sexual assault

Alexia Fodere / Miami Herald

In an old warehouse-turned-office in northwestern Miami, a powerful but painful conversation by a group of women began.

Sitting on metal folding chairs around an improvised altar covered with a yellow sheet and a lit candle at its center, 16 women shared their intimate stories of sexual harassment and abuse.

Editor's note: This report includes graphic and disturbing descriptions of sexual assault.

The victim couldn't tell anyone what happened that night. She was a woman with an intellectual disability who doesn't speak words. So the alleged rape was discovered, according to the police report, only by accident — when a staff worker said she walked into the woman's room and saw her boss with his pants down.

Editor's note: This report includes graphic and disturbing descriptions of sexual assault.

In the sex education class for adults with intellectual disabilities, the material is not watered down. The dozen women and men in a large room full of windows and light in Casco, Maine, take on complex issues, such as how to break up or how you know you're in an abusive relationship. And the most difficult of those issues is sexual assault.

Editor's note: This report includes graphic and disturbing descriptions of assault.

Pauline wants to tell her story — about that night in the basement, about the boys and about the abuse she wanted to stop.

But she's nervous. "Take a deep breath," she says out loud to herself. She takes a deep and audible breath. And then she tells the story of what happened on the night that turned her life upside down.

"The two boys took advantage of me," she begins. "I didn't like it at all."

Only a few minutes into Sunday night's Golden Globes red-carpet broadcast on E!, Debra Messing explained to host Giuliana Rancic why nearly all the women were wearing black. (The men were, too, but they always do that.) Messing explained that it was part of the Time's Up initiative, which supports women who suffer from sexual harassment and assault — and not just in Hollywood. She went on to call out the recent departure from E!

Miami Herald

Sexual harassment, abuse and inappropriate behavior are not new, and South Florida itself is not immune. "Abuse isn't an economic issue; it's across the board. In Hispanic culture it is a double whammy: It's a culture of machismo and a culture of silence. It's a deadly combination," says Miami Herald columnist Fabiola Santiago.

Updated at 5:25 p.m. ET

President Trump is defending Alabama GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore, who has been accused by multiple women of sexually assaulting them when they were teenagers and Moore was in his 30s.

Updated at 4:05 p.m. ET

Another prominent public figure has been accused of making unwanted sexual advances. Los Angeles radio host Leeann Tweeden said now-Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., forced himself on her and groped her while the two were on a USO tour in 2006.

The news of Harvey Weinstein's expulsion from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences over the weekend is prompting victims to share their own experiences of sexual harassment and assault.

The academy ousted the powerful Hollywood producer over multiple abuse allegations, prompting social media users around the world to proclaim a simple idea: that sexual abuse is a common experience in women's lives.

New federal guidelines for handling allegations of sexual assault are prompting a range of reactions from school administrators. While many are expressing concerns and vowing to maintain current policy, others are breathing a sigh of relief or scratching their heads in confusion.

A Denver jury found fully in pop singer Taylor Swift's favor Monday, delivering a unanimous verdict in a trial over whether she was groped by a former radio host during a Denver meet-and-greet. Wanting the trial to serve as an "example to other women," the star had sought a single dollar in damages, which she was granted.

C.M. GUERRERO / Miami Herald

Three South Florida high school students have come up with an invention that could protect people from becoming rape victims. What's that invention? They call it the Smart Straw.

Hello! No shortage of education headlines even in the height of summer for our weekly roundup.

DeVos meets with "men's rights" groups on campus sexual assault

Updated at 1:05 p.m. ET

The judge in the sexual assault case of comedian Bill Cosby has declared a mistrial. After several days of deliberations, the jury could not come to a unanimous agreement on whether Cosby drugged and molested Andrea Constand, a former employee of Temple University, at his home near Philadelphia in 2004.

But this does not mean an end to the high-profile case: Prosecutors immediately said they will retry the case.

Updated 9:35 p.m. ET

On the third day of Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial, his lawyer attempted to portray the comedian's relationship with accuser Andrea Constand as a romantic one.

But throughout her nearly seven hours on the stand over two days, Constand was unwavering in her testimony, according to The Associated Press. Constand was an employee of Temple University's women's basketball team in 2004, when, she says, the assault occurred.

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