Asia Argento, victim blaming, and #metoo

The plot thickens with the Asia Argento situation. As I mentioned in my last post, former child actor James Bennett accused Argento of raping him just two months after he turned 17. Argento and Bennett now 22, settled out of court. The settlement occurred while Argento made news when she accused Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of rape.

Argento initially denied the allegations against her. However, within a few hours the media reported that Argento claimed her late husband Anthony Bourdain pushed her to settle the case with the alleged victim.

How unfortunate that Baourdain is no longer here to respond to such a claim. Granted, it is possible that he made such a suggestion and it is common for celebrities to pay out settlements rather than risk unwanted criminal cases and negative press. It does seem unlikely, however, that Bourdain would make such a suggestion if Argento could prove she did nothing wrong.

If it only ended there, Argento would merely look scuzzy for tarnishing the reputation of her late husband. TMZ, however, published texts allegedly from Argento about the incident. According to the texts, Argento is the victim: Continue reading

Catholic Church Had a “Playbook for Concealing the Truth”

Shortly after I posted my last article, news broke concerning a Pennsylvania grand jury’s findings on the Catholic dioceses in that state. According to the report, the Catholic Church had an established policy of covering up the sexual abuse of thousands of children. This was not merely shifting abusers for one parish to another, but also using deceptive language to obscure the nature of what happened. From the New York Times:

Special agents from the F.B.I.’s National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime reviewed evidence collected by the grand jury, the report says, and identified a series of practices that were regularly used by the six dioceses to cover up reports of abuse.

“While each church district had its idiosyncrasies, the pattern was pretty much the same,” the report says. “The main thing was not to help children, but to avoid ‘scandal.’ That is not our word, but theirs; it appears over and over again in the documents we recovered.”

That the Church kept detailed records like this is astounding on its own. Yet the scale of the nature, the language used, and the clear lack of concern for the victims is unreal. I will post section from the report used in the NYT article in full: Continue reading

The sex abuse cover-ups continue at the Vatican

It appears that one of my predictions about sexual abuse within the Catholic Church came true. I stated years ago that victims of clergy abuse usually take 15 to 20 years to come forward. I based this on the date ranges for the abuse as victims came forward. Those who came forward during the 1990s reported that the abuse occurred in the 1970s and early 1980s. Those who came forward during the early 2000s reported abuse from the 1980s an early 1990s.

While the Catholic Church tried to address the hundreds of thousands of accusations, they were adamant that the abuse was essentially over. Their position was that the rampant abuse of the 1960s and 1970s stemmed from the sexual revolution.

I did not believe this. My assumption was that victims of more recent abuse would simply hold to the same pattern as older victims. It would take those people at least 10 years, if not 20, before coming forward, and this was despite the greater news coverage and social concern.

A recent article appears to confirm my suspicion: Continue reading

Questions About the Cosby Verdict

On April 26th, 2018, a jury convicted actor and comedian Bill Cosby on three counts of aggravated indecent assault. He faces 10 years and a potential $25,000 fine for each count.

The media and #Metoo activists have hailed the conviction as the first “win” for the #MeToo movement. That is a fair assessment. While the allegations against Cosby predate the Weinstein scandal, many people have associated his situation with the scandal. They argue that this is another example of powerful men exploiting women.

Cosby’s situation is different not only in his alleged method of assault — drugging the women — but also in that most of the women accusing him claim the acts occurred decades ago. This leaves little to no physical evidence for most of the case, and little circumstantial evidence short of the women telling someone the claim over the years.

That said, I do not have a problem with the conviction per se. If the evidence were convincing beyond a reasonable doubt, then a jury should convict.

The problems I have with the case lie in the way it was prosecuted and handled. Let me start with the most bizarre element of the case: Continue reading

Boys are victims, except when girls have it worse

One of the interesting changes in discussing male victimization is the increasingly common feminist advocate for male victims. It is a curious thing to watch as these women suddenly become aware of the sexual violence men and boys experience. This awareness is indeed sudden, because despite the data showing a high rate of male victimization for years, these women, usually feminists, have just stumbled upon it.

What follows is typically an article or blog post detailing how the particular person now realizes how “serious” the situation is for men and boys. Those are not scare-quotes, by the way. As one will see below, usually the person does not actually think the situation is genuinely serious, nor do they have any real compassion or concern for male victims. The men and boys to whom they speak are merely tools to present the person’s narrative, which is either an attack on masculinity or a blatant attempt to control the conversation about male victimization.

Perhaps the most perplexing element is that in order to do this, the person usually recounts a man or boy’s actual experience, one which undermines to the dismissive argument to person with then proceed to make. For example, author Peggy Orenstein decided to interview a number young men for an article on The Cut. The article is part of the “How to Raise a Boy” series, which is bizarre on many levels considering the topic is sexually abuse against boys.

Orenstein interviewed a young man named Dylan who was raped by a woman will he was drunk. Orenstein used that account to go into a broader discussion about her conversations with boys over the years: Continue reading

Bulletin Board v307

Boys — the silent victims of sex trafficking — The silence nearly killed Tom Jones. As a child, Jones was raped, abused and sold to men for sex. The brutality ended when he was 15. But, like many male victims, Jones didn’t seek help, didn’t tell anyone about the trauma he had suffered. Instead, he buried his pain and shame deep inside, carrying the burden alone and in silence for another 15 years. Silence did not equal acceptance.

Caldey Abbey: first male victim comes forward to describe sexual abuse — A man has come forward to describe how he was groomed and sexually abused as a child by a Benedictine monk on Caldey Island, intensifying calls for an inquiry into what happened at the abbey in south-west Wales. The victim, who has told police of the abuse he was subject to during summer holiday trips to Caldey Island, is the first man to allege he was sexually assaulted by Father Thaddeus Kotik.

South Carolina Church To Pay $300,000 And Apologize In Child Sex Abuse Case — A Baptist church in South Carolina settled a child sexual abuse lawsuit, agreeing to issue an apology, admit liability, and to pay $300,000 to the plaintiff. Bryan Barnes, spokesman for First Baptist Church of Columbia, S.C., said that church leadership issued the apology and explained the terms of the settlement before the congregation on Sunday, according to the Baptist Press. Continue reading