Friday, October 31, 2008

Aaron Taylor Digs A Deeper Hole Defending Deserved Rape

Aaron P. Taylor's post Uncommonsense: My one time rebuttal to my deserved rape article: idealism vs reality highlights how entrenched his dangerous ideas really are.

He positions those who disagree with him as being out of touch with reality when most of us who disagree with him are more in touch with the reality of rape than he is or ever will be. We understand the reality from the wrong end of the danger his smug advice supports.

Some of us, like myself, would be described by him or others as being the victim of a "deserved" rape and/or have been at the hospital with other women Taylor says "deserved" rape as they endure the process of going through a forensic exam while knowing that the chances that their rapist will be charged is small because prosecutors understand how victim blaming can cause jurors to disregard the evidence of rape and instead judge the case based on the woman's behavior prior to her rape.

If a woman who knows her rapist sees her rapist charged she is likely to pray that nobody who thinks like Taylor will be able hide his or her bias during jury selection.

Most of us have also listened to rapists parrot Taylor's opinion of women's actions minus the scare quotes. We've seen those rapists escape justice because of victim blaming or the assumption that the behavior Taylor describes is legal consent or should be treated as such to spare all those "confused" men who mistakenly "rape" without thinking of themselves as rapists.

Taylor's opinion is often used as the foundation for transforming a report of a "deserved" rape into a false rape report. Those rapists who don't escape justice are often championed by "moral" and "intelligent" people as men who were unfairly convicted or unfairly sentenced when all they did was make a natural "mistake."

Taylor's decision to declare himself intelligent on this subject doesn't make it true.

Explaining that he doesn't hate women and would never himself commit a "deserved" rape means that he is so dumb on this subject that doesn't begin to understand the cause of the backlash.

His judgment of those who left angry comments on his blog as being uncivil and therefore declaring those people inferior to himself demonstrates how dangerously ignorant he is of the violent reality he makes light of in his original "deserved" rape post.

Taylor doesn't know or care how his words hurt those who have been raped physically and then verbally assaulted for their alleged failure to take personal responsibility for their own rapes and how that hurt can come out as anger or rage.

He sees himself as intelligent and rational and those who disagree with him as stupid and irrational. He needs to do this to avoid coming to grips with the harm his "intelligence" and his "rationality" on the subject of rape inflicted on others.

His "deserved" rape post was not civil, it was cold-blooded. His rebuttal is just as cold-blooded.

If he truly wanted to reduce rape then he would have focused his "intelligent" post on changing the behavior of men who respond to the behavior of the women Taylor highlighted. Instead he only gives those rapists a mild disclaimer before he goes on to directly support those rapist's rationalizations.

If he's genuinely trying to reduce the rate of sexual assaults that's one of the dumbest ways to go about it.

Taylor provides an analogy of almost renting an apartment in a bad neighborhood which he tries to link to his rape "prevention" advice. But the analogy doesn't work since he didn't warn women about the danger of going to places where rapists are likely to hang out looking for potential victims. In his analogy Taylor doesn't talk about how he was given advice on how to avoid a "deserved" mugging or a "deserved" assault or a "deserved" murder.

If his rape "prevention" is sound crime prevention then community members who live in dangerous areas who stay and work to make their neighborhoods safe are stupid. Further, the solution to concentrations of violent crime is to move and declare high-crime areas the undisputed "property" of the violent. You go there and you "deserve" to be murdered.

Taylor's "reality" is to surrender to the all-powerful violent criminals. Reducing crime through genuine prevention is for him hopeless idealism.

Under Taylor's model the only realistic prevention which focuses on the potentially violent would have to be 1) avoidance, 2) incarceration.

What the article was simply saying was, there are women out there who ARE doing those things PURPOSEFULLY, and, while they, too, don’t deserved to get raped, they DO need to be aware of how their actions can play a part in it happening.
But maybe everybody who disagreed with me is right. Maybe I’m giving women too much credit.

Maybe I’m wrong for thinking that a woman might actually be SMART and INTELLIGENT enough to take responsibility for her actions, or realize that, while men SHOULD be smart enough back off when she says no, not all men are going to do so after she’s been giving them signals all night that indicate she’ll kiss or have sex with them.

Taylor is effectively claiming that these women did in fact purposely consent through their signals and when the man acts on what he sees as purposeful consent that this women is cruelly revoking consent. The reality is that nothing was promised to Taylor by those women's actions. Nothing.

Taylor didn't take what he believes was promised to him, but he understands those who do take by force what they believe was promised to them.

His position on rape makes as much sense as actively supporting all the rationalizations for road rage while giving the disclaimer that you would never run another car off the road or shoot a driver who cut you off, but you understand why someone else would do so.

So you drivers out there who don't commit road rage, remember -- using Taylor's logic -- it is your responsibility to prevent road rage in others. If you don't, you are partially responsible for the violence committed against you.

Taylor claims to be intelligent but he seems incapable of knowing there is difference between reality and his perceptions. Those women's negative reactions to a kiss or a grab should be a wake up call to him that his perceptions were wrong, but he is too deeply entrenched in his perceptions that he was given purposeful consent to let reality intrude. If it did then he would have to admit that he is less intelligent in this area than he assumes himself to be.

That his friends perceptions matched his own doesn't magically make those perceptions a reality. Yet Taylor writes as if the group of people he is with has a homogeneous perceptions about another person that this group-think is proof that their perception about that person is correct.

The easiest way to debunk this idea is to point out that we find this group-think in hate groups and cults.

If he thinks that a woman consented then by God, she consented. Anyone who says differently is stupid -- including the women who he perceived as consenting.

I find his post dangerous exactly because I am intelligent when it comes to rape. At 15 when I was raped by my boyfriend I was stupid enough to think non-violent people who talked like Taylor actually knew what they were talking about and because of them I wrongfully took responsibility for my boyfriend's sexual violence.

But when I was finally in a place where I could examine that relationship, I saw that none of the responsibility for my rape was mine. The Taylor's of the world got it dead wrong. My boyfriend made a rational choice both times he raped me and he made rational choices which set me up to have the maximum amount of guilt for his rational decision to rape me.

Warnings like Taylor's about girls' need to be responsible allowed my boyfriend to dodge responsibility and allowed him to not think of his decision to force himself on me as rape.

The hypothetical rapist who would respond to disappointed expectations with stalking and rape would also be making rational choices. That's why we talk about rationalizations for rape rather than describing most rapists as born monsters. The cause of that hypothetical rape would be the rationalizations of the rapist not the woman's actions or the rapist's lack of intelligence.

The only role the victim's actions play is when that rapist believes it is okay to rape or when the rapist can tell himself that someone who has not consented did in fact consent and has no right to revoke consent.

Taylor thinks he knows where this dangerous set point is but there is no universal set point for rapists. What exists are socially accepted set points where non-violent people start making excuses for the inexcusable behavior of rapists.

His smoking and cancer analogy apply to him, not women who are raped. He is filling the air with the toxic smoke of victim blaming and that secondary smoke is what harms those Taylor describes as being a victim of "deserved" rape.

Taylor wants women who are raped after flirting to take responsibility for rape while he himself dodges his responsibility for contributing to those rapes and for the unjust accusations he has made or supported which most rape victims are forced to deal with.

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

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Children Rescued From A Dozen Sex Trafficking Rings

From the Washington Post:

Federal authorities rescued 47 juveniles and arrested scores of pimps as part of a wide-scale effort to crack down on child prostitution and sex trafficking rings.

The sweep across more than two dozen cities over the weekend marks the latest in a series of efforts by the FBI and Justice Department, working in concert with state and local police departments in task forces dubbed Innocence Lost.

Ten of the children taken into protective custody appeared on a registry operated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, including youths from Texas, Ohio, Michigan and California, FBI Deputy Director John S. Pistole said at a news conference yesterday.

This is a good beginning step, but it barely makes a dent into this widespread crime which too many allegedly law-abiding people ignore when they pay to sexually exploit children.

This focus also misses those who were trafficked as children but who weren't rescued before they turned 18.

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

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sexual Trauma Is Afflicted On Fifteen Percent Of US Veterans

I changed the wording of the findings when titling this post since sexual trauma is caused by the deliberate actions of other people.

From Reuters:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nearly 15 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans seeking medical care from the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department have suffered sexual trauma, from harassment to rape, researchers reported on Tuesday.

And these veterans were 1.5 times as likely as other veterans to need mental health services, the report from the VA found.

"We are, in fact, detecting men and women who seem to have a significant need for mental health services," said Rachel Kimerling of the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System in California.

The study, presented at a meeting of the American Public Health Association in San Diego, raises many questions.

I'm sure some rape denialists will try to twist this study result related to mental health issues to prove that those who claim to have been subject to threatening and unwelcome sexual advances which may or may not have ended in rape are untrustworthy because they have mental health issues.

That twisted interpretation depends on a denial of the trauma that comes from being sexually harassed or raped by people you have no legal right to get away from. Unlike most other jobs a soldier can't just up and quit if the work environment becomes hostile.

That twisted interpretation also depends on a denial of the trauma that comes from a general environment that denies the original trauma or acknowledges it only through victim blaming. We see this in general society, but the denial can be more focused in the military where loyalty is often misused to justify refusing to take allegations seriously.

The discord between the official position the military has related to sexual trauma and the reality for those who have sexual trauma inflicted on them cannot help but create mental health issues.

Hopefully, studies like this one will push the official military position closer to reality. Those who cling to dangerous attitudes need to be viewed as people who contribute to sexual trauma no matter how many disclaimers they offer about not wanting to harm anybody.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:08 AM   1 comments links to this post

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Carnival Nomination 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 @ 4:35 AM   2 comments links to this post

Monday, October 27, 2008

Deserved Rape?

I saw this blog post: Uncommon Sense: Advice 4 women how to not get a "deserved" raping by Aaron P. Taylor and the contradictions were too much to not highlight.

You see, no woman “deserves” to get raped. Any woman who has unwanted sex forced upon her by another does not deserve the actions and subsequent psychological and physical pain she will receive as a result of having a man sexually place himself on and in her without her consent.

With that said: some women out there are doing things that, based on their actions, practically SCREAMS: “Please rape me - I don’t mind at all, really!”

The first quoted paragraph is nothing more than a hollow disclaimer. The body of his post shows his true opinion about the rightness or wrongness of rape.

The reality is that the woman's actions Taylor describes in this post don't practically scream anything. She asked him to dance multiple times and he agreed to dance multiple times. If he got turned on during the dancing that isn't her responsibility. However, if her dancing somehow committed her to more than dancing then his agreement to dance committed him to more than dancing as well.

If this "practically SCREAMS" logic were valid then his actions which he describes also practically SCREAMS (to all women): "Please stalk me and force yourself on me - I don't mind at all, really!"

After all, we've all heard the stories that sexually active men will never say no to a willing woman. So since Taylor showed his sexual willingness toward one woman then he has -- by his own logic -- shown his sexual willingness toward all women. And now he's announced it publicly that he's being unfairly denied sex. That's a more obvious advertisement for sex than he claims women project.

He's practically SCREAMING, "Oh, all you women of the Internet come find me and have sex with me."

Yet when his so-called logic is flipped back on him, Taylor isn't likely to have any trouble rejecting the "practically SCREAMS" logic he's so fond of.

It is not the victims' actions which cause crimes to be committed against them, it is the thinking of the criminals and those whose thinking aligns with those criminals which causes crimes to be committed. It is the projection (unconfirmed illusion) of what another person's actions scream which cause others to justify committing crimes or blaming the victims for luring the non-violent into acts of violence.

If this projection is valid in one scenario then it must be just as valid in all other scenarios.

A man who drunkenly promises his buddies an all-expense paid trip to Mexico once he gets a promotion and who then says, "Forget it," after that promotion then practically SCREAMS for those buddies to forge his signature on credit card cash advance checks until they have enough money for the trip of a lifetime.

Now, for you girls out there that may not be aware, when you dance with a guy over and over again, and get more and more suggestive in your intentions via dancing, a few things happen in the male psyche:

1. His brain sends blood from his head to his “little head” and gives him a boner

2. He starts to think: “I know we’re just dancing… but DANG, she must REALLY want me to give it to her right!”

And so it was: the next time we danced, our faces were touching again. Me, being the guy I am, decided to go in for a light kiss. I puckered up my lips, tilted my head to the side, and

BOOM! She turned her face and I got the cheek!

In item 2 Taylor admits that they were just dancing but his conscious projections (not all that blood went south as claimed) turn just dancing suggestively into something he clearly knows it isn't. Once the dancing started to get suggestive all he had to do to clarify her intent was to ask her if she was interesting in more than dancing. Then based on her answer he could decide whether to dance with her again.

But no, she's to blame for his own failure to ask and for his wrong assumption.

So, why do I tell you this story?

Simple: had I been a less-than-understanding guy (i.e., a forceful-type of guy who always “gets what he wants by any means necessary”), I could have just as easily forced a kiss on her, or worse - waited until after the club let out to follow her to her car, then followed her to her house. And, when she got out her car, I could have been right there ready to pounce on her, saying: “I think you owe me something, lady!!”

That's called a rapist and sexual predator not a "less-than-understanding guy."

The described actions are clearly crimes of anger and resentment not passion. Taylor agreed to dance multiple times with a woman and she didn't agree to more than dancing and for that "crime" against him she "deserves" to be raped?

That is seriously disturbed thinking.

Sound far-fetched? Seeing as girls get raped everyday around the world, it’s not an implausible story.

Taylor is giving us rationalizations for not only the rape of women like the one who spurned his kiss, he is making victims' actions responsible for all rapes. It is this ability of so many people to rationalize rape through victim blaming which is responsible for sexual assault in the US estimated at a rate of 1 every 2 minutes.

Women agreeing to dance and not agreeing to do more than dance is not the cause of rape. If that were the true cause of rape then children under the age of 12 wouldn't be 15% of the number of people sexually assaulted.

If Taylor were genuinely interested in preventing the type of rape he highlights, he'd be focusing his ire on men who would use this woman's actions to justify stalking her and raping her. But he doesn't waste a sentence trying to convince potential rapists not to rape.

He feels free to allow his ire toward women to spill out into public by framing his resentments as rape prevention advice despite the fact that his argument about "deserved" rape contributes to the very thing he claims to be against.

Now, had I gone through with the second example, I’d be called a “monster” who “preyed upon this girl for no reason,” and would be looked down upon for doing such a thing. And, like I said before, given the actions that were taken in the second example, that title would have been deserved.

But, what about the girl? What about HER part in the scenario?

Again we get a logical contradiction. If Taylor agrees that if he had followed that woman and raped her that he would have, "preyed upon this girl for no reason," then he cannot turn around and demand that a rape victim take responsibility for the actions of a rapist.

But this isn't about logic, it is about anger and displacing responsibility for a man's rageful actions onto women.

It’s okay, for example, if a girl decides to wear a shirt on a date that shows a little cleavage. However, it’s another thing for a girl to go on a date wearing a top that shows just about everything but her nipples, then have a 30-minute conversation with a guy about how voluptuous and sensitive her breasts are, then spend half the night stroking her hand against the outer-lining of said breasts…

…and then get mad at the guy for trying to touch them towards the end of the date!!!

You see what I mean?? It’s called “FALSE ADVERTISING,” and that crap is very frustrating to a guy!

He positions himself as a powerless victim to this cleavage-bearing woman and others like her, but he (or the guy) made choices which included the choice to act on assumptions that he could have quickly verified or ruled out.

Taylor fails to consider that the cause of the rejection in this scenario could easily be "the guy."

His description dehumanizes her. She is nothing more than a product and her actions are advertisements. With a belief set like that motivating the man's actions what could go wrong so that a willing woman ends up so mad at him that her willingness turns to disgust?

The answer is everything.

But it is easier to label women as cruel teases and to label men who rape to be little more than hapless victims of those mean women.

So, when a girl comes along who is actively (read: not from a distance, not while sitting somewhere by herself, unaware that guy is looking at her, but actively) performing certain actions or saying certain things that signal sexual interest…

WHAT ELSE IS A GUY SUPPOSED TO THINK, other than: “This girl want to give me sex!”

In short, ladies: if you don’t want a guy to rape you, don’t do stuff intentionally that you know will make him want to jump your bones. You may think doing these sorts of things is “cute” and “just being a girl,” but it’s dangerous, and can get you hurt. Teasing a guy with soft whispers, body groping, or any other type of enticing maneuver is wrong if you don’t plan on following through.

So much for being against rape.

I suggest to Taylor that he drop, "This girl want to give me sex!" and add, "This is a good time to ask." Then he needs to ditch the seething resentment and anger.

His non-sex crime analogy about a promised retail sale undermines his logic that making men want to jump a woman's bones causes rape. His analogy shows that the criminal responses he understands come from revenge-filled rage not from any masculine biological response.

When he expects something from you then you'd better give it to him ... or else.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 7:46 AM   10 comments links to this post

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Jennifer Hudson Appeals For Help Finding Nephew

From ABC News:

Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson appealed on Sunday for the public's help in finding her 7-year-old nephew, missing since the shooting deaths of her mother and brother.

City police transferred custody of the man labeled a "person of interest" in the shooting deaths to state authorities.

An Amber Alert remained in effect Sunday for young Julian King, who disappeared on Friday, the day the bodies of his grandmother, Darnell Donerson, 57, and 29-year-old uncle Jason Hudson were found in the home they all shared on the city's South Side. The deaths were ruled homicides.

My heart goes out to the entire Hudson family. I can't fully imagine what it's like to have this happen in your family. Unfortunately, too many people don't have to use their imagination to understand what this family is going through.

This is another example about why we as an entire society need to do more to prevent this type of violence. Convicting those who murder and throwing them in prison after they murder isn't enough.

Update (10/27): A boy's body has been found in the SUV listed in the Amber alert. Even though no official identification has been made, this is likely Julian King.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 4:19 PM   1 comments links to this post

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Woman Who Claimed She Was Assaulted For Supporting McCain To Be Charged

From MSNBC:

PITTSBURGH - A John McCain volunteer in Pittsburgh who said she was robbed and sexually assaulted because of her political views has admitted to fabricating the story and will be charged, police said Friday.

20-year-old Ashley Todd, of College Station, Texas, "stated that she made up the story which snowballed and got out of control," Pittsburgh police said in a statement, adding that she would be arrested and charged with filing a false police report.

"Ms. Todd stated that she was not robbed and there is no 6'4" black male attacker," the police added. "She indicated that she has had a prior mental problems and she does not remember how the backward letter "B" got on her face."

What makes me accept that this woman wasn't assaulted as she originally claimed isn't her confession which was given after she agreed to take a polygraph. Crime victims have been coerced into recanting and polygraphs can contribute to false recantations.

I've read that the marking of this woman's cheek is proof that this is a hoax since real attackers never mark their victims, but conclusions which rely on what attackers never do are dangerous.

That particular proof of a hoax is disproven by the conviction of a woman and her new boyfriend in the assault of her ex-boyfriend. They were accused of trying to brand her ex-boyfriend with the letter R.

What makes me accept that the report was a total fabrication is the ATM data which show she didn't use the machine as she claimed and it was the pictures from that ATM which directly contradict her story that she was robbed while at that ATM and then physically attacked when her robber saw her McCain bumper sticker.

The evidence is what must be the basis for the switch from belief to disbelief.

I don't know if this was a twisted reaction to all the smears against Obama which painted him as someone who hangs out with terrorists and who is allegedly un-American. If Todd believed that Obama is a terrorist who would destroy America if he wins the election, that could have helped her rationalize an action which would make Obama supporters look like the violent thugs she assumed many of them to be. In her mind that night, her story might have been something which she envisioned as possibly erasing Obama's lead in the polls.

There are serious racial overtones to this woman's allegation since she is white and she reported that she was attacked by a black man who she linked to the first African American man nominated by one of the 2 major political parties. Yet most people assume that all racially-charged false allegations are made against white men.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 5:53 AM   0 comments links to this post

Friday, October 24, 2008

High School Football Players Charged With Raping Cheerleader

From CBS News:

Three Silsbee High School football players have been charged with raping a cheerleader at a post-game party. [...]

The girl told police that three males forced her into a room, held her down and sexually assaulted her, the affidavit states.

When others at the party tried to open the door, two of the males fled through a window of the one-story house, according to police. The third boy remained behind.

One of the suspects who fled left behind a pair of shorts, and later returned and made threats so he could retrieve them, the affidavit states. The police were called about 2:40 a.m., Police Chief Dennis Allen told the newspaper.

What I find most telling is how some commenters filter this information.

mjm117 wrote in response to a comment written by One_Texan about athletes getting away with raping cheerleaders:

Or in the case of the Duke lacrosse team, it didn't happen. If they boys did commit the crime, they will be punished...don't you worry about that. You can calm down about your hatred to atheletes now.

This man names a case, but not one that supports his patronizing claim about how if these football players are guilty they'll be convicted. His claim is clearly false since athlete rapists, like non-athlete rapists, regularly get away with rape. He conveniently mistakes hating the fact that athletes usually get away with rape with hating athletes. If he views One_Texan as irrational while denying that athlete rapists can get away with rape he can pretend that the widespread injustice done to girls who are raped by athletes is nothing more than athlete-hating hysteria.

In the De Anza college baseball case, a gang rape of an unconscious girl was interrupted by 3 women and nobody was punished.

Pro Football player Jerramy Stevens' history of violence began in high school where an assault which broke his victim's jaw was reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor so he wouldn't lose the chance to play football at the University of Washington. Once at UW Stevens faced rape allegations and police gave Stevens' attorneys the victim and witness testimonies before he was questioned which broke Seattle police procedures. Not surprisingly, Stevens didn't go to trial for the allegation that he forced himself on an incapacitated student. Then there were the hit and runs.

The outcome of these cases is echoed in many other cases where athletes were accused of rape.

The reality is that prosecutors only bring cases to trial that they believe they have a good shot at winning. This is true not only in rape cases, it is true in murder cases. But in a murder case nobody takes this lack of prosecution to be proof that the victim didn't really die as alleged. If they tried to make that claim, we'd all see clearly how nonsensical that claim really is.

But nonsensical arguments like that are commonplace when the crime is rape.

The reason for this comes down to rationalization and pervasive rape denial. This allows people who think of themselves as being anti-rape to baselessly declare that the alleged victims who don't see their rapists punished are all liars.

For many of these people it is easier to deny the crime, thereby making a false allegation against a rape victim, than to face the reality of how many rapists get away with rape. For others they simply don't want to see certain rapists prosecuted either because they dismiss the rape as a mistake or because they blame the victim.

Here's another commenter, swingset4u, who brings that accusation of false reporting into this case. He uses the word theory to cover the fact that he's actually making an unfounded accusation against this alleged victim.

When others at the party tried to open the door...Hmmm, I am curious how this is going to pan out...

Theory: When "others" tried to open the door, could they have been adults chaparoning? When busted could it be she cried rape/Sexual Assault to save her own hide? I''ll wait for the rape kit test to form further opinions.

The last sentence which refers to waiting is a familiar lie.

Everyone who views this case as credible is supposed to wait before agreeing that the criminal accusations are most likely true, but swingset4u doesn't have to wait to make criminal allegations since he is making allegations against this alleged sexual assault victim. This type of guy will only wait to see what other rape denial he can get away with.

If the charges are dropped swingset4u will declare himself to be right in his assessment of this case. He won't care about the common lie that rapists make when they cannot deny sexual contact: "She consented." And he won't care about all those who are quick to accept this lie because he's likely one of them.

Here's another comment by swingsets4u:

The kit will be sent to Texas Department of Public Safety, with results taking up to four months. Four months????

Is this to give the Texas Department of Public Safety a chance to beat the "snot" out of these guys then use the snot as D.N.A. evidence against them?

This comment demonstrates swingsets4u's blatant ignorance of the widespread backlog of DNA testing which caused rape kits from Los Angeles to sit unprocessed for a full decade. His credibility is zero and his agenda is clear.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:32 AM   0 comments links to this post

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Man Who Paid A Friend To Bring Him Boys To Rape Sentenced

From KRQE:

RIO RANCHO, N. M. (KRQE) - A Rio Rancho family says it can move on now that a man who paid a friend to bring him young boys to rape has been given what may be effectively a death sentence.

"Thank God it's over," the mother of three of the victims told KRQE News 13 after the sentencing hearing Thursday.

District Judge George Eichwald sentenced Peter Durán, 45, to 36 years in prison, the maximum contained in a plea agreement. However Durán is dying from AIDS and not expected to live out the sentence.

This crime is so cold-blooded that I don't have the words for it. But I agree with this mother's relief that this rapist will never be free again.

The man who was paid to procure children to be raped is a danger to the public even if he wasn't personally violent. Hopefully he will receive a sentence which reflects the severity of the crimes he committed.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:47 PM   0 comments links to this post

UNIFEM Say No To Violence Campaign

UNIFEM (United Nations Development Fund For Women) has a campaign going now called Say NO to Violence Against Women which seeks to address this violence which happens around the globe as the human rights issue that it is rather than viewing this pervasive violence as nothing more than a bunch of individual acts of violence.

From the facts and figures page:
Violence against women and girls is a problem of pandemic proportions. At least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime — with the abuser usually someone known to her [1]. Perhaps the most pervasive human rights violation that we know today, it devastates lives, fractures communities, and stalls development.
UNIFEM's efforts to combat violence against women are varied and include assessment, prevention and working with different countries to ensure a strong legal framework of laws and enforcement.

To add your support for this campaign go to http://www.saynotoviolence.org/. I've added my name to the list of over 200,000 supporters.

For ideas on how to help spread the word or how you can help in other ways, go to the you can help page.






Hat tip: Jenny H.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 4:14 AM   0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Why The California Statute Of Limitations For Rape Must Be Eliminated ASAP

California's statute of limitations for rape are contingent on the timeliness of the processing of DNA evidence.

From KPCC radio:

Nick Roman: The Controller’s audit says the LAPD’s backlog of untested rape kits stands at more than 7,000. It’s doubled in the last five years. There’s no statute of limitations when it comes to rape. So why does it matter that a kit goes untested for a few years?

Here’s why: State law says rape kits must be tested for DNA within two years of the alleged crime. If they’re not, a 10-year countdown starts. That’s how long authorities have to test the kit so the DNA evidence obtained can be used in court.

Once the 10 years runs out, the evidence is useless.

This countdown system is not working if it was meant to get DNA evidence processed quickly. What it is doing is allowing agencies who don't make this DNA processing a priority to allow rapists to escape justice.

Other non-sex crime statute of limitations don't have this same 2-tiered restriction which means that this restriction which changes the statute of limitations for rape based on something other than the severity of the crime has nothing to do with issues of due process or the right to a speedy trial. This is about attitudes related to sex crimes.

The backlog in LA can't be fixed instantly, but the ticking clock can be disarmed instantly by California lawmakers and once it passes the California legislature, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

I urge all those in California to contact your state legislators and Gov. Schwarzenegger's office before the November election and demand that they diffuse this ticking clock. They have the power to prevent another needless injustice.

This LA Times headline should tell lawmakers, who don't listen to public radio stations like KPCC, everything they need to know about why the statute of limitations for rape in California needs to be eliminated and why all the conditional nonsense related to DNA must also be eliminated. Now.

200 sex assault cases pass prosecution deadline before LAPD tested DNA kits

Since LA received $4 million in grants to pay for the processing of backlogged rape kits, currently about 7000, money is not the problem.

LAPD officials acknowledged that some kits were beyond the legal deadline, but said it was possible that some of those cases had been prosecuted using other evidence. They added that some of the stored DNA evidence may be tied to crimes other than sexual assault.

This acknowledgment is an admission of incompetence and inconsistency. Maybe some of those rapists were convicted anyway. Hey, maybe this problem extends far beyond rape cases.

What will it take to fix both the statute of limitations and the needless backlog? A class-action lawsuit from thousands of rape victims including those who learn that their rapists weren't arrested because one or more rape kits with their DNA weren't processed until the statute of limitations expired?

This is a human rights issue and this backlog impacts not only rape victims who reported and those but those who are wrongfully suspected of rape. It also impacts the victims of those other crimes where the DNA evidence hasn't been processed.

The problem of untested DNA evidence is not unique to the LAPD. Forensic labs throughout the nation have been swamped by demands, not only from regular investigators but also from "cold hit" squads seeking breaks in long-dormant cases and from convicts with claims of innocence. According to U.S. Justice Department statistics, more than 500,000 unsolved crimes, including 169,000 rapes, have untested DNA evidence.

I wish that I were shocked that a half a million unsolved crimes in the US have untested DNA evidence.

Eliminating the statute of limitations for rape in California isn't enough, it needs to be eliminated everywhere. Voters who find this situation appalling need to communicate that this is an issue which will impact who they will and will not vote for.

Once the statute of limitations for rape is eliminated across the board then we need to keep the pressure up related to the processing of rape kits.

This isn't about being suckered by political posturing. It is about looking at effectiveness. If rapists and potential rapists knew that all reports of rape were handled respectfully and promptly who knows how many of those rapists would decide that the odds were no longer in their favor?

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:43 AM   0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rape Injuries Harder To Spot In Dark-Skinned Women

From Reuters:

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Sexual-assault injuries may be tougher to detect in darker-skinned women -- potentially putting them at a disadvantage in both the health and legal systems, according to researchers.

In a study of women who voluntarily underwent forensic exams after consensual sex, the researchers found that white women were significantly more likely than black women to have injuries to the external genitalia detected.

There were no such differences, however, when it came to more internal injuries.

When the researchers analyzed the findings in terms of the women's skin tone, they found that dark skin -- more so than race, per se -- appeared to reduce the likelihood of finding an injury to the external genitals.

This is important research since too many people are quick to wrongly declare that a physical exam has proven that no rape could have occurred. This non-racial bias is strong enough that I would be shocked if it hasn't regularly led a man who was guilty of rape to either not be charged or to be acquitted.

Once ignorant people reach the faulty conclusion that it has been proven that there was no injury then they may feel free to declare that it's been proven forensically that the alleged rape victim filed a false police report. Some of these people will then demand that this woman who "cried rape" be immediately charged and given the same punishment as if she were a rapist.

The speed at which many of these people demand punishment of someone who reported rape disproves any claim on their part that they are against rushing to judgment and that they are against all false and unfounded allegations.

This problem of identifying injuries in dark skinned women also feeds into the existing stereotypes about women of color which baselessly casts extra doubt on their testimony. That bigotry is fueled in part by articles such as "The truth of interracial rape in the United States" by Lawrence Auster which clearly misuses Justice Dept. crime statistics to make racist claims about who does and does not rape across racial lines.

Auster also claims that half of all rape reports are false citing a Linda Fairstein quote (that has since been disavowed by Fairstein) that he got from Wikipedia.

Some who have read Auster's article blindly accepted the claim that virtually zero black women are sexually attacked by whites without considering how Auster parsed the summary statistics and whether rounding down from a summary percentage effectively erased the raw data recorded by the Justice Department.

An analysis of 10 years of the underlying Justice Department crime data showed that white on black rape happens daily in the US. Yet Auster's summation turned this frequent occurrance into virtually zero.

This mix of racial bigotry and ignorance makes many people even quicker to declare that what was in reality a true allegation of rape has been proven to be a false allegation.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:17 AM   0 comments links to this post

Monday, October 20, 2008

Actor Found Not Guilty Of Raping 16 Year Old Admits Silly Mistakes

From UK MSM:

[Former Emmerdale actor Ben] Freeman said while he hadn't done anything illegal, he had made "bad choices".

Freeman denied raping the girl after they met at a resort on the Caribbean island on November 29, 2006. The 28-year-old said he knew the girl, from Cheshire, was 16 at the time but said she never resisted his advances as he denied the charge at the High Court, Bridgetown, Barbados. The jury took 90 minutes to reach a unanimous not guilty verdict last week.

Freeman told ITV's This Morning he was "glad" it was over. He said he wasn't angry at the girl.

Freeman continued: "I do have to say that I made a lot of bad choices that I put myself in a position where someone can say that about me.

"The important point is that I didn't do anything illegal but it was silly."

Assuming that a lack of resistance means that a girl is consenting to sex is silly in Freeman's mind?

That isn't silly, it is negligent at best and it is rape if the girl wasn't consenting. The legal responsibility for telling the difference between lack of resistance and consent must belong to the person who is the aggressor.

"Oh, silly me, I guessed wrong," should never be a valid legal defense. Unfortunately, this defense often works to get an acquittal.

If Freeman changes his behavior only because someone (the girl who didn't consent) could honestly say she was raped by him, that's better than arrogantly continuing to use lack of resistance as a substitute for genuine consent. But it still positions him as falsely accused when it's clear by his own statements that the report against him was genuine.

She got raped. He made a bad choice.

But he isn't angry with her after he was acquitted? How generous of him.

Many of us who were raped by someone we know can relate to having rapists who position themselves as generous as they admit to making bad choices.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:36 AM   4 comments links to this post

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Debunking The Debunking Of 2 Percent False Rape Report Claim: Part 2

This is the second part of my analysis of the article: The Truth Behind Legal Dominance Feminism's "Two Percent False Rape Claim" Figure by Edward Greer given as proof that the claim that only 2% of rape reports are false reports (the person who reported being raped lied about having been raped) has been debunked.

I showed in part 1 that while Greer's paper claims to disprove the estimated 2% rate of false rape reports it fails in that claim. There is no proof that the rate of false rape reports is higher than 2%.

Further, Greer's claim that "roughly half of accused rapists are convicted" can easily be proven to be a false claim. According to RAINN statistics, only 23.6% of rapes successfully reported to the police result in a plea deal or a conviction. Greer conflated the outcome of prosecuted rape cases with the outcome of all reported rape cases. Either he's being deliberately deceptive or he is incompetent.

I believe it is deception since Greer needs that inflated rate of convictions to create a false sense of the reality of what happens after someone reports having been raped.

The supposed proof that the rate of false reports is far higher than 2%, based in part on substituting data from prosecutions and calling it the data for accusations, then gets used by Greer to attack feminist efforts to improve rape laws and rape law enforcement.

At the extreme, the felony would be defined such that its elements reduce to sexual intercourse plus retroactive nonconsent. [...]

Perhaps the silent woman is afraid to object; perhaps her consent is unvoiced. Many of the cases that LDF points to as horrible miscarriage of justice fall into this latter scenario. However, such a characterization of these cases rests on the assumption that the woman's complaint is valid. Absent this unsupported assumption, one could readily infer either consent or non-consent.

This is the tired old argument about date rape being nothing more than morning after regret.

The problem with the premise that a boy or man's assumption about consent should trump the reality of a girl or woman's reported lack of consent is that boys and men interested in sex don't need to rely on assumptions or on perhaps.

If in a situation a woman's consent is not absolutely clear and free of generic assumptions ("my buddies told me that when a woman asks you in for coffee she's asking you in for sex and she invited me in for coffee so I'm falsely accused") then there is no consent.

The idea that the entire area between scratching a man's eyes out in self-defense while screaming, "No!" and saying, "Yes, yes, please!" must be treated as if consent were given -- even if it wasn't -- is to deliberately support allowing most rapists to rape with the full support of the law.

This opinion means that a rapist should not be treated by the law as a rapist as long as that rapist didn't use a knife or gun and didn't leave the victim with such severe physical injuries that they can't be dismissed in Greer's mind with any defendant's claim that goes something like, "I assumed she consented when I decided to have rough sex with her. Lots of women like rough sex."

Justifying the protection of most rapists in the name of protecting those genuinely falsely accused of rape is a sham because it is a direct contributor to the taint which will follow the truly innocent rape suspect.

As Greer said, "one can readily infer either consent or non-consent." which means that, "one can readily infer either he's a rapist or he's not." This means that any claim that a man in this situation is proven to be innocent is false. By Greer's standard there is only a failure to prove that man guilty.

This means that the innocent man's claim of innocence in this scenario can never be trusted since it is in a permanent state of unknowability. The result is that by Greer's own standards this type of case can never be included in the count of proven false accusations.

That causes the voice of the genuinely falsely accused saying, "I'm innocent," to be drowned out by all the rapists singing that same tune.

If a boy or man takes a girl out to the woods as described by Greer with the intent to have sex with her, he has the specific obligation to make sure she isn't complying out of fear of what he will do if she doesn't comply. He isn't forced to infer anything and neither is the jury. The jury can assess the defendant's efforts to ensure that genuine legal consent was present.

If the defendant did nothing to ensure that the girl or woman was giving him genuine legal consent and his behavior could lead her to believe that her lack of consent wouldn't be respected, the truthfulness of his claim of consent cannot be inferred and the truthfulness of the alleged victim's testimony has been confirmed.

There was no legal consent because the defendant never sought genuine legal consent.

Yet Greer wants jurors and the public to ignore credible evidence of rape based on nothing more than his unsubstantiated guess that up to 20% of rape reports are false.

Even if the rate of false rape reports is 0.000001% no defendant should have the evidence in his case ignored in favor of having the verdict based on the probability that alleged victim was really raped. A defense which says that the wrong person has been identified needs to be considered by the jury with an understanding that this can happen without the victim telling a single lie. And it can happen just as easily in non-sex crimes where victim or witness identification is just as much of an issue.

In defining retroactive consent, Greer seeks to misuse victims ignorance of the sex crime statutes in their jurisdiction or their shock and disbelief that someone they trusted could be a rapist as proof that genuine legal consent was given.

If a rape victim doesn't realize that what happened was a crime then Greer believes the criminal justice system should pretend that no crime was committed.

If this methodology is sound then it must be retroactive nonconsent on the part of a man who was poisoned by his wife.

He never told his wife, "No, please don't poison me," and he once told her, "I don't care what you feed me as long you do all the food preparation." And when told he'd been poisoned, the husband denied even the possibility of his wife being guilty of any crime.

These statements clearly give the wife unlimited consent according to Greer's model of legal consent.

I doubt that Greer would view this wife's arrest on attempted murder charges to be a wrongful arrest because this husband is evoking retroactive nonconsent. Yet under Greer's model we must respect that man's initial statement that his wife isn't guilty. To do anything else is to show a basic disrespect for men.

If what Greer classifies as proof of retroactive non-consent were applied to all crimes, that would impact the application of this statement from page 15 of the pdf:

However, LDF's essentially static view of false rape claims simply does not take into account that as the sanctions and costs of bringing rape charges are reduced, an individual's calculation of whether to deliberately make a wrongful charge correspondingly shifts. LDF exponents do not acknowledge that if the "second rape" disappears, so to does the very disincentive which is advanced as the main reason underlying the existence of few false reports.

Wow, with respect like that for the innocent who needs disrespect?

This statement shows that the needless trauma inflicted on rape victims from the process of reporting and going through a trial is intentional as is the support for this needless trauma. Greer believes that all rape victims should be sanctioned and should be subject to additional costs as well.

For the good of the innocent [men], of course.

His support for revictimization of rape victims means he provides moral support for men who love Afghanistan's policy of putting rape victims in jail because this injustice means there aren't likely to be any false rape reports in Afghanistan.

Our constitutional bill of rights bans cruel and unusual punishment, but Greer thinks that when it comes to rape victims that our constitution should be willfully ignored.

I disagree. Thankfully, more and more law enforcement agencies also disagree.

I also disagree with the prediction that treating rape victims who report with as much respect as offered to the most respected type of crime victim will result in an increase in false reports. What it would result in is an increase in the number of true reports -- many of which Greer clearly doesn't want to see reported to law enforcement.

The key to preventing injustices -- all of them -- is to have sex crime investigators follow best practices in gathering all relevant evidence and to then have prosecutors and juries do the same in the evaluation of that evidence. If all a defense attorney has is a narrative about an epidemic of lying women to counter the prosecution's case, then the case must be decided on the evidence to avoid injustice.

But Greer doesn't focus on accuracy of assessing rape reports.

In the stronger version, any act of intercourse that occurs in the absence of oral consent is rape. Most within the LDF do not seriously dispute that currently a large portion of women fail to meet this proposed standard of behavior; and they probably even agree that it would be unjust currently to imprison the male sexual partners.

Apparently, none of the men who have been accused of rape have ever been propositioned by women and these guys never wait to give their own yes in response to women who consent to have sex with them.

If a woman who consented non-verbally feels it is unjust to imprison her male sexual partner on the charge of raping her, she isn't going to file a rape report and she isn't going to testify that she didn't consent.

But let's not get confused by basic logic.

More commonly within LDF there are calls for public policy implementation of the weaker version: that "no means no," i.e., that once the woman has rhetorically expressed nonconsent, sexual intercourse is rape. [...]

but in a society in which numerous women say "no" when they mean "yes," it suffers from the same practical defect as the stronger version.

So not only does Greer want an alleged rape victim's silence to be assumed to be consent, he wants an alleged rape victim's "no" to be assumed to be consent as well.

The claim Greer is making is that in our society numerous women say "no" when they mean "yes" but then report having been raped. This statement of fact relies upon taking the unfounded claims of "it was consensual" given by alleged rapists and treating them as if they are proven claims.

The more accurate claim is that in our society numerous men hear women say "no" and proceed on the assumption that they mean "yes" or they proceed on the assumption that nobody will be able to prove that women who say "no" actually meant what they said.

By what Greer writes about consent and intoxication, he seems to reject, "unconscious means no" as well.

The result is that under Greer's preferred model that nothing a woman who was raped says in her testimony can be viewed as evidence that she was raped no matter how credible she is. But you can bet that everything she says and everything she has done -- and everything that the defense baselessly claims she said or did -- will be viewed by Greer as evidence that she has filed a false police report.

A telling element is contained in footnote 95.

... some tenured law faculty have gone so far as to argue that rape prosecutions should lie against married men regardless of whether the wife "consented to the sexual contact with positive words or positive conduct" so long as the husband had ever previously physically assaulted his wife.

What Greer is doing is ignoring how a physical assault, or a series of physical assaults, impacts a wife's feeling that it is safe to say, "no." For Greer it doesn't matter what crimes a husband commits to get a "yes" from his wife.

That speaks volumes about Greer's sexual ethics.

In the last section, Greer uses current and past convictions for rape to try to prove that feminists who want all types of rapes, including those committed by intimate partners, prosecuted are racists.

While the evidence is not conclusive, it appears that black men are no more likely to rape than white men. The radical disproportion in rape imprisonment rates can then be seen as a key marker as to just how racist the criminal justice process, as deployed, actually is.

The ugly reality is that the rapes that Greer and those like him don't deny disproportionally have black men as the perpetrator.

In footnote 111 Greer writes:

The extent of selective enforcement is staggering.

The irony is that Greer's entire article advocates for a continuation of selective enforcement of rape laws. Using his own standards, the fact that he doesn't mention race in those previous sections is meaningless. His ideal process, which is pre-feminist reforms, has by his own admission discriminated against black males.

His claim that the changes he opposes would make this bias worse is unfounded.

Greer declares that feminists who want better rape law enforcement and better rape laws are advocating change from a safe position so that their proposals can never harm them and therefore should be ignored.

The women who agree with Greer's position generally fit the demographics of the feminists he attacks. So by using demographics to dismiss policies he disagrees with, Greer has declared the opinions and the desired changes to the legal system given by women he agrees with to be just as invalid.

The same argument can be applied to Greer himself. As an adult male he is at the lowest risk of becoming a victim of rape. Therefore, according to Greer's own logic his advocated positions on the treatment of those who report rape throughout the criminal justice process must be ignored.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:17 AM   6 comments links to this post

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Debunking The Debunking Of 2 Percent False Rape Report Claim: Part 1

I saw the article: The Truth Behind Legal Dominance Feminism's "Two Percent False Rape Claim" Figure by Edward Greer given as proof that the claim that only 2% of rape reports are false reports (the person who reported being raped lied about having been raped) has been debunked.

However, while this paper claims to debunk a claim about the low rate of false rape reports, the proof given in this debunking contains no actual proof that the 2% rate of false rape reports is lower than reality.

[...] many of its empirical claims regarding the sexual abuse of women are erroneous. [...] This article attempts to demonstrate that the LDF discourse on rape is fundamentally false.

At the core of LDF discourse on rape is the proposition that "women don't lie" about sexual abuse.

The problem here is that while Greer is officially claiming to debunk a 2% rate of false rape reports (where women lie about having been raped) and thereby proving that a higher rate of girls and women who report having been raped are lying, he is also claiming that the real feminist claim is that there is a rate of false reports of 0.0000000000000000%.

In reality the core of the genuine feminist discourse is that the anti-feminist mantra, "women lie about rape" attempts to baselessly discredit the testimony of girls and women who report being raped and it attempts to justify baselessly mistreating rape victims throughout the criminal justice process.

This "women lie about rape" mantra implies that men are more honest than women when it comes to cases where a woman reported being raped by a man. Men, even those guilty of rape, must never feel victimized by the criminal justice system while this feeling of revictimization is a requirement for women who report rape.

Jurors are instructed to consider issues of credibility for all witnesses. This includes defendants if they choose to testify. The "women lie about rape" mantra seeks to baselessly taint the credibility of victim testimony but only when the victim is female and the crime is rape.

Greer makes a fundamental error by saying that women who report rape have the burden of proving that the allegation is true beyond a reasonable doubt. That legal responsibility has always belonged to the prosecution and it will continue to belong to the prosecution.

If Greer doesn't know this he is incompetent. If he knows this, he is trying to obscure this fact and has proven himself to be untrustworthy.

Unlike those who oppose the LDF program because of its alleged "malebashing" this article concedes that were it empirically true that only two percent of those charged with rape were innocent, LDF's solutions might represent a reasonable public policy. But if, as may well be the case, as many as a quarter of the men currently accused of rape are actually innocent, then the goals of LDF are truly destructive. [...]

Whether by trial or by plea-bargaining, roughly half of accused rapists are convicted. Even if we assume arguendo that all those convicted are indeed guilty, and that a full two-thirds of those acquitted at trial were also guilty, we would still wind up with a situation in which one-sixth of those actually tried are really innocent.

Here's where we get the statistical switcheroo. The 2% allegedly debunked was the rate of false rape reports and now it is the rate of men charged with rape who are innocent.

It is notable that not only does Greer do a statistical switcheroo, his claim that roughly half of accused rapists are convicted can easily be proven to be a false claim. According to RAINN, if a rape is reported (about 40% are) there is only a 50.8% chance of an arrest. If there is an arrest there is an 80% chance of prosecution. If there is a prosecution there is a 58% chance of a conviction. If there is a felony conviction there is a 69% chance the convict will spend time in jail.

That means that in reality the percentage of those accused who are convicted is 23.6%. Of the reported rapes there is only a 16.3% chance the rapist will go to prison.

That new statistical measurement of defendant innocence is based on assumptions and guesswork so not only is the range of 16.6% to 25% not a measurement of false rape reports which can be used to disprove the feminist estimate it is not an accurate measure of how many rape defendants are factually innocent. Greer is doing the equivalent of sticking his thumb out and squinting to come up with a number.

The rate of rape defendants innocence is not the rate of false rape reports. There is some overlap but identification problems allow men charged with rape to be innocent while the reports of rape in those cases are true.

A gap in the law or an error in which statutes were included in the indictment doesn't make the original report of rape false either.

A true report of rape doesn't become false even if the rape victim was coerced into recanting. But this injustice against a rape victim can elevate the recorded rate of false reports. For all of Greer's concern for the innocent, he shows no genuine concern for the harm done by these false allegations. As far as I can tell Greer views cops coercing rape victims into recanting a crime that really happened as an acceptable disinsentive for false rape reports.

By way of comparison, there is an elaborate body of literature and numerous examples suggesting that a significant number -- way beyond the two percent range -- of capital murder convictions are of innocent men. Why should criminal trials involving sexual assaults on women be more accurately discriminating than those involving capital crime?

For this comparison to have any meaning in debunking the claim that about 2% of rape reports are false reports, Greer must be claiming here that the number of false murder reports (no murder occurred and the person who reported the murder knows it) is way beyond two percent.

Notice that the high rate of wrongful convictions are only suggested from literature and examples. That's called guesswork.

Greer makes the false assumption that any rejection of his belief that 20 to 25 percent of rape claims are false reports is proof that people have been suckered by feminists. This again is a sign of sloppiness on his part.

Greer has done nothing to prove that the rate of false police reports is higher than 2% or that it is higher than the general rate of false police reports.

By Greer's decision to go against the law and assign rape victims with the burden of proof, he shows a basic level of disrespect for our legal system.

He complains that the raw data and inability to review that data and the analysis behind the original claim from the book by Susan Brownmiller Against Our Will cannot be analyzed to determine whether this source number meets a minimum criteria for accuracy, but his complaints can be applied to all the data he himself puts forth to debunk the idea that only about 2% of rape reports are false.

The closest Greer comes to any data which attempts to measure the rate of false reports is 40% from Eugene Kanin's study, but that data relied entirely on recantations given to investigators who used polygraphs as a standard part of their rape investigations.

Greer fails to recognize or note that tools such as polygraphs have been shown in studies to facilitate false confessions. This makes Kanin's study data tainted and therefore meaningless at determining the actual number of false rape reports. In the Kanin study none of the rape reports which Kanin identified as false were proven to be false by police investigation. So the number of proven false rape reports in Kanin's study is 0.

Greer implies that a review of unfounded rape cases, which are often included in the number of false rape reports, contradicts the 2% false rape report claim.

For Greer the significance was that there were no new prosecutions from that review, but what Greer fails to make note of is that none of those unfounded cases were proven during the review to be false reports. The data that Greer uses to contradict a 2% rate of false reports actually has a rate of 0% proven false reports. The only way to get a number of false reports from that sample higher than 0 is to guess.

It must be noted that Greer's statistical scrutiny, which is so important to him as he rejects feminist claims, is nowhere to be seen when he is tossing out higher rates of false rape reporting.

Continue to part 2.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 6:25 AM   6 comments links to this post

Friday, October 17, 2008

Intimate Partner Violence Challenges Interventions and Solutions: Part 5

This is the fifth post in my series of posts about what I learned at the all-day workshop sponsored by the Mayo Clinic Intimate Partner Violence Education and Prevention Committee.

The final session was given by a Mayo Clinic physician (I'm choosing not to include her name because she is a survivor of IPV and I don't know if her ex-husband is trying to monitor her activities and all references to her). Her session was titled History, Facts and Survival of Intimate Partner Violence.

I don't remember at which point in this session that the doctor talked about the reality that she could still end up as a murder victim because of IPV, but that stuck with me. This possibility is there for her largely because of their children which provides a link between them which her leaving and her divorce can't sever.

The doctor admitted that before she became a victim of IPV she was completely ignorant about IPV and that caused her to be dismissive of women who stayed with their abusers or who returned to them. Her family life as a child was ideal and IPV wasn't something within her sphere of experience. She expected the same type of family life she knew as a child when she married. She didn't get what she expected. But those around her thought she did.

Her assumptions of what she would do in those women's situation were far different than the reality of what she did when she became a victim of IPV.

She and her husband were active in the community as a couple and he appeared to be a devoted husband. But the truth in private was far different than the facade, at least most of the time.

Her husband was thrilled when she became pregnant, but the first time her husband's abuse became physical was during that wanted pregnancy. Along with this physical violence came sexual violence which she didn't immediately identify as rape, but which at times caused her to go to her doctor because of her concerns about the impact of his violence on her pregnancy.

One time during her pregnancy she had bruises on her belly on a day she had an appointment with her ob/gyn and she went into the appointment ready to open up to her doctor about the abuse. Her doctor saw the bruises and immediately looked away from her belly and from her. That shut down all possibilities of discussing IPV and it's impact on her safety and on her pregnancy.

Like many abusive relationships there were 3 clear phases her husband cycled through. Escalation of tension, violence, honeymoon phase.

In that honeymoon phase he was the man she'd fallen in love with. When she recognized that he'd switched to the escalation phase she learned that if she quickly did something small to irritate him, like skipping doing the laundry, that would trigger a premature switch in him to violence and because his tension was low so was his violence. Then the cycle would begin again.

I noticed through her descriptions of her marriage that the tension built when she avoided doing anything which bothered her husband.

The tension didn't build because she was being hostile or mean to him and he was working to hold his anger in until he could control his anger no more. Yet this is the stereotype many non-violent people have about IPV because of their assumptions about what it would take for them to be violent.

This deliberate behavior by IPV victims which sets an abuser off is often described as a cause and is frequently condemned as a contributor to the abuse. But I believe it is an act of self-defense since it is better to have a man rage verbally and throw dirty laundry than to wait until the abuser's internalized pressure is so high that the level of abuse required to relieve all that pressure will result in physical injuries or death.

The dangerous thing about this self-defensive strategy is that it can be used by the abuser to justify the response. This helps abusers to rationalize that they are the victims. Look at everything she intentionally did wrong. This self-defense effort can also be used by others, such as police or family court officials, to view the relationship as co-abusive.

The best way to deal with someone who is cycling through abuse this way is to get out, but other than during pregnancy, someone in an abusive relationship who is planning to get out and who is actually leaving is at the highest risk of being murdered.

No wonder victims of IPV need a danger assessment, referrals to experts and a safety plan. This is tricky stuff with potential landmines everywhere.

This cycle of abuse for her abuser was similar in many ways to the cycle of sexual arousal. The sexual tension rises, sexual activity occurs and then there is the post-coital euphoria. Only instead of sex, this cycle feeds off the experience of violence.

The act of being violent is the emotional and physical payoff for the abuser which leaves behind this lingering feeling of self-satisfaction.

It's sad that anyone could need to be violent, emotionally or physically, to feel self satisfied. That indicates that this person can't get to self-satisfaction in healthy ways. No wonder her husband hated it when people praised her or called her doctor.

When people would greet her warmly at the mall, she knew she would pay for that when they got home. After telling this story, she apologized to anyone she rudely turned away from in public in her effort to to reduce the violence directed at her.

As I think about that behavior I suspect her ex-husband's abuse on those days was designed specifically to make her be rude in public so that he would appear to the people who knew her to be a better person than his wife. This also provides at least one of the reasons why victims of IPV are frequently anti-social. They often need to be to mitigate the violence.

While people who saw her at work didn't know that after she became a parent her husband's rages would cause her to bundle her kids up multiple times a week and take them to a local motel. Once she was sure her husband was asleep she would return and work feverishly during the night to get the house in order so that everything would be perfect by the time her husband woke in the morning.

She admitted that because of her beliefs about marriage she likely wouldn't have left her abusive husband if it hadn't been for her children. The first time one of her children spoke up to try to protect her she knew she had to leave even though she still loved her husband.

She didn't stick around to see if or when her husband would turn his violence on their children.

Because of her profession and her connections she had the resources to get out without using IPV resources. She had been isolated on a personal level, but she didn't have the other barriers which other IPV victims such as Kerri Robinson had.

Because she left before her husband could think of turning his abuse toward their children, the abuse and the child custody were considered by default to be separate issues. If they were connected, the responsibility for proving this was her responsibility.

In the custody process, she paid to have an assessment done to assess the risk to her children. She selected a fellow Mayo doctor who was an expert in the field but whom she'd never even met prior to the first appointment. The judge threw that assessment out because obviously the report was falsified since she and the expert were both Mayo doctors.

Without any proof, she and that other doctor were effectively declared to be liars and co-conspirators.

So she had to pay to have a second assessment done by a doctor in another city and the judge threw that assessment out as well because the judge refused to believe that the second assessment which confirmed the finding of the first assessment could be true.

Again there was no evidence that this assessment was false.

I'm sure that this woman and her husband's public image as an ideal couple helped convince the judge that she was just another vindictive woman using child custody and a false allegation of domestic abuse to gain revenge on her ex-husband.

This judge's unfounded declaration in turn helps other people support their claims about the high number of false accusations of abuse which have been proven in family court. This is a reminder about why the spectrum of prevention is so important.

This is also a reminder for me about why when people rant about "women lie about rape and abuse" that we need to point out that victims of rape and IPV are regularly subjected to false allegations from those who are violent and from those who are in positions of power such as the police and judges.

Those false allegations against victims of IPV don't cease to exist simply because they are not accompanied by criminal charges.

Finally, the doctor told us that what she's learned through her own experience with IPV has led her to be a better, more compassionate doctor. She openly and routinely screens her patients for IPV during exams and makes it clear that the doctor's office is an appropriate place to discuss interpersonal violence.

As illustrated in an earlier session IPV has serious health consequences. If doctors treat the symptoms without being aware of the cause, or a major contributor, they are going to be less effective.

In this final part, I want to add information which wasn't part of the workshop.

One of the issues raised in various sessions in the workshop is how often IPV victims cannot expect their abusers to be charged with a crime or the crime which can be proven is considered a minor crime. In 2005, Minnesota law was changed so that strangulation during domestic abuse became a felony offense.

This is a law which needs to be passed in all jurisdictions. Just as we should take it seriously when people talk about suicide or act in ways that are suicidal, we must take it seriously when people talk about murder or act in ways that are murderous.

Choking another person is dangerously close to murder even when the hold is released before the other person dies.

I want to close by thanking Mayo Clinic and all those involved in this educational effort for this workshop. It was not only needed to raise awareness about IPV, it provided practical information which helps health care providers give first-class service in an area that is too often ignored until it is too late.

There are many more health care providers still in need of this type of top-notch education so this should be a model for education sponsored by non-Mayo health providers.

Here's part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4 if you missed them.

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

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Intimate Partner Violence Challenges Interventions and Solutions: Part 4

This is the fourth in a series of posts about what I learned at the all-day workshop sponsored by the Mayo Clinic Intimate Partner Violence Education and Prevention Committee.

The fourth session was given by Frank Jewell of Men As Peacemakers and was titled How to Get Men Involved in the Cause.

The first screen in the presentation captured the essence of Jewell's message

Sexual and Domestic Violence and What We Can Do to Prevent it.

He pointed out that only a few of the attendees at this workshop were men and that the under representation of men in the prevention of sexual and IPV violence isn't unique to this workshop, it is systematic. This non-involvement is a choice men make and that choice by most men to do nothing is a core problem when it comes to prevention.

He also talked about how often men are absent in descriptions of acts of violence committed by men. This contributes to non-violent men failing to see 390,000 to 3 million sexual assaults per year as being a men's issue as well as a women's issue.

Jewell highlighted the Minnesota Dept. of Health study which found that sexual violence cost $8 billion in 2005 with a cost per assault of $184,000 for children and $139,000 for adults. This cost is 3 times the cost of drunk driving, but the public efforts to get people to not commit sex crimes or IPV crimes doesn't begin to match the effort to stop people from drinking and driving.

Prevention: a systematic process that promotes healthy environments and behaviors and reduces the likelihood or frequency of an injury or traumatization.

Jewell showed a tree graphic which showed at the root of the tree the contrasting belief systems for violence and non-violence, respectively. The trunk of the tree are the contributors to violence and non-violence. The branches contain the violent and non-violent actions. This graphic is titled Ending Violence Against Native Women From the Roots Up and was created by Sacred Circle, National Resource Center to End Violence Against Native Women.

This graphic highlights how violence is more than a loss of control on the part of the violent. Their violence is rooted in their belief systems and they need support to flourish.

The support or opposition to violence can be seen in our norms. Behaviors that get taken for granted or ignored are given indirect support. Five norms underlie sexual violence.

1. Violence is acceptable
2. Male gender roles/norms
3. Female gender roles/norms
4. Power - power "over"
5. Private matter

For anyone who claims that number 1 on this is wrong and that violence is not acceptable, look who gets lectured about proper behavior after a rape is reported. The normal response is to scold women for anything from walking alone to flirting and then saying no.

These norms are powerful because of their pervasiveness and how often these norms are allowed to go unquestioned. Jewell pointed out that one narrative in professional wrestling has the audience, including children, cheering when men act out violence toward women.

It is also seen in the violence and physical abuse of women by men that is considered a normal part of pornography where male violence is rewarded rather than discouraged. This skewing of pornography toward violence against women explains why viewing pornography can decrease empathy for rape victims, increase victim blaming, increase anger at women who refuse to act out pornographic fantasies, and increase interest in coercing partners into unwanted sex acts.

There is a spectrum of prevention that goes beyond the prevention that health care provider can do through screenings.

Methods -- The Spectrum is comprised of six interrelated action levels: (1) strengthening individual knowledge and skills, (2) promoting community education, (3) educating providers, (4) fostering coalitions and networks, (5) changing organizational practices, and (6) influencing policy and legislation. Activities at each of these levels have the potential to support each other and promote overall community health and safety.

Jewell pointed out that we know prevention works and can see this in a variety of areas so there is no reason to assume that preventing sexual and domestic violence is a futile effort.

The problem I see with sexual and domestic violence prevention efforts is that most of what is packaged as violence prevention is not prevention at all but either scare tactics/victim blaming or it is teaching evasion (don't walk alone) as a substitute for genuine prevention.

PSAs which put the responsibility for rape onto the victim or the victim's parents take the responsibility off the perpetrators. This victim-centric prevention reinforces the norms which make sexual and domestic violence so pervasive and explains why so many rapists and abusers feel they did nothing wrong.

A Queensland PSA (hat tip to reader joonzmoons) designed to prevent binge drinking rewinds from a girl about to be raped back through the party where she drank to the moment her parents gave her a case of beer to take to party. This PSA does nothing to help prevent rape because it doesn't show the rapists as the cause of the rape.

However, the approach of this PSA could have been a genuine prevention message if it opened with a young man being sentenced to prison for committing rape and rewinding back to the moment where his dad gave him beer and told him it would help him get the girl he wanted to stop saying no.

This failure to focus prevention efforts on those who are in the groups most likely to commit sexual and domestic violence extends to research where there are studies which look at the sexualization of girls but parallel studies are not done about the sexualization of boys.

Jewell is a former sex educator and he talked about our society's reluctance to deal with positive, respectful sexuality so that violent porn often serves as the defacto sex educator. This in turn helps to normalize sexual harm and helps create a sexually toxic society.

It is unreasonable to expect that people will change their behavior easily when so many forces in the social, cultural, and physical environment conspire against such change -- Institute of Medicine

Jewell talked about how to counter the normalization of cruelty and sexual harm by boys against girls. One of the problems is that boys who get out of that box of expectations are often subject to emotional and physical violence from other boys. If boys who don't want to coerce girls are treated by other boys like they are disgusting for giving up too soon that contributes to violence. The same goes for boys who are harassed for not controlling their girlfriends.

Men can help change this so that boys who reject gendered violence have direct support for that choice. The pressure from other boys and men should be respectful and it should be toward non-violence.

The last part of this session was on what men can do to help prevent sexual and domestic violence. There are activities men can be involved in across the spectrum of prevention. It isn't enough for non-violent men to be silent opponents of sexual violence and domestic violence.

Effective prevention requires action. One obvious and simple action that men in health care can do is to attend workshops related to sexual and domestic violence the next time they are offered. Another is for men to speak up against messages which reinforce violence to help de-normalize violence against women.

If this seems dangerous for men that is an important realization and it is a reason that the Minnesota Men's Action Network: Alliance to Prevent Sexual and Domestic Violence is such an important group. For more information go to their website.

My next post will be on the last session of the day which was given by a doctor and IPV survivor.

Here's part 1, part 2 and part 3, if you missed them.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:54 AM   1 comments links to this post