Saturday, September 30, 2006

Hazing: The New Frontier Of Victim Blaming


The surgeon who operated on an aspiring Florida A&M University fraternity member testified Thursday in a hazing trial that he considered the student's injuries serious although he had no broken bones, muscle damage or lasting effects other than a scar. The seriousness of the injuries is a key issue. Five defendants are among the first to be charged with violating Florida's new anti-hazing law, which makes it a felony to cause serious bodily damage or death.


Also Thursday, Jones' father denied his family has a financial motive for seeking the five men's criminal prosecution. Army Master Sgt. Mark Jones Jr. acknowledged he has hired a civil law firm but said he wanted the attorneys to help him handle the news media. When asked whether he was planning to sue, he said he was interested only in making sure justice was carried out. "There was this big, huge purple ball protruding out of his right buttocks," he said. "I was angry, very angry. My wife was terrified."

Yep, the disease of victim blaming is spreading. The man's son temporarily lost his hearing and needed surgery to treat another injury, but the defense is trying to paint the victim and his family as gold diggers which introduces the idea that the victim may be the real perpetrator in the situation in front of the jury.


Whenever I see this strategy I know the defense is trying to perform courtroom magic. They want the jury to focus on unresolved questions that will distract the jury from the evidence of what happened during the hazing incident which resulted in physical injury.

They want the jury to stop asking, "Was the alleged victim in this case seriously injured in a hazing incident? And if so, by whom?"

Reasonable doubt shifts from the crime itself (the hazing in this instance) to needing to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the motives of the victim and the victim's supporters are pure.

If the defense team proves that the father was angry (implying that the charges stem from petty revenge) then the jury is more likely to focus on details beyond the scope of the incident in question.

The jury may focus on trying to determine the answer to the question of whether the defendants are nice boys, or at least nicer than the victim.

The prosecutor and judge have some responsibility for keeping the focus on the potentially criminal behavior, but all us who are potential jurors also have a responsibility to learn how not to be fooled into looking for answers in the wrong places and ignoring answers that are right there if we'd just ignore the theatrics designed to keep us from seeing those answers.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:04 AM   3 comments links to this post

Friday, September 29, 2006

There's no U in Ifeminism


States Wendy McElroy, the founder of "Ifeminists believe that freedom and diversity benefit women, whether or not the choices that particular women make are politically correct. They respect all sexual choices, from motherhood to porn." According to ifeminism, "freedom and choice do not threaten women. Government and orthodoxy do."
From what I saw on the ifeminism web site another name for ifeminism could be "Live and Let Die" feminism. That parallel is reinforced by the articles that were linked on the front page of

Accused Denied Due Process in Duke Lacrosse Case? by Wendy McElroy

For Wendy McElroy, the Duke Lacrosse case has become a litmus test for the American justice system and the protections it offers the accused...not from the accuser, but from abusive government officials.

Uppity Men by Carey Roberts

"'I'm as mad as hell and I won't take it anymore!' That pretty well sums up the attitude of many men and women who have become disgusted with feminist-driven, government-enforced intervention into the personal matters of private citizens."

Apparently, this new brand of feminism is disgusted with the gains feminists have made in the last 30 plus years. From the prominence given to the Duke rape defendants, ifeminism could adopt the motto:

No alleged rapist left behind.

I just wonder if these ifeminists are equally disgusted with non-feminist-driven, government-enforced intervention into the personal matters of private citizens. Matters such as a woman's right to control her body before, during and after pregnancy without government-enforced intervention.

If their opposition to government involvement is limited to involvement that could be labeled feminist, their stated opposition to government involvement is a sham and so is using the term feminist. If that's the case, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they just didn't know what to do when they learned that the domain name anti-feminism dot com was taken.

Maybe ifeminism stands for inverse feminism.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:02 AM   2 comments links to this post

Thursday, September 28, 2006

NY Post Reporter Cheers Terrorist Threat Possibly Interferes With Federal Investigation

From Crooks and Liars, I see that Keith Olbermann received a letter filled with an unknown white powder and a threatening note likely in response to one of his segments, possibly the segment I would call The Emperor Has No Clothes segment.

And the NY Post reporter Paula Froelich said in essence, "It was good."

Not Olbermann's broadcast or even freedom of the press to criticize our politicians. What was good was the idea that some person who chose a form of terrorist expression decided to target Keith Olbermann.

The NY Post reporter gave terrorist action a journalistic high five.

She might as well have said, "You got him to call 911. Good for you buddy!" Why else would she describe Olbermann's response using terms such as flipped out, terrified, panicked, frantically and her crowning touch, "Whether they [the ER doctors] gave him a lollipop on the way out isn't known."

I can nearly hear her drooling as she imagines what happened to Keith Olbermann. I'm sure the person who sent the letter to Olbermann felt validated by this NY Post article. Maybe validated enough to send a more dangerous white powder the next time a journalist says something annoying. And maybe that person will give Ms. Froelich an anonymous tip so she can help publicize that attack.

The only question is whether that would make her day or horrify her. Since she may have interfered with a federal investigation, that question is definitely up in the air.

This article is informative in that it gives us a picture into how terrorists and their supporters can see their actions in an absolutely positive light. I'm sure Ms. Froelich has counterparts throughout the world who respond with similar cheer when those they disdain are threatened or attacked.

What this proves to me is that those who cheer terrorists responsible for thousands of innocent American deaths aren't so different from us after all. They likely viewed attacks against us the way Ms. Froelich viewed an attack against Keith Olbermann.

Now that's scary.

Here's the video of a segment from Countdown with Keith Olbermann which could have elicited the threatening letter containing white powder (anyone remember the post 9/11 Anthrax mailing which actually killed people). You may or may not agree with Keith Olbermann, but that shouldn't change your view on the threat made against him. If it does, that speaks volumes about your morals and your character.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:43 AM   0 comments links to this post

How Dare Women's Shelters Try To Keep Men From Their Wives

That's the position of many people who characterize women's shelters as places where women get help from feminazis in their schemes to harm their husbands.

Well, one of those husbands wouldn't let a pesky women's shelter stop him from exercising his marital rights and is now wanted on murder charges. Poor thing.


Bonnie Woodring, 48, moved into the shelter after that attack. In court records, she said her husband "keeps tabs on where I am 24/7" and had threatened her 13-year-old son from a previous relationship. On Sept. 18, her husband, armed with a shotgun, pushed past a staff worker who was leaving the shelter for the night, then shot his wife in the kitchen, investigators said.


Woodring is considered armed and dangerous, authorities have said.

Despite the number of women who are murdered by a significant other or ex, some people continue to deny that feminist activists who run or support women's shelters are responding to a real problem. When cases like this make the news, all they seem to be able to say is, "men are abused too."

Like that cancels out the trend of violence against women.

Men are abused. And the last type of equality I want is to see an increase in violence by women against men until we reach a bloody form of parity. One man brutally slayed for each woman dragged to her death.

The best way to deal with all forms of abuse is to stand up against the most prevalent forms of abuse and make it clear there is no excuse for abuse. In many of the most common cases, the abuser has rationalized the situation until he sees himself as the victim of his victim. His cup runneth over with external reasons for his actions.

Those who blame the woman or feminists or the system for his violence might as well be standing over that man's cup with a hose, keeping his cup of excuses full 24/7. If he starts to see the truth of what he's done, too many people are eager to rush in and tell him that taking responsibility for his actions is nothing more than feminist brainwashing.

What surprises me is how many people continue to insist that this type of violence is either a private matter or something that only feminists should be working against. If more of us get involved and if fighting violence was no longer considered radical, fewer women, fewer children and fewer men would be hurt by domestic and sexual violence.

But many seem to prefer denial to solutions and want to pretend that marriage and the 2-parent family is as magical as their favorite movie.

I lived in denial for too long so I understand it's allure. Sometimes we all want to close our eyes and wish all the bad stuff away. Unfortunately, those who do bad stuff tend to see all those closed eyes as a good reason to keep on keeping on.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:02 AM   0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Girls Gone Wild Attorney Blames Underage Girls For The Company's Illegal Conduct

CBS News

The founder of the company that produces the "Girls Gone Wild" videos of women appearing in sexual situations pleaded guilty Monday to charges of failing to document the ages of young women engaging in sexual acts in the videos.


Francis' attorney, Aaron Dyer, said underage girls who had appeared in the videos had lied about their age to the company.

This shifting of the blame is so typical it isn't even funny. They didn't do what was required by law, but it's not their fault.

Get out the violins.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:07 AM   1 comments links to this post

Carnival News and Deadline Reminder

Carnival of the Liberals #22 is up over at Writings on the wall and my post, Michael Smerconish: get the habeus out of corpus has been included. (And yes, I realized I have a typo in the title, but correcting the title changes the file name.)

Carnival Against Child Abuse #4 is up over at Scarlett Demon

Erase Racism Carnival #5 is up over at Black Looks

Carnival of feminists #23 is up over at Lingual Tremors

Finally, the deadline for nominations for the Oct. 1 edition of the Carnival Against Sexual Violence is tomorrow night (Sept. 28) at 11 pm. If you've written or read a post you think should be included, please nominate it.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:09 AM   0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

If We Arrest Terrorist Plotters, Why Don't We Arrest Domestic Terrorist Plotters?


The sister of 38-year-old Teri Lee, the woman gunned down by an ex-boyfriend early Friday morning in West Lakeland Township, Minn., is calling for new legislation to protect victims of domestic violence. "My sister pleaded with the judge not to allow him out," said Vicki Seliger Swenson, the victim's sister, referring to Steven Allen Van Keuren, who is alleged to have murdered both Lee and Tim Hawkinson at her home on Friday. "She made it clear, he was a threat. He made it very clear, he's got nothing to loose," said Swenson, who maintains the law-enforcement and judicial system meant to protect victims of domestic violence failed tragically in her sister's case.


According to police, Van Keuren attempted to kill Lee in July by attacking her with two butcher knives.

This case highlights the gap in response when a violent person informs someone (through words and action) that a murder will happen.


In the most severe cases, orders of protection simply aren't enough. I'm not suggesting that every man who threatens murder should be treated as if he's done what he's threatening to do. What I am suggesting is that our legal system take these threats as seriously as they would if someone threatened to assassinate a politician or if that person fit the traditional mold of terrorist.

When somone plots a terrorist attack, our law enforcement agencies have no problem making arrests before the planned attack has been completed. That means there is legal precident for arresting and charging people with a crime who are planning to kill one or more people but who haven't yet killed anybody.

Too many women are being murdered by their husbands or other men in their lives while the system sits on its hands and waits. Too many men get away with terrorizing the women and children in their lives because too many people feel that the problem is a relationship problem rather an act of terrorism. Here's an example of that from this case:

Yet, it is obvious that something happened to sour the relationship and provoke Van Keuren to strike back lethally against Lee. (emphasis mine)

Why is this obvious? Why is it so easy to assume that part of the responsibility for this man's violence belongs to his victim? He may have viewed her as something that belonged to him and decided if he couldn't have her, nobody could. Her only mistake may have been not recognizing how dangerous this man was before she became his target.

Neither does it cut it to say something like, "If someone is determined to kill you, that's what they are going to do and there is nothing we can do about it."

We have a duty to find ways to intervene before a planned murder and not wait until the attack has begun and someone calls 911. It may seem obvious, but one of those ways is to communicate -- with no waffling -- that violence is wrong no matter what the victim has done to make the other person angry, no matter how possessive someone feels about others.

If the man who killed 2 people has a troubled history that doesn't excuse his actions. What it should do is remind us that having social programs in place to help those who are troubled isn't a waste of taxpayer dollars.

If this suspect lives after being shot by police, he will cost taxpayers plenty of money.

Often it's cheaper to help people (future perps and potential victims) than it is to do nothing but be tough on crime. Unfortunately, some people oppose prevention programs and counseling for offenders because they view those programs as being soft on crime.

The hard liners also blame the intervention attempts for all criminals who aren't diverted from criminal activity. But if a system reduces crime significantly it shouldn't be thrown out because it fails to eliminate all of the crime that would happen without the intervention program.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:27 AM   1 comments links to this post

Monday, September 25, 2006

Do Prisons Heap More Abuse On Girls With A History Of Being Abused?

In many cases, unfortunately, the answer is yes according to the Human Rights Watch report, Conditions of Confinement in New York’s Juvenile Prisons for Girls.

This subject cuts close to the bone for me because my behavior after being raped was often out of line. If you compared my public behavior to that of my rapist, you would have thought he was the better person. Any action I viewed as controlling set me off so I know I wouldn't have been a cooperative prisoner if my actions had led me to being taken into custody.

Poverty is a major risk factor for delinquency, and often is accompanied by other risk factors related to family disruption. Incarcerated girls in particular have frequently experienced emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse at home. This history of abuse may be the most significant underlying cause of behaviors leading to girls’ delinquency. In New York, an informal survey of incarcerated girls conducted in the 1980s by OCFS officials found that over 70 percent had experienced physical or sexual abuse prior to their incarceration. This finding is consistent with national estimates. Histories of abuse and trauma help explain why, nationally, the majority of girls entering the juvenile justice system suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), other mental health problems, substance abuse, and physical ailments. (emphasis mine)
I suspect that girls who exhibit the same behavior, but who live well above the poverty level are viewed differently or have more resources. I'm sure I benefited to a large extent from being from a middle-class, intact, "law abiding" family. If the base assumption was that I was riffraff, I might have bumped into the criminal justice system much more than I did.

A New York delinquency attorney observes that “There’s a fair amount of self-medicating going on among the girls. It’s identified as a chronic drug problem, but really it’s the underlying problem that never gets addressed.” The justice system’s response to these patterns, that of arresting and prosecuting the girls concerned, has been dubbed the “criminalization of girls’ survival strategies.”
This is so true. My first run in with the law came the day after being taken to the hospital with alcohol poisoning.

Often the more a girl is abused the less innocent she looks to the system and the more cynical she is that people are on her side. If a system responds to all uncooperative behavior by fighting fire with fire, the only result can be trouble for everyone.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 7:31 PM   2 comments links to this post

Author of Porn Up Rape Down Study Reveals Most Important Lesson

From an interview in Raw Story:

[Anthony] D'Amato believes the most important lesson people should take away from "Porn Up Rape Down" is to question the results of governmental reports. "If people can learn to distrust the findings of governmental commissions, such as the Warren Report, the 9-11 report, or the Meese report on social violence, we would become a more free and democratic nation," said D'Amato. "Our government engineers these reports to shield the perpetrators or to promote the business interests of its cronies and campaign contributors. As I tell my law students, the first thing you need to know about being a lawyer is not to trust the written word."
So as a law professor, was the real point of his study to teach people that they shouldn't automatically accept the conclusions of studies as absolute fact?

Studies such as his, for example.

No wonder it was so easy to find major flaws in his study as I did in my post, Porn Up Rape Down Or ... It sounds like he wasn't attempting do anything besides look for some data that could be used in a study that would say porn is responsible for a reduction in rape.

I wonder if he brags to his students, "Hey, I can get some people to believe anything."

Apparently, from his ability to make some people believe that porn has been proven to prevent rape, he's showing us we must distrust people like him. From this statement of his, that's not too tough.
"Suppose you distribute free condoms to a country, and you find, five years later, that the birth rate has gone down 85%. Would you say that it's just a cosmic coincidence or would you say that the distribution of condoms caused the drop in the rate of birth? The reasoning is the same for my position on rape: the causation factor is reasonably inferred, " said D'Amato.
His base example tells us that birth control reduces the rate of births. It's too bad the reasoning in his study doesn't parallel the condom/birth rate example. The similar reasoning would be for us to reject the idea that it's a "cosmic coincidence" that rape prevention programs trended upward while the rate of rape trended downward.

What we can reasonably infer is those who don't want to give up their porn or think about the ethics of porn creation are most likely to embrace the myth that porn has been proven to prevent rape and are most likely to overlook major flaws in any study that tells them what they want to hear.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:02 AM   1 comments links to this post

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Evidence Lost In John Mark Karr Child Porn Case

When the news broke that John Mark Karr's DNA didn't match the evidence at the JonBenet Ramsey crime scene, all the news reports indicated that the pending child porn case in California would ensure that John Mark Karr would become a registered sex offender. The prosecutors there had the evidence against him and he left California before the case could be tried.

It seemed like a slam dunk.

Since by Mr. Karr's own admission he's obsessed with the violent sexualized death of a child and he generally seemed obsessed with young children, this man isn't someone who should be dismissed as a harmless crackpot. That was one of the reasons the Boulder DA decided bring him back to the US.

But the easy conviction doesn't look so easy now that the prosecutors in California offered him a plea deal on the same day they admitted they had lost the computer containing child pornography. They have copies of the images but likely because of that lost evidence Mr. Karr's attorney rejected the plea deal.

If this were someone who only sexualized young children this case would be disturbing to me but when you add in an obsession with the JonBenet Ramsey murder case and his embracing of notoriety, I believe this man is more than disturbing.

He's a real danger.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:24 AM   0 comments links to this post

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Approve Unto Others What You Approve Done To Yourself

I've been catching up on my reading after being out of town and wanted to point people to an excellent series of posts on Bloggers Against Torture called The Truth About Torture (part 1), (part two), (part three), (part four), (part five), (part six).

Here's a quote of President Bush, included in part six:
"First, I'm asking Congress to list the specific, recognizable offense that would be considered crimes under the War Crimes Act so our personnel could know clearly what is prohibited in the handling of terrorist enemies."
Can you imagine a politician asking for the same sort of clarification on corruption?
"First, I'm asking Congress to list the specific, recognizable offense that would be considered crimes under the anti-corruption laws so our personnel could know clearly what is prohibited in the assigning of government contracts, earmarking government funds, personal favors, campaign contributions, quid pro quo and so on."
If there isn't a menu listing all the permutations of these crimes, how can our personnel know whether they are selecting actions on or off this menu? Honestly, if you have to ask, "Is this a war crime?" The answer is yes.

What the President is asking for is permission to keep all possible loopholes wide open.

For anyone who says terrorists deserve no respect and no rights and that only whacko liberals could have any concern for the treatment of terrorists, remember that our policies also serve as a template for our enemies and those who are uneasy about Americans. If we can do something to their citizens, they can do it to ours and we have no right to say they are acting illegally or immorally.

Think about what that could mean specifically.

If you were on vacation outside the US, would you want to be detained without charges and without any rights whatsoever? Would you want to be shipped from what you considered a safe country to a country where there are no rules? Would you want to be a ghost detainee? Would you want to be interrogated by someone who needs to check to see if what they are doing to you is on or off the list of war crimes?

If you are in the "anything goes for suspected terrorists" camp and also identify yourself as Christian, consider how you come across to non-Christians.

Atheist Ethicist: A Just God?

Is it not the case that this God they are supposed to be worshipping is a just God? Why would worshippers of a just God be so eager to throw out virtually all of the basic principles of justice?

There are some Christians who would be adamant that I'm either not a true Christian or that I have let myself be swayed away from God's true path because I have serious misgivings about the ethics of this administration and the way this administration seeks to exploit God and Christianity to market human actions as Godly actions.

While you think about the answers to the questions and issues raised so far, here's a question that may hit closer to home:

With the prevalence of identity theft in America, how can you be certain that someone out to harm the US won't use your identity and have their actions linked to your name and social security number?

How will you be able to prove that the terrorist activity done using your identity was committed by someone other than you? How will you know that you will even be allowed to present evidence that proves you couldn't have done what you were accused of doing without habeas corpus?

Do you really want to wait passively until this supposition becomes reality for you or someone you care about to know whether you will have all of the rights you expect to have?

As Clint Eastwood used to say in his role as Dirty Harry, "Do you feel lucky?"

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:58 AM   0 comments links to this post

Friday, September 22, 2006

Amazing Statement By Prosecutor In Dru Sjodin Rape/Murder Case

...was given during the press conference after the announcement that the jury had given Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. the death penalty.

Drew Wrigley, US attorney for North Dakota, refused to make Mr. Rodriguez a poster child for the death penalty in response to a question from the press. The results came from the "proof that the crime met the standards of aggravation."

That makes sense. This verdict shouldn't be about judging the likability, respectability or nationality of the defendant. This case and the death penalty should only be about assessing his criminal actions.

Then came this (transcribed by me from live coverage):

Member of the press: "Will this change the way the rest of the country looks at our state?"

Wrigley: "... We see the meaning of this as a set of facts put out there. A crime that was committed in the fashion you all heard. You don't need me to go through it here now. To a person, as I said, who did nothing wrong. Nothing wrong to this person, nothing wrong on that day. No risky behavior going on. And what it means is that a jury ..." (emphasis
No risky behavior? While that may be true, what relevance should it have on whether a kidnapper, rapist and murderer gets the death penalty? Should the jury have given him life in prison if she had been snatched leaving a bar instead of a mall?

This verdict was supposed to send a signal to would-be rapist and murderers. Well, so does this prosecutor's statements about the victim. If you want more lenient sentences, rape and murder women who are behaving in ways a jury might see as risky.

I find that message terrifying.

What the prosecutor's statement communicates to me, unfortunately, is that seeking the death penalty is as much linked to judgments about the victim's character and non-criminal behavior as it is to the behavior of the rapist/murderer. It makes me wonder if he would have taken the plea deal the defense team offered if the defendant had been from a middle-class Caucasian family and his victim had been the daughter of migrant workers.

And that's why even in cases where there's no question of guilt, I still have a problem with the death penalty.

The death penalty should be based on judgments of the accused's actions not judgment of the chosen victim.


FARGO, N.D. (AP) -- Jurors on Friday sentenced a convicted sex offender to death for kidnapping and killing University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin, whose body was found in a Minnesota ravine nearly five months after she disappeared. It was North Dakota's first death penalty case in more than a century. The state does not have the death penalty but it is allowed in federal cases.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 1:03 PM   0 comments links to this post

Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid To Laugh


A sex education film that is edgy, explicit and controversial may be coming to a high school health class near you. "Oh my God! It's Captain Condom!" said an actor in the film.

The teenage cast members of the local Youth Performance Company created the film, called "The Talk". They hope school districts see it as a fresh 21st century approach to sex education, but it may be a difficult sell. "It's a comedy for teens and it's, you know, a casual way for them to be comfortable with it and it really open doorways," said "The Talk" writer Ty Thompson.

"The Talk" movie also opens a can of worms for those hesitant to consider a new approach to a touchy subject. "Kids are going to see a lot worse than that," said Thompson. "This is a way that it's educational and they're learning from it."

With so much sexual content out there for teens' consumption, much of it slanted by marketeers of everything from T-shirts to porn, it would be a shame if accurate information is rejected because it isn't boring, moralizing or frightening.

For those who assume that lack of sexual education will equal lack of bad sexual behavior, I know of no evidence making that connection.

Frankly, I don't think the connection exists since most sex offenders who have taken court mandated sex education classes in my area tended to be under-educated sexually with their greatest ignorance being in the area of sexual boundaries.

Watch the story including clips from The Talk

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:34 AM   0 comments links to this post

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Michael Smerconish: Get The Habeus Out Of Corpus

From the Huffington Post/Michael Smerconish - Roger Waters: The Pink in Floyd (hat tip to Echidne of the snakes)

This is Waters' ridiculous ode to some guy who gave him a lift and a meal when he was thumbing it in Beirut at aged 17. According to the logic of his lyrics, because he was extended this courtesy, we're supposed to overlook the murder of innocents at the hands of radical Islam, including the close to 3,000 who died almost five years to the day, and just blocks from where I was now hearing him sing.

I couldn't take it any more. "Go visit Ground Zero" I shouted at him from the front row. He heard me, and proceeded to avoid our corner of the stage for the rest of the night except to oblige some hottie who wanted to take his picture with her cell phone.

Then the pig came out.

I refer to a giant, inflatable pig, a hallmark of many Floyd shows, and the symbol of my
aforementioned favorite album. Only this time the pig was a billboard for Waters' twisted priorities. "Habeus Corpus Matters", it said, among other things. How appalling.

I found this post fascinating in the way that the climax of Water's sins is "Habeus Corpus Matters." I have no idea if the parts of the show before the pig came out were truly offensive or if they merely triggered Mr. Smerconish into experiencing them that way.

As a rape survivor, I understand being triggered and have great sympathy for anyone caught in that unexpected rush of intense emotion. I also understand how the rush of latent emotions can make people lash out, sometimes in ways that don't match the current situation and instead correspond to the memories that are evoked.

We couldn't give the monsters what they deserved, but we can give it to those who seem to be siding with monsters, and we can give it to them with both barrels.

This emotional backlash, in this case against habeus corpus, has been echoed by any number of people who were either involved or supportive of atrocities we now view as so extreme that we can't understand how ordinary or sane people cheered.

Lynch mobs, for example.

I'm sure many of the cheering throng felt just as strongly that those being lynched didn't deserve any of the rights reserved for good, decent people. The lynchees were linked, in the mob's minds at least, to real gruesome murders. And murderers deserve their punishment, the sooner the better. Therefore lynching was justice in action.

Yet innocent men died and people looked on and said it was good.

So what is this horrid Habeas Corpus that the now horrid Roger Waters thinks matters enough to emblazon it on the sacred Pink Floyd pig?

A writ of habeas corpus is a judicial mandate to a prison official ordering that an inmate be brought to the court so it can be determined whether or not that person is imprisoned lawfully and whether or not he should be released from custody. A habeas corpus petition is a petition filed with a court by a person who objects to his own or another's detention or imprisonment. The petition must show that the court ordering the detention or imprisonment made a legal or factual error.
Since Mr. Smerconish objects so viscerally to the statement "Habeus Corpus Matters" he has turned himself into an advocate for allowing unlawful imprisonment. Once someone puts you in prison no one has to prove you belong there without habeus corpus.

Innocent detainees held without a shred of evidence must continue to be held without question, possibly in conditions we would never want to face, simply because 3,000 innocent people died?

Now that's appalling.

Rather than an eye for an eye, it is an injustice for an injustice.

When revenge is all that matters, we begin to think like those we detest. In Mr. Smerconish's case, he now sounds like his old principal as described in the introduction.

I wrote about my experience. My glowing review earned me an invitation to the principal's office. There I was encouraged to write a retraction on the grounds that I had promoted a band whose lyrics the principal believed to be associated with drug usage.

It was a moment straight out of Another Brick in the Wall, part 2. "We don't need no education", indeed. I told the principal to pound sand. I may have even called it a matter of 'free speech'.

Welcome home to extreme reactionism, Principal Smerconish, welcome home!

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 11:28 AM   2 comments links to this post

Runaway Abusive Priest Case: Mexican, L.A. cardinals sued

This lawsuit stems from the case where an abusive priest was given time to escape before the authorities were contacted.


LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The cardinals of two of the most important Roman Catholic dioceses in North America were accused in a lawsuit filed on Tuesday of allowing a priest wanted for multiple sex abuse to flee California for Mexico. Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles and Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico City were named in a civil lawsuit claiming obstruction of justice, negligence and conspiracy to facilitate the flight of the priest and sexual battery.

This case highlights that friendships and protection of the group are still being put above protection of victims. The biggest positive change is that this behavior isn't happening with no reporting and no chance of accountability.

Unfortunately, this same behavior may be happening in environments other than the Catholic church with little or no reporting. I'm sure many corporations rally around employees who sexually harass or sexually abuse others.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:07 AM   0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

What Men Do That Encourages Women To Lie About Rape

Whenever I hear a man say that women lie about being raped (usually to deny or minimize the reality of rape), that lie (all they need is one) is always an indication about the basic moral corruptness of women. In these scenarios men are always completely innocent victims of this big lie.

But is that the reality?

Or are there situations where men set women up to lie about being raped?

Here's one scenario where men (and some women possibly) set a woman up so she could have gotten what she needed, and had the legal right to get, by lying to meet men's criteria. She didn't lie and suffered because of her honesty.

Biting Beaver

... and then he [nurse] says, "Well I called the pharmacy to ask them because I had heard that it was going over the counter. They told me that they won't sell it til the first of the year" I finished the sentence with him and explained that I had called the pharmacy first thing this morning and was told the very same thing. "Well see," he begins, his voice dropping a little, "the problem is that you have to meet the doctor's criteria before he'll dispense it to you."

"Criteria?" I question.

"Well," the nurse sounds decidedly nervous as though what he really wanted to do was hang up the phone completely, "Yes, his criteria. I mean...ummm...well, are you ok? Is there any, ummm....trauma?" he asks me.

My face changes expression and I hurry to explain, "No, no" I said, "No. I haven't been raped. This was consensual sex."

"Oh..." he trails off. I wait expectantly. "Well, ummm....*clears throat*...So you haven't been raped?" he asks again.

"No. I have not been raped. The condom broke". I state, becoming very frustrated at this point and wondering what the hell is going on.

"Ok, well ummm....Are you married?" he mumbles the words so low I can barely hear them. Suddenly I get this image of the poor nurse standing at the hospital reading from a cue card that was given to him by a doctor.

This male nurse, possibly out of a desire to help her get emergency contraception, is asking leading questions with the easy answer (for him) being a lie. This scenario isn't unique to this one facility as the rest of this post illustrates.

I have been asked about my sexual practices. Whether I'm 'monogamous' or 'in a relationship' if I'm married, if I have kids, how many kids I have, if I was raped or 'traumatized' but there wasn't' ONE question about my health. Not one. The few places that said that they had a doctor who would occasionally write prescriptions for EC told me that I had to ask for that doctor specifically and then they proceeded to tell me that I would be 'interviewed' to see if I meet that doctors 'criteria' and then they proceeded to ask me all the above questions before telling me that I should 'try anyway' and I 'might be able to talk him into it'.
Isn't 'Being able to talk him into it' a hint for the woman to make the doctor believe she was raped? The biggest moral failing in this situation belongs to the doctors and those who make doctors afraid to prescribe emergency contraception.

The unpleasant reality here is that the woman is immoral if she doesn't lie and she's immoral if she does lie.

Nicely done.

If you think this situation is fair, imagine a similar line of questioning to determine if a man meets the criteria to get treatment for STDs. Imagine a female nurse asks questions to ensure that a man meets the criteria of contracting diseases only through non-sinful means before recommending he sees a doctor.

"Did you get infected from an unfaithful wife?" ... "Oh, you're not married? Then did some cheap woman get you so drunk you passed out while she had her way with you?" ... "No? Are you sure?" ... "Well, maybe you can find a doctor who can be talked into treating you."

If this happened would anyone blame the man for doing what he had to do to get the treatment he needed?

Now imagine other situations linked by many with sin (violence, etc.) and imagine all nurses and doctors insisting that the patient meet a moral criteria before treatment.

How would a rough-looking young man who's been stabbed meet a moral criteria before treatment? "Yes, I know blood's spurting from that knife wound, but I have to see if you meet the criteria of innocent victim before I can help you. I smell booze on your breath and you can't be old enough to drink legally."

We wouldn't accept a nurse or a doctor judging the patient's morals before deciding whether or not to treat that patient, would we?

I can imagine other criteria-based scenarios besides women concerned about pregnancy, but the reality of the use of moral criteria seems to be absent in other time-sensitive medical treatments.

Criteria dehumanizes the patient and makes the medical professional a surrogate for God's judgment. So why, other than discrimination, do women get treated this way when men don't face similar treatment even when their behavior could be considered to be just as immoral?

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 1:48 PM   0 comments links to this post

Pardon Me Bush Is This The Catch-N-U-Spy-N Boo Boo

I only wish the idea that Republican members of the Senate are rushing to give President Bush a pardon were a lame pun instead of a dangerous precedent.

If this pardon passes, illegal will be the new legal.

Using this strategy, Watergate would have been solved by simply accusing the Democratic National Committee of subversive activity and explaining that the break-in at the Watergate Hotel was a necessary form of warrantless monitoring and that the Congress was negligent in viewing any of that activity as illegal in the first place.

It turns those attempting to enforce the law into the real culprits, not those who ignored the law.

Much of what Bush wants undone was put in place because of abuse by politicians and political operatives in the Nixon administration. I don't want checks and balances to be nothing more than things that go into bank accounts and the size of those bank accounts, respectively.

The biggest lie that these pro-warrantless wiretapping proponents are telling is that those of us who are concerned about the legality and ethics of domestic spying are against monitoring suspicious activity. Actually, what I and many others want is more monitoring, not less.

We want people to snoop (those activist judges) on the snoopers to make sure they aren't snooping for personal or political gain over those they view as political enemies. We also want to make sure that the obsessions of those who authorize snooping (gays or godless liberals) doesn't consume all the available resources and leave some groups which are planning violent acts undetected.

Monitoring must be based on evidence-based risk of violence, not on ideology.

I don't want another foreign terrorist attack but neither do I want another homegrown terrorist attack. But by the rising level of violence against judges, I don't have great confidence that the next domestic terrorist group who pines for the good old days in America is being taken seriously by anyone who controls the resources of homeland security.

Then there's the fact that many who are labeled 'tax and spend' liberals don't want to waste millions of government dollars on paranoia-based programs.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:02 AM   0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

To Crime Suspects: Prove You're Poor


(AP) St. Paul In an attempt to get the caseloads of public defenders under control and rein in what's seen as growing abuse of the system, Dakota County has implemented a screening program where criminal defendants must prove they're poor enough to qualify for a public attorney. The screenings, which include interviews and random credit checks, are designed to reduce caseloads and create uniform rules to determine who gets free or low-cost legal representation.


Previously, judges in Dakota County made this decision alone, based on a financial disclosure form filled out by defendants.

Since the funding for public defenders is down and many public defenders are given too heavy of a workload, determining who truly qualifies based on data that comes from sources other than the defendants seems like a no-brainer.

My only concern is whether the criteria matches the reality of what it means to not be able to afford an attorney. Too often changes that are made to ensure that no one can cheat the system ensure unfairness for many who fit the overall criteria, in this case being unable to afford a reputable attorney.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:34 AM   0 comments links to this post

Monday, September 18, 2006

Who Can Pose With Alleged Wrongdoers

I blogged about the uproar going on about an attractive woman blogger photographed with Bill Clinton at my other blog, Re-model 4 Life but there was a comment that caught my eye in regards to attitudes about sexual violence against women.

Dr. Helen

I am not holding myself out as a feminist blog opposed to sexual harassment and then running out to get my picture made with Bill Clinton--if I did, I would see myself as the hypocrit I would rightly be.
So what she's admitting is even though she is a forensic psychologist, she isn't opposed to sexual harassment (or doesn't care enough to actually do anything about this problem) and therefore can hang out, guilt-free, with men who have treated women in the way Bill Clinton has been accused of doing. She's saying there would be nothing wrong with her posing with former President Bill Clinton.

By this logic since I'm anti-rape and have taken action against rape, I can't have my picture taken with anyone who was ever accused of rape (with or without formal charges) or who was ever rumored to have committed rape but those who are apathetic at best about the issue of rape and violence against women can do so without criticism?

I never knew about this rule. So much for the idea of being able to hate the sin without hating the sinner.

According to Dr. Helen's logic we should elevate all those who don't give a damn above all those who care enough to speak out.

Dr. Helen's logic means that those who oppose illegal drugs can never meet with President George W. Bush since there have been people who said that he used cocaine at least once. If no charges are needed in Bill Clinton's case, they certainly can't be needed in W's case.

Using her own logic, if Dr. Helen would be willing to be photographed with our current president she must not be opposed to illegal drug use or else she is no different than Jessica at Feministing.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:01 AM   0 comments links to this post

Sunday, September 17, 2006

For Those In The If It Ain't Illegal Its Fine With Me Camp


LANCASTER, Wis. (AP) -- A judge on Friday dismissed charges of attempted sexual assault against three men accused of trying to dig up a woman's body to have sex with the corpse, noting that Wisconsin has no law against necrophilia.

The men still face lesser charges.

This case is a stark reminder that the problem with sexual assault is in the perpetrators not the victim.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 2:40 PM   2 comments links to this post

Defend This Marriage Oh You Defenders Of All Marriages


(AP) When Susan Kuhnhausen returned home from work one day earlier this month, she encountered an intruder wielding a claw hammer. After a struggle, the 51-year-old nurse fended off her attacker by strangling him with her bare hands. Neighbors praised the woman for her bravery, and investigators said they believed the dead man, Edward Dalton Haffey, was burglarizing Kuhnhausen's home. But after an investigation, police now say the intruder Kuhnhausen strangled was apparently a hit man hired by her estranged husband, Michael James Kuhnhausen Sr., to kill her.
Apparently, her husband was another believer in "Till Death Do Us Part."

So many who advocate for the absolute sanctity of marriage either want to ignore the horrific things one spouse can do to the other or they just consider it the price some spouses must pay to uphold a greater good.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:13 PM   0 comments links to this post

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Why Political Corruption Hurts Your Bottom Line

Washington Post

Rep. Robert Ney (R-Ohio) agreed today to plead guilty to conspiring to commit multiple official acts for lobbyists in exchange for campaign contributions, meals and luxury travel, sports tickets and gambling chips. He became the first elected official to face charges in the ongoing influence-peddling investigation of former lobbying powerhouse Jack Abramoff.

After insisting for more than a year that he had broken no laws in his dealings with Abramoff, Ney signed a plea deal Wednesday that was entered into federal court today. Prosecutors are seeking a sentence of 27 months in prison.

Ney checked into an alcohol rehabilitation clinic Wednesday and apologized in a statement today for "serious mistakes" that have brought pain to his family and constituents.

To call this sort of corruption a mistake is no different than a rapist calling his actions a mistake. Both of these actions only become mistakes when the evidence is overwhelming. Until then the perpetrators are just getting what is rightfully theirs and aren't doing anything wrong.

Unlike the rapist, some people may assume that this sort of corruption is a victimless crime. It is no more a victimless crime than it would be if a bank employee found a way to steal a million dollars by skimming off a little money from every account at the bank by diverting interest payments. The corrupt U.S. congress member is using that same strategy of cheating every member of the American public and his or her constituents. We don't always see what's been taken -- unless it's the smog created from a favor a company bought so they could have the pollution control laws tailored to maximize their profit and minimize their accountability for the pollution and toxic waste they generate.

But for many of those who take a tough stance on fighting crime, the problem comes because most corrupt politicians don't look anything like a traditional purse snatcher or pickpocket. Thieves are scum, not charismatic. The problem with this stance is some traditional thieves steal because they can't make a living legally. Providing those thiefs with basic skills such as functional literacy could change their motives. The political thief, however, steals because he or she can and feels entitled to have it all -- salary, government benefits and far more.

Just like the rapist, the corrupt politician finds rationalizations to justify illegal activity or finds ways to make illegal and unethical behavior look like it might be simply a mistake.

Every time a worthy project can't be fully funded (pothole-ridden roads, deadly stretches of road, underfunding education, too few emergency responders, etc.) because government just doesn't have the money, remember that some or all of that money got diverted through corruption.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:11 AM   0 comments links to this post

Friday, September 15, 2006

Carnival of the Liberals #21

The carnival of the liberals is up and I'm thrilled to have one of my posts included. Go check it out at
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 11:46 AM   1 comments links to this post

Carnival Against Sexual Violence 7

Welcome to the Sept. 15, 2006 edition of the carnival against sexual violence.

Thank you to everyone who nominated a post or who wrote a post against sexual violence whether it was nominated/selected or not. 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 the 7th edition of the carnival against sexual violence:

personal stories

In Session Flashback ****possible triggers**** posted at Survivor of Rape and Incest, we get to see some of the struggles rape survivors face and also see that there are people who can help us through the pain.

In No-win situations (and the losers who make them) posted at A walk into the fire, we get a discussion about the assumptions people make about survivors who choose not to disclose their trauma and the assumptions people make when survivors do disclose.

In Dating/Intimacy After Rape posted at Raped, Lost & Alone, we get to see the impact rape has on interactions that those who have never been sexually assaulted take for granted.

In Moms for Modesty and My Own Experience posted at Just Me And My Guys, we get a discussion of an experience where lack of modesty had nothing to do with an attempted rape.

media watch

In Angry About Rape posted at The Angry Black Woman, we get a discussion about the way rape is used in the media and in stories and why the current practices need to stop.

In What George Bush Didn't Say About Guantanamo posted at No Quarter, we get a response to reports that interrogators working on behalf of the US threatened to rape and murder the family of at least one terrorist suspect if he didn't tell them what they wanted to hear.

In Violence Against Women -- Banned TV Ad posted at Tennessee Guerilla Women, we get a link to a public service ad that was banned.

In In Which We Debunk Yet Another Pro-Porn Argument posted at Biting Beaver, we get a discussion about how those who defend all porn try to make violent porn and violent movies or video games equivalent so if someone wants to ban violent porn they have to ban fictional depictions of violence.

In You Make Me Sick posted at Mad Sheila Musings, we get a discussion of plays that show the dynamics of violence against women and some men's automatic labeling of those plays as anti-male.

raising awareness

In Bronx D.A. v. Indefensible Sorry for the long ab... posted at Prosecutor Post-Script, we get a post by a former prosecutor on why she and a defense attorney would see the same issues so differently.

In More festival fun* posted at LonerGrrrl, we get a discussion and a questioning of the attitudes that make a rock festival with a sexual assault a success.

In Recalling Woodstock '99: Mustaine briefly comments on rapes + my own rambling about the issue. posted at Blessed Fearscapes, we get a discussion about safety and respect for others at concerts.

In where in which i lose all hope for humanity once more... posted at sinister girl, we get a post that reminds us how far we still have to go in the effort to stop violence against girls and women and to change the attitudes that contribute to this problem.

In Patent Lawyer Goes to Town posted at Seeking Justice, we get a prosecutor's take on the case where a man fatally stabbed another man who he believed molested his daughter.

In Why Men Rape posted at Everyone needs therapy? Lessons from a family therapist, we get a discussion about the attitudes and beliefs that make men more likely to commit rape.

In "No right to be assumed harmless": more on men and suspicion posted at Hugo Schwyzer, we get a discussion of why good men shouldn't blame women for not instantly recognizing that they are good men.

In Sex & Relationships: The High Cost of Manliness posted at AlterNet, we get an article written by Robert Jensen which sparked discussion in the blogosphere.

In Jensen on the High Cost of Manliness, and the importance of role models posted at Hugo Schwyzer, we get a response to the AlterNet article linked above which deals with stereotypes that feed into rape.

In Why men's verbal sexual coercion is rape - not just unwanted sex posted at A Speakout on Male Sexual Violence, we get a discussion about a distinction many men use to excuse their sexual assaults.

In Please won't someone think of the gropers! posted at Pandagon, we get a discussion about how some people condemn a woman's harsh reaction to repeated sexual harrassment culminating in unwanted touching while letting the man who went too far off the hook for his pattern of behavior.


In Why Police Busts of Potential Online Child Molesters is Wrong posted at Supreme Narcissism, we get a discussion about what role law enforcement should have in the prevention campaigns and how our wish to prevent harm may not be as effective as we wish it could be and that some prevention strategies can harm the freedoms we hold dear or take resources away from dealing with the caseload of reported crimes.

In Ohio Sex Offender Proposal To Add Non-convicted Registry posted at Abyss2hope, I discuss the problems that a non-convicted sex offender list could create.

In England Bans Violent Porn posted at Feministe, we get a discussion about England's decision to expand the ban on violent porn from those who create porn to those who possess it.


In The following questions comes from Jon Katz, a cri... posted at Prosecutor Post-Script, we get a discussion which includes a former prosecutor's views on the legal definition of a sex crime vs. personal perception. Of particular note is the perception of sexual maturity (show me a sexually mature child and I'll show you a child who's been sexually abused, either physically or emotionally).

In Oops, the Victims Already Settled They Didn't Need this Evidence, Right? posted at Bring it On!, we get a discussion of the revelations made about the late Gonzaga University president who was involved with the sexual abuse of boys and young men in the 1960s.

That concludes the 7th 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.

The next submission deadline is Tuesday, Sept. 28 at 11 pm. The 8th edition will be out on Oct. 1.

To nominate a post (your own or someone else's) to the next edition of carnival against sexual violence, use our carnival submission form. Links to everything related to the carnival can be found on the new blog dedicated to this carnival,

Marcella Chester

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:41 AM   3 comments links to this post

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Girls Gone Wild Producers Violated Sexual-Exploitation Law

And they at least agreed to pay $2.1 million for doing so.

CBS News

(CBS/AP) The company that produces the "Girls Gone Wild" tapes of young women baring their breasts and acting in other sexual situations pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal charges and agreed to pay fines totaling $2.1 million. Mantra Films Inc., based in Santa Monica, Calif., made the plea in U.S. District Court in Florida on charges of failing to maintain proof of age and indentification for its young performers in sexually explicit films.
It took long enough for this failure to be identified. For what these women are consenting to, the validity of consent given by girls and women who are most likely drinking underage is questionable. I doubt the women have 3 days to withdraw their consent or even have a way of challenging the contract they signed.

I also wonder if the Girls Gone Wild producers are supplying underage girls with alcohol and if they are doing so if that potentially criminal behavior is being fully investigated. Since the producers are reportedly luring young women to private areas where they are attempting to get more explicit video footage than the flashing of breasts, there may be even more legal issues involved.

In addition to being sexually exploited, these women are being financially exploited and likely have not been given full disclosure about the different ways this company will make money from the video images being recorded.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:01 AM   2 comments links to this post

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Why Hot Blooded Woman Stereotype Burns Women

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's recent comments in the context they were made weren't dangerous to any woman, but the assumptions behind comments such as his can be dangerous to women in a very specific way.

First from MSNBC, here's what was said:

The statements were captured on a six-minute tape made during a March 3 speechwriting session between Schwarzenegger and his advisers. On it, Schwarzenegger and chief of staff Susan Kennedy speak affectionately of state Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia and speculate about her nationality.

"I mean Cuban, Puerto-Rican, they are all very hot," the governor says on the recording. "They have the, you know, part of the black blood in them and part of the Latino blood in them that together makes it."

In this situation the racial stereotypes might not have been used in a negative way, but in rape cases this same stereotype can be very negative.

Since rape cases often come down to who and what to believe, the stereotyping of an alleged victim as hot-blooded can result in people believing the stereotype over the evidence.

A so-called hot blooded alleged victim may be more easily seen as a liar or as an instigator.

This stereotype can also contribute to men who assume that women with so-called hot blood are willing women. No ifs, ands or NO!s. When a man refuses to see that his sexual contact could be sexual assault, he's no more innocent than the man who refuses to glance upward to see whether the traffic signal is red. If we wouldn't excuse the reckless driver, why do we excuse the man who is reckless with women?

Too many people take a lack of doubt by the alleged rapist to be proof that the man is innocent rather than as evidence that he may have completely objectified his alleged victim.

Refusal to accept the truth of the evidence because that evidence runs counter to a man's wishes or an observer's assumptions reveals deep flaws in the character of those who swear allegiance to the hot-blooded stereotype.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:02 AM   0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

More Charges Filed In Rape Case Linked To Phoenix Killings

Washington Post

PHOENIX, Sept. 11 -- An ex-convict and construction worker was charged with 17 felony counts Monday in two sexual assaults linked to an investigation of a string of serial killings. Maricopa County Attorney Andrew P. Thomas said that authorities are not calling Goudeau the "Baseline Killer" and that he has not been named as a suspect in 22 other robberies, rapes and shootings that left eight people dead since August 2005.


At a news conference, Thomas said Arizona's parole board was "naive and misguided" when it granted early release to Goudeau in 2004. Goudeau had eight more years to go on a prison sentence for unrelated assault charges.

So, at least for now, the Baseline Killer is assumed to be on the loose.

If this man turns out to be the Baseline Killer, I believe it would be a mistake to assume that harsher punishments and longer sentences are the solution to preventing escalation of criminal activity. There will always be some criminals who pose too great of risk to let out early or to let out at all, but there are others who with the right programs can de-escalate.

The key is to have the right programs with thorough screening systems in place. I say systems rather than system because I believe redundancy is needed. Some people can be model prisoners and yet be a danger from the moment they are free because their triggers didn't exist within the prison system.

We don't want the first warning of escalation to be a dead body.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 2:52 PM   0 comments links to this post

Carnival Against Sexual Violence Deadline Tonight

The next deadline for the Carnival Against Sexual Violence is tonight Tues. Sept. 12 at 11 pm.

Please nominate a post (your own or someone else's) to the next edition of carnival against sexual violence, using our carnival submission form.

Even if you don't have a post to nominate, there are other ways you can help get the word out and raise awareness within the blogosphere about the variety of bloggers who are helping out in the fight against sexual violence.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:01 AM   0 comments links to this post

Monday, September 11, 2006

Path To 9/11 Justice

I was watching the coverage at ground zero and several comments made about the tactics used in the war on terror seemed to fall into the category of, "whatever works" to get those who attacked us and who might attack us again.

Tunnel vision justice, if you will.

That the deaths of innocents which came as the result of our nation's actions happened one, two or ten at a time seems to make those deaths less significant to us than our losses five years ago. But should we mourn the deaths of the innocent civilians in an official or un-official war based only on whether those lost were among our own?

Does mourning all innocents who died on 9/11/2001 and all innocents who died in subsequent actions in countries that seem as foreign as the moon make me unpatriotic?

To those who would say yes, I just want to remind you that you have counterparts around the world who prioritize based on their patriotism. I guess they aren't as foreign as the moon after all.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:08 AM   1 comments links to this post

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Petition Opposing Abortion Sent By Anti-Abortion Rape Survivors

Catholic News Agency

Springfield, Sep. 07, 2006 (CNA) - A group of women who know first hand the suffering caused by rape and incest have come together in an attempt to have their voices heard. The women have formed the Ad Hoc Committee of Women Pregnant by Sexual Assault (WPSA) and are taking their message to legislators in Washington and around the country, asking for public hearings at which victims can be heard, according to LifeSite.

In a petition to the U.S. Congress and state legislators the WPSA said, “In virtually every case, those people who claim to represent our interests have never taken the time to actually listen to us or to learn about our true circumstances, needs, and concerns. We are deeply offended and dismayed each time our difficult circumstances are exploited for public consumption to promote the political agenda of others.”

I find this statement interesting in the way it attempts to make this group representative of all those who have become pregnant through rape and incest. This group uses a very broad "we" in their statements. Yet that type of generalization is one of the key disagreements they have with other groups who hold opinions which differ from theirs. I doubt very much that women who got pregnant through sexual assault, but who don't support their anti-abortion position, would be welcome in WPSA.

If it's wrong for people to disregard the beliefs of rape and incest victims who desire to carry to term, why is it right to ignore the beliefs of rape and incest victims who desire NOT to carry to term for either personal or health reasons?
"I feel personally assaulted and insulted every time I hear that abortion should be legal because of rape and incest," she wrote in Victims and Victors. "I feel we're being used to further the abortion issue, even though we've never been asked to tell our side of the story."
This is a huge jump of logic from how one, or even some, victims of rape or incest feels to how all rape and incest victims must feel. If members of this group don't want something then it must be denied to everybody? It's a, "Don't use us, but let us use you" line of reasoning.

Just as these women don't want me to speak for them or rob them of their voices, I as a fellow rape survivor, don't want them to rob me of my voice or of my choices.

If these women are so passionate that no other girl or woman be put in the position they were, are they also writing to Congress urging more be done to help prevent rape and incest so fewer victims have to face the agony that comes after being violated, whether a pregnancy results or not?

I haven't been able to find a copy of their petition so I don't know if it is limited to the subject of abortion.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:23 AM   0 comments links to this post

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Little Black e-Book

Now, an online service can help you keep track of your sexploits, logging time, date, and lurid details.
This could be of great interest to prosecutors if any of the sexploits involve criminal activity.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 4:23 PM   0 comments links to this post

"I promised myself I would grow older, stronger and sturdier to be able to break free one day."


Natascha Kampusch, trapped in a windowless room for 8 years, tapped her impressive mental resources. We feel so deeply for her, even as we think nothing of all the young people who pass the same years from age 10 to age 18 without devoting an intense effort to strengthening their minds. And all of us who are free continually miss opportunities to develop intellectually and to understand the value of freedom.

I think most of us do more than fail to think about young people who pass the years not challenging themselves. I think we fail to think about how many young people are tormented in less dramatic ways than Natasha Kampusch before they reach 18 or are able to escape the mistreatment.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:01 AM   1 comments links to this post

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Making Of A Man: Directing Gang Rape?


MILWAUKEE (AP) -- It began with a crush, police said, and turned into one of the most shocking crimes in Milwaukee's long, violent summer: An 11-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by as many as 20 boys while a 16-year-old girl she was romantically interested in watched and coached her.
I've never believed people who say men and boys rape or sexually exploit females because of their biology and I find it interesting that the 16-year-old girl involved in this case, "looked and dressed like a boy," according to authorities in court records.

I suspect that this 16-year-old girl has been subjected to sexual abuse in the past and I wonder if her way of coping was, "if you can't beat them, join them." That doesn't excuse this girl from responsibility for her actions anymore than a boy's or man's history excuses him from responsibility.

The 11-year-old told police she then went to the basement, where there were about 15 males and "began to choose who she wanted to perform oral sex on," the records said. The teenage girl told police that the 11-year-old had told her she wanted to perform oral sex on the boys in the house, according to court records. The 16-year-old denied encouraging her.
I wonder if this situation is the worst side of what a girl believes she must do to be seen as mature. If the girl performed sex acts in order to be accepted, it speaks volumes about the need to teach children about boundaries and the need to teach them to protect younger children even if those younger children don't know how to protect themselves.

This also highlights the need to teach children about legal consent and that sexual assault doesn't always involve physical force.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 4:18 PM   1 comments links to this post

For Once Rush Limbaugh is Right

Media Matters

[Beginning is typical Limbaugh attention-grabbing nonsense] But let there be no doubt about this: America will prevail. We're the same country that survived a bloody civil war, defeated the Nazis and the Soviets. Each generation has a responsibility to the next. Our generation will not disappoint.
As Rush Limbaugh said on last night's CBS Evening News in the FreeSpeech segment, America will prevail, but not over what Mr. Limbaugh assumes to be the problem: Those of us who don't kowtow to this administration. America has learned from it's mistakes.

We learned that slavery was wrong.
We learned that interring Japanese Americans was wrong.
We learned that the paranoia of McCarthyism was wrong.
We learned that the Vietnam conflict was flawed and that staying the course was wrong.
We learned that blaming soldiers for the mistakes of others was wrong.
We learned that blindly trusting those who profess to be trustworthy is wrong.

Hopefully we will all learn that letting fear destroy what terrorist attacks couldn't destroy is wrong. The most dangerous fascism threatening America right now is the fascism of fear.

To see it more clearly, I'm going to take Mr. Limbaugh's argument and make some key subsitutions to see if his logic holds up.

"When the critics are more interested in punishing this country over a few incidents of [rounding up Japanese Americans and putting them in prisons without any evidence of treason] than they are in [letting those responsible do anything they want simply because we're at war], when they seek to destroy [unlimited spying on members of Nixon's enemies list], when they want to grant those [yanked out of their homes in the middle of the night and swept into a secret prison] U.S. constitutional rights, I don't call that patriotic."

"Patriotism is rallying behind the [current administration], regardless of party affiliation, to [get rid of anyone who seems threatening to the current administration]. Patriotism is [passively watching] our troops [die and get maimed] in the battlefield, not [questioning the competence and] undermining the mission and morale [of the current administration]."

Apparently, all those who disagree with the Bush administration are enemies of the state. Rush Limbaugh is against Islamofascism but is he against all fascism?

From Modern History Sourcebook: Benito Mussolini: What is Fascism, 1932:

The Fascist State organizes the nation, but leaves a sufficient margin of liberty to the individual; the latter is deprived of all useless and possibly harmful freedom, but retains what is essential; the deciding power in this question cannot be the individual, but the State alone

Is that what we want America to become? It seems like Rush Limbaugh's answer is yes as long as it's called patriotism.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:24 AM   2 comments links to this post

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Baseline KIller Case: Phoenix Police Make Arrest


PHOENIX (AP) -- Police investigating eight deadly attacks blamed on the "Baseline Killer" have arrested a man in two 2005 sexual assaults connected to the case, authorities said Thursday.
Police have forensic evidence to connect Mark Goudeau, 42, to two sexual assaults that occurred on Sept. 20, Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris said. "This suspect has been arrested for the sexual assault of two victims in one case only and is not connected to any of the other offenses in this series at this time," Harris said.


The "Baseline Killer" has been linked to 23 crimes in the Phoenix metropolitan area dating to August 2005, including eight killings. The crimes also include 11 sexual assaults of women and young girls and several robberies. The earliest crimes occurred along Phoenix's Baseline Road, where the name "Baseline Killer" originated.

It's too early to know if a serial killer has been arrested or not. Until they do know beyond a reasonable doubt, we must assume the risk from the Baseline Killer isn't over. To some people cases like this justify ignoring or dismissing less physically violent sexual crimes, but that would be a mistake.

I believe it's better to stop rapists and sexual abusers early rather than waiting until some of them become sexual killers. Serial killers aren't born, they are made from a mixture of adopted attitudes, rationalizations and previous actions. They are a reflection of the worst part of our society.

Whenever people say victims were asking for it, they feed the rationalizations of rapists and murderers.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 1:42 PM   0 comments links to this post

Consent In Porn Teaches Dangerous Lesson

In the comments of Alas, a blog: No Porn Doesn't Prevent Rape Sailerman writes:

I mean, come on: You can try and spin this any way you want. But the statement "nonconsensual sex is rape; consensual sex is not rape" is not inherently patriarchal or biased no matter how you parse it. There is no magic code which will show that "consensual sex is rape" is set up to screw women for the advantage of men, or porn, or rapists.
The flaw in this statement (in the context of that discussion) comes from the way the statement is often considered to be equivalent to, "nonconsensual sex is forbidden; therefore all sex labeled as consensual is allowed."

On the surface that statement may seem like a truth so obvious that no sensible person could see it as false.

Yet at it's most extreme it plays into a stranger rapist's demand that his victim voice consent at the point of a knife. He may even need what he sees as consent before he can proceed to do as he wishes. And because he did get the consent he demanded, he doesn't see himself as a rapist.

In the case of a stranger rapist, we recognize that this thought process is seriously out of touch with reality and the chances of this person successfully using the "she consented" defense is very low in a criminal court.

From this example we can see that getting consent (from the man's POV) is not the only difference between legal and illegal sexual behavior.

If men learn what consent looks like from porn, they don't know the first or last thing about the complexities of true consent. Too many of these men cling to their ignorance since letting go of that ignorance would mean stopping themselves when no one else is has the power to make them stop.

Much of the date-rape charges that men call, "nothing more than morning-after regret" are in my opinion the result of this problem. Like the stranger rapist, they saw or heard something they consider consent and that meant anything they did from that moment on shouldn't be considered criminal.

Even if a man doesn't misidentify consent, there's a risk that disappointment which follows the mimicking of porn, even the soft-core variety, won't be correctly identified as coming from using the wrong model of human interaction. The sexually disappointed man might think he needs more physical or visual stimulation to be satisfied. He may think he just needs to work harder at persuading different women (those made for sex) to consent or he may think he needs to push his current partner to consent to letting him try stuff she doesn't want to try.

Taking the wrong approach to new heights isn't going to magically make it the right approach. The biggest lie told in porn is the message that an aggressive approach gives all women what they secretly want. This shows itself whenever women fake their sexual reactions to please a man.

In that model of sexual interaction, true communication is not welcome.

Porn, even the most violent examples made illegal in England, doesn't make anybody commit rape, but porn can reinforce dangerous attitudes.

I dissected the study used to make a correlation between porn and rape prevention in my post, Porn Up Rape Down Or ... and a few months ago I blogged about how money spent by Johns funds future exploitation. Even though that post didn't address porn, those who buy porn help underwrite current practices in the porn industry. If those practices are abusive and/or illegal, porn consumers must take some responsibility for funding those practices.

Anyone who has boycotted a business knows that their consumer dollars have power. Yet when it comes to porn that connection seems to magically disappear.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:02 AM   1 comments links to this post