Friday, May 28, 2010

Carnival Deadline Tonight

I know many people have already started their Memorial Day holiday weekend, but if for those who blog about sexual violence and have a few minutes to nominate a post you've written please consider doing so today. Tonight at 11 pm is the next deadline for the Carnival Against Sexual Violence so please take a few minutes and nominate a post you've written or a post you've read.

For anyone unfamiliar with blog carnivals, this terminology is used for collections of blog posts with different carnivals focusing on different topics. You can learn more by reading the Carnival FAQ.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Marcella Chester @ 3:30 PM   0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Raping A Friend Of Your Wife Is Not Equal To Wife Cheating

A man from King City, California is being sentenced to only 3 years after pleading no contest to the rape of a friend of his wife. According to prosecutors, Jose Ruis decided to get revenge against his wife who had an affair by cheating on her, but his "cheating" was in no way equal to the actions his wife took.
On Feb. 13, the victim was invited to attend a dinner being held at the Ruiz's home. When [Jose] Ruiz picked the woman up at her house, he found that she was alone and raped her, prosecutors said.
The story doesn't include any reference to whether Ruis will be placed on the sex offender registry. Someone who can so easily decide to commit rape needs to be viewed as a persistent danger to the public. It wasn't the wife's cheating which caused this rape it was this man's underlying willingness to rape.

Labels:

Bookmark and Share
posted by Marcella Chester @ 7:24 PM   0 comments links to this post

Monday, May 24, 2010

Light Blogging Schedule

Because of a pending move to a new home I don't know how much time I'll have for blogging until sometime in mid-June.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:44 AM   1 comments links to this post

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Positioning Man Who Raped A Woman As A Victim

In a comment on my post about the rape of a woman which happened after the victim's ex-boyfriend, Jebidiah James Stipe, posted a Craigslist ad seeking sexual violence while pretending to be her, the man who answered that ad, Ty Oliver McDowell, was positioned by commenter Social Worker as a victim ("In this case, it really does sound like there are two victims here.") and the fact that he changed his plea from not guilty to guilty was used as supporting evidence.

For anyone not familiar with the case here is a summary:

The advertisement appeared on Craigslist in early December. "Need a real aggressive man with no concern for women," read the posting on the Internet classified advertising forum. Its purported author was a Casper, Wyo., woman, whose photo also was posted.

One week later, a man accepted the offer, forcing his way into the woman's home, tying her up and raping her at knifepoint. "I'll show you aggressive," he allegedly said, according to court testimony.

In fact, authorities say, the woman had nothing to do with the ad. Instead, they say, a former boyfriend had posted it, soliciting her assault.
A link was provided in Social Worker's comment to a post titled Revenge Rape and Reason is Ty Oliver Mcdowell a Rapist or a Victim by Martha lownsberry, Staff Writer (Ranked #1 expert in Criminal Law) where the author misuses the reasonable person argument to focus only on whether a reasonable person would believe that a woman could want this type of rape fantasy acted out. According to the logic used in this analysis if a reasonable person could believe that some women could want this fantasy acted out then McDowell should have no legal responsibility for his actions against someone who never sought this fantasy.

This argument completely ignores the reasonable person's responsibility to ensure that the person who placed the ad is the person described in the ad.

McDowell is in no way a victim in this case since he made the choice not to verify the identity of the person who placed the ad before breaking into a woman's home and raping her at knifepoint. He didn't even make enough of an effort to ensure that the person who placed the ad was in fact a woman.

Too often when it comes to sex crimes people excuse those who practice deliberate ignorance and who use generalities about what some women want as an excuse to not make sure their actions are wanted by a specific person at a specific time.

From a CBS story after McDowell initially pleaded not guilty:
A Wyoming man, charged with raping a woman he met on Craigslist, claims that he did nothing wrong when he forced his way into her Casper home in December, tied her hands, and, prosecutors say, raped her at knife point.

According to Ty McDowell, who pleaded not guilty, he was just responding to the woman's Craigslist ad, which said she wanted to play out a "rape fantasy."
When what someone is requesting in an ad is the acting out of multiple felonies this defense is garbage.

Too often rationalizations and excuses are accepted as a valid substitute for actual innocence. If we are serious about being opposed to sexual violence we must reject conflating these 2 very different things.

Labels:

Bookmark and Share
posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:54 AM   20 comments links to this post

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

US Supreme Court Supports Federal Civil Commitment For Sex Offenders

I was glad to read that the US Supreme Court ruling will allow federal officials to indefinitely detain "sexually dangerous" sex offenders. While there are major civil rights issues related to civil commitment those issues can and should be addressed without eliminating this important protection for people whose rights and even lives can be lost if civil commitment isn't a possibility.

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that federal officials can indefinitely hold inmates considered “sexually dangerous” after their prison terms are complete.
By a 7-2 vote, the high court reversed a lower court decision that said Congress overstepped its authority in allowing indefinite detentions of considered “sexually dangerous.”

“The statute is a ‘necessary and proper’ means of exercising the federal authority that permits Congress to create federal criminal laws, to punish their violation, to imprison violators, to provide appropriately for those imprisoned and to maintain the security of those who are not imprisoned by who may be affected by the federal imprisonment of others,” said Justice Stephen Breyer, writing the majority opinion.
One of the criticisms of civil commitment is that offenders don't get cured, but if this is true when offenders have professional help then releasing the most sexually violent offenders at the end of their prison sentences isn't going to have a better outcome for anybody except that dangerous sex offender.


A huge problem with releasing any convicted sex offender is that while our society takes a harsh view of those it acknowledges as true sex offenders, it also supports many of the rationalizations these offenders use to cross ethical and legal lines. When people condemn rape while citing the actions of victims as the cause of that person's rape they directly undermine the messages given in sex offender treatment.


What absolutely does not make sense is for all the money and focus on preventing future sex crimes to be directed only on those who have reached the point of being labeled as dangerous sex offenders. We need to do so much more to prevent future acts of sexual violence before prison or commitment become options. Primary prevention needs to be viewed as an expense which is as necessary as prison cells. We also need to have a more systematic way to ensure that investigators and prosecutors are handling sex crime reports competently and that the public supports paying for competence. Civil commitment should not be a reason to tolerate other failures which put innocent people at risk.

The problem of sexual violence is pervasive so our response needs to be just as pervasive.

Labels:

Bookmark and Share
posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:31 AM   0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Men Who Batter Overestimate Rate At Which Men Abuse

There is new research which looks at the link between men's violence toward women and their assumptions about how common that violence really is.

U. WASHINGTON (US)—Men who engage in domestic violence consistently overestimate how common such behavior is, and the more they overestimate, the more they engage in abusing their partner.

“We don’t know why men make these overestimations, but there are a couple of likely reasons,” says Clayton Neighbors, an affiliate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington and a professor of psychology at the University of Houston.
Since exposure to violence is a risk factor for violence, the behavior of role models and peers may lead to the statistical difference between these men's assumptions and the National Violence Against Women Survey findings. The story about this research doesn't include whether these men were also surveyed about how much violence they have witnessed.

If men witnessed or knew about partner sexual assault which these offenders estimated at being committed by 23.6% of men and also witnessed people siding with violent men because of victim blaming that would help create the norm where violence was common but not something for which the violent man should be accountable for.

I'm glad this research into offender behavior and beliefs is being done and want to see more of so we can use the results to improve primary prevention.

Labels:

Bookmark and Share
posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:31 AM   1 comments links to this post

Monday, May 17, 2010

Conditional Sexual Ethics

So often when people deny non-stranger sexual violence they express conditional sexual ethics where what was horrific when done to a stranger becomes tolerable or even expected when done after the person targeted did something which changes the observer's sense of ethics.

A common example of this is when people respond to a story about a rape case where the alleged victim dated and then kissed the alleged rapist and then they use that kiss to claim the accused must not be convicted. The conditional ethics active in this response turn any sexualized interest into a valid substitute for consent.

Some people who hold conditional sexual ethics will try to deny doing so by reframing their conditional ethics in terms of reasonable doubt. If anyone might consent in a certain scenario then they position allowing sexual violence in that scenario as a result of our legal system.

However, this makes as much sense as stating that an agreement to have a relative stay one night must be treated as if it were an agreement to have that relative stay forever no matter what the homeowner wants or says. The fact that some relatives become roommates isn't used to negate all situations where this doesn't happen.

We understand that consent in other areas is not all or nothing, but too many people refuse to understand this when it comes to sex. This must change.

Labels:

Bookmark and Share
posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:03 AM   18 comments links to this post

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Carnival Against Sexual Violence 94

Welcome to the May 15 edition of the Carnival Against Sexual Violence.

Quick FYI for those unfamiliar with blog carnivals and who wonder about this terminology, the term refers to collections of related blog posts. Check out blogcarnival.com for more information.

I'm now on Twitter as Abyss2hope so if you Twitter please follow me and then let me know you arrived from this blog through the @ reply or DM.

Thank you to everyone who nominated a post or who wrote a post against sexual violence whether it was nominated/selected or not. Nominations that came in after the nomination deadline will be considered for the next edition of the carnival.

If you support the purpose of the carnival, you can help get the word out about it and all of the posts included in the carnival.

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

gender


In "Slut Panel" postmortem: Shame, shame, go away posted at Feministing, we get a discussion of a workshop at the Harvard University Rethinking Virginity conference.

In Confession: Sexual Harassment, I Dealt With It posted at Hello Ladies, we get a discussion about how inadequate the solution of "deal with it" really is.

legal


In Skinny jeans will end rape?? posted at Stop Street Harassment!, we get a discussion of a rape case where skinny jeans contributed to juror belief that a man accused of rape wasn't guilty.

In Custody Feud: Fair Hearing Denied posted at MomLogic, we get a discussion of how a judge punished her in family court for raising concerns about her children's documented abuse.

In Gynecologist Practiced Medicine for 9 Years, Despite Multiple Rape Allegations From Patients posted at The Curvature, we get a discussion about the way reports by patients against their doctor were handled by police and by the state medical board.

In Who wants to be Mukhtaran Mai? posted at The World Has Stopped Spinning., we get a discussion of the assumptions made about a girl who alleged that she had been kidnapped and gang raped by four men.

In Release of Innocent Man Shows Huge Flaws in Sexual Assault Prosecutions posted at The Curvature, we get a discussion of a case in Australia where a conviction was based on DNA evidence which was later determined to have been contaminated.

In Novartis Sex Discrimination Case Includes Testimony Of Rape By Boss's Friend posted at abyss2hope: A rape survivor's zigzag journey into the open, I discuss a civil case against a medical product company which included withholding evidence from the police and victim blaming by a HR executive.

media watch


In One Way to Rape and Get Away With It posted at Bad Conscience, we get a discussion of a review of biography : The Indispensable Intellectual by Michael Scammell which responds to accounts of repeated acts of sexual violence by minimizing that violence.

In Gossip Columnist Wants Girls And Women To Deal With Sexual Harassment And Assault But Only According To Her Dictates posted at abyss2hope: A rape survivor's zigzag journey into the open, I discuss a New York Post column by gossip columnist, Cindy Adams.

raising awareness


In Could Yeardley Love's Death Have Been Prevented By UVA's Safety Tips? posted at The Sexist, we get a discussion of stranger-focused safety tips sent out to students after a fellow student's murder alleged committed by her ex-boyfriend.

In Bad Idea of the Week: Eliminating Sexual Assault Prevention Education posted at Change Happens, we get a discussion of university cut backs to services for college students.

In RCASA's Saturday Prevention: Elder Abuse posted at Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault Blog, we get a discussion about sexual violence against the elderly.

In Sexual Assault Awareness Month posted at Dr. Kathleen Young: Treating Trauma in Chicago, we get a discussion about sexual violence committed against college students.

In Consenting After Rape As Nullification Of Rape posted at abyss2hope: A rape survivor's zigzag journey into the open, I discuss a frequent form of rape denial and compare that denial to understanding of other non-stranger crimes.

In Woman Shot After Refusing Stranger's Advances: The Harassee's Dilemma posted at The Sexist, we get a discussion about risks from sexual harassment that many people ignore.

research


In Can policies prevent domestic violence? posted at CALCASA, we get a discussion of an article in the journal Injury Prevention titled Effects of domestic violence policies, alcohol taxes and police staffing levels on intimate partner homicide in large US cities.

In Lessons learned from reading research posted at CALCASA, we get a discussion about the complexities of evaluating research on sexual violence.

solutions


In Men Can Stop Rape Trains Hundreds in Hawaii During Sexual Assault Awareness Month posted at Masculinities in Media, we get a discussion of work being done to prevent sexual violence.

In Will Self-Defense Classes Be Taught in San Diego Schools? posted at FemineUs, we get a discussion about the gaps in prevention efforts.

In Legislative Update posted at Sexual Violence Center's Blog, we get a discussion of recent legislation in Minnesota related to sexual violence.

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.

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

Technorati tags:

Labels:

Bookmark and Share
posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:02 AM   0 comments links to this post

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Backhanded Enhancement of Sexploitation

After writing my post on a workshop given by Mayo Clinic doctor Marcie Billings on sexploitation, I was thinking about how the responses of some individuals and organizations put forth to reduce examples of sexploitation actually further dangerous attitudes which are part of the foundation of sexploitation.

For example, a dangerous attitude is contained in the term prostitots. This term is often used by people who claim to condemn sexploitation. I say "claim" rather than "are" because this judgmental labeling is a key part of sexploitation. This labeling of small girls as miniature prostitutes solely because of how they look semantically approves of sexploitation while condemning those who have this label slapped on them.

This type of label normalizes the sexual trafficking of girls and makes those who benefit from the prostitution of children invisible. This is reinforced by all those who claim that girls who look too sexy should expect to be seen as offering themselves sexually to whomever sees them. When modesty is put forth as rape prevention then sexploitation has been supported to the point of presenting certain rapes as normal. This again reinforces the idea that most rapists are not the root cause of the rapes they commit.

When people talk about the goal of living in a society where anyone, child or adult, could walk naked down the street without fear of rape they are talking about living in a society free of sexploitation. Yet many people still support the idea that nakedness or even a bare midriff can cause rape.

Boys and men who exploit girls according to their perceived sexualness are often falsely presented as passive entities who are controlled by the behavior of girls. A PSA called Everyone Knows Your Name released in 2007 normalized troubling responses from boys and men as it sought to educate girls about online safety.

According to RAINN 15% of sexual assault and rape victims are under the age of 12 and 34.2% of those sexually assault juveniles are family members and 58.7% are acquaintances. If we are to effectively prevent these crimes and the actions which support them we need to change not only the visible manifestations of sexploitation, we need to change the attitudes which contributes to people committing sex crimes with the belief that they are doing nothing seriously wrong.

Labels:

Bookmark and Share
posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:15 AM   10 comments links to this post

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

False Claims

When it comes to discussions of criminal false claims too many people only think about women and girls who lie about having been raped. Other criminal false claims are usually shrugged off as so rare that those who make other types of legal claims should be assumed to be truthful.

This difference in attitude is used to justify treating reports of rape by girls and women as inherently suspicious while treating other legal claims as inherently trustworthy.

This perception difference ignores the fact that if someone is willing to make a false claim in one area they are likely to make a false claim in other areas. Further, the motives given for false rape claims apply to many other types of false claims as well. Revenge, greed and cruelty don't limit themselves to one gender or one type of crime.

I was reminded of these contrasting attitudes when I read an article about staged automobile accidents where the motivation is insurance fraud.
Though the monetary loss is concerning, the real danger of staged accidents comes in the collisions themselves. In 2007 and 2008, years that saw a dramatic rise in staged accidents, there were 71,452 fatalities as a result of automobile collisions. The fact that offenders are increasingly forgoing the danger of seriously injuring or killing an innocent motorist for the purpose of scamming insurance companies is a serious concern.
Despite the seriousness of this crime, few people would support treating everyone who reports an auto accident the way many people want rape victims treated. Those who demand all those who report rape should submit to polygraph exams would be unlikely to support the same demand for everyone who files an insurance claim.

If we understand that evidence and not stereotypes should be used to evaluate claims which if false would be criminal then we must understand this when the claim is rape.

Labels:

Bookmark and Share
posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:52 AM   7 comments links to this post

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Carnival 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.

For anyone unfamiliar with blog carnivals, this terminology is used for collections of blog posts with different carnivals focusing on different topics. You can learn more by reading the Carnival FAQ.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:59 AM   0 comments links to this post

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sexploitation

Near the end of April which was child abuse prevention month I attended a public workshop titled Sexploitation: Media's impact on your child and what you can do about it by Dr. Marcie Billings from Mayo Clinic's Child and Family Advocacy Program.

She spoke about research but just as importantly spoke from the perspective of a pediatrician who has dealt with the impact of the media on her patients.

Children are inundated by the media before they have the experience and knowledge to make critical assessments of what messages are being reinforced by the media. Children may not realize that what they learn from the media is not an accurate representation of the real world. Many of the media messages do nothing to support healthy decision making.

In a handout from the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, by the age of 3 months 40% of infants are watching screen media regularly however the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children under the age of 2.

Media often promotes physical standards to children which they can't possibly reach because the image is an impossible one. If children make judgments about their own bodies using distorted body images as the standard for what they should look like that can contribute to a toxic obsession with weight and beauty. Hypersexualized media also distorts the reality of sexual behaviors and can impact children's sexual actions.

Normalization is the process through which ideas or behavior go from clearly problematic to accepted part of societal culture. For those who don't like the sexualization of children this results in an attitude of futility and "this is just the way it is." But Dr. Billings stressed that adults do have the power to push back against these norms and they can help their children develop this power.

The goal is to assure childhood free from sexualization, but right now hyper-sexualization is pervasive. Adults and children need to develop media literacy so they think critically about the media they are exposed to and take an active role in the consumption of media. Media can and must be held accountable for what is presented and what is not presented.

Dr. Billings encouraged parents to not only monitor and control their children's media usage but to use problematic content as an opportunity to help their children develop their thinking skills. This needs to go beyond rejecting certain content and telling a child, "that's bad." Parents should encourage their children to talk to them about their perspective and then parents need to listen. Adults can then help children develop clear boundaries so those children can better face general or specific pressure which pushes them toward sexualization or objectification.

The bottom line is that we need to let children be children and to view sexuality as a developmental milestone not as something which is imposed on children by the media or by society.

Labels:

Bookmark and Share
posted by Marcella Chester @ 11:25 AM   6 comments links to this post

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Consenting After Rape As Nullification Of Rape

I received the following from Melissa last week:
I've encountered a few rape apologists recently who talk about the fact that 40% of the victims in Koss' study slept with their rapists again, and act like it's proof that no rape occurred in the first place. (Yeah, infuriating, right?) I list off a bunch of reasons why women might sleep with their attackers again (coercion, a relationship/marriage, denial, etc.), and sometimes I even tell them that I slept with my rapist again, but I figured you could do the subject justice better than I could. :) If you get the time/inspiration, could you write a post about rape victims who have consensual(ish) sex with their attackers after the rape, and why it doesn't disprove that there was a rape in the first place?
This too common denial that someone could consent after rape or at least comply after rape is a denial that I addressed about a month after I started blogging in a post If it happens again is it still rape?

As I've thought again about this premise that subsequent actions by a victim of a sexual assault nullify that sexual assault, I realized that this premise isn't cited when a drug addict commits repeated crimes against family members. I don't remember anyone using the choices of non-criminal family members' after the crime as an excuse to claim the crime could not have possibly happened.

People might consider the family member foolish or too soft or they might even understand why someone wouldn't turn their back on a family member who exploits other people's love or caring. They might even acknowledge that the family member might not have recognized that what the drug addict did was a crime. But few people would claim that crimes such as burglary, check forging, identity theft or even physical assault couldn't have happened simply because a family member later consented to give that drug addict money or didn't immediately become estranged from the drug addict.

However, when it comes to sex crimes, where approximately 73% of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim, many people dismiss relationship dynamics which they otherwise understand without the least bit of trouble. Fear is ignored, love is ignored.

Even the normalization of non-consensual sexual contact and actions are ignored.

Not long ago I started watching the movie High Fidelity where one of the early scenes contains a flashback where boys are grabbing girls breasts as the girls struggle to stop the contact. The voice over refers to an attitude where girls breasts belong to boys and the boys want their property back. What was shown was sexual assault but it is such a frequent sexual assault that it is often dismissed as acceptable behavior when girls let boys kiss them.

If a boy or man pushing past a girl or woman's sexual boundaries is considered acceptable behavior as long as no weapon or death threats are involved and if girls and women are blamed when they fail to successfully block all unwanted sexual behavior why would we expect girls and women to view those boys and men as any worse than the average guy? Why would we expect girls and women to end all sexual contact?

When non-stranger rapists are excused repeatedly and victims of sexual violence are dismissed as only thinking they were raped by people who claim to be absolutely against rape it can't be a surprise when sex crime victims don't react only according to limited stereotypes about what people do after being raped.

If someone violates sex crimes laws, they committed a crime no matter what the victims does, says or thinks after that. Denial or forgiveness or repeated abuse don't nullify this fact.

Labels:

Bookmark and Share
posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:09 PM   3 comments links to this post

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Accusation Related To GPS firm Which Aided Domestic Violence

Too often when I read about a lawsuit filed on behalf of a victim of sexual or domestic violence the commentary is antagonist toward that victim's choice to sue even when lip service is given to caring about people's safety. The reasons for the antagonism are usually framed as logical, but when that logic is analyzed it often isn't nearly as logical as it claims to be.

Here's part of a post on TechDirt about a lawsuit against Foxtrax Vehicle Tracking filed on behalf of a victim of domestic violence:
It sounds as though the guy put the tracking device on the woman's car in order to stalk her. It's difficult to think that anyone could find the company liable here for the actions of the guy. I'm sure it's upsetting that the guy was able to track her, and she has every right to press all sorts of charges against the guy. But the GPS tracking company was merely the technology provider.
The person who wrote this is making a biased claim designed to eliminate accountability for companies which provide services which can clearly be used by people with criminal intent. The defense of the company merely being a technology provider isn't a logical defense. A company that provides technology can and should be held responsible for the choices made by the company or by company employees. Technology is not a free pass from all responsibilities.

The claim made on TechDirt is that this company is being sued "not because they have any actual liability, but because they have money." This is not a statement of fact it is an allegation. The author of the post has assumed that the civil case has no merit and uses the satirical cartoon Bloom County as proof while completely ignoring the real issues raised in the source story.

Companies must be required to act with due diligence related to predictable risks related to their products and services. If due diligence isn't required in this case then it must not be required of any company. Further, civil courts and other branches of the government should stay out of product recalls and we should describe all injuries and deaths which happen through the use of any product as merely "upsetting."

Here are more details about the lawsuit which has been filed using anonymous names for the man who used the GPS tracking service to stalk and for the victim of domestic violence because of safety issues.
The lawsuit claims a Missouri company, Foxtrax Vehicle Tracking Inc., aided and abetted "Jack Doe" to commit assault and battery on "Jane Doe" in 2008, including while she was seven months pregnant. The suit does not state so specifically, but implies that Jack Doe installed a tracking device on Jane Doe's vehicle.

The civil complaint, filed this week in Milwaukee County Circuit Court, names Jack Doe, Foxtrax and "as yet unidentified co-conspirators" as defendants. It says Jane and Jack Doe had a domestic partnership that began in March 2007, and that he was abusive and threatening toward her, "for the sole purpose of restraining the liberty and freedom of movement" of Jane Doe.[...]

The lawsuit also claims that Foxtrax at some point was notified of the situation involving Jane Doe, "but refused to discontinue aiding and abetting" Jack Doe, "purely for the sake of profit."
The allegations that the company was informed that their service was being used to track someone against their will is a key allegation which the post on TechDirt ignored. If they were notified that their service was being used as a tool of domestic violence then they must be liable for the choices made by company employees in response to that notification.

The excuse that a company is merely providing the technology and therefore has no liability for the harm done with the help of their technology must be rejected. Due diligence must be required even if the product is technology.

Labels:

Bookmark and Share
posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:48 AM   7 comments links to this post

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Novartis Sex Discrimination Case Includes Testimony Of Rape By Boss's Friend

Too many people continue to minimize sexual assault and sexual harassment in the workplace and elsewhere as something those targeted are supposed to just deal with. Civil lawsuits related to sexual discrimination are often dismissed across the board as frivolous. But there is nothing truly frivolous about employees who practice sexual discrimination in any form and there is nothing frivolous if 1 person's wrongdoing is enabled or supported by others in that company.

Accountability and responsibility are too often something which are only required of those who are sexually harassed, sexually assaulted or discriminated against. A recent civil case against the healthcare products company Novartis highlights actions for which the company should be held accountable.

When the Novartis sex discrimination trial started, two very different pictures of the company were offered to the public: one, a place that gave women, particularly pregnant women, lower pay and fewer promotions than men who performed equally well; the other, an employer that Working Mother magazine had repeatedly ranked as one of the 100 best places to work. Now that plaintiffs have called their final witness, it's obvious that Novartis (NVS) treated at least some women so badly that Novartis should pay them, big time.
From the civil trial where former sales rep Marjorie Salame testifies about the response to her disclosure that she was raped after a Novartis golfing event:
Salame: "Having to discuss the details of the night of that assault was extremely difficult. So I looked down. And Mr. Robinson [a company HR executive] asked me if that was it when I finished. And then he told me to look him in the eyes. And he got up in my face and pointed in my face and told me, "Look me in the eyes when I'm talking to you so I can see that you can hear what I'm saying to you. And then he started to tell me how I should have had another set of keys. That my phone was low on battery that night, I should have went to a landline. Asking me how much I had to drink. Telling me how I needed to take accountability for what happened that night."

Lawyer: "Did Regional Director Robinson say anything else to you?"

Salame: "Yes. He said I need to stop calling HR; that HR is not for me; that HR is only for [Robinson] and my manager, Joseph Simmons."
The victim-blaming response which includes the demand for accountability from someone who has disclosed being raped is far too common, but if people are supposed to be accountable that must include those who demand accountability from rape victims.
Over the next months, Salame's career at Novartis was completely derailed, and ultimately ended. The transcript of the day's testimony, which includes her full story, is linked to in the bnet article.
I hope the jury takes these individual actions seriously and sees that when a HR executive resorts to victim blaming in an official meeting that the company must be held accountable.

The case against Novartis gets worse.
Joseph Simmons, a Novartis district manager, stopped short Monday of admitting that he lied during the police investigation into the alleged assault of the sales employee he supervised, Marjorie Salame.

However, he admitted that he never told the police about a contrite phone call he received from the alleged assailant, who attended the golfing event and is a longtime friend of a paid consultant for Novartis.
Withholding evidence in a criminal rape investigation is colluding with an alleged rapist. Since the alleged rapist wasn't charged this withholding of information may have made a critical difference in the criminal case.

Update 5/21: Novartis lost.
Pharmaceutical company Novartis AG (NOVN.VX) (NVS.N) engaged in a pattern of discrimination against women at one of its divisions, a U.S. jury ruled on Monday, awarding compensatory damages of $3.3 million to 12 women and soon to be determined punitive damages to a larger group.

Labels:

Bookmark and Share
posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:18 AM   1 comments links to this post

Monday, May 03, 2010

Carnival Against Sexual Violence 93

Welcome to the May 3 edition of the Carnival Against Sexual Violence.

Quick FYI for those unfamiliar with blog carnivals and who wonder about this terminology, the term refers to collections of related blog posts. Check out blogcarnival.com for more information.

I'm now on Twitter as Abyss2hope so if you Twitter please follow me and then let me know you arrived from this blog through the @ reply or DM.

Thank you to everyone who nominated a post or who wrote a post against sexual violence whether it was nominated/selected or not. Nominations that came in after the nomination deadline will be considered for the next edition of the carnival.

If you support the purpose of the carnival, you can help get the word out about it and all of the posts included in the carnival.

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

gender


In 25 Eye-opening Studies and Infographics About Gendercide posted at Master Of Health Administration, we get a discussion of studies and infographics about the various methods used for discrimination of various populations.

legal


In Confronting Citizenship in Sexual Assault posted at Feministe, we get a discussion of the role citizenship and laws related to citizenship play in increasing the danger to non-citizens.

In Northern Territory Justice Comes Out Against Calling Rape “Rape” posted at The Curvature, we get a discussion about comments made by an Australian judge who objected to a story which called a teacher convicted of abusing a student too young to consent as consensual.

In An Open Letter to the DA in the Ben Roethlisberger Case posted at Roger Canaff, we get an examination of the way the rape allegations against pro-football player were handled.

In David Lisak is Awesome Sauce posted at Hysteria!, we get a discussion of comments by researcher and professor David Lisak about the sloppy way many investigators handle rape cases.

In Men Rape Woman Unconscious On Park Bench posted at abyss2hope: A rape survivor's zigzag journey into the open, I discuss a case which highlights dangerous attitudes.

In Paraphilic Coercive Disorder: Understanding the context of a really bad idea posted at Asexual Explorations Blog, we get a discussion of objections to a diagnosis which is often used to seek civil commitment for sex offenders.

media watch


In Reporting on the Need to Reform Child Abuse Laws posted at Cold SnapDragon, we get a discussion on proposals to change the laws in India.

In The Great Rape Conspiracy posted at Jim C. Hines, we get a discussion of the rejection of research which shows that sexual violence is common.

In Why Don't We Accept Victim-Blaming From Rapists? posted at The Sexist, we get a discussion of the contrast in reactions to victim blaming when it comes from the general population and when it comes from the mouth of a convicted rapist.

In Actually, Yeah. It’s Rape. posted at Boston Area Rape Crisis Center barcc blog, we get a discussion of the Twitter hashtag #itaintrape started by “Comedian” Lil Duval to deny rape and we get a look at what properly fits that description.

In CNN Makes Jaclyn Friedman Sound Like a Victim-Blamer! Again! posted at Shapely Prose, we get a discussion about how girls' and women's behavior is framed and how a position which doesn't fit the frame is distorted until it seems to fit.

In Sometimes I love the Media posted at Mortality's Thoughts, we get a discussion of an article which uses the correct terminology.

personal stories



In This might have been preventable posted at 'Maybe I'm too idealistic but...', we get a discussion about how the early dismissal of sexual harassment of girls by boys contributed to a later rape and also contributed to the belief that reporting rape is futile.

In The Importance of Consent in Everyday Situations posted at The Curvature, we get a discussion of how pervasive disregard for lack of consent can be and how normalizing this disregard contributes to sexual assault.

raising awareness


In Sexual Assault on College and University Campuses: What You Don’t Know posted at AAUW Dialog, we get a discussion which includes five do’s regarding sexual assault on campus.

In "Why Didn't You Report It?" posted at this ain't livin', we get a discussion of a common question aimed at those who disclose having been raped.

In Intimate Partner Rape posted at Memoirs of a Student, we get a discussion of the history of attitudes related to intimate partner rape including exceptions which made the rape of a spouse legal.

In Atheists Against Child Rape posted at Atheist Revolution, we get a discussion of a campaign to have the Pope arrested for the way he handled sex crime allegations against Catholic priests when he visits the UK.

In Responding to rape posted at Too Much To Say For Myself, we get a discussion of the conference "Responding to Rape" at the London South Bank University including troubling comments made by several of the attendees.

In Preventing Domestic Violence: What About The Potential Abusers? posted at abyss2hope: A rape survivor's zigzag journey into the open, I discuss statements made by an Oprah guest to women on how to prevent them from becoming victims of domestic violence and look at how that advice applies to potential abusers.

solutions


In La Voz del Cambio (The Voice of Change) posted at Sexual Violence Center's Blog, we get a discussion of a group in the Twin Cites, Minnesota metro area.

In Why Schools Should Alert Students To Campus Acquaintance Rapes posted at The Sexist, we get a discussion of colleges view that many non-stranger rapists don't pose a danger to other college students.

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.

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

Technorati tags:

Labels:

Bookmark and Share
posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:01 AM   0 comments links to this post