All Articles Tagged "rape"

Teen Found Guilty In Steubenville Rape Case Returns To Football Field

August 15th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: AP Images

Source: AP Images

We all remember the Steubenville rape case that dominated news cycles two years ago. The case, involving two Ohio high school football players, raping a 16 year old girl fueled discussions everywhere as people either argued that the boys, Ma’Lik Richmond and Trent Mays, were being punished too severely or not nearly enough.

Richmond was sentenced to one year in juvenile detention and Mays, who used his phone to take pictures of the naked, underaged girl was sentenced to two.

But recently, according to the Associated Press, Richmond, having served his time not only was allowed to enter high school again but he donned a school uniform and got right back on the field. He participated in a scrimmage game.

Richmond, who is now 18, is still classified as a Tier II sex offender and will have to register as such, every six months, for the next twenty years. But unlike adult sex offenders, his name won’t be included in publicly accessible websites and based on the trajectory of his rehabilitation he can request to have the classification removed.

Richmond’s football coach, Reno Saccoccia, said Ma’lik returned to school in January and was ineligible to participate in any school activities for the rest of the year. Saccoccia said, it was a horrible crime but he completed everything the judicial system asked of him. He continued, “We don’t deal in death sentences for juvenile activity, and I just feel that he’s earned a second chance.”

The Ohio High School Athletic Association, Tim Stried, says it’s up to each school to determine whether or not a student can participate in sports. Obviously, Steubenville has made their decision.

Richmond’s lawyer, Walter Madison wrote, “Band, debate, and sports teams reinforce critical lessons meant to guide one throughout life.”

What do you think, should Richmond have been punished more severely? Or do you believe since he was a juvenile at the time, he should be allowed to return to his football team?

I’m just saying I know people who have done less and have been completely removed from a school district…

Jada Pinkett-Smith Supports #JusticeForJada, Says Her Own Niece Was Given A Date Rape Drug

July 22nd, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Recently on her Facebook page, Jada Pinkett-Smith showed her solidarity in the #JusticeForJada campaign by posting the young Jada’s picture and a link to her story with the caption:

This could be you, me or any woman or girl that we know. What do we plan to do about this ugly epidemic? #justiceforjada

We’ve reported earlier that Jada is the 16-year-old Texas girl who came forward, speaking to the media after pictures of her assault were broadcast all over the internet and even became an ugly hashtag.

But in a recent interview with Us Weekly, she explained that her passion about this particular campaign is more personal than we originally thought.

Pinkett- Smith told the publication that her own niece could have suffered the same terrible fate as Jada.

“If you saw what I put on Facebook, you also saw that this could happen to any woman that we know and the unfortunate part is that my niece was given a date-rape drug that weekend. Thank God — she’s 20 — so thank God that nothing happened, because she was with some responsible guys that took care of her, and with three of her friends. She said, ‘Oh my God I can’t feel my…’ she was losing consciousness. Thank God the people she was with put her in a room, closed the door, and she didn’t come to for three and a half hours.”

Jada said that instead of shielding Willow from this terrible and nearly tragic incident, she decided to be open and honest about it.

“I’m not a conventional parent, which I take a lot of pride in. The first thing I had my niece do was sit down with my daughter and a couple of her friends and tell her about that experience. I don’t just sit with Willow and go, ‘Hey, this is what Mommy thinks.’ Let me just bring in a little reality to validate what Mommy’s been talking to you about.

What I do with Willow is I give her the opportunity to be empowered by having herself first because when you allow a person to be an individual and you allow a person to have power within and have confidence on who they are, you’ll never have to look into the eyes of a man and question whether it’s a yes or a no. She’s gonna be very clear: No. She’s gonna be very clear: Yes. And she’s gonna be in a position to be able to determine how to protect herself. Know when you’re in danger. Should you be a girl that goes into a room with four men drinking. Should you? Even if you think you know them? Is this about wanting to be the cool girl or is this about wanting to set a standard for yourself?”

Pinkett-Smith said the rape and sexual assault that plagues women and girls is indicative of a larger treatment around the way in which women are treated and mistreated in this country.

“There is an epidemic going on out here in regards to the treatment of women.” 



Women Speak Out: The Truth Behind Marital Rape

July 18th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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By , From YourTango

This is a trigger warning. The following article may cause severe distress to the victims of sexual assault.

Cynthia’s Story
Cynthia’s marital rape nightmare began around 1996.

For the first year of her marriage Cynthia of New Hampshire had no problems with her husband. He was prone to angry fits, but nothing seemed overly outside the norm. When the two had an argument in their second year of marriage her ex-husband hit her, and Cynthia left.


Initially, her ex-husband was extremely apologetic. He sent her flowers, promised never to do such a thing again, etc. Upon returning home he began petitioning Cynthia for sex. Still hurt over the incident, Cynthia refused despite continuously more aggressive requests from her ex.


“When I forcefully told him no, he just knocked me down from the edge of the bed where we were sitting, held me down to the floor, and forcefully had sex with me, even though I was crying telling him to get off and stop,” said Cynthia. “He did say, ‘You are my wife, you can’t say no’. He truly believed that. At the time I didn’t think it was ‘rape’, I was married, I loved him, but it made me feel hurt, angry, disrespected and sad. He actually thought it was so funny that I was so mad and locked myself in the bathroom to shower and cry after.”


Months of regular married life would pass between the couple, to be followed by a cycle of arguments used as an excuse to rape Cynthia. Having been abducted and raped at gunpoint at the age of 16 by a stranger, she still had a hard time equating her rape at the hands of her husband to what she considered ‘real rape’. Eventually, she came to terms with the assault against her and left.


“It is so undermining to self-worth to have so someone who is supposed to love and cherish you, invade your body,” said Cynthia. “Being in a normal loving, respectful relationship now, makes me wish I could have known then, not to waste another minute.”

Read more about marital rape at

“There’s No Point In Hiding:” Houston Teen Speaks Out After Her Rape Goes Viral

July 10th, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Houston Teen Speaks Out After Her Rape Goes Viral


High schoolers dream of being invited to house parties, but none of them ever expects to become a victim of assault while partying with their peers. Unfortunately, that was the case for one Houston teen named Jada who was allegedly raped while attending a house party last month. According to the 16-year-old, the invitation to the gathering was impromptu and once she got to the house, she was offered a drink by the host which she believes was spiked because she was said to have passed out after drinking it.

As a result, Jada didn’t know she was sexually assaulted at the party until she saw naked pictures of herself on social media. According to The Root there were “photos that included images of her fully clothed on a bed passed out and then lying naked on the floor, still passed out.” Jada said she was raped that night and her peers have shared photographic evidence via their cell phones and social media. Because of this, Jada decided to release her story to Houston’s local news channel KHOU. In their exclusive interview, Jada told the outlet:”Everybody knows. And everybody’s texting me are you OK? You’re going to be OK, and I was like alright.”

Although KHOU’s policy is not to identify rape victims,  Jada bravely said during her on-camera interview: “There’s no point in hiding. Everybody has already seen my face and my body, but that’s not what I am and who I am.”

Houston police are currently investigating Jada’s case, as well as her alleged rapist, Innel Yahia, who has made several disrespectful statements on his Twitter page. Surprisingly — or sadly — teen girls have offered him support against Jada’s allegations.

Though we certainly want to allow Innel Yahia to maintain his innocence until proven guilty, we hope Jada receives the primary support in this case, and more importantly,  the justice she deserves. Check out her full interview below.

Should You Have To Sign A Contract Of Consent Before Sex?

July 1st, 2014 - By Charing Ball
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A new bill working its way through the California legislation will likely revolutionize the way college campuses and students consent to sexual activity. But are the proposed changes the kind of changes needed?

The bill is called SB-967, and it was introduced by California Democratic state Sens. Kevin De Leon and Hannah-Beth Jackson, as well as coauthored by Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal. And according to the language, the bill seeks to amend the student safety section of the state’s Education Code, to require college students in particular to provide “affirmative consent” prior to engaging in any sexual activity, including kissing.

According to various published reports, the bill, which has already passed the state senate and is working its way through the state Assembly, would also require California colleges and universities receiving state funds for financial aid to create and implement policies and standards to not only address affirmative consent, but also for those institutions to “implement comprehensive prevention and outreach programs addressing sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.”

As many supporters of the legislations have noted, this bill does away with the often murky blurred lines of consent, which results from tough to prove cases of sexual assault like date rape and when the victim is intoxicated or passed out. Now alleged offenders would have to prove that consent in the affirmative was given prior to engaging in sex, as opposed to the old way, which relied on alleged victims of sexual assault, having to prove that they said no.

However the response to the bill has been a pretty mixed bag. As Emma Woolf writes in her piece for The Daily Beast, entitled Does California’s College Rape Bill Go Too Far In Regulating Sex?, the bill has its problems, particularly how -as it is currently written – a consenting couple would have to seek permission for each sexual act, prior to it actually occurring. And by definition, that would make every single sexual act in the state of California rape in the pretext. More specifically she notes:

But what about regular physical intimacy between regular (non-criminal) students? Are we in danger, in the rush to legislate, of ruining the moment? When I was a teenager, the stages of physical intimacy were called bases: so you might go to first base, second base, third base, or “all the way.” (I don’t remember any young men checking in between bases…)

Comedians love to satirise this kind of law: “May I touch your left breast?’ “You may touch my left breast’; “May I touch your right breast?’ etc. Comedy aside, the conviction rate for rape and other sexual crimes is scandalously low, and this bill seems unlikely to right that wrong. The tragic fact is that rape can and does happen within marriages: once again, SB 967 does nothing to address that.

But in a response to those criticisms, Martha Kemper of the reproduction rights and sexual health website, Reality Check, points out in her piece, Is Affirmative Consent the Answer to Sexual Assault on College Campuses?, that kind of thinking belittles the act of consent and the paranoia of those who are being overly sensitive. Instead, Kemper writes about the law’s potential to address rape culture as a whole:

But communication is still important. Young men have been taught by our society that their role in relationships is to want sex badly, and women’s is to reluctantly give it to them. Many have never really been taught what is and isn’t consent—except, perhaps, “no means no.” That does not excuse any man who rapes, but it is a problem. Fostering a culture of affirmative consent among both parties could prevent at least some men from raping.”

That is an important point to note considering the US Department of Education is currently investigating 55 colleges and universities for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases. Personally, I feel like this law is potentially some game-changing stuff here. In addition to getting folks to think in new ways about how we communicate sexually including consent. It looks like it will begin to hold education institutions more accountable. But I do worry about the implication and those pesky grey areas. Like how can expressed consent, particularly the verbal kind, be proven when the people involved are disputing the claim? And whose word will matter more? If the we currently treat sexual assault victims in the legal justice system is any indication, potential victims of sexual assault might run into some of the same institutional barriers and biases, particularly the discrediting women through slut-shaming, they had before.



“It Was Just Totally Stupid” Spike Lee Talks Rape Scene In “She’s Gotta Have It”

May 15th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks

Source: 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks

Hollywood loves to paint Spike Lee as the angry, black man director. But in this interview with Deadline, he proves to be quite introspective. He spoke about everything from fighting the studios to make Malcolm X to racist film critics who believed and wrote about their theories that Do The Right Thing would incite race riots in theaters across the country. But one of the most poignant moments of the interview,came at the very end when the interviewer asked him about his regrets.

Initially Lee said he didn’t have any and then he retracted his statement.

Lee: My wife has told me on occasion that I can be my own worst enemy, and she is a smart lady. But I don’t really have any regrets. Check that. You know what my biggest regret is?


LEE: The rape scene in “She’s Gotta Have It.” If I was able to have any do-overs, that would be it. It was just totally…stupid. I was immature. It made light of rape, and that’s the one thing I would take back. I was immature and I hate that I did not view rape as the vile act that it is. I can promise you, there will be nothing like that in She’s Gotta Have It, the TV show, that’s for sure

If you recall the in the film, Nola Darling, the protagonist, is dating and sleeping with three men. Though she’s open and honest about the predicament, it presents a bit of a problem with her beaus.

One night one of the boyfriends, Jamie comes over. Now, Jamie has told Nola all along that he’s not a fan of the arrangement. Instead of breaking up with her, he comes over to her apartment with the intent to seduce her. He ends up raping her.

The scene has left many audience members and critics feeling everything from uneasy to outraged for decades now, considering it was Lee’s first film. Many felt like Lee was sending the message that since Nola was sleeping with three men simultaneously that she was loose and somehow deserved this type of treatment.

I’m happy to know that after 30 years and a lot more maturity, Lee sees the error in his ways. And don’t think I say this as a rationalization. We can all agree he was wrong. The thing is though, the topic of rape is just now, like within the last three years, making its way to mainstream, public discussions. Today, there is still a lot of ignorance about what constitutes rape, so I can imagine that the climate thirty years ago was far worse. Either way, it’s good that Lee acknowledged this so future audiences and future filmmakers don’t look at this movie and think the type of message he sent back then was ok.

What do you think about Spike Lee’s comments to Deadline? Were you bothered by the rape scene in She’s Gotta Have It?


You Know Michael Sam But Not Sasha Menu Courey. Were Her Rape & Death Ignored?

February 13th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: University of Missouri Athletic Department

Source: University of Missouri Athletic Department

When you tell people you work for a black women’s website, they love to share the stories they think you should cover. Some of them are terrible and would never work and some of them fit perfectly in line with what we are trying to do here. This was the case last month when my sister’s friend Brittany sent me a link about Sasha Menu Courey. Sasha was a woman of color, a swimmer who attended the same college as I did: the University of Missouri. We affectionately call the school Mizzou. Sasha and I were on the campus at the same time; but to the best of my knowledge I never got to meet her. I’ll always remember Mizzou fondly. As the place where I met some of my best friends, learned about myself and learned the skills I would need to survive at my job and in the world. I love Mizzou.  But for Sasha the experience was different. Though her journals and testimony from close friends seem to suggest that Sasha loved our school, something happened to her during her time there that perhaps changed the rest of her life.

Sasha, a Toronto native, was raped while she was a student at Mizzou. And presumably the aftermath of the rape and other subsequent events led her to take her own life 16 months later. She was 20 years old. It was tragic. And what made a terrible situation that much worse is that though several university officials knew about the rape, evidence suggests that the University, my university, didn’t report or investigate.  I read the story and naturally was immediately saddened that this had happened first to Sasha and then secondly that nothing had been done to address it. This was a terrible story that had largely been underreported and it pained me…for about 20 minutes. And then like Mizzou, I forgot about her.

Two weeks later, the story of Micheal Sam, the gay NFL prospect came out and Mizzou was being celebrated in the media for “producing” a star athlete and also providing an environment where a black, gay man felt comfortable to come and live “out.” I knew our campus was pretty progressive when it came to LGBTQ issues, especially since Missouri can be quite conservative and has a long history of being flat out racist. But that’s a story for another day. The notoriety and praise that the university was receiving because of Sam’s announcement felt a little one sided. And I couldn’t really put my finger on why. And then I remembered Sasha. ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” conducted a six month investigation into Sasha’s story, interviewing school officials, medical professionals and consulting Sasha’s own journals to obtain the information you’ll read in this story.

And in an effort to tell her story, to hold my beloved university accountable and maybe inspire someone in her situation to step forward, I’m passing it on to you.

Sasha Menu Courey was a sprinter and relay specialist on the university’s swim team from 2009-2011. A Toronto native, she had been recruited by Mizzou and several other schools to compete. She was given a near-full scholarship. Before Sasha had come to Mizzou, at the age of 16 she had attempted suicide after a breakup with a high school boyfriend. She took several Tylenol before calling the ambulance. The incident was written off as teenage angst and she stopped counseling shortly afterward.  Once she got to Mizzou, she was a straight A student and was named Student Athlete of the Week during her sophomore year.

Then in February of 2010, after a night of drinking Menu Courey went back to Gil Moye, a male friend’s apartment where the two had consensual sex. Afterward Menu Courey believed she was raped by another man. She described the incident to a rape counselor. Here is her word for word account of the incident obtained from her school records.

“[We] were falling asleep & then i heard the [door] open & some other guy walked in & locked the door & i couldnt really see who it was & i never saw a face the whole time…. but i remember just sitting upright in bed at the sound of someone walking in. & i just remember feeling really scared thinking that the two guys had planned this or something. so my first thought was figure out who this other person was in case so that if i needed the informaton i would have it later… the guy told me his name & then he pulled down his pants & put on a condom & just knew i was screwed …”

Menu Courey went on to describe the assault in detail, mentioning that she tried to reach a friend and former boyfriend on the phone during the assault:

“… I started to panick & as i still on the phone trying to reach one of them tears start going down & the guy just lift up my dress & next thing i knew he inserts from behind. by that point tears were falling more but i wasnt loud & didnt anything. and then i just snapped and kind pushed him away & yelled no! and then he just left.

Pastor Accused Of Raping Six-Year-Old Girls Allegedly Said The ‘Devil Was Inside’ Of Them

December 16th, 2013 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Source; Facebook

Minnesota police recently issued a warrant for the arrest of 61-year-old Jacoby Kindred, Pastor of One Accord Ministries. The charges associated with the warrant actually date back to child molestation offenses, some of which allegedly date back to as late as a decade ago. According to the Pioneer Press, Kindred is accused of raping the 14 and 16-year-old daughters of his son’s girlfriend since they her six years old. He even allegedly told one victim that “the devil was inside her and he could take the demons out of her,” prior to sexually assaulting her.

According to the victims, the alleged abuse incidents occurred at his Maplewood, Minnesota home and “involved fondling, oral stimulation, and rape.” The abuse is said to have gone on for a decade. Authorities were alerted of the alleged abuse in July by the mother of the victims, who reached out to the police after she recovered a letter detailing sexual acts performed with Kindred, written by one of her daughters.

Kindred has responded to the allegations, insisting that the mother of the alleged victims made them tell “lies” because she is upset with him.

“Anyone can make up anything when you sit there long enough and you rehearse it,” Kindred told the Pioneer Press in a phone interview. “All a woman has to do [in Minnesota] is make an accusation, true or false, and the man’s going to be in trouble.”

During the time of the call, Kindred told reporters that he was out of town for a funeral, but declined to disclose his location. If found guilty, Kindred could face up to 30 years in prison.


Did Iyanla Vanzant Slut Shame A Rape Victim?

December 4th, 2013 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Iyanla Vanzant Slut Shame


Most of us, if not all love us some Iyanla Vanzant. Besides her many accolades, she is a free therapist for us all via her Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) show, Fix My Life. Two weeks ago on the show, Iyanla counseled two sisters from San Antonio who had a deep rift between them. Their anger stemmed from traumatizing episodes during their teenage years.  As OWN reports:

Iyanla has traveled to San Antonio to meet two sisters in crisis, Barbara and Geneva. Barbara grew up affluently with her aunt and uncle. Geneva was raised by their mother in poverty. At 17, Barbara invited her younger sister to come live with her, but a rift formed between the sisters after Barbara learned Geneva was sleeping with Barbara’s boyfriend, who fathered two of Geneva’s four children. Now, Iyanla wants to get Geneva’s side of the story. Watch as she shares a family secret with Iyanla and opens up about what her sister taught her about being a woman.

During the clip, Geneva confesses to Vanzant that Barbara’s boyfriend would fondle her and coerce her into having sexual intercourse. Despite telling her sister about the rape, Geneva stated Barbara  did not believe her. As their sexual relationship progressed, the boyfriend would give gifts and money to Geneva. Unfortunately, during the clip  Vanzant did not believe Geneva had been assaulted, instead she told Geneva she was “h-eing”. Her claim on Geneva’s juxtaposition was based on the belief that Geneva accepted the money and gifts from the boyfriend. Vanzant asked: “Did her boyfriend give you money to lay up with him?” When Geneva said “yes,” Vanzant looked upon her disapprovingly.

Although Vanzant is filled with tough-love, her response to Geneva was surprising. Perhaps it was because Geneva became pregnant with her first child at 14 and had two children with Barbara’s boyfriend that Vanzant was disappointed, but her reaction was read as slut-shamming by many media outlets. It seemed to be implied that because of Geneva’s history she knew what she was doing with her sister’s boyfriend. But as we also know, your sexual history should never be an example of how people can treat you. The age of Barbara’s boyfriend was not revealed but he was older than Geneva when he began to have sex with her while she was 16 years old. Geneva also claims Barbara taught her how to be a woman by only dating men who could provide financially for her. Geneva’s history has not given her a healthy perception of relationships but she should not have been accused of “h-eing” especially if she was taught a certain type of behavior in order to survive her living environment.

Check out the Fix My Life clip below. Do you think Iyanla slut shamed Geneva?

A Woman Reveals Her Divisive Family Secret to Iyanla

WTF: New Zealand Teens Broadcast Stories Of Gang Rape On Facebook

November 7th, 2013 - By Madame Noire
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From Hello Beautiful 

Because these days, raping girls and bragging about it on social media has become a thing…I’ve got to report something that turns my stomach merely typing it. A group of teen boys in West Auckland, New Zealand, who call themselves The Roast Busters have been getting girls as young as 13 intoxicated, gang raping them and broadcasting it on their sick Facebook page of the same name (that has since been taken down) for two years now. What’s worse about this entire story is that New Zealand’s police say they can’t do anything about the group or their raping for leisure! Oh and police have confirmed that one of the boys is the son of a high-profile entertainer, and the other is the son of a police officer. There goes that same privilege we say in the Steubenville and Maryville rape cases.

Reports claim the police have known about this group since their start, yet no arrests have been made.Detective inspector, Bruce Scott has said that “none of the girls have been brave enough to make formal statements to us so we can take it to a prosecution stage or even consider a prosecution stage.” Even though police have investigated, collected evidence and the rapists only brag on social media, even at one point recruiting new members, police still do nothing to take these young criminals to court. Detective Scott has also said, “The reason we have not prosecuted anybody is we don’t have sufficient evidence at this stage.” Well isn’t that interesting?!

The boys, who are between the ages of 17 and 18, can be seen in their videos, driving around in what they call “The Roast Mobile.” One of the members says, “We pick them up, never drop them off, roast them…” The young man in the photo on the left, Joseph Levall Parker, has left the group.

Anonymous interviews with some of the victims have helped in getting the Roast Busters’ Facebook page shut down. “They don’t understand how I feel inside; they don’t understand how this has hurt me,” one victim says.

It’s being reported that as a result of publicity around the case, one of the young men who previously declined to cooperate presented himself at a police station early this afternoon. Another member is also being interviewed by police. At least, now there is an investigation happening and maybe, just maybe justice will be served.