You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Sexual Assualt’ tag.

How do you solve a problem?  Look at the root causes and address them.  Laurie Halse Anderson writes in Time:

 

“How do we reduce the horrifying amount of sexual violence in this country?

We talk to our boys. Parents, family members, educators, clergy and other leaders have the opportunity and responsibility to model and teach consent from the time kids are old enough to walk: “You don’t touch anyone without their permission.” Families and schools should regularly share facts about bodies and sex appropriate to the developmental age of the child. Cultural leaders — writers, musicians, film producers, artists, advertisers, professional athletes, actors and social media influencers — have the power to accurately portray how sexual assault happens, providing information that will save lives.

I know it’s hard, but if we don’t figure out how to have tough conversations, we will sacrifice another generation of victims. It is time to not just inspire those who have been hurt to tell their stories — but to find our own courage to have open conversations about these complex subjects.

We need to teach our boys about healthy sexuality. We need to be crystal-clear about the laws and moral code surrounding consent. Our children must be aware that not only is there a federal definition of consent, but that states have their own, additional definitions. This is particularly significant for people younger than 18. “Close-in-age exemptions,” which permit some types of sexual contact between consenting minors, vary widely. RAINN has a State Law Database, to help you sort out the details.

We need to ask our boys questions so that we understand what they think they know about sex and intimacy. Sharing books, movies and TV shows are a great way to open these conversations. Discussing the choices made by fictional characters paves the way for more personal conversations.

We need to tell our own stories to make sure our boys understand that these things happen to people they know and love. We need to give them the tools required to navigate relationships in a positive way.

Our boys deserve information and guidance. The only way they’ll get it is if we speak up.”

How does one seek justice through the ‘justice system’ when it has been formatted in certain situations not to not produce just results? Case in point: Sexual Assault in our society. Our system of laws surrounding this area are broken and need to be fixed because justice is not being served.

The link to the Neurobiology of Sexual Assault

The RCC is corrupt.  Let’s acknowledge this, and then move to right the situation.  Neil MacDonald over at the CBC take a swipe at the papacy, but for all his erudite comments and justifications – one has to ask the question – ‘are they really necessary?’  As in, there is almost no moral ambiguity here, this is an ethical slam dunk.  The RCC ruling structure is rotten and needs to be jettisoned into space, the sooner, the better.

It is an unreal situation like Americans and their tragically farcical gun control debate.  One would reasonably think that the wholesale slaughter of innocents that is happening at a fairly regular interval in the US would lead to the sanction one of the primary tools that people use to enact mass murder.  Not rocket science.

In the same way, child buggery, has been a very catholic thing for decades if not centuries.  No ethical pining needed here folks – the catholic church’s superstructure needs to go away.  Not rocket science.

What these examples are a grim testimony to are the resilience of codified hierarchical structures/beliefs in society.  There is no tame liberal way of dealing with these problems, they must be torn from society root and branch, and that requires that people stand up and demand justice in society and be willing to raise hell until their demands are met.

But hey, talk of revolutionary action aside, Neil does a great job and poking the evil with a stick (enjoy?):

 

“The same goes elsewhere. Revelations of horrors in all the above-mentioned Western countries (here in Canada, there was documented abuse in Quebec, British Columbia, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, where the church’s Mount Cashel orphanage was operated as sort of a prison for child sex slaves) resulted in dismissals of some church officials, some lawsuits and a handful of criminal convictions, but not much more than that.

Each time, the Pope or one of his high subalterns would lament human frailty, and drone on about the sacred duty to protect the most vulnerable, while privately fighting to thwart civil suits or conspiring to keep facts from investigating authorities.

Pope Francis, who enjoys the most saintly reputation of any recent pope (except for John Paul II, who was actually made a saint, despite all the ugly revelations on his watch) released an open letter to the world’s Catholics after the Pennsylvania revelations, basically repeating the company line: gosh, sorry, that was terrible, we must do better, God bless you all, go in peace.

Noting first that “most of these cases belong to the past,” (don’t all cases belong to the past?) the Pope banged on for 2,000 words about feeling the pain of the vulnerable, and the necessity of ensuring it doesn’t happen again (and again and again and again), but his central theme was expressed right off the top in a line from Corinthians: “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it.”

Yes. Of course. Let’s compare the spiritual suffering the Pope claims the revelations have caused him to that of a child being sodomized by an adult stalker in a clerical collar, a monster the boy probably doesn’t think he’s even allowed to complain about.

The right thing for the Pope to do would be to waive his sovereign privilege (he is a sitting head of state), and invite criminal authorities to freely and fully access church records worldwide, and drain the holy swamp. He might also consider at this stage ordaining women, because women are God’s creatures too, perfectly able to spiritually guide the faithful, and, umm, don’t tend to rape children.

But the privileged old men who run the church aren’t going to allow any of that. They’re a bit like gun control opponents, opposing an obvious solution on doctrinaire grounds.

There actually have been a few attempts to use the RICO statute against priests, notably in Cleveland, but jurors did not convict.

When former Oklahoma governor and former federal prosecutor Frank Keating, a practicing Catholic, compared the church’s obsession with secrecy to the Mafia’s, Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles demanded his ouster from a church board examining clerical abuse. Keating resigned from the panel.

Mahony, who covered up sexual abuse by priests in California, according to church records, retired peacefully at age 75. Only after a court order compelled the Los Angeles archdiocese to open its files on abuse was Mahony gently rebuked by the church

Pope Francis condemned priestly sexual abuse and its cover-up by the Catholic Church, in a public letter. In addition to demanding accountability, Francis begged forgiveness for the pain suffered by victims and said Catholics must be involved in any effort to root out abuse. 2:11

By any secular standard, the Catholic Church is a corrupt organization. It in fact sets the standard for impunity.

Cardinal Bernard Law, who presided over the coverup of the church’s famous Boston sex abuse scandals, was plucked and brought to Rome by Pope John Paul II, where he resided until he died at the Vatican, beyond the reach of American prosecutors.

Earlier this year, after Bishop Juan Barros of Chile was accused of covering up clerical abuse, Pope Francis denounced the accusers’ “calumny.” When it turned out that there was merit to the accusations, and that the Vatican had been informed of the problem, Francis claimed he’d been misinformed. A few weeks later, all 34 of Chile’s bishops tendered their resignations. Francis eventually accepted three of them.

And now, Catholic activist Susan Reynolds has gathered thousands of signatures on a letter demanding the resignation of all American bishops. It would be the right thing to do, but at a guess, the very notion amuses America’s bishopry, comfortable in their armour of piety.”

    Ms.Murphy describes the radical treatment necessary in order to make our society a livable place for women:

“Without the things women are expected to provide in order to “prove” abuse — pictures of injuries, hospital records, DNA — we are already not believed. In fact, “believed” is the wrong word — we are not understood. It is not understood that “consent” does not negate male violence and it is not understood that abuse comes in all sorts of forms, most of which are unprovable in court. It is not understood that pornography grooms women to accept abuse and that gendered socialization teaches women to politely absorb sexual harassment. It is not understood that the limited “sex-positive” discourse pushed by liberals gaslights women into believing they are “prudish,” “uptight,” and “anti-sex” if they don’t accept a male-centered vision of “sexuality.” “Believing women” is not the only thing we must do in these circumstances.

I understand the anger women across Canada are expressing at this unjust verdict. I can only imagine the pain Ghomeshi’s victims are experiencing today. But I don’t, for one minute, believe that a guilty verdict is enough, in terms of holding men to account and changing the public’s view of male power and abuse. We, as a society, are responsible for having that conversation and for effecting real change, in terms of ending male violence against women.”

Meghan Murphy on the Feminist Current

***Let me preface this post with a handy disclaimer for clarification – When women say that have been abused – I believe them.***

**Update – Lucy DeCoutere speaks of her abusive experience with Jian Ghomeshi on CBC radio’s show The Current – Catch the podcast here.**

 

CBCradioOkay this story broke over the weekend and the major print media involved so far has been the Toronto Star.  In the TS’s words here is what happened

“CBC star Jian Ghomeshi has been fired over “information” the public broadcaster recently received that it says “precludes” it from continuing to employ the 47-year-old host of the popular Q radio show.  Shortly after CBC announced Ghomeshi was out the door on Sunday, Ghomeshi released news that he was launching a $50-million lawsuit claiming “breach of confidence and bad faith” by his employer of almost 14 years. He later followed that up with a Facebook posting saying he has been the target of “harassment, vengeance and demonization.”

Hmm.  Well I think the CBC’s information – having a host that is violent toward women – is probably a good reason for canning the dude.

“Ghomeshi’s statement said that he has been open with the CBC about the allegations. He said the CBC’s decision to fire him came after he voluntarily showed evidence late last week that everything he has done was consensual. Ghomeshi blames a woman he describes as an ex-girlfriend for spreading lies about him and orchestrating a campaign with other women to “smear” him.

The three women interviewed by the Star allege that Ghomeshi physically attacked them on dates without consent. They allege he struck them with a closed fist or open hand; bit them; choked them until they almost passed out; covered their nose and mouth so that they had difficulty breathing; and that they were verbally abused during and after sex.

A fourth woman, who worked at CBC, said Ghomeshi told her at work: “I want to hate f— you.”

Fascinating.  It would seem that Ghomeshi has the standard defense of blaming and making women responsible for his shitty behaviour down pat.  Might another dodge in the dude’s handbook be that what he does in private (beating women) should have no effect on his job?

“Let me be the first to say that my tastes in the bedroom may not be palatable to some folks. They may be strange, enticing, weird, normal, or outright offensive to others. … But that is my private life. … And no one, and certainly no employer, should have dominion over what people do consensually in their private life.”

Ah, but Jian the three women in question all say that you physically attacked them explicitly without their consent – and that boyo – means your private life, your private kinks – are fucking irrelevant to the issue at hand, because attacking people is against the law.

“Early last summer, the Star began looking into allegations by young women of sexual abuse by Ghomeshi over the past two years. The Star conducted detailed interviews with the women, talking to each woman several times. None of the women filed police complaints and none agreed to go on the record. The reasons given for not coming forward publicly include the fear that they would be sued or would be the object of Internet retaliation. (A woman who wrote an account of an encounter with a Canadian radio host believed to be Ghomeshi was subjected to vicious Internet attacks by online readers who said they were supporters of the host.)”

Don't be that guyGo read that paragraph again. You will not find a more clearly defined example of what rape culture is and how it affects women and their choices.

Why didn’t these women just go to the police?  Because often filing a police report and going through the process ends up as nothing more as a re-victimization of an already traumatized individual and no legal censure for the abuser in question.  Plus, now with the shiny new information age, women are targeted for harassment, rape and death threats over social media and email (just take a peek at the abuse women get for daring to speak their mind).   Coming forward just isn’t that easy or cut and dried as people would like to portray.

From the New York Times:

“They [the women Ghomeshi abused]  explain further:

“Each of the women accusing Ghomeshi cite the case of Carla Ciccone as a reason they desire anonymity. Last year Ciccone wrote an article for the website XOJane about a ‘bad date’ with an unidentified, very popular Canadian radio host whom readers speculated to be Ghomeshi.

“In the days that followed, Ciccone received hundreds of abusive messages and threats. An online video calling her a ‘scumbag of the Internet’ has been viewed over 397,000 times.”

In her 2013 XOJane piece, Ms. Ciccone writes that a man she calls Keith, who “has a successful radio show in Canada,” repeatedly tried to touch her when they went to a concert together, even after she asked him to stop.

Those who speak up about sexual harassment or violence have long been subject to public scrutiny and criticism. But an onslaught of online abuse and threats has become a strikingly common response to women’s public statements — see for instance the threats Anita Sarkeesian and others have received when they speak publicly about misogyny in video games.

Brianna Wu, a game developer, details her harassment in an essay at XOJane, describing death and rape threats as well as threats to her career:

“They tried to hack my company financially on Saturday, taking out our company’s assets. They’ve tried to impersonate me on Twitter in an effort to discredit me. They are making burner accounts to send lies about my private life to prominent journalists. They’ve devastated the metacritic users’ score of my game, Revolution 60, lowering it to 0.3 out of 100.”

Yah, soooo..before we get any spirited arguments about “Why didn’t they just go to the police? – the above quote is your answer.  Do you want to face the possibility of ruining your life given the very real chance that your trauma won’t be taken seriously by the authorities?   Can you see how large the disincentive is for women to “go public”.  Again, say hi to what it like to live in a rape culture.

   Heather Malik writing in the Toronto Star elaborates this key point about how rape culture effects women and the reporting of sexual abuse:

“When it comes to redress for suffering a sexual attack, Canadian women might as well be in Saudi Arabia. We whisper among friends and quietly trade stories, or we shut up for our entire careers.

The barriers start with institutional sexism and pile on with the almost impossible burden of proof for acts committed in private, the adulation offered to well-paid and well-connected men, the insulation of a large staff on Ghomeshi’s radio show Q, his hiring of a PR company and a team of libel lawyers, the fact that he claims he is a union member now filing a grievance against the CBC, an army of carefully catered-to fans online, the continuing shock of being physically assaulted, and then one of the worst things of all, the terror of being placed in the online bearpit.”

The stigma for women surrounding sexual assault and battery needs to be removed.  The choice between ruining your life for a slim chance at justice or shutting up about your sexual assault is really no choice at all for women, as this story so vividly illustrates.   Women need protection and support from the legal system and society.  Woman should be able to exercise their human and legal rights without fear of retribution from the misogynistic elements of society that would see their lives ruined for the mere act of speaking the truth about their experiences.

As a long time CBC radio listener, I sincerely hope that Mr.Ghomeshi is not rehired.  Canada is a progressive country and the abusive, anti-woman vibe that surrounds Mr.Ghomeshi has no place on our national radio network.

 

*TW for sexual violence.

Project Unbreakable is about the survivors of sexual assault.  It is a photoblog of survivors holding up signs with messages about their experiences and feelings.  Powerful stuff.

Abuse is epidemic in our societies, not thinking about it does not make it go away.  Please link to and propagate Project Unbreakable’s message.

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