What’s Current: John Lee Cowell charged with murder in stabbing death of Nia Wilson

What’s Current is Feminist Current’s daily news roundup.

  • John Lee Cowell, 27, has been charged with murder after viciously attacking sisters Nia and Letifah Wilson with a knife. Nia, an 18-year-old black woman, died immediately on the train platform at the Oakland MacArthur BART station. Cowell is also charged with attempted murder for injuring Latifah.
  • A lawyer for former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner, who was convicted of sexually assaulting an intoxicated woman outside a fraternity house in 2015, argued that Turner’s attempted rape conviction should be overturned. Lawyer Eric Multhaup argued in court Tuesday that his client was not attempting rape, but was seeking “outercourse.”
  • Artist Susan Unterber anonymously donated millions to support underrecognized female artists over age 40. In an interview with The New York Times, she says:

“Women continue to be seriously undervalued and underappreciated. The work is not taken as seriously, and men are still running the game. Men in power support men in power, and they want to see men in power.”

  • A Ontario-based student survey released on Wednesday shows that girls are more negatively affected by social media than boys. The Globe and Mail reports that “researchers found that 61 per cent of girls who used social media for more than five hours a day indicated moderate to serious psychological distress, compared with 33 per cent of boys.”
Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • Faradn

    I hope that five daily hours of social media is way outside the norm for both men and women.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Probs not out of the norm for younger people though….

      • Tobysgirl

        Very sad, very sad. And the number of adults I see glued to screens while their children are begging for attention is deeply disturbing. There is a direct negative correlation between screen time and one’s actual interaction with reality, and it is extremely unhealthy. (If I weren’t disabled I would spend no time online I’ve got so many things I could do if I had the energy.)

  • oneclickboedicea

    Could the brock turner case get more disgusting? Outercourse? Wtf? And the murder of nia, no neespaper considering that it is just as likely to be misogyny as racism driving the murder?

    • Tinfoil the Hat

      Now they’re saying it’s the usual white male defense: “mental illness.”

  • Elara

    OUTERCOURSE. I repeat; OUTERCOURSE. WTF. I’m stunned.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I know. The nerve.

  • shy virago

    Thank you for posting the beautiful picture of Nia Wilson. I read about it Tuesday morning and started to cry at the computer. It’s too much – too many men killing women.
    The media and many people will say what they always do ‘insanity, drugs, disturbed’ etc but never the
    root : misogyny and white supremacy. We have to do much more than just say her name.

  • therealcie

    I don’t care if Brock Turner’s victim was fully clothed, he was assaulting her with sexual intent. But boys will be boys, I guess. Ugh.

  • therealcie

    Obvious troll is obvious. Nasty nonetheless. Begone, pond scum.

  • Robert Lindsay

    My motive? Science, logic, reason and the law. You know, all those things fact free feminists hate so much?

    The first case appears to be a senseless crime by someone with psychosis, either psychotic mania or schizoaffective disorder. By the way I work in mental health and have to do diagnosis all the time.

    Blacks and feminists just want to say it was motivated by sexism or racism to feed their victim addiction.

    BTW I do agree that she was raped. He penetrated her digitally when she was passed out. That’s rape. And she’s in very bad shape from the incident.

  • Robert Lindsay

    90% of rape calls cops go out on are bullshit. Either the woman’s story is contradictory and falls apart or it’s spouses or live in lovers in the context of a lot of boozing and drugging by both parties and the cops throw up their hands.

    On the other hand rape exists and is a serious crime. Even date rape can be very serious. Some of my woman friends got raped, and it wasn’t pretty.

    Nevertheless, 90% of rape calls cops investigate are just crap.

    • corvid

      Citation please.

      • Robert Lindsay

        You won’t find it. But you can go a lot of places on the Web and see cops saying it or you can go talk to cops, and you get the same answer.

    • calabasa

      You are not only an idiot but seem to be also a rapist.

      I’m kind of in the “burn in hell” camp these days, I’m sure some commentators on here might be happy to note, so here’s hoping you do.

  • cday881@gmail.com

    Outercourse is non-penetrative sex.


  • andrea

    This is all just so sad. The sexist racist took life of young women. I wish society would pull its head out of male ass and start recognizing hate crime against women.

  • acommentator

    “If he was a violent schizophrenic, he should have been institutionalized. The U.S. should have the money and infrastructure to do that. Instead, he was let out–again and again, again and again homeless and terrorizing people.”

    True. But currently there is still a pretty strong norm against institutionalizing people. A couple of decades back, it was much more accepted to institutionalize people . There was a correction. Now there are quite a lot of people out there that should be in institutions who are not.

    Most of them are dangerous only to themselves. But some are dangerous to others. My impression is that it takes a pretty serious crime for them to get institutionalized for long, and then prison is the likely result, not a mental institution.

  • L.S.

    I’m sorry, but this is totally inappropriate and doesn’t belong here. This is a site about feminism, not racism or any other social issue. We have got to stop giving away the spaces we own AS WOMEN to everyone else with a cause we may sympathize with. This lack of maintaining our boundaries is exactly how individual women give away their power in the world, and we must not let it happen to us as a movement.

    Furthermore, the killer in this story was schizophrenic, on meth, and had a history of violence against many people, including his own family, who had a restraining order against him. Is there any actual evidence that this man was acting on misogyny (or racism, for that matter)? We women have enough real victimhood in this society without needing to invent any. Let’s maintain our boundaries and stay reasonable because our survival as a movement depends on it.