(Politicus USA) - Instead of apologizing or listening to the complaints that the network was soft on rapists due to their Steubenville rape convictions coverage, CNN is outraged and dismissive.
Today The Wrap reported:
Poppy Harlow, covering the events in Steubenville, particularly hard.
“Poppy is taking this extremely personally as a woman,” said one executive. “She’s outraged that someone would think she’d do such a thing” as slant her coverage toward rapists. “It’s gotten so out of control.”
I don’t believe that Poppy Harlow, Candy Crowley, or CNN deliberately set about to apologize for rapists or minimize rape. But they did. The fact that they are so unaware of why this is a problem is exactly why they need to apologize.
The problem here is that Harlow and CNN don’t understand why people are complaining. Harlow is outraged and CNN has brushed it off as not necessarily valid according to The Wrap, “CNN had no official comment, except to note privately that viral petitions sometimes have a life of their own and start ‘feeding on itself’ whether or not the issue is valid.”
The issue is very simple and very valid. We live in a “rape culture”. That is a culture where rape is excused and blown off, and the victim is silenced and/or smeared. Rape is excused and tolerated via the sometimes well meaning complicity of people who don’t know any better. That culture is being challenged by the very same social media that was used to broadcast the humiliating abuse of the victim. Guess which side won in the court of mainstream public opinion? Hint: It wasn’t the perpetrators.
This kind of pushback shows just how prevalent the attitude about rape CNN displayed is. It’s so ingrained in our culture that the folks at CNN are agasp that there is outrage over their coverage of the story.
Pretty frightening, and somewhat depressing.
(Think Progress) - Colorado Republicans are rushing to condemn the offensive comments about rape recently made by one of their Democratic colleagues — but their attempts are quickly devolving into even more inappropriate responses to the serious crime of sexual assault.
After Colorado Rep. Joe Salazar (D) suggested that women are too paranoid to responsibly carry a gun — a failed attempt to make the point that allowing college students to carry concealed weapons on campus won’t actually help prevent sexual assaults — the Larimer County Republican Women set out to prove that women need more than just whistles to protect them from rape. But they chose to do so by mocking sexual violence itself, compiling a fake “rape defense kit” with a whistle and a pen and labeling it “In Case of Rape, Robbery, or Assault OPEN IMMEDIATELY.”
Photos posted on Twitter reveal that a number of Republican state lawmakers, including the GOP Minority Leader, posed with the fake rape kit:
Of course, the fact that Salazar implied that women may be too emotional to recognize whether or not someone is actually threatening them is offensive, and reinforces the deeply-entrenched attitude that women can’t always be trusted because they sometimes falsely “cry rape.” But making light of the sexual violence that remains incredibly prevalent on college campuses — an estimated one in four women will be sexually assaulted while they are in college, and university officials have been notorious participants in perpetuating rape culture— is an offensive counter to the Democratic lawmaker’s original comments.
There are real things that politicians can do to make college campuses safer environments for women, and those policy solutions don’t involve debating about guns or dabbling in rape jokes. On a national level, reauthorizing the lapsed Violence Against Women Act would help ensure that college groups have adequate funding for their dating violence programs, critical resources that help educate students about preventing sexual assault.
This also comes hot on the heels of the a trending twitter topic, “#LiberalTips2AvoidRape” which includes gems like, “Go for the Democrat politician look. You definitely won’t be raped…”
[TW: Rape, Sexual Assault] Steubenville High School Students Joke About Rape In Video Leaked By Anonymous
(Huffington Post) - A chilling video leaked by an Anonymous cell this week has added a new twist to a sordid tale of alleged rape that has shattered the peace of a close-knit Ohio football town.
The disturbing 12-minute video, posted online Tuesday by the hacktivist group “Knight Sec,” shows teens making jokes about the events that reportedly transpired on Aug. 22.
One teen appears to refer to the victim as “deader than” Trayvon Martin, and adds, “she is so raped her p**s is about as dry as the sun right now.”
Months later, what exactly happened in Steubenville, Ohio, is still being pieced together. Few witnesses have stepped forward to talk about the parties where the underage girl, who was from a neighboring town, was allegedly transported, assaulted and photographed by athletes from local Steubenville High.
The video, which was allegedly posted to YouTube on the night of the incident, has been brought to the attention of local police.
Steubenville Police Chief Bill McCafferty released the following statement Wednesday (via WTRF):
The Steubenville police department has been aware of this recent video that was released. Since late August 2012 the subject who made the video was interviewed. This has all been turned over to the prosecutors which are the Ohio Attorney Generals Office, who is prosecuting this case. It’s always been the policy of the Steubenville Police Department not to make comments on details of a case prior to it going to trial. I know this is frustrating for some. I can’t change that now, as you know this is a high profile case and for the parties interested I believe I should not make a comment on it because I can’t make a comment on it. It’s being handled by an outside agency
In an eight-page investigation into the assault published in December, The New York Times wrote that social media has played an interesting, and at times confusing, role in the case.
From the Times:
Twitter posts, videos and photographs circulated by some who attended the nightlong set of parties suggested that an unconscious girl had been sexually assaulted over several hours while others watched. She even might have been urinated on.
The newspaper wrote about the assault in detail, describing how the unresponsive and potentially unconscious girl was allegedly penetrated and violated, sometimes on camera.
So far, two football players, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, have been charged with rape and kidnapping, according to the Herald Star. But this was not enough for Anonymous. Perhaps spurred on by The Times exposé, the group fresh from its hacking victory over the Westboro Baptist Church, became involved.
The group seemed enraged by what it considers a cover-up by authorities and school officials in Steubenville, a town where high school football is king.
[TW: Rape] College Rape Survivor Told Not to Report Her Rapist, Drops Out While Alleged Rapist Graduates With Honors
Amherst is supposed to be a liberal institution. The mistreatment of a rape survivor shows just how pervasive rape culture is.
A former Amherst student detailed her experience of on-campus rape and the college’s abysmal treatment of the situation, in a searing and painful essay. The piece in The Amherst Student by Angie Epifano, who left the college because of her experience, has focused a national spotlight on the elite liberal university’s treatment of rape and rape culture, raising questions about the treatment of sexual assault, victims and perpetrators on campuses around the country.
In her piece prefaced with a trigger warning, Epifano writes about the trauma following her rape by a college acquaintance:
Some nights I can still hear the sounds of his roommates on the other side of the door, unknowingly talking and joking as I was held down; it is far from a pleasant wakeup call.
I had always fancied myself a strong, no-nonsense woman, whose intense independence was cultivated by seventeen harrowing years of emotional abuse in my backwoods home. May 25th temporarily shattered that self-image and left me feeling like the broken victim that I had never wanted to be.
Everything I had believed myself to be was gone in 30 minutes.
In an attempt to push the incident from her mind, Epifano explains that she did not report the assault immediately but only came forward to the school’s sexual assault counselor after she had to countenance her rapist in a fundraising project and was thrown into severe emotional turmoil. Epifano’s account of her treatment by the school’s counseling service is as disturbing as any part of her harrowing story.
In short I was told: No you can’t change dorms, there are too many students right now. Pressing charges would be useless, he’s about to graduate, there’s not much we can do. Are you SURE it was rape? It might have just been a bad hookup…You should forgive and forget.
How are you supposed to forget the worst night of your life?… I was continuously told that I had to forgive him, that I was crazy for being scared on campus, and that there was nothing that could be done. They told me: We can report your rape as a statistic, you know for records, but I don’t recommend that you go through a disciplinary hearing. It would be you, a faculty advisor of your choice, him, and a faculty advisor of his choice in a room where you would be trying to prove that he raped you. You have no physical evidence, it wouldn’t get you very far to do this.
Epifano recounts how when she expressed a suicidal thought to her counselor, she was immediately committed to the local hospital’s psychiatric ward for five days where she says the doctor was no more supportive. “I really don’t think that a school like Amherst would allow you to be raped. And why didn’t you tell anybody?” she recalls the doctor suggesting. Epifano describes a rape by a student and an ongoing abuse by an institution. Eventually she withdrew from Amherst and remains sickened by the administration’s refusal to take rape seriously.
things planned parenthood does besides abortions
- Screening for cancer
- Pregnancy testing
- Affordable health care
- Advocating for state/federal policies that advance health care
- Pregnancy options counseling
- Sexual health education
- Menopause treatments
- Adoption referral to other agencies
- STD testing
- Tubal litigations
friendly reminder to anyone who calls PP an “abortion mill”
1. Other absurd Republican contributions to the “rape doesn’t lead to babies” myth. As Anna North reported earlier this year, other Republicans paved the way for Akin’s recent statements. In 1995, Republican Henry Aldridge stated that when a woman is raped, “the juices don’t flow,” and in 1988 another Republican congressman stated that women emit “a certain secretion” that stops pregnancy when they are raped. (Which has led many of us to wonder, which is it, guys? Do these mythical juices flow, or do they stop flowing, when a woman is raped?)
2. The daddy of all these rape theories. The National Right to Life Committee’s John C. Willke’s claims in an article that the “trauma” of rape prevents pregnancy — i.e., he “basically just makes shit up,” writes Katie J. M. Baker at Jezebel.
3. GOP donor asks “Want contraception? Put an aspirin between your knees.” This line, now a total cultural punchline, came from Foster Friess, who was a big donor to Rick Santorum before moving on to support Romney. The video clip featuring Friess’ comments and Andrea Mitchell’s flummoxed response went viral this spring.
Friess: This contraceptive thing, my gosh it’s such inexpensive, back in my days we used Bayer aspirin for contraception, the gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.
Mitchell: Um, excuse me, I’m trying to catch my breath from that Mr. Friess, frankly…
4. GOP lawmakers seek to legally redefine rape as “forcible rape” so fewer women will qualify as victims. Remember the media firestorm around the “war on women”? One of its major fronts consisted of congressional shenanigans around the definition of rape in the noxious H.R. 3 “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion” bill. These efforts included Akin and VP candidate Paul Ryan and were aimed at siphoning off the number of abortion-funding exemptions so that only the rarest few qualified. What offended women most — and eventually scuttled the bill — was the idea that the government could weigh whether your rape “counted” or not.
According to the bill, there would be exemptions only for something called “forcible rape.” (Presumably, this is the same thing Willke called “assault rape” and Akin called “legitimate rape,” as opposed to what Willke called “consensual” “statutory” rape.) After a public outcry, Smith retreated from his first draft of the bill and reinstituted the Hyde language, though an additional provision was added later to clarify that the bill will “not allow the Federal Government to subsidize abortions in cases of statutory rape.” Akin and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan were co-sponsors of the bill, along with 225 others.
Since Sunday, the Romney camp has been trying furiously to distance itself from Akin, but these two names together as co-sponsors of this bill may come back to haunt Paul Ryan.
5. Another GOP lawmaker (surprise, surprise) worries that women will claim rape just to get abortions. This March, Iowa Senator Chuck Winder, who had already proposed that women go through two forced ultrasounds, including one at a right-wing “crisis pregnancy center,” went a step further by voicing his concern that women might use the “rape issue” to go abortion-crazy. Quoth Chuck: “Rape and incest was used as a reason to oppose this. I would hope that when a woman goes into a physician with a rape issue, that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage or was it truly caused by a rape.”
6. Pundits and lawmakers: Forced ultrasounds are okay because women already consented to be penetrated when they got pregnant. Remember the bill in Virginia that would have mandated certain kinds of invasive ultrasounds for women seeking abortions (the kind that already exist in other states?). Well, ultraconservative pundit Dana Loesch, who has already come to Todd Akin’s defense in this round, was hostile to the basic concept that every time a person’s body is penetrated, it’s mandatory to ask for consent. “They had no problem having similar to a transvaginal procedure when they engaged in the act that resulted in their pregnancy,” she said. Sadly, Loesch’s idea was not so far out of the norm: several Virginia lawmakers basically said the same thing.
7. When women sign up for the military to hang out with aggressive dudes, they are asking to be raped. Notoriously anti-woman Fox News talking-head Liz Trotta wondered of enlisted women who were assaulted, “What did they expect?” She also blasted feminist calls for infrastructure and support to help the increasing number of women in this position. And refused to apologize.
8. Santorum and Huckabee are all about rape victims taking one for team “Life.” Let’s not forget our Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, respectively, think rape victims should “make the best” of it and see the unwanted child as a gift and sometimes cool people are conceived in rape.
From the front page of reddit, user DrRob discusses with other users why the ask a rapist thread was dangerous.
Hi all. I’m a psychiatrist. My main area of clinical work is emergency psychiatry, and my main research interest is functional brain imaging. I’d like to start a discussion about the rapist thread, which I see as a serious danger. In a nutshell:
- Rape is a crime which hinges directly on feelings of power over the victim.
- That power often loses its meaning if the victim is unconscious. Many rapists typically need a victim who knows they are being victimized.
- This victim is the rapist’s audience. This is crucial.
- The audience gives the rapist pleasure, euphoric delight from unfettered, witnessed suffering. That euphoria is intense and is driven by the same neurobiology involved in a drug high.
Now, when Reddit invites rapists to retell their stories, they offer an audience of thousands. The possibility that individuals reading these stories will be horrified afresh is very appealing to some rapists. It’s neurobiologically very much like anticipating drug use.
Note: the audience doesn’t actually need to be horrified. In the mind of the rapist, the possibility of horrifying an audience is what is appealing.
Ever wonder what makes addicts keep using? A major factor is the craving that comes from recalling the feelings associated with the pleasurable activity or drug. Cocaine addicts, active or in recovery, who are asked to think about using cocaine have measurable brain changes precisely when they report cravings. We haven’t actually measured this in rapists, but we suspect it’s highly analogous.
Thus, the Reddit rape forum is very likely triggering rape cravings in rapists.
It is also teaching rapists how to rape better via shared stories, the same way we teach new participants to improve in any field, by sharing our experiences.
I plan to be available to discuss this, so jump in.
(For those more curious about the guy behind the message, I’m a frequent guest on the  Caustic Soda Podcast.)
Edited at 6:43 pm to eliminate gendered language. My apologies for insensitivity! I was pretty anxious when I was writing this, and my bias showed. Any gender can rape any gender.
Second edit at 7:09 pm (Pacific):  My credentials
Third edit at 7:19 pm: Edit #2:  Caustic Soda has confirmed my identity on their Facebook page.
the full thread is here
On a second note, this adds an entirely new level of disgust to people who intentionally try to trigger rape victims on-line.
I mean, not that it wasn’t gross before, it’s just that after reading what DrRob had to say, it makes it that much more disgusting.
The thing with rape jokes is that there’s a sort of “all squares are rectangles, not all rectangles are squares,” thing going on.
Sure, not all people who make rape jokes are rapists, but I’d bet my foot that a large majority of rapists are the type who make rape jokes. Because they’re the ones who see another person’s boundaries and autonomy as laughable. They’re the ones who don’t think rape culture is a big deal because, far from being hurt by it, they benefit from it. They’re the ones who see rape itself as Not A Big Deal, because acknowledging how horrendous it is would force them to acknowledge that they themselves are the scum of the earth. They’re the ones who don’t give a shit about whether or not rape jokes make other people uncomfortable, because why the hell would that bother them when they’re perfectly okay inflicting that kind of pointless, potentially life-shatteringly traumatic violation on someone?
They wouldn’t, in case the answer wasn’t painfully obvious. They don’t.
And we can’t tell them apart from the people who just (“just”) contribute to the cultural environment that allows the vast majority of rapists to operate unscathed. So if you start talking like a rapist, the safest course of action is to assume the worst. And sometimes acting on that means committing violence against you in the hopes that it’ll make you think twice about that shit. If you can’t hold your tongue for the sake of being a decent fucking person, maybe you’ll do it if you’re scared of getting punched in the fucking face.
— Mother forced to undergo surgery during birth without complications against her consent. (via jonathan-cunningham)