Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Death Penalty Closer for Some Sex Offenders in S.C.

CBS News
The South Carolina House on Wednesday passed a pair of bills that would allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty for some repeat child molesters.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 4:28 PM   0 comments links to this post

If I'm to be given one label, call me an egalitarian

Since I started speaking out about my rape and rape in general, I've been called a man hater, anti-male and a few derogatory labels I won't repeat here. Yet as I think about why I speak out and blog against rape and other forms of violence and exploitation, hating men isn't even at the bottom of the list.

What's number one?

Preventing harm.

In an ideal world no one would be charged with rape because everyone tempted to rape would resist temptation. I know we'll never reach that ideal world, but we can get closer to it than we are today. Sometimes that means standing up against those who try to block this effort.

So why do some still insist on giving me the label man hater for my effort?

At first I thought they confused my opposition to rape as an opposition to men since men commit most of the rapes. I thought they couldn't have read much of my blog or they would see that I'm also against the exploitation and rape of men and boys.

Then it clicked. The label has never been about me.

It's all about them. To define me as a man hater you have to refuse to truly see and value rape victims as full human beings who didn't deserve what was done to them.

The women who tried to slap that label on me frequently talk about protecting their sons. And if that protection harms girls and women that seems to be an acceptable trade off. Those women who say they are only protecting the men and boys in their family often say they were feminists through college and beyond but finally came to their senses.

These women remind me of parents who fight to get every school levy passed until their last child graduates and who then switch sides to lead the fight against all subsequent school levies.

For these people it is all about them and their self-interests. They were never true to any philosophy about education. Those ex-feminists were never true feminists, they just aligned themselves where they saw potential benefits such as increased pay for women.

Either that or the intrinsic definition some have of what it means to be a man includes a level of violence and self-centeredness I see as criminal.

As a woman, I've experienced the harm that comes when men think of girls and women as something less than them. But my concern has never been limited to the harm that I have felt personally or that I am more likely to feel because of my gender. From as early as I can remember, my mother stressed respect for others and that it was wrong to exploit others just because you can.

So the label feminist has too narrow of a scope.

As I read Newsweek: An Inconvenient Woman about Mary Magdalene, the label of egalitarian popped out at me. It spoke to my responsibility not to see myself as inherently superior to anyone else, not even rapists. It means I can't buy into monster myths.

For those who want to claim superiority, egalitarian is a nasty thing to be. It means you are no better in the eyes of God than the leper and you have no excuse for exploiting people you see as inferior.

This stratification of humanity relates to the view held by some in the Church that Eve caused Adam to sin just as rape victims caused their rapists to lose control. To me this ignores the lesson I learned from the story of Eve, Adam and the apple. And that is that passing the buck for the actions you take is as old as humanity. God didn't like it then and I doubt God approves of it now.

In my comment on Alas: Gender Does NOT Trump Race, I wrote:

The view that any type of oppression/discrimination/hatred trumps another forgets that they are all symptoms of the same problem. And that problem is exploiting groupings of people for our self-interests and then using those same groups as scapegoats.

This underlying system harms even those who aren't oppressed/discriminated against or hated because it creates a toxic environment.

Unfortunately, many see this toxicity as being caused by those who don't quietly let the toxic system hurt them by staying in their proper place.

Many who want to deny racism/sexism/etc are likely scared that the unjust system will turn on them. The last thing they want is to be treated the way they treat those they discriminate against.

We tend to think others mirror our way of thinking so from the emotion put into attacking those who fight against sexism and sexual violence, anti-feminists must be afraid that feminists want to turn the tables on men.

They may feel that violence-against-women legislation does just that, but there's a huge difference between making those who hurt others -- with little risk of punishment -- accountable for their actions and switching who can victimize without fear of punishment.

So if I'm an egalitarian, why aren't I as vocal in all the areas where people are harmed or discriminated against? It's very simple, I'm at zero degrees of separation when it comes to rape and the ripple effects of rape. In other areas, I can be supportive but I don't have the same level of experience and insight.

It would be like an alien trying to communicate how to walk from Los Angeles to New York City without getting a closer look at the Earth than what astronauts can see from the moon. Hey, from up there, the Earth looks like a perfect globe and all you have to do is follow a curved line. That alien would probably grumble that humans don't know how to follow even the simplest of instructions.

My view is often closer than the moon analogy, but I could easily say things as hurtful and as ignorant as many people say about the impact of rape.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:01 AM   3 comments links to this post

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The problem with picking a preferred victimization

In the comments of my post, False Allegation Worse Than Rape? cross-posted to Alas Ed wrote:

Would you rather be raped or incarcerated for 1, 10, or 20 years. Maybe I am a freak but I will take a rape, ESPECIALLY the I am too drunk to remember kind, over giving up years of my life. No hesitation, no second thoughts.
Okay, I'll take your choice and run with it. Since rape by it's definition is beyond the rape victim's control, I'll create a full scenario from that to show how this "easy" choice may not be something that's over and done with in one night.

Since many rapes happen on college campuses, our fictional raped man is a senior who has landed his perfect job and his perfect fiance. He's at a party where he bumps into a girl he dated his freshman year. He broke up with her when he discovered that she was into drugs, porn and sleeping around. This night she hands him a Coke (he gave up drinking alcohol at the same time this relationship ended) and tells him that she's turned her life around and because he once cared for her, he sips his drink and listens to her financial plans even though he wishes he could be anywhere else.

The smoke and the noise start getting to him and he tells this girl that it was good seeing her, but it's time for him to go since he has a big test in the morning. She tells him that she's ready to leave also, but the walk to her dorm takes her through an area where a girl was raped the month before. Because he's a gentleman, he reluctantly agrees to see her safely to the entrance of her dorm.

The girl waves at those around them and tells them she's being seen safely home so they don't have to worry about her. A few people wink suggestively, but our man needs fresh air too much to correct anyone's impression about his intentions.

The next morning, our man wakes up naked in a strange bed. He's in a dorm room and it isn't his. He sits up and feels like he's going to puke. As he rushes to get dressed and get to his class which he's already late for, he nearly trips over a tripod.

By the time he gets his supplies from his dorm room and gets to the class where his big test has already started, he's so waxen that the professor suggests he go to the infirmary. He doesn't and instead somehow makes it back to his dorm room and collapses.

The next morning he's fine and he soon takes that exam and he just knows he aced it. Friday night, he and his fiance have a romantic encounter and everything is once again as it should be.

The end?

Not so fast. This man was raped, remember.

A few days later, a group of students he doesn't know well point at him. He hears something about him being movie star material. His fiance has told him more than once that he has the looks to be a model, but looks aren't what matter to him. Still, he gets a little ego boost.

The day after that, his fiance has her best friend return his engagement ring. He tries to contact her, but is told to stop stalking her.

A week later, his favorite professor stops calling on him.

A month after he walked his ex-girlfriend home, a representative from the perfect employer who made a written job offer, tells him that his job offer is being withdrawn. The person says something about a background and credit check. He immediately goes online and requests his credit report, but it is still pristine. His name isn't uncommon so maybe his future employer has mistaken someone else for him.

He goes online and searches for his name and finds it listed on his ex-girlfriend's web site. To see what she's written about him he would have to pay since she has a fee-based members-only section. Adults only.

He vaguely remembers her saying that she was paying her way through college by designing and maintaining web sites, but this isn't what he envisioned. He wants to know what's linked to his name, but he doesn't want to pay to find out.

He talks to several friends and the ones who, like him, stay focused on the goal of building a stable future don't have a clue. But a friend he parted ways with around the same time he broke up with this old girlfriend, winks and calls him a real stud. Feeling nearly as sickly as the night he walked his old girlfriend home, he waits while this old friend turns on his computer.

Far too soon he sees what happened that night. And he looks like a willing participant in the making of porn. The woman keeps her face averted so his identity is the only one that is unquestionable.

Without having to think about it twice he says, "She must have slipped drugs into my Coke. This was rape."

The other man laughs. "Yeah, that's your story and you're sticking to it."

Within hours it seems like everyone on campus starts calling him, "Raped Man."

He goes to the campus police and the officer tells him that's what you get when you do drugs or go binge drinking. The man then asks if he at least had enough common sense to use protection.

He hadn't even thought about STDs. With his ex-girlfriend's drug habit, she could very possibly be HIV positive. He gets tested, but he's told he needs to be retested for HIV even if this test comes back negative.

He scrounges together enough money to pay for an attorney without talking to his parents. The attorney sends a letter demanding that the video be removed immediately. A letter is sent to his lawyer saying he signed a consent form. He remembers signing a form his freshman year when she wanted to submit his portrait to a competition. The lawyer asks him how he could be so stupid.

The rest of his senior year doesn't get any better and college becomes an endurance event. He contacts other employers who offered him a job, but they tell them the position he was offered has already been filled. Six months after graduation, he finds a job but it pays far less than the position he lost. He saves every extra dollar and has a new lawyer make an offer to have the video removed. A ridiculous counter offer is made but he feels he has no choice so he pays it.

He gets involved with his local church and finds a safe place. He avoids talking about his college experience. Two years after he was raped, he has another HIV test taken and to his relief, it comes back negative. He then asks the woman he loves to marry him and hopes she will never learn about the video. He doesn't even think about telling her what happened to him.

As they build a family, he prays that video never surfaces again.

This sort of scenario could happen to a college woman. Even the refusal by so many people to see her as a real rape victim. Only a woman might get far enough in the process to be identified by many as someone who made a false allegation of rape.

The scariest part is my fear of posting this scenario since some will try to use it to minimize the impact of rape on women. "See, men can get raped too so stop talking about gender violence. If we can endure it without legal recourse, you can too."

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 11:53 AM   0 comments links to this post

New Air Force Academy Chief Sees Progress


AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) -- When the Air Force Academy's sexual assault scandal exploded three years ago, Lt. Gen. John Regni didn't have to depend on the news media or fellow commanders for all the sordid details. He had an inside source. His daughter, Jessica, was a senior cadet in the Class of 2003.


Junior Troy Egbert of Jerome, Idaho, who took two years off to go on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said he has seen many changes since he first started in 2001.
"The thing that has changed the most is the professionalism and relevance," he said. "We do things now not because we can but because we will need it later. Personally, I think it is better."

This shows me that with proper and informed leadership, environments that were hostile toward women and their reporting of violence against them, can change.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:08 AM   1 comments links to this post

Monday, May 29, 2006

False Allegation Worse Than Rape?

Wes Raine:

Rape is a truly terrible act. There is not much worse than rape, but this article details something that might be. An unnamed fifteen year old girl reported to police that a Connecticut cab driver tried to rape her but she escaped.
This man's acknowledgement that rape is a terrible act is undermined by the facts of the false rape case (that might be worse than rape) as reported by WFSB:

"The reason she ran off was she didn't want to pay the cab fare," Moscato said. "But on the other side, here's an officer and you see someone running, screaming. We have to act quickly, because (what if) we have someone who is a predator out there?"
The incident happened on May 8 and the charges were dropped on Tuesday May 23. Despite the rhetoric being tossed out by those who think most accused rapists are the real victims, this case highlights that law enforcement doesn't blindly take the accuser's word as fact.

As someone who has been raped (more than once) and falsely accused of a crime (only one time) both were highly stressful, but being raped was the far greater violation. People who try to put false allegations (including all allegations where the person charged claimed it was consensual and which couldn't be proved or disproved) on the same level as acknowledged rapes are in fact trying to minimize the crime of rape.

In a comment on my post about the women's Duke lacrosse team's plan to wear bracelets that say innocent, crossposted on Alas, Nyk writes:

I’m sorry, but being a woman [rape victim] does not give you a special right not to face peer pressure. If you have to stand up for what’s right, you have to do it, man or woman, and if you don’t do it, you are personally at fault for that. Not anyone else. You. This is a lesson I learned in a very difficult way, but in the end, it is still true. Those who desire a perfectly "fair" world are destined for unhappiness, because life is not fair even at its best, let alone at its worst.
What I find so interesting about this comment is:

1) Women rape victims are at fault if they crumple when besieged by pressure from their peers, with no distinction between true peer pressure and illegal attempts to subvert justice. It assumes that rape is not traumatic enough to interfere with resisting whatever your peers throw at you. Any weakness is the victim's fault and not a consequence of the trauma of rape.

2) I've seen no similar commands directed at those who say they have been falsely accused of rape. None of the personal responsibility crowd is telling them that they should stop expecting life to be "fair" and that if they can't handle being seen as possible rapists, it's their own fault. Those who refuse to believe certain rape charges instead paint the alleged rapists as tragic heroes victimized by unfair justice systems and evil women. They've looked into these men's hearts and know they would never commit rape. Any evidence against them must be false.

3) It is extremely pessimistic. It also ignores the fact that only the most privileged always expect to get what's perfectly fair. I've found that those who have been spoiled with "perfect fairness" have the most trouble when they end up on the wrong side of the fairness/unfairness scale. And if they can't have perfect fairness, nobody else should expect fairness, not even rape victims.

Many of those who support alleged rapists skip "not fair" or "peer pressure" and go right to "witch hunt" or "lynch mob." Since both of those latter phrases describe actions where people get murdered, alleged rapists are to be seen as potentially greater victims than women who are raped.

I guess it's my problem that I don't accept this unquestionable truth.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:14 AM   1 comments links to this post

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Carnival Against Sexual Violence Deadline Approaching

The first submission deadline for the Carnival Against Sexual Violence is tomorrow at 1 am and the first carnival will appear on June 1.

There's still time to nominate a post (your own or someone else's).

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 6:42 PM   0 comments links to this post

Alleged Police Abuse Caught On Tape

CBS News

Lisa Tanner was cited on March 24, 2005, for playing music too loud at her house and was arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct. Lisa says she asked for a breathalyzer test and was refused. She was banging on a window. Police say she was "a possible danger to herself." Inside her cell, she was ordered to get on both knees. When she refused, four officers entered the cell and tied her down in a device called a "pro-straint" chair.
This case may not be an isolated incident since other people treated in the same way might not have had the connections or the resources to hold the police accountable that are available to a woman whose father is a prosecutor.

From what I read about this case, it like so many others, seems to be a procedural and training problem rather than a case of rogue officers. That makes it more problematic since the situation won't be resolved by disciplining or firing police officers.

What makes it even more serious is that improper restraint by multiple officers can lead to cutting off the restrained person's airway. To a poorly trained officer, the person's frantic struggle to breathe may be seen as violence and result in more pressure being applied.

That's a deadly combination. And one that puts those who are trying to uphold the law and our justice system at risk of becoming scapegoats for problems they didn't purposely get involved in.

Other posts related to police/authority abuse or misconduct:

Ethics and the defense attorney who represents alleged rapists
Ethical interrogations and the rape victim
Abu Ghraib dog handler gets 6 months for refusing to be “soft and cuddly”

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:22 AM   0 comments links to this post

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Single Moms Beware of Men Too Good to be True


"I used the mom to trust me and like me so I could be around the children," he said.Don is a level 3 sex offender, a level designated for the most likely people to commit another sex crime."I groomed her for about six months. I bought her everything she wanted," he said.

Five years ago, Don was convicted of sexually assaulting an 8-year-old and a 13-year-old girl."I got the mother to love me and think I was a great guy, got her to trust me because I was doing all this for her kids," he said.

This pattern should tell mothers to listen to even the tiniest of warning signs.

It should also tell men who would never rape or abuse how those who do rape or abuse make women look at them with concern, suspicion or distrust. When abusers pretend to be great guys, they are making the real great guys victims of moral identity theft.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:26 AM   0 comments links to this post

Congress Votes To Bar Protests at Military Funerals

CBS News

Under the Senate bill, approved without objection by the House with no recorded vote, the "Respect for America's Fallen Heroes Act" would bar protests within 300 feet of the entrance of a cemetery and within 150 feet of a road into the cemetery from 60 minutes before to 60 minutes after a funeral. Those violating the act would face up to a $100,000 fine and up to a year in prison.

If I'm understanding the bill correctly, it only covers national cemetaries.

What I find telling and disturbing is that this same disgusting behavior by the same group occured at the funerals for those who died of AIDS and at the funeral of murder victim Matthew Shepard, but no law was passed to stop this group's hate speech until they started targeting heroic victims.

To me there is a clear difference between free speech and harrassment of individuals and this group has a long history of engaging in a pattern of harrassment. If this law and others like it only protect certain funerals, they should be thrown out because the law is based on why protesters are there (merit of the victim) and not on what they are doing.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:02 AM   0 comments links to this post

Friday, May 26, 2006

Women's Duke Lacrosse Team - Why Not Wear a Bracelet That Says: Justice for All?

At Feministing: More. Duke. Crap. Samhita opposes the decision by the women's Duke lacrosse team to wear bracelets that say innocent in a game against Northwestern.

The team members could have avoided having their decision attacked if they'd chosen a different slogan such as Justice for All. Isn't that what we are all supposed to want? It doesn't bash anybody and doesn't label any innocent person as a liar.

In the comments Hujo wrote: Stop scapegoating on the patriarch trip and just take control of your own life!

Keeping control of our own lives is what those opposed to rape and gender violence are working towards. But following Hujo's order would make rape victims feel they are the only one's responsible for their rape.

Been there, done that. Eventually realized that it was my rapist who refused to take personal responsibility and who used me as a scapegoat for his actions.

Ain't it funny how those who insist the loudest that others must take personal responsibility are usually trying to dodge responsibility for their actions or their words or their failure to act?

The same people who keep saying "real" rape is horrific seem puzzled that anyone would be angry toward those who rape and those who say the rights of accused rapists should trump the rights of alleged rape victims. They refuse to understand why any sensible person would be angry when alleged rape victims are vilified while alleged rapists are placed on a pedestal?

As for why shows of solidarity in support of accused rapists is problematic, see my earlier post:
Peer pressure led rape victim to drop charges, Tecumseh police say

The intent may be to see that there is justice for all, but the reality is that these shows of solidarity perpetuate environments that are hostile to rape victims and which lead to victims refusing to cooperate with law enforcement. Then if those rape victims are raped again, they are called proven liars by the same type of people who treated them horribly the first time.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 11:59 AM   6 comments links to this post

The Macho Paradox: 10 Things Men can do to Prevent Gender Violence

Hat tip to: Marta Sanchez at

The Macho Paradox: 10 things men can do to prevent gender violence (PDF)
written by Jackson Katz, the author of The Macho Paradox: Why some men hurt women and how all men can help.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:44 AM   0 comments links to this post

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Sex Assault Suspect Kills Family, Self


A man standing trial on sexual assault charges apparently killed his wife, their two children and himself hours before he was to testify Thursday, authorities said.
When I posted earlier today on who people would blame if a rape suspect committed murder in response to being charged, I didn't think I'd find such a case this soon.

The responsibility for this crime belongs to the one who committed it, not to his alleged victims.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 3:26 PM   0 comments links to this post

Manhunt In Rape-Murder Case - Multiple Victims Possible

CBS Kansas City, Mo.

Davis is on parole after spending nearly 18 years in prison for a rape and sodomy conviction in 1987.
This is the type of person the sex offender registries were created for. The problem is that registries aren't a good substitute for prison with the most violent offenders. Obviously this man isn't going to be registering his new address.

An acquaintance of Davis told investigators that he told her recently that he and Riley were planning to go further and begin killing women.

Nice man. This is why we should never laugh off talk of murder.


A Kansas City woman fears that her daughter might also have fallen victim to two accused murderers.

Which means they may be serial killers.



A couple accused of videotaping the rape of an Independence woman and killing her were in custody Thursday night after spending several days on the run, Jackson County prosecutors said.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:20 AM   0 comments links to this post

Duke lacrosse players don't fit Kathleen Parker's image of rapists ...

... therefore they can't be guilty of a crime.

Thanks, Judge & Jury Kathleen Parker.

And from looking at the blog rants that dissect alleged details of the alleged victim's life that have nothing to do with this case, too many have decided they have the right to be her prosecutor, judge and jury. Ironically, the things they say about her tell me why so many men feel they can do whatever they want to her or someone like her without it being a crime. In short, they've provided the motivation/rationalization for the alleged gang rape.

They have reduced her to subhuman level, but since our words reflect who we are as much or more than they reflect the identity of who we talk about, their attacks tell me they have the raw capacity for subhuman behavior because the first step to harming others is to see them as less than you.

Since this case will go to trial and a jury will decide the merits of this case, the real problem facing those who attack the alleged victim is that many of us refuse to see her as a lower life form than the lacrosse players. That makes us the enemy.

If the proper way to solve crimes is to look at indicators that have nothing to do with the actual evidence, Kathleen Parker would likely be impressed with John Allen Muhammad as he is today. The crimes he's accused of didn't last very long and as she said in Sex, Lies and Prison a crime isn't as serious if it is over quickly.

Think Kathleen Parker will be writing a column any day soon advocating for his release because of a few youthful mistakes? Neither do I.

But what would she say if the type of upwardly mobile young man who wins her approval went ballistic after being accused of rape? If her college poster boy became a sniper, would Kathleen Parker and her ilk blame his deadly rampage on the alleged rape victim who ruined his life?

I hope not, but it's a hope without any supporting evidence.

Since John Allen Muhammad has already been found guilty in Virginia and sentenced to death, we know that a snapshot view of a few surface details can't tell us who the rapists and the murderers are. If this example seems like it isn't a valid one, there are plenty of criminals who are indisputably guilty of heinous crimes yet who can easily be painted as good men.

The only reason to make a judgment of guilt or innocence based on surface details rather than on the evidence is if you don't always believe the crime in question is wrong or you care more about the relative merit of the victim and the accused. With that view it's no surprise that many insisted from day one that it is the alleged victim who belongs in prison.

Ask yourself this question: If the email (sent by a Duke player) that Kathleen Parker defends so ardently had been written by the alleged victim and the target of skinning had been athletes, would she react to it in the same way?

I don't think so.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:41 AM   1 comments links to this post

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Rape, brutality ignored to aid Congo peace


Mukengere, who attends to an average of 10 new cases a day, explains bed-by-bed the cruelty that has become the Congo.

"Helene, over there, is 19 years old. She first came here five years ago after having been raped," he said. "We treated her and discharged her, and off she went back to her home village. Five years later, she's back after being attacked and sexually violated over and over again. This is pure madness."

Equally troubling is that aid money designated for victims of sexual abuse here may run out at the end of June despite the relative success of this program, the only one of its kind in the region.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:39 AM   1 comments links to this post

Wis. governor signs abstinence bill


Sex education teachers must present abstinence as the preferred behavior for unmarried people under a bill signed Tuesday by Gov. Jim Doyle. The legislation means teachers must emphasize that refraining from sex before marriage is the most effective way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
I'm waiting for the bill that requires education on sexual ethics including what is and is not legal sexual behavior. The closest I ever came to that type of talk was during a greek mythology class when the teacher let the discussion between students stray into who can have sex, when and with whom. Most boys believed they were under no obligation to wait, but their bride should be a virgin on their wedding night. One boy delighted in mocking that double standard.

Before that all I got was a gym teacher in junior high school breaking the rules to explain what the sex organs were and how they functioned.

Too often the traditional abstinence message turns teen sexuality into a hockey game where the girl is the goalie who is told she must protect her goal (virginity) at all times. The boys meanwhile are encouraged, either explicitly or implicitly, to try to get past the girl's defenses.

If you buy into that analogy, it makes perfect sense to ask, "What was she wearing?" and to blame the girl for failing to stop a boy from scoring. It also makes many acquaintance rapes just part of the game because the girl or woman let her defenses down. Rape charges are then like a bad call from a ref who wasn't anywhere near the game you were playing.

But healthy sexuality is not a competitive sport where you must have winners and losers.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:16 AM   0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Woman Shot, Killed In Domestic Assault - Who Cares?


A woman is dead and her boyfriend is in custody after a weekend shooting in St. Paul, police said.
I once assumed everyone would see this as a tragedy all Americans want to fight, yet in Time To Address Domestic Violence Abuses by Phyllis Schlafly, she writes:

The reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was signed by President Bush in January without any public debate, but evidence is now surfacing which Congress should have examined before the law was passed. VAWA is a nearly-billion-dollar-a-year extension of one of the major ways that Bill Clinton bought the support of the radical feminists. Why Republicans passed this bill is a mystery. It's unlikely that the feminists who will spend all that money will ever vote Republican.
Is this Ms. Schlafly's way of trying to bring more violent men into the Republican fold? I'd dismiss her as a radical fluke except a known side effect of at least one state's gay marriage ban removes women like the victim in this recent case from protection provided by anti-domestic violence laws.

It's telling to me that I haven't seen a single gay-marriage-ban proponent working to close this gap.

DAYTON, Ohio - A constitutional amendment banning gay marriage bars prosecutors from charging some unmarried people under the state's domestic violence law, a state appeals court ruled.

Friday's decision by the 2nd District Court of Appeals is the first from Ohio's 12 appellate courts to rule that the Defense of Marriage amendment, passed by voters in 2004, means that the domestic violence law does not apply to unmarried people.

Does this mean that those in favor of the gay marriage ban see gay marriage as a greater sin than murder?

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:29 AM   3 comments links to this post

Monday, May 22, 2006

Peer pressure led rape victim to drop charges, Tecumseh police say


Of all the recent revelations coming out of the Tecumseh High School sex scandal, authorities have begun implying that after Cole Corey and classmate Anthony Sandoval assaulted a 17-year-old girl in Sandoval's home, they and others may have peer-pressured the girl to not pursue rape charges.

MSU State News

John Clark, deputy police chief at the Tecumseh Police Department, said a woman reported Corey and a friend from high school raped her after they took Ecstasy and consumed alcohol in the spring of 2002.

"Basically, we did the collection of evidence and it was preserved," he said. "Both suspects as well as the victim had been interviewed. Unfortunately, due to the victim's age, she came under a lot of peer pressure and thought it would be easier to walk away from everything."

When one of the men who allegedly raped the woman was accused of attacking someone else, the woman came forward and decided to reopen her complaint against the man and Corey.

"It's a very sad story, as far as I'm concerned," Clark said. "It's a shame when anybody that age makes a poor decision. You have a 17-year-old ... who made some very poor choices."

If I'm reading this right and the deputy police chief is blaming the rape victim, it shows an appalling lack of understanding. Girls and women who accuse popular boys and men of rape can expect to be treated as if they are the real criminals out to destroy good boys' futures. What this girl endured was likely far more severe than peer pressure. In fact it sounds like harassment and witness tampering.

How about blaming rapists and those who rally around accused rapists for subsequent rapes?

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:53 AM   1 comments links to this post

1 in 136 U.S. Residents Behind Bars

CBS News

Prisons and jails added more than 1,000 inmates each week for a year, putting almost 2.2 million people, or one in every 136 U.S. residents, behind bars by last summer.The total on June 30, 2005, was 56,428 more than at the same time in 2004, the government reported Sunday. That 2.6 percent increase from mid-2004 to mid-2005 translates into a weekly rise of 1,085 inmates.


"The jail population is increasingly unconvicted," Beck said. "Judges are perhaps more reluctant to release people pretrial."

When people say social programs designed to help people are a waste of taxpayer money and are a free ride given to the lazy, I remember the commercial slogan, "You can pay me now. Or you can pay me later."

There will always be criminals who have all the resources they need yet are motivated by greed or anger or hatred to commit crimes, but there are many criminals who would make other choices if they could and if they had sufficient information and resources. Even when it comes to a crime like rape that seems to be a crime of uncontrolable passion, I believe prevention programs could make a significant difference.

I believe we can reduce crime without a matching increase in the number of people who are jailed. has some statistics that I found helpful in seeing trends within the jailed population.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:37 AM   0 comments links to this post

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Teacher-Student Sex Leads To Emotional Problems

Part of me is tempted to say, "Duh!" to this headline, but then I remember there are too many who don't think this type of exploitation is a big deal.


"(Boys) know that maybe some of their peers would consider this a great conquest," Levy said, "but there's still maybe a lot of shame and embarrassment there, and long-term consequences for that relationship."

Levy says in the long term, these kids deal with anger, guilt and problems with trust and intimacy.

When one of your lessons is that you can't trust those in authority, you may be more likely to ignore authority or to lash out at authority figures.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 7:38 PM   0 comments links to this post

Tactics to get DNA disputed


The case of a 14-year-old Prince George's County boy, linked to a sexual assault after police stopped him on a street corner and swabbed him for DNA, could break legal ground on when and how police secure such evidence from juvenile offenders, legal experts said.

The irony in this dispute over whether consent was obtained for the collection of DNA is that it a mirror image of the dispute in most rape cases over whether consent was obtained for sex.

The defense attorney says the boy did not give, "knowing and voluntary consent" but defense attorneys would never want their clients to be held to that same high standard of obtaining consent. My opinion is that there should be one definition that sets the threshold for legal consent and it should be applied to both the police and members of the public.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 7:57 AM   0 comments links to this post

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Hazing Harmless Or Dancing With Death?

ABC News
Looking at some of the pictures on reminded Fierberg of the circumstances that caused the death of one student whose family he represented. Over a period of nine hours, fraternity brothers at the University of Colorado wrote profanity all over his client Lynn Bailey Jr.'s body as the freshman pledge died of alcohol poisoning.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 1:06 PM   0 comments links to this post

Announcing Carnival Against Sexual Violence

I've been finding so many interesting posts related to the fight against sexual violence in the blogosphere that I created the Carnival Against Sexual Violence. The carnival is open to personal stories, creative expression (poetry, art, etc.), raising awareness, solutions and more.

As a rape survivor who felt completely alone for many years before finally speaking out about what I went through, I want to provide a way for survivors and those who care about survivors to collect our stories and our thoughts so those who can't speak about their ordeal can discover they aren't alone and they aren't without hope.

Since this isn't a problem only for women and girls, posts by men are welcome.

The first submission deadline for the Carnival Against Sexual Violence is Monday 29 at 1 am and the first carnival will appear on June 1. The carnival will be hosted on

Nominate a post (your own or someone else's) and pass the word.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:33 AM   4 comments links to this post

Friday, May 19, 2006

Angela Shelton: Alexa Foundation

Angela Shelton: Alexa Foundation
The Alexa Foundation helps families and victims be easing the financial burden they face while traveling to attend the criminal trial against a rapist.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 2:55 PM   1 comments links to this post

Time: The Pope's Good Call on Sexual Abuse

Time: The Pope's Good Call on Sexual Abuse
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:06 AM   1 comments links to this post

Teen Gang Rape Alleged At Minneapolis Party

A 16-year-old boy is charged as an adult for allegedly raping a 13-year-old girl as three other boys cheered him on at a south Minneapolis party, according to a criminal complaint.
As usual the defense says, "It was consensual." Another girl was allegedly hit and kicked when she refused to have sex. Some choice.

It will be interesting to see how long it takes the defense team to begin the character assassination of the victim. I suspect that the believability of that attack will hinge on how respectable the defense team can make these boys look.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:15 AM   1 comments links to this post

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Vaccine that prevents cervical cancer sends the wrong message?


A Food and Drug Administration panel voted 13-0 today to endorse a promising new vaccine that could stop viruses that cause nearly 70 percent of all cervical cancers and genital warts, but the potential distribution of the vaccine is causing political and cultural controversy.
Apparently, some so-called family values types would rather see girls and women die of cervical cancer (3,900 die each year) than support the widespread use of a vaccine that might make sex look safer. Since I doubt the fear of cervical cancer is the deciding factor when girls choose whether or not to have sex, this vaccine won't spark a sexual boom.

As someone who has a free pap screening to thank for catching the problem in the pre-cancer stage when I was in my early twenties, I feel it is negligent to withhold a safe vaccine for the HPV virus based on family values.

I didn't catch the HPV virus because I decided to become sexually active, I caught it because of rape or behavior that stemmed from rape.

Even though I only spent one night in the hospital, my surgery (cold knife conization) had a brutal effect on my body. Long after the bleeding and cramping finally ended, I barely had the energy to move. When summer arrived, the heat frequently leveled me. Nearly a year passed before I felt normal again.

But I was lucky.

With this vaccine, others won't have to rely on luck.

This case is also another example of the hidden dangers that can harm rape victims. For more on the dangers that can follow rape, read these posts:
Girls and alcohol poisoning
Recognizing the heroes nobody sees
Rape judgments

I wish my experiences were completely out of the norm for rape survivors, but I haven't found that to be true, especially among those of us who bought the lie that what happened to us was our fault.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:24 PM   0 comments links to this post

My memories of the Mount St. Helens eruption

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

It's been 26 years, but I can still remember where I was that Sunday morning when Mount St. Helens erupted.

From the western slope of the Blue Mountains in southeastern Washington state, the sky was pure blue without a single wispy cloud in the sky until a dot of gray on the western horizon began to spread eastward into a triangle of gray. By the time the leading edge of the gray mass reached the sky over my head, it formed a solid blanket over the sky to the north, while the sky to the south remained a pure blue.

Not a single bit of ash dropped where I stood.

My first husband had family in Yakima, Washington and they entered church with the blue sky above and opened the doors at the end of the service to find their world engulfed in gray. Flakes of ash kept falling from the sky until 4-5 inches coated everything. For those who had been ignoring the ongoing story about the bulge in what had been considered a harmless mountain, it must have looked like the fallout of fire and brimstone. Many people seemed to expect just that after Vietnam and Watergate.

Almost as clear in my mind is the talk my husband dragged me to between the time the mountain started rumbling and the eruption. The speaker was a survivalist who was selling what would soon become ocean-front property in Montana. According to him, a Mount St. Helens eruption would trigger all of the dormant volcanoes in the Cascade range so people in Washington, Oregon and California would have less than 24 hours to escape before the entire west coast plunged into the ocean. I remember people speculating after the talk about whether it was better to stock up on ammunition or provisions or both.

If it hadn't meant leaving his mother behind, I suspect my first husband would have bought whatever that man was selling and would have dragged me to who knows where. Survivalist paranoia fit his worldview perfectly. The sad thing is that I was still attempting to be a good wife (and still trying to atone for my sinful behavior after I was raped) and would have gone with him and likely would have gotten in trouble for my negative attitude since I couldn't accept that the world was going to hell and fast. Turning on me would have given my husband a convenient way to work out his frustration over being conned.

May 18, 1980 was a memorable day, but I'm glad it and my first marriage are long over.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:57 AM   0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Betty Friedan back from dead and blogging about the Duke rape case

wizbangblog comment from Betty Friedan

The stripper has serious character flaws judging by her criminal pass:

coalitionoftheswilling comment from Betty Friedan

With the taste of his own foot still lingering in his mouth, District Attorney Mike Nifong has another piece of evidence blow up in his face, I wonder how's his ulcer is doing?
CBS coverage of Betty Friedan's death at 85 in Feb. 2006

Update 5/17 7:45 pm: Betty, so sorry I rejected your comment, but I have firm policy against Dead People Blogging.

Update 5/19:

"Betty Friedan"

Most misandry feminist blogs have blocked my comments. Other blogs, like Marcella Chester’s blog, just choose not to post comments that conflict with their misandry agenda.
Yeah, yeah. What a terrible agenda I have. To stop rape and victim blaming. With that sinister agenda why would any intelligent person expect me to give commenters on my blog free rein to bash victims and to spout a pro-rapist agenda?

Anyone who wants to can create their own blog so please spare me the "I've been silenced" whining.

FYI the comment of "Betty"'s that I rejected was a word for word repeat of a comment sent to other blogs. And that's called spam.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 4:40 PM   1 comments links to this post

Duke rape polygraph

NBC 17
Evans spoke publicly before turning himself in to police Monday. He said he passed a polygraph test -- which he took on his own -- to show he was not involved in the alleged rape. He said he had courage knowing the truth is behind him.
I found it interesting that "No" was the correct answer to all of the questions listed in the polygraph report. Since a defense attorney arranged for this test, it could have been facilitated so Mr. Evans knew he didn't have to truly listen to the yes/no questions and think about his answers.

Mr. Evans could have known upfront that all he had to do was keep saying no.

It would have been interesting if there had been at least one question about racial slurs and at least one about the dispute over money where we know the 'truthful' answer is yes. If there were questions that required him to bring up memories of the night in question, I might not dismiss this particular test so easily.

I also wonder if Mr. Evans had any practice sessions with a polygraph. There are definite reasons polygraph tests aren't admissible in court.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:58 AM   2 comments links to this post

What if Internet predators are trying to recreate the good old days of ...

... boys will be boys?

What if youthful rapists don't grow out of the habit of raping when they leave an environment where they have easy access to victims?

What if boys and young men who raped their peers got a thrill from rape and sexual exploitation they can never recreate when the sex is fully consensual?

What if those who declare that college rapists pose no ongoing danger are wrong and those rapists only change their MO?

What if many Internet predators go after children not because they are pedophiles in a clinical sense but because children have the fewest defenses against sexually exploitive people and they can pursue their targets without friends and family noticing their little hobby?

Wouldn't you want to stop these rapists before they become fully developed sexual predators?

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:39 AM   0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Marta Sanchez's art
Someone has to dream it before it can be. Nothing makes the dream of ending sexual violence any different. This is where we begin to make it a reality, one painting at a time, one poem at a time. Siempre hay esperanza. There is always hope.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:09 AM   0 comments links to this post

Fiction excerpt with author commentary - Ch. Lv. foreward

Excerpt from Cherry Love by Marcella Chester
Foreword (part 1)

Cherry Love is a distortion of the truth.

Although the incidents recounted in the book that involve me actually occurred, they are presented in a way that makes certain of my actions more important and more negative than they really were.

Frankly, I am portrayed as a villain. Well, if I was a villain then so were a lot of other guys. And they bragged about it. I didn't do anything that unusual under the circumstances.

If Cindy could not take responsibility for her own actions that is her problem. It becomes my problem when the author implies that I was responsible for the actions of someone else.

As far as I am concerned the subject of this book is old news. Who cares what happened over twenty years ago? I don't and I don't think any readers will care either.

This is just one more example of the male-bashing that has become so popular.

In no way am I endorsing this book or surrendering any rights to take legal action.

Rod Peterson
Hollywood, California

[copyright 1996 Marcella Chester, all rights reserved]

Author commentary:
The foreward to Cherry Love is the only section of this book that isn't based on real events from my life before and after I was raped. As far as I know my rapist (Rod Peterson isn't his real name) has never seen this book. Confronting him years later wasn't an important part of my journey so I didn't waste my time trying to find him.

I wrote this foreward after listening to an especially annoying man who seemed like he was channeling an older version of my rapist. If my rapist hasn't undergone a major transformation, I still believe he would try to spin events in a similar manner and would see himself as the hapless victim of a vindictive woman.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:26 AM   0 comments links to this post

When Colleges Go On Suicide Watch

Anne Giedinghagen wanted desperately to stay in school. Having struggled with depression and anorexia since the sixth grade, the rail-thin Cornell junior was meeting regularly with a therapist at the university's counseling center in Ithaca, N.Y. But late last fall, when she told her therapist about her increasingly strong urge to kill herself, Giedinghagen received an ultimatum from the school she loved so much: she had to get better or she would have to leave. So she did what any crafty 20-year-old would do. She tried to carve out a third option--feigning improvement by, as she put it, acting "as normal as I could." When she agreed to spend her winter break at a psychiatric hospital, the university stopped threatening to kick her out.

Since some rape victims can become suicidal, especially when either they or others see them as the one at fault, the way students in distress are treated is vitally important.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:15 AM   2 comments links to this post

Monday, May 15, 2006

Dear Johns: Don't Solicit Prostitutes Here

Minneapolis It's a "Dear John" letter of a different sort, as residents of a south Minneapolis neighborhood take action to keep prostitution off their streets.Concerned neighbors have placed signs reading "Johns Keep Out" and "Predator Reduction Zone" in yards around East 31st Street and Longfellow Avenue South.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 7:03 PM   0 comments links to this post

Third Member of Duke Lacrosse Team Indicted

Washington Post

A third member of Duke University's lacrosse squad, David Evans, of Bethesda, was indicted in Durham, N.C., today on charges he raped a woman at a team party held at his off-campus house in March.

Update 5/15:

Duke captain: "You have all been told some fantastic lies."

Of all the statements made by David Evans, the latest lacrosse player charged, I can accept this particular statement as the truth. We just don't know who the fantastic liars are.

Now what would be real news is if a Duke lacrosse player stood up during a press conference and said, "Guilty as charged."

Even if the prosecutor proves all the charges to be true, no defendant with a minimally competent defense attorney would say such a thing until the trial is over and all appeals have been exhausted. With so many who have decided the lacrosse team are the only victims in this case and who refuse to accept any evidence that calls their belief into question, any men guilty in this case would be stupid to alienate their base. Ever.

Those who claim we can know everything that happened on March 13 based on information available to the public are either liars or delusional. I'm a trained victim's advocate with experience working with rape victims in crisis, but I will never claim absolute knowledge of this case or any rape case.

What I do know is that the defense team has a vested interest in spinning the developments of this case to make it seem like the only possibility is that this woman deliberately made a false allegation of rape. If they can't disprove this woman's allegations directly, they want to at least give the illusion of reasonable doubt.

Like the "she came raped" theory.

Those who should be trusted the least are those who want to be seen as absolute authorities on this case. And the least of the least are those who do this with no training in crimes such as the Duke rape case.

Update 5/16:

Herald Sun

Seligmann's defense team singled out City Manager Patrick Baker. Last week, Baker countered contentions by Duke University that city police didn't regard the accuser in the case as credible and thought her allegations would produce only misdemeanor assault charges.
Apparently the defense attorneys don't like it when someone in authority looks to see if information in one piece of evidence (the Duke University police report) is accurate. The defense team is basically saying that it is wrong of those in authority to seek the truth and to share that truth with the public.

So now on top of the defense team's allegation that the alleged victim has made a deliberate false allegation, they are now alleging that the city of Durham and the police of Durham are involved in a cover up.


Sounds to me like the defense attorney's know the police have strong evidence that the alleged victim was credible from the moment she was identified as a possible rape victim, and because of that, they are doing their best to make people view credible evidence and credible witnesses as co-conspirators in a crime being committed against 3 innocent men.

I can't fault the defense attorneys completely since they are NOT being paid to see that impartial justice is served, they are being paid to do everything they can to make the public and the jury believe that there is at least a reasonable doubt.

And if that means destroying a rape victim, so be it.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 1:15 PM   1 comments links to this post

What if the latest Enron trial ruling were applied to rape cases?

The judge at the trial of former Enron CEOs Jeffrey Skilling and Ken Lay handed prosecutors a strategic victory Wednesday, saying he would tell jurors that "deliberate ignorance" of fraud at the collapsed energy company was not a justifiable defense.
If prosecutors in criminal rape cases were allowed to show jurors that the defendant practiced "deliberate ignorance" and the jury was told that this practice is not a justifiable defense, many of the "he said/she said" defenses would crumble.

This wouldn't be unfair to defendants since they would be allowed to show how they verified that they had consent.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:29 PM   1 comments links to this post

The Eastvolds: Rape is always wrong

The Eastvolds: Rape is always wrong

Excellent response to Kathleen Parker's recent series of posts that paint many convicted rapists as the real victims.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 11:08 AM   0 comments links to this post

insomnia haiku: And justice for all

insomnia haiku
Whenever anyone in my peer group mentions the words "jury duty," it's immediately preceded or followed by some version of the phrase "get out of." As in, "I got called for jury duty last year, but I managed to get out of it." Or, "I'd hate to have my fate rest in the hands of a bunch of idiots who couldn't get out of jury duty."
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:15 AM   0 comments links to this post

Sexual violence survey on college campus

Spokesman Review

The recent survey of WSU students is one of the most in-depth efforts to quantify the problem of sexual violence on any American campus, said Thomas Brigham, one of the report's authors. It surveyed more than 2,500 students, including an unusually large sample of men, he said.
"In some ways, the important part of this was simply doing it – doing the survey," Brigham said. "What we wanted to do was have real information instead of campus lore."
In the survey, 11 percent of women reported being forced to have sex, and 10 percent reported an attempt. In a story published Tuesday, the Associated Press incorrectly reported different numbers.


Wall and others say a key part of the problem is the way the culture at large reacts – failing to take the crime seriously, discounting women's reports, raising questions about risky behavior that sometimes sound like blame, minimizing the crime by linking it with a date or an acquaintance.

For an example of this failure to take campus crime seriously, we don't have to look any further than Kathleen Parker :
More to the point of this column, sex offender also refers to those convicted of "date rape," which is invariably a case of "he said/she said" and often involves young people caught in the throes of a debatable moment.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:27 AM   0 comments links to this post

30 and 45 days for series of "hazings" at a youth camp

I saw this mentioned in Not in my Bible

Arizona Daily Sun

Clifton Bennett, 18, and fellow counselor Kyle Wheeler, 19, admitted to abusing 18 boys ages 11 to 14 -- who had been hand-picked for a weeklong leadership camp -- by poking them in the rear end with broomsticks, a flashlight and a cane as a punishment or just because they were in a bad mood. The boys wore underwear or swim trucks at the time of the "broomings," records show. Records also show Wheeler choked many of the boys until they passed out as a game.
This is beyond hazing. This is systematic sadistic torture.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:05 AM   0 comments links to this post

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day Gift: Men Preventing Sexual Assault

Berkeley: Unwanted Sex, Sexual Assault and Rape: Advice and Resources for Men

Just because of the frequency of sexual assault among college-age women, your potential partner may already have experienced sexual assault, attempted sexual assault or otherwise unwanted sexual attention, either in college or earlier in her life. She may be unsure about or afraid of sex or of being victimized again. She may not feel safe enough, or may feel too ashamed, to tell you, or may feel it is not your business to know. This will require you to go at her pace; to honor her privacy; to make yourself a safe person to be with; and to respect without question her physical boundaries.

Male Responsibility For Rape And Rape Awareness by Charlie Jones

Unfortunately, most men do not yet even recognize that there is a problem here, and fewer still acknowledge responsibility for any part of it. As a result, rape is seen, if at all, as a "women's issue". The impression remains that men are in no way connected to sexual assault, neither in its occurrence, nor through its effects, nor by its causes.

Men, mothers and other women need the gift of your cooperation in the fight against sexual violence.

Men, you may not realize it, but sexual assault and sexual abuse negatively impact your life, even if you never become a primary victim and never victimize others. Because of rapists, good women may shy away from you or look at you with suspicion even though you would never harm them. The woman you love may have seemingly irrational phobias and hangups that keep her just beyond your reach. Other, more jaded, women may view you as an inherently violent, exploitive creature who deserves to be exploited in return.

Men, since you are at lower risk of sexual violence, you may not realize that the aftershocks of rape and sexual abuse can be so great that victims kill or numb themselves to a dangerous level. The criminal act might be measured in minutes, but the pain of the violation combined with the pain caused by victim blaming that seems to be everywhere after a rape can last for years or a lifetime.

Men, when you talk about sexual violence don't say anything you wouldn't say to someone who is a true victim of criminal sexual violence because you never know when you are doing just that. Also think about how rapists could interpret your words and don't give them reason to believe you are on their side.

Men, if you feel the need to debate statistics or laws related to sexual violence, remember the humanity of the victims before you ask women to sympathize with your fears or your concerns. If you want women to empathize with men falsely accused of rape, then you need to empathize with women who are falsely given that label.

Men, if you would never talk in a certain way about your mother no matter what she's done, don't talk that way about alleged victims (or accusers) even if everything you know about them makes them look unworthy of respect. If the negative talk about the accuser is coming from a man accused of rape, remember that manipulation is a favorite tool of many rapists. Rapists may have as little consideration for you as they have for their victims. Pulling a fast one on you may give them a thrill as satisfying as rape.

Men, don't attack victims for the crime of not evading rape or sexual abuse. When other men vilify victims, don't support them explicitly or implicitly. If it isn't safe to do more, walk away. If the intention is to protect victims from sexual attack, there are ways of doing this without blaming victims for another person's actions.

Men, if you love women, then you should hate it when they are harmed without a second thought or an ounce of regret. You should hate it when serious and long lasting damage is dismissed as a brief, youthful mistake that never should have been criminalized.

Men, with your help, the fight against sexual assault and sexual abuse can be a cooperative fight against violence and exploitation rather than a fight between men and women. If you are in the trenches with women fighting sexual violence, you can help us realize what actions have unwanted side effects for innocent men.

Men, you can talk to boys and young men before they get into situations where they can be accused (rightly or wrongly) of rape or abuse. You can dispel dangerous myths before they lead a boy or man into dangerous territory.

Men, if you are anti-feminist, then working to eliminate sexual violence and exploitation will take away something feminists use to attack you.

Lastly, men, if you've tried to get involved and got attacked for being a man, you may have accidentally said something that triggered the person or people you were talking to. Or you may have repeated a damaging rape myth. Or you may have interpreted something as an attack on you because it challenged beliefs you've accepted without question. If you believe that sexual violence is something worth fighting and one avenue of helping doesn't welcome you, look for other avenues. Don't lose the battle after losing the first skirmish.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:19 PM   0 comments links to this post

Good man convicted of child porn possession

Courier Post

A former religion teacher and coach of several athletic teams at St. Joseph's High School in Hammonton was sentenced Friday to four years in federal prison for possessing as many as 300 images of child pornography.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Carle said she was sure none of McColgan's friends and relatives who wrote in his support had seen the images he kept on his computer. She specifically referred to a letter from a priest at St. Peter's Church in Merchantville describing McColgan as "an outstanding member of the church and society."

One of the pictures the defendent emailed to an undercover officer showed a young girl (around 6 yrs old) being raped. This case and others like it are why I don't give much weight to personal references from friends and family when they insist a defendent in a sex crime can't be guilty.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 11:39 AM   0 comments links to this post

stayathomemotherdom: Mother May I

Mother May I
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:25 AM   0 comments links to this post

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Innocent Man Mistaken For Registered Offender

Washington Post

Eric Haskett was merely taking a nap in a car when he roused suspicion in a rural Frederick County neighborhood. A neighbor traced Haskett's license plate to an address once used by a registered sex offender.

Then his girlfriend's parents told him to scram; law enforcement officials, including three FBI agents, began investigating; and Haskett began fearing that the suspicions could cost him his job at a gag shop that sells such kid-friendly items as whoopie cushions.

If this sort of misunderstanding and overeaction keeps happening, public sex offender registries will become worse than useless. This case demonstrates that insufficient knowledge is a dangerous thing. If paranoia becomes rampant, it may come to the point where sex offender registries have to be removed from public view or we will need specific laws to protect those mistaken as sex offenders.

While people are panicking over the wrong people, trusted and unconvicted sex offenders will continue to have access to victims who may or may not be believed if they speak up.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:49 PM   1 comments links to this post

Article on false allegations of rape on what may be a sex tourism site


And it's not just that men in those parts of the world that developed in line with US-American cultural dictates are increasingly drawn before courts on charges of rape or sexual molestation. Many men everywhere have come to realize how easily they could be accused and now behave much more in line with the rules of female sexual partners.

Males now feel much more vulnerable than they did just two decades ago, and this has resulted in strongly modified behavioral patterns, designed to avoid becoming the victims of made-up charges.

Translation: to avoid false accusations of rape, many men have had no choice except to stop having sex with women without their consent. This is a very bad development. But good for sex tourism to places where victims of sexual exploitation have no protection.

This ties into my earlier post:
Abyss2hope: What's behind the insistence that women frequently lie about being raped
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 11:01 AM   0 comments links to this post

Rape: a bad thing that happens?

In the comments of my cross post of What's behind the insistence that women frequently lie about being raped on Alas, Azbballfan wrote:

"Bad things happen. Let's try to help those who are hurt and understand what happened so we can help make sure it doesn't happen again."
[My reply also posted in the comments on Alas. I'm posting it here because this attitude is extremely problematic.]

To view rape in this way is to say rape is somehow random (like having a tire blow out) and not a matter of choice by the rapist (like that hapless driver). Further, if rape is something that just happens to the rapist and the rape victim, there is no way to make sure it doesn't happen again and as you stated, it implies that all hetero men are potential rapists (a tire can blow out on anybody).

This view of rape means a rejection of the idea that someone is a true victim and instead paints rape victims as simply unlucky--the same way the perpetrator is unlucky.

I am not alone in believing that committing rape or sexual abuse requires one or more deliberate decisions on the part of the perpetrator. It might be as seemingly harmless as: "It's better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission."

In her column where she lamented a good son's fate, Kathleen Parker glossed over the time when these decisions were made and like an illusionist distracted readers with the events before and after the moment where that man made the decisions that ultimately sent him to prison. If you think rape just happens then you might not have noticed the importance of this omission, but as a rape survivor KP's omission was a glaring one.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:10 AM   0 comments links to this post

Police: Pastor paddled girl for abuse claim


ELGIN, Ill. - A pastor was charged with spanking a 13-year-old girl with a piece of wood because he thought she was lying when she said she was sexually abused by a relative. Police said the Rev. Daryl Bujak struck the girl hard enough to cause bruises and welts after she was brought to him for counseling because her mother doubted the claims.
Sickening. For all those in helping professions who failed to recognize that I was a rape victim, this story makes me grateful that every one of them genuinely cared and never added another layer of abuse.

A lesson from this case should be: first contact law enforcement or the RAINN hotline (1-800-656-HOPE) then you can contact a member of the clergy for spiritual support.

Remember that 99.9% of clergy don't have any training in how to respond to or investigate abuse allegations. Too many buy into dangerous myths about rape and sexual abuse.

FYI the police took this girl's story seriously and have filed charges against a 33-year-old man.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:44 AM   0 comments links to this post

Friday, May 12, 2006

Reclusive Leftist: Maybe aliens made them do it

Reclusive Leftist
another theory is that kids act out the sexual abuse they themselves receive at home. That would make sense, except that experts say that a lot of young kids who act out sexually nowadays really aren’t the victims of abuse. Paul Tamiseiea, director of Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault in Kansas City, says:
“I’ve been with MOCSA for 17 years. When I first started out, the natural, logical assumption was that kids who acted out sexually were likely to have been victims themselves … but you can’t make that blanket assumption anymore. We’ve dealt with kids acting out and saying they saw it in Dad’s porn.”
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:45 PM   0 comments links to this post

What's behind the insistence that women frequently lie about being raped?

As I read yet another blogger rant about how they know with absolute certainty that many women do lie about being raped, I noticed the implication that those of us who dare to take all allegations of rape seriously are 1) deluded 2) man haters.

Those who habitually align themselves with alleged rapists don't see sexual exploitation as harming anyone except those charged with sex crimes. How can they if their heroes are those who give a 16-year-old girl alcohol then use her as a child porn movie prop and their villain is the girl who blacked out and testified that she couldn't remember what happened? They seem to feel justified in doing this because none of the convictions in this case were for the crime of rape.

Just because they can't see something doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Just because I told no one about being raped for two decades doesn't mean it didn't happen or that I have no right to call myself a rape survivor because my rapist was never charged or convicted.

I could counter specific faulty statements, but I'll leave that for other posts. I want to get to what I see as a driving force in those who habitually align themselves with alleged rapists.

In any area we are in one of these states:
1) Unconscious incompetent
2) Conscious incompetent
3) Unconscious competent
4) Conscious competent

To move from state 1 to states 3 or 4, you have to go through state 2. But state 1 can be very comfortable while state 2 is the most uncomfortable and sometimes hopeless state.

I believe those who deny the scope of the sexual violence problem most vigorously are trying their best to remain in state 1 (and out of state 2) while they see themselves as being in state 4.

When it comes to sexual violence awareness, state 2 is where those who have exploited others sexually are forced to see themselves as fully responsible for their actions and where they must stop blaming their victims. Most don't have the courage to do this without the threat of prison.

State 2 is difficult even for those who have never been sexually violent or sexually exploitive. They may have to see that they slandered true victims or stood by as someone they knew committed acts of sexual violence or taught children dangerous rape myths. Or they may have to accept that someone they trusted and loved made a deliberate choice to exploit them sexually.

When we've seen ourselves as always on the side of right, it takes courage to see where we've been wrong and where we have wronged others. Add a lack of knowledge about what to do to get into state 3 or 4 and it can be terrifying.

Many people retreat to state 1 and subsequently let their fear of state 2 and denial of what they learned there motivate them to increase their attacks on those who would drag them into such a terrible place.

Now on to the belief that all anti-rape activists are man haters.

To stay out of state 2, those in state 1 have to find a powerful reason to explain anti-rape activists' true motivation since it can't be that sexual exploitation, assault and abuse are serious problems in our society.

Since most alleged rapists are men, then the true cause for rape hysteria must be a deep desire to persecute men for being themselves.

A few of these ranters have gone so far as to refuse to take any rape charge seriously until victim advocates admit they have helped liars persecute innocent men. To test the irrationality of this request ask yourself if these same people would say something like, "I refuse to take murder seriously until you show me how many people faked their own deaths and made it look like they were murdered."

It doesn't compute. You either take a particular type of crime seriously or you don't.

If you don't believe certain types of sexual exploitation, sexual abuse and sexual assault should be crimes, then focus on the decisions law makers have made and ask them to decriminalize certain acts and stop attacking victims of these types of crimes because you don't think they have the right to say they are crime victims.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 11:43 AM   3 comments links to this post

Rape and other sexual violence in the U.S. are declining

Sexual-violence rates remain highest among women ages 20 to 24, according to the Justice Department’s latest annual National Crime Victimization Survey. It estimates that rapes and attempted rapes in the United States fell more than 80 percent from 1973 through 2004. That amounts to a drop from 2.5 per thousand per year to 0.4 per thousand.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 11:17 AM   0 comments links to this post

Slightdetour: A community violation

While driving across the Long Bridge Tuesday morning, I saw just one person on the bike path/pedestrian bridge which runs alongside the motor route. It was a woman. She was headed north toward Dog Beach. For the first time ever, I wondered if she had read the morning papers and if she had any idea about the rape that occurred in that same area three days before. Certainly if she had, I thought, she wouldn't be out there walking by herself.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:45 AM   0 comments links to this post

3 Arkansas men indicted in cross-burning case

Defense lawyers maintain their clients are innocent and the cross-burning was not racially motivated. Paul Hoover, Wurtele’s attorney, described the incident to the Texarkana Gazette as a prank.
So the defense says their clients didn't do it but know that whoever did do it, did it as a non-racially motivated prank?

That reminds me of the defendent I heard in traffic court (I had to sit through a full session before I could get my drivers license) who stated repeatedly that he wasn't at the accident scene but the reason he looked drunk when he wasn't there was because he'd lost a couple of toes years while serving in the military.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:45 AM   0 comments links to this post

Texas Teens Accused of Filming Brawls

CBS News
(AP) Police arrested four teens accused of filming and selling DVDs of students brawling in arranged fights outside schools, in a restaurant and in the streets.The two-hour video called "Agg Townz Fights, Part II," which has a rap-music sound track, contains scenes of girls punching each other, a boy hitting a girl who falls down, and two boys shaking hands after bare-fisted boxing. In one scene, a teen lies still after hitting his head on the curb, leaving a trail of blood, but is then helped off the ground.
Anytime teens become so numb to violence that they see possibly life threatening actions as entertainment, they have a serious problem.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:37 AM   0 comments links to this post

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Duke Rape Case and the Game of Telephone


Aaron Graves, Duke's associate vice president for campus safety and security, said the campus officer did nothing wrong as he "documented what took place" in the hours after the rape was reported, including "what he felt or perceived he heard" from Durham police.
I have to wonder if any of these people ever played Telephone. For those not familiar with this game, the first person whispers something in the next person's ear and then that person whispers what they heard to the next person and so on until the last person tells everyone the message.

For those who haven't played this game, the message quickly gets jumbled.

From what I've read from the Bowen-Chambers report about the flow of information from the investigators who interviewed the alleged victim to the Duke leadership, we have an institutionalized version of Telephone. Yet many continue to take these intermediary messages, which may or may not be within 6 degrees of separation of their original source, as if they came directly from the alleged victim herself.

Here are details about the victim that have been verified and which came from an official primary source (vs. coming from defense team or those involved in possible criminal activity):

But some people refuse to give this primary information any weight and continue to insist that this alleged victim must be considered the true perpetrator in this case because one man filed a report based on unverified secondhand information.

Go figure.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 1:46 PM   0 comments links to this post