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I was asked if it was fair to say I liked to have a drink. That’s all I need to say on the matter.

-SWP member

The SWP recently had an allegation of rape. Their dispute committee conducted an ‘investigation’ in which questions about personal relationships and non-sequiturs like alcohol were asked. You can read more about the dispute and the SWP’s disgusting reaction to it in the transcript for disputes committee report.

Filed under swp rape rape culture

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Denver Police Refuse to Test 44% of Rape Kits

Trigger Warning for Rape

Colorado police departments are collecting hundreds of rape kits, but a CALL7 Investigation found many of those are not tested. And experts and victims tell us that is a problem because those kits may allow police to identify serial rapists by putting any DNA into a national database.

Kelly Binder says she was drugged and raped two years ago by a man she met at a bar in downtown Denver. She is upset police didn’t test her rape kit because she is concerned her attacker could still be raping other people.

"He physically restrained me," Binder said.  "And while he was raping me, I said ‘No.  I don’t know you. I don’t want to do this.’"

Within hours of the assault, Binder contacted the Denver Police Department. The officer recommended she go to the hospital for a rape kit.

"You’re lying on this white sheet under these bright lights.  Every intimate part, they’re taking photographs, and pulling hair out of your head," Binder said.

She says the four-hour process felt like a second assault.

"The experience was just a nightmare," she said.

Her rape kit was given to police. But just a few weeks later, Binder says the DPD detective assigned to her case told her it would be too hard to prove that she didn’t give consent. She says the detective told her that her rape kit would not be tested to see if her attacker had raped anyone else.

"I was raped. This man raped me. And they did nothing, they did nothing at all," Binder said.

The CALL7 Investigators found hundreds of others rape kits remain on the shelf, untested. Since 2008, DPD has received 1,064 rape kits, but 44 percent of those kits have never been tested.

This is unacceptable and frankly disgusting. How can DPD let these assaults go without proper documentation? They are directly responsible for any recidivism in any of these assailants from here on out.

Filed under Colorado police rape rape culture Denver

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Support all vets applying for PTSD benefits

Trigger Warning: Rape

The first time the U.S. military betrayed me was when I was raped — twice — by my commanding officer in the Navy.

The second betrayal was when the Veterans Administration (VA) denied me disability benefits for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) — which I have because I was raped in the military.

When applying for benefits from the VA, I had to “prove” that my rapes happened, through testimony from eyewitnesses, my ex-husband and others. This is a higher burden of proof than for other veterans applying for the same benefits — and only veterans applying for benefits because of sexual assault have to meet it. Even more, even after I had given it what it wanted, the VA failed to believe that the rapes had occurred or approve my benefits…

As a result of my rapes, I have endured decades of debilitating PTSD, anxiety, depression, insomnia, migraines, a sexually transmitted disease, nine miscarriages, suicide attempts, homelessness and an end to my marriage. It took 23 years, in the end, for the VA to give me any benefits at all.

And I’m not alone. By DOD’s own estimates, over 19,000 service members are assaulted in the military each year. For countless veterans like me, a denied VA claim is the second betrayal, and can mean the difference between life and death. And yet only 1 in 3 applicants receives PTSD benefits for military sexual trauma. In comparison, more than half of veterans applying for PTSD benefits linked to other kinds of trauma are approved…

And I know public pressure to change the VA’s broken system can work: it has happened before, when the VA changed the requirements for combat veterans applying for benefits. The same can happen for veterans who are survivors of military sexual assault — but only if thousands of people join me by signing my petition.

I strongly believe in the presumption of innocence in a courtroom, but this isn’t a matter of proving a crime beyond a reasonable doubt, this is a matter of providing necessary medical services for people who have been assaulted. There is no moral or ethical quandary with regards to providing these services; it doesn’t infringe on the assailant’s right to a trial, it doesn’t presume guilt before a trial is concluded, and most importantly it provides vital help to victims that have regularly been ignored, cast aside, and denied proper benefits.

Filed under Rape PTSD military petition change.org

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The US military diagnoses rape victims with "personality disorder" to ignore their claims

Anu Bhagwati, a former company commander in the Marines and executive director of Service Women’s Action Network, a veterans advocacy group, says she sees a pattern of the military using psychiatric diagnoses to get rid of women who report sexual assaults.

"It’s convenient to sweep this under the rug. It’s also extremely convenient to slap a false diagnosis on a young woman … and then just get rid of them so you don’t have to deal with that problem in your unit. And, unfortunately, a lot of sexual assault survivors are considered problems," Bhagwati says.

From 2001 to 2010, the military discharged more than 31,000 service members because of personality disorder, according to documents obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request by the Vietnam Veterans of America.

Asked by CNN how many of these cases involved sexual assault cases, the Defense Department says it does not keep such figures, nor would the Pentagon comment on individual cases…

Dr. Liza H. Gold, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine, says it’s a rule of thumb among psychiatrists not to diagnose someone with a personality disorder in the middle of a traumatic experience like a divorce, litigation or the aftermath of a sexual assault…

In the military’s eyes, a personality disorder diagnosis is a pre-existing condition and does not constitute a service-related disability. That means sexual assault victims with personality disorder discharges don’t receive benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs to help with their trauma. They can still apply for benefits, but it’s considered an uphill battle.

There are other costs. For example, members of the armed forces who receive a personality disorder discharge lose education benefits under the GI Bill.

Moore, now 32 and married, says the Army came after her for $2,800 of the enlistment bonus she received when she signed up for six years. With interest and penalties, the bill topped $6,000. Moore says she’s still paying it off.

The politicians using troops in their campaigns should step up and demand accountability from the military leadership. The fact that these women have to deal with the aftermath of their assault is horrible enough, but the fact that they have their benefits revoked and have to pay the government money is just beyond the pale.

Filed under Rape US Military patriarchy

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Denver police department ignored accusation of rape for over two years

Capt. Cheryl Arabalo alleged the sexual assault occurred Oct. 11, 2009, and that when she reported it to a superior, he told her not to say anything about it and never reported her allegation to administrators.

But the department didn’t begin a criminal investigation of Arabalo’s allegations until this past Nov. 21 — more than two years after the incident. That investigation was launched after another department employee mentioned the alleged assault during the course of an investigation into charges that Arabalo embezzled money from the Denver Sheriffs Foundation.

From Tom McGhee at the Denver Post.

So, Capt. Cheryl Arabalo was drugged and raped. She reported it to her superior, who did not file a report. A captain filed a false sexual harassment report against her in retaliation, and received a 75 day suspension- almost a full year after he filed the false charge. Worse, when she filed a complaint about the captain who claimed she had sexually harassed her, she was suspended again for 70 days because of an ‘unrelated issue’. Then, right as she was about to return to work, she was accused of ‘embezzling’ (a grand jury said there was absolutely no evidence of this, and did not indict her). 

This is clear harassment of a victim of rape by the Denver Police department. Every single officer, from her superior to the captain that filed the false complaint, should be fired immediately. Of course, since they’re behind the blue shield, they’ll likely get away with a long and successful career while she gets booted out the door.

Filed under rape harassment injustice denver denver pd police Abuse of Authority

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I often hear the argument “Don’t tell women what not to wear, tell men not to rape.”

I think this is retarded.

People (yes people, it isn’t just men) who rape are not the kinds of people who work well with logic and reason. I mean, they’re fucking raping people. Telling a rapist not to rape is like telling a murderer not to murder. I think we could achieve much better results by teaching people how to 1. Avoid situations where rape is possible and 2. what to do in the event of someone trying to rape you.

Call me crazy but this sounds like a much more plausible solution than trying to talk it out with the nation’s rapists.

I’m ignoring most of the trash, but Mr. Kelly raises an important point (admittedly, it’s only by mistake)- why would telling criminals not to commit crime be different in the case of rape than it is in the case of homicide, or larceny?

The answer is that many rapists don’t understand that they are rapists. If you ask people, “have you ever raped someone,” the answer will overwhelmingly be in the negative. However, if you ask questions like, “Have you ever had sexual intercourse with someone who did not want you to because they were too intoxicated to resist?” or “Have you ever had intercourse with someone by force or threat of force?” then the answer drastically changes.

Thomas at Yes Means Yes has the run down on the numbers, but Amanda Hess has some important insight into the data:

What does this mean about our “accidental” rapists?

a) The vast majority of acquaintance rapes are committed by the same people;

b) These people don’t see themselves as “rapists”;

c) They are, however, able recognize that they regularly threat, force, and intoxicate women in order to have sex with them.

When we say, “teach rapists not to rape,” we’re not saying to sit people down in a room, look them sternly in the face and say “do not rape anyone,” we’re advocating teaching people from a young age about the concept of consent, how important it as, and that any sexual interaction without consent is rape. 

As far as avoiding situations where rape is possible, 26.6% of all rape occurs in the victims’ home, another 30.9% occur in the perpetrator’s home [PDF], and 45% of all rape victims were family or friends with their assailant, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. How do you think these people feel when they read people on the internet saying how we need to teach women how to avoid situations they can be raped in? 

(Source: antigovernmentextremist)

Filed under rape

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So in the DSK rape case, we’re supposed to believe that an African immigrant housekeeper suddenly decided to have sex with a wealthy white man 30 years her senior for 3 minutes on a bathroom floor in the middle of her work shift. To believe this story, you must know nothing about race, class, power and rape.
Sherry Wolf (via jessrosney)

(Source: jessroz, via plantaplanta)

Filed under dominique strauss-kahn feminism rape culture power class race dsk naffisatou diallo rape

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Despite being raped twice by the same person, a 7th grade girl was blamed, demonized and punished by school officials


Heartbreaking: 7th Grade Girl Raped Twice, Blamed and Punished By School Officials Both Times

The first time she was raped, school officials told her she was lying. They even demanded she write and hand-deliver an apology letter to her attacker.  Twisting the knife a little deeper,  the school expelled her for the rest of the year. The devastating sequence of events that followed suggests that school officials may actually have wanted the girl to have been attacked, or punished for speaking-out, once more  She was raped by the same boy in the library the following year. 

According to the Springfield News-Leader, the 7th grade special education student at Republic Middle School in Springfield, MO reported her rape in the spring of 2009. School officials refused to believe her, and after suffering through “multiple intimidating interrogations,” she recanted the claim.  What’s more, a school psychologist’s report said the girl “would forego her own needs and wishes to satisfy the request of others around so that she can be accepted.” In other words, the already victimized twelve-year-old might have taken back her statement after school officials demonized her for being raped.

When she returned to school the following year, the school refused her mother’s request for extra monitoring and did not separate her from her rapist who, thanks to the apology letter, knew she had told. If the school wanted the girl to be victimized a third time, they got their wish. In February 2010, the lawsuit says her attacker “was able to hunt [her] down, drag her to the back of the school library, and again forcibly rape her.” This time, she and her mother reported the rape to the police, and a rape kit tested positive for her attacker’s semen. He plead guilty to charges in juvenile court. 

The school’s next move made it clear that it was not lack of evidence fueling officials’ accusation that she was lying, but a deep-seeded hatred for women: Incredibly, the twelve-year-old rape victim was suspended for for “Disrespectful Conduct” and “Public Display of Affection” - two absolutely disgusting ways to categorize rape. The school had victimized the girl a fourth time, slut-shaming a rape victim for an attack that happened on school property, and one her mother sought to prevent by requesting their separation.

Her lawsuit requests damages for medical expenses, emotional distress, and attorneys’ fees, in addition to “punitive damages to deter School Officials and others from similar conduct in the future.”

But the school district denied every one of the girl’s allegations, as well as responsibility for the attack,  the same way they denied her rape.


(via abaldwin360-deactivated20130708)

Filed under victim blaming rape school rape culture