Sunday, September 30, 2007

What Anonymous Men Don't Say Tells Us Everything

Yet another anonymous submits an unintentionally revealing comment.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Help Document The Silence":

Me, personally, I DO NOT say that rapists should not be convicted. I say that men FALSELY ACCUSED of rape should not be convicted and that women such as [redacted] who falsely accuse men of rape should be treated as liars and sociopaths, not victims.

The wording of this comment is responding to my writing: "We need to be as vocal as those who say most rapists shouldn't be convicted." about efforts to raise awareness of sexual violence against women of color. He obviously takes this statement and this effort as a personal affront and decides he must bring a specific case to the forefront.

He doesn't need a conviction or due process to pass out his preferred sentence to not only one woman, but to multiple women who reported being raped. The impression he leaves is that he associates women of color who report being raped with liar and sociopath. No due process is needed for them.

Notice that while this anonymous does not say that rapists shouldn't be convicted, he doesn't in fact say that they should be convicted and he shows zero emotion over women of color who are raped and who see their rapists get away with their crime for whatever reason. Same goes for women of color who are falsely accused of making a false police report. In his comment they might as well not exist.

This pattern of focus is something I see repeatedly. To far too many others like him, women of color who were raped, and who can't have their report declared a lie, are little more than the contents of a pathetic disclaimer.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 5:20 PM   6 comments links to this post

Documentary On Groups Helping Break The Cycle Of Violence

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and so often when we think of raising awareness we think of focusing only on the problems. But raising awareness can also focus on those who are making a significant positive difference.

The 50-minute award-winning documentary Hummingbird directed by Holly Mosher focuses on 2 organizations in Brazil, Women's Life Collective and the House of Passage, that are helping solve problems related to domestic violence.

From Mosher:

Hummingbird shows how through nurturing vulnerable women and teaching them about their human rights, love and respect they can become productive members of their communities. The same type of unconditional love and acceptance given to at-risk children helps break the cycle of violence for future generations.

I had to make this film because I couldn't forget the look of hope in the eyes of the people in these programs. I also felt compelled to spread the profound stories of the inspiring women running these organizations.

Her next documentary will be on the work of the Nobel Peace Prize winning Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank which is helping millions of women in Bangladesh by providing micro-loans to women below the poverty line. Thanks to their own hard work and these loans, 54 percent of their recipients have crossed the poverty line.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:47 AM   0 comments links to this post

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Help Document The Silence

I want to call your attention, especially those of you who are women of color, to the work of Document The Silence. They are collecting and sharing the stories of silence around violence committed against women of color.

I applaud this effort and admit that for a long time I didn't notice that women of color were at a greater risk of being victimized and at a greater risk of having that victimization ignored.

Their first call to action is to: Wear RED on October, 31, 2007.

The only upside of the number of us who have been victims is that if each of us does something small and helps highlight what someone different from us is doing, we can do something earthshaking.

We need to be as vocal as those who say most rapists shouldn't be convicted.

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

Friday, September 28, 2007

Call For Nominations

Tomorrow night at 11 pm is the deadline for the next carnival against sexual violence. Please nominate a post, one you've written or one you've read.

If you've missed any past editions, you can find a link to all of the previous editions here at the carnival homepage.

Please don't feel limited by what has already been included in past editions. There are so many issues which deserve more consideration. By sharing how sexual violence has impacted your life in large or small ways or by sharing how you have dealt with sexual violence or its aftermath, you are helping others know they aren't alone and you may be giving others needed support or insight.

Feel free to pass the word on to your readers who might have posts which would enhance the carnival.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 7:37 PM   0 comments links to this post

Jena 6 Prosecutor And The Power Of Jesus

Before I saw this decision by DA Reed Walters to not appeal the ruling which vacated the conviction of Mychal Bell in adult court and return it to juvenile court, I received an anonymous comment on an unrelated post speculating about the contents of Mychal Bell's juvenile record.

The anonymous commenter may have had the best of intentions, but past crimes don't undo improper actions taken by a prosecutor such as charging a teen as an adult with attempted murder when that teen should have been charged with a lesser crime as a juvenile.

If past crimes mean that present and future injustice against a person or groups should be ignored that will make our country a much more dangerous place to live.

Further, during his press conference the DA has declared that God is on his side in the form of:
"I firmly believe and am confident of the fact that had it not been for the direct intervention of the Lord Jesus Christ last Thursday, a disaster would have happened. You can quote me on that."
How insulting and how blatantly racist. I wonder if he wished he could charge all the protesters with attempted murder since he seems to believe that the town was only saved by the "direct intervention of the Lord Jesus Christ."

He feared what violent and destructive crimes blacks would do while protesting in Jena and when they committed none of the expected crimes, he is unable to admit to himself that his fears were unfounded.

This completely undermines his credibility related to the Jena 6 since this latest intervention echoes his story about how the victim in that case was saved from certain death by the intervention of white students.

If Jesus is intervening in Jena, maybe he saved the lives of blacks from those who hung those nooses at the local high school? I bet this idea would be instantly rejected by DA Walters yet there is a closer linkage between death and nooses than there is between death and demonstrators or between death and fights on school grounds.

This fear and projection absolutely impacts behavior. Unfortunately, this isn't limited to one man or one town. These behaviors have serious ripple effects.

From CNN:

More than three times as many black people live in prison cells as in college dorms, the government said in a report to be released Thursday. The ratio is only slightly better for Hispanics, at 2.7 inmates for every Latino in college housing.
Now the white supremacists want us to believe that this is because blacks and Hispanics are born more violent than whites and that they are born with less mental capacity. I don't buy it.

Monica Lovato, a super flyweight boxer, is working in a positive way to give more options to children in her rural hometown, Española, New Mexico, which is among the poorest communities and which has a drug overdose rate which far exceeds the national average.

Slapping a label on the residents of that community is easy for many people, but easy doesn't equal right.

Who needs high moral ground?
Is being reasonable is strategic mistake


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:09 AM   1 comments links to this post

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Blog Against Abuse Day

I just saw about this awareness effort which makes Sept. 27th (today) Blog Against Abuse Day.

From the Imaginif post:

Child sexual assault - the scourge of modern society and one of the greatest social problems of our times. Today is Blog against Abuse day and a day Imaginif encourages others to give a blog about ending child sexual abuse. Imaginif there was a world without child sexual abuse.

So often if people can't imagine this goal becoming a reality they feel powerless when they are not. I'm reminded of a public service ad encouraging people to recycle where they had a lone man saying something like, "It's only one newspaper." Then they add another person saying this and another until it is a symphany of people saying the same thing.

That highlighted the cumulative power of one. Each of us doing something small is massive. Yet we quickly forget this. That means events like Blog Against Abuse Day are important reminders.

Something we can all strive for is to model non-abusive behavior. Children who are being abused may assume that disrespect for them and their bodies is normal. If they see adults respecting the boundaries of others in non-sexual ways where they are used to seeing disrespect that can make a lasting impression.

We can also model how to respond to abusive behavior. If adults seem helpless and powerless in the face of public abuse, abused children may assume that abusers are all powerful.

We can also support systems and organizations that help parents who are at risk. During the Blogathon I supported Stop It Now! which has a national hotline.

Some communities have crisis nurseries that help stressed out parents. These places benefit greatly from donations and qualified volunteers.

Do something. Joining me in today's Blog Against Abuse Day is a start.

Link to me and let me know what you do. I want to cheer every small action.

Update: You may be able to help identify a young girl (4-5 years old) who is the victim of child rape and who may still be in extreme danger. Go to CNN for more information and to see the girl's picture.

Update (9/28): From the AP:

Chester Arthur Stiles, 34, was being called a "person of interest" in the search for a girl with haunting eyes who authorities believe was 4 or 5 years old when she was raped and sexually assaulted in the video, Nye County Sheriff Tony DeMeo said. The girl is called "Madison" on the tape, and it is "possible" that the man shown in it is Stiles, DeMeo said.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 11:31 AM   1 comments links to this post

Illogic Of A So-Called Logical Man

On Guardian Unlimited, David Cox wrote a post called Feminism's rape fallacy which includes:

In date-rape cases, it's his word against hers. Often, juries will be in no position to determine who's lying. Campaigners sometimes speak as if any man accused of rape must necessarily be guilty. Yet jurors know that some women make false accusations, and that others misinterpret or misremember events or even deceive themselves about what's occurred. In the face of uncertainty, our judicial system requires acquittal.

Since he isn't likely to be raped and he clearly fears rape accusations, it's understandable why he wants a quick and easy solution that meets his selfish needs. And he's willing to throw raped girls and women to the rapists to get what he wants.

When he talks in his post about women's behavior implying consent he proves that he doesn't know jack about true consent. That explains his motives.

Rape isn't the only crime that's unresponsive to law enforcement. We don't imagine that prosecuting drug dealers will solve the drugs problem. We urge their potential victims to "just say no".

I'm glad he makes this parallel between drugs and rape since that allows me to cross-check his logic. A drug dealer who ignores "no," forcefully injects drugs into his victim and then takes money for those drugs when the victim is incapacitated is the true parallel criminal.

You got the drugs you didn't want, he got the money he did want. Let's take Mr. Cox's words related to date-rape cases and substitute this drug crime where the victim claims there was no consent:

In forced-drug-injection cases, it's one man's word against another's. Often, juries will be in no position to determine who's lying. Campaigners sometimes speak as if any man accused of forcing drugs into another man must necessarily be guilty. Yet jurors know that some men make false accusations, and that others misinterpret or misremember events or even deceive themselves about what's occurred. In the face of uncertainty, our judicial system requires acquittal.

If Mr. Cox objects to this substitution, then that shows he doesn't truly believe in his own logic and is only using it as a cover.

For those who would blame anyone who ever happens to cross paths with a person who would commit this type of crime, substitute any crime where there are no witnesses. Just you and the mugger? Sorry, our judicial system requires acquittal. That gun-toting man was asking for a voluntary donation, you just misinterpreted his request. That's his story and the criminal justice system should stick to it.

Remember if anybody ever lied about being the victim of a particular crime, all those who commit that particular crime must be set free. David Cox's logic tells us so.

Further, his comparison between conviction rates for rape and burglary is a completely invalid comparison since in date rape the identity of the rapist is known 99% of the time where the identity of the burglar is unknown 99% of the time when those crimes are reported.

But if they were comparable then we would need to do much more to shame those who own anything stealable. 1) We need to scold people for having items which could be sold. If you didn't have nice stuff, nobody would want to steal it. 2) We need to scold people for ever opening their curtains or ever leaving their homes unattended. 3) We need to scold people for having items that are not clearly marked as theirs. Remember, if your couch has your name spray painted on it, nobody will steal it. Do the same to your Picasso and you won't have to worry about it going into the black market.

Property owners. Remember, David Cox told you that you can't depend on the government to bail you out. Since you are comparable to date-rape victims it's your own fault if you or your possessions are vulnerable in any way.

If you are a victim of theft, don't expect a professional investigation expect lectures. If it's good enough for rape victims, it's good enough for you.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:06 AM   3 comments links to this post

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Warren Jeffs Guilty Verdict: Right or Wrong?

Ilana Mercer is likely only one of many people who don't understand why this jury would find Warren Jeffs guilty on both counts and still be sane. The underlying flaw in her thinking is plain to see in the second quoted section:

With the guilty verdict against Warren Jeffs, president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the folks have proven that they hoisted their pitchforks, rather than hone their reasoning skills, during deliberation [...]

Did he hold down the victim so the perpetrator could have his way with her? No he didn’t. The rape charges against Jeffs stem from his having allegedly arranged the marriages of underage girls, not from violence he initiated against the complainant. And in particular, Jeffs is accused of encouraging a minor, and member of his church, to consummate her marriage. But does urging someone to engage in what one perceives to be marital sex amount to being complicit in a rape, a very brutal crime indeed?

This assumption that an adult, who is the voice of God to that child, needs to hold a 14 year old girl down to be guilty of facilitating rape is to effectively say that coercion is a myth. But coercion isn't a myth. That's not merely my belief, that's a fact.

Under the right (or wrong) conditions anyone can be coerced to do what they absolutely do not want to do. When this is denied then the coercer is given not just a green light, but a high five. They escape accountability and their victims are blamed.

By this standard all prisoners of war who denounced their home country without a gun pointed at their heads should have been tried and found guilty of treason.

Instead of even seeing the possibility that this girl was coerced into marriage and then into sex, Ms. Mercer falsely turns what Warren Jeffs did into "encouragement" despite evidence that what he did could not be in any way described as true encouragement.

Sex or hell.

If that girl believed in hell and had her prophet giving her that false choice, there was no real alternative option given to her. In this group the impact of the choice of hell wasn't just what would happen to her after death, it would have been immediate since the whole community looked to their prophet for guidance. Do what you are told or lose everything and everyone you know. What encouragement.

With the fear of hell in her heart she is then forced to do what she has been commanded to do: have sex when she is unwilling. That's as brutal as any forcible rape.

Yet many people deny this or minimize it until they might as well deny it. I'm glad for them that they have never experienced anything which would give them a way to relate to what this girl experienced.

True encouragement does not condemn the "encouraged" to hell for refusing to do what the other person encouraged her to do. This environment which increases the potential for abuse of power may be so foreign to some people that they refuse to accept its existence. That is a very dangerous mistake.

For those with children, what do you tell your child on the first day of school? Likely it includes, "Do what the teacher tells you to do." We assume our teachers will not misuse this power and the isolation of the classroom, but we rely on school administrators and the law to ensure that we can make this assumption.

We understand that teachers don't merely encourage their students to sit down and comply. They have the power of coercion but under the it's just "encouragement" model the teachers can never be held legally responsible for misusing that power as long as they don't use physical force.

Are you really okay with that?

For more on this verdict checkout the reporting on CNN or AP.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:02 AM   3 comments links to this post

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Who Needs Moral High Ground?

From Alternet: The Whole (Jena 6) Story?:

You can't claim the moral high ground in the struggle for racial justice with a beat-up white kid at the bottom of the pile.

This statement about the Jena 6 protests is dead wrong but it raises an important topic. First, it isn't and shouldn't be about who has moral high ground since that allows injustice to stand unopposed as long as the person or group treated unjustly can be denied moral high ground. This is where "Thug," "Slut" and other slurs come in handy for those who don't want that person or people to get equitable treatment in the criminal justice system.

Using this argument means that those who are fighting to clear the name of those they believe to be falsely convicted of real rapes and/or murders should be left to the system because there is a raped woman or a murdered child at the bottom of the pile. Those who are the focus of these efforts are sometimes really guilty and sometimes are a serious danger to society. These people as a group can't claim the moral high ground but they still deserve just treatment.

This use of moral high ground allows injustice to stand unopposed when those who are getting better treatment than they should or those who are facilitating injustice don't own the moral low ground or falsely claim moral high ground. This is where "nice young man who just made a bad choice" and other descriptors with built-in excuses come in handy.

Those who are being systematically shafted by the legal system are much less likely to be seen as having an attitude of gratitude which makes them less sympathetic and seen as on lower moral ground. This reinforces slurs such as thug which in turn can help justify giving the maximum penalty.

Ironically, those who get systemic favorable treatment frequently position themselves as martyrs and use the "thugs" to make them look better than they are and to bemoan the unfair treatment they are subjected to. When this con game works, it can lead to changes which increase the systematic injustices.

The situation in Jena, Louisiana isn't just about the Jena 6, it is about a systemic problem. Those who benefit from this systemic problem need to obscure this fact and they need to position the defendants as thugs who are as good as convicted while positioning the alleged victim as the opposite of thug. Many of these people will do what they can to disconnect this alleged crime from anything that happened before.

Doing this is as deceptive as looking to see whether a pair of dice are weighted by only judging one roll which results in snake eyes. "Hey, it could be a random result. No need to look at any other rolls of these dice."

This way of thinking about injustice demands melodrama before changes can be made. Often the melodrama is over an exception to the way the system normally works or it's an intentional distortion of reality. The result is often more injustice not less. One way to recognize this is to look at the date of the previous example in the pattern. Another way is to look at studies which compare surveys of illegal drug use to drug convictions or to compare samples from waste water which can determine drug usage to drug convictions.

This idea of needing to claim high moral ground is what allows people to excuse most rapes since 99% of victims don't meet the artificial purity standard where the victim is a virgin, looks like a virgin, but not a tempting virgin, is nabbed in a parking lot of a hospital where she helped the dying, so on and so forth. Without the moral high ground, she was asking for it. And of course, rapists will attempt to place themselves on high moral ground.

If certain classes of people who are regularly convicted of child rape start getting the death penalty while others who commit the same acts are regularly convicted of no crime, that is unjust. Sometimes injustice is getting a better outcome than a person or group deserves.

With the racial imbalance in our prison system that can be shown to be out of balance with the crimes committed, a lot of free white men and women have been subjected to injustice. Bet they're not rushing to set things right.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:45 AM   1 comments links to this post

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Better Response

This story is about the Frederick, Maryland authorities' search for the missing mother, an El Salvador native, of children who were murdered by their father before he killed himself. The issue addressed in the article is whether she is alive or whether she was also killed. However, what struck me was the end of the article:
Rebecca Reckley, president of the neighborhood homeowners association, said her appreciation of the family's hardships deepened after the tragedy. She said
neighbors once complained about Benitez hanging laundry outdoors, but after seeing pictures of Sensuntepeque's dirt roads and mud floors, "I could understand why she was trying to dry clothes on the bushes - she didn't know any better."

Reckley said she and other neighbors kept their distance when the family arrived in 2005, part of a wave of Latinos that has dramatically changed the neighborhood's complexion in the past decade. But when another Hispanic family recently moved into the complex, Reckley made a point of welcoming them.

"The day those people moved in, I talked with the grandmother and the children. I want them to feel comfortable enough that if they need anything, that they know we're available," Reckley said. "I'm not going to have another Rodriguez."

With the initial reaction the neighbors had to the first family it would have been easy for them to view this crime as a confirmation of negative stereotypes even though intra-family murder suicides happen across all segments of our society.

So often we judge behavior that doesn't make sense to us rather than seeking to understand what to us is odd. People who are different also highlight some of the judgments we make which have no real relationship to people's character such as drying laundry outside.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 1:10 PM   0 comments links to this post

Man Sentenced to 421 Years Not Just Like A Predator

This case is so obviously horrific that many people don't realize that Vinson Filyaw's deceptive approach isn't as rare as they wish to believe. Because he was caught during the crime, we understand that he is a predator and he understood that he couldn't successfully deceive a jury. But would the girl have been considered credible if she escaped without the help of the police?

Without the rescue how many people would take the girl's wild tale as absolute truth? What if she couldn't lead police to the bunker where she was held?

“Like a predator, I waited on one lonely stray to walk by,” prosecutor Barney Giese read from Filyaw’s manuscript. “My adrenaline was rushing. My plan was to try to arrest the girl quietly, rather than grabbing her and carrying her.”

While she was held, the girl gained Filyaw’s trust, and he said he gave her his cell phone to play games. She used the phone to send a text message to her mother that led rescuers to the bunker.
Part of the reason we quickly accept that this crime was planned and truly horrific is that he selected a girl who didn't know him, but many predators work not just to fool their intended victim but law enforcement and the public as well.

Some of them succeed like the man charged with holding 2 teenage girls in a bunker under his house and leaving them there to die. The jury either believed the man that the girls fully consented or they were confused enough that they felt they had to come back with a not-guilty verdict.

If we dismiss the evidence of certain predatory crimes because the predators thought about how to undermine the credibility of their victims, we are giving predators the power they crave.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:29 AM   1 comments links to this post

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Being Reasonable Is A Strategic Mistake

That's the message I got loud and clear when I saw this headline on Google News: The Real Racists In the "Jena Six"? Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson - Evening Bulletin. This link takes me to a story by Chris Freind in The Bulletin which has the subtitle: Philadelphia's Family Newspaper.

This headline and the premise behind it is all the more disturbing because it echoes what I've seen in the headlines for white supremacist blogs. The only difference is that the self-proclaimed white supremacists omit the question mark and they use a more offensive descriptor than black. This author goes to the edge and then steps back from it slightly as if that nullifies going to the edge.

Because the author of the story heard it was true, he felt confident writing: "The issue at hand is the arrest of six black students who nearly beat a white student to death." Yet this claim is easily contradicted:

[DA] Walters also said the beating victim has been largely ignored. He was knocked unconscious and his face was badly swollen and bloodied, although he was able to attend a school function that night.

I'm reminded of the quote "If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed."

The implication from this Google News headline is clear.

Whites hanging nooses round the old oak* tree at the public high school that used to be for whites-only are harmless racists. When that is followed allegedly by a white pulling a gun on blacks that isn't racist. But when that is followed allegedly with a crime committed by blacks against a white, that is racist.

Generalizing based on accusations against white men is racist, generalizing based on accusations against black men is not.

Using the premise that bigger and more outrageous is better, here is how I believe the "blacks are the real racists" crowd would have handled the Jena 6 if they were whites accused of an attack on a black student.

1) No matter what evidence exists do not concede that a crime might have been committed by any of the defendants or any of their friends. Injustice against those who might be guilty of a lesser crime doesn't sell as well with the media or the general public. This is a winner take all fight.

2) In the label used to describe the case include the word hoax. Jena Six has no emotional kick. Jena Hoax has an emotional kick. Say it and write it as if this label has been proven.

3) When the word hoax isn't appropriate or you simply want to write it another way, call it the Jena non-attempted murder case.

4) Find all the different accounts of what happened and look for contradictions and changes in the description of what happened and plug them into a minute-by-minute timeline. Don't worry if these contradictions and changes are essentially meaningless since people rarely synchronise their watches around a crime and one person sees a punch while another sees a shove. Differences are proof that someone is lying, matches are proof that witnesses worked together to get a unified account of what happened. Put all of this together into a web page or blog post making it as long and confusing as you can. State at the end that this timeline proves that at least one defendant an airtight alibi.

5) Find a picture of the alleged victim which instantly makes him look unsympathetic or dangerous.

6) Identify selfish motives, other than racism, for the DA, the alleged victim and any prosecution witnesses. Financial gain is a gimme motivation since nobody can disprove being greedy. Resentment is another freebie because again it can't be disproved by hard evidence. Is the DA going to run for re-election? There's your third motivation. If the DA declared he wasn't running then this is his last chance for glory.

7) Accuse the DA and all prosecution witnesses of conspiring. They can't prove they never conspired even if there is zero evidence of a conspiracy. Any meeting which wasn't videotaped can be spun into a potential act of conspiracy. If any meetings were recorded, insinuate that this was done in order to deliberately paint a false picture. If someone you labeled unreliable says something that helps you, relabel them as reliable.

8) If the DA did not meet with any of those who would testify in the trial, accuse the DA of rushing to judgment without a full investigation.

9) Respond to any reports of past bad behavior by any of the defendants as the reason that person was identified since that was obviously designed to make the hoax more believable.

10) Use the word "obviously" as often as possible and get as many of your allies to mimic your use of the word. When anyone disputes what you say is obvious accuse them of being stupid or supporters of the hoax.

11) Call the ID process a sham and declare that the best ID process wasn't used -- complete with pictures of fellow students who have proven alibis and teens who don't go to that school. Explain that the ID was done the way it was because the investigator knew they couldn't truly identify these defendants under a fair system.

12) Hire defense attorneys who will play the media so they get unproven claims presented as solid news. Then have the defense team quote from the news sources which quoted the defense team as if that provides you with the results of independent investigations and not just a repackaging of their own claims.

13) If you cannot deny the criminality of certain actions related to the alleged crime, then make that crime so universal that it is the criminal statute itself which is wrong. Practice this by defending a reckless driver who at 100 mph slammed into another car, killing a family of 5. "Everyone speeds so proof of speeding means nothing. Mentioning speed proves your bigotry against this defendants."

14) If people call you on the fact that you are obviously going over the top, reply with, "I'm passionately pro-justice."

15) If people call you on crossing ethical lines, reply with, "As long as prosecutors cross ethical lines, we need to be able to match them for the sake of the true victims of this hoax: the defendants."

16) Use the phrase "it is a proven fact that ..." whenever possible to characterize your speculative or even untrue claims. If enough people repeat these claims of fact often enough the general public will assume they really are proven facts.

17) For any proven facts which don't fit your hoax theory, respond with, "That is being disputed." Many people will be conned by this answer into believing that there is a valid dispute.

18) Get people to anonymously harass anyone who doesn't accept the case as being a hoax. Make those who are trying to be reasonable sound wishy-washy and try to intimidate them out of writing anything which doesn't fit your theory. Threaten them with lawsuits. The goal is to reduce the discussion to those who claim the case is a proven hoax. Everyone else must be positioned as anti-justice and racist.

19) Have people comment anonymously with the claim to have personally looked through every piece of evidence about this case. Imply that the anonymous commenter is an unbiased legal expert. Have other anonymous commenters vouch for the expertise and neutrality of the first anonymous. If any of these anonymous claims are rejected or later deleted, then rant about this on other blogs as if it is proof that the rejector supports the conspiracy.

20) Attack those who spoke out against the defendants or who spoke out against the crime the defendants were accused of committing. Demand that these people's careers be destroyed. Ignore any statements they made which can be verified as factual.

21) When the tide of media attention turns in your favor because the DA cannot say more without being charged with ethical violations, call the defendants martyrs who in no way contributed to a single person thinking they might be guilty. Describe their lives as being ruined.

22) Use "Innocent until proven guilty" to silence anyone who thinks the defendants might be guilty and to turn the alleged victim into a defacto criminal.

23) Dismiss the medical examination which show injuries as meaningless. If there are any documented injuries, make the claim that it's a proven fact that the alleged victim came to the interaction already assaulted. Someone of his own race likely inflicted the injuries in a consensual fight a la Fight Club.

24) If the case is based on witness testimony, scream about the need for DNA evidence and claim that anyone who touched the alleged victim would have left detectable traces of their DNA. If no exam was done to collect DNA evidence, call that proof that it was known there would be no DNA evidence from the defendants. State that this is obvious proof that there isn't just a lack of credible evidence, there is evidence that the defendants were framed from day one.

The bottom line in the segments of our media world where sensationalism wins, is that reasonable evidence (backed up by court rulings) that the DA is overzealous is meaningless if it isn't part of a grand conspiracy theory which dehumanizes the alleged victim. Remember, you are competing with Britney Spears or whichever celebrity has the scandal of the month. You have to create the sense that what happened was truly scandalous on a scale where this case will be mentioned for decades.

If you keep banging the hoax drum without ceasing, many people will confuse your unethical dedication for dedication to the truth either because they want to believe it or because they only listen to the headlines.

* Note: I don't know if the tree was an oak or another variety of tree, but in this model, it doesn't matter. Since the tree was cut down I declare that it was an oak tree.

Update: I left out an important step. Have anonymous or fringe groups support the death of those who are placed at ground zero of the hoax. If the case turns your way then move this support into the mainstream of your group but say that this should be the sentence given to those who make a false police report. For the sake of the real victims, of course.

According to CNN the FBI is investigating a white supremacist site which lists 5 addresses for 5 of the defendants "in case anyone wants to deliver justice."


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:07 AM   1 comments links to this post

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Man Who Claimed DNA Would Exonerate Him Gets Opposite Results

I'd be surprised if the outcome of this case makes it to the major network's evening news.

A DNA test requested by a man convicted of aggravated sexual assault in 1990 reaffirmed his guilt, the Dallas County district attorney said Friday. Darryl Patrick Goggans filed a motion for post-conviction DNA testing in 2003, which was opposed by the district attorney’s office last year. [...] Brady Wyatt, Goggans’ attorney, declined to comment Friday.

I'm not surprised, however, that the defense attorney didn't comment since this isn't a result he likely wants people to know about. It messes with the PR that all those who claim to be innocent are telling the truth.

If the defense attorney claimed this DNA test would be the determining, and irrefutable, piece of evidence which would prove the innocence of his client then he must accept that this result is the irrefutable proof of guilt.

If the DNA test isn't proof of guilt then it couldn't prove innocence either.

I want those who are factually innocent to be exonerated, but my concern is that those who commit serious crimes with little remorse and no guilt can do such a great acting job that those who are eager to see them as falsely convicted will rationalize away all of the non-DNA evidence which supports the correctness of a guilty verdict or a guilty plea.

For example, just because an ID process is now considered sub-standard -- to the point where the defense cheers its use because of the ammo it gives them -- doesn't automatically mean that the wrong person was identified. Yet I've seen people who claim to be experts talk as if this were the case.

I'm always bothered by those who push for exoneration who try to turn the convicted man into a saint. This effort ignores the fact that those who seem saintlike can commit the worst crimes imaginable. They run the risk of undermining their credibility and the credibility of the whole innocence movement.

Like convictions, exonerations should be based on understanding the strengths and weaknesses of all of the evidence not just DNA. Because witnesses may not be able to testify at a retrial, there should be no exoneration unless the convict has been proven innocent beyond a reasonable doubt.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:15 AM   0 comments links to this post

Friday, September 21, 2007

If Crimes Make Us Sick Does That Mean The Guilty Are Sick?

This case is shocking to many people.

John D.R. Atchison, 53, of Gulf Breeze, Fla., an assistant U.S. attorney based in Pensacola, Fla., was arrested Sunday at Detroit Metropolitan Airport when he arrived for a meeting with a woman he thought was going to let him have sex with her young daughter, authorities said. The woman actually was a Macomb County sheriff’s detective and part of an Internet sex sting operation.

I wish I could say this arrest shocks me, but unfortunately after 9 years as a volunteer on the local rape crisis line, I've learned too much to be surprised that someone whose job it is to uphold the law would travel halfway across the country to break the law and with plans to cause serious harm to a child in the process.

Many people will react to this case by calling this man and others like him obviously sick and in need of help, but from the details released about this case that assessment has it completely and dangerously wrong. Once you get any sign of rationalization, you are dealing with a rational person who has to deliberately distort reality to feel okay about what can never be okay.

He's either guilty of the crimes he's charged with or he isn't. He doesn't get a sick pass.

Rather than viewing those who would plot in advance to rape a child as sick, I view them as completely self-centered to the point where others aren't as human as they are. The problem with calling these people sick, besides being wrong, is that it gives these people a handy excuse both to escape accountability and to continue offending until the criminal justice system stops them.

Instead of viewing themselves as being perpetrators like common criminals they are either afflicted with something that is as much their fault as the flu or they are superior to the rest of us and therefore immune from normal accountability. This directly helps them remain dangerous. If we focus on helping them as if they were ill, that feeds into their selfishness. It's still only about them.

This is a con job which works far too often because most of us can't imagine committing the crime he is accused of planning. The very idea sickens us. Yet while I can't imagine robbing a bank and murdering someone in that bank, I don't assume the bank robber is sick and in need of help. I think, get that person off the street before someone else is hurt.

When we think about who needs help related to a case like this it should be those children who are really offered to adults for the raping. For many of us, thinking about the victims is far more painful than thinking about the perp. Because we want to avoid pain, we can decide to block the victims from our minds and focus only on the person charged. This is why defense teams work hard to humanize those charged and make them seem like they can't possibly be monsters.

That is dangerous since that disconnect can lead us to buying into the very excuses which allow people to commit horrific crimes.

This man's suicide attempt shouldn't fool us into thinking this is an illness. Many people don't want to face the rightful consequences for their actions and they don't want to face the consequences of having their carefully crafted facade torn apart by the results of their own actions.

Cornered bank robbers sometimes take their own lives but we don't view that as proof of mental illness. We owe it to all the children who are raped to not make excuses for those accused of rape.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 1:08 PM   0 comments links to this post

Sept. 25 NY Event Calling For Statute Of Limitations Elimination

From Jewish Survivors of Sexual Violence:

If you are a survivor of child sexual abuse you are invited to a News Media Event - Calling for State and National Laws Lifting Statute of Limitations of Survivor Lawsuits

This event will be in NY's Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law - Yeshiva University on September 25, 2007 at 11:00 AM. RSVP if you can attend.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:38 AM   0 comments links to this post

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Jaw Dropper of The Day: Jena DA

Related to what is now being called the Jena 6, and in preparation for a rally that went on today in Jena Louisiana, LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters included the following in his statement:

This case has been portrayed by the news media as being about race. The fact
that it takes place in a small southern town lends itself to that portrayal. But this case is not and has never been about race. It is about finding justice for an innocent victim and about holding people accountable for their actions. That’s what it is about.

[...] Only the intervention of an uninvolved student prevented him from suffering even more serious injury or even death.

This last part that I quoted is clearly the DA's speculation. The seriousness of the alleged victim's injuries suffered in the afternoon have been a major issue since it was reported that the alleged victim was able to attend an event that evening.

The DA claims in his statement that the alleged victim was sucker punched and kicked, but the original charge of attempted 2nd degree murder against all 6 defendants was based on this projection not on the completed actions of the defendants. This is where racism can sneak in or come charging in.

Could anyone imagine a sexual harasser at a bar -- who put his hand on a woman's wrist and who then punched the woman's brother who told him to back off -- being charged with assault against the man and attempted rape against his sister because the DA believes that without intervention there would have been an attempted rape or maybe even a completed rape? If so, a lot of men in bars should prepare to be taken in and booked for what we believe they would do without intervention.

What if the man was black and the woman was white? Do we start creating a more sinister image of the interaction and the man's intent? Does it get even worse if the black man has a reputation for having a hot temper?

The bottom line should be that in all these variations identical actions were taken and that means that the same crimes -- if any -- were committed.

The DA mentions the nooses hung on the grounds of a local high school and claims that he searched for a criminal statute which covered what he admits was far more than a prank, but I don't know if there is evidence which showed that he took that act of intimidation seriously or that he took subsequent criminal actions committed by white students as seriously as he is taking this one.

If this is about holding people accountable for their actions then that needs to be all people. Even those who incite violence then stand back quietly when "those" people are arrested for their angry response. Even a DA who reportedly went to the school where the alleged crime happened with a police escort and, "told the students assembled that he could end their life with the stroke of a pen."

Nothing improper with that, right? Also nothing contradictory about giving a press conference where you say race isn't a factor while having an all-white grouping of people standing with you.

And there's certainly nothing improper about the DA also being the attorney for the school board. For more background, read this interview with Cleveland Riser, Jr., Former Asst. Schools Superintendent in La Salle Parish who retired in 1985.

Here is a link to the first blog post I read about this case which contains a summary of some of the events which led up to the attempted murder charges being filed. Read Elle abd's take on why Mychal Bell's (now overturned) conviction was no surprise on the counts of aggravated 2nd-degree battery and conspiracy to commit 2nd-degree battery.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 6:05 PM   0 comments links to this post

Another Exonerated Man Found Guilty

This case is important because it again raises important issues about the bias of those involved in the exoneration movement.

The first man [Thomas Doswell] in Allegheny County [Pennsylvania] to have his rape conviction overturned by DNA evidence is guilty of keeping a 17-year-old girl in his car against her will.

This conviction creates a stark contrast to the image created by the story told upon his release.

More than 200 men have had their convictions vacated because of results of DNA tests and that number is often used as evidence that there are thousands of innocent men in prison who could be cleared by DNA analysis of old evidence. The absence of mention about exonerated women creates the false impression that women are never wrongfully convicted of serious crimes.

From the details of this newest conviction, I believe this girl likely would have become a rape victim if the man hadn't crashed his car. This incident raises serious issues about the way exonerated is normally equated with proof of innocence.

Joel Jacobsen of Judging Crimes wrote:

But is there actually any reason, other than the self-promotion, to believe that the Project is freeing the innocent, as opposed to the guilty whose guilt can't be re-proved beyond a reasonable doubt after the passage of many years?

This isn't the first case where someone who was exonerated was later found guilty of a crime which had echoes of the vacated conviction. In the other case I'm aware of, Steven Avery who was exonerated on rape charges due to efforts by the Innocence Project later was convicted of murdering and dismembering a woman. At the time Eric Ferrero, spokesman of national Innocence Project, said, "Obviously it's an anomaly."

But is it really if there is a confusion between exonerating due to creating doubt -- and the perception of innocence -- and exonerating because there is absolute proof that the exonerated person is innocent?

The easy response I'm sure I'll get from some people is that prison must be what's responsible for later crimes, but that's a lazy response which refuses to consider that the process of exoneration is no more perfect than the process of conviction.

Update: Duke University has announced that it will establish a center devoted to justice and training lawyers to fight wrongful convictions. The problem with this is that it is a one-sided response to a 2-sided problem. That means they may also be training lawyers to fight rightful but imperfect convictions.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:08 AM   0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wisconsin EC Bill With Exception That Cancels Impact Of Law

Frankly, if Republican legislators in Wisconsin oppose a bill, they should vote against it, not tack on an amendment which allow them to pretend to support full access to emergency contraceptives for rape victims when they do no such thing.

This action isn't just politics as usual, this action is cowardly.

Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, said after this morning's 6-4 vote that an amendment tacked on to the bill by Gundrum "guts and nullifies the legislation, allowing rape victims to be further traumatized at the emergency room by not receiving appropriate health care and resulting in more unintended pregnancies which could result in abortions."

The amendment would allow hospitals and health care professionals to refuse to dispense emergency contraception to sexual assault victims if it offends their religious beliefs. It also says such hospitals would be exempt from civil liability if they withhold care from rape victims. Further, the amendment states that this care could be withheld from rape victims even by hospitals that receive federal or state aid.

When it comes to rights, the legislators who voted for this amendment have proved that the civil and religious rights of rape victims are not important since they can be trumped by administrators, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, politicians, voters and just about anyone else.

How is this any different from Jim Crow laws which required blacks to move to the back of the bus when a white person wanted their seat?

The ugly answer is that it is no different except the one who must accommodate other people's wishes has recently been raped.

hat tip: Bush v. Choice

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:22 PM   0 comments links to this post

Is Going Easy On Accused Rapists Good For Families?

This case in Yakima, Washington where basketball coach Randy Sayler was arrested on 3 counts of 2nd degree child rape is just the latest example of someone who -- if guilty -- ignored what was good for his family until what is good for his family became good for him as well.

The district's superintendent told Action News the coach was an involved parent, who could only speak of his children during his first court appearance. He asked the judge for a reasonable bail amount for his family's sake.

Not surprisingly, this isn't about the man charged with serious crimes. The problem with this is that it makes the superintendent look callous or in such deep denial that the defendant is more important than the children in that school district. The police believe that there are more victims than the one teenage boy who came forward. If the bail is set too low that sends a clear message about who is most important in this case.

The school where this man coached did a background check which found nothing troubling, but I get the sense that this detail is being used as an excuse since child molesters and child rapists are often never charged or convicted of any crime. Background checks are a beginning not an end to efforts to protect children from those who want to prey on children.

Officials for school systems need to emphasize that they won't let their opinion of the person being accused stop them from taking all accusations seriously and immediately reporting them to the police.

Update (9/20): Not surprisingly, more boys are coming forward now that they know their reports will be believed.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:05 AM   0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Is It Frivolous For A Witness To Murder To Say "Killed"?

With the lawsuit filed against God to protest Tory Bowen's "frivolous" lawsuit I'm seeing many people who are clearly assuming that what happened to her can only happen at rape trials and generally minimizing the potential impact of Judge Jeffre Cheuvront's ruling. But are their assumptions true?

If the witness to an alleged rape (the alleged victim is considered to be a witness) committed in Nebraska can be banned from using any words which make legal judgments about what happened that means that witnesses to a murder committed in Nebraska can be banned from using words like "killed" since that likewise makes a legal assumption that can prejudice the jury against the defendant.

Imagine that you are on the witness stand, after the person closest to you is murdered before your eyes, trying your best to fully answer questions about what you experienced firsthand and you are asked to describe what you saw but you cannot say that the defendant pulled out a gun and killed the victim because of that one banned word. Now imagine having to evaluate every sentence you speak against a list of banned words and phrases -- knowing that if you miss even one banned word or phrase, a murderer is likely to go free.

How frivolous is that?

If you say not at all, but you see the same result in a rape trial as being frivolous that tells us what you really see as frivolous is the prosecution of rape cases.

Now imagine a federal judge threatening to let a murderer go in response to the lawsuit about whether the restriction in a murder case is correct.

Are you really okay with that?

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 11:18 AM   3 comments links to this post

Update: Charges Dropped Against Air Force Woman Who Reported Rape

I blogged about the court martial against Cassandra Hernandez where the 3 men she accused of raping her were given immunity in that case in exchange for testifying against her during her trial for having sexual contact with those men. She stopped cooperating with the rape investigation once she became convinced that her claims were no longer being taken seriously.

Thankfully, the Air Force has dropped the charges possibly due to how bad this case made the Air Force look to those who are concerned about those raped by other servicemen.

Charged with committing indecent acts after refusing to testify against a man she had accused of rape, only to see those charges later dropped, a female airman said Friday that she is no longer sure about a career in the Air Force.

"I do respect the fact that they've tried to correct the things they've done wrong," Airman 1st Class Cassandra Hernandez said in a statement released by her attorneys. "As a result of what happened this week, it does give me more hope in the system. I don't completely trust the system now."

I don't blame her for not completely trusting the system since this change may not reflect an overall change in direction. When institutions mess up royally like the Air Force did in this case, we need to keep drawing attention to the problems.

If organizations won't do the right thing because it is right, then we need to encourage them to do the right thing because doing the wrong thing brings unwanted attention.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:05 AM   2 comments links to this post

Monday, September 17, 2007

Alleged Rape Victim's Protest Of Banned Words Frivolous?

There is an update on Tory Bowen's situation. For those who don't recognize her name, she's the alleged rape victim who was banned from saying rape during the trial and who went public in protest and then refused to sign the judge's waiver before the second trial of Pamir Safi which declared a mistrial because of protests over his ban. Her lawyer has filed a federal lawsuit against Judge Jeffre Cheuvront.

Now a federal judge has stepped in it and big time.

U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf of Lincoln said he has serious reservations about whether the lawsuit was brought to force Lancaster County District Judge Jeffre Cheuvront to recuse himself "or for the improper purpose of generating pretrial publicity."

Kopf warned Tory Bowen and her attorneys that they could face sanctions, including dismissal of the case or fines.

To me this shows how biased we are as a society when defense attorneys and their supporters can go to nearly any length to create the spin they want in the media and to get the restrictions they want in court even when their efforts overtly and unapologetically attempt to muffle, demonize and try the alleged victim in the media.

Believing that restrictions of the words you can use when you testify about being raped will likely deny you any chance of justice is NOT frivolous. But this judge's statements which overtly threatens to rob an alleged rape victim of any chance for justice make him look like his opinion of the alleged crime is what is truly frivolous.

He is saying the equivalent of, "behave little ladies or any chance you had of getting justice will be gone forever." Nothing trivial about that message.

Just imagine if the defendants and their attorneys had to sign similar waivers banning the use of the word consent and all other phrases which make legal conclusions that no rape occurred or that the wrong person has been charged with rape or that the alleged victim is an unreliable witness.

Would this federal judge view a resulting lawsuit over restrictions on the defense to be trivial? Or would he simply and professionally rule on the merits of the lawsuit?

Too often crime victims are expected to fully cooperate with the criminal justice system even when that is traumatic and potentially dangerous, but they are not supposed to be viewed as citizens with any rights of their own.

And people scratch their heads over the number of rape victims who don't report or who decide that testifying in court is a no-win proposition. What in the world could make so many women so cynical about what will happen to them within the criminal justice system?

Update: To protest this "frivolity," State Senator Ernie Chambers has filed a civil suit against God. What his actions actually do is communicate that to him rape is a frivolous matter.

Either that or he is admitting through his actions that there is no need to block Tory Bowen or any other alleged rape victim from using any of the banned words and phrases because the presence or absence of these words and phrases is meaningless. If the restrictions on Ms. Bowen's testimony is frivolous then the parties guilty of upholding frivolity are Judge Cheuvront and Pamir Safi's defense team and everyone who backs the ban, not the woman unduly constrained by the fear that one wrong word will leave her in contempt of court.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:34 AM   1 comments links to this post

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Looking For THE Bathroom At MSP Airport

Senator Larry Craig R-Idaho has created a new tourist attraction in Minnesota's largest airport.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:13 PM   0 comments links to this post

Misunderstanding Of Gender In Sexual Violence

I delete a variety of anonymous comments comparing me to a Nazi and even deleted one that implied that I was part of the feminist branch of the Klan. But I'm focusing on this comment because it clearly reveals the deep misunderstanding or distortion of the words and actions of those who rightly focus on the gendered nature of sexual and relationship violence and the gendered nature of the response to sexual and relationship violence.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Anonymous Tip Led To Rescue Of Woman":

Did you notice, Marcella, three of the abductors were WOMEN!!!!

Or, are you going to manifest your feminist chick hypocrisy and say what the women did is not really wrong because they are women?
What this man (or boy) is assuming is that I believe that women cannot be full participants in horrific acts of sexual violence. I've never believed this and that has been reflected in a variety of posts I've written. The fact that 3 of those arrested in this case were women is clearly included in my post and I make no excuses for them so his comment adds absolutely no new information and his attack has no foundation.

If he is a repeat visitor to my blog, he likely believes the foundation for his attack is the greater amount of time and effort I put into men's violence against women. If he is a new visitor, he is likely reacting to the fact that this is clearly a blog written by a female rape survivor who was raped by a man and he filled in the blanks with his chosen stereotypes.

If having a gender imbalance is inherently wrong then those who focus more on the interests of men must be seen by this person as being just as wrong. Yet I've never seen any of these types of comments include any criticism of imbalance which favors men and their comments frequently include overt support for imbalance which favors men and links to sites which focus exclusively on the interests of men.

The problems I address are gendered for two logical and practical reasons which have nothing to do with hypocrisy.

1) Women do commit these sorts of crimes, but they don't do it in anywhere near a 50/50 ratio. Neither is the rate of victimization even close to 50/50. This reality is the reason many people will try to twist data to make it seem that these numbers are 50/50 (or slanted to make women look like they are the majority of perps and the minority of victims) and it's why some people stretch so far for actions equivalent to rape such as rape of a name which they gender even though slander and libel and negative opinions about others are in fact gender neutral.

Since I don't believe the cause of the gender difference is biological, that means there is a clear social and developmental difference which allows more men to rationalize committing acts of sexual violence. Despite the calls for women to not be victims, too many men do whatever they can to make girls and women victims and then get excused as "boys being boys." Then too many people attack women who dare to tell the truth about being victims of sexual or domestic violence with greater fervency than they use when they talk about rapists.

Any call to change the social and developmental systems we have in place to reduce this gendered violence is assumed to be anti-male which oddly does more to associate all men with the label rapist than what's done by feminists.

2) When it comes to injustice within the criminal justice system, that too is gendered. Imagine if there were 1 book detailing each rape case which made the news and in which a female rape victim didn't get the justice she deserved after months, or more than a year, of turmoil or where she is called the real criminal. There wouldn't be enough bookshelves to hold them all.

Yet one high profile case goes bad, harming men, and there are not only multiple books, but there are calls to immediately revamp the entire criminal justice system, our media and our colleges so this travesty can never happen again. Where were these people when those being shafted by the legal system and large segments of the public are women who had the added burden of first being raped or abused? AWOL. Where were these people when girls and women are raped and murdered? AWOL.

From these people's perspective the ruining of a life due to injustice related to rape cases only counts when a man is accused of rape. The trauma of being raped followed by injustice within the criminal justice system is rarely worth mentioning and when it is mentioned by these people, it is dismissed as a fluke. According to them the ruining of a rape victim's life isn't a result of rape or the following injustice, that ruining is self-inflicted because she refused to, "Get over it already!"

Many people will come right out and say that the alleged rape victim should be the one being tried when a man is charged with rape yet they will openly deny that this person deserves any of the legal rights given to all those accused of a crime.

This gender bias is often disguised as gender neutral by talking of defendant rights, but their focus on male defendants and their almost complete overlooking of injustices against women prove this disguise to be just that.

Rather than seeking to gain parity through an increase of violence committed by girls and women, I'm seeking to address the largest segment of the problem. And that is boys and men who rape and abuse girls and women. I don't focus on exact statistics because so many men like this anonymous will waste my energy and theirs arguing about the exact rate of sexual violence. For anyone who wants to look at some of the stats, check out RAINN.

It's interesting, but not at all surprising, that the anonymous comments like this one attack first and ask questions (rhetorical of course) later.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:09 AM   3 comments links to this post

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Carnival Against Sexual Violence 31

Welcome to the Sept. 15, 2007 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. Nominations that came in after the nomination deadline will be considered for the next edition of the carnival.

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

Here are the selections for the 31st edition of the carnival against sexual violence:


In The Origins of Forbidden Love posted at The Primate Diaries, we get a discussion of different societies views about punishing a woman’s sexual behavior and see that the double standard along gender lines is not universal.

In Upcoming Conference: “The New Face of Women’s Legal History? posted at Feminist Law Professors, we get information about a conference which will cover a variety of topics.


In No Error In Admission of Prior Bad Acts Evidence Under FRE 413, 414 posted at Tenth Circuit Blog, we get information on a ruling on the trial of grandfather previously convicted of sexually abusing other family members.

In 4000 More Cold Cases Reviewed posted at Holly's Fight For Justice, we get information on efforts to match DNA collected during investigation to criminals listed in DNA databases.

In When will SCOTUS address the constitutionality of the death penalty for child rape? posted at Sentencing Law and Policy, we get a discussion about when or if the US Supreme Court will deal with the constitutional issues of recent laws expanding the death penalty beyond murder.

In Justice for Ghanaian Rape Victims Comes at a Price posted at The Curvature, we get information about the expensive signed medical form that victims are required to pay for in order for their cases considered.

In Statute Of Limitations Changed For Illinois posted at abyss2hope: A rape survivor's zigzag journey into the open, I discuss the removal of the statute of limitations on civil suits related to certain rapes.

In courageous mayor vetoed flawed sex offender laws posted at f/k/a, we get a discussion of a Marlborough, Mass. sex offender residency ordinance which was passed by the city council but vetoed by the mayor.

In 10th Circuit Reinstates Harassment Case Against University of Colorado posted at Title IX Blog, we get a discussion of the ruling about a lawsuit filed by Lisa Simpson and Anne Gilmore related to assaults which occurred at a university-sponsored effort to "show recruits 'a good time.'"

In Sex work or sex crimes? posted at Masculinities in Media, we get a discussion of a proposal in the UK to make buying sex an equal or greater crime than selling sex with the intention of fighting the abuses of prostitution by reducing demand.

In On playing footsie with cops posted at Esquivalience, we get a discussion of the law Sen. Craig pleaded guilty to and compare the efforts to save men from sexual harassment to the efforts to save women from unwanted sexual harassment.

In Know Them By Their Deeds: Another Fundy Pastor Guilty of Incest posted at Atheist Revolution, we get information about a case where a pastor claimed his criminal actions were motivated not by selfishness, but by a desire to train his daughters in how to be good wives.

In Police actually take rape accusation seriously. posted at The F-Word Blog, we get a discussion of the police's handling of a case in the UK where a man falsely accused a woman of rape.

In Department of Horrible Human Beings posted at Blog of the Moderate Left, we get a discussion about a man charged with sex crimes who bragged, “If Kobe Bryant got away with it, so will I.”

In Reed Walters Would Have Suggested A Two-Week Suspension From School posted at Too Sense, we get a discussion of the case where 6 white people were arrested for assaulting and sexually abusing a black woman for about a week while calling her racial slurs.

media watch

In I've just bought a book called RAPE posted at ArtZinePhotography, we get an introduction to the book RAPE – A History from 1860 to the Present Day by Joanna Bourke.

In why domestic? why abuse? posted at change therapy, we get a discussion about the power of minimizing descriptors used to describe violent assaults when those acts are committed against family members.

In Las Vegas mayor threatens to murder N.Y. Times columnist after anti-sex-trade column posted at Shakespeare's Sister, we learn of the extreme response to criticism of Las Vegas' sex trafficking problem.

In Rape “Hilarious”? A danse macabre. posted at Wonderland or Not - conceptually fragile and left of most lines, we get a discussion of an Onion parody and other rape-related humor pieces that show a contemptuous disregard for women.

In Weekend Over posted at The Purl Next Door, we get a discussion of the unique wording of headlines about rape that you won't see about other types of crimes.

In Will The Real Skanks Please Stand Up? posted at abyss2hope: A rape survivor's zigzag journey into the open, I discuss a story about fraternities installing stripper poles which focuses on women's morality while ignoring the morality of men who buy and install stripper poles.


In Rape/Incest & Adopted Child: Reasons NOT to Tell and Rape/Incest & Adopted Child: Issues to Consider if you Do NOT Tell posted at Adoptive Parenting Blog, we get follow-up posts to the post that gave reasons to tell an adopted child that they are the product of sexual violence.

In On Sex Trafficking and Johns posted at The Curvature, we get a discussion about dismissive attitudes which are contrasted with the conditions found in a recent raid of a UK brothel.

In "Boys will be boys/all men are pigs"--and why these statements annoy me posted at The Mind of Genevieve, we get a discussion of how certain excusing statements dehumanize boys and men who rape yet they are not dehumanized fully, only enough to make rape victims responsible for the actions of rapists.

personal stories

In Innocence posted at Oh, Musings, we get to see a man trying to spin his actions into something innocent so that the woman he is talking to will question her perception of what he did to her.

In What just happened? posted at life after rape, we get insight into the shock that comes after rape and that shock that comes from having trauma minimized as if it were nothing.

In PTSD - Will I Always Be A Victim? posted at LIVING IN STIGMA, we get a discussion of the feeling that the suffering will never end and see that serious issues come not just from the abuse itself but in the way others treat the person who was abused.

raising awareness

In Seduction and Grooming are the same thing posted at reSISTERance, we get a discussion about how predatory and premeditated behavior is marketed as seduction when it is deliberate manipulation with the intent to use another person.

In What is cognitive dissonance? posted at Imaginif..., we get a discussion about how we respond when actions contradict what we want to believe to be true, either about ourselves or about others.

In Most victims know their attackers posted at Breaking the Silence, we get a discussion of the most common myths about rape and how these rapes contribute to the harm done to rape victims.

In Odd One Out posted at Realm of the Lone Grey Squirrel, we get a discussion of what happened when a man accidentally attended a meeting that he thought was on the environment and was instead on violence against women.

In Trafficked and trapped posted at Black Looks, we get a discussion of human trafficking around the world which looks at the pervasiveness of this problem.

In The Danger Of Relying On What Is Obvious posted at abyss2hope: A rape survivor's zigzag journey into the open, I discuss the injustice that comes from dismissing certain reports of rape as obviously false and contrast that to the often parallel demand that all men accused of rape must be viewed as innocent until proven guilty even when it is obvious that the charges are true.


In PTSD - Ducks In A Row posted at LIVING IN STIGMA, we get a discussion of the trust issue that impacts recovery and survival from childhood sexual abuse.

In Rape/Incest & Adopted Child: Too Young to Remember posted at Adoptive Parenting Blog, we get advice for adoptive parents who take in children who were sexually abused.

In Incest May Be A Part Of My Life Series---Part 1 posted at Spiritual Journey of a Lightworker, we get a post which deals with triggers and how working through issues can help people get beyond reverting to the state of a frightened child when old pain is triggered.


In Sex Offender Treatment has Failed to Evolve posted at CrimProf Blog, we get information on studies done on the effectiveness of sex offender treatment to reduce recidivism rates.

In New issue: Aggression and Violent Behavior - special issue on Crime Classification and Offender Typologies posted at Psychology and Crime News, we get information on articles which include: "Can we profile sex offenders? A review of sex offender typologies" by Gina Robertiello and Karen J. Terry; "Battered women versus male batterer typologies: Same or different based on evidence-based studies?" by Kimberly Bender and Albert R. Roberts; "Sex offenders of the elderly: Classification by motive, typology, and predictors of severity of crime" by Ann Wolbert Burgess, Michael Lamport Commons, Mark E. Safarik, Ruthann Rockwell Looper and Sara Nora Ross.

In Even sexual offenders have a story to tell posted at Psychology and Crime News, we get information about why a study of convicted sex offenders is important.

In Boys and violence: A gender-informed analysis. posted at Psychology and Crime News, we get information on a study that looks at the potential relationship between boys' traditional masculine socialization and violence.

In New Sex Offender Recidivism Study posted at Sex Crimes, we get information about a study done in Tennessee which compares the recidivism rate between released sex offenders and those who were convicted of non-sexual crimes.

In Legalization: Not the Whole Answer posted at I'm sick of your insane demands., we get a discussion of the findings of author Melissa Farley from her research of legal brothels in Nevada.


In York student leaders reject police patrols on campus posted at Holly's Fight For Justice, we get information on the response to the idea of having armed police patrols on college campuses.

In Setting Functional Boundaries for Personal Safety posted at Imaginif..., we get a discussion that starts with the ramifications of people who are described as having no boundaries and then moves on to how we learn to erect our own healthy boundaries.

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

The next submission deadline is Sept. 28 at 11 pm and the next 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 blog dedicated to this carnival,

Marcella Chester

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:03 AM   6 comments links to this post

Friday, September 14, 2007

Rape Prevention Tip Of The Day

I've seen too many people make judgments that ignore a rape victim's obvious unwillingness to have sex with their rapist simply because the victim was drunk or passed out at the time of the rape.

This tip should be obvious, but unfortunately for many people, it is something they need to have laid out for them.

For those who want sex from someone who you know isn't eager to give it to you:

If you know someone isn't interested in having sex with you when that person is sober you need to respect that opinion. If you use the other person's alcohol consumption as a lever to get what you want (whether you give that person alcohol or they consume it independently), that isn't called trying to change someone's mind that's called coercion -- and coercion if successful is called rape.

If the other person isn't coherent enough to need to be convinced or coerced and you have sex with that person that's called rape. This is true whether the person is seemingly alert and high as a kite or whether that person is nearly as limp as a jellyfish. If there is ever a moment where there seems to be a fine line between rape and consent, it is rape if you continue since the fine line comes from rationalization not truth.

The criminal justice system may never label you a rapist, but earning that label comes from committing rape not being convicted of rape. You are hurting someone else, but you are also stripping a layer of humanity away from yourself.

Some people will say that you are a fool for passing up an opportunity, but those people are the real fools and if you get charged with rape they may sympathize with you but they won't face the consequences of the choices you made using their advice.

Getting someone to change their mind is something you do by showing that person that you are someone worthy of an unencumbered change of mind. If the change of mind is not freely made with absolutely no verbal or physical or chemical pressure, it isn't a true change of mind.

If what I'm saying doesn't make sense to you think about clearly telling someone you know that you don't want to lend that person your car for a trip they want to take. The other person accepts your decision. Or so it seems until you are drunk and then that person uses every trick -- short of hitting you with a baseball bat -- to get your car keys. Once the keys are in their hands, they proceed to crash your car.

When you tell people that you did not lend this person your car, imagine being treated the way girls and women who report rape to the police or to friends are routinely treated. You certainly don't look like a carjacking victim and you most likely didn't immediately report your car stolen.

If the person who crashed your car is popular, you are vengefully trashing a nice person and if the person who crashed your car is unpopular, you should have known better than to ever be with a person like that. Either way it's all your fault.

For many people ignoring someone else's clear decision is considered acceptable as long as what the person is trying to get from you is sexual contact. For too many of those people this is true even if you are not legally able to give the other person what they want.

If it is only about you or only about them, that is a clear warning that a line is being crossed.

For those who have turned down someone you know:

If the other person seemed to accept your no when you were sober and then suddenly starts asking again when you are impaired or that person tries to get you impaired, imagine a referee throwing a penalty flag or blowing the whistle on a personal foul. Same thing if that person waits to ask, and even seems uninterested, until you are impaired.

In personal relationships -- dating or acquaintance -- this is a boundary violation.

Like in a sports game, the person who made the personal foul may try to convince you that your vision is faulty. The harder someone tries to nullify the boundary violation the more violations they are racking up.

If someone promises to respect your boundaries while pushing you in any way, that person has just proved that they are a liar.

Rapists are willing to ignore your perspective so any ignoring of what you want or what you are comfortable with must be viewed as a critical matter and a clear danger signal. Unfortunately, many people around you will refuse to see the boundary violation for what it is which is their problem not yours. Just because nobody else is alarmed doesn't mean you are crazy to be alarmed.

Pushing you for more than you want to give is not a form of flattery, it is clear disrespect for you as a human being even if it is wrapped up in praise for your irresistible charms.

Even if you are sure the other person isn't a rapist, please don't reward those who only care about what they want and what they believe or those who are willing to take ethical shortcuts. This is true even if everyone else thinks this person is perfect.

If you are blindsided or believed in a dishonest person's honesty and subsequently raped, the fault for their illegal behavior is theirs not yours.

Many rapists have honed their skills to expert level which in itself proves that the ignoring of lack of consent didn't just happen. If you see a rapist manipulating you and/or others after the rape this is again proof that the criminal activity was premeditated complete with an escape plan.

Like the person who plotted to steal a car in a way they aren't likely to be called a car thief, the responsibility for their criminal behavior belongs to them. The shame and blame are theirs even though they likely planted seeds of shame and blame in you before the rape.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:49 AM   4 comments links to this post