Sexual Assault In The U.S. Military
is the focus of a serious contender for Best Documentary Feature at this year's Academy Awards. The Invisible War
is a groundbreaking investigative doc that sheds light on the under-reported epidemic of sexual abuse against female members of the military
, as well as the lack of punitive action in these crimes: of the 8 percent of sexual assault cases that are prosecuted in the military, only 2 percent result in convictions. A female soldier in a combat zone is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire.
By official estimates
from The Department of Defense, 19,000 violent sexual crimes occurred in the military in 2011 alone
. Sexual assault is grossly under-reported
in the military. In 2011, 3,191 assaults were reported when its likely that somewhere between 19,000 and 22,000 assaults occurred.
The women in the film speak about the physical and mental abuse they underwent while serving in the military - and about the the lawsuit they joined and the verdict in which their experiences were labeled "occupational hazards".
The film is already garnering much attention, especially as front-running Oscar Nominee - and lawmakers are taking notice. [more inside]
In October, 18-year old high school senior Ryan Romo was arrested
for the sexual assault of a child (someone 16 or under, by TX state law).
On October 31, CultureMap Dallas's managing editor, Claire St. Amant published an article
asking, "Is this Highland Park baseball star a rapist?" St. Amant ended her article, stating: If it's a case of impulsive teenage decisions, remorse and guilt, then no one suffers more than 18-year-old Ryan Romo. [more inside]
In July 2007, NPR published a two part series
(direct links: 1
) about a four year old uninvestigated rape case at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation
. Sparked in part by a 2006 report (pdf)
from Amnesty International that included a startling statistic: "One in three Native American women will be raped in her lifetime,"
NPR's investigation led to the reopening of the case and Congressional hearings
. In February 2011, Harper's published an update of sorts: Tiny Little Laws: A Plague of Sexual Violence in Indian Country (Via)
The crime against women that no one understands
"They would be 10 educated, professional women versus a demonstrated liar—a man who had pretended to be a doctor, a CIA employee, even an astronaut—whom a court-appointed psychologist would decide met the legal definition of a "sexually violent predator." And yet the most remarkable thing about both trials wasn't the way they exposed the alleged tactics of a serial date rapist. It was that despite the outrageousness of the accusations against Marsalis, the testimony of 10 women wasn't enough to get a single rape conviction against him. The verdicts in these cases would be far lighter than his accusers sought—and victims' advocates say the outcome reveals a disturbing truth about the justice system. Nationwide, despite all the legal advances of the past three decades, little has changed for women who report a date rape. Because in far too many instances, juries don't believe date rape exists."
Police in Orlando, Florida, frustrated with an "epidemic"
of false allegations of rape, threaten arrest for all future false reports. The problems of this Florida community reflect research
that shows a disproportionately high
rate of false accusations of rape relative to other crimes, though studies on the issue are far from uniform
, and frequently the center of controversy
. [more inside]
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs)
are registered nurses who have special training and experience in forensic evidence collection (conducting “rape kits”) and survivor-centered care. They also increasingly conduct forensic examinations on suspects accused of sexual assault(PDF)
. There is evidence that, through this work, SANE programs increase the prosecution rates of sexual assault cases
. However, as a result of a recent Supreme Court Case, Crawford v. Washington
, the role of SANEs is being increasingly curtailed(behind a pay wall)
. [more inside]
Amy's uncle started abusing her when she was four years old
. Depictions of her abuse are "one of the most popular and readily available kiddie porn videos on the Internet
." Her lawyer has a novel - and apparently successful
for recovering compensation: use the theory of joint liability to sue everyone with a copy of the video
Michael Riley, writing in the Denver Post,
investigates the dysfunctional state of law enforcement on Native American reservations, and the shocking consequences for crime victims. Bill Moyer's Journal
has followed up with an excellent documentary expose entitled "Broken Justice." [more inside]
Men face jail for rape if women are 'too drunk' to consent in bed to boost convictions.
Men who have sex with drunken women will be at risk of being convicted of rape under new laws to be considered by ministers. The legal shake-up would mean a woman would be considered incapable of giving consent to sex if she had been drinking heavily.
The Duke lacrosse rape case
hurtled toward perhaps sinister motives last week with testimony from the head of the private DNA lab prosecutor Nifong hired to test the rape kit samples taken from the accuser. Brian Meehan revealed that not only had his lab found DNA samples from five unknown men, none of whom were Duke lacrosse players, Meehan had also agreed with Nifong not to put that info in the DNA Security's final report. Were it not for the fact that the three defendants have counsel capable of pouring over thousands of pages of technical documents, this vital, exculpatory evidence would have gone unnoticed.
Previous opinions in MeFi
An advertising campaign in the UK
warns men that they must seek a woman's consent before engaging in sex
. The initiative is designed to combat the low conviction rate for rape
but will it criminalise a generation of young men?
Newsfilter: $1000 fine for linking?
The law vs. vigilante justice vs. inadvertent legal ramifications of vigilante justice. [MI]
A map of sex offenders in YOUR neighborhood.
People can change, and mistakes can be redeemed, but then again, looking at map of colored dots in my own neighborhood kind of gives me the creeps.
Twice a victim.
A 17-year-old girl in Beaverton, Oregon accused her then-boyfriend, 18, of raping her along with two of his friends. Not only was the case dismissed, but prosecutors then decided to charge the girl with filing a false report; she was found guilty this week: included in the judge's reasoning were such things as "she did not act traumatized" to his satisfaction, and "the woman's false accusations were serious enough to lead to charges." Several bloggers have touched on this story and its potential impact, including Kevin Drum
, Shakespeare's Sister
, and Kevin Hayden
, who knows the victim personally.
Pakistani council aproves rape to avenge honour.
"A village council in Pakistan permitted a landlord to rape the sister and sister-in-law of a man he accused of an illicit relationship with his daughter, police said Thursday. (...) The council members, all of them landlords themselves, ruled that Ghaffar, who uses only one name, could avenge his honour by having sex with the farmer's daughter, who is 16, and daughter-in-law, who is 22."
"An estimated 80 percent of women prisoners in Pakistan are in jail because they failed to prove rape charges".
Marcus Dixon, an 18-year-old Black high school honor student was recently convicted of child molestation, has been permanently expelled from high school, and is now serving 15 years in the George state prison for having consensual
sex with a 15-year-old White girl. Even though he was acquitted of all forcible rape charges, the child molestation charge still earned him the long sentence. Racism? Mandatory minimums strike again?
Man Pleads Guilty to Raping his own 2 month old Daughter
But wait, that's just the beginning. This guy's daddy heads the state Corrections Department and part of his plea is to reduce the amount of time he's going to spend in jail for this most heinous act.
This guy is facing, if the judge agrees to the plea, only 6 months in jail! The standard sentence for first-degree child rape is seven to 10 years in prison.
He's admitted to molesting a 9 year old in Maine before and has also been convicted of orchestrating an armed robbery.
How in the heck he's going to get ANY leniency is beyond me.
Bush signs a bill into law
that very few people will have anything bad to say about. Most of those who would oppose the new law can't vote, anyway, being members of predatory prison gangs, so I think we're pretty much good on this one
DNA frees 3 convicts after 17-year incarcerations
--Barry Scheck and The Innocence Project
have struck again. Thus far, they have used DNA to free 128 wrongly convicted people.
Read Frontline's interview
Learn about a sister organization, Northwestern's Center on Wrongful Convictions
, which has freed nine Illinois men who were once sentenced to death
For those sentenced to time in the can, prison can be a rough place
How can we prevent innocent people from being put to death? Or fates worse than death
and equal treatment "under the law." (pun anyone?)
Outraged prosecutors said Thursday that they will appeal the sentence given to Edwin "Ed" Mann, a former Orlando Police Department sex-crimes detective, for having a sexual affair with a 14-year-old girl who had earlier dated his son.
Mann, a former leader in Cops for Christ, pleaded guilty last week to four felony charges resulting from an ongoing sexual relationship he had with the girl two years ago when he was a sex-crimes detective.
Do you think being "religious" and policeman merits special treatment from a judge?
"It's really like rape"
say lawyers for a college student who sued Arco Media (makers of "Wild Party Girls Video") and won 5 million dollars. From what I was able to find, alcohol was not forced down her throat (she used intoxication as part of her defense) so I am having a difficult time seeing where the "rape" part comes in.
In 1948 Caryl Chessman was awarded two
death sentences on two counts of attempted rape. He was probably innocent, yet he was executed in 1960 for more or less "being a smartass." In the years between his sentencing and death, he wrote three memoirs and a novel, which sold well. After the first memoir the prison forbade him to write about anything other than the legalities of his case, so he developed an elaborate code to get his work out to his lawyer. His spirit never broke, as strange as it was. This is his story