Monday, June 30, 2008

Parole Sought In 1964 Murder With Gunpoint Confession

From the AP:

A posse of several hundred outraged white men hunted the accused across the mountain and caught him in a field in Tennessee. Beecher was shot in the leg and forced at gunpoint to confess. Later, his gangrenous leg was amputated at a prison hospital. Injected with morphine after the surgery, he signed a confession.

The mishandling of the case by law enforcement and prosecutors led to three convictions being reversed, including two death sentences. Beecher did plead guilty later to murder and received a life sentence, avoiding the electric chair. He is incarcerated at the Bullock Correctional Center.

The original handling of the kidnapping, rape and murder of Martha Jane Chisenhall, who was pregnant and only 21 at the time of her death, is sickening, but if this man is -- or might be -- the one who committed this horrific crime, I wouldn't want Johnnie Daniel Beecher paroled out of sympathy for the horrific and racist treatment he was subjected to in order to get him to confess verbally and then in written form.

Beecher is 75 now, but age doesn't automatically make a murderer non-violent.

If anyone believes he did not commit that crime then the case should be reviewed to see if there is any DNA evidence linked to the murderer. If a murderer (of whatever race) has escaped justice because of racist assumptions about chain-gang escapee, that person should start worrying that justice will be done.

State Rep. John Robinson, a teenager in Scottsboro at the time, said the attack on Chisenhall stirred up the racial animosity of the earlier case.

"Because it was black on white, it got people stirred up," said Robinson. "People formed posses and there were hundreds of people looking for Beecher. They brought in dogs from Montgomery. All the mountaineers had their shotguns out and their straw hats on."

This statement might reflect reality, but it is sickening in the implication that if the victim had been black and the suspect had been white that no group of men would have been stirred up to track down a rapist/murderer.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:32 AM   0 comments links to this post

Science Says Men Leave 46 Percent Of Women Unsatisfied

From Science Daily: Women Have Not Adapted To Casual Sex, Research Shows:

Overall women’s feelings were more negative than men’s. Eighty per cent of men had overall positive feelings about the experience compared to 54 per cent of women. Men were more likely than women to secretly want their friends to hear about it and to feel successful because the partner was desirable to others. Men also reported greater sexual satisfaction and contentment following the event, as well as a greater sense of well-being and confidence about themselves.

The predominant negative feeling reported by women was regret at having been “used”. Women were also more likely to feel that they had let themselves down and were worried about the potential damage to their reputation if other people found out. Women found the experience less sexually satisfying and, contrary to popular belief, they did not seem to view taking part in casual sex as a prelude to long-term relationships.

If this is a correct summary of the results found by Professor Anne Campbell from Durham University in the UK, it sounds like 26 percent of the men were deluding themselves with their confidence about themselves as lovers. Not surprising if you are one of the men whose metric is what your buddies will think of the woman you are having sex with. It becomes your buddies who provide you with your greatest sexual satisfaction. Doing April but thinking about Justin and the guys.

Talk about failing to live in the moment.

If the man's a self-obsessed dud the first time, most women wouldn't want more of the same, thank you very much.

Men who go into a sexual interaction with the goal to "Hit that" are likely to be satisfied irregardless of whether the other person was satisfied. But of course many of those interpreting these results blame the women and possibly the entire female gender as they try to fit the results into popular gender stereotypes.

Men -- who according to this study are more likely to leave their sex partners unsatisfied than women are and yet who are more likely to feel happy afterwards -- are described as better at casual sex?

Go figure.

Hat tip: The Curvature

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

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Entwistle Found Guilty Of Murdering Wife Daughter

From the AP:

WOBURN, Mass. (AP) -- A British man who fled the U.S. after his wife and baby were shot to death was convicted of murder Wednesday by a jury that rejected defense claims that the mother killed her daughter and herself as they snuggled in bed.

Neil Entwistle, 29, closed his eyes and shook his head slightly upon being found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his wife, Rachel, 27, and their 9-month-old baby, Lillian Rose.

The defense didn't call any witnesses but during closing arguments Entwistle's defense attorney claimed that Entwistle's wife killed their daughter before committing suicide. I heard one legal expert say that the defense lawyer didn't raise this theory through a forensic expert's testimony since that theory would be blasted wide open during cross examination.

From the news coverage I've seen it doesn't sound like the jury ever considered this theory as having any forensic merit.

Despite the jury verdict, Entwistle's mother made statements to the press after the verdict accusing her murdered daughter-in-law of being the real criminal who took away her granddaughter. Disgusting.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:21 AM   0 comments links to this post

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Malaysian City's Advice For Rape Prevention: No Lipstick No Heels

Some people might read this story from the Guardian and give in to the temptation to smugly bash Malaysians for their backwards thinking regarding rape prevention. The problem with giving in to this temptation is that all you have to do to turn this advice into something that is common in the US is to substitute what women shouldn't do in order to preserve their dignity and avoid rape.

Women in a northern Malaysian city ruled by conservative Islamists are being urged to forsake bright lipstick and noisy high heels in an effort to preserve their dignity and avoid rape.

Authorities in Kota Bharu have distributed pamphlets recommending that Muslim women do not wear heavy makeup and loud shoes when they go out to work in restaurants or other public places.

But municipal officials in Kota Bharu, capital of Kelantan state which is run by the hardline Pan-Malaysian Islamic party, stressed that the code was not an edict, merely advice for women wishing to follow the "Islamic way".

This is in no way Islamic, it is sexist victim blaming ideology and the idea behind it thrives among good Christians who believe Christian women and girls should dress modestly as rape prevention. It also thrives among non-Christians in the US who do any form of victim blaming when they talk about how to prevent rape.

It doesn't take long for people to talk about victim irresponsibility which can be anything from stereotypical risky behavior to walking through a parking lot while not scanning the area like a member of a swat team.

Lecturing women on how they can prevent men from turning into frothing rape machines seems to be a global problem. If people who fall into this trap cannot see the flaw in their own advice when the flaws are pointed out to them because the trigger/response seems logical then maybe they can see the flaws when the same approach is applied with a different set of rape inducing triggers.

Once you realize that the clicking of woman's heels doesn't trigger rape -- even in a different culture where different sounds mean different things -- then you've begun to bust out of the myth that there are any rape trigger/responses. Once that happens you can start realizing that popular triggers provide rapists with easy excuses to help them rationalize rape and then help them dodge responsibility after committing rape.

Unfortunately, for many people this paradigm is like an old foul-smelling pair of slippers that are infested with nasty foot fungus which should have been tossed years ago but are kept near to your bed simply because they are familiar.

I'm sure non-Islamic, non-Malaysian people would be appalled to learn that their rape prevention messages -- with only a variation in the "what not to do" list -- is considered the "Islamic way" by a party referred to by the liberals in their country as Taliban Lite.

Here's an example of a US version of the message sent in Malaysia:

Any decent young girl of that age should not even be out at that hour of night unless she herself was looking for something (or had parents who either did not care what she was doing or did not even know).

Those who condemn the conservative Islamists must also condemn this commenter if they truly believe that the conservative Islamists are in the wrong.

The bias of focusing on victim behavior shows itself whenever a decent man or boy is accused of rape and the observer states in the face of undeniable evidence that it must have been the victim who made him cross that ethical and legal line.

This lie is told around the world and we need to toss it out wherever it pops up like a fungus filled pair of slippers.

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

Friday, June 27, 2008

Deadline Saturday Night

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.

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) with a subject line of carnival nomination or leave a comment with a link to the nominated post as soon as possible.

Together we can help reduce the acceptance of rape and the myths related to sexual violence which support rape and injustice against rape victims.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 11:58 PM   0 comments links to this post

US Supreme Court Rejects Death For Child Rape

From the NY Times:

In a 5-4 vote, the court said the Louisiana law allowing the death penalty to be imposed in such cases violates the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

''The death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the rape of a child,'' Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in his majority opinion. His four liberal colleagues joined him, while the four more conservative justices dissented.

I'm thrilled to see this ruling since I believe the death penalty for child rape provides an incentive for child rapists to consider murdering their victims when they might not have considered it otherwise.

Besides considering how the death penalty could impact the behavior of rapists, this ruling removes a lever which rapists and those who are trying to protect rapists could use to pressure child rape victims into silence or into recanting.

Unfortunately, Barack Obama doesn't agree.

Democrat Barack Obama said Wednesday he disagrees with the Supreme Court's decision outlawing executions of child rapists.[...]

"While the evidence tells me that the death penalty does little to deter crime, I believe there are some crimes - mass murder, the rape and murder of a child - so heinous, so beyond the pale, that the community is justified in expressing the full measure of its outrage by meting out the ultimate punishment," he wrote in his book "The Audacity of Hope."

If the death penalty doesn't deter crime and it has the potential to cause some child rapists to commit murder there is no practical reason to support the death penalty for child rapists.

It also looks like John McCain doesn't agree, but I haven't seen any specifics of his position.

For those who haven't thought about how the death penalty could adversely impact children who have disclosed rape, the reality of the pressure applied to children is described in the Rochester Post Bulletin:

"It's no fun to make an accusation of sexual abuse," [Victor] Vieth [director of the National Child Protection Training Center at Winona State University] said. They know others will know they made the accusations and they could be teased about it, he said. They also know they might have to be examined in a hospital and testify in court in front of others, including the media. "When exactly does it start being fun for those kids?" he said.

Children also come under heavy pressure to recant, he said. Most find living with a lie if they recant is easier than living with abuse if they do testify. In fact, say those working with children, the opposite is closer to the truth -- children tend to underreport abuse.

Lying is rare, said Nancy Reuvers, supervisor of child/family services for Dodge County. "If anything, they will protect their parents," she said.

The reality is that most child rapists know their victims so children's feeling of responsibility for what happens to their rapist is a significant issue. The pressure to recant would be far greater if not recanting might result in the rapist's death.

Unfortunately, parents and other guardians/relatives can be as brutal as the worst strangers.

Beyond the overall view of the impact of the death penalty on public safety one of the big flaws in having a death penalty for child rape is the inequities in who gets that sentence and who doesn't. If the SCOTUS ruling had gone the other way most child rapists -- even some who left their victims with permanent physical injuries -- wouldn't be sentenced to death.

Two people who commit identical crimes are likely to have very different outcomes based on a mix of random luck over how good the local criminal justice system is and over socioeconomic and racial statuses. Many states including Florida are cutting the number of public defenders while the number of defendants who qualify to have a lawyer provided for them is not dropping.

Lastly, I am bothered by those who claim that this SCOTUS ruling is pro-rapist. Kennedy, who is the convicted child rapist in this ruling, will not be set free tomorrow. Yet from some of the posts I've scanned you would think that's what's going to happen. And it isn't just the bloggers who are putting forth this dangerous fallacy, it is politicians.

"Anybody in the country who cares about children should be outraged that we have a Supreme Court that would issue a decision like this," said Alabama Attorney General Troy King, a Republican. The justices, he said, are "creating a situation where the country is a less safe place to grow up."

This is nonsense and it substitutes spin for logic.

Life in prison with no chance of parole is not more dangerous to children than giving rapists the death penalty. At least unless a politician like Mike Huckabee advocates for a sympathetic rapist who shouldn't be locked up who then goes on to rape and murder. But such problems in the system exist with or without the death penalty.

I don't want politicians to sound hard on crime, I want politicians who are working for effective solutions even if part of that solution sounds soft on criminals.

For me the death penalty should exist for public safety reasons only. That means I support the death penalty for the prison inmate who raped and murdered a prison guard in Daytona Beach, Florida because this person demonstrated an ongoing danger despite incarceration. The inmate who they believe committed this crime was serving two life sentences for sexual battery with a weapon and kidnapping.

Other violent offenders, including serial rapists such as Richard Gillmore, respond to the controlled prison environment by being model prisoners even though psychologists consider them too dangerous to be paroled even with supervision. This man is eligible for parole because when he committed his other rapes the statute of limitation was only 3 years and had expired by the time he was caught.

Rather than all the focus on the death penalty for child rape, I want those politicians to fix the system so that a woman who was raped at 13 doesn't have to file a lawsuit to keep her rapist from being paroled after a hearing she wasn't notified about. I want the statutes of limitations eliminated for rape so that people like Gillmore can be given sentences in line with all of the crimes they committed.

I wonder how many of those who regularly mock the majority of rape victims/survivors and who regularly excuse all but the most monstrous rapists will rant against the majority opinion in this ruling in order to prove that they are genuinely anti-rape. It likely won't take these people long before they go back to attacking all those who they mock as having cried rape.

Shouting, "Child rapists must die!" is easy, supporting more comprehensive solutions and being willing to fund these solutions is harder. Some people are only against child rape when it is easy.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:07 AM   4 comments links to this post

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Knife Toting Man Declares His Innocence

From MSNBC comes this story from San Antonio, Texas:

Deputies from the Bexar County Sheriff's Department had just arrived with their cadets for training when they heard screams coming from the men's restroom. We had a female that was screaming, explained Bexar COunty Training Instructor Joseph Canales. She was totally nude, so we ran to investigate and upon arrival, she was fighting with a male. Canales and his training partner noticed the 48-year-old suspect was armed with a knife.[...]

News 4's crew confronted the suspect. News 4's Kristina De Leon: Were you raping that woman? Suspect: No, ma'am. I tried to, uh, I went inside and trying to take a...use the restroom, and she came out screaming.

The typical excuses are harder to sell when law enforcement officers are the witnesses and one of the officers has to point his gun at the suspect because the man wouldn't drop his knife when ordered to do so and seemed ready to lunge at one of the officers.

The sheriff's spokesperson says that the actions of the trainers may have saved this woman's life.

Those who are always shouting "innocent until proven guilty" when the defendants are "nice" boys or "nice" men accused of rape need to apply their standards to this man because that concept applies to all those who are charged with committing a crime. The concept relates to due process rights, it doesn't require the public to ignore reports about the evidence in a case so that we must assume this man is innocent until he is convicted.

Due process is for everyone, even the clearly violent.

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

National Child Protection Training Center In Winona MN

From a Rochester Post Bulletin story about a program which will bring badly needed training to a new level:

An $11.4 million renovation of Maxwell Hall [at Winona State University in SE MN] began last June so it can house the new headquarters for the National Child Protection Training Center, as well as two other programs. The university also raised $500,000 for furnishings and other items. The center's operating budget is mostly federally funded.

The child protection training center is expected to open this summer and will be used both for the university's program to train nurses, teachers, social workers and others in child protection, as well as to upgrade training for prosecutors and other officials from throughout the country.

This center includes a house interior which can used to train professionals who are required to go into real houses so that they can practice different scenarios with the maximum amount of realism.

The goal of the training center is to have mistakes happen in training and not on the job where a mistake can leave a child in a dangerous situation and/or be labeled as a false accuser. I'm thrilled to see this center open but it is long overdue. For too long the fight against child abuse has been a scattered one where dedicated individuals and groups did everything they could. Much of that work has been and is wonderful, but we need systematic and grassroots efforts so that good results aren't scattershot.

From a related article:

The tears and terror of battered and broken children haunt Victor Vieth. Even after many years, the national leader in combating abuse can remember the children he has tried to help as an attorney. He wakes up at night, suddenly thinking of a story or face from years past. They won't let go. [...]

That passion has pushed him into the national forefront on efforts to better train hundreds of thousands of people -- such as attorneys, doctors, social workers and nurses -- on how to interview children and become leaders in what he hopes is the final battle against child abuse. Vieth doesn't want to slow abuse; he wants to end it in three generations -- about 120 years.

With this systematic approach Vieth might get close to to what he wants because the center he directs will reduce the number of child abusers who slip through the cracks because the people who responded didn't have the training they needed to be completely effective.

If we can combine this with effective systematic prevention strategies and effective systematic recovery strategies then we can get to the place where the time when people did little more than shrug over the children victimized is only a distant and bad memory.

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

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I'm Right But That Makes Me Wrong

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Why Rape Survivors Go Online":

wow abyss2hope, you really do think you know everything. do tell everyone how to be feminists. you're right, but self-righteous and that gets my goat. no wonder trolls come here. you really do give feminism a bad name.

What I find fascinating about this comment is that the commenter (from Guildford in England) says that I am right in what I say in that post. But how dare I be right with too much confidence! This criticism rolls off my back but it is such a common attack directed at myself and other rape survivors that I felt a need to address it.

This person couldn't find anything of substance to attack in my post, but that poses no problem for this person. Attack the character of the person whose position you cannot attack. If the attack is irrational and unrelated to the content of the post, who cares?

The fact that I don't mention feminism even once in my post doesn't matter, I somehow managed to tell everyone how to be feminists without saying a word.

The goal of this comment is to shame me for speaking up boldly about a very important topic. Attacks against me -- and against other rape survivors who can be described as coming across as too self-righteous -- get spun into things which the rape survivor caused.

Those who blast us aren't responsible for their personal attacks. Yes, they may be trolls but we got their goat so their trollness is our fault. We have it coming to us.

This is a message which blatantly and unapologetically echoes the victim blaming most of us get over being raped -- if we aren't called liars.

Nicely done, Anonymous.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:06 AM   3 comments links to this post

Link Between Stereotypes And Who Gets Targeted By Criminals

I was only half paying attention to the Today Show yesterday (June 24) when they had a segment entitled Tips to improve your finances with author Stacey Tisdale which promised to reveal five money secrets the pros aren't telling you, and explains how your finances are related to your attitude. What caught my attention was Tisdale's mentioning of the need to understand that bigotry about women being less skilled handling money.

Tisdale (1:47): Social stereotypes really cost women money. Women are balancing the family budgets, they're among the fastest group of new homeowners. But there's still that social stereotype that men have a better understanding of money.

We saw many in the financial services industry literally bank on that. Target women for those higher rate subprime loans even though they tend to have higher credit ratings [couldn't decipher a few words]. Women need to empower themselves with that kind of information before they sit down with a lender.

Social stereotypes don't cost women money. The use of social stereotypes cost women money. The difference between these 2 is huge and that difference is critical information which is needed when evaluating who caused a particular problem. This difference often explains why financial advice given to white men is often insufficient because that advice isn't likely to address the additional issues faced by those who are negatively stereotyped.

Unfair and discriminatory and sometimes fraudulent treatment gets directed at certain groups of people because social stereotypes provide the cover story needed to shift responsibility away from those who are deliberately unfair to those who are negatively stereotyped.

Those who are deliberately and consciously being unfair in their business practices believe they can use stereotypes to blame "dumb people" for making bad decisions when those "dumb people" aren't given the best information or the best options that those with positive stereotypes are given without their needing to be financial detectives.

The "dumb people" in this example is women, but in a later example the "dumb people" are African Americans who were also targeted in the subprime mess with higher interest rates than they qualified for.

Once the victim of fraud or discriminatory practices is given all or most of the blame then prevention becomes the sole responsibility of victims and potential victims. Any lawsuits made by those deliberately harmed can be falsely labeled as frivolous attempts to dodge personal responsibility.

If a lender blocked a qualified loan applicant from getting the type of loan they immediately offered to other similarly qualified loan applicants and that action would have saved that person from having their home go into foreclosure, the lender can falsely claim that they aren't morally, civilly or criminally responsible. Businesses exist to make money so they were just doing their job by finding ways to make more money.

That's only true if you accept that drug dealers are just doing their jobs when they get a non-drug user to become addicted because they make money in the process.

A response which only looks to change the practices of consumers is as backwards as focusing all rape prevention efforts on potential rape victims and then quickly buying the victim-blaming excuses of rapists ("she could have gotten away if she really wanted to.") This also gives us people who will sympathise with those hurt for the bad outcomes (fraud, rape) but who actively deny that there was a criminal involved.

A deliberate fraud directed at women frequently gets defended by saying that women need to learn how to make better financial decisions. That's wrong because the flaw is not in the decision making process, it is in the data provided and the data withheld.

If experts want to help women face widespread financial discrimination and not come out worse financially because of that discrimination, they need to help them learn how to detect and report fraud -- whether the criminal statue recognizes a particular predatory practice as a crime or not.

Women as a whole don't need to get smarter financially when compared to men, they need to be aware of who is trying to rip them off and how that ripping off is accomplished. And if businesses are defrauding customers because of loopholes in the consumer protection laws those laws need to be strengthened. This is more than a matter which hurt individuals who didn't do enough homework before applying for a loan, it hurt our entire economy.

Until we get the causes right, the solutions will never be just right.


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

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Do Jerks Commit Rape More?

From a Tango article entitled Do Jerks Get Laid More?:

Two hundred college students took personality tests and were also asked about their number of sexual partners. Only the young men showed a direct correlation between ‘dark’ traits,’ like narcissism, and notches on the bed post. Another study of 35,000 people across 57 countries found a similar correlation ‘between the dark triad and reproductive success in men.’ This data says little about whether these guys are also capable of long-term, lasting relationships, though; it simply what bad boy behaviors will allegedly woo someone into bed.

What many people forget or never learned is that the "woo someone into bed" includes unethical or illegal methods of getting another "sex partner" (an oxymoron for those who have no interest in mutuality).

So if you compare the number of sex partners between unethical young men and ethical young men -- who will willingly stop when the other person doesn't want to have sex -- the unethical young men have higher numbers? Wow, what a surprise.

Despite the spin that notches in the bedpost equals sexual success that simply isn't true. This spin is more than annoying, it is dangerous since it places unethical behavior as the model of how a sexually successful young man behaves.

What would be interesting is to have a survey which looked to see how sexual coercion and force corellated with the so-called dark traits.

We need to call BS on the idolization of young men who practice unethical sexual behaviors. We also need to call BS on the idea that the survey answers given by young men with so-called dark traits says anything about the sexual choices and preferences of women and girls.

Hat tip: Feministe

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:16 AM   0 comments links to this post

Monday, June 23, 2008

Teen Who Tried To Convince Ex-Girlfriend With Swift Kick To Her Ribs Convicted

From the News Virginian:

It took a jury 30 minutes Wednesday to convict a 17-year-old from Greenville of beating and raping his then 15-year-old former girlfriend in December. Andrew Fender was found guilty of abduction, rape and assault and battery for the the Dec. 15 incident, which capped a tumultuous one-and-a-half year relationship characterized by both prosecution and defense attorneys as a case of young love gone horribly awry. Fender was tried as an adult. [...]

What started with a consensual sexual encounter in the backseat of the car later turned violent when the victim rebuffed Fender’s suggestion that they run away and get married, the victim testified. Fender was further enraged after finding the number of another male on the victim’s cell phone, she said. After ordering her out of the car, Fender followed the victim down a residential street in tears, imploring her to elope with him, then “started crying even more and laid down in the grass,” she testified. When he stood up and demanded her cell phone, she said she fled in fear.

“I started running, because I knew that whenever he took my phone, something bad was going to happen,” the victim testified. Fender then chased her down the street, knocked her to the ground and repeatedly kicked her in the ribs and head, she said.

I disagree about the assessment that this is a relationship that went horribly awry since that assessment minimizes Fender's past behavior which was severe enough to have his victim run in fear when he demanded her cell phone. That's a pattern of extreme control not a sign that the relationship was out of control.

The story reports that the rape conviction came despite evidence that the victim, at least at times, may not have considered that she was raped while being held by Fender. I'm glad that the jury realized that the violence and control this girl was subjected to indicated that she complied and did not give legal consent.

I'm always amazed when I read about cases like this one where men or boys use violence while allegedly trying to persuade a woman or girl to reconcile. If a man or boy truly cares about his ex as a fellow human being then that person will not use violence as a persuasion tool.

Defense attorney Scott Baker conceded that his client committed assault and battery, but argued that the rape and abduction allegations were the result of blurred boundaries and adolescent emotional upheaval.

This excuse is the typical nonsense used to rationalize criminal behavior toward girls and women. Being an adolescent does not cause a boy or a young man to rape and to kick a girl in the head. Other adolescents manage to get through those years without being physically or sexually violent.

Violence does not in reality persuade, it either repels or it overwhelms or it does both. Not surprisingly for me this violence is paired with tears and pleading which falsely puts Fender in a position of being helpless which likely supports his rationalizations. He likely told himself that if his ex-girlfriend just did what he wanted her to do then he wouldn't have been violent so she's at least partly to blame for his violence.

Crying in distress and then kicking the girl you want to reconcile with are all actions meant to get another person to submit to your control. Even the marriage proposal is an action which would give him more control over her.

His actions communicate that he had no interest in mutuality or a relationship based on respect for himself or for the other person. This type of action are typical of relationship abusers of all ages so being an adolescent is immaterial.

He acted like someone who believed that having a violent tantrum would get him what he wanted. If this behavior did get him what he wanted then his ex-girlfriend was nothing but a possession to him. That is ultimately unsatisfying for him but instead of blaming his own behavior for those results he would likely blame her for not keeping him satisfied.

I'm bothered by Fender's mother's behavior and complicity in his crimes and from what I read in this story I believe she was actively involved with the abduction since the victim had a swollen eye when this woman drove her son and this girl to her mobile home.

This jury verdict and the short time it took to come back with a guilty verdict show me that the rationalizations given by the defense attorney can be seen as the nonsense they are.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:51 AM   0 comments links to this post

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Crime Prevention By Reducing Lead Levels In Children?


Two studies showed that people with high levels of lead in childhood grew up with blocks of missing brain cells — and they also were far more likely to be arrested for crimes, especially violent crimes. [...]

They found more than 1 percent of total gray matter in the brain was missing. “The most affected regions included frontal gray matter, specifically the anterior cingulate cortex,” Cecil’s team wrote in a second study. This region is responsible for mood regulation and decision-making.

Men were far more affected than women.

“Our findings also suggest that this structural change is permanent,” they wrote.
The implications are profound, Dietrich said. “Usually the effects of lead poisoning are irreversible,” he said.

Environmental enrichment programs such as those used to help children who are abused may help, he added. “I don’t think they are lost but it certainly is a warning,” he said.

These research findings are another indicator of the importance of dealing with social issues before they become police matters. Unfortunately, the funding of lead testing and containment are considered optional while prisons are considered mandatory once someone has committed a crime and been sentenced.

Too often people view government programs which help parents and children with issues such as lead poisoning as handouts. Those who take this short-sighted view will support policies which are ultimately supportive of results these people hate.

Those people who don't want to waste taxpayers' money helping people are likely to end up paying more for prisons and the management of those who are parole. Paying more doesn't make sense to me, but I don't have an aversion to entitlement programs which make a real difference.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 1:17 PM   1 comments links to this post

Friday, June 20, 2008

Coroner Trying To ID Unknown Boys Killed in 1970s

From ABC News comes a story about 3 remaining John Doe's found in 1973 around Houston, Texas.

Twenty-seven dead. Some as young as 13, none older than 21. All victims of one killer, Dean Corll, and his two teenage accomplices, Elmer Wayne Henley and David Owen Brooks.

The term serial killer had not yet been coined, so this unfolding horror was simply called the Houston Mass Murders — at the time, the worst in U.S. history. [...]

All over Houston, all over the country, parents of missing boys learned of the murders and feared the worst. In the working-class Houston neighborhood where Henley and Brooks lived, where Corll had once owned a candy shop across from an elementary school, where dozens of boys had seemed to vanish over the previous three years, the dread was almost unbearable. [...]

Three bodies remain — three young men, believed to have been 15 to 20 years old, their bodies chilled to 38 degrees in the long-term storage unit of the Harris County medical examiner's office.

Thankfully, advances in DNA analysis may help to finally identify these victims. I hope that happens soon. One of the unidentified boy's DNA is being tested against the DNA of a missing boy's sisters, but the coroner is publicizing this case because other relatives of these murdered boys may not know that DNA testing is now available.

This case highlights that even for horrific murders such as these, the danger to these boys' lives didn't come from the stereotypical stranger. The 2 accomplices, who were teenagers themselves, made friends with potential victims and were paid a bounty for delivering new victims to Corll.

To prevent future crimes like these it is critical that at the beginning steps of what could become a spree that "outrageous" claims be taken seriously and not be viewed as too outrageous to be true and therefore too outrageous to be investigated fully.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 7:25 AM   0 comments links to this post

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Must Read For Those Who Believe Date Rapists Misunderstand

From Today Show: Inside the mind of a serial seducer we get Paul Janka's own words about what he is about when it comes to women and sex.

[...] let me say I have a dual aim when I spend time with a woman: to have fun and to maintain my integrity as a man. Maintaining my integrity means honoring what I want in the process and not being manipulated by a woman’s agenda. This has to be an active process because I’ve found that women in the City – consciously or not – operate by a societal script that doesn’t incorporate my interests as a man.

What he calls integrity is in reality selfish resolve and a disregard for women's integrity. He isn't going to let what women want -- or don't want -- interfere with his selfish goals.

From Janka's failed book proposal:

"Tell the bartender how it is— she works for you for the two hours or so you'll be there. I tell them I don't drink but that I am meeting a lady, and that I don't want her to feel uncomfortable so could they please bring me seltzer waters, in a high-ball glass, with a lime. And call it a Tom Collins. Or a Gin and Tonic if you prefer. Never leave your drink, and don't let the girl sip it— she will freak out, I guarantee you. If you go to the bathroom, take it with you. When done, take both her glass and yours to the bar and give them to the bartender. Also, I find that drinking 2 or 3 seltzers on top of the meal I ate an hour before (solo or with a buddy) can be a challenge; I usually tell the bartender to make mine almost entirely ice; hers, little ice and stiff."

This strategy of deception is why those who accuse women of being liars when they report having only 1 or 2 drinks before passing out are not credible in their accusations.

Apparently serving yourself non-alcoholic drinks while serving your date stiff alcoholic drinks without her knowledge of what you are doing are the acts of a man with integrity.

Go figure.

Those who try to keep women safe by doing nothing more than lecturing women are reinforcing Janka's belief that he is doing nothing unethical and that all the responsibility for his actions belongs to the women he targets.

With his self-professed attitude and strategy it's no surprise that a woman reports she had to fight him off her to stop unwanted sexual contact after she told him that she didn't like him.

Here's her description of his actions followed by his response via Gawker:

He told me that we should either have sex or I should leave. I said I would leave. I started to stand up and he pulled me backwards and pinned me against the couch. I tried to push him off me, but couldn't. He started touching my breasts and between my legs. I told him to let me go as I tried to deflect his hands. After a few minutes he let me up. I gathered my things. As I was putting on my shoes he came over and grabbed my face, he squeezed until it hurt and I couldn't move my head. The[n] he shoved his tongue in my mouth. I pushed him off, went to the door, and was trying to unlock it when he came up behind me and wrapped one arm around my arms, making them immobile, and shoved the opposite hand down my pants. He tried to fucking finger me (unsuccessfully, I fought like a dog). I told him to stop. I struggled to get free. His only response was, "You're turned on, aren't you." He wouldn't let go. I managed to grab an umbrella propped against the wall next to me. I hit him and he backed off. I rushed out the door and I heard him laugh a little and call "bye" after me. [...]

"I'd say going on a date under false pretenses is pretty underhanded, wouldn't you? I'm not interested in disputing her account, tit-for-tat. Suffice it to say she's spun it to serve her interests."

This is an admission that he took the actions he is accused of taking, but he views his actions as justified. He claims to be able to understand women, but he clearly doesn't care enough to understand the woman he is with beyond plotting how to manipulate her.

This is more than selfishness on his part, it means that he doesn't know anything about having a sexual relationship and doesn't want to learn since doing so would compromise his integrity as a man. This disconnect may on the surface seem to be limited to women and sex, but I believe that this type of view about what it means to have integrity can't help but impact all aspects of his life.

If women who trust him are to blame if he crosses the line into criminal behavior then men who trust him or men like him are also to blame if they become victims of non-sex crimes committed by men like him and should be treated with the same respect given to those who report sexual assaults.

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

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Good News: Sex Predator Gets 33 Year Sentence

From Oregon Live:

A Clackamas County Circuit Court judge on Monday sentenced a 21-year-old Wilsonville man to more than 33 years in prison for 18 counts of rape and sexual abuse of nine girls ages 12 to 17. A jury convicted Kyle James Green last month after a five-day trial.

With so many cases where juries seem to have no understanding of legal consent or blame the victims for the crimes committed against them I'm thrilled to see a case like this one where the jury didn't get distracted away from the evidence.

He was convicted of crimes committed from 2002 to 2007.

When I was a teen this man's crimes would most likely have been ignored since he was a teenager or younger when he started committing sex crimes. This case is a reminder for me that we have made progress.

We aren't where we need to be when it comes to prosecution and the attitudes needed to prevent people like Green from committing these crimes while telling themselves they are doing nothing wrong, but we are getting closer.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:13 AM   0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Good Kid ... Who Exercised Poor Judgment

I suspect this typical explanation which is frequently given by defense attorneys representing men convicted of rape and men who plead guilty on rape-related charges will instantly go out of favor with the typical rape excusers because of the details of the case where it was used.

Here is the explanation from a MSNBC story:

Caban's lawyer, James Friedman said, "She's a good kid, despite the picture painted of her, who exercised poor judgment and got herself into a bad situation. She is not the monster the prosecution made her out to be."

Caban's father, Rafael Caban, 55, is a retired Correction Department captain.
Testagrossa is the son of two prosecutors. His father, Charles, is the executive assistant district attorney in Queens who prosecuted the Sean Bell police shooting case. His mother is a lawyer in the Nassau County district attorney's office.

So what did these two good kids do?

A college student who branded a former lover's body with a scalding piece of metal as payback for never calling her after they had sex was sentenced to five years in prison Friday.

Doesn't sound like a mistake to me anymore than raping someone you know sounds like a mistake. Both are crimes which should be taken seriously.

Those who make or accept this type of excuse when applied to similarly respectable rapists must accept the excuses made for this woman and her new boyfriend or they prove that for them rape is easily excusable.

The prosecution made the statement that this crime was payback for not calling this woman after sex, but as rape excusers love to remind us, the prosecution's statement of fact cannot be taken as proven fact. We cannot know if this crime was payback for something more serious than not calling.

Whatever that original action was, it was not a valid justification for this crime. The same is true for rape. Nothing the victim has done is a valid justification.

If those who describe sexual assaults and non-sexual assaults as mistakes or acts of poor judgment are trying to communicate that non-monsters can commit undeniably serious criminal actions then their framing is failing to get their desired message out there.

This framing instead turns those crimes committed by non-monsters into no big deal because of who committed those crimes. That does nothing to uphold our justice system and it does nothing to help prevent future crimes.

Those who commit the same crimes but who are not described so generously because they have less stellar reputations or backgrounds or defense teams may incorrectly feel when they get a just sentence for their crimes that they are being treated unjustly. That contributes to criminals feeling resentful and victimized. Again that does nothing to uphold our justice system and it does nothing to help prevent future crimes.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 7:58 AM   2 comments links to this post

Monday, June 16, 2008

Rape Of Unconscious Can't Be Prosecuted Because Victim Unconscious

From KTVU:

Prosecutors say they believe the victim's story, but that because she was unconscious, details were not clear enough to secure a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.

Original charges against Ramirez included rape of a drugged victim, sexual battery and false imprisonment.

The evidence which proves the impossibility of consent (unconsciousness) is the reason the charges are dropped? I wish this were an unusual outcome, but it isn't.

What also isn't unusual is having people react to this move by labeling the charges "bogus." This labeling is not based on any objective logic and is instead based on the desire to find any excuse to label rape cases as "bogus."

Those who don't see this outcome as a serious problem are showing that they are fine with letting rapists ignore the law as long as those rapists pick the right victims at the right time and slander their victims boldly. Many of those who support the dropping of the charges against this taxi driver but who refrain from declaring the case "bogus" will blame the victim for becoming unconscious while declaring that they of course are against all rapes.

This victim blaming/denying and the handling of rape cases like this one are what gives many rapists the confidence to view their actions as morally acceptable and once that happens then most of these rapists will have the confidence to declare -- like their non-rapist allies do -- that they are against all real rapes.

These rapists can then declare with a straight face that they are the one and only victim when they are charged with rape. If the charges are dropped or the jury doesn't come back with a guilty verdict then they can lie and say that is proof that these rapists are victims and that the alleged victim is a perpetrator.

Those who aren't bothered by this outcome when the rape victim has been drinking likely would be appalled if they acknowledged that their standards are used against those who aren't viewed as having made foolish decisions. A 16-year-old hospital patient, for example.

Or maybe they wouldn't be appalled that a nurse who was charged with raping his patient was acquitted with the defense that the sex was consensual. Some people have an extremely high tolerance for victim blaming/denying and that tolerance communicates volumes about these people's flimsy ethical standards.

This bigotry uses a contorted logic where people speculate on how likely it is for someone to consent in a given situation. Women in bars are viewed as more likely to consent therefore rapists who target women who have been in a bar are viewed as likely to be falsely accused. And from there too many people assume that there must be reasonable doubt and all convictions of rapists in this type of scenario must be wrongful convictions.

The problem is that even if women in bars are more likely to give legal consent that doesn't make them more likely to give legal consent and then make allegations of rape. Often people who try to make these connections will turn a woman being in a bar into proof that she consented and therefore proof that she has made a false allegation. She's proved herself to be that kind of woman. And that kind of woman lies about being raped.

If enough people accept that all of these assumptions are true then they must be treated by the legal system as if they are true.

That type of reasoning means that if enough people believe that no one has made it to the moon then the claim that men have stepped on the moon must be false or at least there is reasonable doubt about that claim. No point in looking at the evidence of moon landings.

It doesn't take a genius to see that this type of reasoning is worse than meaningless. Yet so many people cling to this type of reasoning when they talk about rape cases.

Hat tip: Liz Seccuro

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:09 AM   5 comments links to this post

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Carnival Against Sexual Violence 49

Welcome to the June 15, 2008 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:


In Sasha and Malia Racism/Sexism Watch (/ORMUSBD Part Fifty-Five) posted at Shakespeare's Sister, we get a discussion of a sexist and racist slur which was directed at Barack Obama's daughters.


In One Person's Word posted at PC Bloggs - a Twenty-first Century Police Officer, we get a discussion of the low UK rape conviction rates and a list of some of the flimsy reasons why crown prosecutors decided not to prosecute a particular case.

In Up to 5 year sentence for raping three month old posted at Astraea's Scales, we get a discussion of the plea deal which resulted in a guilty plea to the charge of attempted child abuse when the victim suffered permanent injuries.

In Fucked Up World posted at Mortality's Thoughts, we get a discussion of a YouTube video made by a girl who was frustrated over the lack of action in her rape case.

In Anonymous Rape Kits Not About Problems With Rape Victims posted at abyss2hope: A rape survivor's zigzag journey into the open, I discuss the so-called Jane Doe rape kits which are mandated beginning in 2009 by the federal Violence Against Women Act.

In Significant Third Circuit ruling in federal child porn case posted at Sentencing Law and Policy, we get a discussion of the ruling in US v. Miller including an opinion on how convictions on multiple charges constituted double jeopardy.

In NY Gov’t Leaders, Activists Urge Strong Senate Bill to Curb Human Trafficking posted at Feminist Law Professors, we get a discussion of efforts to have the US Senate consider and then pass stronger legislation against sex traffickers which was introduced in the House of Representatives.

In Offensive Remarks of the Month: Defense Attorneys Gone Wild Edition posted at The Curvature, we get a discussion of comments made by Preston Wido's defense attorney, John Parrinello, against the alleged victims in the case.

In Are you kidding me? Wido pretty much skates. posted at Liz - Not Ranting, Just Saying., we get a discussion of the jury verdict in the rape case against Preston Wido where the only convictions came in the allegations related to the one victim who didn't have prior consensual sexual contact with Wido.

In Alabama's Changing Backlog Of Unprocessed Rape Kits posted at abyss2hope: A rape survivor's zigzag journey into the open, I discuss the delay in processing rape kits and how recent improvements may be undone by state budget troubles.

In Legal Bullshit of the Day posted at Feministe, we get a discussion about a loophole in the New York state rape shield law.

media watch

In Twix Offers Interactive Date-Rape Tutorial posted at Happily Bitter, we get a discussion of an online "game" where men who eat Twix make decisions related to women.

In A positive trend? posted at Change Happens: the SAFER blog, we get a discussion of an article in the Staten Island Advance which shows a rape case where the system worked and the survivor had great support and yet still faced serious issues in her recovery process.

In Locked in Limbo posted at Sex Crimes, we get a discussion about a series of articles in the Minneapolis Star Tribune about Minnesota's civil commitment program and the related policy problems.


In The Sex Ed I Had posted at Mortality's Thoughts, we get a discussion about the gaps in the sex ed in Sweden.

In Unethical Influence posted at SANCTUARY FOR THE ABUSED, we get a discussion of the influence continuum which is a tool to help identify unethical or illegal types of influence.

In The Top 100 Criminal Justice Blogs posted at Criminal Justice Degrees Guide, we get a list of diverse blogs.

personal stories

In Shove It: Part 2 - Don't write a poem about rape posted at The Buffaloe Pen, we learn about an editor who sent a 6 page rejection letter stating that most women who are raped are asking for it and we get to read the poem dedicated to that editor.

In Had My Tears Stolen posted at rmott62, we get a discussion about how violence changes something as simple and basic as crying.

raising awareness

In Imagine posted at Crisis Worker Diary, we get a discussion of how descriptions of those who report rape and those who are accused of rape impacts people's perceptions of rape cases without any information about the evidence in a particular case.

In Recognizing An Emotionally Abusive Relationship posted at HomeSpunHealers, we get a discussion about how to recognize the signs and symptoms of an emotionally abusive relationship.

In Puzzle Pieces posted at BARBARA'S TCHATZKAHS, we get a discussion about how fear can stop those who have been abused from putting all the pieces together and recognizing abuse and knowing that the victim of that abuse is not the one at fault for it.

In Rape as Weapon of War in Burma posted at The Curvature, we get a discussion about issues raised by an article in The Women’s International Perspective about the use of rape as a tool of war in Burma/Myanmar.

In What If 19 Hour Rape Ordeal Were Done To Spouse Or Friend? posted at abyss2hope: A rape survivor's zigzag journey into the open, I discuss the differing perceptions people have about rape cases where the crime is the same, but the view of the victim differs.


In Sexual Healing posted at Here and Now ~*~ 4 Angel~*~, we get a discussion about using the book The Sexual Healing Journey; A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse by Wendy Maltz as part of the therapeutic journey.

In Surviving Survival posted at rmott62, we get a discussion about how different challenges come up after abuse ends because many of the feelings which come up in the recovery process were blocked for self-protection whenever they came up during abuse.

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 Jun. 28 at 11 pm and the next edition will be out on Jul. 1.

To nominate a post (your own or someone else's) to the next edition of carnival against sexual violence, use the 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   1 comments links to this post

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Man Sentenced After Film Of His Child Rapes Found


BOSTON - A judge ordered a 25-year prison term for a Massachusetts man who admitted he filmed himself sexually assaulting at least 30 young girls during annual trips to Southeast Asia over more than a decade.

A U.S. District Court judge on Tuesday also ordered 54-year-old William Constable to serve a life term of supervised release, pay a $50,000 fine, and forfeit property used in his crimes.

I'm glad this man has been sentenced so that even when he gets out of prison he will not be unsupervised. But I wonder how many others like him are still taking regular trips to other countries or other cities in order to rape children. I'm sure many of these rapists think of themselves as being guilty of only victimless crimes since others are committing the same crimes against these children.

Hopefully, sentences like this one will stop some rapists from committing rape when their ethics alone will not.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:15 AM   1 comments links to this post

Friday, June 13, 2008

Prize For Combatting Violence Against Women And Children

Sparklematrix has a post about the Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize which has a nomination deadline of June 30.

The Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize is a commemorative award are made annually to women and groups who have done exceptional work to combat violence against women and children, and have raised awareness of this issue, whether through writing, campaigning or activism. The aim of the individual prize and the group award is to recognise and reward outstanding and often unsung contributions to the fight against violence against women and children.

The winner of the individual award will receive £1,000.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:10 AM   1 comments links to this post

With Teachers Like This

From Salt Lake Tribune:

A state commission is sending a letter of warning to a Duchesne County teacher for speaking inappropriately about a student rape victim and her family to the media.

The Utah Professional Practices Advisory Commission (UPPAC) decided Tuesday after an investigation to send a letter of warning to Tabiona School teacher Glenda Norviel. The letter comes after one of Norviel's students, a rape victim, claimed the teacher assigned her to write an essay about her rape and pregnancy in front of the class as an alternative assignment to reading My Sister's Keeper, a novel the student and her family found offensive.

Norviel then made remarks about the girl and her family to newspaper reporters who called her for comment. The Uintah Basin Standard quoted Norviel as saying the girl, "has supposedly been raped by the father of her baby." Court records show a man was convicted of raping the 16-year-old girl.

Norviel also told a Tribune reporter, "The girl is not an innocent. . . . If she has just had a baby six weeks ago, is reading the f-word going to cause her emotional trauma for the rest of her life?"

This woman's dismissive attitude is unfortunately quite common but most of those who hold this attitude don't express it so clearly and so publicly with this level of disregard for ethics. Like most people with this attitude the issues are all about the person who is dismissive of someone who was raped.

A letter of warning by the state commission and a letter of reprimand by the school district seems like underwhelming responses to such a public and unfounded attack on a student's character by a teacher. The teacher's slanderous implication was clear. This girl might be considered to be a crime victim by the criminal justice system, but this teacher views this girl as immoral and therefore beyond having any right to object to any book because of the content or language of that book.

That should be a firing offense. From the article it seems like the district will only be updating their policy regarding reading material when the bigger issue is about how teachers treat and talk about students when a dispute arises.

I suspect that this teacher views herself as being victimized by this rape victim and the girl's parents since that is a typical response from those who are dismissive of rape victims.

Ordering a student to write an essay about her rape and the resulting pregnancy -- whether it was assigned publicly as the girl claims or privately as the teacher claims -- was an act of retribution. An appropriate substitute for one reading assignment would have been to assign the girl a different novel or to approach the school administration about the teacher and student's dilemma.

With teachers like this no wonder so many students feel justified in being openly hostile to fellow students who have been raped. They are doing what they have been taught.

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

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Do We Really Live In A Victim Celebrating Culture?

From The Rude News:

Look how this monster screwed up the system by playing rape victim. A victim-celebrating culture allowed this beast to go free and murder those children. Police need more freedoms to question “victims.” She refuses to be examined? This is what you get with lefty lawyers and loser laws.

I find this man's focus telling. In this case a woman, Tiffany Hall, murdered a friend, killing the fetus inside the other woman in the process. Later she drowned that woman's children. Yet despite multiple murders this man doesn't group Hall with other murderers. Instead he groups her with all those "victims" who report being raped and he wants the police to treat every rape "victim" who reports like a potential murderer.

Hey, if it happened even once then we must assume it happens every time. But that is a very dangerous assumption which willfully throws justice and due process under the bus.

The only actions of Hall's which he focuses on is Hall's decision, post-murder, to take the fetus to a state park and to call the police from there claiming she gave birth after being raped and the subsequent murder of the murdered woman's children. He shows no outrage over a mother's horrific death. That would disrupt his disdain for focusing on women who are "victims" of violent crime.

If Hall was viewed by the police as a violent crime suspect when they responded to her report of being raped -- which I find no evidence of in any of the stories about this case -- then the freedom the police would need to do what this man wanted them to do would give this same freedom when the police are suspicious of men who report being crime victims.

This added freedom would automatically open the door to more aggressive police actions against all those suspected of committing acts of violence who don't claim to be crime victims. That would include suspected rapists.

Certainly under this aggressive, do-whatever-it-takes investigative model more alleged rapists would confess. That would result in more real rapists being convicted, but it would also result in more wrongful convictions. Of course this man would blame those who treat "victims" ethically for a problem that his own suggestions would help to create.

That side effect of this man's desire makes it clear that this man isn't thinking about what his suggested changes would do to the potential treatment of men like him if those changes were applied without gender prejudice. But then he clearly doesn't want any changes to be applied without gender prejudice.

Which means that he isn't ignorant of the injustices his suggestions would cause.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 11:41 AM   1 comments links to this post

Stabbing Your Spouse Is A Side Effect Of Health Issues?

From the CBS News about a man who was sentenced to 8 years in prison for stabbing his second wife multiple times in an attack which caused his victim to be hospitalized for over a month:

Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Charles Schneider said Wednesday that 68-year-old Joseph Groth already got his second chance. Groth was paroled in 1983 after serving one year for the killing of his wife, Eva, in 1981. [...]

Defense lawyer Mitch Williams says Joseph Groth has health issues and doesn't remember what happened.

This excuse for a brutal crime is pathetic, but some people might fall for it because of the man's age. The number of gullible people should drop because this crime is a repeat action except this time his wife survived. What shocks me is that this man was sentenced to only 8 years and that he served only 1 year for killing his first wife.

Those sentences both seem pathetically light to me considering that one woman is dead and another was brutally attacked. Maybe this results from the mythology that men who kill or try to kill their wives aren't a danger to the public. That view devalues the safety and life of this man's second victim.

If this view of public safety were true then all those who stab their parents or children to death would get similar sentences and would be viewed in the same way as this man's lawyer wants people to view him.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:18 AM   1 comments links to this post

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Deadline Tomorrow

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.

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) with a subject line of carnival nomination or leave a comment with a link to the nominated post as soon as possible.

Together we can help reduce the acceptance of rape and the myths related to sexual violence which support rape and injustice against rape victims.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 4:59 PM   0 comments links to this post

Preston Wido Found Guilty On 2 Counts

From WHAM Channel 13:

The jury found Preston Wido guilty on two of the nine charges against him.

Although sighs of relief were heard from Wido's family as “Not Guilty” rang out in the courtroom on seven of the nine charges, the mood changed when “Guilty” was read for rape and a criminal sex act for one of the four victims.

Wido and his family and friends appeared anxious in the hallways of the courtroom as they awaited the verdict. Jurors deliberated 25 hours over five days. The defense attorney was disappointed with the verdict--he said it didn't make sense.

After the verdict was read, the district attorney told the judge he received information that Wido was sending threats during the trial. That information led Wido back in jail Tuesday afternoon.

The defense attorney must be wondering how all of his vile attacks on the alleged victims didn't get accepted blindly by the jury. With everything I've read about this case and the alleged crimes I'm not surprised over the report that Wido was sending threats while he was on trial.

Wido could face up to 8 years when he is sentenced next month.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:53 AM   0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Defense Attorney Provides Backhanded Support For Victims Right To Say Rape

From MPN Now about a rape trial going on in Canandaigua, New York:

Courtroom tensions erupted late Friday afternoon in the trial of accused rapist Preston Wido, with his defense attorney threatening to have a court security guard arrested and the judge, in turn, threatening to hold the attorney in contempt of court.

The scene unfolded just before 3 p.m., minutes after the jury was let out of the Ontario County courtroom so District Attorney R. Michael Tantillo and the defense attorney, John Parrinello, could debate whether certain evidence would be admissible.

While the prosecution witness — one of Wido’s three alleged rape victims — was still seated, the argument began, with Parrinello at one point highlighting previous testimony that she had willingly performed a sexual act on Wido in the weeks before the alleged rape — only Parrinello used crude, street language to describe the act, drawing out both Tantillo and the judge, William Kocher. “What Mr. Parrinello just did was outrageous in the presence of this witness!” Tantillo shouted, calling it “abusive,” “harassing,” and “disgusting.”

Parrinello fired back, “You know that’s what happened — I’m not making it up... I have a right of free speech.”

Anyone who supports Parrinello's legal right to use this language inside a courtroom must also support the legal right of rape victims to use their own choice of words for what was done to them during their testimony including using the word rape or these people are not in fact supportive of fair trials.

If those who oppose alleged rape victims saying "rape" also support any of this defense attorney's inflammatory language then they do not in fact support the presumption of innocence argument which is used to justify restricting witness testimony.

Parrinello used language which clearly and unashamedly presumed the guilt of his client's alleged victims. That presumption makes a criminal allegation: Filing of multiple false police reports.

For too many people this presumption is acceptable or even commendable because it helps those accused of rape. What these people forget is there is a difference between a defendant's legal rights and their selfish best interests.

The selfish best interests of rapists is to get away with rape and to spin all legal victories as proof that they not only aren't guilty but that their victims are the real criminals. This isn't justice and it works directly against the best interests of public safety.

Parrinollo has, beginning in jury selection, used prejudicial words with clear intent to slander his client's alleged victims through bigotry (they didn't call 911, etc.) rather than relying on the evidence in the case to prove his client's guilt or to fail to prove his client's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Unfortunately, this judge let him get away with a defense based on building prejudice against the alleged victims in this case until this latest attempt at slander and intimidation. Frankly, with his pattern of behavior this attorney should have been held in contempt of court for his behavior rather than merely being threatened with contempt charges.

Lastly, if these tactics are acceptable in rape trials then they must be acceptable for all crimes against people who are not strangers. If you loaned your car to a friend for a 15-minute errand and that person disappears with your car, then using the logic of Parrinello if you eventually report your car stolen you have filed a false police report and if the case against your friend goes to trial you should be subjected to the Parrinello treatment.

After all what kind of person sees their car stolen and doesn't immediately call 911?

Fortunately, for car owners that sort of nonsense will be rejected by most jurors and most members of the public as the nonsense it is.

When it comes to rape too many people accept nonsense and call it reasonable doubt or proof of innocence.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 11:18 AM   0 comments links to this post

Monday, June 09, 2008

What If 19 Hour Rape Ordeal Were Done To Spouse Or Friend?

I've been reading different reactions to the testimony of the grad student who was raped and tortured by a stranger for 19 hours and all of the reactions I've read so far view this crime as a clear cut crime and everyone I've found views this woman as a true and innocent crime victim. The reactions have included a desire that this rapist be put to death.

What strikes me the most in these reactions is the contrast between them and how far too many people react to the majority of rape cases. This flip from how so many people view this case to how they view other rape cases usually happens based on details which are irrelevant to guilt or innocence.

In this case, the brutal rapist was a stranger who was already in this woman's apartment building who then followed her to her apartment where he forced his way inside. But when there is a rape case with equal brutality and the rapist isn't a stranger or when the rape victim has a less stellar reputation or occupation, many people ignore or dismiss the brutality. These people are suckers for rapists who claim the victim was into rough sex and therefore the victim's injuries are not evidence of criminal behavior. The victim's testimony then becomes suspect or meaningless for no valid reason.

Rapists and their lawyers have a vested interest in creating a lie about the rapist's victim yet many people react to the stories told by defense teams as if they are nothing more than the situation from the alleged rapist's perspective which is provided in good faith.

Refusing to accept that an alleged rapist is a real rapist unless or until it has been proven to be true through a conviction does not in any way deny defendants their due process rights. If believing a rape really happened before a conviction were a violation of a rapist's due process rights then all those who use this excuse would refuse to view this grad student as a true rape victim until her rapist is convicted.

Too often it doesn't take much for people to turn their ire on those who have been raped.

From Wire forums:

So imagine my indignation when I saw a chat called “Rape Survivors.” Is this supposed to impress me? Someone fucked you when you didn’t want to be fucked and you’re amazed that you survived?

From Men are better than women forums:

she claims it was rape, yet she clearly performed oral sex... I dunno about you, but If i was raping someone, I wouldn't put them in a position to bite my dick off... methinks she wasn't raped

From The Evening News and Tribune:

In some cases, police may look at the credibility of the victims.

In an interview with an editor of The Evening News and The Tribune, Clarksville Police Chief Dwight Ingle said the alleged victim from Jan. 30 was smoking pot. In a recent interview with a reporter, Ingle repeatedly said that the victim of an alleged May 24 rape “had been out drinking with (the suspects) all night.”

The problem with this "credibility" standard is that it is based on nothing more than bigotry. Smoking pot doesn't have magical rape-protective properties. Neither does going out drinking. However, these so-called credibility issues do seem to have rapist-protective properties.

Prosecutors still want to build a strong case before an arrest is made. Henderson said they must keep that in mind while also remembering the importance of keeping criminals off the streets.

“You have to balance all of that with the knowledge that if the person did commit the crime, then he is still out there,” Henderson said.

This second part is what many people don't remember or don't care about -- until a rapist with previous reports against him finally crosses the line in regards to who is selected as the victim or the level of premeditated brutality. Then many of these people will finally stop siding with the violent and they will express horror that such a monster was allowed to remain free.

These people need to do better or they need to be viewed as contributors to the actions of the few rapists whose actions they do scorn.

Update: Robert Williams was convicted in the rape and attempted murder of the Columbia grad student.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:54 AM   2 comments links to this post

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Another Rape Liar Sentenced

As I've mentioned before those who focus on "rape liars" create a narrative about girls and women who reported being raped.

From their narrative, it would seem to be impossible for alleged rapists and those who side with those accused of rape to lie to the police or to try and falsify important information.

That would make the 7 year sentence given to Tyra Cook for hindering the apprehension of her husband and accused rapist, Jody Cook, a miscarriage of justice. Making the police believe that you were conned into believing that your husband jumped from a bridge and hasn't been seen since then becomes impossible when the missing man is living with you.

Mrs. Cook pleaded guilty to several charges and after he was found, Mr. Cook pleaded guilty in the rape case against him.

Those who lie to evade justice for themselves or others are rape liars and those who seem intent on pretending this isn't so are communicating important information about themselves and their values when it comes to rape.

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