A Dose of Stupid v110

It happens every day. In fact, it is pretty hard to avoid it. There are some things that can only be understood with a slap on the forehead. Things so mind-boggling that one wonders how humans managed to evolve thumbs while being this mentally inept. Case in point:

You were raped? Prove it

Three weeks after police released their report discrediting the rape accusation made by a UVA student, there are still defenders of Jackie claiming that she is the real victim. It is amazing to witness the level of cognitive dissonance on display.

The police report could not have been clearer: there was zero evidence supporting Jackie’s claim of being gang-raped in frat house by seven men. The police could not verify a single element of the story. Indeed, they found the opposite: plenty of evidence suggesting nothing happened. One could not ask for more evidence that this was a false accusation outside of a video of Jackie somewhere else when the alleged rape took place.

Yet that has not stopped the excuses made on this woman’s behalf. There have been some amazing bad article. By far the best and the dumbest came from Sargon of Akkad’s “pumpkin” Jessica Valenti. (Feel free to look up it and read it for yourself, but understand you could have been staring at the wall instead of reading that idiocy.) Cheryl Hunter wrote such an article for the Good Men Project. She begins with:

There’s an epidemic afoot, and it is catching. Unlike other communicable diseases, no matter on which side of the vaccination issue you find yourself, no injection will save you.

It is an epidemic of silence around sexual assault, and it is characterized by two factors:

  • The silence of victims
  • The silence of those who know the victims or know the perpetrators

There is not an epidemic afoot. This precisely the kind of hyperbolic language that led to Rolling Stone’s article. There is, however, a tendency within society to silence those who want to speak about uncomfortable things. These things can range from sexual assault to religious differences. It is human nature not to cause discord within one’s community. Discussing these things causes discord, ergo there is a concerted effort to shut down any discussion about them. As noted, it is not limited to sexual violence. The same thing happens with child abuse, drug addiction, and religious deconversion.

Yet that is not Hunter’s actual point. This is:

Was “Jackie” in the Rolling Stone article A Rape On Campus really gang raped? Perhaps we’ll never know. I was, though, and I think the Rolling Stone debacle fuels the epidemic of silence, and has long-range importance to us all, regardless of our gender or whether we, personally, have been sexually assaulted or not.

The Rolling Stone debacle… on second thought, let us call it what it is. The Rolling Stone fuck up happened because the people involved did not exercise basic journalist skills and fact-check their source. The only thing this fuck up fuels is more fuck ups as people insist on believing any and every woman who claims rape regardless of whether her story holds up under scrutiny.

Hunter goes on: Continue reading

Bulletin Board v257

Ayaan to Liberals: Get Your Priorities Straight — Few figures on the intellectual scene today are as controversial or as compelling as Ayaan Hirsi Ali. A Somali-born author, speaker, activist, and former politician, Ali, 45, became a hijab-wearing radical Islamist as a teenager in Kenya, then a liberal atheist as an immigrant in the Netherlands; the Sept. 11 attacks of 2001 led her to a final break with faith.

B.C. teacher suing over ‘unimaginable hardship’ after false accusations of rape, torture — A Vancouver Island teacher falsely accused of sexual assault and torture by a Grade 9 student — accusations that were later shown to be ripped off from TV episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit — is seeking compensation for more than two years of “unimaginable hardship.” In an arbitration hearing last year, the student described a series of sadistic rapes that left her beaten and bloody, as well as torture, including waterboarding and being buried alive.

Binghamton woman accused of sexual abuse of infant — A Binghamton woman is accused of sexually abusing an infant boy and producing child pornography. Thirty-four year-old Latasha Mitchell was charged in federal court recently after a complaint was made on the New York child abuse hotline. She was arrested by Binghamton Police in February for allegedly committing a criminal sexual act in connection with the child abuse. Continue reading

The rolling stone of confirmation bias

Rolling Stone published a report concerning their article ‘A Rape on Campus’. The Columbia School of Journalism conducted the report. It reveals a host of problems with Rolling Stone’s article, its writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely, and its single source named “Jackie.”

The report follows the complete discrediting of Jackie’s rape allegations against the fraternity Phi Kappa Psi. Police conducted a thorough investigation after the Washington Post reported the numerous inconsistencies in Jackie’s story and Rolling Stone’s failure to engage in basic fact-checking. How the situation got to this point is a long story. The report is 13,000 words. Yet it shows what happens when one allows confirmation bias to dictate how one reports. Continue reading

Police find no evidence in U-Va rape case

Charlottesville police revealed on Monday that they found no evidence of gang rape in the infamous University of Virginia case:

Police here say they have found no evidence to support claims in a Rolling Stone article that a University of Virginia student was gang raped at a campus fraternity in September 2012, noting that months of investigation led detectives to discredit several claims about the alleged assault.

Police Chief Timothy J. Longo on Monday afternoon said the police department had multiple meetings with “Jackie” — the woman who claimed she was gang raped at a fraternity party — and that she declined to speak about the alleged incident or provide any information about it. Numerous lines of inquiry yielded evidence that the fraternity did not have a party the night of the alleged attack, and police were unable to find anyone matching the description of the alleged attacker.

“We’re not able to conclude to any substantive degree that an incident occurred at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house or any other fraternity house, for that matter,” Longo said at a news conference. “That doesn’t mean something terrible didn’t happen to Jackie … we’re just not able to gather sufficient facts to determine what that is.”

I understand Longo’s position, however, the findings are fairly damning. Not only do they show that Jackie’s story is false, but they also show that she was unwilling to cooperate with police.

There is no way to spin this: it appears Jackie lied. Continue reading

The so-called victimless crime

The Washington Post ran an article in December titled No matter what Jackie said, we should automatically believe rape claims. Zerlina Maxwell penned the article following the fallout from media coverage of the University of Virginia fraternity rape case, specifically the revelation that the accuser’s story had many factual problems.

Maxwell, prompted by the numerous claims of false accusations in the U-VA case, wrote that a false accusation is not that bad for the accused:

The accused would have a rough period. He might be suspended from his job; friends might de-friend him on Facebook. In the case of Bill Cosby, we might have to stop watching, consuming his books, or buying tickets to his traveling stand-up routine. These errors can be undone by an investigation that clears the accused, especially if it is done quickly.

She should tell that to Kirk Odom. As the Washington Post reported:

When he was first sent to the federal prison in Lorton, Va., for a crime he did not commit, Kirk Odom was warned never to tell other inmates about his rape conviction. If he did, the information could make him prey to inmates seeking vengeance.

It was 1982 when a fellow inmate walked up to him and whispered, “I know what you did,” Odom recalled. Two days later, Odom was raped in his cell. It would be the first of more than a half-dozen sexual assaults Odom would endure during two decades in prison.

Some 15 years later, Odom took an HIV test. It was negative. Months later, a fellow inmate again sexually assaulted Odom. After that attack, he took another HIV test. This time, it was positive. “I was devastated,” Odom testified Tuesday in D.C. Superior Court.

Over two days on the witness stand, Odom has been recounting his time in prison, his sexual assaults, his suicide attempts, his depression and his estranged family relations; all of that is attributed, he says, to his false imprisonment for a 1981 armed robbery, burglary and rape conviction. He is suing the District for emotional and physical pain and distress from his time at the Lorton prison.

Yet according to Maxwell this can be “undone by an investigation that clears the accused, especially if it is done quickly.” How can the District of Columbia undo the rapes, the HIV infection, the suicide attempts, the depression, and the torn family relations? Odom certainly does not consider this an easy fix: Continue reading

Bulletin Board v254

Exeter football coach Anthony Mitchell jailed for raping boys — Anthony Mitchell used his position as manager of the team in the 1970s to gain access to 11 and 12-year-old boys. Mitchell, of Exeter, fed his victims drink or Mogadon sleeping pills before abusing them on overnight trips, the city’s crown court heard. His victims were prompted by the Rolf Harris and Jimmy Savile scandals to report his crimes to police.

Former Shefford boys are still fighting for justice over abuse — BACK in the 1990s I received a call from someone who had ‘a big story’. I was new to journalism so was quite excited but my more experienced, sceptical colleagues were unconvinced. ‘If it’s a cat up a tree, don’t offer to get it down for them,’ was the advice. This was the first time I met Damian Chittock and heard the story of St Francis Boys’ Home, Shefford. The home was run by the Catholic Church and the residents were mainly abandoned or orphaned boys between the ages of six and sixteen.

German prof apologizes after denying internship to male Indian due to ‘rape problem’ — A German professor has apologized for denying an internship to a male Indian student, citing India’s “rape problem” as a reason for his disqualification. It comes after Germany’s envoy wrote a scathing letter objecting to the professor’s reasoning. “I have made a mistake,” wrote biochemistry Professor Annette Beck-Sickinger of the University of Leipzig in a statement on Monday. “I sincerely apologise to everyone whose feelings I have hurt.” Continue reading

Stop The Abuse: The Innocence Project

Often times people want to help others but do not know how. This cannot be any truer than when it comes to helping abused men and boys. The resources sometimes are not apparent and are often difficult to find. Sometimes the resources are hidden or even barred by other groups who wish to polarize the issue. The intent here is to provide those who wish to help male victims with the opportunity to do so.

Please remember that you do no have to empty your wallets to help. Even a small donation can go a long way. And for those on the other side of the issue, it would go a long way to demonstrating real concern for all victims if you donated as well.

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The Innocence Project

Mission Statement

The Innocence Project was founded in 1992 by Barry C. Scheck and Peter J. Neufeld at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University to assist prisoners who could be proven innocent through DNA testing. To date, 266 people in the United States have been exonerated by DNA testing, including 17 who served time on death row. These people served an average of 13 years in prison before exoneration and release.

The Innocence Project’s full-time staff attorneys and Cardozo clinic students provide direct representation or critical assistance in most of these cases. The Innocence Project’s groundbreaking use of DNA technology to free innocent people has provided irrefutable proof that wrongful convictions are not isolated or rare events but instead arise from systemic defects. Now an independent nonprofit organization closely affiliated with Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, the Innocence Project’s mission is nothing less than to free the staggering numbers of innocent people who remain incarcerated and to bring substantive reform to the system responsible for their unjust imprisonment.

Please donate and help make a difference.