window. Did she suggest the contractions? This pulsating heaving pressure in my lower back? “Do you indicate my pooing bottom?” I asked, bleary-eyed. She did. I felt absolutely nothing till, dragging my method into the toilet for a wee, I all of a sudden felt the desire. I went out of the toilet, into my birth space, naked, sweat-soaked, eyes half closed. “My bottom,” I revealed, “is now included.”

Pushing out an infant, the last, was– and please think me when I state this– terrific. After 2 days of contractions– a sensation that I was getting no place, the nearly intolerable wait stressed by the relentless crashing waves of pressure– to understand that I was lastly going to leave was dazzling. Unexpectedly, I didn’t care where I was, who was with me, exactly what occurred. I might have pressed that infant out in the middle of a Lidl parking lot.

As I knelt in the swimming pool, grasping my partner by the fists, following the breathing directed by the midwife, I understood in some way exactly what it took. This pressing recognized, inherent. Not unlike a shit, obviously, however in some way sensational in its scale. I might really feel the limbs, the corners, the structure of my infant moving down through my body.

My limbs were simply ribbons hanging off this giant, pulsating tube. I was a volcano, a kid, a stiff blank in the centre of a moving world. I felt an appear my vulva. I felt with grim approval that I had actually torn my vaginal area into a doily; I had actually been too excited and ripped it apart. “That was simply the seal around the infant’s head,” my angel midwife stated, from someplace behind my arse.

I pressed. I felt a head then it escaped. If the child was out, I asked my partner. He handled, in some way, to keep a straight face. It was not. Lastly, out it came, in 2 massive heaves that turned my face puce: a Francis Bacon painting of hot purple contortion so furious I had to dip it in the water around my body for relief.

Childbirth seems like whatever to everybody. Wolves gnawing at your entrails, blue medical hairnets, a rumbling ocean, white sound, sandwiches in plastic packages, teeth-chattering nerves, the ripping apart of your hips like tectonic plates, the leak and click of equipment, lightning down your spinal column, the pale blank hum of a medical facility light, the onion sweat of animals, panic, darkness, fatigue, a mist that ends up being hail, leaving your body, thinking in your body, a beleaguered body, a body pulled from your body.

There is no bad labour and no excellent labour. Anybody who births a kid, by whatever implies, deserves our appreciation and our assistance. They need to feel happy; that’s exactly what giving birth must seem like. Pride.

Nell Frizzell is an independent reporter for the Guardian, Vice, Buzzfeed, the Independent, Vogue, i-D and Time Out

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/18/what-does-childbirth-feel-like-google

Beatings, rape and non-stop work: UK women enslaved in forced marriages

Survivors state their predicament must be deemed contemporary slavery and the wrongdoers prosecuted

Betrayed by her own household, separated from the outdoors world and raped daily by her violent hubby, one desperate teen relied on a personal helpline.

The 17-year-old from the north of England initially satisfied her violent partner the day prior to she was required to wed the middle-aged male in Britain. She was 16 at the time, however her roadway to required marital relationship in the UK started years previously.

As a baby she was required to Somalia, where she went through the most severe kind of female genital mutilation, with no discomfort relief.

Disclosing her trick more than a years later on to a call handler at a forced marital relationship charity, she confided that on her wedding event night, her “other half” cut her open with a knife so he might skilled their marital relationship.

The susceptible teen is amongst countless forced marital relationship victims thought to be living as modern-day servants in Britain — and who professionals state need to be provided increased defense through making use of human trafficking laws.

In a call in 2015 she informed the human rights charity Karma Nirvana that she was being kept in your home and beaten and raped by her partner. However the abuse continued when she ended up being pregnant she believed she would be left alone.

Alex, a senior call handler who talked to the woman, stated: “After the preliminary call she sounded back to state she had actually gone through FGM once again, this time under the directions of her spouse. She was distressed and stated she would be avoided from seeing health employees throughout her pregnancy in case the FGM was discovered.”

She was talked through her alternatives however later on made one last call to state things had actually become worse and she might see no other way out. Alex stated: “Tragically, we never ever spoke with her once again. It’s most likely the most heartbreaking case I’ve handled.”

In 2017 the charity fielded more than 700 calls from under-18s. To name a few callers was a 22-year-old British lady consulting after a forced marital relationship in Pakistan. Her moms and dads were pushing her to work 6 days a week so her incomes would reach the needed limit to sponsor her foreign partner to come to the UK.

A 55-year-old lady took a trip to the UK from Pakistan on a check out visa prior to being required to wed her British company.

She stated he treated her like a servant, making her work non-stop and tracking her down when she attempted to run away. He extended the abuse to her children in Pakistan by buying members of the neighborhood to target them. Expert employees had the ability to promote on her behalf and she has actually considering that been given refugee status.

Ameera Jamil, a senior call handler, stated: “Victims hesitate to go to authorities for worry they will not be thought. Where they originate from such abuse may be endured or if the victim is a guy they would be mocked.

“Last week we had a call from a male in West Yorkshire who was given the UK by his British partner and was being abused by her household.”

The guy, who operates in catering, had actually stated: “My spouse makes me do all the household chores and takes my earnings. She is enabled to do as she pleases however if I wish to head out I’m questioned by my in-laws.”

Jamil stated: “It can take victims a long period of time to come forward, specifically if they cannot speak English and are being carefully managed.”

One lady from Morocco, who discovered herself a victim of domestic thrall in Britain, just handled to leave when she discovered another Arabic speaker.

“Her bro worked with the male her household required her to wed in 2016,” stated Selma Bayou of the Kurdish and iranian Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO), which supported the female.

After showing up in Britain, the 25-year-old found out the guy was gay and had actually wed her to conceal his sexuality from the neighborhood. He ran an effective company and made her tidy the workplaces at night after investing the day cooking and doing tasks for his big household.

She reported: “They treated me like a housemaid. I was made to consume alone and wasn’t enabled to leave your house other than to bring their shopping.”

One day while cleaning up for her hubby’s service, among his customers, a Moroccan female, asked her if she was OKAY and she had the ability to mouth “assist me” in Arabic. Later on the lady called IKWRO and she was discovered a location at a haven.

Bayou stated: “This was a normal case of modern-day slavery. Our consultants typically see this take place to females from northern Africa, the Middle East or south-east Asia. They come here on a spousal visa however are utilized for domestic bondage.”

Another survivor of “‘honour'” abuse stated there need to be more acknowledgment of forced marital relationship as a kind of modern-day slavery. At 16 she was required to wed an older Pakistani male so he might get a British visa. Back in the house in the UK with her partner, she was still a young teen when her life as a “an overdue house maid” started.

She informed the Guardian: “I needed to stop studying and was made to remain inside, cutting off ties with friends and family. Even the clothing I needed to use were sent out from abroad by my mother-in-law.”

Now in her thirties and a mom, she remembers how she suffered 13 years of domestic yoke and violence. She attempted to run away the marital relationship however her household pressed her to remain.

“They stated I would bring them embarassment. My uncle was the primary wrongdoer– he had terrific impact over the household and neighborhood,” she stated.

While she is lastly devoid of the marital relationship, the female and her kids still bring the psychological and physical scars. “The entire thing has actually affected extremely on my kids’s psychological health– all them experience trauma,” she stated.

“When I see them in discomfort I’m driven to spread out the reality. Individuals have to be held to represent these dreadful criminal activities. I do not desire anybody to suffer like I did.”

Another survivor has actually just recently released her narrative, Wings, to raise awareness of “honour” abuse and is requiring federal government policy to identify forced marital relationship as a kind of modern-day slavery.

Sunny Angel, who altered her name by deed survey to secure her household’s identity, was dealt with “as a sex servant and skivvy” by her in-laws in Liverpool after being required to wed a male with discovering problems when she was 20.

alt=”Sunny” angel “src=”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/e5d8bf123b049c01399516892b1acab7f120a93a/0_278_4256_2554/master/4256.jpg?w=300&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=af228ece94c8c51257fe2678c3d292a8″/> Sunny Angel:’ Forced marital relationship is a kind of kid abuse. ‘Photo: Jill Mead for the Guardian

“The household utilized us both since they desired a 10,000 dowry so they might purchase a Mercedes with a customised number plate and a washering.” Many of all her mother-in-law desired a grand son.

“She would stand outside the bed room door and purchase her kid to make love with me. He would get violent however he didn’t understand exactly what he was doing. He was a victim too. Later on he would have fun with his toy soldiers and ask me: ‘Are you my better half?’.”

Now 39, she states she has actually “broken the cycle of ‘honour’ abuse” so her own child will never ever suffer as she did.

She included: “Forced marital relationship is not a cultural practice. It’s a type of kid abuse and contemporary slavery and ought to be examined and prosecuted as such.”

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/may/28/beatings-rape-non-stop-work-uk-women-enslaved-forced-marriages

How the most vulnerable workers are targeted for sexual abuse

Long read: Isolated, unprotected and scared to speak out some workers are particularly vulnerable to harassment. Who finds the cases of sexual assault no one else is looking for?

The southern California sky dims as Vicky Mrquez zooms south along Interstate 5 in her Honda SUV, with syrupy Spanish-language love songs blasting from her stereo. The satnav on her phone is directing her through a monotonous landscape of Orange County office parks, and Mrquez is racing against rush hour, dodging between lanes and swerving with inches to spare. Im kind of a crazy driver, she admits.

Mrquez works for a little-known non-profit organisation with the pressing goal of fighting labour exploitation among night-shift janitors an industry that operates in obscurity, with workers sent to anonymous buildings rarely visited by government regulators. With her glasses, curled-under fringe and pastel sweater, Mrquez looks more like a retired librarian than a labour rights activist. On tiptoe, she stands under 5ft tall. On this particular late winter evening, Mrquez is on the road to the first of half a dozen office parks where she will make surprise visits, making sure that cleaners are being treated fairly by their bosses.

It is a job that few government agencies bother to do, but it is work that Mrquez believes in. For 16 years after moving to the US from El Salvador, where she left her husband and three children behind she too worked as a janitor. The work was rough, and she had to put in more hours than she was paid for, but she still managed to send money back home.

After 40 frenetic minutes on the road, Mrquez arrives at her first destination, near the city of San Clemente. She climbs out of the car carrying a bulging black bag stuffed with papers and tests the front door of the office. Tonight, she has arrived early enough that the door swings open. Mrquez has other strategies for when they are locked: she might station herself near the service exits or the dumpsters, where she knows the night-shift cleaners will eventually present themselves. In supermarkets or guarded high-rises, she will sweetly ask for the janitor. If the person she is talking to assumes that shes looking for a job, so be it.

Tonight her first move is to look for bathrooms or supply closets two places she knows she is likely to find a janitor. She moves past the elevators to a rear hallway, where she finds Mara Garca, a cleaner, holding a mop next to a bucket of murky, citrus-smelling water. Mrquez greets her in Spanish. Garca is on the clock and responds brusquely, almost warily. Mrquez doesnt waste time on small talk. Setting her large bag on top of a drinking fountain, she extracts a packet of papers and passes them to the cleaner. Mrquez explains that she works for an organisation called the Maintenance Cooperation Trust Fund (MCTF), which helps janitors make sure they get paid what they are owed, and helps them solve problems with issues such as immigration.

When she has Garcas attention, Mrquez asks a few more questions: does Garca get paid in cash, or with a cheque on a regular basis? A cheque every two weeks, Garca says. Mrquez nods. Is she given regular breaks? Yes. Does she have to pay for her own cleaning supplies? Garca says that sometimes what the company gives her is not enough, so she has to buy a few more bottles of bleach. Mrquez tells her it is the companys responsibility to provide her with the supplies she needs.

Then Mrquez goes in to close the deal. Tu telfono, mija? Mrquez asks. Mrquez scribbles the number into a black notebook. Y tu direccin? Mrquez then takes down Garcas address.

Gathering workers contact information is Mrquezs ultimate aim. The MCTF is one of only a handful of organisations in the US keeping careful tabs on the practices of non-union cleaning firms some of which operate entirely in the black market. Through these impromptu meetings, the organisation has generated a database of workers who can give first-hand testimony about whether these companies are following labour laws. Since 1999, the MCTF has helped collect more than $26m (19m) for janitors who were being abused at work.

Garca doesnt know it yet, but Mrquez will later call or visit her at home in the early afternoon, when most night janitors have not yet left for work. At these follow-up meetings, Mrquez will remind Garca that she is there to help her solve any problems she may be facing at work. If Garca doesnt pick up or answer the door, Mrquez will keep trying until she makes contact with her a second and then a third time. This process can take months, but such is the long, slow dance necessary to build trust among workers in low-paying and invisible industries people who are unlikely to ever make formal complaints.

A
A 2016 protest in Sacramento, California, in support of a bill to protect female workers from sexual harassment. Photograph: Rich Pedroncelli/AP

As a reporter who has investigated these industries for several years, I have been forced to conclude that low-wage immigrants labouring in isolation are at unique risk of sexual assault and harassment. It is an open secret in these industries that immigrant women in financially precarious jobs many of whom are undocumented are targeted for sexual abuse by their superiors. While it is not possible to know how often these abuses happen, they are not anomalies. Federal government figures estimate that about 50 workers are sexually assaulted each day, and in the industries that hire newcomers to the country in exchange for meagre paycheques, such assault is a familiar workplace hazard. And yet there have been few meaningful efforts to prevent it before it starts. Instead, we expect women with the most to lose to seek recourse by reporting the problem after the fact but the reality is that if these workers face abuse from a superior, the combination of uncertain immigration status, financial constraint and shame often conspires to keep them silent.

The same unfortunate pattern plays out among farm workers and domestic workers those who cook, clean and care for families behind the locked doors of private homes. Their vulnerability to sexual violence echoed what I had heard from janitors: in their isolated workplaces, it was often their direct employers who groped them or propositioned them for sex.

In her work as an advocate for cleaners, Vicky Mrquez has discovered that a lot can happen in places no one is looking but she didnt realise the full extent of it until she met a young cleaner named Georgina Hernndez.


Many low-paid jobs share similar risk factors. Every day vast numbers of women often hired via a complex web of barely accountable subcontractors find themselves working in isolated locations across the US. With few other people around and those that are often battling poverty and eager to keep their jobs they can become the perfect target for predators.

Hernndez was working at a cinema sweeping up popcorn when Mrquez first met her. For the first month and a half on the job, Hernndez never received a pay cheque, and worked more hours than she was being paid for. She hadnt complained because she thought that, as someone without immigration papers, she was easy to replace. She still recalls the way Mrquez spoke to her gently, like an understanding aunt. Before Mrquez left, she took down Hernndezs phone number and told her she would check in with her again.

On her next visit, Mrquez looked at Hernndezs pay stubs and compared them to the working hours she had written down in a notebook. They didnt match up. When Mrquez asked why Hernndez hadnt written down any time for breaks, she said it was because she wasnt given any. Mrquez and the MCTF eventually helped Hernndez and some of her co-workers file a complaint with Californias labour commissioner, which led to a $1m fine from the state of California against the two cleaning companies that had employed Hernandez: for failing to pay minimum wage and overtime, and for not giving their workers rest or meal breaks.

But when Hernndez moved to a new, higher-paying job as a hotel cleaner, there were even bigger problems. Early on, she says, her supervisor flirted with her and tried to convince her to have sex with him. She rebuffed him, and he retaliated by giving her more work. When his advances didnt stop, she tried to hide from him, but he would follow her or call her on her cellphone to find out where she was.

His demands quickly became violent. Less than a week into the new job, Hernndez says he told her that he needed to talk to her privately about her work in his car. This made her uncomfortable, but he said: You need this job, dont you? He instructed Hernndez to meet him in the parking garage. Worried about losing her job, she went. When she got there, he told her to get into the vehicle. She hesitated, but he was the boss. She did what she was told. The supervisor drove them to a higher, darker floor of the garage. After he parked, he began to touch her legs. She told him she didnt want to continue, and he replied that he would give her more days off and better pay. Hernndez told him she didnt want more days off she had taken the job because she wanted to work. When he began touching her breasts, she became afraid. Then he took off her trousers. As he forced himself on her, she panicked and froze.

Afterwards, the supervisor asked her to put in a request for an extra shift that week, so he could take her to a hotel. Hernndez told him she couldnt. He assured her there would be perks: he would pay her for the shift, and make sure she received seven shifts that week. Youre delicious, he told her before driving her to a lower level of the parking garage. He told her to go into the building first. He followed a while later.

Hernndez never requested an extra shift. She didnt immediately tell anyone what her supervisor had done. The shame of it was too much, and she knew it would not be easy to find a new job as an undocumented worker who couldnt read or write.

About a week later, Hernndezs supervisor told her to meet him again. When she said no and tried to quit, he threatened to hurt her and her daughter. He added that if she wanted to stay in the country, she needed to keep him happy. This time he drove them to a motel.

On one of her nights off, Hernndezs supervisor called her incessantly until she picked up the phone. He said he needed her to work that night and that he was on his way to pick her up. Hernndez hurried to get herself ready for work, but once she was in his car, he drove to the motel. Hernndez cried and tried to climb out of the car, but he pulled her into a room by her hair, where she says he forced her to have sex with him again. He later warned her not to tell anyone what had happened but she would have stayed silent anyway. She thought her family and friends would never believe her, or would think she had brought it on herself.

Hernndez says that, at the time, she didnt think there was a way out of her supervisors trap. Theres no way to defend yourself, she says. Theres no way to say no. When you need the job, you become the victim. Thats why you deal with all the harassment, the discrimination, everything because you need the job.

For the next few weeks, she reported to work at the hotel as usual, making a point to avoid her supervisor. But he managed to find her, either to remind her how much she needed the job, or to chastise her for being so cold during their encounters. Finally, he came to her with an ultimatum: she had to decide whether she wanted to keep her job or not. If she did, he would continue to have certain expectations of her.

Hernndez felt hopeless. She was having migraines and panic attacks. She dreaded his next demand. When he confronted her again, she told him she would not have sex with him to keep her job. Then began his revenge. He yelled at her in front of co-workers and disciplined her for supposedly leaving used tissues in the lobby. Then, she says, he started to sabotage her work, making a mess of places she had cleaned and disciplining her for it.

The rapes had been horrific violations, but they had happened in private. Now her supervisor was publicly impugning her work, and her job was still at risk. She felt lost and compromised, but she swallowed how she felt and continued to drag herself to work.

She later decided to speak to the cleaning company about the assaults. She had seen her supervisor try to hug and flirt with another cleaner, so together the two women called human resources to make a complaint, but nothing changed. Almost two months into the job, Hernndez called in sick one evening. The next day, the supervisor fired her.


Hernndez didnt leave the house for days. She had headaches and couldnt sleep. Her nausea continued to intensify. The truth was hard to face: she was pregnant. Depleted and sobbing, she sought out the only person she could trust. Vicky Mrquez remembers how Hernndez sounded that day. She was crying and her voice was anguished. Mrquez had rushed to Hernndezs apartment, but the cleaner said they could not talk there. I dont want anyone to hear me, she said.

They talked in Mrquezs car. Something has happened that I dont want to have to tell you, Vicky, Hernndez began. Something terrible. She was inconsolable. Mrquez told her: We can find a lot of help for this. Dont be scared. But in truth, Mrquez had no idea what she could do. She called Anel Flores, a colleague who was an attorney, to ask for help. Flores suggested Mrquez bring Hernndez to their office. For the next two hours, Hernndez shared fragments of her experience, until Flores was able to piece the whole story together, from the rape in the parking lot to being forced into sex at the motel. Finally, Hernndez told Flores that she was pregnant from one of the rapes, and that she had already made an appointment for an abortion. I cannot have this baby, she said.

She added that she was worried people would find out she was pregnant, and that she would be judged and blamed for everything. Flores tried to reassure her: Its not your fault. You did not do anything wrong. Youre not a bad person. Hernndez eventually agreed to let Flores share some of what had happened with Mrquez, and with Lilia Garca, the executive director of the MCTF. They told Hernndez they would help her address the problem step by step, and would become her confidants and support network.

When Hernndez terminated the pregnancy a few days later, Flores picked her up from the clinic and took her home. After an attorney specialising in sexual harassment suggested that Hernndez file a police report, Flores and Mrquez drove Hernndez to the police station, and Flores sat with her as she was interviewed.

Reassured by the support of the women from the MCTF, Hernndez became determined to push back against what had happened. With the help of the lawyer she had met through the organisation, Hernndez filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the cleaning company. In the legal filing, Hernndez accused the company of failure to prevent sexual harassment, wrongful termination and retaliation, negligent supervision, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and assault and battery. Within months, the company paid a financial settlement to close the case, though it did not admit any liability in the process. It also fired the supervisor.

Hernndez says the outcome of the case can never make up for the rapes, but she is proud that she set aside her fears to challenge what had happened to her. She had tolerated too much for too long because she didnt know how to get help, and she might have been stuck with the same problems if Mrquez hadnt found her. I would have guarded all of this pain, she says. I wouldnt have known how to speak out about what happened.

Mrquez says the isolation of the job and the demographic of the workers makes night-shift cleaners such as Hernndez easy targets for abuse. It is because the supervisors always think the worker needs work and they have work to give, Mrquez says. So they commit these abuses. And there are many who knows how many hundreds or thousands of cases that remain in the shadows because no one knows. Many women dont say anything out of fear. Theyre afraid that society will realise that they have been forced to sleep with someone. They are afraid that they will lose their job.


Mrquez knows that it is rare to uncover cases such as Hernndezs. For each janitor the MCTF reaches, it can take months of calls and visits before a worker will begin to think about speaking up about their problems. In matters of sexual assault, it takes even more work and time. How many cases are there in this country that we dont know about? Mrquez says.

Across the US, immigration status and poverty are used as leverage against female workers to hold them hostage in jobs where they are being sexually abused. Labour enforcement is predicated on the idea that workers already know their rights, and thus it is logical to expect them to make a complaint to bosses or the government if problems arise. These laws do not take into consideration the experiences of low-wage immigrant workers and what their options really are if they have been sexually assaulted at work.

The legal system through filing a civil lawsuit or a criminal case is often viewed as the clearest way to demand accountability. Workers can also go to their employers or unions to demand redress. Making a formal complaint helps emphasise that there can be consequences for this type of abusive conduct. But these approaches are only part of the solution, and are inherently reactive, requiring the confrontation of systemic roadblocks such as deeply flawed notions of credibility that often get in the way of satisfactory outcomes. Meanwhile, we know that prevention is possible. Decades of empirical research offers clear direction. While there are some heartening efforts to incorporate this research into worker training and advocacy programs, employers and policy makers have largely chosen not to use it.

A
Supporters of the Justice for Janitors campaign at the Sacramento protest. Photograph: Rich Pedroncelli/AP

In addition, advocates for female workers have tried for decades to make the case that sexual assault at work should not be dismissed or marginalised by employers and the government because it has historically been perceived as a womens issue. Instead, they argue, gender-based violence should be viewed in the same way as other forms of on-the-job physical violence, so that prevention plans are implemented, the government takes a proactive role in enforcement and workers have an avenue for demanding accountability.

Sexual assault can happen to anyone, anywhere, but if there is a perfect storm of factors that put workers at risk, night-shift janitorial work is its epicentre. Nearly every office building relies on after-hours cleaners, but we rarely see the people who do the vacuuming and mopping. The work is scheduled to happen at night or during the early morning, when few people are around. They are expected to be invisible.

This is also emblematic of a wider trend. Before the 1980s, most businesses had their own cleaning staff. Then, as institutional investors purchased high-rises and retailers grew into chains with premises all over the country, it became more efficient and cost-effective to outsource such work to independent companies. A wide range of low-paid, unskilled industries have followed suit.

This business model has become even more opaque with the rise in subcontracting. While one contractor might land the official cleaning contract for a large retail chain or high-rise office block, it might then hire a subcontractor to do the actual cleaning. Some of those subcontractors might then subcontract some or all of the work to a third business. Building owners, retailers and businesses award contracts to the lowest bidder, so cleaning companies both big corporations and small subcontractors have to keep costs as low as possible. Human labour is the largest expense in this business, and where the firms look first to trim costs.

The way you make money in this industry is to cheat, because the profit margin is so thin, says Stephen Lerner, who led the Justice for Janitors campaign with the Service Employees International Union in the 1980s. Larger companies are not without their problems, but they are easier to track, and most provide regular pay cheques and benefits to workers. But at the other end of the spectrum are an unknown number of black-market subcontractors, where misconduct largely stays hidden.


In many ways, the MCTF is doing for cleaners what the state could be doing for all vulnerable workers. The reality is that there are very few or no enforcement agencies who do this work, says Lilia Garca, underlining the fact that the many of the cases her organisation brings would probably go unreported if the job were left solely to the government.

In some states, including California, there is a push to create regulations regarding workplace violence that would address everything from physical attacks to sexual assault. At the federal level, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) acknowledges that it has a responsibility to address sexual assault on the job. In reality, though, the OSHA doesnt do much to tackle the issue. It took on its first case of workplace sexual assault in 2016.

For now, it is up to organisations such as the MCTF to do the tough work of finding the cases that no one else is looking for. There is not [much information] in these work sites of where to call if youre in trouble, of what you can do if a right is violated or if youre attacked, says Garca. They were almost like these lost islands, just operating in the middle of the night, for years and years and years. Were actually connecting them with society, and letting them know that their working conditions are wrong or that an attack on their person was wrong and theres something that they can do about it.

Sexual assault in the workplace is a crime and an extreme form of sexual harassment. It is outlawed by the US Civil Rights Act of 1964. Nevertheless, companies do not have to disclose how many sexual harassment complaints they receive internally, whether the claims were physical and violent, or how they handled them.

Complaints made to government agencies are often kept confidential until one party decides to file a lawsuit. Most sexual harassment complaints received by the federal government never result in litigation. They are processed and then stored in filing cabinets or databases.

Even lawsuits dont always reveal much about what is really happening. If a worker threatens to file a sexual harassment suit, the company can buy the persons silence by offering a confidential settlement before the case is filed and becomes public information. Cases that do make it to court can be kept under wraps through quick settlement agreements, which include confidentiality clauses that silence the worker and sometimes their attorneys.

Of course, some workers dont want their personal business known to everyone. Meanwhile, companies argue that keeping these claims out of the public eye is necessary. They say they settle cases as a way to end an embarrassing complaint, even when they dont truly believe the harassment happened. As a result, they worry that these lawsuits can sometimes become a kind of extortion by disgruntled or dishonest employees.

Advocates such as Garca, however, argue that it is difficult enough to convince women to come forward about far less sensitive problems being paid less than the minimum wage, for example. On the dozens of occasions when her organisation has unearthed cases involving sexual violence, the abused workers, for the most part, havent wanted to move forward with formal complaints because they didnt want anyone to know what had happened to them.

They internalise the shame and the wrongdoing, and the embarrassment is just overpowering, Garca says. They choose not to talk about it to any of their relatives. They really have no other support outside of whatever our organisation can provide.

When sexual assault happens among invisible workers in industries that few are monitoring, it becomes a crime that can be denied, a problem that never receives accountability or prevention. The repercussions of ignoring the realities of vulnerable workers are clear: if on-the-job sexual violence rarely comes to light, then the problem goes unaddressed and the perpetrator is free to abuse again.

This is an adapted extract from In a Days Work: The Fight to End Sexual Violence Against Americas Most Vulnerable Workers by Bernice Yeung, published by The New Press. Buy it at guardianbookshop.com

Follow the Long Read on Twitter at @gdnlongread, or sign up to the long read weekly email here.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/13/how-the-most-vulnerable-workers-are-targeted-for-sexual-abuse

Going back to my roots: my adventures in extreme dentistry | Rhik Samadder

Rhik Samadder: Years of consuming sugary foods has actually lastly rewarded me with a requirement for comprehensive oral work however a minimum of its a possibility to have a rest in the middle of the day. Plus! The pleasure of stating cuckolding

Going back to my roots: my experiences in severe dentistry

itemprop=”contentUrl”alt

height

=”14″viewbox=” 0″0 6 14″class =”reveal-caption-icon __ svg”centered-icon __ svg inline-information __ svg inline-icon __ svg”> ‘I do not comprehend anything about a dental practitioner’s world. When does the desire to drill into the living bones of your fellow male
come across you?’ Picture: Donald E. Carroll/Getty Images

D idn’t you enjoy cent sugary foods as a kid? Black Jacks, Sherbet Dip Dabs, jawbreakers? I did: the net outcome being that my adult teeth are a battle zone. In the previous couple of months, I’ve sustained hours of emergency situation pain-relief dentistry, followed by 2 different root surgical treatments, followed by a number of hours of crown work, which I’m presently in the middle of. I need to have Cameron Diaz’s smile for the quantity of cash I’ve invested. I do not imply a smile much like it. I indicate her real smile.

I like my dental practitioner– it is really, essential to point out that, cannot worry that enough– however I do not comprehend anything about his world. When does the desire to drill into the living bones of your fellow guy encountered you? They’re not bones, I understand. Christ understands exactly what they are, these enamel nubs growing from our gums. Are they alive? Why do the mineral morons have nerves in them that serve no function besides to end up being maddeningly unattainable and extremely unpleasant? Nobody has actually discussed it to me. Whip all them out, I wished to inform the expert who was sticking small needles into my canals under a microscopic lense. Why exist canals?

Obviously, I could not talk; in spite of that, he kept asking me concerns. Like whether I was going on vacation, while charging me the specific quantity of cash I might have invested going on vacation. Exists a more costly method to volunteer for such elegant discomfort, apart from the store things that goes on in basements after celebration conferences? It’s my wallet that actually injures.

I go personal for oral work because eventually in the past it was discussed to me that NHS fillings were constructed of melted spoons and woodlice or, rather, that’s exactly what I heard. I was a star at that point (possibly I still am, however at this moment my profession isn’t really resting, it’s comatose) and, like many stars, incredibly vain. I desired, required, porcelain teeth that shone like a wall of urinals. “Because of the castings. I do recording you see,” I informed the receptionist, who didn’t care. Exactly what if I had a conference with Sam Mendes and he wished to peer deep into my mouth? I’m not exactly sure exactly what functions I believed I would be increasing for.

I are sorry for that now, as I being in the waiting space, paying attention to personnel inform walk-ins that they are not accepting NHS clients. Those are cooling words. I believed the NHS resembled a moms and dad, constantly guaranteeing the door to your house, all set to open it to you. And I expect it is; it’s simply behind less doors.

The most disturbing thing is that I’ve concerned enjoy this. I like the motorised orthopaedic chaise, plus you get to use sunglasses inside, like Kanye West. They play Air, Portishead and Morcheeba, trippy things that makes me nearly as sentimental as the jawbreakers do. Undoubtedly, it’s rather unrelaxing when they do the x-rays and everybody else lacks the space, the bloody cowards. It’s good to have a lie down in the middle of the day, isn’t really it? If somebody’s attempting to put an angle mill inside your head, even. Now that I’m skint, this is most likely the closest I’ll get to indulging myself all year.

It might be too late; I can feel myself getting interested, which is the action prior to I begin Munchausening myself into speculative treatments. Teeth tattoos. LED braces. Getting a 2nd row put in, like a shark. Much better view that grill, Diaz, I’m coming for it.

Pretty words for abhorrent acts

A research study shows that acting out cuckolding dreams– which normally include seeing your partner dedicating adulterous acts– can really enhance a relationship. The problem of seeing your partner get horizontal with a complete stranger for your enjoyment is a complicated one, and there are a range of essential, counterproductive conclusions to be drawn from these findings– all which pass me by, since I’m simply pleased such a beautiful word is back in parlance. (Admittedly, the far best arrived a couple of months earlier, tossing the reduced slur “cuck” at emasculated, leftwing softies who have characteristics such as compassion. That sounds horrible, and isn’t really exactly what the word suggests, so let’s overlook them, eh.)

“Cuckolding”. Thrills the mouth, does not it? It’s most likely the best word to explain exactly what is, for the most parts, not a terrific scenario. They have actually constantly had a sexy slant for me, quite words for abhorrent acts. “Embezzling” is another preferred. Embezzling. Like cuddling deep into a luggage of purloined costs. Mmm, “purloined”, now you discuss it. I’m a sucker for them, although it’s not a great appearance. I’ll hear how the vampire bats exsanguinated their defenseless victims and believe: “Now, that’s a charming word.”

I forget not everybody resembles me. I utilized to deal with 2 degus, which are a charming relative of the chinchilla. I called the kid Typhus and the lady Chlamydia. Individuals didn’t like it. You understand the sensation when you fulfill somebody, and they simply … are a Chlamydia? It was that. One pal informed me it was a terrible name to offer a charming animal, however I believe the opposite. It’s a stunning name, and to be sincere, she wasn’t that great. She would shout at Typhus, and base on his visit get food. And I’m sure, if she ‘d had choices, she most likely would have cuckolded him, too. Once again, if he was into it, exactly what’s the damage?

Hanger chief

I read this month that Penlope Cruz has a collection of more than 500 kinds of coat wall mount, none which are metal. Now there’s an example of paraphilia I can get on board with. Most likely, she has covering bamboo, and lots of woods, in a range of determines. Clipped, gathered, bar, collapsible. Definitely not plastic. It’s crucial to me that they are various kinds of wall mount, implying she has an interest in the tool, and does not simply own a great deal of clothing. Regretfully, there’s not a great deal of info, and no images, just rumours. Why? It’s 2018 and absolutely nothing to be hung up about.