All Articles Tagged "rape"

Why Women Don’t Report: 19-Year-Old Said Sister’s Fiancé Raped Her, Police Arrest Her

September 28th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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One of the most troubling aspects of Bill Cosby’s rape and sexual assault allegations coming to the forefront was the way people responded to it. I can’t tell you how many times I read “Why didn’t they report it? Why are they just coming forward now?”

The question may seem like an innocuous one at first glance. But in reality it’s one rooted in ignorance.

Rape and sexual assault cases are, by nature, difficult to prove. Lisa Avalos, a University of Arkansas law professor, told Buzz Feed, “One of the biggest problems in rape investigations is that police think women lie. When police think that, they typically fail to thoroughly investigate their rape complaints, thus doing a disservice to those victims as well as to the community as a whole, because a predator remains at large.”

In an investigative report, Buzz Feed found that his is exactly what happened to sisters Hera and Lara McLeod.

Lara was 19-years-old when her sister’s former fiancé, Joaquin Rams, raped her, two weeks after Hera had given birth to the couple’s first child together, Lara’s nephew, Prince.

Though Lara had never liked Joaquin, she agreed to accept his invitation to a Lil Wayne concert because the two were family now, united by the birth of his son and her nephew. At the concert, Joaquin told her he could get her backstage.

On the way to the show, Joaquin asked Lara if she was willing to do whatever it took to succeed in the music industry. She wasn’t sure what he meant…

Later on, Lara said, instead of taking her backstage, Joaquin brought her back home to explain: She could either have sex with him, right then and there, or he would take her to a party where she would be gang-raped by a group of men.

Lara later told the police that she tearfully argued with Joaquin into the early morning. When she protested that her sister had just given birth to Joaquin’s baby, he claimed he and Hera had agreed that Joaquin could sleep with Lara that night, the police report states. Lara even tried saying she had her period — that always discouraged pushy guys at college — but Joaquin was relentless. Earlier in the night, he had shown Lara the gun he had on him, she told police. Later, he put her phone in the trunk, and she didn’t know anyone in the area to ask for help, she said. As the night went on, Lara began to realize there was no escape. Joaquin led her into the basement.

The rape itself was an “out-of-body experience,” Lara said. Either her sister had put her in a position to be raped by Joaquin, Lara thought, or she had just destroyed Hera’s new family. Afterwards, Joaquin dropped her off at a subway station, gave her a hug, and told her not to fight him so hard next time, she says.

The next morning Lara told her parents and sister. Hera knew immediately that her sister was telling the truth. She had long since doubted and questioned Joaquin’s character but since she was having his child, she attempted to dismiss her concerns.

When her sister came home with that horrific story Hera told Buzz Feed, “I wanted so badly to believe that he was who he said he was. But then it was like someone finally threw a big bucket of water on me and I woke up screaming. I realized I didn’t know this person at all. I just saw a monster.”

Hera called the police to serve as an escort as she returned to their home to collect her son’s belongings.

When the officer entered the house, Joaquin started yelling that he never touched Lara. Later, he would tell authorities that he did so because he was “confused” as to why the officer was there.

It was then that the investigation turned into one for an alleged rape.

Detective Bradford Cavender called Lara to confirm the allegations and told her she needed to come down to the station for an interview.

Lara didn’t want to go. She described herself as groggy and shell-shocked but she had no way of knowing that “if you were innocent, someone might not believe you.”

Though Virginia law describes rape as “sexual intercourse that is accomplished against one’s will, not just by force but by “threat or intimidation,” Lara never described it as such. Instead, she used the phrase “unconsensual sex.”

Cavender repeatedly asked Lara why she didn’t try to escape. She told him she was afraid of his gun. When Cavender asked Lara why she didn’t try to keep her arms down when he tried to take her skirt off, she said she didn’t struggle because she was terrified. Lara described her mental state as catatonic.

Though Joaquin initially said that he didn’t touch Lara, he later said that their sex was consensual and he had secretly recorded a video to prove so. Hera had left the house with a camera a few hours before and police called her back asking her to bring it to the station. Though police couldn’t retrieve the video, Joaquin was able to find it. After watching it, police believed that because Lara didn’t cry or resist Joaquin, though the video didn’t show the hours that led up to that moment, she had not been raped.

After viewing the video police determined that Lara had lied. They charged her with making a false report to law enforcement and her sister Hera with obstruction of justice for deleting the video.

Lara never admitted guilt or entered a plea deal. But strangers and prosecutors said the complete opposite, painting her as a liar.

Later, the charges against Hera were dismissed but only after she spent $50,000 in legal fees.

In the most devastating aspects of this particular trial is that Joaquin used the false information about Hera to his advantage in a custody battle. He seemed to convince the court that Hera had been convicted of a crime and that he should therefore have more custody rights.

There was an insane amount of testimony against Joaquin. An officer testified that Joaquin was the suspect in the murder of his ex girlfriend. Another ex girlfriend said that he was abusive. A social worker said he had been charged with domestic abuse against his older son. Hera even testified that Joaquin had no music career. His only means of income was from his mother’s life insurance which he collected after her death, ruled a suicide, in 2008.

Hera also learned that he was the beneficiary on his ex girlfriend’s life insurance policy, giving him a possible motive.

A judge decided to give Hera sole custody but eventually allowed Joaquin the right to unsupervised visits even though Hera insisted he was a danger to the child.

On the fourth unsupervised visit, Hera received a call that her son Prince had been taken to the hospital, in a coma.

EMTs said when they arrived on the scene, where Prince was staying with Joaquin, he was cold, wet and had a bruise on his forehead and dried blood in his nose. An autopsy found that there was fluid in his sinuses, airways, lungs and intestines and small bruises and abrasions on his face, upper chest and back.

Prince died the next day. He was 15 months old.

Later, police and prosecutors charged Joaquin with capital murder. They alleged that Joaquin drowned his son to collect $500,000 from three life insurance policies. Joaquin said that he was trying to help his son who had been suffering from febrile seizures.

The McLeod sisters demanded that the Prince William County Police Department conduct an investigation into Lara’s rape case. In 2013, the police chief invited the family to discuss the results. Lara didn’t attend the meting but wrote a letter detailing what their actions had cost her.

She said that she spent her collegiate career having flashbacks, isolating herself away from people, crying in her room. She lost friends as a result of the lies spread about her and worst of all her nephew was gone forever.

She continued: “I’m not really sure how your police force can fix anything two years later,” she wrote. “I’m not looking for monetary compensation, and an apology just isn’t enough…you not only ruined my life, but you ruined my family’s life. It took me two years to finally get some of myself back, and I assure you that I will never be the self-confident, bright eyed girl I once was.”

The family requested that the officers be trained on how to properly respond to sexual assault allegations and to potential victims. They wanted the detectives who charged the sisters to be disciplined and they wanted a public statement issued so that someone who searches Lara McLeod won’t see that she “falsely accused someone of rape.”

While the police chief admitted that the decision to allow Joaquin access to the tapes was improper, violated their policies on handling evidence, and called the police report sloppy and shortcutted, he stressed that there are people who lie about being raped, though Virginia keeps no records to show how many or how often this actually happens.

In response to his officers needing more training in sexual assault cases, the chief said that it was already “cutting edge.”

Since Lara reported her rape, the detectives that handled her case were promoted. Hera sends them a card ever year with a picture of her son Prince reminding them of his would be age and that their actions can greatly impact lives.

Reflecting back on the whole ordeal Lara said, “My rape was awful. But the way the police handled it was even worse.”

You can read Buzz Feed’s full investigative report, here.

#NoSuchThing: Survivor Fights To End Use Of The Phrase “Child Prostitute” In The Media

September 23rd, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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When we think of prostitutes, we think of grown women who might have fallen on hard times and resort to extreme measures to provide for themselves, their families and maybe their children.

Rarely, do we consider the reality that many women are introduced to this lifestyle as minors, young girls, many of whom have yet to hit puberty. And since many of them haven’t acquired any other skills, they never leave or continue returning to the sex trade as they get older.

And while these girls and later women have fallen victim to predatory, treacherous men and women; when it comes to the legal system, they are treated as criminals. Instead of being given the opportunity to reform, they’re thrown in jail.

Two years ago, we reported that New York state was in the process of setting up a new system to offer services to the boys, girls, men and women working in the sex trade.

And in that same sentiment, one woman, Withelma “T” Ortiz Walker Pettigrew, is seeking to change the language when describing children in the sex trade. Thankfully, the cause is catching on.

Last night, Diddy retweeted the link to a petition asking the Associated Press to abolish the use of the phrase “child prostitute.”

Ortiz Walker Pettigrew, a survivor, authored the petition.

She writes:

“There is no such thing as a child prostitute. 

This picture was taken around the time of my 17th birthday. What it does not tell you is that from the ages of 10 to 17 I was sexually exploited throughout the western United States, charged with solicitation and prostitution, and jailed as if I was a criminal. 
I was not a child prostitute or child sex worker. I was a victim and survivor of child rape. And so are the other kids out there now who are being bought and sold for sex. They are victims and survivors of child rape.”

Then she asks the media, particularly the Associated Press, the organization that sets the standards for proper journalism grammar and style, to abandon the use of “child prostitute.”

“According to research by the Human Rights Project for Girls (Rights4Girls), The California Endowment, and The Raben Group, there have been more than 5,000 instances in the past five years when reporters for print, wire, and online outlets have used the phrase “child prostitute,” “child prostitution,” “underage prostitution” or other variations on the phrase to describe these exploited children.

I, with the Human Rights Project for Girls, understand it is the media’s job to convey a situation or an issue with precision and clarity. “Child prostitute” may seem clear because it conveys the fact that money is exchanged for sex, but it is also misleading because it suggests consent and criminality when none exists. Many of us are not even of legal age to consent to sex. I was 10. And girls like me are beaten, kidnapped, gang raped, and tortured into selling our bodies to adults, every night. This is not about choice. This is about abuse and rape.”

Ortiz Walker Pettigrew argues that the language used to describe these victims subsequently affects the way they are treated in society as well as the legal system. And as a survivor herself, Ortiz Walker Pettigrew has dedicated her life to making sure that victims and survivors are treated with honor and respect.

In addition to Diddy tweeting about the petition, he’s been joined by others like Charlamagne tha God, Rosie O’ Donnell, Van Jones, Margaret Cho, Cynthia Bailey, Shaun King, Trina and many more.

If you believe in this cause, you can sign the petition here.

Woman Attacked And Raped On Front Stoop Of Manhattan Apartment

September 13th, 2015 - By Ashley Monaé
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According to authorities, a 26-year-old was raped early Saturday (Sept. 12) morning in the New York City’s Upper West Side area.

Around 5:15 a.m. the woman was walking on Manhattan Ave. near Cathedral Parkway, just a block from Central Park, on the way to her boyfriend’s apartment. Police said she noticed a man on a red bicycle at the intersection of Manhattan and Cathedral and sensed that she was being followed. The man attacked her from behind and raped her on a front stoop of an apartment building.

The woman said she screamed for help, but no one heard her. The suspect fled from the scene on the same red bicycle, the victim told authorities.

When officers made it to the scene, the woman was bludgeoned with a bruised face and carried away on a gurney to St. Luke’s Hospital for treatment.

Neighbor Carlos Cardenales, 48, told the New York Post, “I’m so sad I didn’t hear anything.” “There’s been problems in this building for some time,” he said, adding that residents have been requesting surveillance cameras. “I’ve had to stop fights. All the women in the building are scared.”

Officers have gone door-to-door in the building where the attack occurred to find any witnesses. The Manhattan Special Victims Unit has now taken over the case and is further investigating in efforts to find the suspect.

Rapist Culture On College Campuses

September 3rd, 2015 - By MommyNoire Editor
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shutterstock teen sad


by Blaire Sharpe

In light of the recent “Freshman Daughter Drop Off” back-to-school banners displayed by Old Dominion University’s Sigma Nu fraternity, Blaire Sharpe, a mental health counselor who specializes in working with victims of domestic and sexual assault (as well as a domestic violence and sexual abuse victim herself), has written a ready-to-run article about rape culture and the early warning signs of future rapists.

Recently, I heard a story about a group of middle-school boys, walking down the street in my hometown when they came upon a female classmate. The boys circled the girl and one of the boys began to chant “Gang Rape! Gang Rape!” The other boys chimed in. I have no idea how long the girl endured the situation before it was halted. She was not physically harmed. My understanding is the boys were punished through the school system with a brief suspension.

This event happened just weeks after a story broke about a 19-year old female college student who was gang raped on a beach, in broad daylight, during spring break in Panama City, Florida. Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen said the attack was the “most disgusting, sickening thing” he had seen and that, “Within 10 feet from where this (was) happening there (were) hundreds of people standing there watching, looking, seeing, hearing what (was) going on, and yet our culture and our society and our young people have got to the point where obviously this is acceptable.” He also said this was not the first time this had happened on his beach, or the second, or even the third. Responding in equal measure to the severity of the situation, the Bay County Commission and the Panama City Beach Council passed an ordinance that prohibits the consumption of alcohol on sandy beaches between March 1 and April 18, essentially shutting down spring break as we know it.

Imagine the feelings of the 19-year old woman who was watching an online video of the beach where she’d spent spring break, recognized her tattoo, and realized she was the woman being raped. She had no conscious memory as she had likely been drugged at the time.  Crowds of people stood by watching and did nothing to help her.

Now, imagine the middle school girl in the center of the group of boys chanting “Gang rape!” fully conscious and painfully aware, perhaps for the very first time in her life, of just how trapped and vulnerable she was.

Lastly, imagine what the middle school boys were thinking and feeling. I hope at least some of those boys were experiencing feelings of guilt and shame, but nonetheless, they allowed themselves to be swept up in the momentum of the group – or at the very least, were not motivated to stop what was happening.  Twelve boys.  One girl. This is where it begins. The seed is planted.  The seed of a rapist.  Male = predator. Female = prey.

A recent article titled, “Who is the Campus Rapist?” sites a study published by the JAMA Pediatric Journal which found that 10.8 percent of 1600 young college men studied had committed rape by the time they graduated. This may sound like a staggering statistic to some people, but to me, it rings true.  Those middle school boys will, in just a few years time, become young college men, at the beach during spring break, armed with alcohol and testosterone. Someone will be the leader. The rest will watch. They may even cheer on the leader. But all of them will be responsible.  All of them will be rapists.

About the Author
Blaire Sharpe holds masters degrees in business and mental health counseling. She specializes in working with adults suffering from mood disorders and survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Blaire currently lives in a suburb of Detroit with her husband, three children and two dogs. You may learn more about her book at

Editor’s note: Need help?

To learn more about Take Back the Night and how you can help prevent sexual violence, visit here.

In the U.S., visit the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline operated byRAINN. For more resources, visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.

What I Learned From My Near Rape

August 20th, 2015 - By Madame Noire
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"Depressed woman in bed pf"

By Kasey Woods

One day, not too long ago, at the same time as the rays of the morning sun began to creep over the jagged sidewalks of Brooklyn, I was being sexually assaulted in a building hallway.

What started off as a ride home from a friend’s friend, after a night out, ended with me involved in an aggressive, hostile and combative situation where I narrowly escaped being raped. My aggressor wanted me to just accept what was happening. “Come on baby. Just chill” he uttered to me as if it were my fault my attack wasn’t going smoothly. He wanted me to stop fighting back. He wanted me to stop repeatedly saying no. He wanted me to stop yelling at him to leave. He wanted me to just shut up and accept his fingers being jammed into my vagina. He wanted me to not be horrified when I realized he was attempting to enter me with his penis. He wanted me to meekly allow him to shove my head into the wall and use his weight to suppress my power. He wanted me to be an easy conquest, but I wasn’t. I fought back, and I fought hard.

The guilt lingers in a way that you never completely shake off. I spent most of the immediate hours after my attack rewinding every intricate, minute detail of the evening to see where I could have gone wrong. What could I have done differently? I mean, he was nice. Annoying, but nice. Damn, did I let that goodbye hug at the end of the night linger too long? What about when he grabbed my butt by his car? I just told him to stop and keep his hands to himself – maybe I should have become more irate. Why did I accept his offer to take me home instead of just calling an Uber? Maybe I could have avoided this. Maybe I share the blame. These thoughts and others seeped in and out of my mind for hours as a cried on my friend’s couch until my eyes were dry and pained.

After urgings from my network and support system, I went to the hospital to be examined. What resulted was me being treated by a staff of doctors and nurses who were not only completely untrained in interacting with women who have been violated in such a manner, but were also quite literally ill-equipped to handle sexual assault cases. Aspects of my exam had to be postponed because the hospital did not possess the items necessary to do them. My doctor, a third-year resident, admitted sheepishly that I was only the second sexual assault case he had ever directly handled. Though he was nice, and his demeanor helped provide a light during a very dark situation, watching him bumble through the numerous steps of my rape kit was unsettling, at times, to say the least. The seven hours I sat in that hospital combined with the intrusive and invasive nature of my exam opened my eyes to why so many rapes and sexual assaults go unreported. Who wants to feel violated again? At one point, I almost stood up and left after yet another hour had passed. But I understood why I needed to stay there and complete the process and not give up.

Even while at the hospital, as I waited for hours, my thoughts continued to churn obsessively in my head. Did I even deserve to be there? There are women and men who have been brutally raped and abused, does what happened to me even count? Did I get all the details right? Am I willing to press charges and possibly ruin someone’s life? I mean it’s not like I was raped…

So many women go through this type of violation and would rather blame themselves instead of the person who assaulted them. This becomes even more convoluted when the person that breaches various levels of trust is someone you know. But honestly, who do we really know anymore? Instagram posts and Facebook pages provide a false sense of security and familiarity that the people we allow in our lives often haven’t earned.

Though I was able to halt my attack before I was raped, before getting the results of my rape kit, I was unable to confirm with absolute certainty that the numerous penetrations that occurred as I was shoved on that wall in that pitch dark hallway in Brooklyn, were solely his fingers and not his penis as well. But it doesn’t matter. I was sexually assaulted. I was violated. And for the two minutes (that felt like 20) that I fought with a guy who three hours earlier seemed like a perfectly fine individual, my body felt like it was no longer mine.

If I had any doubt about the nature of my encounter, I don’t anymore. Nothing says I was sexually assaulted like filling a prescription for your preventative HIV/AIDS medications.

But this article is bigger than my story, and I don’t want sympathy. I wouldn’t know what to do with it if it were bestowed on me anyway. What I want is to offer empathy to others who have endured any type of sexual assault. Please know that there are various levels of violation that constitute sexual assault so don’t believe that your experience doesn’t count. If an individual has any type of sexual contact with you and you 1.) Did not give your consent or 2.) Explicitly said no, then you have been sexually assaulted. Simple. No long definition and thesis needed to explain that one. Our bodies are ours, and every one of us deserves to be safe and protected from harm.

Let’s face it, completely eradicating sexual violence on women (and men – 9 percent of sexual assault cases are men) is sadly impossible. But hopefully by continuing to discuss these issues aloud, demanding justice and providing support, resources and adequate assistance to those who have been violated, will enable more sexual assault victims to come forward with their stories.

11-Year Old Rape Victim Denied Abortion Due To Paraguayan Laws

August 15th, 2015 - By Ashley Monaé
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22-year-old woman finds out she's 9 months pregnant while vacationing in Europe with her three best friends; gives birth days later.


On Thursday (Aug. 13), an 11-year-old girl from Asunción, Paraguay gave birth to a baby girl after allegedly being raped by her stepfather.

Paraguay, a mostly Catholic country, has one of the strictest abortion laws in the world: banning abortions unless the pregnancy endangers the mother’s life. Just last year alone, 684 girls between the ages of 10 and 14 gave birth. Most minors have been victims of sexual abuse, according to government figures.

In April, her mother took her to the hospital after she complained of abdominal pain. The girl’s stepfather,  Gilberto Benitez Zárate, 42, was arrested and charged with rape and abuse of a child. He has denied the charges brought against him and demanded a DNA test to prove his innocence. In May, the mother was also arrested and charged with child neglect and complicity. Although she was released on bond in June, she still faces charges. She told CNN that she reached out to authorities for help back in November 2013: “I was the one who reported all of this, asking for justice to be done and hoping that something would be done, but prosecutors dismissed the case. Otherwise, this would have never gotten to this point.”

However, Paraguayan Health Minister Antonio Barrios told CNN that neighbors were the ones who had actually reported the abuse, while the mother denied accusations against her husband.

While the mother wanted her daughter to have an abortion, Paraguayan authorities refused. According to Health minister Antonio Barrios, even in this situation, an abortion would be a violation of Paraguayan law. “We’re totally against interrupting the pregnancy,” Barrios said in May. “The girl is getting assistance permanently in a shelter and the pregnancy is progressing normally without a problem.”

Human rights groups, like Amnesty International, have supported the mother’s side. On Thursday, (Aug. 13) Erika Guevara, Amnesty’s Americas director, said that the fact that the girl did not die “does not excuse the human rights violations she suffered at the hands of the Paraguayan authorities, who decided to gamble with her health, life and integrity despite overwhelming evidence that this pregnancy was extremely risky and despite the fact that she was a rape victim and a child.”

Paraguayan government gave no comment regarding Thursday’s birth at Asunción Red Cross Director Mario Villalba. The hospital reports that the baby and mother “are in good health condition” and are being closely monitored.



The Problem With JoeySalads’ Anti-Date Rape Drug Prank Video

June 8th, 2015 - By Charing Ball
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A bit of slut-shaming disguised as an anti-rape public service announcement made its way around the Internet this past weekend.

Several popular gossip and news sites have been giving high praise to this alleged anti-rape video, which was done by a YouTube prankster who calls himself JoeySalads.

According to Salads, he conducted these social experiments on unsuspecting real people as a way to raise awareness of how easy it is to slip women date rape drugs. Because who else is better equipped to give life lessons about rape prevention than a douche bag in a smedium Ed Hardy-esque T-shirt who is named after roughage?

Anyway, armed with a pocket full of real roofies, a chest full of male entitlement and hidden cameras, Joey Potato Salad sets his target on the lunch crowd at an unidentified lounge, possibly in upstate New York.  In one scenario, a woman walks away from the bar, leaving her drink under the unwatchful eye of a male companion. While her companion turns his head to talk to someone else, Joey Ceasar Salad slips a roofie into her beverage. When she returns to the bar to finish minding her business, he instructs her to not drink that and confesses that he dropped a roofie into her beverage. The shocked woman and her companion are all like, “What? Why the hell would you do that?” And Joey Bean Salad is like, never mind why I would put something illegal into your drink. The real question here is, why didn’t you know that I was a douche bag? Couldn’t you tell by my boy band hair that I was a douche bag? Tsk, tsk. Then he gives her, and not her inattentive companion who she entrusted to have her back, a lecture about date rape drugs and how fortunate she was that Joey Fruit Salad didn’t decide to rape her that afternoon. Message.

In another scenario, Joey Coleslaw walks up to an unsuspecting couple seated by themselves, again minding their own business, at the pier. While they are looking out at the ocean, likely thinking about how much they hate salads, Joey Cheese Slaw decides to slip a pill into the woman’s drink. When they turn around to discover the Jersey Shore reject hovering over them, he says again, dont drink that because I put something in it. And the couple is like, “What? Who is this guido? Security…” That’s when Joey Ambrosia gets on his bottle of Newman’s Own Creamy Balsamic Dressing and flies away before the partner of this woman could get the idea in his mind to rightfully beat the crap out of him.

Joey Crab Louie runs his little scheme on a couple of other victims before closing out the video with a request to “please spread this message to protect young women.” So in an effort to do my civic duty and help get the word out, I’m telling young women that JoeySalads is a got-damn d**khead.

Seriously, what’s next? Is JoeySalads going to snatch a couple of purses to show how we should always be prepared with track shoes just in case we have to chase down a perp? Or is JoeySalads going to walk up and stab people to show us why we should be wearing body armor while walking around the streets? Or is JoeySalads going to rob a bank to let you know how easy it is to pull an Oceans 11? What I’m trying to ask is how does a person’s ability to commit a crime prove that the victims of said crime are at fault?

And how come the targets are only women? Men too can be slipped a Mickey and men too are victims of sexual assault. Yet this garbage-a** warning about the dangers of date rape drugs is only directed at women. It’s harassment, plain and simple. And it is done to women as a way to shame them for no other reason than the fact that they are women. If this were a real anti-rape public service announcement, Joey Panzanella would be pulling instructional pranks on douche bag rapists who think it is okay to encroach on someone’s space and not the victims.

For some reason, society has it in its mind that the only way to ensure the safety of women is if we womenfolk walk around feeling paranoid all of the time about being raped and abused. And yet, with all of these rules and so-called protections, a person finds themselves a victim of sexual assault ever 107 seconds here in America alone. The victims are as young as babies and as old as great-grandmothers. Very few of these stories involve how a woman, or child, is dressed or whether or not she left her drink unattended. So if we are truly interested in helping women, perhaps it is time we change the narrative?

After all, If a woman did an anti-nut kicking video by walking around in steel-toe boots and kicking men in the testicles and then saying, “See, I did that to prove a point that you shouldn’t be walking around with your nuts exposed,” that wouldn’t make a bit of sense, now would it?

On second thought, kicking dudes in the nuts might make for a great campaign…

WI Republicans Demand Apology From State Senator Who Used “Rape” To Describe School Funding Cuts

May 22nd, 2015 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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taylorWisconsin lawmakers from the Grand Ol’ Party are demanding an apology from Democratic state Sen. Lena Taylor, a rape survivor, who used the word “rape” to describe the poor treatment of schools by the state.

Here is the contentious statement, according to Raw Story:

“For years, individuals who sit on this committee and in this building have known that they have been raping the children of MPS,” Taylor had said during a Joint Finance Committee meeting on Tuesday.

The Democratic senator added that she understands how caustic the word “rape” sounds, “but when you consider the fact that 15 out of 100 kids can read on grade level while $89 million have been skimmed from the education of kids…who are you fooling?”

GOP-ers immediately demanded an apology from Taylor.

“Shameful,” Republican state Rep. John Jagler complained on Twitter.

State Rep. Jim Steineke (R) said that the analogy was “unconscionable.” He noted that if one of the Republican lawmakers made the same remark, the backlash would have been severe.

“They would be all over us, asking for that person’s head,” he noted. “Yet, when one of their own says something like this – it’s crickets.”

But Taylor said that she, as a sexual assault victim, chose her words with care.

“As a survivor, I understand the cumulative effect of their policies. Our children deserve the very best,” Taylor explained. “It was painful for me, yesterday. It was painful. It was painful for me. I understand that pain. That pain equates for me,” she told WKOW 27.

In response to the Republican criticism, Taylor says she has come to grips with the fact that “everyone can’t understand the pathway, the valley that gets me to the seat that I sit in.”

But Steineke won’t back off Taylor without pulling a “sorry” out of her:

“Sen Taylor doubles down on rape comparison. Being victimized yourself should make you more sensitive, not less #wiright #WomenDeserveBetter,” he tweeted.

What do you think? Did Taylor take it too far in using “rape” as a comparison to poor school funding?

WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Columbia Student Emma Sulkowicz Carries Mattress Symbolizing Her Rape At Graduation

May 20th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Last year, we wrote about Emma Sulkowicz and her brave and artistic protest against her alleged rapist, Jean-Paul Nungesser and the school they both attended, Columbia University.

In case you missed the story, Sulkowicz told Columbia that Nungesser raped her and they failed to do anything about it. She then filed a police report. She told authorities that she and Nungesser had a consensual, sex on two occasions. But later, when the two reunited to have consensual sex again, things turned violent. According to Sulkowicz, Nungesser hit her across her face, choked her and pushed her knees to her chest, leaning on them to keep them in place. He then held her wrists and penetrated her anally.

Unfortunately, Sulkowicz wasn’t the only woman who alleged Nungesser had assaulted them as well. The university told her they were not responsible. And when she went to the police they didn’t take her seriously either, going so far as to tell her that 90 percent of rape cases were “bullshit.”

So in response to the unfair treatment she received from both the University and the police department, she turned her horrific experiences with not only the rape but the university and the authorities into an art piece called “Carry That Weight.” For the piece Sulkowicz carried her mattress around with her, every day on campus for as long as she attended the same school as her rapist.

Naturally, a girl carrying around a dorm mattress caused quite a bit of attention for Sulkowicz and the University.

Eventually, Columbia investigated the matter and found there wasn’t enough evidence to punish Nungesser.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Sulkowicz carried the mattress for nine months. In the meantime, Nungesser, who was the first to reveal his identity after Sulkowicz started receiving nation-wide attention, filed a lawsuit against Columbia for allowing what he says was sustained harassment against him. He wanted the lawsuit to ban Sulkowicz from carrying the mattress.

Though the school sent out graduation guidelines barring students from bring “large objects which could interfere with the proceedings or create discomfort to others,” Sulkowicz, like she had been doing for almost a year, brought her mattress.

She graduated from Columbia, along with Nungesser, magna cum laude on Tuesday. She, along with four other graduates helped her carry the mattress as she walked across the stage. Other students wore red tape in solidarity, referencing No Red Tape, Columbia’s anti-sexual assault activist group. Many are reporting that when Sulkowicz crossed the stage, she refused to shake the University President’s hand.

Check out the video of Sulkowicz and the other ladies helping her carry that mattress.

Hero: Homeless Man Stops Attempted Rape

April 1st, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: NBC 4 (Washington)

Source: NBC 4 (Washington)


It’s so easy for us to demonize the homeless. We assume that they are lazy, dirty, addicted to some type of substance, or just ultimately responsible for landing in their current situation. Rarely, do we consider the fact that sometimes life is just hard. And homeless doesn’t necessarily equate to a deficiency in character.

Example: Ketrell Ferguson, a recently homeless man in Washington, D.C. The local NBC affiliate reports that around 3:30 a.m. Ferguson was looking for a place to sleep when he heard screams and noticed a struggle between a man and woman, behind a bus stop. Initially, he thought it was a robbery, but when he continued looking he realized the man on top of this woman was trying to rape her.

Acting quickly, Ferguson grabbed a stick that was laying nearby and a half of a brick. Ferguson, who said he’s had family members who’ve been raped, said he had to do something.

“As soon as he lifted his head up, I smacked him with the stick, hard as I could in his head.  And he fell off the lady, stumbled, stumbled and I smacked him again. And I just kept smacking him with the stick, I mean, as hard as I could.”

Then he went to a nearby building and told them to call the police, that there had just been a rape.

Ferguson’s actions helped police find 23-year-old Alemen Gonzalo about an hour later. He was bleeding from the head.

Police say that Gonzalo tried to pay the woman for sex and she refused.

He was charged with assault with the intent to commit first-degree sexual abuse.

Ferguson said, “Even though I’m going through hard times, God put me in a place where I could help. I was at the right place at the right time.”

Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV