Grisham and the law

John Grisham waded into a political war-zone when he commented on the conviction of people who possess child pornography. Grisham stated in an interview with the Telegraph:

“We have prisons now filled with guys my age. Sixty-year-old white men in prison who’ve never harmed anybody, would never touch a child,” he said in an exclusive interview to promote his latest novel Gray Mountain which is published next week.

“But they got online one night and started surfing around, probably had too much to drink or whatever, and pushed the wrong buttons, went too far and got into child porn.”

His comments sparked criticism from child advocacy groups. However, Grisham went on to state:

Asked about the argument that viewing child pornography fuelled the industry of abuse needed to create the pictures, Mr Grisham said that current sentencing policies failed to draw a distinction between real-world abusers and those who downloaded content, accidentally or otherwise.

“I have no sympathy for real paedophiles,” he said, “God, please lock those people up. But so many of these guys do not deserve harsh prison sentences, and that’s what they’re getting,” adding sentencing disparities between blacks and whites was likely to be the subject of his next book.

No one paid attention to that part, or this part of the Telegraph article:

Since 2004 average sentences for those who possess – but do not produce – child pornography have nearly doubled in the US, from 54 months in 2004 to 95 months in 2010, according to a 2012 report by the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

However the issue of sex-offender sentencing has sparked some debate in the US legal community after it emerged that in some cases those who viewed child porn online were at risk of receiving harsher sentences than those who committed physical acts against children.

A provocative article in the libertarian magazine Reason headlined “Looking v Touching” argued last February that something was “seriously wrong with a justice system in which people who look at images of child rape can be punished more severely than people who rape children”.

Grisham later issued an apology for his comments. Continue reading

Sexual Exploitation of Boys

Lynne MacDonell spoke to a college audience about sexual violence against men and boys. Her lecture provides an insight to some of the issues that males face when they come forward.

MacDonell makes special note of the currently accepted statistics on sexual violence against men and boys. She mentions that college-age men report nearly the same rate of sexual violence against their female counterparts. She also mentions that more men and boys are coming forward than ever before. That revelation leads her to suspect that more boys are sexually abused than girls.

I am inclined to agree with MacDonell. Males face a host of stigmas that females do not. The desire to blame males for their abuse is much higher. It even exists in the abuse support community. Concepts like “rape culture” engage in victim-blaming men and boys by implying they are complicit in and benefit from the social structures that led to their abuse. Likewise, the support community, particularly organizations run by feminists, treat males not as victims but as potential abusers. Continue reading

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Boy ‘abused just one day after arriving at children’s home in Northern Ireland’ — One of the first boys to enter a children’s home in Northern Ireland has said he was abused by a religious brother the day after he arrived. He claimed he was interfered with while having a shower at Rubane House, Co Down, in 1951, under the guise of “horse play”. Once he went missing, he told a public inquiry, was brought home by police, beaten by members of the Catholic order which ran the home and had his hair shaved off in what he claimed was an act of humiliation.

Boy Scouts staff member accused of sexual abuse — A seasonal staff member with the Boy Scouts of America Cascade Pacific Council is accused of sexually abusing a 16-year-old boy, officials confirmed. Elizabeth Monda-Guthrie, 28, was indicted Oct. 6, 2014 on two counts of second-degree sexual abuse and one count of third-degree sexual abuse. She pleaded not guilty Friday afternoon in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

Could Britain’s prisons soon be as bad as America’s? — Forget jailbreaks, jail is broken. Completely and utterly broken. Some figures for you. The average cost per prisoner per year is around £35,000. This is, famously, more than Eton and more than Oxbridge. The total criminal re-offending rate is about 25%; for criminals released from jail, it’s nearly 50%; for criminals released from jail after prison sentences of less than a year, it’s almost 60%. The UK prison population is currently about 87,700. Continue reading

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Altar boy trial opens in sex abuse case — The Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese was told repeatedly since the 1970s that Monsignor Thomas O’Brien was a danger to children but failed to prevent him from sexually abusing a former altar boy, his lawyer told jurors Monday. Though no amount of money could make up for what happened to Jon David Couzens, attorney Rebecca Randles said, $10 million in compensatory damages plus punitive damages would be fitting.

British Man Raped at Oktoberfest 2014 by Two Assailants — A British man has been raped at this month’s world famous Oktoberfest in Munich, German police have said. The 24-year-old, who has not been named, was attacked by two men at the edge of the festival area. According to police reports, he was relieving himself in the bushes on the outskirts of the Theresienwiese – a large open space where Oktoberfest takes place each year – when he was approached by a man who “made it clear he wanted to have sex with him”.

‘I became a monster,’ says Scout leader facing prison for sex abuse — In his own words, disgraced Scout leader Scott Stanley said his scheme to molest vulnerable boys in his trust was “shameful and monstrous.” “Who I am hates who I was and what I’ve done,” Stanley told his sentencing hearing in an Ottawa courtroom Thursday in a brief, quickly read statement. Continue reading

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Campus Health does not offer equal support for male survivors — The University knows it can’t provide identical services for male and female survivors of sexual violence. But instead of providing equal resources for both groups, Counseling and Psychological Services has largely pushed the needs of male survivors off campus. There is only enough interest to run one sexual assault survivor group on campus, which is open to female-identified survivors.

The CDC’s Rape Numbers Are Misleading — “CDC: Nearly 1 in 5 Women Raped.” “One in Five U.S. Women Has Been Raped: CDC Survey.” These alarming headlines were typical of the coverage of last week’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report on sexual and intimate violence in the United States. The CDC study—the second in two years—seems to support a radical feminist narrative that has been gaining mainstream attention recently: that modern America is a “rape culture” saturated with misogynistic violence.

Men’s helpline gets 25,000 calls over four months — SIF, the mobile app launched five months ago for the protection of men’s rights, has received a mega response in the last four months. The app, launched by Save India Family Foundation NGO, has received 25,000 calls in the last four-five months. It was launched to help men at the receiving end of domestic violence or slapped with false rape cases with a dedicated helpline “08882498498”. Continue reading

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Breaking the stigma surrounding male rape — South Africa’s rape statistics are among the highest in the world. Most interventions to reduce these figures focus on female survivors. Matrix Men, an organisation that supports male rape survivors, says the stigma surrounding this crime makes it difficult to obtain reliable statistics. Activists believe as many as one in six men will in their lifetime suffer sexual abuse – and say men should start talking about it.

Ex-Big Brothers volunteer seeks to overturn sex abuse conviction — The judge who heard the child sexual abuse case against a McHenry County Big Brothers volunteer should not have allowed testimony alleging the man committed inappropriate acts decades ago, his attorney argued Thursday in appellate court. Attorney Doug Johnson asked a 2nd District appeals panel in Elgin to throw out the conviction of Leonard Puccini, 54, a Bull Valley man who was found guilty last year of sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy in 2009 whom he was mentoring through the Big Brothers.

‘I was raped at age 14 but told nobody for 28 years’ says client of new men’s counselling group — A FATHER-of-two has told of the difference a new rape counselling service specifically for men could make for victims. Upper Heyford-based Clean Slate launched its Adult Rape Outreach Service (AMOS) and Talking Young Men service (TYM) on Monday, with the help of £9,500 National Lottery funding. AMOS will provide counselling, help and advice to men over 16 and TYM will offer the same service to boys between age nine and 16. Continue reading

New CDC report shows increase in sexual violence against males

The CDC released a report on the rate of sexual and domestic violence in 2011. Tamen wrote an excellent breakdown of the new findings. I can do no better, and will not attempt to. I suggest reading his post. Tamen created a graphs showing the difference between the 2010 and 2011 findings. As he notes, the press release makes no mention of the increased rate of sexual violence against males. It focuses solely on female victimization.

Tamen also notes that the CDC does not appear to follow its own definition of rape, and the organization continued to exclude “being forced to penetrate” as rape. This is despite the increase in men reporting being forced to penetrate and reporting more female perpetrator.

I mentioned on Feminist Critiics that the CDC’s seeming disinterest in sharing information about male victimization may be a reaction to advocates for male survivors and men’s rights activists.