Monday, December 31, 2007

NJ Limits Web Access For Sex Offenders Who Used Internet In Their crimes

The AP has more on this recent New Jersey law.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 1:59 PM   0 comments links to this post

Former counselor sentenced for rape

From the Lockport Journal:

A former counselor for troubled youths at Wyndham Lawn Home for Children was sentenced Tuesday in State Supreme Court for raping a 16-year-old former resident of the facility. David Clayton, 38, of Northview Drive, was sentenced to 16 months to four years in prison after he pleaded guilty Oct. 10 to third-degree rape and third-degree criminal sexual act, both felonies. [...]

Clark said law enforcement has been seeing many more cases of teachers, counselors or other mentors taking advantage of children in their care — a trend he says is becoming “alarmingly frequent.”

“It seems that ... every month we’re seeing a couple of these,” Clark said. “We’re talking about counseling a troubled youth, and the person who is actually responsible for the counseling turns out to take advantage of the vulnerability of the victim in a way like this. It’s very disturbing.”

In many such cases, Clark added, the victim is not the one who comes forward. “The sad part of these things, too, is oftentimes it isn’t the victim that complains about what happens. We find out about it through other means,” he said. “She was not the one that complained."

What is described as the sad part of this story is actually a normal aspect of crimes like these and it is part of the methodology of how these sex abusers select and groom their potential victims. Those who misuse trust for sexual gratification or for an ego boost violate the trust given to them with forethought even when they claim "it just happened."

They set the child victim up to make self-disclosing almost impossible and this setup is where the "it just happened" is shown to be a lie. Laying groundwork is proof of premeditation.

They necessarily maintain a facade and they necessarily work to make the victim feel responsible for the adult's actions. Those who talk about these children as not being real victims if they weren't forced at gunpoint or knifepoint contribute to these children's decision not to disclose.

The recent upward trend in cases like this one is a good sign since that means that fewer people are intentionally or accidentally ignoring indicators of abuse in the people around them. It means that fewer people insist on viewing the victim as an equal partner in any inappropriate behavior.

My wish for the new year is that the number of reports keeps rising until sexual abusers feel they have no safe victims and no safe environment where other adults will miss signs of abuse. My wish is that abusers will be more uneasy than the most concerned parent and that this unease will be so great that the risk of abusing is simply too great.

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Man Arrested For Stalking Women He's Charged With Raping

Here's a case in Pennsylvania that shows how ridiculous many of the condemning statements are about the public's rush to judgment whenever the public generally believes a report of rape.

From the Sharon Herald:

The woman was parking her car and said she decided to head straight to Sharon’s police station when she saw [Raymond Anthony] Napolitan, but he began chasing her through the streets. Since the alleged rape, the woman had filed a restraining order against Napolitan, which he had twice violated prior to the chase, police said. Napolitan also had threatened to kill her if she reported the incident to police, she said.

The chase ended when Napolitan’s car vehicle hit another at Leslie Street and Stambaugh Avenue, police said.

Yet, according to those who want the public to deny accepting a rape victim as such until the rapist is convicted, everyone is supposed to assume he must be innocent. If they don't then his due process rights have supposedly been violated.

Innocent until proven guilty exists even if nobody who hears about this case believes he is innocent. Innocent until proven guilty is the reason he wasn't sitting in jail and staying there until and unless he could prove to a jury that he was innocent beyond a reasonable doubt.

Those who misuse innocent until proven guilty in rape cases will reveal that they don't really believe this nonsense by how they talk about women accused of lying about rape and how they talk about other defendants.

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Mythology And Danger Of Good Girl Bad Girl Binary

In some of the stories about the pregnancy of Jaimie Lynn Spears, people are talking about being disappointed that she wasn't a good girl as promised. Now there are rumors that it wasn't 18-year-old Casey Aldridge who got her pregnant but it was instead an older man who worked with her on her show.

For many people this rumor alone turns 16-year-old Spears into far worse than a bad girl and as the slurs fly none of them that I have seen are directed at the biological father, whoever he is. Think about what that says to men. This message directly contradicts the message sent by statutory rape laws.

If an adult man succeeds at getting sex from an underage girl, she's the one who is tainted. No wonder so many men whine when they get caught by the statutory rape laws or the non-statutory rape laws. "But everybody said it's her fault if she didn't or couldn't stop me! If anyone should be charged it should be her for seducing me with her youthful beauty! Wah!"

This harsh division for girls is more than disturbing, it is dangerous because it contributes to keeping girls who are victims of rape and sexual abuse silent. In this silence many rapists and abusers flourish. They can and do revictimize those who are too scared to speak up and they are emboldened to find new victims.

Yet many of those who throw slurs around easily will wonder aloud, "If she was a true victim why didn't she report what happened immediately?" Their actions are part of the answer but they don't want an honest answer to their own question and when they get it, most of them will reject it as a lie.

This was true when I was raped and the taint I felt after being raped at 15 is still out there circulating among people who have no idea how it adds to the suffering of those who have been criminally sexually exploited. If this taint hadn't been so strong I probably would have disclosed to my parents and that likely would have prevented my boyfriend/rapist from raping me a second time and it would have reduced some of my out of control actions because my parents would have known why I suddenly hated anyone telling me what to do or telling me that something was done because they loved me. They would have seen my alcohol use as more than teenage rebellion. But I was terrified away from disclosing because of the taint from no longer being a virgin.

If I had become pregnant I would have been labeled by most people as a bad girl and I knew it. The how didn't matter and the taint which would have been directed at me would have slid right past my rapist.

How many times have you heard someone say, "How could she get herself pregnant?" with absolutely no awareness that they are implying that getting pregnant is a solo project or that 100% of the responsibility belongs to the girl.

Imagine a parent of a girl who is being sexually abused by a teacher or a minister or a relative receiving the Jaime Lynn good girl/bad girl talk about how some girls are bad and how this parent expects her children to be good. What are the chances that during this talk that a girl being sexually abused is going to disclose?

My prediction is close to zero using this approach.

What are the chances during this type of talk that the girl is going to feel worse than she did before this type of talk about the sexual abuse?

My prediction is close to 100% using this approach.

If a girl didn't feel to blame before this type of talk what are the chances that a girl who is or was being sexually abused will internalize the blame after this type of talk?

I won't make a prediction, but I will remind people that victims of sexual abuse can become suicidal and can successfully commit suicide. The actions of naive people do contribute to this loss of life.

For parents who want to talk to their children about Jaime Lynn Spears' pregnancy the first issue that must be raised is that 2 people were involved. Rather than talking about good/bad girls, parents should talk about boundaries so their children know when they or someone else is crossing an ethical or legal line. It's like teaching children the significance of flashing lights at a railroad crossing. Without the explanation those are just pretty flashing lights.

This is one of the key problems with abstinence-only sexual education. It asks children to wait and the only acceptable response is "yes, sir." This would be bad enough if some of these programs didn't introduce harmful sexual stereotypes.

Complete sex education makes a difference. It can result in both girls and boys delaying sex. If a comprehensive sex ed program leaves children vulnerable to exploitation, then it should be improved not scrapped.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:55 AM   0 comments links to this post

Friday, December 28, 2007

Why I Hated "How Do We Beat The Bitch?"

I didn't blog about it when a John McCain supporter asked, "How do we beat the bitch?" referring to Hillary Clinton because it seemed like that territory had been well covered.

However, with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister of Pakistan, the problem I saw in that question is brought to its ugliest conclusion. The term bitch was used as a sexist slur, but it was also used to dehumanize a candidate for US president. Combine dehumanizing with the unspoken imperative, "We must beat the bitch, but how?" and our homegrown terrorists can feel like they've been given a holy mission if Hillary gets her party's nomination and seems like she has a great shot at winning the general election.

John McCain was caught off guard but he could have kept his response light while rejecting that harmful label. He stands for ethics, but failed that day to do just that.

He could have said, "By focusing on issues not character assassination."

But if the anti-Hillary crowd was in the mood for blood it's possible that those in that crowd could have figuratively turned on McCain. That danger alone tells us something about the mood of those who cheer the dehumanization of others.

I remember at an early age learning that President Kennedy had been assassinated and I remember Bobby Kennedy being assassinated and I remember what seemed like countless civil rights murders. With a few horrific exceptions we seemed to have pulled ourselves from that time of terrorism, but there will always be those who are tempted to take the law and elections into their own hands.

We can't afford to give them an inch toehold.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 3:34 PM   0 comments links to this post

Carnival Deadline Tonight Get Your Nominations In Before This Long Holiday Weekend

Tonight 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.

So far I don't have any nominations for the following categories: creative expression, personal stories, and research. Also if you aren't sure what category a post belongs in, please don't let that stop you from nominating it.

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

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Defense Against Alleged False Accusations Of Rape

I referenced the article: Forcible Rape Defense; False Accusations in Relationship and Date Rape Cases by William F. Nimmo in a post last week, but the biases contained in this article are worth giving extra focus. According to his bio Nimmo is a criminal defense attorney.

The reason I added "alleged" in the title of this post (before the phrase false accusations) is that this defense is making a criminal allegation of it's own and the article is in reality about how to get the best results for the defendant when the defense attorney uses this allegation. Just as with an allegation of rape, an allegation that the report of rape is false is just that -- a criminal allegation -- until it has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. And that takes specific evidence.

This defense can work for the defendant even when the defense allegation is false. Many times when a defense team creates a lot of smoke about the alleged victim the public and the jury will simply assume there must be a fire under there somewhere even if they never see a single flame.

A frequent cry that goes out from those who claim that men charged with rape don't get fair trials is that the prosecutor isn't after the truth only the win, but this claim is a better fit for defense attorneys. They aren't looking for an objectively just outcome. They are looking out for the best interests of their client whether that outcome is just or not. If that means slandering a rape victim either in court or in the press those who use these techniques when they have no specific evidence that the report is a lie rationalize away painting a deliberately false picture. They are just doing their job.

"Women like her lie" is not specific evidence. Neither are any slurs on the alleged victim's character or morals. Read Nimmo's article and look at how much emphasis is given to specific evidence and how much of the emphasis is given to using stereotypes and generalities about women as a substitute for specific evidence.

The biggest stereotype can be boiled down to the idea that women cannot simply enjoy consensual sex which is a very convenient way to dismiss the alleged victim's trauma while giving women gendered motivation to file a false police report.

I can still hear my boyfriend/rapist's flippant, "It always hurts the first time" in response to my shock and agony from being raped. "The girls can't enjoy sex" lie may have helped him dismiss my pain when he raped me again. When I finally got to the place where my shock wore off thanks to discovering that he was cheating on me and I expressed my anger, he could have dismissed me as someone having a bitter break up.

I got raped. He made a couple of mistakes.

If the attitudes and evidence had been such back then that I had been able to disclose, get a rape kit done, file a police report and see him charged, this defense would have been perfect for my rapist. As fragile as I was under my anger, this approach could have crushed me. And of course the results of a rape victim getting crushed are also used as "evidence" of a false accusation of rape. Of course the defense spin would have been: "Her lie was exposed and she folded."

The harm done to real rape victims when rapists' defense attorneys use this strategy become nothing more than collateral damage.

This false accusation motivation must be gendered and tied directly to sex or this defense could be used just as often against men who are victims of non-sex crimes committed against them by someone they know. There are plenty of areas where men have morning-after regret and where real crimes can occur.

If a defendant's attorney wants to argue that no specific criminal statutes apply to the alleged behavior that is a different defense than the claim that a false accusation has been made.

However, a defense that alleges that the defendant exploited a legal loophole isn't likely to garner sympathy like "she cried rape" does. A feeling that the defendant is humming in singsong, "Yes, I raped her, but you can't convict me" throughout the trial isn't going to have the public cheering when a jury reaches a stalemate or acquits the defendant. Hence, the need to position the defendant as a completely innocent victim. Little Bo Poke if you will.

An allegation that a defendant has been falsely accused of rape is not evidence and it is not reasonable doubt. Those who claim that it is either have revealed their ignorance or their bias. This bias is great enough that many jurisdictions are looking at clarifying the meaning of legal consent and its characteristics so that those who rape the unconscious can't successfully claim that the alleged victim made consenting noises.

These biases didn't happen accidentally. Because historically the rape laws were written solely by men, they were designed to fit those men's biases about rape.

If some thug accosted one of their wives, they wanted that rapist punished. But if a man got rough with his own wife when she said no and took what he wanted anyway, those who made the laws historically did not want that rapist to be charged or convicted of rape. Hence, explicit exceptions in the rape laws so husbands could legally rape their wives.

These men were against rape, but with plenty of legal catches and conditions. If a wife reported truthfully that her husband raped her, they wanted to be able to label her as someone filing either a false police report or an unfounded report.

Those who hold these attitudes have lost their monopoly on rape laws, but they want to keep their monopoly on which rape victims will be legally recognized as true rape victims through the outcome of rape cases and which rape victims will be labeled as liars.

If we see how defense teams are bringing in and using smoke machines we can recognize when smoke is just that, smoke, not evidence of a false accusation of rape.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:30 AM   2 comments links to this post

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Only Normal Healthy Men Go To Strip Clubs In Texas

That's the claim being made whenever people say that normal, healthy males are the ones who will be paying the $5 patron tax at strip clubs in Texas starting on January 1, 2008.

Suddenly people who oppose statements like, "rape is about about power not sex" support this statement absolutely. Taxing sex-related industries to fund services for rape victims is, according to them, linking two completely unrelated acts. Sexually objectifying women has nothing to do with rape.

Don't we know that patrons of strip clubs never rape and that dancers at strip clubs are never raped in or around strip clubs?

It's interesting that the clubs are trying to fight this tax by saying it violates their first amendment rights. This is a very dangerous approach since we could easily say that gas taxes are unconstitutional because driving is a first amendment right. You can't have free speech at a strip club if you can't get there because of the price of gas after taxes.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:24 PM   0 comments links to this post

Monday, December 24, 2007

Bittersweet Memories As Christmas Approaches

As I was listening to the type of Christmas music that was so much a part of my childhood I found sadness washing through me. Usually I try to block this general sadness whenever it comes because it feels like if I don't that I will slide into a funnel of sadness and pain over events in the past -- both wonderful and horrific -- which cannot be restored or undone.

I had completed my usual calls to my immediate family on holidays when we aren't together but this Christmas there was one less call to make since I lost my oldest brother in April. His loss was still fresh enough that I felt that unplaced call acutely. Even though there were times in childhood when he was nothing better than my tormentor, we had many areas where we viewed the world in similar ways and there were times when he stood up for me when I couldn't stand up for myself.

My rape not only caused me personal pain, this event which was unknown to my family caused me to have triggers and reactions which I couldn't explain to them. It caused part of me to always be alone even when I was surrounded by family. Both of my parents and my oldest brother died not knowing of my rape even though only my mother died before I was outed as a rape survivor because of publishing my autobiographical novel Cherry Love.

Family can be a complex tangle.

It seemed like telling them would only cause them needless pain. They had long ago dismissed my post-rape rebellion as nothing more than normal teenage rebellion. My relationship with my family was stable and the mistakes of my past were never thrown up in my face so telling wouldn't have helped to resolve ongoing conflicts.

Only after my oldest brother died did I find a way to tell my sister. That conversation is one of the toughest in my life, but I am so glad that I found the words to cross that well-established barrier. We are still very different, as were were before I was raped, but I think it helped her to understand me in a way that would have been impossible without my telling her about my rape.

Which brings me back to the pain I felt as I listened to a choir echo the Christmas music from my childhood. I didn't have to fight the pain because all of the landmines left by my rape and related actions have been exploded or they have been disarmed in the last 10 plus years since I became determined to get the essence of my experiences before, during and after my rape down on paper.

I made mistakes before being raped such as trusting someone who wasn't worthy of my trust, but that didn't make me the one responsible for my rape. I made plenty of mistakes after my rape, but I somehow survived pain that at times seemed unbearable and unending.

There is something very healing about being there for others like I wish someone had been there for me after I was raped. I can't change the past but I can change the present and I can influence the future. I helped people during my 9 plus years volunteering on my local rape crisis line and I continue to help people by speaking out through my blogging and elsewhere. I always wish I could do more, but I don't let that feeling of being too small to face such a huge amount of wrongdoing stop me from doing what I can do without using up all of my reserves.

It helps that I know there are other rape survivors doing what they can and I know that our combined efforts along with the efforts of dedicated and caring non-survivors have changed laws and at least some attitudes and can continue to counter the efforts of those who hate what I am doing and wish they could roll back the attitudes and laws to protect most rapists from accountability for their violence.

I can and do enjoy thwarting the abusers and the enablers whenever I can and I enjoy calling out their lies and their manipulations. Words have power and I enjoys deflating the words of those who help rapists rationalize their actions.

I can feel the pain of my losses fully because I know that I will get through that pain and I know that emotional pain is healthy in the right balance. Those who choose to feel no emotional pain for whatever reason do not feel empathy for other people's pain and have no feeling of remorse when they take actions which inflict pain that will echo inside another person for years to come.

My healthy pain confirms that I no longer need to be disconnected from part of myself in order to cope. That's a gift better than anything that could be contained inside a gift-wrapped package.

I wish for everyone that you only feel healthy pain and you only trigger healthy pain in others.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:30 AM   3 comments links to this post

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Interrogation Which Led To False Confession Leads To $15.5 Million Civil Judgment

From the AP:

CHICAGO (AP) -- A man who spent months in jail after being accused of sexually assaulting and drowning his 3-year-old daughter before DNA evidence cleared him was awarded, with his wife, $15.5 million Thursday. [...]

The lawsuit alleged detectives subjected Kevin Fox to threats, lies and promises of a deal during a 14 1/2-hour overnight interrogation in which he implicated himself in the killing. Kevin Fox testified that he lost hope during the interrogation and gave a false story when promised leniency. Detectives denied the couple's claims and insisted Kevin Fox's statements were made voluntarily.

I have long had concerns about some of the ways law enforcement can work to get confessions (and retractions) because I know that people put under extreme duress will comply solely because of the pressure. Different people have different cracking points, but all of us can be broken.

Besides the harm done to this man by his being charged with his daughter's murder, this false confession likely put an immediate stop to the investigation into this little girl's brutal death. When the DNA results came back the investigation restarted but at a disadvantage because of the lost time.

According to the report on this judgment, this murder is still unsolved and that may have happened no matter how the police handled Fox, but there's a chance that in the months when Fox was in jail the police could have gotten a genuine break in the case. Memories fade and exact dates become less clear when days after a crime become months.

Since the police must have the DNA from the real murderer and this DNA hasn't been matched to that of anyone in any of the criminal databases we must assume that this person is still free and most likely still extremely dangerous.

We cannot afford to forget this as I'm sure these parents cannot forget what happened to their daughter. Joy during the holidays is important, but joy and concern for the most vulnerable are not mutually exclusive.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:25 AM   0 comments links to this post

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Invoking Hoaxes To Ensure Justice

If those who attack alleged rape victims credibility because "girls and women have deliberately made false rape reports" were to have their logic and their tactics used as a model for all reported crimes, let's see if they would happily accept what they are willing to dish out.

For that reason it is important to note that most of those who rant the loudest about false rape reports and the need to keep them front and center in all rape investigations openly label themselves as conservatives.

Now to the hoax which undermines conservatives' credibility as true crime victims. Francisco Nava, a student of Princeton who reported being the victim has admitted that he sent death threats to himself and other conservatives on campus and he has admitted that his physical injuries meant to prove that he was really assaulted as part of a hate crime were self-inflicted.

From Time:

Weeks of death threats appeared to come to grisly fruition on the evening of Dec. 14, when Francisco Nava, 23, a Princeton University junior, arrived at the University Medical Center with his face bruised and bloodied, exhibiting the signs of a concussion. According to the story he told police, Nava, an officer of the Anscombe Society, a prominent conservative social values advocacy group on campus, had been on his way to see a local high school student he mentors when two men, both towering above six feet and dressed in black clothes and ski caps, grabbed him from behind. Holding him against a wall, Nava said, they hit his head repeatedly against the bricks. "Eventually I just blacked out," Nava told the Daily Princetonian. The only catch? The whole story was a hoax.

The reported reason for this hoax, "stemmed from a belief that his actions would draw attention to the pro-chastity cause." And Anscombe Society (of which Nava is apparently still a member) president Kevin Staley-Joyce said, "He, in his poor judgment, thought that doing this would somehow help our cause."

And what is Princeton's Anscombe Society's cause? Well, that seems to have changed. It looks like they wiped out their old web site but have restored parts of it due to public inquiries or accusations that they are trying to hide something now because of this hoax. If this were a feminist group and the hoax was a rape report you can bet that a bunch of conservatives would be rubbing their hands together in glee at what this says about the group.

Here is their previous stated mission:

The overall goal of the Anscombe Society is to provide intellectual engagement and social support for fostering a sexual and familial ethic. We aim to promote and encourage an atmosphere where sex is dignified, respectful, and beautiful; where human relationships are affirming and supportive; where motherhood is not put at odds with feminism; and where no one is objectified, instrumentalized, or demeaned. We aim to increase the level of respect among members of the university community who disagree on these issues as we explore our common understandings as well as our differences. Lastly, we hope to provide those students who strive to understand, live, and love their commitment to chastity and "traditional" sexual and familial ethics with the support they need.

By the standards used by those who bring up false rape reports to question all rape reports, it would be unacceptable to show any compassion for the hoaxer by describing the entire hoax as "poor judgment." Which means that Staley-Joyce's statements must be viewed as a support for hoaxes of this kind and therefore a support for injustice.

By these standards, Nava has undermined the credibility of all conservatives since it was that label which allegedly made him a victim of a hate crime. We can now say with absolute confidence and truthfulness, "Conservatives lie about being threatened and assaulted. Conservatives play the victim." We can and should repeat this endlessly as if it trumps all evidence.

By these standards, what is needed is for all conservatives to confront the problem of conservatives who make false accusations so that lying conservatives stop hurting honest conservatives.

By these standards, Nava should be charged for all of his crimes with no mercy given for his state of mental health and should be sentenced in the same way that has been demanded for those who falsely claim to be rape victims. There was the false police report and the making of death threats since he did issue threats against others as well as himself. Unless his victims were co-conspirators they didn't know the threats were part of a hoax. When he showed up injured, he caused them to fear that they might be next.

By these standards, if Nava ever reports being the victim of another crime, his report should be ignored without wasting a single tax dollar on a real investigation. He's a proven liar, so case closed.

By these standards, Nava's statements that he acted alone must be viewed as unreliable. This crime must make all of those who received death threats from Nava suspects. If any of them report crimes committed against them in the future, this case must be used to call them potential serial false victims.

By these standards, it's okay to have private detectives scour the conservative alleged victim's past for any detail which could possibly make this person look bad or non-credible. In short, any tactic which has been used against any alleged rape victim is fair game to be used against all conservatives who report being victims of any crime.

By these standards, all conservatives would need to have a non-conservative impartial witness to the crime for any charges to be made. If a conservative sues someone over injuries or discrimination, we would need to label that person as a gold digger.

This confessed hoax, according to the standards used against rape victims, gives everyone permission to attack any conservative who shows up at an emergency room with serious physical injuries even if there is no evidence that the assault was false or self-inflicted.

Using the tactics conservative politicians have used when fighting efforts to inform all rape victims of their right to get an emergency contraceptive, it would be justified to say, "How do we know if a conservative who shows up at the ER as a crime victim has really been assaulted? Maybe this is another hoax. He could have broken those bones doing something stupid like climbing up a ladder set on a pile of wet leaves. And now he sees an easy way to get free treatment by falsely claiming to be a crime victim. Those conservatives love to play the victim." And it would be acceptable to require by law that conservatives can be forced to take polygraph tests before their claims are investigated.

By these standards, until someone was convicted of the specific alleged crime, we would need to assume that the conservative alleged crime victim is perpetrating a hoax.

Doesn't that sound like the best way to ensure that justice is done? Won't all of you conservatives feel safer if you are being proactively protected from conservatives who lie about being crime victims in the same way that all women are actively protected from women who lie about being rape victims?


The bottom line is that if an approach is valid for girls and women who report rape and those working to reduce sexual violence, it is valid for men who report crimes committed against them and it is valid for all conservatives.

For those who say that my points can't be valid because I only found one case of a conservative lying about being a crime victim? Then I'll have to point to a case where the wife of an Ozarks Minutemen founder has been charged with lying about being raped and shot by 3 Hispanics.

"What conservative woman after shooting herself won't be so embarrassed over her clumsiness that she doesn't claim to be a victim of gang rape?" That's the sort of generalization that gets used whenever someone dislikes something about a girl or women who reports being the victim of rape? "We know about ***** like her. They can't be trusted when they go to the police. And we have proof of their non-credibility."

By their standard, every conservative woman who reports a stranger rape committed by a Hispanic must be assumed to be a liar. All rape convictions that started with similar reports would need to be reviewed since we've been told by experts that there are likely thousands of men falsely convicted of rape sitting in prison right now. This case must be viewed as the tip of an iceberg.

If we believe in true justice for all, it must be about the specific evidence related to that specific case and about proper and complete gathering of that evidence.

You can bet if there were constant cries of "conservatives lie about __" (fill in whatever crime was reported) conservatives would see that as an expression of bigotry and an effort to give people the okay to commit that crime against conservatives. Yet many conservatives are fine with these tactics as long as they are directing who gets targeted and who doesn't.

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

Friday, December 21, 2007

Real Joke Or Real Excuse To Escape Accountability?

The opening paragraph in a Minneapolis Star Tribune story has it dead wrong.

Two men thought it was just a joke - cutting off a woman's underwear as other men in the bar laughed and the bartender turned down her plea to come to her rescue, authorities allege.

I don't believe they thought their actions were a true joke, I believe they thought they could get away with a sexualized assault by framing that assault against a woman as nothing more than a joke. Whether they scared others into inaction and nervous laughter or whether their actions satisfied something sadistic inside the observers we may never know.

I've lost track of the times men who make excuses for hostile behavior toward women say, "women have no sense of humor. Loosen up."

The quickest way to evaluate whether they think this was a genuine joke is to imagine their reaction if 2 larger men restrained them as a woman stuck a pocketknife inside their pants in order to cut off their underwear.

Does anyone really imagine that these 2 men would be laughing in good humor as a knife cut at their crotch? How about those men who scold women for having no sense of humor? Would they be happy to be on the receiving end of this type of joke or would they suddenly become as humorless as those they love to scold?

Michael S. Puhalla, 39, and Russell J. Baumgardner, 40, are accused of holding down a woman against the bar in Sartell, Minn., and cutting off her underwear with a pocketknife and placing it on a fan in the bar.

They were charged Wednesday in Stearns County with second-degree sexual assault with a dangerous weapon and second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon in the incident Sunday.

I'm glad that the police took this report seriously and didn't deny the violence committed by these men because "guys will be guys." Unfortunately, this dismissal is what too many women get when they report this sort of violence or worse. Unfortunately, victims of actual violence do get labeled as women who made a false police report.

If these men are convicted, they will have nobody but themselves to blame. Baumgardner admitted that this isn't the first time he's pulled a "joke" like this which makes him an admitted serial offender.

This bar should face at least a temporary loss of its liquor license because of the bartender's complicity in this assault. If he was afraid of reprisal that shows that he knew these men were dangerous and not harmless jokers.

hat tip: Feministing

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 4:18 PM   0 comments links to this post

How Will The Victim Blamers Respond To This Sexual Assault Case?

I am waiting to see if the victim blamers who jump in every time there is a report of a sexual assault involving college men or sports players will be consistent in this latest case in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Will their normal bemoaning about the release of the alleged criminals names go silent on this case?

Will their chorus of "innocent until proven guilty" and "sounds like another false accusation!" go silent?

Will their normal search for the victim's identities begin so they can search for reasons to attack the character of these alleged victims?

Will their normal dismissal of the alleged criminals' past misdeeds as irrelevant appear in this case?

Will their normal discounting of physical evidence go AWOL?

Will their normal use of some consensual sexual activity as proof that the charges are false evaporate?

Will their normal claim that interrupting what is an obvious sexual assault in progress is untrustworthy because consent may been given before the interruption?

Will their normal statement that agreeing to leave a bar with your alleged attackers makes this nothing more than a disagreement or a misunderstanding go unstated?

So why am I asking these questions? In this case the alleged victims are three University of North Carolina football players who met the alleged criminals at a local bar and who voluntarily let the 3 people charged (2 women and 1 man) in this alleged attack into their off-campus apartment.

For most of the victim blamers the events which came before the alleged assault are enough evidence for them to declare, when the victims are women, "We'll never know for sure so all of the charges should be dropped immediately."


Authorities charged Monique Jenice Taylor, 28, Tnika Monta Washington, 29, and Michael Troy Lewis, 32, with three counts of kidnapping, three counts of conspiracy to commit a felony and one count of resisting arrest. [...]

Prosecutors said the players and the accused went to the victims’ apartment after meeting at a downtown bar. At a Thursday court hearing, assistant Orange County prosecutor Morgan Whitney cited a police report and said one of the players was drunk and was taken to his room, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported on its Web site.

According to the newspaper, the other two had some consensual sexual contact with the women, but then became uncomfortable and told them to stop. When police arrived at the scene, two of the victims were tied up, wearing boxer shorts, and the hands of the third victim, who was fully clothed, also were tied, Whitney was quoted as saying by the newspaper. [...]

Defense attorneys told the court, according to the newspaper, that the acts were consensual.

My belief is that this case should be handled with the same care and professionalism that would be used if the alleged victims were girls or women and if all of those charged were boys or men. The gender of the alleged victims and the alleged criminals in this case makes them no more or less credible witnesses.

For those who are horrified at the idea of these football players being treated this way, your reaction shows how unfairly girls and women are routinely treated when they are the alleged victims.

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

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Justice AWOL At Congressional Hearing On Rape Harassment

While the Department of Justice was AWOL from the congressional hearings about the allegations of rape and sexual harassment by US contractors in Iraq, Jaime Leigh Jones did testify.

Melissa over at Shakesville has a link to her testimony and has a written transcript of Jones' testimony.

Not surprisingly, Jones is far from being the only one to report being raped by so-called friendlies while working in Iraq. This hearing shows why there must be serious criminal and financial consequences for these types of actions. Without consequences too many people decide that rape is A-okay and that rapists make fine employees.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 4:04 PM   0 comments links to this post

Reducing Acquaintance Rape To A Disagreement

From Benedict Brogan's blog on the Daily Mail:

Labour have spotted something John Redwood posted on his blog over the weekend. The passage in question says: "Again, none of us want men to rape women, but there is a difference between a man using unreasonable force to assault a woman on the street, and a disagreement between two lovers over whether there was consent on one particular occasion when the two were spending an evening or night together." (emphasis added) [...]

Would they feel so strongly if they read the whole thing? The extract above is part of a far longer pro-police post about the hierarchy of crime. He goes on to say: "Labour’s doctrine of equivalence has led to jury scepticism about many rape claims, in situations where it is the man’s word against the woman’s and where they had agreed to spend the evening or night together. Young men do not want to have to take a consent form and a lawyer on a date, just as young women have every right to go on a date and to say “No”, having it respected." I'm not sure. Context is seldom an effective hiding place for politicians.

This context doesn't make anything about the quoted statement any better except to show that many people view rape of those the rapists knows to be automatically less traumatic than stranger rape and to show that juries are more likely to ignore credible evidence of rape when the alleged rapist isn't a stranger.

Context may seldom be an effective hiding place for politicians, but many politicians want context to be an effective hiding place for rapists.

This hierarchy of rape demands an inflexibly excuse-filled view of all non-stranger rapists. This hierarchy is based not on facts, but on propaganda. Nobody would believe that a stranger rapist was guilty of nothing more than a "mistake" or an "error in judgment" or a "misunderstanding" but these excuses get thrown about as easily as confetti when the rapists know their victims.

Smart rapists who want to avoid a criminal conviction notice helpful comments like these and use them ruthlessly to help them deny their crimes or minimize them into nothingness.

These rapists are likely smirking inside at the knowledge that they aren't expected to secure full, legal consent and have plenty of supporters who agree that they shouldn't be punished like the rapists they are if they rape their dates, their friends or their significant others.

All these rapists need to say is, "He said, she said" to get their get out of jail free pass. Until some feminist or politician tries to muck things up by disrupting this patter with the truth that this hierarchy is nonsense. If you rape, you are rapist no matter who you decide to rape.

Let these politicians sell this hierarchy to 14-year-old Ebony Dorsey who was raped and murdered. The man the police believe did it was her mother's boyfriend. Do these people really believe that her trauma would have been less more if her attacker had been a stranger? Do they really believe that the crimes committed against her before she died were less severe because the defendant is someone she knew? Do they really believe that the punishment for this crime should be less if the defendant claims it was a mistake or an error in judgment or a momentary lapse?

If this hierarchy is nonsense in rape/murders then it must be nonsense in rapes where the victim isn't murdered.

This hierarchy exists solely for the benefit of rapists and their pals who would never dare to rape a stranger and who would never openly approve of raping a stranger, but who can rationalize the committing of rape against someone they know.

The focus on young men also brings in the unfounded claims that women routinely lie about being raped by people they know or that young men can't be expected to wait until they know sexual contact is fully mutual and legal without a written document.

When "I didn't consent" comes up against, "How was I to know she wasn't consenting?" the claim of rape is valid.

The message behind this hierarchy is this: "Girls and women, if you don't want to be raped by someone you know never be alone with those you know." How this would be accomplished to prevent marital rape, I'll leave up to politicians like Redwood to explain.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:09 AM   3 comments links to this post

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Jaime Lynn Spears And Statutory Rape Laws

Since I didn't know that Britney Spears had a younger sister and didn't know that Jaime Lynn Spears stars in the Nickolodeon show "Zoey 101" the official acknowledgement that Jaime Lynn is pregnant seemed like so much idle gossip.

However, I've been seeing reports that Jaime Lynn Spears, reported as aged 16, is below the age of consent and that the reported father of her unborn child, Casey Aldridge, is an adult which raises questions about whether he is guilty of statutory rape. Since laws differ from state to state and Jaime Lynn shoots her series in California but also lives in Louisiana, any prosecutor would need to prove that the sex happened in their state.

It's certainly possible that these 2 decided to go somewhere that they would be legal and it's possible that Aldridge broke the law if their age differences are large enough.

For some people this situation would be a justification for changing the law so Aldridge couldn't possibly be a criminal no matter when or where they had sex since they would be classified by these people as in a Romeo and Juliet relationship (minus the suicides I hope), but I believe that is a serious mistake.

If there are truly cases where the sex is fully and freely consensual as part of an ongoing non-exploitative relationship, then that's an issue for sentencing. Too often "relationship" gets used to describe something that in no way was a real relationship. It also gets used to deny the possibility of coercion or force within a dating relationship.

Whatever happens, fame and notoriety shouldn't influence any criminal investigation.

Update (12/20): Because Aldridge is 18 and almost exactly 2 years older than Spears it looks like at most in California and Louisiana he would be guilty of a misdemeanor if there are no allegations of sexual misconduct or coercion. In Mississippi, Aldridge's home state, age 16 is the age of consent.

This means that any lack of statutory rape charges against Aldridge tells us nothing about problems in the enforcement of statutory rape laws. Some of the comparisons I've seen aren't comparable at all because of issues such as the use of alcohol in gaining the so-called consent from a girl too young to give legal consent.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 4:02 PM   1 comments links to this post

Another Ban On The Word Rape And Accompanying Denial

From ABC Australia:

Two of the accused have pleaded guilty to sexual penetration, one through oral penetration and two to fondling the boy. Justice Trevor Riley told the court the case is not about rape because there is no issue of consent. He said while the crime of sexual intercourse with a child was very serious it was not rape.

The victim in this case is an 11-year-old boy who was abused for months and according to the judge that makes what happened to this boy absolutely not rape. The accused are two adult men and three teenage boys which in reality makes this case one of repeated gang rape.

But according to this judge this boy was never raped.

Even if this boy complied every time, for whatever reason, that is not consent. Many people who should know better act like coercion is as mythical as Santa Claus, but coercion is real and it can be as powerful of a weapon as a knife or a gun.

This case highlights why those who want to abolish statutory rape laws or make them toothless are advocating for dangerous changes which will increase the danger to children and teens. So many people refuse to see rape even when it is reported and the alleged sexual contact is undeniable.

I'm sure some of these people would love to roll back the clock to a time when raping a child of bad character wasn't a crime. Of course most of these "promiscuous" children were old hands at being raped. If a man was the 9th adult to rape a child then he'd really done nothing wrong according to this view of children as new or used sexual property and he should be exempt from statutory rape laws since the victim wasn't an "innocent" child.

This old law which allowed a loss of innocence defense to be made when someone was accused of statutory rape may be gone in most locations or rarely invoked in the places where it is still on the books, but this idea that there are some people -- children included -- who you should be able to rape with no fear of conviction is alive and unwell.

Of course they don't spin it as advocating for legal rape, they spin it as these "victims" are making a false accusation of rape. You can see these attitudes in the article: Forcible Rape Defense; False Accusations in Relationship and Date Rape Cases by William F. Nimmo which uses lack of innocence and other generalities about the alleged victim as evidence that the defendant should be acquitted. Note that none of the defense methods relate to finding actual specific evidence that the alleged crime never happened.

The code for that old defense seems to be calling certain groups of alleged victims non-credible. Sounds so much more humane and just than saying, "I'm the 9th so what I did was legal and whatever number 10 on up does to this person will be legal too."

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:21 AM   1 comments links to this post

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Psychopath Of The Day Award

And today's award goes to:

jed [who] has left a new comment on your post "Compensation For Years In Sexual Prisons Will Encourage Illegal Immigration":

Sounds more like a hooker subsidy.

Jed reads that young girls are often raped before they are transported to a foreign country where they are raped multiple times each day for years until they become useless to their traffickers or they escape and it is these girls who get the harsh label.

Now who would need to view these crime victims this way?

Their rapists and their slaveholders.

Jed, with 6 words you just communicated a lot more about yourself than you ever meant to.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:28 AM   0 comments links to this post

Equal Opportunity Victim Denial

When a 10-year-old girl in Australia was described as likely consenting to gang rape because she wasn't snatched off the streets kicking and screaming, some bigots who agreed with the judge and the crown prosecutor either overtly or silently may have felt smug that an immoral girl didn't pull one over on these individuals.

I doubt that these bigots will feel the same way when the victim that an Australian judge comments on is a 13-year-old boy.

From the Herald Sun:

A JUDGE has labelled a man's rape of a 13-year-old boy "adolescent experimentation" and said the teen and the perpetrator [age 24] were "both victims".

Judge Michael Kelly's comments come a month after a prosecutor accused him of making inappropriate and disrespectful statements about the sexual assault victim during a plea hearing. [...]

[Judge Kelly] said he hoped the victim did not experience the catastrophic consequences outlined in the victim impact statement.

Ah, yes. The judge's "hope." I'm familiar with this type of "hope" which is actually denial. He was presented with evidence and conflicting rationalizations and he selected to minimize the evidence while accepting the rationalizations that fit his worldview.

Considering that the judge bought the defense's claim that the 24-year-old man shouldn't be considered any older than a 13-year-old boy, of course the judge hopes that the victim is a liar. If the victim impact statement is true then this judge gave his approval to all of the harm described.

This twisted use of hope has been used by people who classify someone who reported rape as a liar. They weren't attacking an alleged rape victim, they simply hope that she wasn't raped while those who want the case fully and competently investigated and prosecuted are described as people who hope that she had been raped. In their warped logic they were the better people because they were anti-rape.

What these people refuse to acknowledge is that denial of rape is pro-rape not anti-rape. This effort directly helps rapists and sexual abusers since these "hopeful" people serve as blockers between rapists and true justice.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:05 AM   0 comments links to this post

Monday, December 17, 2007

Saudi King Blocks Sentence Given To Rape Victim

This action by Saudi King Abdullah is described as a pardon, but from some of the wording about the meaning of his actions it sounds more like what in the US would be the commuting of her sentence which on appeal became 200 lashes and 6 months in jail.

This official action does little to change the attitudes of rapists who in this case are not officially rapists since they were convicted of kidnapping not rape.

What this does show is that international pressure makes a difference even if it is only to disrupt a country's PR with some ugly realities. Saudi Arabia is far from being alone in mistreating rape victims even when the rhetoric isn't so obviously victim blaming.

Just as outside countries protested the handling of this case, the same should be done toward the US related to allegations of rape in the Iraqi green zone. No country and no company should get a free pass when it comes to rape.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 4:58 PM   1 comments links to this post

Compensation For Years In Sexual Prisons Will Encourage Illegal Immigration?

This story from The Observer/UK has some critically important information, but it also ignores some of the ramifications of what they are reporting. Human smugglers are rightfully viewed as criminals, but those in Britain who pay to use human slaves (whether they identified the trafficked as such or not) get too little responsibility for their part in this widespread human rights abuse.

Without money flowing into these "sex prisons," they would shut down on their own. Sex traffickers are motivated by greed with no ethics so humans are viewed as disposable, but if a currently popular crime like sex slavery stops paying, these exploiters will look for other ways to make money.

That means that every person who pays money for sexual contact which goes to a human trafficker is an accomplice to human trafficking. Period. No excuses.

Those who are trafficked are a commodity treated with as much respect and dignity as a bag of illegal drugs, maybe less. The supply of humans who can be trapped into slavery is greater than the supply of cocaine. Yet without the demand there would be no organized crime set up to keep the supply of vulnerable people coming to Britain.

It's too easy to dismiss these buyers as pedophiles as if they suffer from a true sickness rather than viewing them as vultures willing to swoop in on the most vulnerable people, most of them children. For many of these people they allow themselves to inflict suffering on others by not thinking about the trauma they inflict or the circumstances of those they exploit for personal gratification. If it was good for the person who paid for the use of a sex slave, that's all that matters.

So these people are likely going to hate this move by the British government since it doesn't benefit them:

Sex slaves smuggled into Britain are set to receive millions of pounds for their 'pain and trauma' after a groundbreaking government decision to compensate victims of people trafficking. [...]

The development is likely to be politically controversial, with charges that offering help to trafficking victims could encourage illegal immigration.

The women who received £140,000 were smuggled from eastern Europe by British-based criminals using established international sex trafficking networks. One girl was illegally brought into the UK five years ago, aged 13. Another was trafficked in 2003 when she was 16. Both were kept prisoner by the same trafficking syndicate until they managed to escape at the start of last year.

[...] Barton said: 'Young girls from west Africa and China are, for instance, orphaned at a very young age and sexually abused. Once they hit puberty, they are being brought over here and sold into prostitution. A lot of young women, as young as eight, are sexually abused and then sold here.' One recent case involved a 15-year-old Nigerian girl who was abandoned in England when a member of an international paedophile ring dumped her after years of sexual abusing the teenager.

When found, she had been so badly abused and starved she was almost dead. Medical checks at the asylum centre in the north of England she was left outside revealed she was pregnant. Interviews with the victim established she had been kept for years by paedophiles, a number of whom are thought to be British, in a Belgian home where she was starved, tortured and repeatedly raped.

The father of that baby should be on the wanted list and subject to felony rape charges once there is a DNA match.

The call by some to deport sex slaves without compensation ignores Britain's role in what happened to these people. Remember without demand there would be no supply of sex slaves. It isn't the sex slaves who are responsible for this form of illegal immigration, it is the buyers of human flesh.

The article focuses on a fear that this fund will attract those who aren't completely free of human traffickers, but this possibility means that there is an opportunity to free someone who is being used once again. Simply set up the system so that it anticipates the actions of those who view other humans as disposable cash machines.

If a non-citizen is caught using a sex slave, that person is the one who should be deported. If a citizen is caught using a sex slave, that person should be charged with rape and viewed as a key contributor to organized crime. Those who call this a victimless crime must be viewed as negligently uninformed or they must be viewed as psychopaths who view victims of sexual slavery as subhuman.

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

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Family Of Suspect Claims Young Babysitters Sexually Assaulted 27 Year Old Man

This story from KTVZ shows that a family of a rape defendant will not only victim blame, they will try for a complete role reversal:

Redmond [Oregon] police raided the home of Johnny Burns late Thursday night, but his family went on camera Friday with NewsChannel 21, defending him. [...]

Burns, 27, was arrested Thursday night on rape, sodomy and sex abuse charges, not to mention three counts of giving alcohol to a minor. [...] Detectives say over the course of three weeks, Burns got his 12- and 14-year-old babysitters drunk, then sexually abused them. But family members say these allegations aren't true. In fact, they say it's the other way around.

"Underage girls that were his babysitters got into his liquor cabinet when he was passed out and came into his room and started touching him," said Dewitt. "He woke up and told them to get out."

That's his story and they're sticking to it.

This role-reversal defense unintentionally but directly supports the charges against Burns. It tells everyone that :

1) The girls arrived sober, but were given alcohol either directly or through negligence.
2) The defendant also consumed alcohol on the same date or dates that the alleged victims consumed alcohol and he did so in the same house.
3) There was sexual contact between Burns and both alleged victims.

Any legal defense which attempts to deny that the girls consumed alcohol in the house or which attempts to deny sexual contact has been made non-credible by this public defense by Burns' family. If a full denial defense works in court because the jury isn't informed of this explanation, that acquittal will be forever tainted.

According to some neighbors they were concerned about criminal activity at this man's house, but they suspected drugs not rape. Yeah, sounds like this man was a model citizen who is the hapless victim of conspiring girls age 12 and 14.

As the rape denialists love to say, "Hey, it could have happened that way so he must be found not guilty."

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 11:03 AM   6 comments links to this post

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Gang Rape: Normal Job Hazard?

Apparently, that is the official position of Halliburton and all other companies who make their employees agree to arbitration in their employment contracts according to Raw Story.

""She signed an employment contract and there is a mandatory arbitration clause in that contract," CNN legal analyst told Kiran Chetry on CNN's American Morning Tuesday. "It says if there's any dispute arising out of your employment or related to your employment, that dispute doesn't go before a jury, doesn't go before trial judge, goes before an arbitrator."

By insisting that this employee contract covers the enabling or ignoring of criminal activity by other employees, this makes Halliburton and KBR executives official position one where gang rape is nothing more than an employment issue.

To see their position more clearly I'll substitute the first specific alleged crime for the generic term used by the CNN analyst:

"She signed an employment contract and there is a mandatory arbitration clause in that contract. It says that gang rape arising out of your employment or related to your employment, that gang rape doesn't go before a jury, [that gang rape] doesn't go before a trial judge, [that gang rape] goes before an arbitrator."

Does that really meet the reasonable person standard?

In what worldview does being gang raped arise out of her employment? If the answer is because she's a woman, then that is blatant sex discrimination.

How can gang rape be directly related to her employment? The only way for these to happen if for gang rape to be nothing more than a job-related injury. In that case she should be eligible for workers comp benefits. Yet I'd be shocked if Halliburton or KBR bothered to be consistent with this absurd position.

I know that rape has been normalized but making gang rape nothing more than an employment dispute takes that normalization to a new low.

By this standard then murder committed by your coworkers or your boss or your subordinates or an employee about to be fired is nothing more than an employment dispute which should be resolved in arbitration. If employees or management conspires to cover up a murder of an employee, or 2 or 3 or more, that too would be nothing more than an employment issue to be resolved in arbitration.

Is there any way that this interpretation should be legal under employment law? If it is currently legal, then it needs to change ASAP. I don't know any of these employment contracts where employees have the option to not sign them and remain company employees.

This position also means that official sanctions and fines should be given by the US government since Halliburton and HBR and any other company which use employment contracts this way since this usage is an admission by them that sexual harassment and rape are defacto company policy.

Hat tip: Feminist Peace Network

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:39 PM   0 comments links to this post

Carnival Against Sexual Violence 37

Welcome to the Dec. 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:

creative expression

In Incest May Be A Part Of My Life---Part 2---Sadly Normal posted at Spiritual Journey of a Lightworker, we get a poem which highlights how normal rape and other forms of abuse really are.


In Men are Human, Women are not! Got That?!?!? posted at Freedom, we get a discussion which compares the international sanctions against South Africa before they got rid of racial apartheid to the lack of sanctions against countries like Saudi Arabia that still have gender apartheid.

In When the state rapes posted at 16 days against gender violence, we get a discussion about how rape during war is not limited to the actions of rogue soldiers but is a systematic part of war.


In On Rape Conviction Rates--don't stop at the courts posted at Moderately Insane, we get a discussion about how looking at low conviction rates doesn't provide enough information to know whether changes in the court system will solve all of the underlying problems.

In Advocating posted at Crisis Worker Diary, we get a discussion of how victims advocates who go to the ER often have to contend with medical and law enforcement staff who want to immediately dismiss many of those who report rape as not true rape victims because the alleged victim doesn't fit those people's stereotypes about real rape victims.

In Them and Us posted at Cruella-blog, we get a discussion of an Amnesty International report about the lack of enforcement of sex crime laws in Uganda.

In "Reforms aim to dispel rape myths and increase convictions" posted at Psychology and Crime News, we get a discussion of efforts in the UK to overcome proven biases where jurors judge a case based on their prejudices rather than on the evidence given in court.

In Turkish Court: Marital Rape Not A Crime; Turkish Columnist: Decision Turns Women Into Sex Slaves posted at Memri Latest Blogs, we get a discussion of the implications of the court ruling which could benefit husbands who are accused of murdering their wives.

In Kansas Supreme Court And Charging John Doe DNA posted at abyss2hope: A rape survivor's zigzag journey into the open, I discuss an appeal to reinstate rape charges against Douglas Belt who was originally charged only through his DNA profile because the statute of limitations for filing rape charges would otherwise expire. This ruling may have an impact on all states which issue John Doe arrest warrants.

In MARITAL RAPE & ABUSE VICTIM SEEKS JUSTICE posted at SANCTUARY FOR THE ABUSED, we get a discussion about Coral A. Theill's struggles through the Oregon court systems which highlights how an abusive spouse with plenty of financial resources can use the courts as a weapon.

In Male rape in Arkansas penitentiary posted at PRISONERS: a human rights discussion, we get a discussion about who should be held responsible when rape by inmates against another inmate is largely ignored by prison staff so that it continues even after a raped inmate's attempt to get help.

In PICKTON FOUND GUILTY OF 6 COUNTS OF 2ND DEGREE MURDER posted at Holly's Fight to Stop Violence, we get information about the results of the first degree murder trial for Canadian serial killer Robert Pickton.

In After 7 Year Delay Cop's Husband Charged Over Child Porn posted at abyss2hope: A rape survivor's zigzag journey into the open, I discuss a case in Atlanta where the pictures which led to federal charges were handed over to local police and nothing substantial was done for years before the mayor learned about the pictures and contacted the FBI.

In Eric Frimpong: Rape Victim Faces Sanger posted at Santa Barbara Sheriff's Blog, we get a discussion about the progress of a rape trial in California.

In Rape sentencing - a global issue posted at The F-Word Blog, we get a discussion of several cases in Australia where rape was minimized or denied by judges or expert witnesses.

In QLD allows gang rape of 10 year olds if 10 year olds say yes. posted at Imaginif..., we get a reaction to Judge Sarah Bradley's comments which were used to justify failing to give gang rapists any jail time.

In "Naughty little girl", explains rape apologist Crown Prosecutor in gang rape of ten year old girl posted at Hoyden About Town, we get more information about the Australian case where the judge's comments created an international furor.

In Trigger Warning: 10-year-old rape victim "probably agreed to have sex" posted at The Curvature, we get a discussion of the Australian judge's comments.

In Prosecutor: Gang-rape of ten-year-old was "childish experimentation" posted at The Curvature, we get a discussion of the crown prosecutor's statements and see how his failure to seek jail time contributed to the the decision made by the judge.

media watch

In Does "chaste but chic" Attire Prevent Rape? posted at Keli Ata, we get a discussion about the chaste clothing movement and how clothing as rape prevention communicates that girls' and women's bodies never completely belong to them since clothing must be used to set property rights.

In Criminal Intent: Keeping it in the Class (and Race and Gender) posted at The Hathor Legacy, we get a discussion of an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent which used the Duke lacrosse case as a model and which then reinforced more negative racial and gender stereotypes than its real life inspiration.

In Masculinism 101 posted at Tiny Cat Pants, we get a discussion about what message is sent when people make excuses for rapists because of the behavior of the victim prior to rape.

In The New York Times thinks rape is "salacious" posted at Reclusive Leftist, we get a comparison of the definition of "salacious" to the content of discussions about rape cases and actions related to rape cases such as whether presidential candidate Mike Huckabee was negligent in pushing for the parole of Wayne DuMond.

In Jamie Leigh Jones Undermines the War Effort posted at Jon Swift, we get a satirical analysis of the attacks launched against a women who reported gang rape and had to be rescued from her employer by the US embassy in Iraq.

In Rape-enabling "Metro" posted at A Femanist View, we get a discussion about a cartoon in a London free paper which makes light of the harm done when someone uses alcohol as a tool of rape.

In What Mike Huckabee Knew About Convicted Rapist Before Pushing For Parole posted at abyss2hope: A rape survivor's zigzag journey into the open, I discuss the revelation that Mike Huckabee knew about other serious crimes committed by DuMond before he went to a parole hearing to provide his support for the release of Wayne DuMond.

In Comments posted at Mortality's Thoughts, we get a reaction to a blog comment which started out seemingly supportive of the blog owner who is a rape survivor, but which turned into something far more disturbing.


In WHAT IS EMOTIONAL RAPE? posted at BARBARA'S TCHATZKAHS, we get a discussion about abuse and coercion that goes beyond sexual victimization into full-out relationship abuse.

personal stories

In This Hurts so Bad posted at Mortality's Thoughts, we get a raw look at the pain that comes when rape happens in a way that isn't as clear cut as being jumped by a stranger.

raising awareness

In Blaming the victim posted at SANCTUARY FOR THE ABUSED, we get a discussion about the most common response to sexual harassment, abuse and rape and how to get past this response.

In The Map of Gaps? posted at Well I'll Go To The Foot Of My Stairs..., we get a discussion about areas in the UK that don't have needed services for victims.

In Guys & Dolls and Couples Therapy posted at Everyone Needs Therapy, get information about some of the social service agencies available in Los Angeles including Aleinu Family Resource Center which was the beneficiary for the all-women's production of Guys & Dolls.

In Brazilian Jail Rape Victim Highlights Larger Issue of Violence Against Women posted at The Latin Americanist, we get a discussion of the girl who was placed in a jail cell with male offenders and how this case isn't merely a senseless fluke.


In Emotions as beauty itself posted at Loving Awareness, we get a discussion about how fighting the occurrence of so-called negative emotions can magnify self-contempt, condemnation, and destructive attempts to "fix" ourselves.

In Rape Victim Has Message For All Nurses posted at Nurse Healers, we get a discussion about how often those in the medical field can fail to listen to and respect the triggers of those who have been through abuse.

In Silencing Those Negative Messages Within posted at My Clouds, My Storms and Multiple Personality Disorder, we get a discussion about how to change harsh self-talk patterns which are self-abusing.

In AS YOU WORK TOWARD EMOTIONAL HEALING posted at SANCTUARY FOR THE ABUSED, we get a discussion of working through issues of shame and powerlessness.


In U Of Colorado Settle Sex Assault Lawsuit For $2.85 Million posted at abyss2hope: A rape survivor's zigzag journey into the open, I discuss the settlement which came after an appeals court reinstated the lawsuit which a lower court had thrown out, including the possibility that the settlement may have come about in part because of the findings in the appeals court ruling about how coach Gary Barnett did nothing to reduce or eliminate a known danger at university-sponsored events.

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 Dec. 28 at 11 pm and the next edition will be out on Jan. 1.

For more great reading, please check out the December edition of the Carnival Against Child Abuse posted over at Imaginif.

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,

Marcella Chester

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

Friday, December 14, 2007

Resources Or Groups For Those Hurt By Sexual Abuse In The Military

I received an email from a rape survivor who read the book Honor Betrayed: Sexual Abuse in America's Military by Mic Hunter and she found that "it was like reading my own autobiography."

She is looking for others who have been through similar experiences. I don't know what relevant groups are out there and so I offered to put her request out to a wider audience.

Any suggestions for how she might connect with others who have been through similar experiences? Also if you are aware of any resources that might be useful to her and others who have been through similar experiences, please let me know either by leaving a comment or by sending me a private email.

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

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Serial Rapist Or Serial Victim Of False Accusations?

From The Star UK:

When prosecutor Jeremy Hill-Baker asked him of all three women had lied he said "yes". The rapes are alleged to have occurred in August 2004, April 2006 and February 2007. King admits having sex with all three women, two prostitutes and a woman he offered a lift home from a Sheffield pub, but said each one consented.

With the distorted thinking many rapists have about what constitutes consent, this man may view his actions as justified. To him consent may have been given the moment each woman got inside his car.

However, the law needs to abide by legal consent and not rule based on a criminal's twisted sense of where he can draw the line between rape and consent. Just because he is someone who may not try to commit rape against anyone outside of his car doesn't mean he can't be a real rapist.

Unfortunately, many of the victim-blaming/asking-for-it statements that continue to be made by those in positions of authority provide ready-made excuses for rapists.

This includes recent comments by Canadian justice John Rooke who called an 18-year-old rape victim stupid (h/t: Feministing) for accepting a ride with a man who turned out to be a rapist. Maybe the judge can look at the defendant and the evidence and call anyone who is alone with this man stupid, but most people don't have this amount of information at their fingertips. To assume that they do is what is stupid and naive.

It should be no surprise that the sentence given by the justice to Stefano Priolo is only 3 and half years in prison. The justice described the man as a predator, but 3 and a half years doesn't provide much protection to the public. I guess all Canadian women will just have to assume that every man who offers her a ride is a predatory rapist because men like this won't be in prison for long.

For those who don't understand the problem with this justice's comments, can you imagine a male mugging victim being described as stupid and naive for accepting a ride to the bus station with a man who unexpectedly drove to an isolated location before physically assaulting and mugging that victim?

That sort of "what did you expect to happen?" statement from a judge would, rightly, be viewed as absurd. We need to put all of the responsibility for rape where it belongs -- on the rapist. Anything less is absurd.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 4:19 PM   0 comments links to this post

Newt Gingrich And The Freeing Of Convicted Rapists

From Media Matters:

During a later segment, Fox News contributor and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich asserted, in reference to Huckabee and DuMond: "Now, I have to say what Dick Morris said -- which I didn't know anything about, and I'm not personally getting into here -- but you can imagine the circumstance, if you were the governor and you suddenly learned that this guy had been castrated by his federal -- fellow prisoners and was in danger of being killed?" Gingrich added: "You can see where ... as an honestly caring person, you'd be thinking to yourself, 'I don't want this guy to be killed in jail on my watch.' "

Even if Dick Morris were right (which he wasn't as MM points out) and fellow inmates had attacked Wayne DuMond, the idea that Newt Gingrich is putting forth to cover for Huckabee is ludicrous.

No governor with any concern for public safety is going to set a serial rapist free because his fellow inmates hate him and want to harm him. The responsible action would be to separate the at-risk inmate within the prison system, not release somebody like DuMond into the midst of an unsuspecting public.

This rationale only makes sense if the politician has zero regard for the lives of women. Rapist: must be protected from dangerous men. Women: whatever.

It's interesting how many people who easily call women who report rape probable liars continue to accept Wayne DuMond's story that strangers castrated him and left him for dead. He had strong motives for self-mutilation since it obviously garnered him much needed sympathy which eventually led to his freedom and the resumption of his predatory ways.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:03 AM   1 comments links to this post