Join us on the HBR News show as we discuss the honks of the week, including a boy who commits suicide after his circumcision, a man who is imprisoned for problematic emails, the shortest celebrity marriage ever(and probably the most expensive) and more! Tune in @6pm Eastern!
The UN has adopted a new resolution on rape in conflicts
Today, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution on sexual violence in conflicts. The US had threatened to veto because of the German-drafted resolution’s language, including "sexual and reproductive health care" to survivors of rape and abuse in wartime, saying the wording amounted to support for abortion.
From The Guardian:
“European states, led by Germany, the UK and France, have been resisting abandoning the language on access to family planning and women’s health clinics, as they believe it would mean surrendering the gains of recent decades in terms of international recognition of women’s rights.”
The original draft had been stripped of a call for the establishment of a monitoring body because of opposition from the US, Russia and China. Even after the formal monitoring mechanism was stripped from the resolution, the US required some amendments to the language used. Despite the watered-down text, “German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the resolution would facilitate the punishment of perpetrators of sexual violence, including applying sanctions, and support vicitms”.
“The vote passed 13-0, with veto-wielding permanent members Russia and China abstaining, after Germany was forced to bow to the US pressure and remove text on sexual and reproductive health”.
Grossly Offensive in Texas
By Mike J.
A curious case concerning free speech is underway in Texas. Scott Ogle, of Hays County, is facing one year in prison and a fine of $4,000 for sending "repeated electronic messages in a manner reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another." In this case the messages were emails aimed at the Hays County Sheriff’s Office over there alleged inaction in helping Ogle. In several increasingly frustrated emails, Ogle called the officers, "arrogant, condescending, belligerent", "little bitch[es]", "little state weasel[s]".
After trying, and failing, in both the state trial and appellate courts, Ogle is presenting his case to the Supreme Court. His representatives from The Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit civil liberties organization, argue that this case tramples on Ogle's first amendment rights stating, "...even i[f] Ogle’s emails were in bad taste, the government must not have the power to judge and punish speech because of its judgment that the speech is rude."
By Mike J.
Alex Hardy was a normal young man before he took his own life at the age of 23. Although he possessed a sound mind and was mentally healthy, Alex suffered from what is called phimosis. Phimosis is when the foreskin of the penis is too tight to pull back from the glans, something that is common for younger boys but usually is less of a problem later in life. In 2015 Alex sought medical help for his problem and was prescribed steroid cream with the goal of stretching his foreskin, but after a few weeks he went back as he believed the treatment was not working. This time he was referred to a urologist who immediately suggested circumcision as the next course of action. At the time he was unable to research the procedure, as well as the urologist, and also too embarrassed to seek information about it from friends or family. Alex agreed to the procedure, believing it was merely a minor surgery.
Alex Hardy was forever changed for the worse by his circumcision. In his final email to his mother, he wrote about the constant pain he was in, "These ever-present stimulated sensations from clothing friction are torture within themselves; they have not subsided/normalised from years of exposure." Alex wrote about a constant burning and itching sensation, particularly from a scar where his frenulum was removed, and about suffering from erectile dysfunction. He estimates that he lost over 75% of the sensitivity of his penis. Alex's Mother, Lesley Hardy, states, "He was in so much pain that it hurt to do normal physical activity" mentioning that he was no longer able to pursue his hobbies of skiing and snowboarding.
Although he did seek further medical and psychological help, he never talked about his problem with friends or family. Alex Hardy would go on to take his own life on November 25th, 2017.
Nicolas Cage Does an Oopsie
After a night of drinking in Las Vegas, Nicolas Cage married Erika Koike. The 55 year old actor had been dating Koike for the year prior. On the fourth day of their marriage, Cage filed for an annulment, explaing that he was too drunk to agree to the decision and alleged that she didn’t disclose her full criminal history to him prior. According to court papers, both were intoxiced while obtaining a marriage licesne and particpating in the ceremony.
According to a report from TMZ (as cited by Fox News), “Koike agreed to a divorce but doesn’t agree that the impulsiveness of the decision qualifies for an annulment” and “believes she’s eligible for spousal support” as well as for Cage to pay for her legal fees. Koike also claims she’s lost career opportunities during the relationship as a result of her damaged reputation.
Koike revealed that Cage had asked her to start again “in the right way” 12 days after filing for an annulment, which she is claiming proves the relationship was legitamate.