Archive for rape victims

"Doonesbury" confronts rape: "Welcome to the military, ladies."

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doonesbury welcome to the military ladies rape cartoon

doonesbury military rape

Garry Trudeau isn't pulling any punches in this week's Sunday offering, and for that we should all thank him. The treatment of women (and men!) in the military who reported having been sexually assaulted is abysmal. So abysmal, in fact, that women all too often will not step forward because they know how it will all turn out.

Hence, this Doonesbury strip. Standing O, Mr. Trudeau.

To refresh your memory, Think Progress reported this back in November:

A new report released on Wednesday calls on Congress to pass new reforms related to sexual assault in the military, a problem that the Defense Department estimates occurred approximately 26,000 times over the course of the last year but may in fact be even higher. [...]

In 2012, of the 26,000 military personnel estimated to have experienced sexual assault, 14,000 were men and 12,000 were women,” the report notes. The opening of new positions to women within the armed services is also dismissed as a reason for an increase in estimated sexual assaults. [...]

Anu Bhagwhati, a former Marine and founder of the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN), also spoke to reporters on the call about her experience while serving. “As a former commander, and a Marine who saw my own share of harassment, discrimination and betrayal, I saw swept under the rug often by senior officers often enough to know that sweeping institutional change is needed to give survivors of sexual violence a shot at justice.” SWAN helped draft the Gillibrand’s bill, Bhagwhati explained, arguing that it strengthens justice for both the victims and the accused.

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Identifying Rapist Lands Victim In Jail

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Norma Esparza

Sometimes justice gets it right. Other times they get it all wrong. Here's an mind-boggling example of the latter. Now there may be some sticky stuff to this story, but the devil is in the details.

Some 18 years ago, a woman named Norma Esparza, now 39, was a victim of rape. She confessed this to her then boyfriend Gianni Van, though she was afraid to go to the police to make a report for fear she'd be made the victim, as so many women/men before her. Esparza was forced by her boyfriend to identify her accused attacker. They went to a bar where this attack has taken place and she pointed out Gonzalo Ramirez to Van. From there he took justice into his own hands.

DailyMailOnline:

Van went on to get revenge for the sexual assault by kidnapping Mr Ramirez and stabbing him to death.

Ms Esparza, from California now living in France, today proclaimed her innocence before she was taken into custody in Orange County.

This story isn't quite that simple, though. Esparza didn't learn until recently that Ramirez had been killed. What she did know was this:

She claims to have been taken by Van to see a bloodied, but alive, Ramirez after which she was threatened with a gun to make her promise to stay silent.

Van told her they had released Ramirez but Esparza learned when she was interviewed by police weeks later that he had been killed

She claims to have been taken by Van to see a bloodied, but alive, Ramirez after which she was threatened with a gun to make her promise to stay silent.

Van told her they had released Ramirez but Esparza learned when she was interviewed by police weeks later that he had been killed, Mr Mancillas (Esparza's current husband) said.

After this she was pressured to marry Van so she could not be bound to testify against him.

She fled to Europe where her education continued until she got her doctorate and became a professor. She stayed in Europe to teach, got divorced from Mr.Van and since married. She's now the mother of a four year old daughter.

Things seemed to be fine until she returned to the US for a visit recently. Upon entering, she was arrested and charged with manslaughter.

Esparz and daughter

The mother-of-one has now been jailed after rejecting a manslaughter plea deal offered by prosecutors who allege she encouraged the murder of Ramirez by pointing him out to Van at a Santa Ana bar 18 years ago.

This just seems to be the story of an innocent victim who's life has gone from bad to very bad to even worse. But is this her fault or the fault of the system that makes reporting a crime such a horrific ordeal?

Ms. Esparza should have taken the risks and probable humiliation that millions are made to endure and reported this degrading crimes. But she didn't. She merely pointed him out to her boyfriend and believed he and some friends had beaten him for his crime and he was let go. She didn't give her boyfriend an order, a gun or knife and dispatch him to the ultimate revenge. This wasn't an episode of Dexter.

Murder is wrong. Period. But arresting the victim for identifying the alleged rapist, then accusing her of complicity in his murder is not the way to improve the already sagging confidence any victim of any crime has in police and their procedures. The accused rapist deserved his opportunity to defend himself in court -- not to be a murder victim based on deranged vigilantes. But if we want this kind of thing to stop, maybe it's time to look at why women, and to be fair, men, are reluctant to report such heinous crimes.

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What I will not write about today

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frustrated18

Sometimes I get so frustrated and/or disheartened and/or annoyed by some of the news stories of the day that I can’t bring myself to write about them. Here are a few recent reports that made my blood pressure hit the roof. I am avoiding delving into them at length out of concern for my physical and mental health.

  • 15 States Have Loosened Gun Restrictions-- Because providing gun manufacturers with more cash, coveting phallic symbols, pretending you can outgun murderers under stress, and endangering more lives is a priority. USA! USA!

See what I mean? So who’s up for a couple of Margs or a trough of wine?

drunk wine crafts corks

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What I will not write about today

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frustrated17

Sometimes I get so frustrated and/or disheartened and/or annoyed by some of the news stories of the day that I can’t bring myself to write about them. Here are a few recent reports that made my blood pressure hit the roof. I am avoiding delving into them at length out of concern for my physical and mental health.

  • Rush Limbaugh Compares Suspected Boston Bomber To Trayvon Martin-- Yes, Rush, the non-existent librul media supports Tsarnaev, and linking unarmed Trayvon to a guy who bombed a bunch of people to smithereens and then gunned down a police officer draws a perfect parallel. If this is about photos aired by the media, in both cases multiple images were shown repeatedly, younger ones, older ones, flattering ones, and not-so flattering ones. Here's an idea:

big glass of stfu

See what I mean? So who’s up for a couple of Margs or a trough of wine?

huge glass of wine 2 drunk

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VIDEO: "A needed response to the Steubenville rapists... or any rapists out there."

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girl passed out PSA rape

Today while I was on with Nicole Sandler doing my weekly radio spot, she ended the show with this must-see PSA aimed at teenage boys on what to do with a girl who’s passed out on your couch.

I had never seen it, and immediately teared up. What a simple and perfect message about respect and compassion:

Samantha Stendal:

To the Steubenville rapists...or any rapists out there.

It was posted on March 22, and already has 1,282,067 views.

Check out this comment that was posted under the video on YouTube:

Madd Lawgick:

This society has far more misandric beliefs then it does misogynist beliefs at this point. The man hating is at a ridiculous level in every aspect from elementary school to Prison sentences.

"real" Feminist always claim to be fighting for the rights of both genders but you NEVER see this in action. In actions all you see is feminist trying to gain more and more PRIVILEGES(not rights) for women and ignoring an issues dealing with men.

The radfems are heading the Feminists movement now.

Yeah, we "radfems" hate men so much that we try to prevent and cope with the devastation of rape. 

Melissa Harris-Perry must be trying so hard to "gain more PRIVILEGES" that she showed all kinds of compassion to rape survivors, having been one herself. She's clearly "ignoring all those issues dealing with men," those poor men who brutally abuse women, when she said to the Steubenville survivor, you “are not alone. We have failed you. I believe in you.”

What a radfem.

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VIDEO: Melissa Harris-Perry to 16-year-old Steubenville rape survivor: You "are not alone. We have failed you. I believe in you."

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melissa harris perry I believe you

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

This is a must-see video.

I choked up right along with Melissa Harris-Perry (@MHarrisPerry) as she poured her heart out to the 16-year-old Steubenville rape victim who has been ridiculed and bullied after having suffered a devastating trauma that will affect her the rest of her life. This was as excruciating to watch as it was cathartic, as it was uplifting.

Melissa was speaking from experience, she was heartfelt and painfully empathetic, caring, loving, eloquent... and classy:

"I'm sorry. We have failed to teach your male peers that they heave no right to touch you without your consent. Or to use you to meet their needs. Or to discard you if your victimization does not fit their life plan."

"I am sorry we have failed you."

"...54% of survivors never report the assault. It's the reason I kept my secret for nearly a decade. But not you, beloved."

"You demanded the right to be heard."

"You knew just how relentlessly they would try to silence you, and you knew that neighbors and friends and even members of the national media would mourn the loss of your attackers' football careers more than the loss of your innocence."

"But you spoke out anyway... You spoke for my 14-year-old-self..."

"This is me saying, 'I BELIEVE YOU."

" I don't need to know your name, but I need you to know you're not alone."

"You will continue surviving, and if you ever get down, if you ever wonder how you're gonna go on, take out this letter, because I BELIEVE YOU.

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"Republicans tellingly showed zero interest in... the 19,000 sexual assaults of military servicewomen that occur each year."

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chart rape military assault women

Today's L.A. Times letter to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re "Hagel hearing reopens Senate wounds," Feb. 1

By grandstanding their grievances with former Sen. Chuck Hagel for leaving the fold to serve in President Obama's administration as secretary of Defense, the neoconservative Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee rubbed salt in their own self-inflicted wounds. What a shameful spectacle of badgering, interrupting and berating a decorated war veteran with a stellar record of public service.

While wasting the day on cherry-picked policy positions that don't even pertain to what a Defense secretary does, Republicans tellingly showed zero interest in the one that does: the 19,000 sexual assaults of military servicewomen that occur each year. Kudos to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) for questioning Hagel about this "invisible war," to which he promptly and correctly pledged no tolerance.

Wendy Blais

North Hills

rape women military assault

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