How not to talk to child abuse victims

To the call-in radio show hosts out there, if you have someone who calls in and tells you they were abused as a child, do not say things like this:

“I feel very sorry for you but I don’t know what can be done about it now, I mean you are 80 years of age, we’re going back a long, long way. A long way”, Laws responds.

“But maybe you feel a little bit better having talked about it, do you?”

“Not really,” Brian responds.

“So in other words we’ve wasted each other’s time,” Laws says.

“I’m sorry, I would rather have liked to have thought you felt a little bit better.”

“I’m sad more than anything,” says Brian.

That was John Laws’s response to an 80-year-old caller named Brian. Brian shared his account of being repeated sexually abused as a child. He stated that he was abused at 11 and 14-years-old. The assaults occurred during the 1930s, and given Brian’s situation at the time, he was unable to report them. He did attempt to report the assaults in the 1960s and 1970s, however, the police told him to forget about it and refused to help him.

The abuse left Brian obviously traumatized. 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

UNSW suspends domestic violence study over breach of ethics

Originally posted on April 20, 2014

I spotted this over on A Voice for Men:

An online ‘domestic violence study’ has been ordered offline by the University of NSW Human Research Ethics Committee.

Flyers published by the survey organisers have been ordered destroyed.

The study, being conducted by the Gendered Violence Research Network, White Ribbon Australia and Youth Action NSW, was found by the Ethics Committee to have breached the University’s code of ethics.

The decision comes after a national coalition of men’s health advocates made a formal complaint to the University claiming the survey was gender-biased, poorly formulated and misleading. They argued it could not achieve its stated aims and any consequent findings would be unreliable and likely to mislead the public.

Chair of the Ethics Committee, Professor Heather Worth, found that a quote on the original flyers claiming that “childhood exposure to intimate violence increased the likelihood of intergeneration violence particularly amongst boys” was incorrect. The ethics committee has ordered that the flyers be destroyed and replaced by a new flyer that has correct information, including any quotes.

Continue reading

‘Trust Nobody, and Proceed with Caution’

The state of New York released a series of videos warning inmates about the dangers of prison rape. This is an unprecedented move. To my knowledge, no other state has engaged in such an overt campaign to educate its inmates on how to protect themselves. Granted, the campaign is somewhat of a tacit admission that New York essentially allows its staff and inmates to prey those the state imprisons. However, at least the state is not pretending nothing happens.

From the article about the campaign
:

In the upcoming months, New York state will take an unusual step towards preventing prison rape: Prisons will show inmates — both male and female — an orientation video offering advice on how to identify, and avoid, sexual predators behind bars.

The videos, funded through a grant from the federal government under the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), are directed by T.J. Parsell, a former prisoner who was also raped in prison. They will be premiered for the inmates who participated in the filming — at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women, Fishkill Correctional Facility, and Downstate Correctional Facility — then rolled out in prisons across the state.

Continue reading

Being a Boy: Lesson Learned

Originally published on March 12, 2014

I spotted this story on the r/MensRights subreddit. The author recounts how his feminist mother taught him not be a rapist and the harm it did to him:

My mother was basically what you’d call a “radical” feminist. She thought everything was an indicator of child molestation by that person’s father, that any man is probably a child molester, any physical contact between a man and a child is sexual, etc.

She had coached me into thinking my father had molested me as well to try to get him arrested, but that is a separate issue that I’d love to share in another thread.

What really, really fucked with me deeply, was when she convinced me my father had molested me, that his father had molested him, and that if I didn’t tell people what my father had done, I would become a rapist.

That is not the first time I have heard a story like that. Continue reading

Bulletin Board v253

Big increase in male sexual abuse victims contacting Warwickshire charity — A charity working with male victims of sexual assault from Coventry and Warwickshire say they have been ‘‘inundated” with new clients following a series of high profile abuse scandals. Staff at RoSA (Rape or Sexual Abuse Support Services) have provided counselling support for nearly 200 men in the last financial year – many of whom were subjected to abuse when they were younger.

Boy cross-examined by ‘sex abuser’ dad in molestation case — A Brooklyn dad accused of molesting his son acted as his own lawyer in court Wednesday — forcing the now-14-year-old to be cross-examined by him. As if taking the stand and recounting the details of his alleged abuse weren’t painful enough, the courageous youngster had to suffer the indignity of answering outrageous questions from the man he says sexually molested and beat him starting at age 8.

Chicago-Area Imam Charged With Sex Abuse at Islamic School — The longtime head of a suburban Chicago Islamic school has been charged with sexually assaulting a woman who worked there, and a civil suit filed Tuesday accuses him of abusing that employee and three teenage students. The legal actions shed light on an issue that even many Muslims say is too often pushed into the shadows within their communities. Continue reading