Friday, November 30, 2007

Too Groggy To Testify Then Too Groggy To Consent

A defense team in the UK argued during the trial of 39-year-old Ajmal Mohammed that the alleged victim, a 14-year-old girl, was too groggy from drinking and vomiting (in 3 places) before the alleged rape to be a credible witness. The defense wanted her testimony that she woke up to a rape in progress to be ignored.

The problem with this assertion is that it means that the defense was providing a backhanded acknowledgment that the defendant knew she was groggy past the point of being able to give legal consent and he didn't think she would be able to remember what happened.

Other than falling for all the talk by rape denialists about how rape allegations between people who know each other is only morning-after regret, there really is no reason for a jury to buy this defense tactic.

I find it amazing when someone deliberately provides high doses of alcohol then uses the predictable effect of their own actions as their defense. If the person who reported rape does remember all or part of the crime, that testimony is supposed to be ignored because the alcohol should have resulted in a complete blackout. Those who fall for this defense not only let rapists off the hook, they are encouraging predators to use drugs and alcohol as a tool of rape.

They are teaching rapists that if she blacks out or should have blacked out, he walks. If someone is at the level of physical distress described by the defense team, that person should be immediately taken to the ER in case the person is suffering from acute alcohol poisoning. By not doing so, Mohammed put her life at risk.

Yet most people concerned about rape of the intoxicated only scold potential victims, ignoring rapists and potential rapists. This practice places the blame and responsibility for rape directly on the victim which feeds the rationalization of rapists.

The report states that Mohammed pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the girl after cell phone footage was found of him sexually assaulting her while she was asleep. So she wasn't too groggy to remember consenting or not as the defense team alleged, it turns out she was unable to give anything that might be mistaken for consent.

The report isn't clear about whether the one guilty plea stopped the trial. It seems like it would, but sometimes cases don't fit expectations.

Update (12/6): The trial is over and the jury convicted Mohammed. I don't see a mention of the guilty plea however so maybe that was a reporting error.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:06 PM   0 comments links to this post

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Childhood sex attacker sentenced

In response to the 8 and 9-year-old boys accused of gang rape many people minimized the possible trauma that could result if the charges are true. The opinion by some is that a legal intervention was flat-out wrong.

But this case in the UK where George Fraser was sentenced for sex crimes committed beginning when he was 10 against the first of 2 girls. Two years later he started abusing the second girl.

The statements made by these 2 victims, who didn't know about what happened to the other until they were adults, clearly shows that crimes committed by other children can have a long lasting impact on the victim. Because his victims were afraid to tell anyone what he did, his known criminal behavior continued for 5 years. It was only when these 2 survivors realized they weren't the only one that they contacted authorities.

The best time to stop those who are committing sex offenses is early. Part of this is for the benefit of current and potential victims, but catching offenders early may also help young offenders see that offending is not acceptable behavior and has real consequences. If as many people maintain, young offenders have been the victims of other abusers, then they should begin getting the help they need to recover and to learn how to respect the law and other people's boundaries.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:48 PM   0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Dissecting The Defense Of Attacks On Victim Credibility

Again an anonymous commenter is revealing patterns of thinking and illogic which merit serious analysis since this sort of thinking comes up repeatedly in attacks on those who focus on fighting the crime of rape.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Father Of Boy Accused Of Gang Rape Speaks":

Of course rapists will usually lie about rape, why would that surprise you? Anyone with a sickness like that would. The only thing I see is you are bundling rapist with men as a whole, and not every accusation of rape is actually rape each time. If you cannot prove that it is, I cannot prove it is not, that is the where problem lies. I tend to believe there are cases of each, you show you believe there is no such thing as false rape claims. That to me is dangerous, and belittles the agony of the women who have suffered.

There are many troubling elements in this short comment. The biggest is that this man is defending the making of unfounded claims with no credible supporting evidence as long the target is someone who reported rape. He is trying to repackage baseless speculation as openmindedness. Those who disagree with him are repackaged as dangerous and demeaning to real victims.

The idea that all rapists are suffering from a sickness conveniently gives every rapist a built-in excuse. It also gives them a false defense so that an alleged rapist who proves lack of sickness can be seen as proving lack of rape which likely would also "prove" that the alleged victim is a false reporter.

I very much doubt that this anonymous man would make the same assumptions about the intruder who shot pro-footballer Sean Taylor and led to the Washington Redskins' player's death. Just like rapists, intruders have selfish and quite rational motives for their crimes and they have selfish and rational motives for harming those who get in their way.

What's different is the contrast between the belief that all of us need to take all reports of gun-toting intruders seriously and the belief held by people like anonymous who want us to look at all reports of rapes by girls and women with cynicism and baseless disregard for the testimony of victims.

Gun-toting intruders are seen as a public-safety issue while rape is often dismissed as an overblown women's issue.

The accusation that I am bundling rapists with "men as a whole" is a projection I see frequently from those who are obsessed with attacking those who report rape simply because that girl or woman (many times these people will exclude boys and men from their attacks) reported a rape that this person wants to deny.

The denial of real rape is what mixes rapists in with men as a whole. I'm not the one doing that.

My opposition to unfounded attacks against those who report rape gets twisted into a denial that there are ever cases where the person who reported rape has lied about the facts.

By this man's logic the fact that some people deliberately get rid of their own property then report the items stolen should mean that everyone who has ever had their property stolen should be assumed to be guilty of insurance fraud without the need for any credible supporting evidence. They should all automatically be denied insurance benefits which will be reinstated only when the person provides overwhelming proof of their innocence -- in the form of a criminal conviction. No conviction -- no insurance payment. Maybe even the cancelation of the entire insurance policy because of potential fraud. All without any credible supporting evidence.

By this logic used against those who report rape, anyone, including those who refuse to identify themselves, should be allowed to smear the character of victims of property crimes.

Tellingly, the widespread attack on girls and women who report rape isn't reflective of attitudes about all those who report being non-sex-crime victims.

Those who make unfounded claims against those who report rape are the ones who are truly and actively belittling the agony of those who have been raped.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 4:45 PM   0 comments links to this post

Interview With SANE Nurse

This interview with Melissa Gilpin is a must read for anyone who isn't familiar with what these specially-trained nurses do technically and what they do non-technically. Of course training won't eliminate bigotry from all those who hold victim-blaming or victim-denying attitudes but it reduces that chances that a rape victim will be met with total ignorance from those who are assigned the job of collecting forensic evidence after a sexual assault.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 7:46 AM   0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Nominations Needed

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

Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, I have fewer nominations than I normally do at this point. If you've never nominated a post to the carnival before please do so now.

A few people have had trouble with the official nomination page, if this happens to you, please let me know by email (my address is in my profile) or leave a comment.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 6:12 PM   2 comments links to this post

Brazil Jail Allegedly Left Girl In Cell To Be Gang Raped

From the CNN story on this case:

The Brazilian government is investigating the case of a 15-year-old girl who allegedly was raped and tortured after being put in a prison cell with 20 male inmates, officials said.

The girl -- who said she was forced to have sex for food and suffered burns and other abuse -- has denounced police in the small town of Abaetetuba for keeping her in the cell.

Those in the criminal justice system who put this girl in the jail cell are as culpable as those who directly committed crimes against this girl. Too often those who consider themselves good people will stop upholding the law when they lose sympathy for the victim. What this does consistently is turn some people into acceptable targets.

All those who say, "she was asking for it by ...." or "rape doesn't matter because she's a criminal" are revealing that they are the allies of rapists and abusers. Often this allegiance comes from people's need to live with the illusion that there are few truly "innocent" victims.

What prisoners and criminals need from those who work to uphold the law is a model for how to treat others. Even those who they deem to be worthless.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:13 AM   2 comments links to this post

Monday, November 26, 2007

16 Days Of Activism Against Gender Violence

The 16 days started yesterday. For more information on this campaign check out the Rutgers' Center for Women's Global Leadership 16 days homepage.

Sometimes primetime TV misses the boat completely, but last night's Extreme Home Makeover which was the 100th episode did a good job of highlighting the senselessness of domestic violence.

Vicki and Erik Swenson-Lee took in Vicki's sister's 4 children after their mother and their mother's boyfriend were murdered by an ex-boyfriend who had attacked before and who was free despite of his continued stalking and violence.

I blogged about this case this summer when the murderer, Steve Van Keuren, during his trial explained that Teri Lee's insults were why he killed her which was meant to imply that he wasn't guilty of first-degree murder. He also shot her boyfriend, Timothy Hawkinson Sr, who was staying with her because they knew Van Keuren was planning another attack.

EMHome Edition showed the police interview with the murderer as he was being questioned after a previous break in where he brought knives and they showed the police interview with this mother of 4 as she talked about that attempt on her life and her attempt to sway the man away from killing her then because he would be orphaning 4 children. These 2 interviews show the open disregard this man had for human life and that this violence is not someone that pops out of nowhere and that it is not caused by the victim's actions.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 11:40 AM   0 comments links to this post

Gymnastic Coach Banned Years Ago Due To Allegations Just Arrested

Like in many cases where an arrest reveals a disturbing pattern of behavior, this gymnastic coach has a troubling history.

A gymnastics coach accused of raping a former student was kicked out of a national organization for the sport nearly a decade ago because of allegations of sexual relations with his students, according to court papers.

Gymnastics coach Steven Infante appears in Middlesex Superior Court in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Wednesday.

But after the ban by USA Gymnastics in 1998, which followed complaints by students in Massachusetts and Connecticut, Steven Infante was not arrested and continued to be involved with gymnastics schools and camps in both states.
Infante was charged in Massachusetts on Wednesday with raping one former student and molesting another in the early 1990s.

This continuation of abuses is evidence of why I disagree with those who dismiss men like this as merely jerks who while disgusting shouldn't be classified as truly criminal. The harm these people do is real and it is more than the fallout of bad relationships.

Sexual predators don't always lurk in dark alleys waiting for the opportunity to strike, sometimes they hide in plain sight and use their trustability and likeability as weapons. They depend on those who dismiss them as jerks and they depend on those who claim that their victims are equally responsible.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:44 AM   1 comments links to this post

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Brother Of Murder Suspect DNA Matches Rape Case

From ABC News:

When David Holland gave a voluntary DNA sample last month to help police link his brother to a decades-old unsolved murder, he apparently didn't know it would land him in jail, too.

Investigators suspected Holland's brother Christopher in the 1983 rape and murder of a Santa Clara County, Calif., teenager. Unable to find Christopher, they asked his two brothers for DNA samples last month to try to tie Christopher to the crime.

With the number of rapes that aren't reported at all and the number that aren't reported in time to collect DNA evidence, many rapists may assume they have forever evaded justice. But sometimes justice catches up with those who feel they are above the law.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:07 PM   0 comments links to this post

Postings May Be Slow Due To Technical Problems

I'm having PC troubles due to a program install gone bad. My number 1 priority will be to get the problem fixed, but I will check comments periodically.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 5:12 PM   0 comments links to this post

Friday, November 23, 2007

Lawyer For Saudi Rape Victim Hopeful About Future

From CNN:

The lawyer representing a Saudi rape victim whose treatment has drawn worldwide criticism predicted Wednesday the controversy may help reform the Saudi judicial system.

Human rights groups want Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah to drop charges against the rape victim.

"I believe the kingdom is going through a reformist period and I believe what we're going through will lead to a more modern judicial system that all citizens can enjoy," Abdulrahman al-Lahim told Octavia Nasr, CNN's senior Arab affairs editor, in a telephone interview.

I hope he is right. The current system definitely benefits rapists and keeps rape victims silent.

For any westerners who feel smug that we don't punish victims for reporting rape. We do. Don't forget the rape victim jailed in Tampa, Florida. There were people in the US who defended that action which makes them no better than those who defend the sentence given to the rape victim in Saudi Arabia.

Their rationalizations are the same. Rape victims shouldn't escape accountability just because they were raped. If fear of contacting the authorities protects rapists that is the victim's fault and sole responsibility.

If we condemn the Saudi case then we must also condemn all mistreatment of rape victims in our own countries. If we don't, we are part of the problem.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 11:46 AM   0 comments links to this post

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving And Thanks To All Those Who Have Supportive Of My Goals

I hope all of my readers and fellow bloggers have at least as much to be thankful for as I do. I'm not rich financially, but I am rich in friendships.

I want to send a special thank you to those of you who have donated money to help me maintain my blog and to those who made your Amazon purchases through my site (check out their Black Friday deals) or who have supported my efforts in other ways including links and comments. When it seems like nothing I can do will contribute to putting a dent in the violence, I remember you and get re-inspired.

May you all be safe and healthy.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:51 AM   2 comments links to this post

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Father Of Boy Accused Of Gang Rape Speaks

From WGCL:

The father of one of the boys said his son is being accused of luring the girl into the woods. "He's only 45 inches, 40 pounds in the third grade," the boy's father said. "This girl's in the fifth grade, she's 11 years old, 2 foot taller than him. How can my boy with a broken wrist be accused of any kidnapping charge?"

The boy's father said he believes she made up the story to cover up her promiscuity. "She's trying to cover her own butt by getting everyone else in more serious trouble," the boy's father said. "I guess we're just going to have to see how this is going to unfold."

This father's statements are an admission that the alleged actions happened as described with only one detail being disputed. Consent. After all there can be no promiscuity without the alleged sexual contact. If his son wasn't involved as alleged there would be no need for this father to contrast the size and age of his son to the stats for this girl.

The motives this father is assigning to this girl are the same motives his son would have to lie about what happened, only to a greater degree because of the seriousness of the charges. These motives are the same ones a father would use to justify launching a personal attack against an 11-year-old crime victim. Butt covering.

Yet so many people who claim to be impartial observers talk about rape cases as if only girls lie for selfish reasons. Some people call this sexism, I call it stupidity or butt covering for all those accused of rape.

The relative size between alleged perp and victim is meaningless since it was 3 boys not 1 so the stats about this man's son are nothing more than a distraction.

The motivation for the girl's alleged lie is based on an unfounded claim that she felt the need to lie for her own protection. This is a stock claim used without any specific supporting evidence other than the alleged victim's gender. In contrast the boys motivations for lying are founded in the seriousness of these charges.

If she were desperate to protect her reputation she wouldn't have disclosed to friends at a slumber party as has been reported. Of course, this father would likely use a more loaded term than disclose. He would likely say, "She bragged to friends." This is an attempt to slip an editorial into a so-called factual statement.

If this father is against young children being promiscuous then he should be alarmed at his son's behavior whether it was consensual or not and whether it was criminal or not. Instead his focus is only on how he can attack an 11-year-old girl and label her with generic images used against victims of non-stranger rape.

This father may hold a common but disjointed view that it is wrong for girls to be sexually active, but it is right for boys to try to convince girls to be sexually active. This is a set up that implicitly encourages boys to practice coercion and shows of force (3 against 1) and that sees a girl's fearful compliance or paralysis as consent.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:08 AM   6 comments links to this post

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Alaska Catholic Sex Abuse Case Settled For $50 Million

According to the coverage of this civil case settlement the deal is final yet.

The settlement with the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus is the largest one yet against a Catholic religious order, said Anchorage lawyer Ken Roosa, who called it "a great day" for the 110 victims.

"These are people who were altar boys and altar servers and altar girls," Roosa said. "These are people who tried to tell their story and in many instances were beaten or told to shut up and told, 'How can you say such things about a man of God?"'

The settlement does not require the order to admit fault, Roosa said. None of the priests was ever criminally charged.

Reactions which either denied the abuse or blamed the victims is what is costing the Catholic church this money. If every report had been immediately treated as report of a serious crime there would no need for a settlement. Yet the mistreatment of victims -- which enables abusers and rapists -- is by no means unique to this church or any church.

Many of those outside the church choose to respond to reports of abuse and rape with similar denial or dismissiveness. If these people aren't members of a large organization they likely aren't at risk of paying any direct price for their part in protecting sexual abusers and rapists.

They either don't know or don't care that when favored sex offenders are protected they will continue committing their crimes, possibly with a feeling that their criminal behavior has been blessed by others.

I've heard some who regularly attack victims say that the only people responsible for rape and abuse are the perpetrators and those who lie about being victims, but this selection of who is and isn't to blame has an ugly side. It protects rapists.

This list equates convicted rapists with all those who report rape or abuse unless or until there is a conviction. This is magnified with the misuse of "innocent until proven guilty" which demands that everyone assume the charges are false unless there is a conviction.

It's no surprise then that some of these people want the same punishment given to false reports of rape that would be given to a rapist. What is telling about these people is that the level of proof they need to label a case a hoax, and an alleged victim worthy of this punishment, is far lower than the level of proof needed to call someone accused of rape guilty of a crime.

The list of those responsible either must be everyone who contributes to rape and abuse or it needs to be only those who commit rape and abuse. Blaming false reporters for ignoring reports or assuming they are false is a pathetic excuse.

Often lack of action on a report, or incompetent action which lets perpetrators off the hook, is mislabeled by observers as proof that the report was false which then justifies dismissing the next report. And then that's used as further justification.

Of course the people who help keep this denial loop going strong will refuse to frame their actions as supportive of rape and abuse. They will claim they are merely opposed to the possibility of false allegations. The credibility of this excuse falls apart when they fail to support full criminal investigations or when they call criminal investigations futile.

When they claim that there can be no determination of criminality without witnesses they are either revealing their lack of knowledge or their desire to spread disinformation.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:12 AM   0 comments links to this post

Monday, November 19, 2007

Tawana Brawley Relatives Seek Review Of Case

The only basis I can see for reopening the investigation into Tawana Brawley's case from 1987, as requested by her mother and stepfather, is the advance in forensics analysis in the last 20 years which is the identical basis used by convicted rapists to have their cases reviewed.

Even if some of the investigation techniques used back then to support the idea that the case was a hoax have been shown to be unreliable, only evidence which undeniably links a specific suspect to the case would have any chance of seeing anyone charged related to those allegations.

However, one or more DNA matches would be significant since the original defense was that the allegations were a total fabrication. So if there is any DNA matching the suspects, the "it was consensual" defense would be non-credible.

If old convictions should be reviewed because unprocessed DNA evidence may exist that could confirm or contradict what some believe to be an incorrect outcome, then those who reported being a crime victim should have those same rights.

If the outcome of the case was right the first time then a review of the evidence won't uncover anything that will hurt the original suspects. The review might be quick if all of the forensic evidence collected in 1987 is gone.

The reaction of those who consider this case a hoax will be interesting especially when contrasted to their position on exoneration efforts.

For anyone who doesn't acknowledge that investigators can unfairly come to the judgement that a real rape victim is a liar, please read Cry Rape: The True Story of One Woman's Harrowing Quest for Justice by Bill Lueders.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:05 PM   0 comments links to this post

8 and 9 Year Old Boys Accused of Gang Rape Kidnapping

This case near Atlanta caught my eye because of the ages of the boys involved.

ACWORTH, Ga. -- Three boys ages 8 and 9 were being held today in a detention center on charges of raping an 11-year-old girl in the woods near a suburban apartment complex, officials said.

From the report only one of the boys committed rape, but all three were involved in this attack and that means all three are culpable for what happened to this girl.

This behavior shows that parents need to talk to their children about violence, respect and boundaries long before the age where parents think they need to talk about sex. For boys especially they need to talk about what to do if a friend of theirs gets violent or wants them to participate in violence. Maybe if the other 2 boys had been told how to respond, they might have taken action which would have prevented this rape.

Parents need to do more than talk, they need to demonstrate ethical treatment of those who are liked and those who are disliked.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:14 AM   0 comments links to this post

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Nurse Fired After 2 Rape Reports

A male nurse accused by 2 women of raping them in their hospital rooms this summer has been fired by Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma. These accusations aren't the first at this hospital about this man whose name was not disclosed.

That first accusation came back in 2002, months after the man was hired. Because the investigation of that alleged sexual misconduct was inconclusive, the man was allowed to return to work. The accusation was reported to police, but no criminal charges were filed against him then and so far no criminal charges have been filed on these recent reports.

I hope that these incidents have been reported to the Oklahoma nursing board and that his nursing license will be revoked even if the police don't charge him with any crimes. The risk to patients is just too great to allow him to remain in nursing.

To me an inconclusive investigation is not a result that should have inspired the hospital's confidence. Too often the perception of the person who reports sexual misconduct or even rape is dismissed unless there is overwhelming physical evidence. Hospital patients can be called delusional when there is no evidence that those in their physical condition suffer from any delusions.

I don't know if there will be enough supporting evidence for a prosecutor to have confidence that a jury will believe there is no reasonable doubt that the reports are true. However, the standard needs to error in favor of nursing patients. At a place such as a hospital, people (men and women) are more vulnerable since they are frequently required to drop their normal interpersonal boundaries.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:05 PM   0 comments links to this post

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Saudi Woman To Get 200 Lashes And Prison Time For Reporting Rape

Officially, the 19-year-old Saudi woman, who was raped 14 times by 7 men later found guilty of rape, was sentenced for being alone with a man who wasn't a relative of hers, but the reality is that the punishment was a direct result of her daring to report rape. And the rape looks to be a direct result of rapists discovering that she was breaking Saudi law.

The judge who imposed this sentence would likely say that she was asking for it and that what happened to her is the reason for the law and the reason the law must be enforced even when the criminal turns into a crime victim.

The US is not immune to injustice against rape victims. We have rape called theft of services and many citizens don't think twice about slandering half the population by talking about women's inherent dishonesty when it comes to rape accusations.

What I want to know is whether the man this rape victim was with when they were abducted was also given the same sentence. If it is a crime for a woman to be alone with a male non-relative it should be an equal crime for a man to be alone with a female non-relative.

When men refuse to be as accountable as they expect women to be they don't make themselves look like good men.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 11:04 AM   1 comments links to this post

Friday, November 16, 2007

Insight Into Case where Woman Allegedly Recanted

I found a post by a juror on the civil case of Eric Leon Major vs. Officer Al Anger and the City of Birmingham related to the handling of a criminal domestic violence charge which resulted from an officer witnessing Major's treatment of his ex-fiance.

The whole post is worth reading to get the perspective of a then Alabama state representative on how the police handled criminal charges (3rd degree assault initially). What I want to focus on are comments or claims about the attempted rape allegation.

At trials, Ms. Joseph alleged that Mr. Major attempted to rape her. [...] Ms. Joseph assaulted Mr. Major with pepperspray (mace) – was not arrested. [...] Observed by Office Anger: disheveled clothing, injuries to both parties, what appeared to be blood in the vehicle. [... Officer Anger] spoke with Mr. Major, was informed that he had been maced and was driving Ms. Joseph back to her car. Ms. Joseph told Officer Anger that they fought “for what seemed over an hour” and that Mr. Major tried to rape her.

If there was an attempted rape then macing someone is justified even if he is your ex-fiance. However, many people wouldn't view an aggressive ex-fiance as someone attempting rape, they would view him as trying to persuade her even if physical force is involved. Then of course there would be people who would say, "If you didn't want to have sex with him why were you alone with him?" This often turns rape or attempted rape into justified actions.

Ms. Joseph then told Officer Anger that she was not interested in pursuing the matter further (recanted). She was trying to “make it go away.”

Officer Anger states that victims’ reluctance to prosecute is a large problem. Prosecution [Major's attorney] suggests Ms. Joseph is lying, that victims who recant or reluctant to prosecute are lying.

This claim by Major's attorney is very interesting and unfortunately very common. It makes me wonder just how many of those who report rape or attempted rape are classified as recanting when they did no such thing. If upon reporting, a rape victim faces clear backlash and a clear refusal to take the allegations seriously, would a frustrated, "Forget it" from the victim be classified as recanting and therefore she would be considered to be a proven liar?

That would explain why some jurisdictions could report very high rates of false rape reports. Those who use these instances as proof that women commonly lie about being raped have found their victim-denying soul mate and like a love sick child they refuse to believe anything negative about their true love.

The problem with this victim-denying love match is that not wanting to pursue rape or attempted rape charges or giving up on an attempt to report is not recanting and is not evidence that no rape or attempted rape occurred.

If a victim of rape or attempted rape knows the chance of a conviction on that charge are slim to none, there is no practical reason for pushing for criminal charges. If the case predictably falls apart then the woman who cooperated with police is likely to be branded as a liar who should be prosecuted for filing a false police report.

Ms. Joseph told Officer Anger that she halted Mr. Major’s advances by injuring his genitalia with her hands/fingernails. [...] Mr. Major was founding GUILTY at Municipal Court. Found NOT GUILTY at the Circuit Court level. (per appeal)

Itt looks like Joseph was one of the parties being sued but was removed from the list before trial. It seems that her offense was in explaining why she either maced or otherwise injured her ex-fiance.

It's interesting that in this civil trial that Major's attorney is so focused on trying to discredit an allegation which wasn't part of the criminal charges against him. That makes it seem like they were trying to prove that Major's treatment of his ex-fiance witnessed by the police were justified. A "she had it coming to her" defense if you will.

Oh, those evil, lying women.

Prosecution [Major's attorney] refuses to recognize victim’s actions as self-defense; claims she assaulted Mr. Major and should have been arrested by law enforcement as well.

By this claim, Major is putting forth the allegation that he was maced for no reason at all and she should have been treated in sync with how he was treating her when the police interceded. What this does for me is confirm that his mindset reflects that of proven abusers.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:54 AM   0 comments links to this post

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Carnival Against Sexual Violence 35

Welcome to the Nov. 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 this edition of the carnival against sexual violence:

personal stories


In the victim and the judge posted at a males life after rape, we get a discussion of a military hearing where a rape survivor seeks to have his record reflect the reality of what happened to him.

legal


In (Rape) Victim Compensation Law Improved posted at Oklahoma Women's Network Blog, we learn that rape victims in Oklahoma will have access to free medical forensic exams following sexual assault or rape, including victims who do not press charges immediately.

In 320. 5ive gears in reverse posted at Judging Crimes, we get a discussion that compares a ruling from 1885 that makes it clear that the judge believes that a prostitute can be raped to the ruling in 2007 that makes it clear that the judge believes a prostitute cannot be raped and which looks at how this change is part of a disturbing trend.

In Update ~ werribee boys walk free. *Potential trigger material* posted at Sparkle*Matrix, we get a discussion of the outcome of case where 8 teenage boys sexually abused and tortured a girl, recorded their crimes and then were given absolutely no jail time once they were convicted.

In What is wrong with judges? posted at Liz - Not Ranting, Just Saying., we get a discussion of the judge who wants convicted rapist Alex Kelly to volunteer at a center for sexual assault victims.

In If the situation were different . . . . posted at Crisis Worker Diary, we get a discussion about the different assumptions people make and the different questions they have depending on the gender of the victim of a sex crime.

In The Recyclables: 6: The Myth Of The Bad Woman. posted at Amuseum: with apologies to Shaun Micallef, we get a discussion about the harm done by assumptions that time, actions, place and attire 'triggers' the act of rape with the specific example of how rape survivor Nina Funnell was treated after being attacked at knifepoint.

In NSW Bar Association does not understand the meaning of "rape" posted at The Curvature, we get a discussion of the backlash against a proposed law change that clarifies the meaning of consent so that someone who is unconscious cannot be assumed to be consenting.

In Australian Law That Defines Consent Opposed By Bar Association posted at abyss2hope: A rape survivor's zigzag journey into the open, I discuss the proposed law which would stop allowing rape defendants to claim sex was consensual without clear indicators of consent.

In Yes or No? posted at Shakespeare's Sister, we get a discussion that shows that all the talk about the difficulty of verifying legal consent misses the obvious.

In Justice in the U.S.: 13 year old rape/kidnap survivor refused entry into US, family under threat of deportation posted at Women of Color Blog, we get a discussion of how the treatment of an abuse victim and his family will impact the reporting of crimes and will encourage abusers to pick victims who are afraid to go to the police.

In Court Rulings About Absent Rape Victims posted at abyss2hope: A rape survivor's zigzag journey into the open, I discuss a California ruling which approves taking rape victims into custody to make sure they testify and an Ohio ruling about the admissibility of statements made by a rape victim before she died.

In Rape: Not The Woman's Fault This Time; A Spider Made Him Do It! posted at Feminist Fire, we get a discussion a rape case in Australia where a man claimed a spider bite caused him to commit rape and that he shouldn't be held legally accountable for his actions.

media watch


In Save Us All... posted at Cruella-blog, we get a discussion of a BBC article which advocates making it legal for the disabled to visit brothels which puts some men's desires above issues such as sexual slavery.

In Burma: Girls Prostituted to Serve Military Officials posted at Feminist Peace Network, we get a discussion about the lack of outrage over the sex trafficking of girls by the Myanmar military, especially compared to the focus on the military's treatment of monks.

In It's All Feminism's Fault! (Again!) posted at Feminist Fire, we get a discussion of an article by Dr. Pam Spurr that argues that women have too much control of their sex lives and which implies that all sex related problems in marriage are caused by the wife.

In VOICES OF COURAGE posted at Holly's Fight for Justice, we get information about a book containing the stories of 12 survivors of sexual assault.

In Dear Neighbours writers: posted at The F-Word Blog, we get a discussion about the common storyline where a woman who claimed to be a rape victim is instead a cold-blooded liar and gold digger and how these storylines feed into dangerous assumptions about real women who report being raped.

miscellany


In Updated Information On Treatment of Nashville Rape Victims posted at Women's Health News, we get more detailed information after a media report that only one hospital in Nashville would handle evidentiary exams for rape victims.

In The Casual Relationship and Code posted at Everyone Needs Therapy, we get a discussion of honest euphamisms where both parties understand what's being said and dishonest euphamisms where there is an intent to demean and to discredit the other person's memories.

raising awareness


In Call Out for International Day Of Action!! posted at International Day Of Action: communities response to sexual assault, we get information about an important community effort scheduled for Nov. 30 with information on how you can participate.

In Its another Blamer Brain Trust Alert posted at I Blame The Patriarchy, we get a discussion about a rape victim who learned her rapist has relocated to the same state she moved to after the rape and we get a question: What do you do when your rapist goes free?

In What the Hell, University of Maryland? posted at Feminists To The Rescue, we get a discussion of actions related to the Clothesline Project including vandalism of one of the banned T-shirts.

In Sexual Assault and the Military posted at Feminist Law Professors, we get information about trends in sexual assaults committed by US military personnel against other military personnel.

In GENARLOW WILSON posted at BEAUTIFUL, ALSO, ARE THE SOULS OF MY BLACK SISTERS, we get a discussion about how turning Wilson into a hero minimizes the seriousness of the crimes he was accused of and devalues what was done to 2 girls which resulted in the original charges.

In Virgins, Whores, and the Sliding Scale of Our Humanity posted at The Silence of Our Friends, we get a discussion about how using a sliding scale to judge rape victims excuses rape while the person doing so pretends to be completely opposed to rape.

In Borderline Personality Disorder and the DSM posted at Everyone Needs Therapy, we get a discussion about how an official diagnosis sometimes loses the essence of what went wrong.

In Horror Movie Mythology Hurts Megan Williams And Many Other Victims posted at abyss2hope: A rape survivor's zigzag journey into the open, I discuss how people who read about an especially disturbing case frequently assume that the victim has all of the same information and resources as the reader does and then judges the victim accordingly.

recovery


In Sexual abuse and long-term survival posted at Imaginif..., we get a discussion about the long-term impact of disassociating and advice about how to safely work through abuse issues.

research


In Talking to sex offenders posted at Psychology and Crime News, we get information about behavioral analysis interviews being conducted to better understand the motivations of sex offenders.

In New issue: Child Abuse and Neglect 31(8) posted at Psychology and Crime News, we get information on studies including: Psychometric evaluation and comparison of three retrospective, multi-item measures of childhood sexual abuse by Polly A. Hulme; and Female sexual-offenders: Personality pathology as a mediator of the relationship between childhood sexual abuse history and sexual abuse perpetration against others by Kelly Christopher, Catherine J. Lutz-Zois and Amanda R. Reinhardt.

In Why abused women stay by Ginette Petitpas... posted at Holly's Fight for Justice, we get information about research done by Deborah Doherty and Jennie Hornosty which looked at the experiences of rural abused women.

In The Ministry of Sexy Walks posted at Blog of the Moderate Left, we get a discussion of studies which seem to come to similar conclusions no matter what the data says.

In Fertility, fertility, peak attractiveness, blah blah blah posted at The Curvature, we get a discussion of an evolutionary psychology study which supposedly shows that women only use “sexy” walks when they are not ovulating and that these "sexy" walks falsely signal to men that the women are ready to conceive. This supposedly protects women from rape when they are most likely to get pregnant which of course implies that at certain times each month that women are inviting rape.

solutions


In Support International Violence Against Women Act posted at abyss2hope: A rape survivor's zigzag journey into the open, I discuss a bill which don't fall into the trap of trying to limit women's lives as a way to keep them safe.

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 Nov. 28 at 11 pm and the next edition will be out on Dec. 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. If you have any problem with the form, please let me know so your submission can be considered for the next edition.

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

Marcella Chester

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:09 AM   4 comments links to this post

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Anti-Feminism And Rape

John McAdams wrote:

But would anybody be convinced that feminism doesn’t resolve, essentially, to man hating? The feminist who deny it aren’t lying. They don’t think they are man haters, they just think they are working for “gender equality.” But then, the average Klansman would probably insist he has “nothing against Negros.” In the world of the feminists, the villains are the white males.

Ah, yes. Feminism and the Klan are parallel movements in every way except their target. This parallel construct would imply that Klansmen think they are working for "racial equality."

Remember all those poor white males who were treated by feminists in exactly the same way the Klan treated black men? How many thousands of white men have the feminists dragged into the street and butchered for public entertainment?

In response to the injustices of lynching, the anti-lynching movement was established—a campaign in which women played a key role. Ida B. Wells, a black teacher and journalist was at the forefront and early development of this movement. In 1892 Wells was one of the first news reporters to bring the truths of lynching to proper media attention. [...] In 1895 Wells published a larger investigative report, A Red Record, which exposed how false or contrived accusations of rape accompanied less than one third of the cases documented around 1892.

By McAdams logic, Wells was proving that she was a man hater by her open opposition to the actions of violent white men and by her debunking of the myth that lying women were responsible whenever innocent men were lynched.

Any feminist who denies being a man hater isn't lying, she's stupid to not realize that every time she goes to an anti-violence rally she is attending a rally that is no different from a Klan rally.

Refuse to do nothing as women and girls are raped? Man hater.

Don't believe in assumed consent to sex? Man hater.

Want laws that recognize all rapes as real crimes? Man hater.

Demand thorough and professional investigations of all rape reports? Man hater.

Oppose treating rape victims as if they are guilty until proven innocent? Man hater.

Don't want to look the other way as women and girls are physically abused by boys and men in their lives? Man hater.

Still support women's right to vote? Man hater.

Oppose sexual harassment on the job or in the street? Man hater.

Support equal pay for equal work? Man hater.

View women as full human beings rather than as men's property? Man hater.

Funny but the picture this creates of men is a fearful and violent one. Rather than the claim that women can't handle equality it creates the impression that it is men who are too weak to handle equality. This view may not hate men but it sure does pity them.

Earlier in his post McAdams wrote:

Tobin rejected the notion that rapes should be seen as “acts of morally corrupt individuals.” Yes, guys, the fact that you have never raped any women and would never rape any woman doesn’t let you off the hook. You are still part of the “deep social and political causes” of rape.

Rather than discrediting Tobin, this paragraph discredits McAdam's misinterpretation of Tobin, a habit he shares with many others. Dismissing rape as the "acts of morally corrupt individuals" assumes that the actions of rapists don't reflect larger cultural attitudes.

It assumes that rape is never supported by non-rapists under any circumstance.

It ignores the power of repeated statements like, "If she doesn't want to be raped, she won't go out alone at night." or "She might as well be wearing a RAPE ME sign around her neck." or "If there are no objective witnesses, there should be no rape conviction because up to half of women who report rape are liars." or "Men never lie about rape."

Many times when a rape is reported people ask, "What was she wearing?" as if the answer to this question will determine innocence or guilt.

Men who have been convicted of rape do continue to insist that what they did shouldn't qualify as real rape and many in the public agree despite undeniable proof that the victim did not consent to sex.

McAdams sees only blame directed at non-rapist men when he could be seeing that he has the power to influence other men toward or away from violence against women. The reality is that seeing blame is more comfortable because then he doesn't have to consider whether a rapist ever used his words or attitudes to justify rape.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:27 PM   4 comments links to this post

Answer To Rape Is Simple: Chastity Belts For Virile Young Men

On the Telegraph website Pigswill wrote:

David Cameron wants more rape convictions. When young girls go out at 10 pm to go to a night club and are dressed in such a manner as to sexually arouse virile young men then I have some advice to give them. If you don't want to be raped wear a chastity belt. If you do consent to sex unlock it and enjoy yourself .

If all it takes for virile young men to commit rape is seeing a young girl out alone at 10 pm then the problem is these men, not their potential victims. If Pigswill's assessment is true then it would be virile young men who are in need of chastity belts -- that they cannot unlock themselves -- if they truly don't want to be rapists.

Or maybe what's needed is a 10 pm curfew for men if they can so easily transform into rapists.

From the original Guardian article:

Tougher sentencing for rapists may be needed to tackle the "moral collapse" demonstrated by the belief of young men that it is sometimes acceptable to force a woman to have sex, David Cameron will warn today.

Rather than undermining Cameron's assessment, Pigswill reinforces it.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:04 AM   0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Rape As Evolution Eliminates Need To Blame Rapists

From a comment by Jason Dick at Finally Feminism 101:

If I accept that the research shows that rape is an evolutionary mechanism, which seems extremely likely to me, then because I very much do not want to rape any woman (or girl, or boy), then the proper course of action is to learn what sort of situation is likely to lead to rape, and then do my best to avoid being put in that situation in the first place. Because even if I may be able to prevent myself from giving in, I would be a fool to count on that.

This view supports the idea that rape comes from a purely biological set of stimulus and response pairings with purely biological motivations and payoffs. It presents men as Pavlov's rapists. Rape prevention under this theory should focus exclusively on how not to ring men's bells.

If physical violation really came about because of irresistible stimulus then all those who salivate as they approach a restaurant would snatch the plate away from the nearest diner or they would have to be engaged in a heroic struggle not to do so. Taking other people's food would never come from a sense of entitlement or resentment.

The "don't blame the rapist because of evolution" mantra is a scienced-up excuse to live in denial of the ongoing and often brutal reality of rape and it pretends that there is no rational premeditation in sex crimes.

The rape as biological urge to gain offspring totally ignores the rape of young children, the rape of those who clearly can't get pregnant and it ignores rapist/murderers.

Rather than 6 degrees of separation from the reality of rape that many people try to keep because the topic is upsetting, this is a thousand degrees of separation from the reality of rape which is maintained even when rape is the topic of choice.

Detachment and objectivity are not the same thing. Detachment is not a virtue. It doesn't make a person smarter or more logical or more insightful.

For those who disagree and say detachment is superior, the best example I can give you is to talk about what happens when someone is detached from the physical pain of injury.

At it's most extreme, a genetic defect causes people to fail to protect their own bodies from injuries. Diabetics who lose pain-sensing nerves in their feet are more likely to ignore injuries to their feet and this can contribute to serious infections and can lead to amputations or even death if the infection is ignored long enough.

Pain and emotional reactions then are important protective mechanisms when they occur in proportion to the stimuli. If a parent cannot feel their child's pain, they won't know the difference between spanking and physical abuse which puts the child's life in danger until the child is dead or has been removed by child protective services. This is why many child development experts say that the safest option is for parents to never spank their children.

For the emotionally detached, it becomes possible to view rape as if it happens to the rapists as much as it happens to rape victims. Tab A simply went into Slot B with some difficulty.

This indicates a serious problem whether it comes from a man making excuses for rapists or whether it comes from a rape victim who maintains her disassociation to hold back overwhelming pain.

Since the definition of rape is nonconsensual sexual contact, the development of the brain and the development of interpersonal skills allowed humans to negotiate consensual sex. This ability to seek consent and to respect lack of consent is the more developed behavior.

That means that men who rape are proving themselves to be evolutionary failures if rape is indeed an evolutionary mechanism.

But is the evolutionary theory only about understanding rape and not about excusing rapists? Apparently, this is false at least according to Jason Dick.

Today blame is just a liability. It is an evolutionary adaptation, but one that just does not work well in modern society. Remember that the goal, on this topic, is to reduce rape. Stating that anybody is to blame, whether the rapist or the victim, places the issue in an emotional context that prevents us from thinking rationally.

I'm not surprised at all to see the claim that those who blame rapists for rape are thinking irrationally and that blame for rape is something to be avoided. The failure to have any emotional response to rape is deeply troubling -- possibly psychopathic. It is not a virtue. It does not help prevent rape.

Blame when assigned in proportion to the wrong done is not a liability at all. However, blame alone doesn't teach a boy or man how to behave ethically. Many men talk as if these interpersonal skills are something they should gain passively, but that shows a lack of commitment on their part. Getting in touch with emotions which have been shut off can be painful so it is easier to avoid doing so while searching for excuses for avoiding emotion.

If we believed that behaviors are evolutionary mechanisms simply because they provide some selfish benefit, then we should also call genocide an evolutionary mechanism where mass murderers are blameless. Yet 2 of those allegedly involved in Cambodia's Killing Fields were charged with crimes against humanity.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:03 AM   0 comments links to this post

Monday, November 12, 2007

Drew Peterson's 3rd Wife Sought Relief From Domestic Violence Charged Instead Before Her Death

Apparently Kathleen Savio feared that she would be murdered by Drew Peterson, before she was found face down and bloody in her dry bath tub. A factor in this case is that Peterson is a Bolingbrook, Illinois police officer who was just suspended without pay.

[Will County state's attorney James] Glasgow, who took office more than nine months after Savio's death, also said that indicated Savio had sought a domestic violence complaint against her husband.

Peterson was never charged, but Savio was twice charged in 2002 with battery and domestic battery, Glasgow said. She was found not guilty both times. Jeff Tomczak, the state's attorney at the time that domestic violence charges were filed against Savio and when she died, did not return a call seeking comment.
With this information and the undisputed details of Savio's death, it's shocking that any competent investigator or coroner could accept the official cause of death as accidental drowning. I don't know if someone thought that a fellow police officer would be incapable of murder or if someone thought that the victim had it coming if she had been murdered.


What I do know is that it shouldn't have taken the disappearance of Peterson's 4th and current wife, Stacy Peterson, who was last seen on Oct. 28 for Savio's death to be competently investigated. Reportedly, this last wife was also afraid of Drew Peterson and was planning to divorce him.


With an apparent victim of domestic violence being charged as the perp before her suspicious death is ignored, the popular talk by anti-feminists about how men always get treated like the perp is clearly not based on fact.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:10 AM   0 comments links to this post

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Carnival Nominations And Updates

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


Also check out these other carnivals which I've had the honor of being selected.

Erase Racism over at Kill Bigotry

Blog Carnival of Observations over at Anja Merret

All Women Blogging Carnival over at Mad Goat Lady

Education Carnival over at What it's like on the inside

Carnival Mental Illness over at Cherished Writings

Carnival of Radical Feminists over at Angry for a reason

She Blogs Carnival over at Sex and the south

Carnival of Feminists over at Dizzy Buzz Kill

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:49 PM   0 comments links to this post

Why Do I Allows Shudder When I Read ...

... a post that begins with:

With the exception of homicide, rape is perhaps the worst possible crime one person can commit against another person.

Maybe it's that this introduction is usually followed by blatant rape denial.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:07 AM   2 comments links to this post

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Victim Blaming In Discussion About Naming Alleged Rape Victims

From News Observer

In the wake of the Duke lacrosse case, the policy of not identifying sex crime accusers is under review at The N&O. An internal committee is looking at issues such as whether accusers should be identified or, if not, whether the accused also should be shielded.

There is a good bit of sentiment both within the paper and outside for identifying accusers, out of fairness to the accused who routinely are identified when charged. Other arguments: Newspapers are in the business of providing information, not withholding it, and shielding victims contributes to the social stigma attached to sexual assault cases.

"We have an awareness that by shielding women in that way, you perpetuate the stigma," said Sarah Avery, the editor heading the internal review. "But we also know that the stigma does exist" and that many victims don't have the fortitude of a Cynthia Morton to put themselves in the public eye.

This rationale supports a negative assessment of any alleged rape victim who doesn't agree to be named. It says that if one rape case goes south that the newspaper is considering making all rape victims be treated as if they are either liars or non-credible.

That's a very dangerous attitude as it perpetuates the very stigma against alleged rape victims that the News Observer editor says she opposes.

It also opens the door for stories ("providing information, not withholding it") on the alleged victims which in reality are character assassination pieces complete with the victim's name. It would tell those who are raped that if they report rape, they can have every detail of their lives used or misused if a reporter finds the alleged rapist sympathetic.

Rapists would love this.

Too many people who claim to be against news stories that pre-judge alleged rapists are rabidly for pre-judging alleged rape victims. This is already done by newspapers reprinting unverified statements of fact made by defendants and defense attorneys. The only protection that most rape victims get from these attacks is that they are not named.

The potential change in policy would strip that fragile protection away.

Shielding alleged rape victims names unless explicit permission is given does NOT perpetuate the stigma associated with being raped. Those who report rape are often very vulnerable -- and I'm not talking internally. Witness tampering is a huge problem in many rape cases which can be made even worse if the alleged victim's name is published.

When the alleged rapists are popular, the physical danger to the alleged victims goes way up. A fan of Kobe Bryant was convicted of trying to have the alleged victim in that rape case murdered. To ignore dangers like this is incompetent at best and negligent at worst.

The woman who agreed to be named has the lauded "fortitude" partly because her rape happened 15 years ago and she doesn't feel revealing her name will put her or her family in danger. She has made the choice to help others who are raped and part of that choice is revealing her identity.

Other rape survivors also have fortitude and still choose to maintain their privacy. They are doing nothing wrong by making this choice. They should not have that choice taken away from them. For any of those who say that alleged rape victims names should be published, you are welcome to allow your name to be used if you report rape.

Rather than not naming alleged rapists, papers should consider not including anything except the status of the case until the case is resolved if they want to maintain neutrality. That would mean instituting a policy of no interviews with defense attorneys, no interviews with defendants, no negative characterization of anyone involved in the case and no statements by anyone that cannot be verified as fact.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:02 AM   0 comments links to this post

Friday, November 09, 2007

Australian Law That Defines Consent Opposed By Bar Association

From the Daily Telegraph:

The NSW [in Australia] Bar Associations reckons the “No means no” law goes too far and will lobby Upper House members to vote against it when it is up for debate next week.

The law will define the meaning of consent for the first time, making it clear that being drunk or under the influence of drugs does not mean consent has been given.

It will also introduce an “objective fault test”, meaning a man can no longer use the defence that he thought he had consent if the circumstances appear unreasonable.
“It will turn our sons into criminals,” new Bar Association president Anna Katzmann SC said yesterday.

Katzmann then goes on to give a familiar scenario that reinforces the rape apologist's mantra: Most of those who report rape did willfully consent to sex while impaired and are just suffering from morning after regret.

The problem with this mantra is that this so-called willfully consenting can happen while women are asleep or unconscious.

What isn't suprising is that those who likely claim that rape is rare predict that more precise definitions of consent for sex will expose how common rape really is. That's a bad thing. So to is punishing all those opportunistic rapists who are the sons of lawyers and other respectable folk.

If this current standard that the bar association is defending is true legal consent then it must be applied to all non-sex crimes where consent is a defense.

That means it isn't a crime if your best friend waited for you to pass out before grabbing your wallet, taking all your cash and then maxing out your credit and debit cards to buy all the cool products for himself, it was a gift from you to him. You never showed any negative reaction to his actions even though he did it all in your presence. The fact that you had your fingerprint scanned on certain accounts before transactions draining those accounts were approved proves that you cooperated in these financial transactions.

Reporting him to the police would be nothing more than morning-after regret on your part. You need to be held accountable for your bad decisions -- even if you were drunk or drugged out.

You can't be allowed to call your best friend a thief. If we use the current standards around rape, there should also be a call for you to be prosecuted for filing a false police report. Restitution and some jail time might teach you to be more responsible in the future.

“The stupid, the negligent, the intoxicated, the crazy will be treated as if they are the same as the true rapist, who knows there is no consent to sexual intercourse,” Mr Odgers [Chair of the Bar Association’s criminal law committee] said.

The stupid, the negligent, the intoxicated, the crazy that Odgers refers to are getting their consent not from those they want to have sex with but from people like Odgers. "You say no, but the bar association says yes. They -- and I -- win. And we want to keep it that way."

hat tip: The Curvature

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

Washington EC Law Overruled By Federal Judge

From the AP story on pharmacists who want to refuse prescriptions:
A federal judge has suspended Washington state's requirement that pharmacists sell "morning-after" birth control pills, a victory for druggists who claim their moral objections to the drug are being bulldozed by the government.

In an injunction signed Thursday, U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton said pharmacists can refuse to sell the morning-after pill if they refer the customer to another nearby source. Pharmacists' employers also are protected by the order.
The key problem I have with these moral objections is they are being applied very selectively and advocate for allowing workers to impose their morals onto general citizens. To me they are demanding the right to discriminate with no concern for the medical implications of their refusal.

If a woman dies during a pregnancy that could have been prevented with EC that isn't the pharmacist's concern even if the woman had a pre-existing medical condition which made pregnancy dangerous.

To me the underlying issue isn't that EC is incorrectly viewed as abortion, the issue is moral judgments about those who seek EC.

Once pharmacists get to reject one drug for moral reasons, they must be given the right to reject prescribing all drugs -- even those which keep patients alive. Morals don't limit themselves to birth control.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:11 AM   1 comments links to this post

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Yeah Yeah Enough About An Admitted Wife Murderer: Part 2

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Yeah Yeah Enough About An Admitted Wife Murderer A...":
What Mr. Anonymous is trying to say is that women do commit violence against men and the feminist/chick hypocrite attitude is that they should get a pass for it because they are women. Do you have any comment about a recent story, an american woman, an exchange student, who is accused of helping her boyfriend rape and murder her female room mate?

How about Mary Winkler? The story you folks do not want to talk about is that she was involved in questionably legal financial activity which ruined her family's finances. Matthew Winkler was going to take action to reveal that. Mary Winkler shot him in the back while he was sleeping, disabled the phone so he could not call for help, walked put and let him bleed to death. Spousal abuse did not become an issue until she faced the poissibility of a murder one conviction and a sentence of life without parole. The jury did not unanimously believe her. Part of the jury wanted to convict her. The other part wanted to let her walk. The manslaughter verdict was a
compromise. The bottom line was a cold blooded murderess walked.

Have you ever watched Snapped on Oxygen? Have you ever researched how many male murder victims are killed by their wives, for reasons such as money, convenience, rage, or just to be rid of them. I think noy. You try to hide from truth which you dislike.
This man does include question marks, but the questions are still rhetorical and the ignoring of the crimes committed by Darren Mack continues.

His message comes across loud and clear, "I want to talk about anything but men murdering their wives. I want to talk about something important to me. You evil women."

His question about my alleged lack of research indicates that he didn't bother to follow the link in the post he responded to and didn't read the U.S. Justice Dept. Bureau of Justice Statistics on Homicide trends in the U.S.: Intimate homicide. Or maybe he suspects there is a grand governmental conspiracy to hide the truth about us evil women.

Anonymous, why didn't you share your opinion of Darren Mack and all the other men who have murdered their wives? You state that you are against hiding from truth which you dislike yet the truth of his crimes is something you deliberately avoid.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:28 AM   0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Oprah Winfrey Academy Arrest And Shakeup

I've been watching the way reporters discuss what's happening at Oprah's academy and it has been presented as a taint against her.

A former employee of Oprah Winfrey's school for disadvantaged girls in South Africa has been arrested on charges of abuse and sexual assault, police said Friday.

A police spokesman, Supt. Lungelo Dlamini, said the 27-year-old woman, a former dormitory matron at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, was arrested on Thursday by the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offenses Unit.

I don't see this as a taint at all unless it's revealed that Oprah first tried to suppress the reports of alleged criminal behavior or if the systemic problems which contributed to this abuse aren't fixed. Unfortunately, many people will exploit those under their control if they believe they can get away with it and these people are counting on institutions wanting to protect their reputation more than they want to protect their students.

The biggest initial mistake Oprah made when planning for the girls safety was to get preoccupied with stranger danger at the expense of the danger from people in positions of trust.

Since abuse often is used as a form of control, those who don't know healthy and respectful ways to control children, when control is really needed, may turn to abusive tactics. Obey completely or else. That means that effective systematic prevention requires more than careful screening of educators and staff, it requires training.

This training needs to permeate the system. Personnel need to have an understanding of boundaries so they clearly understand what is abusive and what is not. Personnel need to have an understanding of what to do when a student makes a disclosure -- either directly or indirectly -- so that the environment is safe for students and employees. Those who aren't specially trained in these types of investigations shouldn't be allowed to do the investigations and should have someone who is trained who will be contacted when necessary.

From an AP story:

Winfrey said officials at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls hid facts and told students to "put on happy faces" and not complain to her. Though she said she was not responsible for hiring at the school, she said the screening process was inadequate and "the buck always stops with me."

This response by school officials unfortunately is far too common. But it sounds like the problem was in more than the screening process. Too many school systems have taught administrators that they need to respond to abuse in just this way.

Real safety needs to be more important than the external perception of safety which applies also to those outside the school. For the external response to be reasonable, there needs to be a way for those outside school systems to have faith that the school system is dealing with problems effectively.

From CNN:

Fifteen girls at Oprah Winfrey's South African leadership academy blew open the abuse scandal that the talk show host says shook her to her very core.

Oprah Winfrey tells a Monday news conference how she found out about abuse charges and what she did. Winfrey, on Monday, praised the teens who chose to approach the school's CEO in an environment that the millionaire described as fearful and encouraging silence. "They represent, those 15 girls, the new generation of youth in South Africa who fearlessly take back their voices to speak up about their concern for their fellow classmates," she said, speaking to a news conference in Johannesburg by satellite hookup from Chicago.

I also applaud the girls who refused to be shut up when they met with resistance and denial. This is also where Oprah may have made a difference since the girls may have had reason to believe that Oprah wouldn't have the same dismissive attitude about allegations of abuse.

My hope is that the changes made at this academy will be positive and systematic enough that the lessons learned with this situation can be applied elsewhere.

Watch the full video of Oprah's statement or read the transcript.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:33 AM   0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Yeah Yeah Enough About An Admitted Wife Murderer And His Victims

That's the message that comes across loud and clear in this comment:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Darren Mack Pleads Guilty To Murder But Remorse Se...":

Do you have any comment about Nancy Seaman. She ambushed her husband, hacked him to death with an axe, then hauled his body into her garage and assaulted it with a knife and sledge hammer. She hid the corpse in the back of an SUV after tieing it up in a tarp and duct tape, cleaned up all evidence of the crime, told the police she had no idea where her husband was when they came asking about his disappearance. When she was finally caught, she tried to get a pass on it by pleading the battered wife defense.

How about Michele Theer. She had her Air Force husband shot from ambush by one of her lovers. She did not enjoy marriage to him. Divorce was not enough for her. She wanted him dead so she could collect on his Servicemen's Group Life Insurance.

Then there's Kristin Rossum. She poisoned her husband to prevent his revealing her affair with her boss and her relapse into meth addiction.

How about adulterous wife, ex astronaut Lisa Nowak who went after the woman who took her lover. Looks like Lisa is going to walk on a technicality. If some man had tried to harm an ex girlfriend who had jilted him, you would have had plenty to say. I suspect you and other chick hypocrites are looking for a way to blame some guy for this mess rather than Lisa the protagonist.
When I first started blogging, I assumed questions like these were genuine inquiries, but now I'm familiar enough with this type of comment -- which completely ignores the original murder and attempted murder case -- to know that the charge of hypocrisy is a projection and that the questions are strictly rhetorical. He doesn't even bother with a single question mark.

By listing 4 cases with women defendants in response to 1 case with a male defendant, Mr. Anonymous is attempting to make it appear that the murder of intimates statistics match this gender ratio when they do no such thing.

There is no attempt on his part to begin with a disclaimer that he is appalled by the crimes committed by Darren Mack and other men who decide to murder their partners or ex-partners and that he is appalled at men who will try to murder judges who don't give them the rulings they want.

His outrage isn't over the actions of an admitted murderer, his outrage is directed at me and "other chick hypocrites." Nice.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 11:59 PM   2 comments links to this post

Darren Mack Pleads Guilty To Murder But Remorse Seems To Be AWOL

From an AP story on the Mack case:

Darren Mack, 46, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and entered an Alford plea to a charge of attempted murder as the defense was to begin calling witnesses. Mack was on trial for the June 12, 2006, stabbing of his estranged wife, Charla, at Mack's town house in south Reno. Authorities said that after the killing, Mack drove to a downtown parking garage and shot Washoe Family Court Judge Chuck Weller through the third-floor window of the judge's chambers. The judge survived.

Mack admitted in court that he shot Weller, but invoked the Alford plea, in which a defendant acknowledges there is enough evidence for a conviction without admitting guilt. "I do understand right now in my state of mind that shooting at the judiciary is not a proper form of political redress," Mack said.

Nowhere in the article could I find any reference to true remorse for the murder of his estranged wife and his statement about shooting the judge doesn't come across as true remorse for the harm he inflicted on the judge. It comes across as remorse only for himself which fits right in with his mindset before murder and attempted murder.

This is important because the plea deal recommends that Mack be eligible for parole in 20 years although the judge may choose to depart from that recommendation.

If Mack still believes that the punishment for asking for and being granted too much alimony is death, he will be a very dangerous man when he gets out of prison and not just to judges and significant others.

Anyone who he sees as wronging him could quickly and easily become a target.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:04 AM   0 comments links to this post

Monday, November 05, 2007

Assumptions About Reports Of Rape When Alleged Victim Agreed To Meet Alleged Rapist

From The Morning Call:


[Defendant Brent] Forschner and the girl were found together in a camper at the retreat site Saturday and ordered back to their cabins. When the girl got back to her cabin, she told her chaperone she had been raped. The girl told police she and Forschner had sneaked out for a romantic rendezvous in the camper. She said she repeatedly told Forschner she would not have intercourse with him but he removed her pants and proceeded despite her repeatedly telling him '''no,''' the news release
said.

First, the chaparone from Calvary Baptist Church of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is to be commended for not trying to suppress the report of rape. I wish all chaparones would do the same, but some of them would not.

For some people the undisputed details in this case will cause them to suspect that the 14-year-old girl lied to save her reputation. She was at a church retreat after all and agreed to be alone with this 18-year-old man.

In reality this makes her no more suspect than the woman who reports rape committed by a stranger as she walked home from church. It also makes her no more suspect than the boy or man who reports rape. We as a society are simply more biased against girls and women who are raped by someone they knew and trusted. Those who rape girls or women they know and who trusted them want to keep it that way. Same goes for those who have the "she was asking for it" attitude that sanctions many rapes.

The problem with the false report theory is 2-fold. One, agreeing to be alone and romantic doesn't equal agreeing to sex. Two, he must be at least equally suspect for targetting a 14-year-old girl for sex. A detail that is undeniable unless there is a claim that there was no sex -- consensual or otherwise.

We need more rape prevention messages that tell boys that failing to respect someone else's sexual boundaries makes them more than a jerk, it makes them a criminal. We need to tell them that there are no viable excuses for not stopping. We also need to drop the lie that there are two types of girls -- those who will do nothing and those who will do everything. There is no such thing as consent by type.

As someone raped by a boyfriend who I knew so many years that I can't remember meeting him for the first time, I understand assuming that I had good reason to believe someone was trustworthy in a situation where I normally wouldn't be so trusting. I also understand the assumptions that I was at fault for being vulnerable when the person at fault for my rape was my rapist, not me.

If there had been no discovery that these 2 were alone in a camper, there likely wouldn't have been any disclosure. To some that would be evidence that the disclosure is a lie, but those people clearly have no understanding of what it's like to be raped by someone you trusted.

The victim blaming and rape denial that rape victims hear before the rape have a major impact on disclosure. If other victims were blamed and shamed then that's what this rape victim can and will expect. Many verbal attacks against rape victims are as cruel and mean-spirited as the rape itself.

Then there are the slurs against girls who are seen as sexually active. Girls who are rape victims risk being labeled as dishonest and immoral when they are neither. If the rapist is popular they may also face verbal and physical harassment from so-called good people.

What person in trauma is going to volunteer to have all that directed at them if they don't believe they will have support which outweighs the attacks? In this case the chaparone would be the counterweight to expected attacks.

The ugly truth is that the very same suspicions about the honesty of girls and women who report being raped is used to justify rape.

"Sure she said no to protect her reputation, but girls aren't honest about sex. She's here so I know what she really wants me to do."

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:38 AM   1 comments links to this post