Americans overwhelmingly favor legal abortion access for victims of sexual assault. But their lawmakers are consistently refusing to enact policies in line with that.
According to an analysis conducted by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), more than 70 percent of the new abortion restrictions enacted in the first half of 2013 don’t include any kind of exemption for pregnancies that result from rape. And state lawmakers proposed even more measures to limit rape victims’ abortion access that didn’t make it into law — the NWLC’s report finds that 86 percent of the anti-abortion bills proposed during the same time period didn’t have a rape exception.
U.S. Congress didn’t have a much better record during the first six months of the year. Seventy two percent of the bills proposed on a national level would have restricted abortion access even for rape victims.
The anti-abortion measures that apply to rape victims range from forcing a woman who has become pregnant from sexual assault to carry the pregnancy to term; to requiring her to look at an ultrasound of the fetus and listen to a fetal heartbeat; to banning her from using her own insurance coverage to pay for an abortion; to allowing hospitals to deny her abortion care.
Pentagon officials on Thursday formally unveiled new sexual assault policies designed to bolster victim resources and blunt criticism that the military is ill-equipped to handle the sensitive crimes.
But the moves appear unlikely to appease lawmakers who have been calling for a dramatic overhaul of military sexual assault cases, starting with taking the legal responsibilities out of the chain of command.
In a memo to staff, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called sexual assault “a stain on the honor of our men and women who honorably serve our country, as well as a threat to the discipline and the cohesion of our force.”
The new policies include creation of a new legal advocacy program to provide assistance to victims in sexual assault litigation and exploration of ways to give victims more input in the sentencing phase of courts-martial.
They will also mandate more monitoring of sexual assault incidents, both in “timely” follow-up reports by generals or flag officers and additional investigations by the Defense Department’s inspector general.
The Pentagon also recently established an independent panel to review the entire sexual assault military legal process, including how investigations and prosecutions are carried out. Congress has mandated creation of that review board
Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel Jessica Wright said the changes show “an unprecedented level of senior level engagement on these issues” and a commitment by senior leaders to help victims seek justice.
“The bottom line is that sexual assault is not tolerated, it’s not condoned, and it’s not ignored,” she said.
Federal authorities have launched an investigation into the handling of at least two alleged rapes at the University of Southern California to determine whether the school violated the victims’ civil rights by dismissing their claims, the latest in a growing number of similar investigations at colleges across the country.
The U.S. Department of Education confirmed to ABC News it has opened a Title IX sex discrimination investigation after receiving a 107-page complaint containing allegations by more than a dozen USC students who claimed the school did not take appropriate action after reporting sexual abuse to college officials.
One USC student who joined the complaint, junior Ari Mostov, 21, says she was told by campus authorities that her alleged attacker, a fellow screenwriting major with whom she shared all her classes, did not commit a sexual assault because “he didn’t orgasm” and that she was told not pursue her case with the LAPD.
“I was told that if I called LAPD, the detectives would be very tough on me and that defense lawyers would call me names in court. The school did everything it could to dissuade me from talking about being raped and asking for help,” Mostov told ABCNews.com.
The USC inquest is the latest in a fast-growing string of Title IX investigations launched by the department’s Office of Civil Rights following complaints by students across the country that colleges are covering up alleged rapes and intentionally dismissing accusations of sexual assault.
On Wednesday, just two days after the USC investigation was made public, the University of Colorado Boulder’s chancellor issued a letter to students and faculty announcing that school too was the subject of a federal investigation.
Since January, students from the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Occidental College in Los Angeles, and Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania have filed Title IX complaints.
In the USC case, the students accused the college of misrecording and under-reporting rapes, refusing to expel known attackers, and advising students not to file claims with the police.
Thirty-three senators — including some high-profile Republicans — have now signed on to bipartisan legislation to create a separate military legal command to prosecute serious crimes.
GOP Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas and Charles Grassley of Iowa have joined Democrats Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Barbara Boxer of California in support for a measure that attempts to remove the military chain of command from decisions about prosecution and sentencing for crimes not directly related to military duties.
Sex crimes such as rape and sexual assault are the chief reasons the Military Justice Improvement Act was proposed, but it would apply to most offenses where a service member faced a year or longer in jail as the possible punishment, unless it involves military-specific offenses such as failure to obey an order or being absent without leave.
Gillibrand, chairwoman of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s personnel panel, said rape and sexual assault appear to be under-reported in the military because of fear of retaliation for coming forward and a belief that a command will not fully investigate.
Making decisions about the investigation, prosecution and punishment outside of the chain of command could lead more victims to come forward, she said.
At a Tuesday press conference to announce his support, Paul said he believes “victims of assault may be deterred if they have to report it to their boss.”
Cruz said the failure to report crimes makes them difficult to stop. “We can have no prosecution, no deterrence without reporting of crime,” he said.
Even though it pains me to have to agree with Cruz and Paul, I’ll agree with Cruz and Paul. Though I wonder if William Kristol had an opinion on this what would it be?
The Obama administration has worked diligently to shrink, underfund, and demoralize the military. Now, Politico reports, two Republican senators, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, are joining an effort led by New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand that goes beyond where even the Obama administration is willing to go in weakening the military.
Sens. Paul and Cruz are signing on to Sen. Gillibrand’s proposal to undermine the military’s chain of command on behalf of the pseudo-crisis of military sexual assault.
Maybe he missed the recent cases of Brig. Gen. Bryan Roberts and Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair. Because the problem in the military is just not in the ranks, it’s at the flag level too. For people like Kristol, I guess their military fetish let’s them turn a blind eye to all this.
Well since Kristol never served let’s hear from Pfc. Natasha Schuette, a Soldier and sexual assault victim.
The campaign’s messages are clear: that “It’s not sex when she doesn’t want it” and “Just because she can’t say no doesn’t mean she’s saying yes.” And the campaign doesn’t just address sexual assaults of women - one ad, showing two men, says, “It’s not sex if he changes his mind.” The kicker is simple. Don’t be that guy. And what do you know? In the wake of the campaign, in 2011, the sexual assault rate in Vancouver dropped by a stunning 10 percent - the first dip in several years.
But this whole not blaming victims and educating men regarding consent thing has not sat well with everybody. Men’s Rights Edmonton has countered with its own campaign, telling women, “Don’t Be That Girl.” Crudely ripping off the imagery of the original campaign, its posters, which have been cropping up in Edmonton, warn, “Just because you regret a one night stand doesn’t mean it wasn’t consensual,” “Just because you regret your life choices, doesn’t mean it’s rape” and “Women who drink are not responsible for their actions especially when sex is involved.” And they remind, “Lying about sexual assault = a crime.”
Lise Gotell, a University of Alberta professor who worked on the original campaign, told the Province this week that “What’s been done to transform an anti-sexual-assault campaign into a rape-apologist campaign is just deeply offensive.” And she added, “What these posters are going to do, when people see them, is play into this myth that there’s a huge problem with false allegations, which we know empirically is wrong. They may in fact discourage people from reporting, because the research also shows that women are very likely to minimize their experiences of sexual assault … The tactics are cowardly and the issue is not a laughing matter.” And Kristopher Wells, of the University’s Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services, said the posters are “obviously not supported by any organization” and are coming down.
Turns out Reddit - home of pedophiles, ephibists and other “Jelly Belly” lovers now is putting out a book!
Get CLOSE to her, damn it!
To quote Rob Judge, “Personal space is for pussies.” I already told you that the most successful seducers are those who can’t keep their hands off of women. Well you’re not gonna be able to do that if you aren’t in close!
All the greatest seducers in history could not keep their hands off of women. They aggressively escalated physically with every woman they were flirting with. They began touching them immediately, kept great body language and eye contact, and were shameless in their physicality. Even when a girl rejects your advances, she KNOWS that you desire her. That’s hot. It arouses her physically and psychologically.”
Decide that you’re going to sit in a position where you can rub her leg and back. Physically pick her up and sit her on your lap. Don’t ask for permission. Be dominant. Force her to rebuff your advances.
Pull out your cock and put her hand on it. Remember, she is letting you do this because you have established yourself as a LEADER. Don’t ask for permission, GRAB HER HAND, and put it right on your dick.”
The Game has been devolving into seriously squicky NLP psudo consent already - this is past all that and into full on sexual harassment and assault.
Here’s a disturbing story out of Josephine County, OR. A woman calls 911 to report that her abusive ex is trying to break in to her house to hurt her. 911 dispatcher says “Sorry, no cops, can’t afford…”
“Uh, I don’t have anybody to send out there,” the 911 dispatcher told the woman. “You know, obviously, if he comes inside the residence and assaults you, can you ask him to go away? Do you know if he’s intoxicated or anything?”
The woman told the dispatcher that Bellah previously attacked her and left her hospitalized a few weeks prior to the latest incident. The dispatcher stayed on the phone with the woman for more than 10 minutes before the sexual assault took place.
“Once again it’s unfortunate you guys don’t have any law enforcement out there,” the dispatcher said, according to Oregon Public Radio.
The woman responded: “Yeah, it doesn’t matter, if he gets in the house I’m done.”
But her nomination has been blocked by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), a member of the Armed Services Committee, who wants to examine Helms’s previously unpublicized decision to overturn the conviction, on charges of aggravated sexual assault, of a captain at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Helms’s action mirrors another case that has drawn angry attention from Congress and prompted legislators to propose landmark changes in military law. In that instance, victims’ advocates called for the firing of Lt. Gen. Craig A. Franklin, commander of the Third Air Force in Europe, after he tossed out the sexual-assault conviction of a star fighter pilot in February.
In both cases, the generals ignored the recommendations of their legal advisers and overruled a jury’s findings — without publicly revealing why. Neither general was a judge and neither observed the trials, but they intervened to grant clemency before the convictions could be heard by an appeals court.
William Finnegan, 59, told a jury that despite having taken a vow of celibacy, he got married more than a decade ago and kept it a secret from both the church and his parishioners.
Finnegan, also known as “Father Bill”, was parish priest at St Clare’s RC Church in Fagley, Bradford, West Yorkshire, when the alleged sexual assault happened.
He denies sexually assaulting the teenager on Easter Sunday last year by touching her bottom and forcefully kissing her, and is standing trial at Bradford Crown Court.
His barrister, Jeremy Hill-Baker, told the jury: “You may be thinking that he is only human, that Father Bill, as a Catholic priest, has taken a vow of celibacy, condemning himself to a single and lonely life filled with perhaps an underlying sexual frustration because, let’s face it, it is not a natural state for a human to be in.
“It would be understandable for you to be thinking, ‘Well, perhaps it just got the best of him with that 17-year-old’.”
But he told jurors they would hear evidence from both Finnegan and his wife, Beverley Dawson.
The lawyer went on: “No, you didn’t mis-hear me. His wife. He and Beverley Dawson secretly married abroad in September 1999.
“So deeply in love was he that he was prepared to ignore the Catholic Church’s ban on marriage, a secret which has been kept from almost everyone until now.
An Air Force general’s decision to dismiss the charges against a lieutenant colonel who was convicted of sexual assault has outraged many members of Congress and led new Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to say he’s ordered a review of the case.
And, Hagel says in a letter to Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., he has asked the secretaries of the Army and Navy “to report to me on whether the case points to changes that should be considered in the [Uniform Code of Military Justice], or in the military services’ implementation of the UCMJ.”
Once again a story leaves me speechless but this time as a veteran, I’m speechless with rage.