Migrant Kids At Arizona Camp Report Sexual Assault And Retaliation By U.S. Agents

Dozens of accounts of horrid conditions and abuse from officers have surfaced from migrant children at a border camp in Yuma

Terrible conditions for migrants and migrant children seeking asylum at the border have been reported for over a year now, as Central Americans fleeing violence and extreme poverty collect at our border — and now NBC has shared dozens of reports from children held at a Yuma, Arizona, border camp that include allegations of sexual abuse, verbal abuse, mistreatment, retaliation, hunger, sleep deprivation, and unsanitary conditions.

These new reports are especially disturbing because they center not on the general issue of overcrowding and lack of supplies, but on the behavior of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents.

The 30 reports were collected between April 10 and June 12 by case managers for the Department of Health and Human Services and obtained by NBC News.

Perhaps the most disturbing report is from a 15-year-old girl from Honduras who said one of the officers put his hands inside her bra, pulled down her underwear, and groped her, ostensibly during a search. The girl said “she felt embarrassed as the officer was speaking in English to other officers and laughing.”

A 16-year-old boy from Guatemala said that when he and some other children complained about the poor food, their sleeping pads were taken away, leaving them to lie on the hard, cold concrete to sleep.

Another report said that the officers would shout offensive names at the children, force them to sleep outside, or only give them mylar blankets to sleep under. One said their food was thrown at them like they were animals, and that dinner didn’t come until 9 p.m. at night, when many children couldn’t stay awake that late to eat. Multiple children said that the lights were always kept on, making it difficult to know whether it was day or night, and that they were too afraid to ask agents for things like clean clothes or showers because they feared their reactions.

One child wore soiled shorts for 10 days.

All of the kids who reported misconduct were held at the border station for longer than 72 hours before being turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services, which is illegal.

Acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli said that the allegations from migrant children are under investigation, and if officers were found to be involved in sexual misconduct or physical harassment, they would be fired.

Florida House representative Matt Gaetz, a Republican, even admitted on Wednesday that he had visited the Yuma border station in April “and the human condition that I observed in Yuma was the worst state of the human condition I have ever seen in my life.”

But Gaetz also defended the border agents, saying, “I could tell you that the Border Patrol agents and the Homeland Security agents that were there were dealing with conditions that they had not trained for, they were not equipped to handle, and they were doing the very best they could under terrible circumstances.”

Whether the agents are engaging in misconduct because of lack of training and overwhelmed conditions, or whether they are doing so out of racism or intolerance is unclear. But it is clear that the misconduct needs to be addressed and halted immediately.

Maryland House Representative Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, is leading the way on a hearing about child separations and mistreatment that will take place on July 18.

Regarding the new reports of mistreatment, he told NBC: “These allegations are very concerning and need to be fully investigated. The president has denied any problems with these detention centers — despite multiple confirmed reports to the contrary — but it is the Trump administration’s own policies that have contributed to this humanitarian crisis and this lack of accountability.”

This is far from the first time in the last year that Customs and Border Protection has been under fire for the conditions and poor treatment at border stations. Nurses have claimed that kids are purposefully being denied treatments. Lawmakers touring the facilities say that migrants were forced to drink from toilets. And migrant kids have reported being hungry, cold, and separated from their families.

Here’s what you can do to help detained immigrants right now. 

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We’re Now Experiencing One Climate Change Disaster Each Week

The effects of climate change aren’t way down the road — they are here now, and it’s bad

The United Nations (UN) is warning that we need to act on climate change immediately — not only to prevent irreparable damage in the future, but because the consequences of climate change are hurting us right now. In fact, the UN says that even though not all of them make international news headlines, climate change disasters are taking place worldwide at the rate of one a week.

“This is not about the future, this is about today,” Mami Mizutori, the UN secretary-general’s special representative on disaster risk reduction, told The Guardian

While some climate crisis disasters get worldwide coverage, like the droughts in India and the heatwaves in Europe, and while we’re aware of some of the national effects in the United States, such as last summer’s wildfires and this spring’s storms in the midwest, many are unaware that “lower impact” disasters are taking place across Earth, all related to global warming. These smaller-scale disasters may not make the nightly news here in the U.S., but they can still greatly affect millions of people and cause widespread damage, especially in developing countries.

For example, Cyclone Kenneth struck Mozambique in April, the largest tropical storm to hit the region in recorded history, and one of a series of record-breaking tropical storms in the area this year. The storm caused over $100 million in damage and killed dozens, though you might not have heard or read about it this spring.

The UN says that the cost of these disasters is currently about $520 billion each year — that’s $10 billion a week. And as the climate crisis continues, that number will only go up.

“This is not a lot of money [in the context of infrastructure spending],” Mizutori said, “but investors have not been doing enough. Resilience needs to become a commodity that people will pay for.”

Mizutori’s main point is that we need to spend more on preventative infrastructure and preparing to live in a world with more disasters, not just spend on cutting back on the emissions that are causing the crisis. While we of course need to stop adding to the problem of climate change, we need to realize that climate change is here now, and we need to be ready.

“People need to talk more about adaptation and resilience,” she said.

Especially in developing countries, where people may not live in disaster-proof structures, or where there aren’t emergency systems in place, even lower-level climate disasters can be extremely destructive, with long-lasting consequences. Victims of severe weather, storms, droughts, and fires could be without water, food, medical care, shelter, and other necessities for extended periods of time. We need to focus on getting these systems in place, everywhere, for the coming years of the continued climate crisis.

“We talk about a climate emergency and a climate crisis, but if we cannot confront this [issue of adapting to the effects] we will not survive,” she told The Guardian. “We need to look at the risks of not investing in resilience.”

What does investing in resilience look like? It would involve global warming-safe buildings, more robust transportation and water supply networks, and overall city and rural systems that are better equipped to deal with disaster. In addition, better weather warning systems and better response systems could save lives and prevent damage.

A series of photos recently showed how much the climate has changed just in the past ten years. And we’re surrounded by reminders on the news that what’s happening around us isn’t normal. It’s time to act now, not just to stop or slow global warming, but to prepare for what’s already happening around us.

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Florida Principal Tells Parent ‘Not Everyone Believes The Holocaust Happened’

The principal defended himself after telling a parent that he “can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event”

Thanks to a series of emails reported on by a local paper, it’s being revealed that a Florida principal was allowing his school’s curriculum to reflect the fact that some parents might not “believe” the Holocaust happened. The mom of a student at Spanish River High School started off with a simple question for Principal William Latson — she wanted to know how the Holocaust was being taught at the school.

What he told her was nothing short of completely disturbing.

She started out simply wanting to ensure that the school was making Holocaust education “a priority” and Latson’s response was concerning. He told her that there were “a variety of activities” on the subject, but that lessons about the WWII-era atrocity were “not forced upon individuals as we all have the same rights but not all the same beliefs.”

A bit taken aback, she tried to get him to clarify what she assumed was an error in explaining himself. “The Holocaust is a factual, historical event,” she wrote. “It is not a right or a belief.”

“Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened,” he wrote back, according to emails obtained by The Palm Beach Post through a public records request. “And you have your thoughts, but we are a public school and not all of our parents have the same beliefs.” He told her he had “the role to be politically neutral but support all groups in the school.”

Latson told her, “I can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event because I am not in a position to do so as a school district employee.”

As though it’s not factual history and simply a political stance.

The stunning revelation highlights one mom’s year-long effort to address the fact that a school principal was seemingly unable to recognize truth from fiction when it comes to the deaths of 6 million Jews at the hands of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime.

In an interview, The Post reports that the mom didn’t doubt that Latson believed the Holocaust happened — she simply felt that he was holding this neutral stance to avoid confronting parents who deny the Holocaust’s reality.

After the email exchange, the mom and another parent met with Latson to talk about including the Holocaust memoir “Night,” by Elie Wiesel, into the school’s required reading list. The mom also asked for yearly Holocaust education assemblies for each grade level, but that hasn’t happened yet. Deputy Schools Superintendent Keith Oswald told The Post the assemblies would happen in the next school year.

“I regret that the verbiage that I used when responding to an email message from a parent, one year ago, did not accurately reflect my professional and personal commitment to educating all students about the atrocities of the Holocaust,” Latson wrote in a message to The Post. “It is critical that, as a society, we hold dear the memory of the victims and hold fast to our commitment to counter anti-Semitism.”

And let’s not mince words here about what even a whiff of Holocaust denial can mean. The Holocaust Memorial Museum states on their website that they consider Holocaust denial to be a form of anti-Semitism. Those who hold this erroneous and deeply wrong belief are, “generally motivated by hatred of Jews and build on the claim that the Holocaust was invented or exaggerated by Jews as part of a plot to advance Jewish interests.”

“These views perpetuate long-standing antisemitic stereotypes, hateful charges that were instrumental in laying the groundwork for the Holocaust. Holocaust denial, distortion, and misuse all undermine the understanding of history,” they write.

At a later meeting with Latson and two other regional superintendents, the mom said she no longer had faith in Latson’s leadership. During that meeting, he again referred to the Holocaust as “a personal belief” and said he couldn’t take a stance as a school employee. He also told the mom she was accusing him of being an anti-Semite. She tells The Post that she recalls telling Latson, “I think you are protecting those who don’t believe in the Holocaust.”

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Alabama Woman Accidentally Shoots Her Husband During Road Rage Incident

A woman aiming at another person in a road rage altercation shot her husband in the head and now faces attempted murder charges

Here’s yet another reason why we don’t all need to be carrying guns around: in Alabama this week, a woman who was involved in a road rage incident fired a gun meaning to hit someone else, but instead shot her husband in the head.

The road rage altercation occurred on Highway 69 in Dodge City on Saturday night, July 6. The vehicles then drove to a second location on Country Road 160 in Bremen, where the shooting took place at a residence.

According to the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office, the woman, Erica Cole, attempted to shoot another party involved in the incident, but instead shot her husband, Nicholas Cole, in the head.

The sheriff reported that he is in stable condition.

Cole was arrested for attempted murder, assault and reckless endangerment and is being held in the Cullman County Detention Center with no bond.

It’s unclear what started the road rage incident or who’s home the incident occurred at. No other details have been released yet in the case because the investigation is ongoing.

This incident took place just two days after another horrific road rage incident, this one in Houston, Texas, in which a road rage altercation led to the serious injury of a family of four. In this instance, a man pulled a gun on a man in a truck who allegedly cut him off. The man in the truck began to drive away as soon as he saw the gun, but the armed man fired at the vehicle, igniting fireworks that were stored in the back. The cab was quickly engulfed by flames, and bystanders had to pull out the man, his wife, and their two children, ages one and two. All four members of the family remain in the hospital with serious third-degree burns — both children had to be airlifted to medical help and remain in critical condition.

In March, a mother in Greensboro, North Carolina was shot and killed in front of her kids following a road rage incident. In that case, 26-year-old Carolyn Tiger was running errands for her son’s birthday when an enraged driver ran her off the road, blocked her in, shot out her tires, and then shot her to death.

Road rage has been responsible for about 300 deaths since 2013.

According to a study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 80 percent of drivers have become angered while driving, and 51 percent admit to tailgating on purpose. Another 24 percent say that they have intentionally blocked a driver from switching lanes, while four percent say that they’ve followed a car and exited their vehicle to confront another driver. Three percent admit physically bumping another vehicle with their own car.

Road rage incidents can go from arguments to deadly violence quickly, especially if there is a firearm involved. When someone’s anger is sparked and a gun is available, people who wouldn’t normally be violent can escalate a confrontation within seconds by pulling a weapon.

There are piles of studies that show that the more guns in a community, the more murders take place, and that gun availability is linked strongly with gun violence. One way to stop these deadly road rage incidents is simply to have tighter, tougher gun laws and better gun control policies.

If you spot an aggressive driver on the roads, call 911 to report dangerous activity. If a car begins to follow you after a road rage incident, drive to the nearest police station.

“If there is someone who is behaving aggressively toward you, we advise people not to make eye contact, not to react, not to engage at all,” said Mary Maguire, a spokesperson for AAA Northeast, regarding how to avoid road rage. “Never get out of your car, which certainly leaves you vulnerable to all types of unsafe situations and behavior. We teach people also not to drive aggressively themselves. Don’t offend. Don’t tailgate. Don’t weave in and out of traffic. Don’t cut off other drivers. Don’t honk your horn for an excessive period of time. All those types of things tend to antagonize other drivers.”

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Nurses Claim Border Patrol Intentionally Delays Treatment For Sick Migrant Kids

In a new damning report, local Texas nurses say they think kids aren’t getting medical treatment fast enough

It is against the law for any child to be held at U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities for more than 72 hours, and yet, many migrant children — of whom a majority are ill — are living like prisoners in these government-mandated concentration camp “centers” for up to a month before being transferred into the custody of Health and Human Services. Buzzfeed News is reporting that nurses in local Texas hospitals believe Border Patrol agents are intentionally delaying much-needed medical care for the sick children inside.

Two registered nurses spoke to Buzzfeed on condition of anonymity because they fear retaliation in the form of job loss. But what they’ve seen while on the job has rattled them so deeply, they felt they needed to speak up about it.

The nurses have treated sick immigrant children at the hospital where they work, located in the Rio Grande Valley. They say they’ve seen young patients arriving in such a poor state of health, they’re on the “borderline” of going into respiratory or cardiac arrest. They say the Border Patrol agents are delaying taking the sick kids who are in “dire conditions” to a hospital, which puts the kids at risk of severe health issues — and death.

In some cases they should’ve been here a week ago and they decided to wait until the last minute,” one nurse tells Buzzfeed. “It makes me wonder what Border Patrol is doing. Why is it taking them so long to realize they need to take them to the hospital?”

It’s likely that many migrant children are already ill by the time they get taken into custody (given the long, arduous journey many of them must make to reach the border and how long they’re made to wait to be processed, this is no surprise). But the nurses say illness is spreading because the children aren’t being given access to clean water, clothes, soap, etc.

Last week, local physician Dolly Lucio Sevier wrote in a medical declaration that children in the McAllen detention center faced “extreme cold temperatures, lights on 24 hours a day, no adequate access to medical care, basic sanitation, water, or adequate food.”

She said the youngest child there was two and a half months old and of the 39 children she assessed, all showed signs of trauma. Some teenagers even told her that they hadn’t been given access to wash their hands once since entering the facility and teen mothers weren’t able to wash their children’s bottles. There was reportedly no developmentally appropriate pureed food for infants either.

“The conditions within which they are held could be compared to torture facilities,” Sevier wrote in the declaration.

Due to these deplorable, horrific conditions, an emergency motion was filed recently by immigration lawyers who are seeking immediate access and inspections of the Clint site as well as 20 other facilities.

The lawyers involved are claiming that Border Patrol officials are forcing children to take care of strangers’ babies and that all the children are denied access to basic hygiene like showering and brushing their teeth, as well as nutrition and food.

Donald Trump’s response is exactly what you’d expect it to be, because being cruel and divisive is the ultimate goal of his administration: “Our Border Patrol people are not hospital workers, doctors or nurses. The Democrats bad Immigration Laws, which could be easily fixed, are the problem,” he tweeted earlier this week. “Great job by Border Patrol, above and beyond. Many of these illegals aliens are living far better now than where they came from.”

Until the United States government changes our criminal immigration and asylum policies, innocent children will continue to suffer physical and psychological trauma. They will continue to die. All we can do is continue to hold our representatives accountable and keep donating to organizations like RAICES Texas.

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Southern California In State Of Emergency After 2 Earthquakes In 24 Hours

It’s the largest series of earthquakes to hit California in decades

Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency for San Bernardino County on Friday after another, more powerful 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Southern California.

Not even 24 hours after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit the Ridgecrest area approximately 150 north of Los Angeles, residents were rocked with another one five times bigger. Friday’s earthquake caused buildings to sway and cracked foundations, worrying residents enough that many are sleeping outside to avoid injuries inside their homes, CNN reported.

Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times/Getty

Thankfully, no deaths or serious injuries have been reported, but this most recent quake caused structure fires resulting from gas leaks. There are also reports of power outages, water main breaks, and downed wires, Mark Ghilarducci, Director of California Governors’ Office of Emergency Management, said.

Local fire and police officials said they were initially bombarded by calls for medical and ambulance service, but “nothing but minor injuries such as cuts and bruises, by the grace of God,” had been reported.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

“On behalf of all Californians, I offer my heartfelt support to those affected by tonight’s earthquake near Ridgecrest,” Newsom said Saturday. “The State of California will continue to offer support to aid residents in the area.”

Many offered reactions about their experiences on social media:

“It was about a minute long,” Bakersfield resident Giovanna Gomez told CNN. “Far larger than the one that (happened) yesterday. It was a smooth roll going back and forth.” According to experts, residents should be expecting fairly sizable aftershocks over the next couple of days, if not weeks, leaving many wondering what will happen next.

Lucy Jones, one of the world’s foremost seismologists, told The Guardian that California residents should expect a “magnitude 8 every 100 or 200 years, a magnitude 7 about every 20 to 30 years, and a magnitude 6 every three years.” Though people would like more predictability, Jones said that’s not possible. “Earthquakes really are random. People are desperate for a pattern, but you really don’t get to make one of it.”

Jones also added that in terms of predictions, there is about a one in ten chance that another 7.0 quake could hit within the next week, the and chance of a 5.0-magnitude quake “is approaching certainty.”

ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

The earthquake could be felt for hundreds of miles. According to the Washington Post, Disneyland in Orange County and Six Flags Magic Mountain in Santa Clarita closed their rides, rattled Dodger Stadium in LA, and at New York-New York hotel in Las Vegas, the Big Apple Coaster swayed as the earth moved.

“Not many people can say they threw a strike during an earthquake,” said pitcher Eric Lauer. “My ball, my pitch, started an earthquake.”

For residents already on edge, the next couple of days will likely be a lot of impatiently waiting for the next event.

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Wasps Are Building Nests The Size Of Cars Thanks To Climate Change

Worried about climate change? Add swarms of thousands of yellow jackets to your list

An entomologist in Alabama warns that due to the mild winter, the state may well see an outbreak of yellow jacket “super nests,” which can grow as big as a car and contain up to 15,000 stinging insects.

Fan-freaking-tastic.

The last time there was a widely-reported outbreak of these super nests was in 2006, after another mild winter, and researchers believe that these conditions could worsen with global warming and climate change. Check out this nest trying to take over a whole house.

Charles Ray

And this one filling up a whole car. Phew. Nightmare fodder.

Charles Ray

Oh, and another one taking up residence inside an old mattress. Super cool.

Charles Ray

Charles Ray, an entomologist working with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, talked to Auburn University about the phenomenon and why it happens.

He explained that the large nests, called perennial nests, happen when mild winters don’t kill the bugs off, or ruin their food supply. So instead of the queens finding new spots for a yearly nest, they simply expand their current nest, sometimes with multiple queens ruling the roost.

A normal yellow jacket nest should contain from 4,000 to 5,000 insects, and goes through an annual lifecycle that controls the population. Super nests are huge freaks of nature.

“These perennial nests may be several feet wide and have many thousands of workers, far more than an average nest,” Ray said. “We have found them attached to home exteriors and other places you might not expect to find yellow jackets.”

Like, literally climbing up the side of a house. Neato!

Charles Ray

How big can these nests get? You kind of don’t want to know.

“The most workers I have counted in a perennial nest is about 15,000 or about 3 to 4 times more than a normal nest,” he said. “However, one nest in South Carolina was documented with more 250,000 workers.”

We told you that you probably didn’t want to know.

The last time that these super nests were spotted in Alabama was in 2006 — Ray tracked about 90 of them. This year, it’s still early in the season, but Ray has already tracked two nests, with rumors of more. If the trend continues, there could be more than 90 of these enormous nests by fall.

“If we are seeing them a month sooner than we did in 2006, I am very concerned that there will be a large number of them in the state,” he said. “The nests I have seen this year already have more than 10,000 workers and are expanding rapidly.”

Nerdist reports that 15 nests have been spotted as of the beginning of July.

Ray also said that the region affected by the nests is spreading this year.

“In previous years, I’ve never seen one north of Talladega. (This year) I’ve got two possible in the Tennessee Valley,” he told a local news station. “It looks like we may be having another break out year.”

Here are three that Ray has found in July.

Charles Ray

Charles Ray

Charles Ray

What should you do if you find a super nest? First of all, stay away. Even though Ray says that super nest colonies are less aggressive than other yellow jackets, they can still sting — in 2006, three people where seriously injured by the creatures.

Secondly, contact Ray so that he can track and study the phenomenon: raychah@aces.edu or at raychah@auburn.edu.

As for removal? Ray says absolutely don’t try to take on the task yourself — call a professional. Although even some commercial rigs won’t touch these giant nests.

This is just one more issue that is probably arising out of climate change. Not to mention our issues with disappearing bees, which is very likely due to stuff humans have caused.

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17-Year-Old Aging Out Of Foster Care Makes Plea For A Family

During a dream visit with military personnel, the teen begs for a family to adopt him before he turns 18

A 17-year-old boy who hopes to one day serve his country in the military has one other big wish — to have a family to call his own. Haven, who lives in an Oklahoma shelter with four other kids, turns 18 this fall. By then, he wants more than anything to be adopted and have parents to help guide him through life.

According to Fox 61, Haven has big plans for his future. “I’m involved with Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, AKA JROTC,” he explains. Haven wants to join the military and when asked the reasons why, he replies, “Being a part of something bigger than myself and to serve my country.”

He also wants a family.

Because of his interest in one day joining the military, Haven was with members of the Oklahoma Army National Guard, touring their facility and learning more about what it’s like to join the service.

As he made the rounds, a reporter asks Haven to elaborate on his adoption wish and why having a family matters to him. “So you can have someone to help you, like be there for you if you need help. Not just going into it all blind because that’s how you get into drugs and bad stuff like that,” he says.

When asked what kind of family he hopes to become a part of, he replied, “Anyone that would take me.”

Anyone that would take me.

Is your entire heart shattered into 12 million pieces now? Mine sure is. This sweet boy wants parents to love him and guide him. He’s been in DHS custody since he was 12 years old.

Of his life at the shelter, Haven says, “It gets old at times. Just being there. Not being able to go out whenever I want.” He wants his driver’s license. He wants to see the world. “I’d probably like to travel the world, but the Army probably helps with that,” he explains. The teen, in addition to his military dreams, enjoys playing Minecraft and hanging out with his friends.

But above all, he wants a family. “I don’t really care. As long as it’s a family that will show love for me and be there for me,” he pleads.

No word on whether Haven’s request to be part of a family of his own has been met, but here’s the info on Oklahoma’s DHS site if you think you’re a possible fit to adopt Haven and give him the family he and every child so richly deserves.

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There’s A Scientific Reason Why Pregnant Women Want Everyone To Get The F*ck Away From Them

You have an excuse: pregnant women in their third trimester biologically need more personal space

Pregnancy changes us in so many ways. Sure, we get increasingly huge over nine months, but a lot of other things happen, too, and many of these changes are super tough. Some women get nauseous during the first trimester (or longer), more emotional as those hormones shift, and more likely to “nest” during the final few months. Now a new study, the first of its kind, has found that women in their third trimester of pregnancy also likely to require a significantly larger bubble of “personal space” than other people.

Yep, that sounds about right.

The study, which was 

In other words, get the hell away from super pregnant women. And absolutely, for the love of Pete, ask before touching them. 

The study, which was published in the latest issue of Scientific Reports, conducted a series of tests on dozens of women in various states: not pregnant, 20 weeks pregnant, 34 weeks pregnant, and eight weeks postpartum. The women were confronted with tapping and sound in order to determine the limits of their personal space — and only the 34-weekers needed way more room to themselves.

Researchers believe that this space is needed simply because women are bigger and need to protect their baby from harm.

But in addition to the changing shape of the mother’s body, chemical changes in her brain are also making certain that women are more wary of what’s around them and how it will affect her and her kid. It’s an evolutionary phenomenon that keeps moms and babies safe until delivery, when everything will shift again.

What can we learn from this? Don’t be surprised when, during your third trimester, you might need a little bit more room, whether you’re watching a movie on the couch with your family, standing in line at the grocery store, or even sharing a bed. It’s not just in your mind — thousands of years of evolution are on your side and helping you protect your fetus. It’s not you being a jerk, or you being sensitive, or you being a knocked up diva: your body is literally asking you to give it more space.

In other words: don’t be afraid to tell people you need some space. And if you’re not pregnant but know someone who is, don’t be surprised if they hold you at arm’s length for a while near the end of their pregnancy, or if her definition of arm’s length is farther away than it usually is.

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Period Pain Causes Women To Lose 9 Days Of Productivity Per Year

Menstruating women are unable to be as productive as usual in the workplace and at school

It comes as no surprise that the impact of menstruation on women’s lives and careers is sorely underestimated, but a new study is here to validate our period pain just the same. Researchers find that period pain is the direct link to nearly nine days of lost productivity per year in workplaces and schools.

The study, published yesterday, surveyed 32,748 Dutch women between the ages of 15 and 45 in order to evaluate lost productivity due to period symptoms. They consider “lost productivity” to mean both time off from work and/or school, as well as working and studying while feeling ill.

One in seven women, or 14 percent of those surveyed, have taken time off from work or school during their period. Of that group, 3.5 percent say that this was a common occurrence — lasting every day, or nearly every day of their menstrual cycle.

Period Pain Causes Women To Lose 9 Days Of Productivity Per Year

Many of the women reported being less productive as a result of their period pain. Researchers concluded that, on average, women were absent from work or school 1.3 days per year because of their period. But productivity loss overall was equivalent to 8.9 days per year — because no one feels like working at the top of their game when they feel like absolute hell.

Some 81% of the Dutch women said they had been less productive as a result of their menstrual symptoms. On average, the researchers calculated, women were absent from work or school 1.3 days per year because of their period and, on average, productivity loss was equivalent to 8.9 days per year. Women under the age of 21 are three times more likely to take time off because of their menstrual symptoms.

“Women said that they weren’t as productive as they could be while at work — they needed to go to the toilet every hour or they had a headache and couldn’t concentrate,” Theodoor Nieboer, an author of the report and a gynecologist at the Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands, tells CNN.

Period Pain Causes Women To Lose 9 Days Of Productivity Per Year

That’s not all — the study also found that when women did call in sick due to period pain, only one in five women actually disclosed to their employer the real reason for their absence. Because periods are still a “taboo” topic — even though half the world’s population has been menstruating since the dawn of time. It’s ridiculous, yes, but very real. Women are made to feel self-conscious about the very thing our bodies are designed to do.

A majority of women, 68 percent, say they wished their employers had more flexible hours for working when feeling ill on their periods. And really, who among us wouldn’t feel 10 times more comfortable typing on our couches with a heating pad and stretch pants while popping Midol? Or — GASP — not having to work at all on the days when our periods are truly awful?

Period Pain Causes Women To Lose 9 Days Of Productivity Per Year

This could benefit everyone who menstruates, but particularly those with debilitating and painful conditions like endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome.

“Despite being almost two decades into the 21st century, discussions about period symtoms may still be rather taboo,” Nieboer said. “There’s a need for greater openness about the impact of menstrual symptoms on work, and companies need to be more open about this with their female workers.”

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