Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Alleged Proof Of Bias Toward Women

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Catholic College Can't Tell Rape From Consent So ....":

Knowing parties involved in this case and their relationship beforehand, rape is extremely doubtful. I wish people wouldn't slander those involved without knowing both sides of the story and base their opinions fully on a one-sided article posted by WWeek. This just proves how biased the system is in America toward women (I'm female), what about men falsely accused of rape? This has happened many times before and will continue to happen. What about women "raping" men? I have several male friends who have woken up to girls having sex with them or blacking out and finding out intercourse had occurred.
To Anonymous,

Knowing the people involved is not evidence and is at least as one-sided as the article you disdain. Prior relationship does not prove or even imply consent. What it does prove is that irrelevant information and general opinions about people often trump evidence or lack of evidence. Your attitude about prior behavior and prior relationships actually encourages those considering rape. They rely upon people like you to champion them as wrongfully accused if they decide to commit rape.

Your comment proves that your moral code is that harsh judgments against those who have not been convicted of any crime or offense are fine as long as they are directed at a girl or woman who reported having been raped.

When you say we shouldn't be biased toward girls and women who report rape, you lose credibility as someone seeking balance when you communicate your bias against girls and women who reported rape. Your comment makes a specific accusation and yet you refuse to be held personally responsible for that accusation by providing your name. Anonymous smears only make you look bad to those who don't share your bigotry.

According to you, we shouldn't believe girls and women but we should believe all boys and men who accuse girls and women of committing rape or of lying about having been raped. You have no more evidence that those male friends of yours were raped or were wrongfully accused than you have that the woman in this case wasn't raped. Yet because of your bias you repeat allegations made by men as if they were proven fact.

You lament false allegations but have no concern for those made against girls and women.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:41 AM   1 comments links to this post

Monday, March 30, 2009

Puzzlement Over Not Reporting

During the Q&A portion of our WAM! presentation, Pulling the Plug on Rape Culture One Word at a Time: Using Accuracy to Undermine Dangerous Attitudes and Injustice, someone in the audience asked about reporting and my response was that I didn't consider reporting a possibility because it was 1974. It was clear that the person asking the question didn't understand why that mattered and why I was sure I'd be laughed at if I reported.

The answer was that rape on a date was considered impossible by most cops and even if they did believe it was possible, they would know that without serious non-sexual trauma the only charges that might have stuck would have been statutory rape charges. But even those types of charges were rare unless an underage girl became pregnant. Being laughed out would have been the best case outcome back then. I could have been viewed as a vindictive girl crying rape which would have left me more vulnerable than I already was.

As a follow up we were asked if we would report today if raped by a boyfriend and I said yes if I were raped in Rochester, MN because I know that the investigators are respectful and competent. I didn't have time to explain that in certain locations I would not report because doing so would never result in a competent investigation and could result in my being charged with filing a false police report.

Too many law enforcement agencies still fall into the trap of dismissing most rapes as bad decisions rather than as serious crimes. Too many college administrators who oversee internal processes are so incompetent and arrogent that they continue to treat rape victims as the real offenders or people who can be threatened with expulsion if the administrator later believes the report to be a false one.

There was also a question about why if prevention is the key and most rapists are men why there wasn't a man on our panel. I didn't get a chance to respond, but I believe that the decision to add a man to this particular panel would have been a mistake. This was the Women, Action & the Media conference. Prevention isn't dependant on getting men to take the initiative. It can be done even men don't take an active role.

Ashley gave wonderful tips for how this can be done related to organizations and systems such as governments. Be specific. Ask for something concrete not something vague. Be persistant.

Related to reporting this could be a request to have those who deal with sex crime investigations in your area or school be specifically trained so that they are competent in investigations and competent in their dealings with rape victims. This could also be a demand for stronger anti-harassment policies so that victims won't be powerless when they are tormented or threatened.

If every law enforcement agency and every organization responded promptly and competently to reports of rape and sexual harassment that would prevent many of those types of offenses from happening again. This would be true even if these changes were made under duress from women who refused to accept no as the final answer.

Each time an investigator or official figuratively pats a rape victim on the head and urges her (or him) directly or indirectly to get lost that person is an enemy of prevention.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:09 AM   1 comments links to this post

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Finished Presentation at WAM!

The workshop, Pulling the Plug on Rape Culture One Word at a Time: Using Accuracy to Undermine Dangerous Attitudes and Injustice, was in the last breakout session of the conference. I was thrilled that our room was full to the point where some attendees had to sit or stand around the edge of the room.

Thanks so much to Cara Kulwicki of The Curvature for spearheading this workshop. Her portion and the portions done by Ashwini Hardikar and Ashley Burczak, both from SAFER, provided great and diverse insights. Each of them inspired me.

Jill from Feministe live blogged our workshop.

If anyone else attended, please let me know what you thought of our workshop. There was definitely so much that we didn't have time for.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 2:37 PM   0 comments links to this post

Friday, March 27, 2009

WAM! update

Finished PR workshop and got many to do items. I will post notes after conference ends.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 5:15 PM   1 comments links to this post

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Leaving For WAM Conference Today

Just a quick post letting my readers know that I'm on my way to the MSP airport now and will be in Boston for the WAM! conference this afternoon. Normal blogging will resume Wednesday, April 1.

Thanks to when I could and could not get cheap airfare, I'll be staying in Boston an extra night and still saving money.

I'll check email, the moderation queue and will post from the conference when I can. I'm now on Twitter and will communicate there in between posts.

As previously announced, the next edition of the Carnival Against Sexual Violence will be delayed up to a week.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 6:51 AM   0 comments links to this post

If DNA Match Had Been Made Earlier Slain Officers Might Be Alive Today

The stories I've seen about the shooting of 4 Oakland police officers after a routine traffic stop where 4 officers died mention that the alleged shooter, Lovelle Mixon, had his DNA matched to an unsolved rape (committed in Oakland, CA earlier this year) the day before the shooting.

The alleged victim in that case was a 12-year-old girl raped at gunpoint. That alleged rape (remember if we must say alleged about reported rapes where no gun was involved we must say it in all cases) happened in February and the nature of that crime made the processing of the rape kit a high priority.

What these stories don't mention is that if rape kits were processed faster than they are now, an arrest warrant would have been issued for Mixon and he might have been in custody on the day of the shooting. Mixon is also a suspect in other rapes and any errors or delays in processing DNA evidence in those cases also contributed to Mixon being free when he committed this crime.
If the parole violation came up in the police computer the risk would seem lower than if an arrest warrant for rape came up in the police computer.

No warrant was issued related to the rape which resulted in the DNA match because another sample from Mixon would need to be processed before that could happen. This policy was likely instituted because of complaints about the potential harm of arresting someone before a DNA match was reconfirmed. Yet, as this case shows, waiting holds its own risks to those who are innocent.

This rape kit was processed fairly quickly, likely because the rape was committed by a stranger.

However, as this case shows, rapists are not just a risk to those who are at risk of being raped. Too often people view rapists, even most violent rapists, as not being a general threat to public safety. This attitude comes from the idea that almost all potential victims can prevent rape by abstaining from risky behavior.


Earlier Monday, state Attorney General Jerry Brown said he will examine how 26-year-old Mixon was monitored following his release from prison in November on a conviction for assault with a deadly weapon.

Mixon also was a suspect in a murder last year but was never charged, according to state prison officials.

"Mixon was certainly a character that needed more supervision," said Brown, the former mayor of Oakland. "In Oakland, the highway patrol has an office there, sheriff and police. And all those agencies should have a list of the more dangerous, threatening parolees so they can keep a watch on them."

Problems involving parolees from California's overcrowded prison system have long beset state officials who must monitor them, local officials who try to keep streets safe and federal authorities who enforce firearms and other laws.

These problems highlight why effective prevention efforts are so important and why prevention efforts shouldn't be considered a low priority.

Mixon's history of violence against non-cops contradicts the idea put forth in a post at Feministing by Samhita that Mixon's violence was caused by police brutality.

Police actions which can be called brutality are real and serious problems. Too often police brutality comes from cops underequiped or incorrectly trained to deal with the situations they are put into. This underequipment and incorrect training are also why citizens who choose extreme violence can have the freedom to terrorize so many people for so long until a crime like this happens.

The causes behind police killing unarmed men of color and a man of color killing police are related, but not in the cause and effect way that Samhita seems to puts forth. They both have the same root: Ineffectiveness which is often enshrined in set policies.

When an unarmed man is shot by police too often the investigation ends with, "all applicable policies were followed." And the same thing happens too often when victims of violent crimes are failed by the criminal justice system. "All applicable policies were followed."

In reality these summations indicate that the applicable policies need to change and what is too often an ending point should be a starting point toward making everyone safer. Samhita is right in that a crime like this against cops will motivate people who shrugged off the shooting of many innocent men of color by the police.

Too often, unfortunately, those changes which come after the shooting of police officers are not effective changes and can contribute to more innocent people being harmed while doing nothing which will reduce the risk of this type of crime reoccurring.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson was quoted in Feministing:
A general consensus is that it was a deadly mix of panic, rage, and frustration that caused Lovelle Mixon to snap. His shocking murderous rampage left four Oakland police officers dead and a city and police agencies searching its soul about what went so terribly wrong. Though Mixon's killing spree is a horrible aberration, his plight as an unemployed ex-felon isn't.
This summation unfairly taints all unemployed ex-felons, especially those of color and it makes assumptions which are not supported by Mixon's history.

This general consensus is no more trustworthy than the general consensus which is often trotted out after a white man murders his wife or ex-wife, or after a white man dresses up as Santa before going on a murder spree. That general consensus is that the woman or the family court system must have done something to cause that man to snap.

There is no indication that Mixon's killing spree was an aberration of any kind compared to his past behavior. It isn't shocking that someone who may have murdered and felt like he got away with it would murder again.

Not all unemployed ex-felons grab 12-year-old girls at gunpoint before committing rape. Not all ex-felons are unemployed because of discrimination.

There are many issues related to prevention of crime and prevention of police brutality which are important and which ultimately would cost less than what is being done today. But victim blaming -- toward women or toward the police officers who were murdered -- will do nothing to see that those effective prevention measures will be implemented.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:16 AM   2 comments links to this post

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bill O'Reilly Comments At Fundraiser Highlight Why People Were Outraged That He Was At That Fundraiser

I've seen the following quote at several right wing blogs:

Bill O'Reilly eviscerated the "evil" Far Left loons for attacking rape victim Alexa Branchini at a fundraiser this past week in Florida.
The usage of "eviscerated" to describe what O'Reilly said is fascinating because O'Reilly's history of verbally eviscerating people who have been victims of violent crime is the exact reason so many people protested O'Reilly's presence at a fundraiser for The It Happened to Alexa Foundation.

The pre-invitation eviscerations committed by Bill O'Reilly which many people highlighted were against women who have been raped and/or murdered. Yet O'Reilly hasn't limited his eviscerations to women crime victims.

O'Reilly eviscerated kidnapping victim Shawn Hornbeck (he defended his remarks as having been taken out of context) and has never apologized for what he said. Does this mean that a boy scared for his life and the life of his family was also a far left loon? Why else would O'Reilly eviscerate him on national TV?

But apparently, "loon" wasn't enough for at least one blogger:

Left Wing Loons Attack Rape Victim for Associating with Bill O'Reilly? These radical left wing loons are right out of Nazi Germany.
The site where I found this gem which compares people using their constitutional right of free speech to the crimes of the Nazis mixes "conservative" and "intelligence" in the title yet this quote shows that combo to be an oxymoron in at least one instance.

O'Reilly's decision to frame the criticism of the Alexa Foundation as an attack on a rape victim is interesting because I've seen no documentation that Alexa was the one who invited him to speak. She's not the director of this foundation. It seems that O'Reilly has chosen to use a rape victim as a shield to protect himself.

Frankly, I find that as deeply disturbing as his history of verbally eviscerating certain crime victims.

Many of those who protested the decision of this foundation to invite O'Reilly are survivors of sexual violence yet because they are tagged as "far left loons" attacking those rape victims is acceptable or even admirable.

Another pro-O'Reilly man (I won't link) has weighed in, highlighting his own bigotry while attacking others.

Watch a Fox News crew ambush pro-rape blogger Amanda Terkel, who judging by her appearance, is in no danger of ever being raped.

This statement is more than offensive, it is close to an admission that the man making this statement is a rapist who is informing everyone that he would never select Terkel as his victim.

Telling a woman that you and other likeminded men would never rape her -- but only because of her appearance -- doesn't insult that woman. It shows that the modifier "pro-rape blogger" is misplaced and should be assigned to the man who wrote this statement.

Apparently, O'Reilly's prodution team tailed Terkel for 2 hours before O'Reilly staffer Jesse Watters ambushed her on camera. Here's Terkel's account of that ambush.

This blog headline at The Jabberin' Wookie captures the crux of Bill O'Reilly's credibility problem: Bill O’Reilly Stalks Women To Tell Them How Important Their Safety Is To Him

Bill O'Reilly's credibility problems go beyond comments he's made on-air or actions taken by his staff. The sexual harassment lawsuit which he settled out of court bring up serious questions about O'Reilly's understanding of appropriate sexual boundaries.

But maybe someone at the Alexis Foundation decided that all publicity is good publicity and who better to generate controversy than Bill O'Reilly? They may be right that this controversy will help them raise funds, but at what cost?

A significant amount of the support for Bill O'Reilly has come from people who unintentionally highlight why rape is so common. And since those working to prevent sexual violence are often dismissed as "far left loons" O'Reilly's presence at that fundraiser may further motivate those people to fight efforts to reduce rape and to reduce the trauma of rape victims who file police reports.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:01 AM   0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Met Marj From Survivors Can Thrive

While Marj from Survivors Can Thrive is here in Minnesota on her spring break vacation I drove up to the Twin Cities and spent yesterday afternoon with her, meeting her in person for the first time. We had lunch at Everest on Grand and ice cream at Izzy's. I definitely recommend both places.

What was better than the great food and ice cream was the process of really getting to know another kindred spirit and being able to laugh while talking about serious issues.
That's Marj on the right. I'm so glad that I was able to meet her and didn't let my preparation for the WAM! conference stop me from taking the drive north.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:32 AM   1 comments links to this post

Monday, March 23, 2009

Scotland Yard Failed Rape Victims Tight Budgets Blamed

From the Guardian:

One of Scotland Yard's elite sexual assault units has been condemned for serious failures after untrained officers were left investigating rapes, despite repeated pleas to management for more detectives.

An internal inquiry describes how cases were mishandled in a department that was "understaffed, underskilled and overburdened". It also documents claims by members of Southwark's Sapphire team that management treated car crime as a higher priority than sex offences, because it was under pressure to meet targets for solving cases. The percentage of rape allegations that end up in court is notoriously low.

Four officers are to be disciplined over the case of a teenager who alleged she had been raped in 2005. The report seen by the Guardian reveals that the suspect could have been arrested within days of her coming forward instead of three months later.
Officers never searched for forensic evidence at the scene of the alleged offence, and vital phone evidence was not obtained. The defendant was acquitted.

Two of the officers involved had previously been found responsible for failures in the case of the rape of a 13-year-old.

This type of widespread negligence clearly goes far beyond those on the frontline, who will incorrectly get the most blame. When untrained officers are given assignments they cannot fulfill competently then of course they will fail.

The root of this negligence even goes beyond the police leadership, it goes back to what injustices are considered acceptable. By the results, when it comes to rape widespread injustice is acceptable.

The acceptance of injustice can often happen through seemingly benign tolerance of problems such as this one. Too often people tolerate this type of injustice because they've been fooled into thinking that widespread competence can never be reached.

Those who don't want justice and competence in dealing with sex crimes actively work to support this belief. Or they claim that justice is only about protecting the wrongfully accused.

This excuse is nonsense or police wouldn't respond to reports of shots fired. Justice must be about protecting people from harm. And it must be about reducing the harm as much as possible. Competence is needed to maximize justice and to minimize injustice -- for everyone.

Unfortunately, the results of this particular negligence support the bigotry of many citizens in many countries.

After forensic evidence was lost, a defendant was cleared at trial which fits neatly into the bigotry against those who report having been raped. Lack of evidence to convict a rapist too often becomes sufficient evidence to assume a rape victim's guilt.

This gives us 2 injustices for the price of one. Rapists get away with rape and real rape victims get labeled by many people -- who claim to support justice and oppose injustice 100% -- as proven liars.

Problems that are too often dismissed as unimportant by those rant about high rates of false rape allegations can harm the very people they claim to be championing. Lost forensic evidence can destroy what would have been exonerating evidence to a man wrongfully IDed or who is the target of a fraudulent rape report.

The only people who are well served with this level of negligence are those who are guilty. And in rape cases the majority of those people are rapists. Citizens who tolerate this level of negligence are on a practical level supportive of rape even if they don't mean to do so.

We all need to stop tolerating this sort of negligence even if that tolerance is expressed only by our silence.


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

Sunday, March 22, 2009

To Paraphrase ...

... False Rape Society, (you can find the link yourself if you'd like) with the target of so-called hysteria reversed:
And, you see, it's exactly that sort of fear for men's safety from false reports -- that sort of hysteria, if you will -- that enables real rapists to have instant credibility when they lie: "I raped a woman you say? Well of course you can't believe it ..."

Clearly FRS would reject this usage of his own logic.

The reality is that if speaking out against rape causes and enables false rape then speaking out against false rape reports causes and enables rape and the labeling of real rape victims as false accusers.

Those who instantly believe reports of non-sex crimes are, by FRS's standards, enabling false reports of those crimes and false criminal charges. Therefore, by FRS's standards, it is every citizen's duty to not believe any alleged crime victim until that crime victim has proven himself or herself innocent of the crime of filing a false police report. To fail to do so in any instance is to support injustice.

Here's the original:

And, you see, it's exactly that sort of fear for women's safety -- that sort of hysteria, if you will -- that enables false rape accusers to have instant credibility when they lie: "A woman was raped you say? Well of course I believe it ...


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:14 AM   1 comments links to this post

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Girl's Fatal Asthma Attack Ruled A Homicide Due To Rape

From the NY Times City Room:

At first, the body of 16-year-old Tiana Rice lay unclaimed for weeks in a city medical examiner’s office in Brooklyn because she had not been properly identified. Then, her correct identity was discovered and her parents claimed her body, according to a report in The Daily News last month.

Now the medical examiner’s office has answered another question about Tiana’s fate: It has ruled the Bronx girl’s death a homicide, the police said, finding that an asthma attack that killed her was prompted by her being raped.

Investigators said they believed that Tiana was held down by one man as a second man attacked her in an unoccupied building at 268 Ridgewood Avenue in East New York, Brooklyn. Her partly clothed body was discovered on Jan. 13 at that location after police officers from the 75th Precinct were called there about a report of a female, unconscious and unresponsive.

It is disgusting and heartbreaking that this girl was abused in this way and left unidentified for so long but I am heartened by the correct classification of her death as a homicide.

Any claim by the men responsible that "it was consensual" should be considered meaningless. Even though it appears that she initially consented to some sexual activity, anyone involved is legally responsible not to cause another person's death.

Consent is not the point where you get complete control over another human being and it is not the point where a girl loses control over who has contact with her and in what way. When people define consent in this way they are doing nothing more than using consent as a cop out.

If someone is in physical distress, you immediately stop whatever you are doing, you immediately call 911. It doesn't matter what they consented to.

To do any less is to be criminally negligent at best.

If this frequently cited definition of consent were the true definition of consent then any man who consented to sex would lose the right to control his own body to the point of possibly losing his life. Yet none of the men I've heard use consent in this way would be okay with having this definition used against them. Their usage of this definition is for girls and women only.

That makes this definition nothing more than a smoke screen used to hide criminal behavior.

Those who react to this case by criticizing or blaming this girl for meeting a man she met through the Internet need to realize that doing so sends a dangerous and supportive message to men like those involved in this girl's homocide.

If we are serious about preventing rape and preventing homicides related to rape then the focus of the criticism must center on those who commit felonies. The "don't" messages must include, "don't rape," "don't harm," "don't exploit."

The excuse frequently given for failing to give these messages is, "There's no reaching rapists and would-be rapists." This excuse waives the white flag to rapists and says that we are powerless to do anything more than try to weave and dodge.

Rape involves biology, it is not caused by biology. Rape is caused by rationalizations and how people talk about rape influences those rationalizations.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:40 AM   0 comments links to this post

Friday, March 20, 2009

If Rape Victims Are Only Witnesses Then Murder Victims Are Only Forensic Evidence

From a comment on Larvatus Prodeo written by a man calling himself Desipis:

The sole role a rape victim has in a rape trial is to serve as a witness. The only “fair go” they deserve is the same “fair go” a witness in any other trial deserves. The way I read such comments as this and like the one I quoted @11 is that the court has some obligation to punish the accused because it will somehow help the victim. I read that as vengeance.

This view of rape victims as uninvolved witnesses, who can be otherwise ignored by the criminal justice system, is a handy one for someone to hold when that person wants to excuse or provide backhanded support for massive procedural and ethical failures in the criminal justice system which harms rape victims and benefits rapists.

In my post from last year, What Fuels Rape Denial, part 1, 2 separate commenters reported dismissive treatment by investigators which caused one rape victim to finally give up in her attempt to report rape and which caused another to listen as an investigator dismissed evidence of an admitted rape because the admitted rapist "didn't really mean it."

None of those investigators were serving justice. If the criminal justice system should not be accountable to rape victims then it should not be accountable to any crime victim or any citizen who has not be charged with a crime.

The criminal justice system and defense attorneys certainly don't treat rape victims as mere witnesses. Many times they are treated as suspects minus the legal rights given to those actually charged with a crime. When a guilty rapist is acquitted for whatever reason that person's rape victim is often declared guilty and that person's constitutional right to be presumed innocent is ignored.

This injustice is aided by assigning vengeance as the motive for reporting rape even when the report is accurate.

To be consistent, Desipis must believe that murder victims are nothing more than forensic evidence and they deserve nothing more than any other piece of evidence. Focusing on trying to solve cold-case unsolved murders would then be nothing more than an effort at vengeance.

A family who won't stop pushing to have the murder of their son solved would likely not be dismissed by Desipis as people consumed by vengeance.

Under this restrictive view promoted by Desipis the criminal justice system has no obligation to accused rapists other than to see that their legal rights are respected. That means the criminal justice system as Desipis envisions it has no obligation to prevent wrongful convictions. As long as the correct procedures are followed that's all that matters. Desipis' logic tells us so. If the innocent defendant had the same fair go as other defendants that's all the criminal justice owes that defendant even though he is innocent.

To say otherwise is to prove that Desipis' entire premise is unsound.

The reality is that rape convictions and filing a police report related to rape are rarely about vengeance. What this assigned motive does is automatically turn rape victims into people who have no interest in justice and who are automatically suspect without any actual evidence to support this claim. Doing this does not serve justice in any way.

Rape convictions are about accountability and public safety.

Since most rapists target girls and women, Desipis may feel safe no matter how many rapists get away with their crimes and how few of them are convicted and sentenced in line with the crimes they committed.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:08 AM   2 comments links to this post

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Latest Recantation That Is Not A Recantation

As was rightfully pointed out in Filipino Voices the alleged recantation of "Nicole," from the Subic Rape Case in the Philippines, contained in her affidavit in no way exonerates US Marine Daniel Smith and it doesn't prove her to be a false accuser.

If anything the contents of the affidavit further cements his guilt.

Yet I have seen false claims spreading through the blogosphere that her statements are a changing of her story. Those spreading these false claims includes bloggers who claim to be 100% against false claims.

A rape victim -- with a low tolerance for alcohol and who cannot remember interacting with Smith except for brief moments -- who later questions how the crime against her could happen is not recanting.

Second guessing events where you were only aware of bits and pieces of what was happening around you is NOT a recantation.

Asking, "How could this have happened?" is not a recantation.

From the affidavit:

5. Daniel Smith’s witnesses said that while we were at the Neptune Club, I sat on Daniel Smith’s lap and that we kissed each other passionately. I remember that before I met Daniel Smith at the Neptune Club, all I ate was a slice of pizza at the Grand Leisure Hotel. After the pizza, everything else was alcoholic drinks from vodka sprite, B52, Singaporean sling, B53, long island ice tea to bullfrog all of which I drank bottoms up. I do not recall Daniel Smith having ordered any alcoholic drink for me. My drinks were all paid for by Chris Mills who invited me to go to the Neptune Club.

This paragraph only clears Smith of taking her from sober to drunk. It doesn't eliminate the possibility that Smith helped go from drunk to unconscious. Note that this phrasing means that she can't testify with certainty that Smith did not give her additional drinks. She is making assumptions based on the testimony of Smith's witnesses.

Smith wasn't charged with providing her alcohol, he was charged and convicted of rape. Allegedly kissing someone consensually (she blacked out by this point so she can't even confirm a single consensual kiss) is not consent for sex.

6. I had no opportunity to deny in court that I kissed Daniel Smith but with the amount of alcoholic mixed drinks I took, my low tolerance level of alcohol and with only a slice of pizza all night, it dawned upon me that I may have possibly lost my inhibitions, became so intimate with Daniel Smith and did more than just dancing and talking with him like everyone else on the dance floor. Looking back, I would not have agreed to talk with Daniel Smith and dance with him no less than three times if I did not enjoy his company or was at least attracted to him since I met him for the very first time on the dance floor of Neptune Club.

If she can't remember kissing Smith then her testimony about that kiss would have been nothing more than speculation based on hearsay. In fact, this part of the sworn statement is complete speculation. She is assuming she agreed to talk to Smith and she is assuming she agreed to dance with him 3 times. If she can't remember dancing with him her assumptions stated here say nothing about the reality of what happened.

Liking someone or enjoying their company, dancing with them or even being attracted to someone when you first meet them is not consent to sex.

But there is a pervasive belief by many people that flirting nullifies the need for consent which explains how so many rapists who think of themselves as non-rapists can rationalize raping someone. Combine that with some people's view that raping someone drunk to the point of unconsciousness hurts nobody and you've got a dangerous mix.

7. When I danced with Daniel Smith for the third time, my companion, Chris Mills has already left Neptune Club since he had to catch their curfew time at the military base. The lighting was sufficient for people to recognize each other and other marines were with their Filipino partners drinking, dancing and enjoying each other’s company and kissing and hugging among partners was a common scene.

This paragraph only shows why people in the bar wouldn't pay much attention to her. It also makes her friend look negligent for leaving her unprotected after paying for the drinks that caused her to black out and to go unconscious if those were the only drinks she was given.

8. With the events at the Neptune Club in mind, I keep on asking myself, if Daniel Smith wanted to rape me, why would he carry me out of the Neptune Club using the main entrance in full view of the security guard and the other sources? Why would the van park right in front of Neptune Club? Why would Daniel Smith and his companions bring me to the seawall of Alaba Pier and casually leave this area that was well lighted and with many people roaming around? If they believed that I was raped, would they have not dumped me instead in a dimly lit area along the highway going to Alaba Pier to avoid detection?

In one word: Entitlement.

If Smith had carried her out a different way that would have drawn more attention to his actions. As for where they dumped her, they may have been worried that she might die of alcohol poisoning and if they dumped her in a dimly lit area along the highway they might have faced murder or manslaughter charges in addition to rape charges.

Rape is what people do, it is not dependant on whether those people properly label their actions as rape or even feel the slightest bit of guilt. Many of those guilty of murder or manslaughter admit only to messing around and feel absolutely no guilt.

The law doesn't excuse murders simply because murderers didn't believe what they did qualified as a real murder. There is no dismissive statement like, "it was just a date murder."

Men who throw someone they know can't swim in a pool and laugh as that non-swimmer drowns before their eyes are still guilty even if they never spoke to each other, saying, "Let's murder that guy over there." They are still guilty even if they did nothing to avoid detection.

9. I told the court that Daniel Smith kissed my lips and neck and held my breast inside the van. Recalling my testimony, I ask myself now how could I have remembered this if witnesses told the court that I passed out and looked unconscious when I was brought to the van by Daniel Smith. How could I have resisted his advances given this condition? Daniel Smith and I were alone on the third row of the van which had limited space and I do not recall anyone inside the van who held my hand or any part of my body. What I can recall is that there was very loud music and shouting inside the van.

The answer to the first question in this section is she likely momentarily regained consciousness or at least reached the level of semi-consciousness. The question about resistance goes back to the dangerous belief that the legal responsibility for preventing rape belongs solely to the victim -- even when that victim is unconscious.

Unconsciousness and semi-consciousness equals lack of consent. Lack of consent equals rape.

Testimony from witnesses who aren't relying on speculation disprove any theory on her part that she might have given legal consent. She was clearly incapable of legal consent when she was taken from the bar.

Smith's actions were judged based on the legal definition of rape, not popular definitions of rape.

10. If the travel from Neptune Club took only several minutes and with the driver of the van trying to beat the curfew time of his passengers, how could I have instantly regained my consciousness and talked to the people upon reaching the seawall of Alaba Pier? When people gathered around me at the seawall, everyone seemed to have drawn the conclusion that I was raped except for one who called me a bitch.

Again, the answer is a simple one. An abrupt change, such as being dumped at a seawall, can rouse someone from unconsciousness. If that abrupt change is followed by a commotion that can further rouse someone from unconsciousness. This is why slapping someone who has passed out is used to try to get those people to their feet.

If she had been fully conscious and able to step out of the van then people wouldn't have gathered around her at the seawall.

11. Based on the account of SBMA police, I was very hesitant to board the mobile police car that brought me to the headquarters for investigation. I was so confused and the first thing that entered my mind was how would my mother and boyfriend react if they learn that I was last seen with Daniel Smith and that a condom was seen on my pants after Daniel Smith left the van? I was scared of losing not only my American boyfriend but the chance of living in the United States. In fact, I did not immediately tell my boyfriend that I was raped by Daniel Smith. All I said was that something bad happened to me.

Again, this in no way exonerates Smith. When she regained consciousness of course she wouldn't know she was raped. If she had been conscious and legally consented, she would have known exactly what happened in that van. Her description of, "something bad happened to me," matches what she was aware of and supports the rape conviction of Smith.

She had rational thoughts after regaining consciousness, but none of those thoughts are about hiding consensual sex which would be required if this were a recantation.

The expectation that those who are raped while unconscious immediately name what was done to them as rape sets up many rape survivors to incorrectly doubt the crime committed against them.

12. I expect many sectors to question my motives in executing this statement more than three years after the incident. However, as I practically grew up interacting with American servicemen in Zamboanga City who treated me and my family very well, and thinking over and over again how I may have conducted myself at the Neptune Club, I can’t help but entertain doubts on whether the sequence of events in Subic last November of 2005 really occurred the way the court found them to have happened.

This indicates that a major guilt trip has been played on this woman so that she feels responsible for the international fallout of this case when those responsible were Smith and his buddies. It doesn't matter how she conducted herself at the Neptune Club. Being sloppy drunk is not consent and it doesn't nullify rape.

Since she was unconscious when she was carried out of the bar of course she cannot speak with absolute authority about what was done to her. But again that doesn't exonerate Smith.

13. My conscience continues to bother me realizing that I may have in fact been so friendly and intimate with Daniel Smith at the Neptune Club that he was led to believe that I was amenable to having sex or that we simply just got carried away. I would rather risk public outrage than do nothing to help the court in ensuring that justice is served.

The affidavit ends with proof that she believes the lie that if she was in any way friendly toward Smith in the bar and might have seemed to have the potential to consent that this nullifies a subsequent rape.

It does not.

She cannot testify that she was conscious when Smith left the club therefore the testimony about her lack of consciousness is supported. And this testimony disproves her speculation that they simply got carried away.

Smith made fully conscious choices and now he and his lawyers want a woman who was unconscious to nullify his crime and to take the blame for his actions because she might have flirted with him.

Those who read this woman's affidavit and who see it as an exoneration or a genuine recantation are revealing important details about themselves and the dangerous attitudes they cling to related to rape which explain why rape continues to be so common.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:08 AM   1 comments links to this post

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Carnival Against Sexual Violence 67

Welcome to the Mar. 18, 2009 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.

Before I begin the carnival, I want to thank everyone who helped with my fundraising effort for my travel expenses to the WAM! 2009 conference (March 27-29 in Cambridge, MA) where I and my fellow panelists (Cara Kulwicki of The Curvature, Ashley Burczak of SAFER and Ashwini Hardikar of SAFER) will be presenting:

Pulling the Plug on Rape Culture One Word at a Time:
Using Accuracy to Undermine Dangerous Attitudes and Injustice.

Read my post on this conference for more information. If you will be at the conference, please let me know.

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


In Proof That Men Who Say Rape Is Only A Women's Issue Are Fools posted at abyss2hope: A rape survivor's zigzag journey into the open, I discuss a crime which was planned to be an acquaintance rape where the victim would typically be doubted or called a cold-blooded liar except for the fact that her rapist didn't find her asleep alone.

In Civil Rights for MST survivors posted at a males life after rape, we get a discussion of the official handling of those with military sexual trauma.

In Let Us Pity the Poor Rapist posted at The Curvature, we get a discussion of rape apologism which comes after a rugby player pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a woman in New Zealand.

In "My daughter keeps asking if the naughty man is in jail?" and he's not posted at Hoyden About Town, we get a discussion of the light sentence given to Ronald Dean King, after breaking into a house and raping a four year old girl.

In Sentencing Law and Policy: "Shaming and scaring johns into becoming average joes" posted at Sentencing Law and Policy, we get a discussion of an LA john school created as part of an effort by law enforcement officials to stem prostitution in Los Angeles.

In Shrinks Not Buying the 'Too Devout' Defense posted at BARBARA'S TCHATZKAHS, we get a discussion of a case where a man argued that he was incapable of aiding in his own defense because his religious views wouldn't allow him to look at child porn he allegedly produced.

In Update On Nursing Home Rape: Facility Made Errors In Investigation Of Incident posted at Jonathan Rosenfeld's Nursing Homes Abuse Blog, we get a discussion of the details of a case where a 94-year-old resident at Grace Nursing Center in Oklahoma was charged with rape by instrumentality after assaulting another resident at the facility.

In Judge dismisses 2 of 4 felonies filed against Tony Zendejas - Inland Empire Courts posted at Inside SoCal, we get a discussion about a judge's ruling errors which couldn't be corrected during the trial because they favored the defendant.

In Law Enforcement & the Abuser posted at SANCTUARY FOR THE ABUSED, we get a discussion about how abusers interact with the police and the criminal justice system.

media watch

In Opinion: Victim deserves sympathy, respect posted at Badger Herald, we get a discussion about the verbal attacks directed against a women who disclosed rape and the willingness of people to make unfounded criminal allegations when they claim to be against unfounded criminal allegations.

In Women as "Victims" in the Print Media posted at Who's That Lady, we get a discussion of how newspapers representations in covering victims of domestic violence, rape, harassment and murders influenced victim blame and victim harassment.

In Rape at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Frat members implicated posted at Change Happens, we get a discussion of the double standard practiced by many of those who call for not prematurely ruining someone's reputation.

In Trigger By Void posted at Shakespeare's Sister, we get a discussion of the TV show Lost and how women who are menaced by men are never at risk of sexual assault.

raising awareness

In War Booty posted at Sense Scribe, we get a discussion of rape in war zones and the need for people in safer areas to take action to prevent additional crimes.

In Obama and Biden: Rape Victims Need You posted at Heart and Soul with Dr. Thema, we get a discussion of the position that as a nation we can not lose sight of the global ways in which women and girls are under attack, including through sexual violence.

In Speaking Out against Victim-Blaming posted at I'll Follow the Sun, we get a discussion sparked by training to work within the field of Rape Crisis Counseling and how that causes a person to see the world in a very different light.

In Factors increasing men's risk of committing rape posted at A lot more than nothing, we get a suggested Wikipedia page.

In Language Does Matter posted at rmott62, we get a discussion about how language is used to lessen the sexual violence experienced by those who are prostituted.

In On rape and consent posted at In a strange land, we get a discussion about differing perspectives about whether people know rapists based on different people's assumptions about what consent looks like.

In Breaking the Silence posted at Campaign for Gender Equality, we get a discussion about dating violence which begins with the criminal charges against Chris Brown.

In For Victims Of Sexual Abuse It's One Step Forward, And Another Step Backward posted at Enlightened Catholicism, we get a discussion of 2 different actions within the Catholic church which sent very different messages about the treatment of children who are raped.

In The Sacrifice of Women's Bodies posted at LiturgyGeek, we get a discussion about the opposition to abortion even when the abortion is performed because of serious concerns that a 9-year-old rape victim won't survive being pregnant with twins.

In More rape apology posted at blogofchampions, we get a brief discussion which links to a survey in the UK which highlights victim blaming and links to an opinion piece which advocates for more lenient treatment of rapists who rape while drunk.

In Rape Culture and Its Incredible Prevalence: A Strangely Optimistic Analysis posted at The Curvature, we get a discussion of the results of a survey of people in the UK and how the lowest level of victim blaming correlates to strong anti-victim blaming campaigns.

In A Column I Sent to my University's Newspaper (which they did not or have not published) posted at Feministing, we get a discussion of how a woman accepting a ride from a man who turned out to be a rapist changes people's opinions about this crime.


In Girls for Gender Equity / Students Active for Ending Rape posted at Sugar and Medicine, we get a video which highlights grass roots organizations which care for different communities in different ways.

In Dine For a Change - A Benefit for SF Women Against Rape posted at The Raw Deal, we get a discussion about a fundraising effort for an organization which helps those in the San Fransisco area.

In Reflections on the Brett Stewart controversy posted at Larvatus Prodeo, we get a discussion of the ethical responsibilities of sporting clubs and leagues to manage and sanction the behaviour of players.

In Listen And Lead Sexual Violence Prevention: Part 1 and Part 2 posted at abyss2hope: A rape survivor's zigzag journey into the open, I discuss plans in Minnesota for Sexual Assault Awareness Month which include a program on the Twin Cities public TV channel about some of the experiences of those who have been sexually assaulted in Minnesota.

In Sex Crimes Investigators Conference 2009 posted at Holly's Fight For Justice, we get information about an upcoming conference.

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.

Because of the WAM! conference the next edition won't fall on its normal date. I will set the exact date after I return.

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, http://carnivalagainstsexualviolence.blogspot.com/

Marcella Chester

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

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

3rd Blog Anniversary

Three years ago today, on March 17, 2006 I started this blog with a post which set out the purpose of this blog.

Since then I've been called a liar who wasn't really raped by many a rape apologist who expresses opposition to women making allegations against men without undeniable proof. These false accusations directed at me don't cause me any pain because I no longer believe the falsehoods which these accusers use to justify their attacks.

Their attacks are as credible as statements claiming that the universe revolves around the Earth which doesn't move. They see the sun rise every morning so it must be true. They see that I couldn't have been raped as I've disclosed so it must be true that I wasn't raped.

I don't ignore their attacks because these falsehoods which form the foundation of their attacks cause real harm. These falsehoods contributed to my boyfriend's rational decision to rape me and his ability to view his actions as acceptable toward someone you love.

These rape apologists fail to see the irony they provide as they regularly and blatantly violate the principles they claim to hold more dear than life itself.

Just yesterday I responded to a commenter who is okay with seeing a million rape victims being denied justice in the name of protecting one innocent man. That's not justice and it does nothing to protect the innocent -- not even those who are genuinely wrongfully accused of rape.

When the seemingly positive motives for denying rape and denying justice to rape victims are examined more closely it becomes clear that those motives are in no way positive. Minimizing or denying most rapes and denying most rape victims justice are the goals.

Most rape apologists are fine with investigative sloppiness and bigotry in rape cases except when that investigative sloppiness and bigotry harms an innocent man -- or one who claims to be innocent -- instead of harming thousands of innocent girls and innocent women.

An investigator who instantly knows that an alleged rape victim is a liar and therefore guilty is a genius, but one who instantly knows that an alleged rapist is a liar and therefore guilty is an idiot who should lose his job.

The reality which these rape apologists deny is that effective responses to rape and respectful treatment of those who report rape doesn't hurt those falsely accused of rape. Instead it hurts sex criminals who falsely claim to be the "real victims" in rape cases. This brand of rape liar needs sloppy investigations and banks on specific and general false allegations against rape victims. The testimony of rape victims must be disregarded when that same person would be considered credible if the crime weren't a sex crime.

I've highlighted dangerous beliefs held by those who are genuinely opposed to rape because some falsehoods related to rape are so pervasive and seemingly positive that the harm they do often goes unnoticed and unchecked.

During these same 3 years I've heard from many of my fellow rape survivors and I am reminded anew that am not alone as I stand up against those who make excuses for rapists and who blame most rape victims.

I have many allies in my efforts to see the justice system treat those who have been victims of sex crimes treated justly and to see a reduction in the number of rapes. I applaud each one of them and encourage more people, women and men, to join our ranks.

My upcoming attendance at the Women, Action and the Media (WAM!) conference (March 27-29) is an opportunity to learn and to connect with many other people. Thank you to those who made donations to help cover my conference expenses.

I will share some of what I have learned as a panelist in the workshop:
Pulling the Plug on Rape Culture One Word at a Time:
Using Accuracy to Undermine Dangerous Attitudes and Injustice
With the uncertain economy I don't know what changes will happen in my life in the next year. I wish I could promise to give as much time to blogging as I have in each of the last 3 years.

I will definitely continue to do what I can. What I learn at WAM! may help open up new and exciting possibilities.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:34 AM   6 comments links to this post

Monday, March 16, 2009

Another Anonymous Man Reveals What Lies Behind Excuses About Injustice Toward Rape Victims

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Was A Defense Attorney's Slander Of Rape Victim To...":

I will quote this comment, which I rejected since it had no meaningful connection to the original post, section by section and highlight the flaws in this man's logic.

In my personal opinion, being accused of a crime when one is innocent is worse than being the victim of that crime. That is why we have this "innocent until proven guilty" principle.
This is not why we have this principle. Being accused of murder is not worse than being murdered yet those accused of murder are also given the legal status of innocent until proven guilty. Now maybe anonymous is advocating that "innocent until proven guilty" shouldn't apply to murder cases because it violates the stated reason for this principle, but I doubt it.

This "personal opinion" minimizes rape into a non-physical crime of little regard. Once people do this then true reports of rape with the correct person IDed are worse than the rape which was reported. The punishment (even prior to conviction) becomes worse than the crime of rape. And a rape conviction becomes far worse than rape.

This positioning of a rape accusation as worse than rape is deliberate and helps rapists rationalize both rape and slandering of the person they raped.

Most of those who cite, "innocent until proven guilty" in rape cases assume rape victims to be guilty of a crime yet deny alleged rape victims the rights given to all criminal suspects. This means they don't genuinely believe in the principle of "innocent until proven guilty." They use it when it suits them and disregard it when it doesn't suit them.

I dont mean to say we should blame the victim or anything. We should not say anything until things are proven concretely. Things are not easy to prove in rape cases, unfortunately. That is life. It wont always be fair. We have to live with that. But We cant change the "proven beyond doubt" principle because it is hard to prove rape cases.
This principle as advocated here is different from the same principle in non-sex crimes. He doesn't blame the victim, he merely rejects rape victim testimony across the board. If this is a valid principle then all victim testimony in all alleged crimes must be rejected. Period.

Otherwise, this pattern of rejecting victim testimony has nothing to do with "proven beyond doubt." If the same baseless victim testimony rejection were practiced in non-sex crimes those crimes would become just as hard to prove as rape cases are.

One million women getting raped wont justify punishing one innocent guy mistakenly.
This is an often cited excuse for systematic injustice against rape victims.

If this principle holds true then one million men getting murdered by women won't justify punishing one innocent woman mistakenly. From the context that means that ignoring the murder of one million men is acceptable and even desired in the name of "innocent until proven guilty." Yet I would be shocked if this man finds that to be an acceptable outcome in the name of protecting the innocent.

You talk about the plight of victims. What about the guy? If it is a false charge, he will live with that stigma for the rest of his life even if he successfully proved he is innocent. People are not sympathetic to girl or guy. They are merciless to everyone.
In the post this man is commenting on, the defendant pleaded guilty during the trial and therefore this question about "the guy" is based on ignoring the criminal justice system.

Remember this is a man who earlier in the same comment viewed it as acceptable for a million rape victims to be denied justice.

This "guy" is legally guilty. But not according to this commenter. This means that those charged with rape are viewed as innocent -- period. "Until proven guilty" is only a myth in this worldview.

There are plenty of people who have been accused of rape (rightfully and wrongfully) who do not live in stigma. With the stereotypes which this man repeats it is more likely to be genuine rape victims who are stuck with the stigma for a crime they did not commit.

I am afraid your mission of working against rape is futile. Why? Because when I analyzed the mentality of many women, I found that they want to have their cake and eat it too (just like men) Many women like to capitalise on their sexuality.
Here we are starting to get to the heart of what this man truly believes and it has nothing to do with upholding the principle of innocent until proven guilty or any desire to uphold rape laws.

Earlier he said he doesn't blame rape victims, here he proves himself to be a liar.

They boast about the power their bodies have over men. Prostitution is the oldest profession in the world, they say. You can look at it either way... as men exploiting women or women exploiting the weakness of men to earn money without working for it.
Even if these gender-wide boasts of sexual power were true this has no connection to the principle of "innocent until proven guilty." What it does is explain why this man finds it acceptable for a million women to be raped without a single rapist being held legally accountable.

According to this man's logic women ask for rape and if you get what you are asking for then there should be no punishment.

I was reading an article by a girl in a website called mencanstoprape.com She said how in her college days she went to a bar with friends wearing revealing clothes so that she would get free drinks. She could bypass queues based on her sexuality. But soon she found that some girls get spiked drinks and get "raped." She says "I still go there wearing miniskirts. But I am careful about the drinks I get. I ask them to mix the drinks before my eyes."
This equates women allowing men to buy them drinks with men having no control over their bodies. Those men freely consented to buying this woman drinks. If they did so assuming they had made a quid pro quo agreement, they were fools. Yet in this retelling those men are helpless victims of women in miniskirts.

This sets up rape as the natural consequence of men's freely made decision to buy women drinks.

This is what I call wanting to have your cake and eat it too. Is she kidding herself? Does she think the guy gives her free drinks just to look at her? Ridiculous. She wants the positive side of her sexual power but wants to escape its negative side.
She wants to be able to accept an offer made with no strings attached without getting raped. If men are putting conditions on their offers of a free drink then they need to make that statement before buying someone else a drink.

Again, it is telling that this expectation not be raped is ridiculous. This anonymous man has consented to sex on this woman's behalf. In this view a man who buys a woman a drink has prepaid for raping her if she doesn't consent.
Sorry.. it doesnt work like that.
This view requires that women's sexuality be punished.
I dont know which wise man decided to put that article in that mencanstoprape.com website. That article in no way created sympathy or love for women in me as a man and made me want to stop rape.
Again, we are getting to the heart of this man's view on rape cases. He doesn't want to stop men from raping women and he certainly doesn't want me or anyone else to succeed at stopping men from raping women. He doesn't want justice for most men rightfully accused of rape.

This shows that all the talk about "proof" and "innocent until proven guilty" are nothing more than hollow platitudes.
I just saw selfish women and selfish men trying their lucks. If the man got lucky he would rape her. If the woman got lucky she would get her benefits without getting raped. I dont have sympathy for either of them.
This is a lie. He does have sympathy for the men who rape and is seeking to prevent them from being rightfully punished for their crimes while having no sympathy for women who are raped and is seeking to deny them rightful convictions of their rapists.

And I see very few women willing to cover up their bodies to increase their own safety. Their argument is "Fully covered up girls get raped. I should be able to wear whatever I want."

Hmm... just becoz robbers manage to break into the safest banks, I wont stop taking care of my small amount of money. I will try my level best to keep it safe.
Notice that in this analogy this man does not advocate for letting all bank robbers go free or for disregarding the testimony of all mugging victims or all bank employees.

If this analogy were valid then this man would be to blame for being robbed after showing even the smallest amount of money. And he would have more sympathy for the muggers and the bank robbers than for anyone who ever allows another person to see that they have anything of monetary value.
If there is something which, I claim, will destroy my whole life I would try to avoid it at all costs. I wont be taking risks with it.
Here we get stock rape minimization. If women don't behave as he expects decent women to behave if they don't want to be raped then they don't mind being raped. This assigns backhanded consent which turns a true allegation of rape into a false allegation of rape.

His willingness to see a million rapists get away with rape therefore has nothing to do with reasonable doubt or any other criminal justice principle. He has clearly sided with those million rapists.

But I dont see such zeal on part of women regarding rape.
Of course, the zeal to be able to be safe from rape even in a bar or while wearing a short skirt doesn't count.

According to this man's stated logic, if a man ever allows another man to buy him a drink he has communicated his consent to have sex with that man and shouldn't be surprised if that man later rapes him. He has shown no zeal regarding not wanting to be raped.
My point is, men and women are same.
This is clearly a false statement. He has sympathy for men who rape, but none for most women who are raped.
They exploit each other. Women will exploit the weak men. Women will continue to use their sexual power for their advantage... to get better grades.. to get promotions.. to earn money etc. And men will exploit the weak women.
Yet his disdain focuses on women, not men. And this is true even when the women are rape victims and the men are rapists.
"Might is right" "Survival of the fittest" that is the principle of evolution.. which is unfortunate but we cant do anything about it. There will be no equality. The powerful ones among men and women will exploit the weak ones. It will be that way always.
Ah, yes, evolution. A favorite theme of those wanting to view rapists as biologically driven rather than being driven by rationalizations, many of which this man has articulated. In this worldview women are rational and therefore should be held accountable while irrational men who rape are nothing more than Pavlov's rapists.

It isn't biology at work when a man rapes a woman who didn't consent after he bought her a drink. It is rational anger at being denied what that man believed he was entitled to.

This man's entire comment smacks of entitlement. Men are entitled to rape. Men should be entitled to get away with rape.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:16 AM   12 comments links to this post

Sunday, March 15, 2009

FYI On Carnival Schedule

As specified in the last carnival edition, the edition which would normally come out today is delayed. However, because of the number of nominations which were in the queue, I closed the nominations for this edition and moved the date up to March 18th which is the day after this blog's 3rd anniversary.

The edition which normally comes out on April 1st will be delayed up to a week because of my attendance at the Women, Action and the Media (WAM!) conference at the end of this month (27th - 29th) where I will be a panelist on the workshop: Pulling the Plug on Rape Culture One Word at a Time: Using Accuracy to Undermine Dangerous Attitudes and Injustice.

If you are going to be at WAM! or are in the Boston area, please let me know. I will be arriving in Boston on Thursday and leaving Boston on Monday afternoon.

Please keep the nominations coming in before, during and after WAM!
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:40 PM   0 comments links to this post

UK Men Have A Monetary Incentive To Lie About Rape

From Glenn Sacks' blog post titled: UK women have a monetary incentive to lie about rape by Pierce Harlan, Esq:

Sexual assault advocates in the United Kingdom are constantly lobbying for changes in the law to jack up the UK’s purportedly low conviction rate for rape. [...]

Sexual assault advocates also refuse to discuss a dirty little secret: some women in the UK likely lie about rape because they have a financial interest to do so. The UK compensates victims of non-forcible rape and even inappropriate touching over clothing.

This gendered and speculative premise is based on ignoring the reality that men in the UK who are guilty of rape or who are representing those who are guilty of rape undeniably have even stronger financial incentives to lie about rape.

Harlan himself and many other men in various jurisdictions have strong financial incentives to falsely claim that certain men or groups of men are the victims of false rape reports when that claim is a lie.

Harlan is basing his professional reputation on creating the default view that women who are victims of non-forcible rape or victims of gropers are cheating the government if they rightfully file for victim compensation.

Guilty until proven innocent of the crime of filing a fraudulent police report is their motto when talking about women and rape. If being the victim of a fraudulent claim should result in compensation then most sex crime victims should get double compensation since being targeted with false allegations is normal when someone rightfully reports having been raped.

The narrative that women regularly lie when they report having been raped is no secret narrative. It is older than anyone living today. This narrative serves Harlan and many other men financially as well as personally since this narrative was responsible for systemic bigotry and systemic injustice against rape victims.

Rapists who earned a lifetime sentence in prison by the crimes they committed but who instead were able to earn good money while claiming to be the "real" victim of lying women clearly had a greater financial payoff for their lies than than the "likely" false rape reporters Harlan focuses on.

Harlan's argument also dismisses the physical nature of most sex crimes and the physical threat in what he calls non-violent sex crimes. If you were raped while unconscious or you were groped by a stranger or a group of strangers you were not a victim of a "real" sex crime or a real assault according to Harlan's narrative.

This narrative furthers a dangerous lie which allows many rapists and sex criminals to convince themselves and others that they were falsely accused and that the crime they committed is a crime only in the imagination of their victims and hysterical sexual assault advocates.

Similar arguments to Harlan's have been made when sexual assault advocates have called for all who report rape to be treated by law enforcement as crime victims instead of suspects assumed to be guilty. The argument was that the hostility toward rape victims was needed as a disincentive for false rape reports.

This argument served rapists well and its continued existence helps the next batch of rapists who feel victimized when they are rightfully reported.

Harlan wants men who lie about rape to get even more benefits than they get now. He wants those who claim to be falsely accused to be compensated just as rape victims are compensated. Yet this desire is not positioned as helping even more men decide to lie about rape.

Rapists who successfully lie about rape can see financial benefits which dwarf the amount of compensation given to rape victims in the UK. Defense attorneys who successfully lie about rape can see even greater financial benefits since those lies will help those defense attorneys gain new clients who are afraid that the truth will do the opposite of setting them free.

According to Harlan's narrative, defense attorneys who successfully slander real rape victims and who benefit financially from their lies while putting the public in danger when a guilty client goes free are not worth mentioning. This is the criminal justice system working as intended.

This narrative which positions only those who report rape as being guilty of lying and benefiting from those lies has a clear and unjust agenda. To baselessly undermine the credibility of all girls and women who report having been raped.

This effort by many others before Harlan has not been in vain.

From the Guardian we get an example of how Harlan's narrative has impacted justice.

John Worboys, 51, a licensed London cab driver, was told yesterday he faces a "very substantial" jail sentence after a jury convicted him of 19 charges of drugging and sexually assaulting 12 of the women, in one case raping his victim.

Police were last night bracing themselves for more women to come forward. They have received 85 complaints so far and believe that over his 13-year career as a London taxi driver he could have drugged and attacked more than 100 female passengers. [...]

Campaigners said the details of how police failed to apprehend Worboys for six years, despite receiving numerous complaints from women, exposed the fact that frontline officers remained sexist, dismissive of allegations of sexual assaults and ultimately guilty of "sabotaging" rape inquiries.

I'm sure that when Worboys was arrested in July 2007 and released without being charged that he was classified by people who agree with Harlan as falsely accused and the genuine victim who made that report was classified by those people as a false reporter and a criminal who should have been punished. The UK compensation fund gave those people all the motive they needed to assume her guilt.

But according to Harlan it is women who benefit from lies about rape.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:34 AM   1 comments links to this post

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Was A Defense Attorney's Slander Of Rape Victim Too Cruel For A Rapist?

From WMUR:

Gregory Graham, of Dover [NH], pleaded guilty during the second day of his trial. The plea came a day after his lawyer called the 15-year-old victim a "teenage drama queen" and and liar. Lawyer Lincoln Soldati said Graham heard testimony on Wednesday that led to his change of heart.
I don't know if it was hearing the details of his crime, including hearing his victim's 911 call, or if it was hearing his defense attorney's slander of an innocent girl which led to this guilty plea. Maybe it was the contrast between the reality of what he had done and the false criminal accusation hurled by his attorney at a rape victim which caused Graham to plead guilty.

I hope that this guilty plea will stop any slander directed at this girl outside of the courtroom. Those who continue to slander this girl and other rape victims have lower ethical standards than this rapist.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:17 AM   2 comments links to this post

Friday, March 13, 2009

Reading More Into False Testimony Than Stated

From the Pocono Record article titled False testimony leads to dismissal of Coolbaugh sexual assault case:
The charges were dismissed last week because the girls “admitted to testifying falsely under oath on a material matter,” according to court records. The District Attorney’s Office said today that it does not plan to file perjury charges in this case, declining to comment further.

I learned about this case because an anti-feminist blog referenced this case and made the unfounded claim that this announcement proves that these girls have made a false rape allegation and that this announcement exonerates those charged, but this story does not in fact say that the girls lied about the alleged assault itself.

Testifying falsely on a material matter could be nothing more than lying about whether the girls had been drinking. The falsified information is unstated and what the prosecution believes about their guilt or innocence carries no more legal weight than it carried before this reported perjury was revealed.

Just as the 5 male defendants were legally innocent prior to the dropping of the charges, and remain so, these girls are legally innocent. For someone to claim that they have been legally proven guilty is for that person to disregard our legal system.

These girls' lies may have helped rapists get away with rape. Material guilt and innocence are unproven.

If a case becomes unwinnable due to a loss of credibility the DA of course is going to drop the charges whether or not the defendants committed the crimes they were accused of committing.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:33 AM   0 comments links to this post

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Seeking Objective Definitions Of Rape

I left the following as a comment to a post called Defining Rape at the SAFER blog supporting Katie Roiphe's desire for an objective defintion of rape:

We cannot have an objective and complete definition of rape which eliminates the perspective of the victim.

Katie Roiphe and many others who claim to want an objective definition of rape falsely dismiss the experience of most rape victims. Their desired rigorous definition of rape in fact seeks to deny many rapes rather than illuminating them.

In the case of someone brushing against another person there are 2 issues: freely given consent and sexualized contact. If the contact is sexualized then freely given consent is a requirement for the sexual contact to be legal.

Many of those who focus on objectivity seek to dismiss certain behaviors at a mechanical level unless those physical movements are always a crime.

For example, an interaction begins with one person holding a gun. Mechanical shorthand: Gun to head, penis in vagina. Rape is clear without asking the person with the gun to her head whether she consented.

This level of objectivity (which turns the victim into nothing more than an object) clearly eliminates most rapes because in most rapes it isn't the stripped down mechanical movement which defines a rape as a real rape. It is the absence of freely given consent.

This mechanical shorthand for rape committed on a date would be: date followed by penis in vagina. Since on a purely mechanical level that is not clearly rape, Roiphe and others dismiss rapes committed under these circumstances as bad sex.

This mechanical shorthand would also eliminate many non-sex crimes, but those who use this shorthand when it comes to sex crimes don't want this standard applied to all crimes. Many burglaries could be reduced to: Person walks through unlocked doorway, carries items out of house. From that "objective" description it would be impossible to know if a crime had been committed.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:18 AM   4 comments links to this post

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Myth Of Male Predatory Sexual Behavior

On the blog False Rape Society, a current rant is about the supposed "myth of male predatory sexual behavior." I won't link, but it's easy to find for those who want to read this rant for themselves.

According to FRS, those who speak out against pervasive sexual violence are described as furthering hysteria. Yet using FRS's own standards that means that FRS was founded with the sole mission to support and build the "myth of female dishonesty" and to generate hysteria against those who report having been raped.

Frequent tools of this false rape hysteria include Eugene Kanin's study which incorrectly conflated confessions from 41% of women who reported rape with the proven rate of fraudulent reports in that jurisdiction. There is research on police interrogations and false confessions but most of it focuses solely on those accused of committing violent crime while ignoring that these same techniques have been used against rape victims.

Another tool of false rape hysteria is the FBI unfounded statistics which is dependant on ignoring the fact that there is no standard for what makes a case unfounded. The most recent study being cited was conducted in India which found that 18% of rape cases were declared to be false which is different from a study which found that 18% of rape cases were proven false.

This false rape hysteria is what led to wrongful charges against a Madison, Wisconsin woman who was raped by a stranger. Only when the book about her case, Cry Rape, was about to be released did the city agree to a settlement. Most other rape victims who are wrongfully accused by the police don't have forensic evidence which can exonerate them and result in the conviction of the person was actually guilty. The rapist.

This seemingly acceptable hysteria against those who report having been raped helps rapists get away with rape in the name of protecting the innocent. Many of those who agree with FRS advocate for never prosecuting rape when there are no "neutral" witnesses and no undeniable physical injuries. This advocacy demands widespread injustice and this is viewed as acceptable as long as those on the receiving end of that injustice were also raped.

Male predatory sexual behavior is supposedly a myth, but on the FRS blog, the behavior of alleged rapists which can't be denied has been dismissed as garden variety male sexual aggression.

Except in extreme cases these are the same behaviors.

FRS frames this behavior as normal and acceptable while I and many others view this behavior as common, unacceptable and illegal when this results in sexual contact without freely given consent.

Predatory thinking allows a boy or man to proceed when consent is not clear as long as he can claim ignorance about the other person's lack of consent. The FRS blog has attacked "no means no" so that even clear statements of non-consent should be viewed as meaningless. This thinking can allow girls and women to proceed as well when there is no consent, but they are not defended with equal zeal.

The argument that FRS has then is not over behavior or how common that behavior is but over how aggressive boys and men are allowed to be toward someone who hasn't consented before that behavior is seen as unacceptable and/or illegal.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 11:16 AM   1 comments links to this post

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

False Rape Charges Dropped In New Zealand

From Stuff NZ:

33-year-old Christchurch woman is considering her options after police dropped an allegation that she made a false complaint of being gang raped. [...]

The woman then pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawful possession of a knife, which she had been found with at the Christchurch Central Police Station a month after allegedly being gang raped by a group of teens at Christchurch's Corsair Bay. She said she had been carrying the knife over fears for her safety in view of the earlier incident and Judge Somerville convicted and discharged her without penalty.

Defence counsel Michael Starling said the woman still maintained that she had been gang raped and had never changed her story or withdrawn the original statement that she made to police.

She had been charged that on November 16 she made a false written statement to police that an offence of rape had been committed. [...]
It's important to note that after she filed her report of gang rape the investigation led to four teens being charged with stealing items from her home. They either pleaded guilty or were convicted since they were sentenced as first-time offenders. This supports her claim of rape and it supports the validity of her fears for her safety which could lead her to being classified as having a "fragile mental state."

Apparently this woman was charged because of that "fragile mental state," which is a very dangerous basis for charging someone with filing a false police report. Being afraid or even being outright paranoid after gang rape is normal and and is in no way evidence that the gang rape never happened. Yet many people cling to this stereotype.

Some who believe this stereotype will also use a "calm mental state" as evidence that a different report of rape is false. These types of stereotypes can narrow the mental states of "real" rape victims down to almost nothing so that only severe and visible physical injuries or death override the rape denial stereotypes. This stereotype-based approach allows investigators and others to disregard specific evidence.

A large percentage of the general public who buy into these stereotypes likely took the charges against this woman to be proof that she lied. While these people would refer to those charged with rape as alleged rapists, they most likely referred to this woman as being a false accuser.

Those who did so in this case and other cases where those who report rape are charged or are simply characterized as false accusers despite a lack of charges violate the very principles they claim to hold dear.

If they don't uphold their own stated principles when it comes to those who report having been raped then that raises the issue that those principles are cited only for the purpose of getting to a desired outcome. Rape denial.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:33 AM   0 comments links to this post

New Alternate Email Address

A few peope have reported bounced emails to my primary email account so I created an alternate account.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 7:44 AM   0 comments links to this post

Sunday, March 08, 2009

International Women's Day

Since March, 8th is International Women's Day, I want to highlight one of the many programs designed to help women in other countries and which through them helps entire communities.

Fighting Violence Against Women, One Coffee Bean at a Time

How women in Honduras are using economic opportunity to fight domestic violence and save lives.

When Dulce Marlene Contreras started her organization with seven of her friends, the first thing on her mind was how to help the women of Honduras protect themselves from domestic violence. A daughter of farmers in the rural region of La Paz, Honduras, Marlene was tired of watching the women of her community endure widespread alcoholism and household abuse. In 1993, Marlene founded the Coordinadora de Mujeres Campesinas de La Paz, or COMUCAP, to raise awareness about women’s rights. The organization started by educating women in the community about their rights and training them to stand up for themselves. But as time went by Marlene noticed that something was missing.

While awareness-building was critical, in order to reduce violence for the long-term COMUCAP had to attack the problem at its root: poverty. “We realized that until women are economically empowered, they will not be empowered to escape abuse for good,” says Marlene.

Poverty itself is not the cause of domestic violence, but poverty can be a trap keeping women in violent relationships and economic stress can help abusers rationalize attacking someone in their family. If women can take effective action to get out of an abusive relationship that teaches their children an important lesson.

Just as important of a lesson is for communities to see that empowering women and opposing domestic violence doesn't diminish men or undermine the positive side of their communities.

Seeing this link changed the way COMUCAP approached its work. In addition to rights awareness workshops, it started training women to grow and sell organic coffee and aloe vera, helping them earn an income for their families. Initially the reaction from the community was hostile – women’s empowerment was seen as a threat to families.

I recommend reading the rest of the article on this program.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:27 AM   0 comments links to this post

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Kansas Law On Keeping Rape Kits For Those Who Don't Immediately Report

From KWCH:

"Many assaults are done by individuals that people care deeply about, it's a first time, there are a lot thoughts that maybe it will get better," says Bell. Hel says, those thoughts often keep victims from going to police.

A new federal law says they don't have to, at least not right away. Now, victims can come here for a forensic rape exam. Evidence gathered is kept on file with the kansas bureau of investigations, up to 5 years, in case they decide to press charges.
Until then, the hospital keeps the victim's name private.

This is an important change in federal law related to VAWA which has caused states such as Kansas to change their laws. The maximum time of rape kit storage varies from state to state and I believe 5 years should be the minimum time they are stored.

Besides uncertainty, a key reason for not reporting immediately or even within 4 years is safety and fear of harassment.

Someone raped by a spouse or a family member may need time to find stable housing and financial independence before reporting is worth the risk. When I volunteered on my local crisis line the first thing we needed to establish was whether the caller was safe.

Unfortunately, reporting can instantly change the answer from yes to no even if the rapist doesn't live in the same house.

A high school or college student raped by a popular teacher may not feel safe reporting until after graduation because the harassment that victim is sure will follow. This isn't irrational fear. Many people will attack rape victims in the name of protecting "victims" of rape accusations they "know" must be false. Harassment can be so severe that the rape victim may have a tough time reaching graduation.

Being raped is bad enough without adding years of harassment and possible follow-up assaults by people who believe the report is a false one.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:22 AM   0 comments links to this post