Bulletin Board v255

5 Reasons Why Feminists Don’t Say Much About The Horrors Of Prison Rape — We’ve heard a lot about rape culture on college campuses and seen quite a few highly determined domestic violence and sexual assault advocates fighting on behalf of those who are affected. But it’s hard not to conclude that much of their dismay toward the culture of rape and violence possesses a degree of gender bias that should concern us all. One thing that is consistently off the radar screen is the issue of prison rape.

Bullfinch: Board’s error as abuse review saw 50 boys counted as girls — BOYS at risk of being targeted for sex by gangs of men in Oxfordshire are being forgotten, say support workers. A Serious Case Review into child sexual exploitation (CSE) case Operation Bullfinch, published earlier this month, identified 373 child victims who may have been sexually exploited across the county. The report said they were all girls but it has now transpired nearly 50 of them were boys.

Comics Like Batgirl Shouldn’t Require a ‘Good Feminist’ Seal of Approval — A backlash against a Batgirl comic book cover some perceived as sexually violent has caused the cover to be withdrawn — leading to a backlash against perceived censorship. Sexism in popular culture is a valid concern. But when feminist criticism becomes an outrage machine that chills creative expression, it’s bad for feminism and bad for female representation. 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

‘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

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

Bulletin Board v252

Derry needs a refuge for male victims of domestic violence — Derry needs a refuge to help male victims of domestic violence in the city a local men’s group has said. SDLP MLA, Pat Ramsey has supported a call by Men’s Action Network (MAN) for a refuge to be opened. Michael Lynch of MAN said: “A city refuge is something that we have been working toward for a while but the necessity of it was underlined after serious gaps in service provision were highlighted by a recent case.”

Judge Gives US Government a Week to Appeal or Comply With Order Involving Thousands of Prisoner Abuse Photos — The United States government has been given a week to appeal or comply with a federal judge’s order to provide a justification for why approximately 2,100 photographs of torture and abuse of prisoners must remain secret. The American Civil Liberties Union has pursued the release of records related to detainee treatment and “the death of prisoners in United States custody and abroad after September 11, 2001, since October 2003.

Man who spent 26 years in prison settles for $2.5M — The city has agreed to pay $2.5 million to a man who spent 26 years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit, a lawyer said Tuesday. Walter Swift’s attorney, Julie Hurwitz, said the deal will allow him to heal, especially from substance abuse linked to his wrongful conviction and nearly three decades behind bars. Nonetheless, she called the agreement a “travesty” because she believes Detroit should be willing to pay more to make up for police misconduct that spoiled the investigation. Continue reading

Bulletin Board v250

30-year-old woman faces jail for having sex with 12-year-old boy — For ‘falling in love’ and having sex with her son’s 12-year-old friend, a 30-year-old woman is in serious trouble and may face a lengthy jail term. The Daily Mail reports that the Missouri, USA mother, Nicole Marie Smith, was arrested on charges of statutory rape, child abuse and sodomy, charges which are serious offenses in that country. The victim allegedly said that he was in love with the woman who is the mother of his friend, but police authorities believe he does not know what he is talking about.

Bradford boy could have been abused by 33 men, police reveal — ONE boy in the Bradford district could have been groomed or abused by as many as 33 different men, police have revealed. The shocking case was discussed by police and councillors at a meeting which looked at whether enough is being done to combat child sexual exploitation, in the wake of wide-scale abuse uncovered in Rotherham. Superintendent Vince Firth, of Bradford District Police, said the case also belied two common misconceptions about the crime as it involved a male victim and white suspects.

Britain’s Child Sex-Abuse Survivors Are Finally Being Listened To — Yesterday, for the first time ever, survivors of child abuse were invited into Parliament. Around 300 people from all over the country crammed into the House of Commons’ biggest meeting room, standing and sitting on the floor, thanks to an invitation by MP John Mann. The last three years have seen ever grimmer child-abuse scandals surface, with few areas of British public life immune. It seems that after decades, the country is finally taking these accusations seriously and the victims themselves are finally being listened to in the corridors of power. Continue reading

Anal Rape: the CIA’s “necessary” and “legitimate” medical practice

Of all the things revealed in the recent report of the CIA’s torture practices, I hardly expected to find this:

According to the committee report “at least five CIA detainees were subjected to “rectal rehydration” or rectal feeding without documented medical necessity”. The report identifies a chief of Interrogations referring to medically unnecessary rectal feeding and hydration as illustrative of the interrogator’s “total control over the detainee”.

Alongside the psychological effects of this torture, physical injuries were sustained by at least one detainee as a result of rectal feeding. The detainee was “diagnosed with chronic hemorrhoids, an anal fissure, and symptomatic rectal prolapse”.

I am sure the first two symptoms are self-explanatory, however, the latter may require explanation. Rectal prolapse occurs when the rectum walls protrude from the anus.

Even if the detainee refused food, this sort of procedure is clearly a violation of the Geneva Convention and obviously torture. It is also unquestionably rape. Continue reading