Archive for rape

Women have abortion rights, so why can't men rape them? asked now apologetic GOP lawmaker.

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Laffy Note: Apparently David Garber and I both decided to post about this pathetic excuse for a human being, and for good reason. It happens. Two writers, two different takes on the same topic.

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Republican Maine State Rep. Lawrence Lockman says he's sorry for appalling statements he made in the '80s and '90s about women's and gay rights, rape, abortion, AIDS, sodomy, and progressives.

It is now 2014. Do the math, State Rep. Reprehensible (R- Busted), because your "mea culpa" is a tad overdue.

Via  the Morning Sentinel:

In a 1995 letter in the Sun Journal in Lewiston, a reader quoted a press statement by Lockman, then part of the Pro Life Education Association, saying, “If a woman has (the right to an abortion), why shouldn’t a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman? At least the rapist’s pursuit of sexual freedom doesn’t (in most cases) result in anyone’s death.”

This Moment of WTF brought to you by "rape doesn't result in anyone's death" and "rapist's pursuit of sexual freedom," among other things. By the way, does this genius understand that men get raped, too?

So now he's apologizing, just as some Republicans are currently walking back, tempering, or avoiding their own controversial positions on similar issues with an eye toward future elections.

But that's not why Lockman hung his head, shuffled his feet, and mumbled his regrets about something he put out there years ago. Nope, he issued his apology because Progressive blogger Mike Tipping revived them in a very public way in a recent post. Call it a Tipping Point. Local Democrats demanded the State Rep's resignation.

So basically, he was sorry that his earlier vile remarks were rediscovered and spotlighted.

Lockman attributed his bigoted, ignorant, misogynistic idiocy to being "passionate about his beliefs" and declared that he holds " no animosity toward anyone by virtue of their gender or sexual orientation." Sure. Anything you say, Lawrence. I'm passionate, too, about exposing you, an elected official, who has displayed a jaw-dropping lack of judgment, sensitivity, awareness, and basic knowledge on the taxpayer's dime.

Mike Tipping has much more, including:

“In the overwhelming majority of cases, people are dying because of their addiction to sodomy,” Lockman wrote in a 1987 letter to the editor to the Lewiston Daily Sunarguing against funding for AIDS education. “They are dying because progressive, enlightened, tolerant people in politics and in medicine have assured the public that the practice of sodomy is a legitimate alternative lifestyle, rather than a perverted, depraved crime against humanity.”

frustrated17

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GOP Maine Representative Hits New Low In Suggesting It's Okay To Rape Women

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rape

If you can't beat abortion legislation, rape the women. That's a loose translation of the inflammatory remarks made by Maine state Rep. Lawrence Lockman (R-Amherst). Via Raw Story:

If a woman has (the right to an abortion), why shouldn’t a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman?” Lockman said. “At least the rapist’s pursuit of sexual freedom doesn’t (in most cases) result in anyone’s death.”

"Rape doesn't (in most cases) result in anyone's death?" Whoa there, Mr. Representative. Are you kidding? Some things like psychological scarring and permanent physical damage result that can be far worse than death. And suicides by rape victims are statistically significant according to Suicide.org.

-Rape has long-term emotional consequences that can lead to suicide.
-It is quite common for rape victims to suffer from depression.
-And untreated depression is the number one cause for suicide.
-About 33% of rape victims have suicidal thoughts.
-About 13% of rape victims will attempt suicide.
-Suicide attempts may occur years after the rape.

Reality calling Rep. Lockman. Please come in. It's as if this Neanderthal is saying, if I can't stop you from getting an abortion, then you can't stop me from raping you. If you get pregnant, you have the legal way to get rid of the fetus. So tough noogies.

Rep. Lockman should be under a psychologist's care. He's not safe out on the streets and certainly not safe sitting in the state capital as a voting member of the Maine legislature. He's not just a one issue nutjob, anti-abortion. Here's a bit more about him:

In one of the quotes posted on the blog, Lockman falsely suggested HIV and AIDS could be spread by bed sheets and mosquitos, and he also said the progressive movement helped spread the virus by claiming “the practice of sodomy is a legitimate alternative lifestyle, rather than a perverted and depraved crime against humanity.”

“[Lockman is a] disturbed individual who holds some of the most abhorrent beliefs ever heard from a public official in Maine,” said Ben Grant, the state’s Democratic Party chairman in a statement Tuesday.

More and more these wackadoos are coming to light. And they aren't all made of the same whole cloth. But they seem to all have on thing in common -- they're Republicans. As we saw in Arizona with their recent smokescreen anti-gay law (vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer), the right wing, evangelical fraction is still out there, and still active.

Their old ideas just won't die. Perhaps like the old soldiers of Gen. MacArthur's day, over time they will just fade away.

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Senior Assisted Living Doesn't Mean Senior Assisted Raping

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Edgewood Vistaw Senior Living

Edgewood Vistaw Senior Living

My mother is in a seniors' assisted living and care facility. She's 95 and I'm glad to say doing very well. She's still able to amble around on her own and her faculties are perhaps even better than mine. And with nearly a century of memories to deal with, the loss of a husband and a son, she's lived through a lot. And her care is most important to me.

Safety in her housing is something that I thought was a given, but this story from Minnesota has my ears pricked up. Of course this story isn't the norm, but if it can happen in one state, it could happen in another. Bottom line is it's shocking. Anyone who has an aging relative should watch this. Then afterwards, read the horrific rest of the story.

So if this brutal attack wasn't enough, what happened afterwards was incredulous.

The Raw Story:

 The nursing home transferred the woman to a psychiatric ward at St. Luke’s Hospital for nearly three days.

“The room she was in was dark and cold … and they locked her in at night and all she had was a blanket,” nurse examiner Theresa Flesvig said in the court documents.

When Flesvig was finally able to examine the victim, she found the “biggest tear” as a result of rape that she had ever seen in her career.

Testimony filed with the court said that the nursing home’s clinical services director, Marilyn Moore, tried to defend that rapist after he had confessed to police.

They send the victim of a vicious rape to the psych ward and the 30 year old man who rapes an 89 year old woman isn't? Help me see how this isn't so wrong that it's sick.

The rapist gets 4 1/2 years in prison and 10 years of registering as a sex offender. Sadly his victim probably won't live long enough to get beyond this trauma. But so far nothing has been done to the nursing home -- though this upcoming trial could find them paying some pretty hefty fines. But to think this nursing home would defend a confessed rapist for an attack in their senior facility is totally off the charts.

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"Boys Will Be Boys" No Longer Justification For Rape in Montana

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Rape in Montana

Sometimes it's great to set a precedent. It opens the doors to those who follow. You might be Gertrude Ederle becomes the first woman to swim across the English Channel. Or maybe Neil Armstrong, the first man to step onto the lunar surface. Admirable accomplishments that lead young, middle and old to dream of someday being the first to do something, big or small. I mean, wouldn't that be great?

Well, not always. Seems there's a prosecutor named  Fred Van Valkenburg up on Montana whose office may have just set a first. They has been accused by the Justice Department of bias against female sexual assault victims and of mishandling rape cases according to federal officials this week. But Missoula County prosecutors office thinks its just a smear campaign. They didn't do anything wrong.

HuffPo:

It's unusual and may be unprecedented for DOJ to accuse a prosecutor's office of violating the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law and the Safe Streets Act's prohibition against discriminating against female sexual assault victims. DOJ has issued findings involving sexual assault cases against three police departments, a sheriff's office and a campus police agency -- but not a prosecutor's office.

So we're looking at virgin territory here, with this DOJ accusation. If there's smoke where there's fire, lets see what's cookin'.

Jocelyn Samuels, acting assistant attorney general in DOJ's Civil Rights Division, told Van Valkenburg in a letteron Friday that his office was ill-prepared to prosecute sexual assault cases, treated victims with disrespect and "apparently leaves sexual assault and rape laws largely unenforced."

That's a pretty serious charge against the office. And it seems these claims of abuse and deaf ears by the prosecutors are numerous. One woman described dealing with her assault at the prosecutors office as "traumatic," as if the crime alone wasn't harrowing enough. Others said they were treated with no compassion whatsoever. These alleged victims felt "judged." That's hardly the way any victim wants to be made to feel when they're seeking out justice.

One woman was told that because "there was no video of the incident," prosecutors "wouldn't see this as anything more than a girl getting drunk at a party." What message is that sending? Yet Van Valkenburg who runs the office thinks he's being picked on. He claims these are just a few small examples and they shouldn't be taken with much more than a grain of salt.

Really? They shouldn't be taken seriously. Well how about this:

A clinical psychologist who counseled sexual assault victims said she had heard so many horror stories about the County Attorney's Office that she was reluctant to press charges with the office when she was sexually assaulted.

When even a psychologist with experience in this field is hesitant to move forward with her claim because of first hand knowledge of the abusive handling of such matters by the prosecutor's office, this is only the tip of the iceberg up in Missoula.

In one case, a woman whose 5-year-old daughter was assaulted by an adolescent boy asked why the boy's punishment was two years of community service. A prosecutor told her "boys will be boys," according to the DOJ letter.

Boys will be boys. Well hopefully the new boys and girls examining this office, will bring down the wrath of justice with the power of Thor and his hammer, Mjölnir.

Thor's hammer

Sad as all of this is, this Montana office isn't alone. And sexual crimes against women AND men are vastly under-reported because of louts like Attorney Van Valkenberg. Time to do a bit more investigating the investigators for their improper behavior. Women and men victims deserve better.

Just like the firsts of Ederle and Armstrong, they were followed by second and thirds accomplishing their amazing feats. Let's hope this trend continues with the DOJ.

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Rape Insurance? You Gotta Be Kidding Me

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If you're planning on getting raped in Michigan, you better have rape coverage first or it could bankrupt you.

Talking Points Memo DC:

Just after the Michigan state legislature passed a law banning private insurance companies to bundle abortion care coverage along with state-subsidized plans, the Democrat jockeying for the open seat vacated by Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) was quick to slam the law as bad for women while the Republican candidate has yet to make a statement.

Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI), the lead Democratic candidate in the race, was quick to slam Republicans in the state legislature for passing a new "rape insurance bill" into law.

So the male Democratic candidate immediately spoke out against this law. The Republican candidate -- former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R), allegedly a woman, has stayed quiet on the issue.  How amazing, a male candidate sees all that's wrong with this bill and the Republican woman doesn't know yet. She hasn't been told by her party which way she should lean. Whichever way it is, she better keep her legs crossed. Talk about setting the women's equality movement back 50 years.

Let's boil it down. Recently, the latest way to get around the law regarding abortion is to try to exclude it from health insurance plans. These right wingers and religious zealots see an opening here. They want to deregulate the insurance industry pattern of providing coverage by making one part of normal covered procedures illegal to be covered. If that sounds convoluted, that's because it is.

Health insurance has always been bundled in order to give the consumer a lower cost. If you went with an ala carte menu of services, many of the things people are covered for would be avoided because they may cost too much or people don't think they'll ever need them. But of course, the one thing you leave off the coverage will come back to bite you and you won't be covered. So you'll go bankrupt or worse, the cost will be passed onto the taxpayers.

So here's the angle. If you make abortion coverage an elective, many people won't carry it. Perhaps they're single women who don't feel they'll need it. And most likely they won't.

According to the Department of Justice 1 in 6 US women will become victim's of a rape attack during their lifetime? Rape isn't planned by the victim. It's planned by the assailant.  But the Republicans in Michigan want women to be prescient and know ahead of time when they're going to be attacked so they can purchase insurance. I can just hear a woman's plea, "No, please don't attack me, attack her over there. She's got insurance. I don't have abortion coverage in case my system doesn't automatically shut down."

Is there total insanity in Michigan and the other six states planning this outrageous, cold and calloused law? What the hell are they thinking?

Putting rape aside, what if during a planned pregnancy a woman's health becomes an issue in seeing the pregnancy to term. She may die without an abortion. She didn't think she'd have any need for a D & C but it became necessary to save her life. Where's she supposed to get the money for that procedure? It would have been covered by her health policy if the state house boys didn't screw around with it.

This law in these states is bad on so many levels. But you don't have to drink all the poison in the glass to die. It might only take a sip. Michigan is drinking from that vessel right now. If there's a woman in Michigan who votes Republican after this, she deserves the results of the full glass of this potion.

You can follow  me on twitter: @linzack

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

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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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