Experts Share Tips for Safe Sports

Experts are speaking out on the importance of safety in sports in light of the recent alleged sexual abuse scandal involving USA Gymnastics, former national team doctor Larry Nassar and Michigan State University.

Dozens of alleged victims are currently pursuing lawsuits against USAG, MSU and Nassar — all claiming similar stories of abuse and neglect including allegations that Nassar inserted his fingers into their vaginas and rectums without gloves as part of what he claims was a legitimate medical treatment. (Nassar has pleaded not guilty and denies any wrongdoing.)

Nancy Hogshead-Makar of Champion Women, an advocacy group for female athletes, says open dialogue between a parent and child is key to preventing this type of sexual abuse. This is especially true in athletics — where the bond between coach (or doctor, trainer, mentor) and athlete are “much different” from that of a teacher-student relationship. 

“Teach your kid early on that saying no is okay. They have control over their body, not their coach, doctor or superior,” Hogshead-Makar tells PEOPLE. “You want to have the ‘good touch/bad touch’ conversation, but sometimes when you’re having that talk it’s already too late.”

Hogshead-Makar, a former Olympic swimmer turned lawyer/advocate, says explaining to a child what an “inappropriate” adult acts like can help prevent abuse.

“So they understand that a good coach will never text you or give you gifts, there should be appropriate boundaries between adult and child,” she says. “For parents, they should look for coaches, doctors, any superior who is authoritative not an authoritarian.

“And always always check their credentials.”

For more on the USA Gymnastics scandal, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

And if a child hints at abuse already happening? Chris Newlin, executive director of the National Children’s Advocacy Center, says parents and caregivers play a “critical role” in helping children who have disclosed abuse.

“While this can feel overwhelming for adults, children are looking to trusted adults to help them make sense of the world and this situation,” Newlin tells PEOPLE. “It is very important to remain calm and not to express shock, panic or disbelief as this may cause a child to discontinue sharing; and also to speak in a soft soothing tone.”  

He adds, “In a private setting, it is important to listen to what the child is sharing and to reassure the child that she or he has done nothing wrong and has done the right thing by telling about the abuse.

It is also important to let the child know you are here to help, as are other specially trained professionals; but be careful to not make promises you cannot keep (i.e. promising the child you will not tell anyone). After responding to the child’s needs, it is important for adults to make a report to local law enforcement and Child Protective Services who will then conduct an appropriate investigation and also to assure children are connected with the necessary resources to help them recover.

For more information on safety in sports, visit championwomen.org  or nationalcac.org.

Halsey Sent Me On A Treasure Hunt And I Failed Miserably

There was a 100 percent chance of rain in New York on Friday (March 31), but that didn’t stop me — a longtime Halsey fan — from following the singer’s simple instructions: “Keep running.” The phrase was shared with a link to a cryptic website listing nine cities across the world, and luckily for me, New York City was one of them.

At the specified times, the site revealed geographic coordinates for each city’s treasure: a gun-shaped USB drive with secrets about Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, Halsey’s upcoming sophomore album due out June 2. The catch? Each place had only one USB, so whoever found it first got dibs.

Social media revealed that many of the earlier locations had been fountains, so I expected New York’s to be a fountain supposedly located near the Halsey Street subway stop in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Halsey used to live in the area; she chose Halsey as her stage name after realizing the street name was an anagram of Ashley, her real name. When I saw her on her Badlands tour, she gushed onstage about the night she saw that subway sign and decided to pursue music seriously.

I knew in my gut that this had to be the location, what with all that personal significance. So I grabbed my rain jacket and headed there before the official coordinates were even announced. USB, here I come!

Deepa Lakshmin

At 2:48 p.m., I finally arrived at the Halsey station, which is about an hour from MTV’s Manhattan office. I was 12 minutes shy of the 3 p.m. reveal, so I was proud of myself for beating the crowd. But my excitement was short-lived.

Approximately three minutes later, the actual coordinates dropped. I guessed totally wrong. The real location was a Romeo and Juliet statue in Central Park, an hour in the completely opposite direction. Shit. I took a photo so my trek wasn’t a total loss, then hopped on the next subway back to Manhattan.

While I was underground for another hour, the steady drizzle became a full-on downpour, much to my dismay. Soon I was speed-walking through puddles in Central Park, cursing my umbrella for flipping inside-out, and cursing myself for wearing canvas sneakers instead of rain boots. It wasn’t quite what I envisioned when Halsey teased “meet me in the kingdom” as the concept for her next album, but okay, fine, I went with it. I’d gone too far to give up early.

Deepa Lakshmin

That optimism was also short-lived. Soaked and freezing, I discovered the Romeo and Juliet statue was just that — a statue. Halsey is big on R&J symbolism — HPK was inspired by a troubled relationship, after all — so I hoped to find at least something related to her new music there. But there was no USB. No note. No leftover disco ball from Katy Perry. Nothing to see here.

Two equally disappointed guys hiding from the rain nearby were also there for Halsey. Twitter user @talkofheaven had beaten all three of us. Womp, womp.

Turns out, the USB drives contained images that fit together like puzzle pieces, unveiling the album art for Hopeless Fountain Kingdom. One mystery solved.

There was also a second image teasing the date April 4, creating a second mystery to wonder about. What’s coming? I don’t know, but I’m excited to find out where Halsey takes me next. I just hope that this time, Mother Nature cooperates.

Whitney Port Speaks Candidly in Her “I Love My Baby, But I Hate My Pregnancy” Video Blog

It’s been seven years since Whitney Port appeared on reality television (The City concluded in July 2010, RIP), but the fashion designer is getting real in front of the camera once again. But this time, she’s getting really real (not MTV’s glossed-over version of reality): Port recently debuted her pregnancy video blog—and it’s candidly titled “I Love My Baby, But I Hate My Pregnancy.”

Port, who announced in February that she is expecting her first child with husband Tim Rosenman, revealed the informal video series on her Instagram this month. “Timmy decided to get out his camera and start documenting everything about my first pregnancy,” Port explained in her caption, alongside a home video of her in bed. “We both thought it would be a fun thing for our child to see once he or she is old enough. It will be a totally open and honest look into our lives as I cook this tiny thing growing inside me.”

In the first brief video, Port and her husband debate what to name the pregnancy blog—before Port settles on the honest title. “Welcome to ‘I Love My Baby, But I Hate Pregnancy by Whitney Port,'” she says in the clip, which was shot when she was 14 weeks pregnant. Port explains the title further in the video’s description: “I know ‘hate’ is a strong word but I think in that very moment, that was how I was feeling and so we stuck with it,” she writes. “As the pregnancy progresses and my symptoms subside, I hope that’s not how I will feel anymore! I already love our baby to pieces but feeling yucky all the time is a ‘hate-able’ thing!”

Her second video blog is equally open—and discusses the emotions she felt when she first found out she was pregnant. “I was definitely freaked out and not sure if I was fully ready,” she admits. “My initial reaction felt different from how I feel a lot of women feel when they find out.”

Port’s willingness to be so frank about the sometimes-bumpy road to a baby is important—especially when there is so much pressure on pregnant women to speak only of the experience in a positive light. And while for some women that may be the reality, for others, those nine months can be really freaking hard. Take it from someone who vomited every single day (often several times) for the first three-and-a-half months: Growing another human being (or multiple human beings) can leave you plagued with physical and mental exhaustion, constant worry and anxiety, and nausea and physical discomfort (just to name a few) for nearly an entire year—but if you talk about it, you’re viewed as ungrateful or complaining. Constantly putting up that cheery front is isolating, tiring, and stressful during an already draining time.

That’s not to say I don’t consider myself immeasurably blessed (as I’m sure Port does, too)—many women who want children experience infertility, miscarriages, or loss—but as somebody who’s gone through this, it’s fair to say that it’s not always the wonderful, glowing experience like women are expected to present. For Port and other celebrities, such as Kim Kardashian, to not sugarcoat their difficult pregnancies can only help to open the conversation for women who are feeling the exact same way.

Related: Stop Telling Me to Enjoy My Pregnancy When I Feel Like Sh*t

Nine West Shoe Sale – The Best Party Heels to Buy On Sale Now

It’s Friday, which means it’s time to kick off your work shoes and step into your party heels! And our friends at Nine West have some major plans to help you do just that. From now until April 5th, you can score 25 percent off select party style shoes and bags and then an additional 10 percent off when you use the code “extra10” at checkout. And believe us, these styles are so cute they’ll have your calendar packed with reasons to wear them out in no time!

 

Check out some of our favorite party styles below:

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Courtesy Nine West

Buy It! Tatiana Pointy Toe Pumps, $53.32 (orig. $79); ninewest.com

 

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Courtesy Nine West

Buy It! Nasira Open Toe Cage Sandals, $67.49 (orig. $109); ninewest.com

 


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Courtesy Nine West

Buy It! Nanura Pointy Toe Pumps, $66.82 (orig. $99); ninewest.com

 

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Courtesy Nine West

Buy It! Maya Open Toe Sandals, $73.57 (orig. $109); ninewest.com

 

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Courtesy Nine West

Buy It! Damonica Platform Sandals, $66.82 (org. $99); ninewest.com

 

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Courtesy Nine West

Buy It! Azinta Open Toe Sandals, $60.74 (orig. $109); ninewest.com

 

Where are you wearing your Nine West heels? Let us know below!

*13 Reasons Why* Addresses Suicide and Bullying in a Way No Teen Drama Ever Has Before

Thirty seconds into the pilot for 13 Reasons Why, something disturbing happens. As a plucky guitar beat welcomes us to a paint-by-numbers suburban high school, two girls take a selfie in front of their dead classmate’s memorialized locker. As they walk away, one reminds the other to use the hashtag #NeverForget if she posts the photo on social media. The breeziness of their exchange is a stark contrast to the heaviness typically associated with death.

But that’s the point: The scene can be read as a nod to the argument that the Internet generation is immune to real feelings. Older generations argue that in place of emotions are emojis, weird digital icons that let us express a feeling without actually feeling it. The danger, they say, is that eventually, this kind of behavior snowballs to the point where we’re desensitized to the realities of Earth—like death. A tragedy is no longer a tragedy: It’s an Instagram opportunity. Capture the moment so your followers see how deep you are; then, forget about it three days—three hours—later. By then, you’re already on to the next YouTube video. Of course, that’s not true; everyone processes emotions, especially grief, in their own way.

And that’s exactly what 13 Reasons Why—Netflix’s new, Selena Gomez-produced show based on Jay Asher’s best-selling novel—explores. It asks a very poignant question: Can a group of smart phone-bred teenagers realize the gravity of death—specifically, a death they might have played a part in causing?

Hannah Baker (played brilliantly by Australian newcomer Katherine Langford) wants to find out. A string of events involving 13 of Hannah’s classmates leads her to death by suicide. In lieu of a note or final Facebook post, Hannah makes 13 cassette tapes that explain how each person contributed to her decision. (That means there’s one tape per person, in case you can’t do the math.) Hannah’s post-mortem instructions are simple: Listen to all of the tapes. Then, pass the tapes on to the next person until all 13 people hear them. If this doesn’t happen, an anonymous student will leak the tapes to their entire school.

Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette), Hannah’s co-worker at the movie theater, is one of the students featured. He’s shy, nerdy, and, apparently, a catalyst for Hannah’s death. He’s also the audience’s way into the story: We learn about the tapes’ existence only because they show up on his doorstep, and we hear them as he does for the first time. Each tape (and episode) introduces a new key player to the mystery. As the season continues, we start seeing just how horrific the events were leading up to Hannah’s death: slut shaming, cyber-bullying, isolation. It’s a nightmare.

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In this scene, a group of students laugh at a photo of Langford’s character, Hannah.

PHOTO: Beth Dubber/Netflix

And not something the 13 Reasons Why cast takes lightly. At a Netflix event in February, three of the leading actors in the show echoed the same sentiment: They’re extremely happy with how it addressed these sensitive, very real problems.

“[13 Reasons Why] tells such a relevant story and deals with so many issues that are so personal,” Langford said. “What I’m really proud about is how it was created—the sensitivity and the respect. All of the issues are dealt with so beautifully, with such respect. That, for me, is a huge thing. “

This doesn’t mean 13 Reasons Why was easy to shoot. These actors—some of who are quite young—engulfed themselves in depressing, downright devastating narratives on a daily basis. Langford said the weightiness of the project affected her both “mentally and physically.”

The material is heavy, yes, but it’s also important. 13 Reasons Why doesn’t sugarcoat its issues like several teen shows do. It explores the real repercussions of harassment in a raw, unflinching way that’s uncomfortable to watch. The adolescent characters are complex and flawed—they’re not archetypical, letterman jacket cut-outs with a prom night finish. This show, simply put, is the real deal—as ugly as that may be.

In the ugliness, of course, is a message: Ultimately, the 13 Reasons Why cast wants viewers to feel less alone as they watch the show.

“There are options and there’s communication and there’s support,” Grey’s Anatomy alum Kate Walsh, who plays Hannah’s mother, said. “When I was a kid, high school felt like that was it. This is your whole world. And for that world to get shattered by bullying or by getting smeared instantly [on] Facebook or Instagram is devastating. We have to learn etiquette. We just got the Internet and got handed a gun with bullets and said, ‘Here, don’t shoot anybody.'”

Minnette hopes people learn social etiquette, too. “Just be aware and be kind and empathetic,” he said. “Any decision you make can make the longest lasting impression on someone.”

The full first season of 13 Reasons Why is streaming on Netflix right now.

Census 2020: Dispute over LGBT questions is really about federal spending

The U.S. Constitution requires a census be taken every ten years. And while the Founders may have had great foresight, it’s doubtful they saw this simple command—mostly to determine representation in Congress—would become mired in controversy over sexual politics.

Throughout the years, as the nation became more complex, so did the census form, adding questions, for example, about race, ancestry, education, health and housing.

But never before have there been questions about sexual orientation and gender identity. In fact, not so long ago, the LGBT community probably would have seen such inquiries as an invasion of privacy.

But during the Obama era, a number of federal agencies, as well as congressional Democrats, wanted to add such questions. And a preliminary draft for the 2020 Census released earlier this week suggested there might be some.

The final draft sent to Congress from the Census Bureau did not feature such questions. John Thompson, head of the Census Bureau—which is part of the Department of Commerce–explained in a letter that they’d investigated if there was a “legislative mandate” to collect such data and determined there was “no federal data need to change the planned census.”

This started a firestorm of protest. 

More than 60 congressional Democrats—led by Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Representatives Raúl Grijalva of Arizona and Adam Schiff of California—sent a letter to the Trump administration insisting the census look into how many LGBT people are in the United States.

The Democratic lawmakers claim that there’s little known “about the social and economic circumstances of the LGBT population” and that they’re “at greater risk of being victimized by violence,” among other things. Thus there’s a need for “expanded data collection” to help identify “the needs of these communities so they can be better served.”

Meghan Maury, criminal and economic justice project director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, spoke more forcefully: “Today, the Trump administration has taken yet another step to deny LGBTQ people freedom, justice, and equity, by choosing to exclude us from the 2020 Census…”

She also noted that federal agencies “can’t make the right choices about how to allocate […] resources if they don’t have a sense of what the LGBTQ community looks like.”

And that, ultimately, may be what this dispute is really about.  Not about numbers in the census, but the number of federal dollars—a lot of them.  As John Thompson noted in his letter, the U.S. Census helps determine how the government will  “distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds annually.”

This has Scott Shackford, an editor at Reason magazine—and a gay man himself–troubled.  Writing on the issue, he notes “rights and freedom are not based on head counts or a demographic analysis of where people live.  This isn’t about rights, it’s about money. This is about organizations and activists who are hoping to use this demographic data to get a bigger slice of federal funding.  And that’s infuriating.”

Despite complaints from the Democrats, the White House determines how the census will be run, and—as President Obama famously noted–elections have consequences.  Still, the debate over the census will continue.  You can count on it.

Triple Albums: The History of an Elusive Rock Format

Triplicate, Bob Dylan’s latest ramble into the wilds of American popular song, continues in the stylistic vein of its predecessors, Shadows in the Night and Fallen Angels. But in the literal sense, it also extends an even weightier tradition.

Comprised of three CDs, Triplicate is that rarity in pop, the triple-record set. Once dismissed as one of rock’s most bloated, needlessly over-the-top formats, Triplicate is the latest example of the way in which the three-disc package simply refuses to die. Despite all attempts to snuff it out, it’s become a perversely durable format, taking on a new context every time it’s revived.

Seemingly, the first three-LP sets plopped onto the scene in 1970 with the release of the first Woodstock soundtrack and George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass. Both were period-piece gems, and both were only extended to that length thanks to a surplus of material. The Woodstock set had to condense three days of music into one package, and Harrison has been stashing away so many songs during the waning days of the Beatles that he probably had no choice. (He and producer Phil Spector were also smart enough to tack jam sessions onto that third LP, thereby not damaging the cohesiveness of the first two LPs of proper songs.)

Fairly soon after, the triple LP came to symbolize the way rock was expanding – or reeling out of control – in the Seventies. The Grateful Dead’s Europe ’72, Yes’ Yessongs, Leon Russell’s Leon Live, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s perfectly titled Welcome Back, My Friends, to the Show That Never Ends – Ladies & Gentlemen … proudly let their triple-freak-flags fly. Each needed those extra LPs to make room for overlong jams, and guitar, synth and drum solos. Yessongs, for instance, averages two songs a side.

In the Dead’s case, the bulky set also helped pay the bills for that overseas tour. The song-oriented exception to the rule at the time was the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Will the Circle Be Unbroken, the group’s mammoth and educational tribute to the roots of country. (Let’s omit compilations like Neil Young’s Decade and the classic series of three-LP artist collections released by Motown during that time.)

Given its association with prog, jam bands and the Seventies, it was only natural that the triple LP would peter out along with flared jeans and Jimmy Carter campaign buttons. But just when the format seemed irrelevant and laughably out of style, punk, of all formats, revived it. At the very end of 1979, Public Image Ltd.’s Metal Box – three 12-inch records crammed into a round tin – put a perverse spin on the format, as did the Clash’s 1981 Sandinista! Since punk was intended to kill off things like, say, prog and triple LPs, those bands’ revivals of the format felt cheeky – the first postmodern take on record packaging.

For a good decade and a half, the three-disc set went into hibernation. The occasional release, like Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1995), contained about the same amount of music as three LPs would have, but hid their triple-LP aspirations on two discs. Freed from his Warner Brothers contract and able to release anything he wanted from his studio and vault, Prince unleashed two three-disc sets in the late Nineties, Emancipation and Crystal Ball, but they only served as reminders that even the strongest such releases were sorely in need of pruning. (Same, alas, with his later triple set, Lotusflow3r.)

But starting during that same period, indie rock took up the triple revival with sharper results. The Magnetic Fields’ 1999 opus, 69 Love Songs, freshened up the format by way of Stephin Merritt’s wonderfully droll and touching songs, one after another. Roughly a decade later, Joanna Newsom’s sonically dreamy, harp-driven Have One on Me felt like the best continuation of the original Seventies concept of the triple record, down to its three-LP format. Five years ago, Green Day somewhat took the plunge, releasing ¡Uno!, ¡Dos! and ¡Tré! as separate releases one month apart. Alas, their punk-cred inclination apparently nixed the idea of packaging all three together for the full trio package.

With each of its three discs only a half hour long each, Triplicate, Dylan’s first venture into the land of the non-compilation three-disc set, could have easily been packaged as two discs. For thematic reasons, he went the separate-disc route. But in keeping with the pre-rock song choices, wouldn’t it be nice to think Dylan also chose to pay homage to another vanishing aspect of the culture? 

Shia LaBeouf’s Assault Charges Dropped

Shia LaBeouf

WENN

Actor Shia LaBeouf has had charges of assault and harassment against him dropped by New York authorities.

The Transformers star was arrested in January after he was involved in a scuffle outside the Big Apple’s Museum of the Moving Image, where he and Jaden Smith had set up their anti-Donald Trump art protest days earlier.

LaBeouf was booked for the misdemeanor counts before he was released on bail, and he was due to face the charges in court next week, but the hearing has since been canceled after New York Police Department officials decided not to move forward with the case, according to TMZ, due to insufficient evidence.

The duo launched the four-year HE WILL NOT DIVIDE US project on January 20, the day of Trump’s inauguration, and encouraged members of the public to take a stand against the controversial new U.S. President by chanting the phrase, “He will not divide us” into a camera, which streamed the footage live online.

Police had to be stationed at the venue due to the large crowds, and after further violent clashes, museum bosses decided to shut down the protest piece.

The actor moved the camera to Albuquerque, New Mexico, but a shooting incident nearby prompted him to reconsider that location too, and in early March, the project changed form and moved to a mystery location, with webcam feed showing a flag and the words, “He will not divide us.”

Last week, the actor revealed the flag footage was being streamed from the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT) in Liverpool, England, prompting pranksters to climbed on the facility’s roof in a bid to reach the flag, which was subsequently removed.