After weeks and months of organizing by immigration rights groups, sexual assault victims’ rights groups, and social media users, rape and assault survivor Ny Nourn has been freed from ICE detention and is out on bail.
This post was updated on November 14, 2017. Please scroll down for updates.
In stunning news for the Asian American community, beloved community activist and Star Trek star George Takei has been accused of sexually assaulting former male model and commercial actor Scott R. Brunton in a 1981 incident.
This story was updated on October 17, 2017, October 18, 2017, and October 20, 2017 with new developments. Please scroll to the bottom for updates.
Charlyne Yi — the award-winning actor, comedian, writer, and musician best known for her role as a series regular on House, her voice acting work on Steven Universe, and her starring role in Paper Heart which she also wrote — took to Twitter earlier this week to describe her first encounter with writer, director and actor David Cross.
In a series of four tweets, Yi — who is mixed race Filipinx and Korean American — describes how when she first met Cross, Cross made fun of Yi for her appearance. When she didn’t respond, Cross reportedly said: “What’s a matter? You don’t speak English?? Ching-Chong-Ching-Chong.” Cross went on to mockingly challenge Yi to a karate match.
At the time of the encounter, Cross was over forty years old, and already an established comedian, writer and TV and film actor with several stand-up comedy specials already under his belt. Yi was a veritable newcomer to the comedy and acting scene, and was only about twenty years old.
Ny Nourn was born into war and violence.
Nourn’s mother fled genocide in Cambodia to a refugee camp in Thailand where she gave birth to Nourn. Nourn was just 5 years old when her mother immigrated with her to the United States and married Nourn’s stepfather, whose abusive behaviour against both mother and child motivated Nourn’s mother to enact her own verbal abuse against Nourn, as well.
Nourn grew up knowing no other kind of relationship but abuse, pain, and violence.
Nourn was just 17 years old when she met 34-year-old Ron Barker, the man who would be her boyfriend, and eventually her abuser and rapist. She was just 18 years old when Barker, jealous of her affair with another man, coerced her with physical assault, rape, and death threats to lure her lover into a trap and to stay silent after he shot and killed the other man, and burned the body so badly that dental records would be needed to identify the victim.
Nourn was just 21 years old when she chose to break her silence and tell police of the crime. She was arrested on the spot and charged with murder.
Nourn was still just 21 years old when a jury sentenced her — a survivor of domestic violence and rape — to a 15-years-to-life prison sentence for second degree murder in failing to prevent her abuser from shooting and killing another man. Nourn served 16 years in prison before receiving parole.
But her freedom was short-lived. Immediately upon her release from Central California Women’s Facility earlier this year, she was taken into custody by US Immigration and imprisoned in the Yuba County Jail, an ICE detention facility built to hold immigrants facing deportation.
Now, Nourn faces deportation to Cambodia, a country she does not know. She is 36 years old.
In an exchange on the House floor that might otherwise have gone entirely overlooked, Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington, 7th District) — the first Indian American woman to be elected to Congress — shut down her colleague, Representative Don Young (R-Alaska) for addressing her as “young lady” and saying that she “doesn’t know a damn thing what she’s talking about.” (Transcript of the exchange available here related to Amendment No. 43.)
The exchange took place Thursday on the floor of the House of Representatives during a debate over an amendment sponsored by Representative Young that would repeal federal regulations against controversial hunting practices in wildlife reserves, such as the use of artificial lights and certain forms of bait to lure animals towards areas where they can be shot at point-blank range, as well as the shooting of bear cubs or wolf pups during denning season. Jayapal, who is 51 years old and a former civil rights attorney currently serving her first term in the House, gave remarks on the floor outlining her concerns with the proposed amendment. Reports The Seattle Times:
“These national lands are intended to be enjoyed by all Americans, including those who visit and hope to have the rare opportunity to see bears and wolves in their natural habitats,” Jayapal said. “These are reasonable regulations that prevent cruel hunting practices.”
Young, however, took issue with those comments, and took to the floor to attempt a patronizing, sexist takedown of Representative Jayapal. While dismissing her as a “young lady”, Young chastised Jayapal as someone who “doesn’t know a damn thing what she’s talking about.” Deriding her commentary as “really nonsense”, Young accused Jayapal of parroting talking points written for her by animal rights groups.