Tag Archives: Sexual Assault

The “P” Word

Donald Trump (2016), Author Michael Vadon (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

Donald Trump (2016), Author Michael Vadon (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

A gracious woman attains honor, And ruthless men attain riches” (Prov. 11: 16).

Sexual assault has in recent weeks become part of the political dialog.  News media are politely tiptoeing around the crude language Donald Trump employed on the topic, without actually repeating it.

That a candidate should have engaged in this criminal behavior (and still have felt compelled to crow about it, at the tender age of 59) is simultaneously ludicrous and despicable.

However, that some men touch women, without their consent, comes as no surprise to women.  Countless women have been subjected to identical behavior, without consequence to the men responsible.

I am an incest survivor.  The stranger who grabbed my crotch at the beach when I was 12 y.o. could not have known that.  But he calculated – quite accurately – that I would be too stunned to speak of the violation.  In that, I was not alone.

Thousands of vulnerable women and girls experience groping, and either have no recourse or know of none.  The inappropriate touching may not last long; it may not rise to the level of rape.  But the sense of powerlessness leaves a permanent scar.

Whether the assailant is a family member, friend, or stranger, the behavior clearly establishes his dominance.  When do fathers, brothers, and sons learn that this is allowed, even encouraged? Continue reading

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Filed under Abuse of Power, Child Abuse, Christianity, Community, Emotional Abuse, Politics, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women

20 Minutes

Brock Turner, a Stanford University athlete with Olympic aspirations, was convicted in March of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman at a fraternity party.  Turner was caught in the act, and chased down by two witnesses.

Though facing up to 14 years in prison, Turner received a six-month sentence [1].  Even this slap on the wrist was viewed as excessive by his father.  Dan Turner had opined, in a letter to the court, that jail time would be “a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action” [2].

While it is difficult to overstate the sheer stupidity of this remark, the remark itself is extremely revealing.  Clearly, here is a father who taught his son nothing about ethics or morality, since he himself cannot grasp the violation that occurred.  Evidently, women are merely to be viewed as sexual conquests…a convenience – like party favors – particularly if they are unconscious during the assault.

Why should a Stanford man, the cream of the crop (at least in his own eyes), be deprived of sex on demand by a little thing like consent?  A technicality, really.  The girl should have been grateful for 20 minutes of his attention.

What are 20 minutes out of a woman’s life anyway?  All she has to do is open her legs.  How much can that matter?  It’s not as if she has value, let alone rights.

“He will never be his happy go lucky self with that easy going personality and welcoming smile,” the elder Turner concluded.  One cannot help but wonder whether the rape victim will ever be her happy go lucky self again either.

And whether the Turner women view things quite the same way.

[1]  A petition bearing 1 million signatures has been submitted to the California state legislature, seeking to impeach Judge Aaron Persky.

[2]  Washington Post, “‘A steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action’:  Dad defends Stanford sex offender” by Michael E. Miller, 6/6/16, http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/%E2%80%98a-steep-price-to-pay-for-20-minutes-of-action-dad-defends-stanford-sex-offender/ar-BBtUZpE?ocid=ansmsnnews11.

 

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Filed under Abuse of Power, Justice, Law, Sports, Violence Against Women

Overcoming the World, Part 1 – Fame and Systemic Abuse

What a world it has become.  Headlines scream off the page at us:

Parents Arrested After Allegedly Forcing Girl, 5, to OD on Soda [1].

Doctor convicted of endangering stepdaughter in “waterboarding” Trial[2].

Couple Arrested for Enslaving Teen Girl[3].

FAME

Certainly, fame and affluence do not assure the safety of children.  Melvin Morse – the doctor mentioned above – had appeared on “Oprah” and “Good Morning America”. Fame may, in fact, foster a sense of entitlement on the part of some predators. They come to believe the prohibition against abuse is for lesser mortals.

And fame seems to provide an exemption of sorts from basic standards of morality.

Woody Allen’s adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, continues to maintain that the filmmaker sexually assaulted her, some two decades ago [4]. Allen was never prosecuted [5A] [5B].

Woody Allen, you may remember, was, also, involved sexually with Soon-Yi Previn, 35 years his junior. Soon-Yi (whom Allen later married) was another adopted daughter of Mia Farrow, a woman with whom Allen had a longterm relationship. Allen has been quoted as saying, “What was the scandal?…There was no scandal…” [6].

Overseas, BBC star Jimmy Savile was repeatedly investigated, but never prosecuted either. Only after his death was it revealed that Savile had abused a staggering 400 children or more, often while they were hospital patients [7].  The possibility of a wider British pedophile ring with influential members protected from prosecution is still being explored.

The California trial of ex-football player Darren Sharper for rape should be instructive. Sharper is under investigation for a total of seven rapes in four states [8]. Assuming the allegations against him to be true, Sharper felt no compunction about drugging women in order to have sex with them.

SYSTEMIC ABUSE

Systemic abuse may be even more appalling. The public is by now familiar with the Catholic Church sex scandal. In “Secrets of the Vatican,” the investigative program, Frontline, recently exposed the culture of corruption which allowed sexual perversion to flourish [9]. But the Catholic Church is not alone in this.

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Not Democracy

Then Tamar put ashes on her head, and tore her robe of many colors that was on her, and laid her hand on her head and went away crying bitterly” (2 Sam. 13: 19).

For those who may not be familiar with the Bible story, Tamar, a daughter of King David, was raped by her brother, Amnon.  She was denied justice.

Not a great deal of progress has been made in the Middle East since then.  Over 180 rapes have taken place in Tahrir Square while the world watches.  The possibility of justice for these victims remains remote.

As many as 30 to 100 men will isolate a woman, then violate her with their hands, literally tearing the clothing off her back.  Women may be beaten with chains, chairs, and other objects while being raped.  The genitals of some women have been cut.

Public violence against women has been a problem in Egypt before.  Foreign journalists, including Lara Logan and Sonia Dridi, have been assaulted and raped.  Even more disturbing perhaps, a UN survey on gender equality reported that 99% of the Egyptian women responding had been subjected to some form of sexual violence in their lives.

The message being sent is that women have no place outside the home.

A large part of the problem is the fact that sexual abuse is not a crime in Egypt.  Sexual violence may be committed without fear of reprisal.  Police treat rape victims as if they were the culpable party.

Tahrir Square is no Tiananmen Square.  Whatever else the protests ongoing in Tahrir Square may be, they are certainly not democracy, and should not be mistaken for some fledgling version of it.   We should not delude ourselves.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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