Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Carnival Delayed Due To Low Volume of Nominations

I'm postponing tomorrow's edition of the Carnival Against Sexual Violence until the 15th of Sept. due to the very low number of nominations. The nomination deadline has therefore been extended to the end of the day on Sept. 11.

Please take a few minutes and nominate a post you've written or a post you've read.

For anyone unfamiliar with blog carnivals, this terminology is used for collections of blog posts with different carnivals focusing on different topics. You can learn more by reading the Carnival FAQ.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:55 PM   0 comments links to this post

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Carnival Against Sexual Violence 97

Welcome to the August 1 edition of the Carnival Against Sexual Violence.

Quick FYI for those unfamiliar with blog carnivals and who wonder about this terminology, the term refers to collections of related blog posts. Check out blogcarnival.com for more information.

I'm now on Twitter as Abyss2hope so if you Twitter please follow me and then let me know you arrived from this blog through the @ reply or DM.

Thank you to everyone who nominated a post or who wrote a post against sexual violence whether it was nominated/selected or not. Nominations that came in after the nomination deadline will be considered for the next edition of the carnival.

If you support the purpose of the carnival, you can help get the word out about it and all of the posts included in the carnival.

Here are the selections for this edition of the carnival against sexual violence:


In More to Say About UN Women posted at myMADRE, we get a discussion of how previously disjointed and ill-funded UN groups working on women's rights were combined into a single, more effective agency.


In Experts Believe Arizona Immigration Law Will Harm Domestic Abuse Victims posted at The Curvature, we get a discussion of how a law requiring the police to verify immigration status will help those committing abuse.

In Blaming the victim posted at Media Misses, we get a discussion of an Iowa case where a woman who was the victim of domestic violence was wrongfully placed on a child abuser list for the impact her husband's crime against her has on their children.

In False Rape Reports posted at Jim C. Hines, we get a discussion about false rape reports including how often an allegation or second-hand story is accepted as fact with little or no evidence.

In South African Sea Cadet Found Dead Hours After Rape Allegations Were Filed posted at The Curvature, we get a discussion of a woman who died after disclosing rape.

In Technology used by girl to seek helpposted at Abyss2hope: A rape survivor's zigzag journey into the open, I discuss a case where technology helped a girl reach out for help.

media watch

In Sin by Silence – a documentary on domestic violence posted at CALCASA, we get an interview with 2 women behind this documentary.

In Where sexual violence prevention starts. posted at Happy Bodies, we get a discussion sparked by the premise that a female condom being marketed in South Africa is rape prevention.

In Today in Rape Culture posted at Shakespeare's Sister, we get a discussion of victim blaming comments made to Larry King by Lynette Taylor (the wife of NFL Hall-of-Famer Lawrence Taylor—who was indicted last month).

In Michael Kimmel on male entitlement, anger and invisible privilege posted at Feministing, we get a discussion of the author of the book, Guyland, about the pressures placed on young men to prove their masculinity.

raising awareness

In On Dismissing Sexual Violence Against Some Women As “Cultural” posted at The Curvature, we get a discussion of how the high rate of rape in the Congo is often dismissed as the norm by those working to improve the security there.

In So, I’m pretty? That doesn’t oblige me to sleep with you. posted at thatfuckinghippy, we get a discussion of sexual harassment which is justified by the prettiness of the person being harassed.

In why even street sexual harassment is hard to get over posted at Iced Tea and Lemon Cake, we get a discussion about the impact of behavior which many people dismiss as harmless.

In Ms. Foundation Report on Gender-Based Violence posted at Change Happens, we get a discussion of the report titled, “Efforts to Address Gender-Based Violence: A Look at Foundation Funding.”

In Raped By Dad? Just Turn Lemons Into Lemonade posted at Women's Rights Change.org, we get a discussion about the dismissive response to girls become pregnant from rape.

In Protect yourself? posted at Change Happens, we get a discussion of the danger of telling girls and women to protect themselves from rape which includes positioning rape as being caused by the actions of victims.


In New Study Challenges Stereotypes of Adolescent Sex Offendersposted at Abyss2hope: A rape survivor's zigzag journey into the open, I discuss research which contradicts the belief that rape by adolescents is caused by poor communication or social skills.


In RCASA's Saturday Prevention: Reaching Rural Communities posted at Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault Blog, we get a discussion of the challenges which are unique to providing help to people who live in rural communities.

In Scotland Anti-Rape Ad Tackles “She Was Asking For It” Myth posted at The Curvature, we get a discussion of the "Not Ever" campaign which challenges the too common belief that people can ask to be raped.

That concludes this edition of the carnival against sexual violence. Thank you for taking the time to visit this carnival and thank you to the authors of all the posts included in this edition.

To nominate a post (your own or someone else's) to the next edition of carnival against sexual violence, use the carnival submission form. If you have any problem with the form, please let me know so your submission can be considered for the next edition.

Links to everything related to the carnival can be found on the blog dedicated to this carnival, http://carnivalagainstsexualviolence.blogspot.com/

Marcella Chester


Bookmark and Share
posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:03 AM   2 comments links to this post

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Portland Authorities Announce No Charges To Be Filed Against Al Gore

The district attorney's office in Portland, Oregon has announced that there will be no charges filed against Al Gore. This announcement and the reasons given for it have been mistaken by some to mean that the woman who made the report has been proven to have lied to the police, meaning that this is a proven hoax. This is false. "Lack of credible evidence," means just that.

Those who twist this into something more are promoting a false claim. Too often this includes the police and prosecutors who make claims which go beyond the evidence. People who seem to never forget "innocent until proven guilty" and who are concerned over the taint of unproven allegations suddenly seem to have never heard of either of those concepts. The pervasive bias about false sex crimes reports causes many people to read more into the evidence than is actually there.

The requirement for claims by the police and the prosecution against someone who reported a crime before they can be taken as fact are the same as if they are making these claims against the person accused of the original crime. Both are unproven allegations until proven in court. Anyone who is claiming this case has been proven to be a hoax is making a false claim. Nothing has been proven.

Selling your story to the National Enquirer is proof of nothing related to the original claim. If it were then everyone who has ever sold their story must be a liar. Yet this blanket claim is clearly false. People can and do sell the truth to media outlets.

The woman's failed polygraph is also presented as evidence, but polygraphs are not proof. People who are innocent can fail them and people who are guilty can pass them.

Thanking the hotel management for referrals after an alleged crime at that hotel by a referred client is also not proof. There are practical reasons to not mention an assault.

Not providing requested material to the police and prosecutors is also not proof. If it becomes clear in a crime victim's mind that investigators have turned on them it makes perfect sense to not volunteer any material to people who seem likely to view that material through their biased filter.

These items do explain why the decision was made that the original allegations against Al Gore cannot be proven in court. But that is different from making a claim that Al Gore has been proven innocent. None if the supporting items given by the DA's office provide any proof that Al Gore is innocent.

The reality is that there are many cases where nothing can be proven in criminal court and the just thing to do is to openly acknowledge this even if those making the announcement believe they know the truth. When officials fail to acknowledge all that has not been proven many people add cases such as this one against Al Gore to their list of proven hoaxes and then they will use an unproven hoax to instantly cast doubt on the next allegation against someone who is famous.

This is negligent and must never be tolerated.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:58 AM   0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Carnival Deadline Approaching

Tomorrow night at 11 pm is the next deadline for the Carnival Against Sexual Violence so please take a few minutes and nominate a post you've written or a post you've read.

For anyone unfamiliar with blog carnivals, this terminology is used for collections of blog posts with different carnivals focusing on different topics. You can learn more by reading the Carnival FAQ.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:36 AM   0 comments links to this post

Monday, July 26, 2010

New Ad Urges Congress To Pass International VAWA Act

I've blogged about the importance of passing the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) (HR 4594/S 2982) before and urged my readers in the US to contact their representative and senators. I was reminded that this legislation is still pending by an email from the Family Violence Prevention Fund.

This is an important piece of human rights legislation that should have been passed years ago, but many people who claim to support human rights fail to do so when the humans are primarily female. Too often women's human rights are viewed as special, and therefore lesser, rights.

Sometimes this lesser status is positioned as a natural result of protecting individual rights. However, there is nothing natural about this so-called natural result, but selling it as such works to convince far too many people.

In this stratified version of individual rights only the rights of those accused of violence against women and those who enable this violence have rights which must be protected. This gendered view is often falsely presented as if it were gender neutral by framing who gets rights without mention of gender. Those accused have individual rights, those harmed do not.

Sometimes harm to women who are victims of sexual violence is viewed as positive such as expressed by a man who learned that women in Afghanistan were jailed for reporting rape. Here's his response to this human rights abuse:
I bet there aren't any false rape allegations in Afghanistan!!!
While other people might not respond to this injustice with such glee, too many people who feel bad for these women refuse to do anything to stop this type of injustice and on a practical level align themselves with this man who sees unjust imprisonment as something to celebrate.

Fortunately, there is a new push to get members of the US Congress to make this legislation a priority and to pass it this year. Women Thrive Worldwide created a print ad which includes:
Her Eyes Will See So Much.
An aunt brutally punished for being RAPED.
A friend forced into PROSTITUTION.
A cousin SOLD INTO MARRIAGE at age 12.
A sister BURNED WITH ACID for going to school.
Don't turn your back on her.
Pass the International Violence Against Women Act, so she can see a world free of violence against girls and women.”

Those who don't support girls' and women's human rights don't truly support human rights, but instead only support men's human rights. We can do better and we must do better and we must demand this from those who are supposed to represent us.

Please contact your US representative and your senators to let them know that this legislation is a priority and should be passed this year.


Bookmark and Share
posted by Marcella Chester @ 11:48 AM   0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Technology Used By Girl To Seek Help During Rape Attempt

A 12-year-old girl who had her cell phone taken away from her by her mother's ex-boyfriend before he started sexually assaulting her was able to use her iPod's Internet connection to seek help.

This case is an example of how technology can help combat sexual violence. So often when sexual assault and technology are mentioned, only the efforts of predators are mentioned. This needs to change.

Technology can be a useful tool for those being assaulted and it can be useful for bystanders. If technology is exploited fully by all non-offenders that may cause some offenders to have more fear of detection.

H/T: twitter feed of Hollydes


Bookmark and Share
posted by Marcella Chester @ 3:37 PM   6 comments links to this post

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

New Study Challenges Stereotypes of Adolescent Sex Offenders

A new study which looks at the data from a variety of samples confirms what many of us have been saying for years and that is that sexual violence among non-strangers should never be dismissed as just a misunderstanding and needs to be looked at as a matter of the person's values and ethics related to how they treat other people sexually in the context of how personal sexual ethics are reinforced or undermined by wider social norms.

When people claim misunderstanding as the cause of sexual offenses many times it is presented as acceptable for someone to proceed sexually without ensuring willing participation and to proceed even when any agreement or compliance is not freely given. This teaching about acceptable perpetration happens every time someone blames a victim for not being clearer in their non-consent.

A new study looks at the contrast between the stereotypes of young sex offenders and the reality.
WASHINGTON – Adolescent sex offenders are often stereotyped and treated as socially inept, but new research negates this image, finding that they are more likely to be characterized by atypical sexual interests -- such as desire for prepubescent children, coercive sex with peers and adults, and exposing their genitals to strangers. Adolescent sex offenders are also more likely to have a history of sexual abuse themselves, been exposed to sexual violence in their families, and experienced early exposure to sex or pornography.

"If you walked into a typical group treatment for adolescent sex offenders, you might notice a lot of focus on social skills, like how to approach a girl, how to deal with conflict and understanding non-verbal communication," said Michael C. Seto, PhD, lead author of the study. "Our research suggests that social skills training is not what young sex offenders need most in order to be rehabilitated. Discussing sexuality -- early exposure to sex or pornography, sexual fantasies, and sexual arousal -- would likely get us closer to understanding why the offenses were committed and prevent similar ones from being committed again."

Seto, of the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group, and Martin Lalumiere, PhD, of the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, conducted a meta-analysis of 59 independent studies comparing a total of 3,855 male adolescent sex offenders with 13,393 male adolescent non-sex offenders between ages 12 and 18. Their research is published in the July issue of Psychological Bulletin, published by the American Psychological Association.
When studies find that sex offenders have a higher rate of sexual abuse victimization than non-offenders many times people believe that a continuing of the cycle of sexual violence is caused by something internal to the survivor, but I believe that the rationalizations given by those who victim blame and deny sexual violence actively reinforces dangerous norms. When victimization is nullified then so too is perpetration.

There is too fine of a line between, "You asked for," and, "It's okay to do to others what someone did to you as long as people would tell them they asked for it." Same goes for "It doesn't count because you never said the word no," and "It won't count as a crime as long as your victims never say no." These fine lines don't widen just because many victim blamers give disclaimers stating that they are against all sexual violence.

We do a disservice to all socially awkward children and adolescents when we allow this stereotype to continue. We also do a disservice to all survivors sexual abuse when we link the abuse itself to the choice to abuse sexually.


Bookmark and Share
posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:51 AM   3 comments links to this post

Monday, July 19, 2010

EvPsych Narrative That Domestic Abusers Are Guarding Their Victims

I came across an article which asks Why do so men beat up their wives and girlfriends? on Psychology Today by Satoshi Kanazawa which conflates statistical outcomes with evidence of causation. The article begins with:
In a previous post, I address the question of why so many battered women stay in their abusive relationships. (Answer: So that they could produce violent sons with the abusive husbands, who will grow up to kill many men.)

This answer clearly conflates an outcome of remaining in an abusive relationship: violent sons with the premise that this is the true underlying reason women stay. In that previous post, staying is positioned as in opposition to the "importance of life, survival, and individual welfare" but this is based on ignorance. Leaving an abuser can result in the loss of all 3 of these. This can happen even when the victim is using the best resources available.

The number of boys and girls fathered by abusers vs. non-abusers can clearly be impacted by more than biology. An abuser who wants sons and not daughters can adapt the abuse to increase or decrease the chance of a miscarriage. Yet this reality is ignored just as the very real risks of leaving an abuser were ignored.

In the investigation of why men abuse their partners, the competing premises Kanazawa presents neatly reduce domestic violence to being caused by the valuing of the abused person's reproductive value or not valuing this. Then DV statistics are positioned as by necessity proving one of these premises true and the other false. This misuses data since it presents any data set as proving evolutionary psychology to be a valid explanation for abuse.

Too often when I see someone supporting evolutionary psychology to explain domestic or sexual violence, that person's understanding of the behaviors they are trying to explain seems based on popular narratives about violence rather than on solid research or scientific thought.


Bookmark and Share
posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:59 AM   2 comments links to this post

Friday, July 16, 2010

ESPN's Erin Andrews Sues Hotels For Giving Stalker Information He

I'm glad to see that Erin Andrews has sued 7 hotels who gave her stalker her room number. From the Detroit News:

ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, who was secretly videotaped nude while staying at hotels, filed a lawsuit Thursday against seven hotels and the suburban Chicago man who admitted making the tapes.

Andrews filed the suit in Cook County against the hotels for negligence and invasion of privacy, about seven months after Michael David Barrett, of Westmont, Ill., pleaded guilty in federal court in Los Angeles to interstate stalking.

Andrews' lawsuit alleges the hotels confirmed where Barrett was staying and gave out her room number without her permission.
These lawsuits are important because it isn't only celebrities who can be harmed because companies or their employees gave out this type of information. Other stalking victims can also be harmed as well as victims of domestic violence who may use going to a hotel as part of their safety plan.

In 3 cities hotels not only gave out her room number, they allowed Andrews' stalker to book a room next to hers.

Too often basic security and privacy considerations are ensured only when companies believe they will be hurt financially if they fail to have effective policies in place.


Bookmark and Share
posted by Marcella Chester @ 2:21 PM   4 comments links to this post