Mid-Valley Women’s Crisis Service in Salem, Oregon, is changing things up in big ways. Along with new digs, it’s also getting a new name: The Center for Hope & Safety. The newly rebranded nonprofit is getting help from the Meyer Memorial Trust, among other community partners, to build a new and larger center. With $150,000 from the Meyer Memorial Trust to buy and renovate a new space, this nonprofit will be able to better service survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
From the office of Sheldon Whitehouse:
Delegation Announces $791,000 in Federal Funding to Help Combat Teen Dating Violence
Providence, RI – Today, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline announced $791,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for a study on teen dating violence, which will be conducted at Rhode Island Hospital and will focus on aggressive attitudes among middle school-aged boys.
Rhode Island Hospital and Klein Buendel, Inc., a technology research company, will use the funds to study the effectiveness of web-based games and videos in limiting aggressiveness among 8th grade boys. Researchers will also examine how to foster better communication between boys and their parents; previous studies have shown that parental involvement can be a significant risk factor for dating violence. Test subjects will be drawn from the greater Providence area. Findings from the study will be reported to DOJ’s National Institute of Justice for use in research and programming on teen dating violence.
“Significant progress has been made in preventing domestic violence and going after offenders. Yet, recent high profile events remind us that domestic violence continues, so we still have a long way to go. These federal funds will help educate more young people about the need to end domestic violence and sexual assault and advance gender equality,” said Reed, who helped pass the Violence Against Women Act.
“I am happy to see federal funding coming to Rhode Island to research this serious problem,” said Whitehouse, who wrote a provision in the re-authorization of the Violence Against Woman Act (VAWA) to help reduce teen dating violence. “Too many women are subjected to violence as teenagers, and often at the hands of the young men they are dating. Better understanding its causes will help us reduce future incidence of violence and keep our kids safe.”
“Violence begets violence, and early signs of aggression can be an indicator that the pattern could continue in later years. By focusing on young men and addressing these violent behaviors early on, this program aims to stop the cycle of abuse before it starts,” said Langevin. “Teen dating violence is an all-too-common occurrence, and I applaud the Department of Justice’s efforts to identify and address its root cause.”
“Intimidation, stalking, and violence are unacceptable and especially alarming when they are part of our children’s relationships,” said Cicilline. “Families and communities need the information and training to stop teen dating violence and I commend Rhode Island Hospital for advancing these important efforts.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nine percent of students across the country have reported being physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the past year.
Congressional candidate Rep. Todd Akin has put a religious spin on his pseudo-science about women having some biological powers that protect them from getting pregnant if they are victims of ‘legitimate rape’. In an appeal to Christians who value forgiveness, he tries to distract from the plain meaning of his words, backed up by his actions in Congress. He has made a campaign commercial for the base…
“Rape is an evil act. I used the wrong words in the wrong way and for that I apologize. As the father of two daughters, I want tough justice for predators. I have a compassionate heart for the victims of sexual assault. I pray for them,” Akin says. “The fact is, rape can lead to pregnancy. The truth is, rape has many victims.”
Akin continues: “The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold. I ask for your forgiveness.”
I would ask Christians to consider that forgiveness doesn’t require voting this man back into Congress. I would ask them to consider that denying a woman emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy after rape is respecting her life. Giving her compassion and praying for her is not enough.
Talking tough is not enough. We have a long history of justice denied for victims despite harsh laws. We have a long history of harsh laws being used to imprison innocent men. Rape has many victims, yes, and one casualty is our peace of mind. If the only answer is death to the rapist then society will refuse to prosecute the husband, the brother, the son. Rapists are not usually so outwardly criminal that they don’t have a circle of people who see them as ‘a nice guy’.
It’s an evil act, yes, and an ugly truth. As long as we cling to a past that separates the virtuous women from the impure, the ones whose humanity is lesser because they deserve it, we will give cover to crimes. Predators in society, like predators in the wild, choose the unprotected. It’s necessary to face facts we would rather bury, and defend the rights of people who make choices we would not make. It’s necessary because we are fighting a crime and putting a few individuals in prison is not the whole answer.
Promoting respect for women, because we are equal human beings, is the answer.
I wondered last night if I was making assumptions about Rep. Akin’s religious pandering. Today shows that he’s out there claiming the blessing of forgiveness to hang on to religious voters.
There’s a segment of the religious Right that dwells on forgiveness, but overlooks repentance. It’s like the Ted Haggards who get caught in immorality but think they can reclaim their pulpit and collection plate after a few expressions of remorse. It’s like the many religious groups who found it expedient to cover up sexual crimes in their own community while exhorting victims to ‘forgive’. Anything can be used as spin in politics.
Todd Akin does not intend to change his actions or votes against a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy, or even to prevent conception after rape. But he has compassion and will pray for those people. He feels real sorry for them.
No woman wants to think that they will ever be in a situation where this will be personal. But if we let law for women be made by men who don’t know and don’t care about reality, and who confuse condescension and pity with respect, we will abandon the women who need real help and the standard of medical care.
‘Gaffe’, how did this Frenchified word get into American politics? We needed a way to point out that someone smart who has to meet the public and give speeches for months of sleep-deprived campaigning will inevitably say something regrettable.
Here are the Merriam-Webster dictionary examples of ‘gaffe’…
He realized that he had committed an awful gaffe when he mispronounced her name.
committed a huge gaffe when she started drinking from the finger bowl
A cynic joked that a gaffe is when a politician tells the truth. There are slips, Freudian slips, and entire detailed statements where it’s hard to interpret the words to be anything but what they mean. Congressman Todd Akin’s outrageous statement about rape, and the weird idea that an innocent woman can’t be made pregnant against her will isn’t an accident– it’s a belief with a history in our culture and roots in the more extreme corners of the religious right.
These kinds of beliefs provide cover for rapists who use intimidation and prey on the vulnerable. Tina Anderson was only 15 when she was raped and made pregnant by a much older man in her church.
Fifty-two-year-old Ernest Willis of Gilford apologised on Tuesday saying he was ‘sorry and ashamed for this thoughtless act of sexual misconduct.’
But he did not admit to forcibly raping the teenager.
Miss Anderson, now 29, told The Associated Press she felt vindicated.
She said she was never really believed that the sex was not consensual until a court found him guilty.
The teen was forced to face hundreds of churchgoers at Concord’s Trinity Baptist Church and say sorry for getting pregnant.
She said: ‘I felt completely humiliated. I felt like my life was over.’
The then-pastor of the New Hampshire church, Chuck Phelps, arranged for her to move in with a Baptist family in Colorado and place her infant daughter up for adoption.
She said she believed ‘for years’ what the church leaders had told her which was: ‘The rapes were her fault and she must learn to forgive and forget.’
During cross-examination Anderson lashed out at defence attorney Donna Brown for ‘badgering her’ about discrepancies in her recollection of the sequence of events that summer.
She said: ‘You cannot remember when you are 15-years-old and scared out of your mind. It doesn’t mean I was lying. I felt like my life was over.’
The Old Testament Book of Deuteronomy 22 20 gives instructions on when a husband may have his wife stoned to death for being unable to prove she was a virgin on their wedding night. The penalty for getting raped in the city is death, because presumably the woman failed to call for help.
Imagine a woman forced to drink poison because her husband suspects she has been impure. Numbers 5 23:29
23 ‘The priest shall then write these curses on a scroll, and he shall [k]wash them off into the water of bitterness. 24 Then he shall make the woman drink the water of bitterness that brings a curse, so that the water which brings a curse will go into her [l]and cause bitterness. 25 The priest shall take the grain offering of jealousy from the woman’s hand, and he shall wave the grain offering before the Lord and bring it to the altar; 26 and the priest shall take a handful of the grain offering as its memorial offering and offer it up in smoke on the altar, and afterward he shall make the woman drink the water. 27 When he has made her drink the water, then it shall come about, if she has defiled herself and has been unfaithful to her husband, that the water which brings a curse will go into her [m]and cause bitterness, and her abdomen will swell and her thigh will [n]waste away, and the woman will become a curse among her people. 28 But if the woman has not defiled herself and is clean, she will then be free and conceive [o]children.
29 ‘This is the law of jealousy: when a wife, being under the authority of her husband, goes astray and defiles herself, 30 or when a spirit of jealousy comes over a man and he is jealous of his wife, he shall then make the woman stand before the Lord, and the priest shall apply all this law to her. 31 Moreover, the man will be free from [p]guilt, but that woman shall bear her [q]guilt.’”
Imagine the terror that woman would feel, drinking the cursed, dirty water. This is what is known as an ordeal. If she gets sick from the dirt or the power of suggestion– well that proves it. No mention of how many times a husband can demand this ritual, as often as the spirit of jealousy calls to him apparently.
The net is full of better writers than this one, once again explaining that rape is a crime. Brave women are coming out and talking about their own survival. This reminds me of the periodic emergence of Roman Polanski from his European bunker, forcing the woman who survived his assault as a child to once again ask the press to please go away. It should not be necessary to refute these bad ideas over and over, but here we are.
The Republican Party may be racing to distance itself from Todd Akin’s remarks, but it’s important to know that they are not his alone, and do come from an important part of the Republican base. He’s not the first to pass judgment on who is ‘really raped’ and who deserved it. His real gaffe was to expose the contradictions between the wing of the GOP that will frankly say that they would force a woman to continue a pregnancy caused by rape, and the much more moderate American public. When you breach the consistent position that abortion is forbidden in any circumstance, you open the door to circumstantial morality. If you believe, as I do, that life is circumstantial and that there are many hard decisions that belong to the people most affected, you can live with grey areas.
What is contemptible about Todd Akin’s statements is that he won’t face the reality that a rapist is not usually a deranged man jumping out of the bushes. That’s why Ernest Willis was able to prey on a child in a church and engage the pastor in covering up his crime.
And as Black Max at Daily Kos points out, if you believe the pseudo-science that a woman’s body has some contraceptive powers against rape, pregnancy proves that she was asking for it. In the old days, like about fifty years ago, the forces of law and order would just disappear the girls to reform school.
It’s only different now because so many brave women spoke truth in the face of personal destruction. Their witness stands against obstinate ignorance. Like they say, you’re entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts. If anyone presumes to represent the people, they have to face the consequences when they slander half the population.
AN AGENDA: Emergency contraception is the standard of medical care for victims of rape. Too often this standard is not kept because of a mistaken idea that emergency contraception is a form of abortion. The belief that any victim of a violent crime should have to prove themselves by showing visible injuries, and that only ‘forcible rape’ is real, and that a victim of ‘forcible rape’ can’t get pregnant supports the agenda of denying contraception even in the most dire circumstances.
Akin, a six-term U.S. congressman, touted his socially conservative values on the primary campaign trail.
He opposes abortion in all circumstances and has said he also opposes the morning after pill, which he equates to abortion.
Believing that no decent woman would ever find herself in an emergency room needing emergency contraception is necessary to make these views seem less than oppressive.
Rei at Daily Kos says something that really needs to be said– A person can do lots of good things and still do something horrible. Julian Assange has won the admiration of many on the left for taking a stand against government secrecy with Wikileaks. At the same time, he is evading charges of rape.
It’s painful and disillusioning when someone we admire has another side. Or when someone who helped us wrongs someone else.
But not recognizing this aspect of human nature– the capability of doing both good and evil, allows the Jerry Sandusky’s to go undetected, and the Roman Polanskis to claim they are victims of conniving children.
A long article last year in the New York Times paints Assange as a complicated man with mixed motives. That article also links to other sources. How accurate the NYT is in the portrayal is under debate.
This is not to declare Assange innocent or guilty. He is doing his best to evade his day in court– which is where these charges belong. It’s not to weight whether his evasion is justified, given the political stakes.
It’s just a few words in support of Rei’s brave post, and in support of all those who are not believed because the perpetrator was above suspicion.
Originally posted on Therapy with Kiersten Marek, LICSW:
I wrote the following letter at the prompting of Stop it Now, a great organization that advocates for public education and action to prevent sexual abuse. As a clinician who works with sexual abuse, it has been both horrifying and all too familiar to hear the testimony that has come out of this trial. It seems clear that Sandusky’s actions were very pre-meditated and involved finding victims who would be less likely to speak out, such as the boys from The Second Mile. This should be a wake-up call for all of us to be more vigilant and attentive to children, and to find ways to ask questions when things don’t seem right. I was glad when the email came from Stop it Now, providing some samples of letters to send to the editors, and so this is mine. I hope the Providence Journal publishes it.
View original 320 more words
This case needs a day in court–
Michael Appleton for The New York Times
A judge has rejected Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s claim of diplomatic immunity in his effort to dismiss a civil suit filed by a hotel housekeeper who claimed that the French leader had sexually assaulted her.
Justice Douglas E. McKeon of State Supreme Court in the Bronx characterized Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s attempt to claim diplomatic immunity as “his own version of a Hail Mary pass,” noting that he had resigned from his position as the head of the International Monetary Fund when the suit was filed.
Justice McKeon cited Nafissatou Diallo’s right to clear her name, and certainly the media trial was a poor substitute for justice.
Read the rest at The New York Times.