Entertainment

Camila Mendes Shared That She Was Sexually Assaulted And Spoke About The Tattoo That Has Helped Her Heal

Camila Mendes recently revealed she is a sexual assault survivor. The 25-year-old “Riverdale” star opened up about her assault while attending college in the October issue of Women’s Health. Mendes, who covers the issue, has been an outspoken advocate of women’s issues. The Latin American actress has previously talked about her experience with disordered eating and body image issues. 

Unfortunately, Mendes isn’t the only “Riverdale” cast member who has dealt with abusive behavior. In 2017, Mendes’ co-star Lili Reinhart revealed that when she was a teenager when a man in a position of power attempted to force himself on her. At the time, Reinhart chose to remain silent in fear of retribution, losing her livelihood and ruining her reputation in Hollywood. 

While the #MeToo movement has unearthed dozens of accusations of abuses of power in Hollywood, for most women these abuses of power are commonplace at work, home, and school. 

According to RAINN, in the United States, about 23.1% of undergraduate females experience rape or sexual assault, while 5.4% of undergraduate males experience rape or sexual assault. Moreover, 11.2% of all college students experience rape or sexual assault. Consider that in 2017, there were roughly 19 million people enrolled in colleges in the United States— these numbers are alarming and illuminate the prevalence of sexual assault on campus. 

Camila Mendes covers Women’s Health

“This cover means so much to me. it took me a while to view self-confidence as a product of physical & mental health, instead of appearance and thinness. I’m grateful for the opportunity to spread that message; I could have used it way earlier in my life,” Mendes wrote on Instagram.  

Camila Mendes tells her story. 

While attending New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Mendes was slipped the common date rape drug colloquially known as a “roofie.” 

“I got the tattoo after my freshman year,” she says, of a tattoo above her rib that reads: to build a home. “I had a very, very bad experience; I was roofied by someone who sexually assaulted me.”

Mendes vowed from then on to only allow things that made her feel safe and comfortable into her life. She didn’t reveal much more about the experience, but she doesn’t have to. That’s the entire principle behind the #MeToo movement founded by Tarana Burke. All you have to do is say “me too” to a survivor, and it is the revelation, not the personal details, that provides comfort. 

“On one side, it’s a bold, declarative statement that, ‘I’m not ashamed,’ and ‘I’m not alone,'” Burke said. “On the other side, it’s a statement from survivor to survivor that says, ‘I see you, I hear you, I understand you and I’m here for you or I get it.'”

Sexual assault can be isolating and lonely, yet we are surrounded by survivors every day. 

On body positivity:

View this post on Instagram

link in bio ♥️

A post shared by camila mendes (@camimendes) on

In 2018, the Brazilian American actress opened up about her struggles with disordered eating and bulimia. 

“They feel like watching somebody else who has gone through it gives them hope that they can recover on their own and come to terms with their own problems,” Mendes said of the warm reception she received in sharing her struggles. 

“It’s something that’s still a curse to me. It’s not like that ever goes away. Whenever I do feel insecure, I go back to health. What can I do that’s healthy? Health is what’s important, not appearance. That mentality is what takes me out of the insecure, anxious thoughts.”

Latinxs and sexual assault:

View this post on Instagram

women supporting women

A post shared by camila mendes (@camimendes) on

According to the 2004 National Crime Victimization Survey, 1 in 6 Latinx females ages 13 and older are victims of sexual assault. 

The Office For Victims of Crime revealed that Latinx girls are more likely to stop attending school activities to avoid sexual harassment than other girls, that Latinx married women were less likely to identify forced sexual acts by their spouses as assault, and that 77 percent of Latinx women, surveyed by a 2009 Southern Poverty Law Center study, claimed sexual harassment was an issue at their workplace. 

And finally that, “For the increasing numbers of women who make the journey across the Mexico-U.S. border, rape has become so prevalent that many women take birth control pills or get shots before setting out to ensure that they won’t get pregnant.” 

When sexual assault survivors become more visible, no one can deny the collective trauma. Sexual violence affects men and women all over their world, it is only when survivors speak their truth that actionable change can happen. Yet, survivors are so often revictimized when they share their stories. Kudos to Mendes for sharing hers. 

Covid-19 Cases Surge In Meat-Processing Plants As COVID-19 Spreads In Rural America

Things That Matter

Covid-19 Cases Surge In Meat-Processing Plants As COVID-19 Spreads In Rural America

David Ryder / Getty Images

Meat processing plants have been at the center of the COVID-19 response conversation. The plants, many located in the Midwest, are crucial to the food supply chain to feed the country but outbreaks at these facilities have threatened that supply chain. Some closed to save the health of their employees but an executive order, with limited power, allowed for these plants to stay open.

The meat-processing industry is surprisingly small with 4 plants providing 80 percent of the meat in the U.S.

Workers at meat-processing plants have been testing positive for COVID-19 in April. The spread was quick and some plants began to shut down in late April and early May to avoid massive outbreaks in their plants. In early May, several plants closed to handle the outbreaks, including Tyson Foods, one of the largest pork-processing companies in the U.S.

New data shows that coronavirus cases are increasing in the U.S. meat processing plants. The numbers have tripled to 15,000 with 63 meat plant workers dying from the virus. Within a month, Tyson Foods, the country’s largest meat processing company, saw its number of coronavirus cases jump from 1,600 to 7,000.

The number of cases has spiked within meat-processing plants that have reopened.

In late April, President Trump signed an executive order that some people misinterpreted as ordering meatpacking and processing plants to remain open. What President Trump did was to order that meat and poultry plants are essential according to the Defense Protection Act of 1950. The DPA is used to compel manufactures to create “scarce and critical material essential to the national defense.”

The second thing the order did was to give the authority to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Perdue is responsible for keeping the meat processing and packing plants running during the pandemic. He has to adhere to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

As with some states, there are discrepancies showing in the data being released by the meat plants.

In North Carolina, the Smithfield meat-packing plant in Tar Heel is being elusive with their number of positive coronavirus cases. They are being assisted in the lack of transparency by state and local officials, according to The New York Times.

“There has been a stigma associated with the virus,” Teresa Duncan, the director of the health department in Bladen County, where the Smithfield plant is located, told The New York Times. “So we’re trying to protect privacy.”

A poultry plant in Arkansas was the cause of an outbreak in a Latino community.

In Arkansas, a community saw a spike in cases within the Latino community. The cases were coming from employees, their families, and their social circles. The one poultry plant resulted in 151 new cases in the Latino community of Dardanelle, Arkansas.

READ: Another Man Has Died Of Covid-19 In ICE Custody And The Agency Still Lacks Any Plan To Prevent More Deaths

Woman Alleges She And Two Other Women In ICE Custody Were Raped Hours Before Being Released And Deported

Things That Matter

Woman Alleges She And Two Other Women In ICE Custody Were Raped Hours Before Being Released And Deported

David McNew / Getty

The United States continues to detain migrants and refugees in detention centers across the country, despite a global health crisis that poses an immense risk to detainees. However, along with the threat of Covid-19 infection – longstanding abuses such as sexual assaults continue to happen inside detention centers.

One brave woman has come forward with her story about a sexual assault that happened at a detention facility outside Houston, Texas.

A federal lawsuit alleges that three women were sexually assaulted hours before being deported back to Mexico.

In a federal lawsuit that was filed on Wednesday, a Mexican woman, who was being held inside an immigration detention facility, said she was raped along with two other women. The woman, identified as Jane Doe in the lawsuit, is suing CoreCivic – a major private prison company that operates several ICE detention facilities across the U.S.

While in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody, the plaintiff said she and two other women were taken from their dorms and placed inside a dark small room. Around midnight, three men in street wear entered the cell and sexually assaulted all of the women. The attackers hit the women in the face, used brutal force and raped each of them.

Hours later, all three of the victims were put on buses and deported back to Mexico – without even being given the chance to shower after the attack.

“She was in a very vulnerable position,” said the plaintiff’s lawyer, Michelle Simpson Tuegel. “I don’t think by chance that these women were targeted on the eve of deportation, and that she was sexually assaulted right as she was being deported.”

“It wasn’t really a position where she had anyone or could do anything at that point,” Tuegel said. 

The woman said she became pregnant as a result of the rape.

The alleged attack occurred June 1, 2018. The plaintiff released a video statement detailing some of the alleged incident. In it, she reveals that shortly after returning to Mexico, she discovered that she was pregnant.

“I became pregnant as a result of the rape and am now the mother of a girl,” she said in the video. 

Attorney Michelle Simpson Tuegel said that while the plaintiff loves her daughter regardless of how she came into the world, the mother suffered a difficult birth. 

“She conceived a child as a result of this rape and then had a pretty difficult…birth in a rural area of Mexico. She would not have had that, had it not been for this rape,” Simpson Tuegel said. 

Although ICE hasn’t commented on the lawsuit, they have defended the actions of their employees.

Credit: US DHS

ICE said in a statement that it does not comment on pending litigation, but said lack of comment should not be taken as agreement with any of the allegations.

“ICE employees and contractors are held to the highest standard of professional and ethical conduct,” the agency said. “Incidents of misconduct are treated with the utmost seriousness and investigated thoroughly. When substantiated, appropriate action is taken.”

Unfortunately, sexual assault and rape are extremely common in ICE detention centers.

Credit: Sally Whitfield / Getty

According to reporting done by The Intercept, between 2010 and 2017, there were 1,224 complaints involving sexual assault. Perhaps even more startling, is that of these more than 1,200 sexual assault allegations – only 43 were ever investigated.

It’s also important to note the extreme obstacles encountered by those wanting to report assaults – from fear and retaliation to outright lack of resources. These patterns suggest that sexual assault and harassment is ICE detention centers are not only widespread but systemic, enabled by an agency that regularly fails to hold itself accountable.