All Articles Tagged "sexual assault"
Some of us understand the prevalence of rape. Some of us even know how such heinous, inhumane acts affect the psyche. And even though some of us have grasped these concepts, we were still astounded to learn of Jada. The Houston teenager was not only drugged and raped by two different men, images of her naked body sprawled across the floor were posted all over social media. They even created a hashtag, #jadapose. And as if this weren’t enough, people were using Twitter and other social media websites to shame Jada, blaming her for her own rape.
This story could have ended tragically. But luckily, instead of keeping it to herself or being to ashamed to speak up, Jada fought for herself. And thousands across the country, including celebrities, fought with her, creating the #IAmJada hashtag.
Thankfully, today, five months after the incident occurred, MSNBC reported that two people have been arrested in Jada’s rape. One of them a grown man and another, a minor.
This is what Jada had to say about the arrests, support from her followers and what a family spokesperson had to say about legislation and cyberbullying.
“It’s wonderful about the arrests. But I’m just grateful and thankful for everyone who followed and supported me.”
“I would like to see justice. Justice in full effect and that’s it.”
Quanell X, a local leader of the New Black Panther Party and the family’s spokesperson said that he was surprised it took authorities so long to make an arrest when both accused rapists confessed and were even bragging about the incident on social media. There was also evidence that showed Jada wasn’t the only girl they did this to. But at one point another investigator took over the case.The adult man was charged with two counts of child sex assault.
Jezebel exposed Quanell X’s interesting backstory. In 2011, 13 African American men were accused of gang raping an 11-year-old Hispanic girl. X held a rally that seemed to play on the tension between the Black and Latino community, asking the group where was the girl’s mother, father and even asking why an 11-year-old child, who had been assaulted by these two men before on a separate occasion, didn’t report her rape to the police. Quite sick and in direct contention with the story he’s supporting today.
Commenters on Jezebel have argued that Quanell follows the cameras. But perhaps there’s more to it. Maybe X felt justified in blaming a Hispanic girl if it would protect the images of these Black men, though some of them admitted their guilt as well. The point is a child should never be blamed for something like this–nor should she be further shamed with questions about why she didn’t report it.
Perhaps he’s had a change of heart on rape victims and his former rape apologists views. But either way, severe side eye to Quanell…
As far as this case goes though, X hopes the social media attention Jada’s story has raised will help legislatures make some type of move against cyberbullying.
“I believe that we’re attempting to work with state legislatures right here in Texas to make cyber bullying a crime. Because you have so many people out there who are victims of sexual assault but they don’t want to be bullied through social media, so they tend to keep their stories to themselves and never come forth. We don’t want to allow social media, which has been a gift and a curse in many cases, to stop victims from speaking up about being a victim of a sexual assault or a crime.”
Jada says her life is not the same anymore but it’s also not the worst. She also said that while she hasn’t gotten much support from the teenagers in her community, the adults and people she doesn’t know have been very supportive.
Ronan Farrow asked Jada before she left what advice she would give to others who find themselves in a similar situation.
My advice to you guys is just to pray and speak out and just tell nothing but the truth.
Is she glad she spoke out?
Yes, I am glad because I needed my story to be heard.
What have you learned from all of this?
“I learned that some people have hearts and some people just go off of what they hear.”
What do you want to do in the future?
“I would like to keep working on this with others, other people who are going through this in the near future. But I would like to go to college and then become a pharmacist.”
Again, we commend and even thank Jada for stepping forward after an unimaginable ordeal and using her trauma to help others. We wish her nothing but the best.
Earlier this month, we reported about Lincoln University President Robert R. Jennings and his disparaging comments to the female students on campus.
His comments were so foul and brought so much negative attention to the university that Jennings was forced to resign.
In case you don’t remember or didn’t initially hear or see what he said, the gist of it is he told an assembly full of women not to put themselves in situations where they could be raped. He encouraged the female students not to report their rapes, if they did indeed occur because they could ruin someone else’s life. And then he went so far as to say that the three women who did report their rapes last semester were lying, that they wanted relationships with the men who raped them and when it “didn’t turn out the way they wanted,” they cried rape.
I wish this weren’t true.
His remarks were widely reported after they were recorded and posted on YouTube. And naturally, subsequently shunned. Several individuals, media outlets and even parents of current students criticized the comments as appearing to blame women for sexual assault.
Jennings attempted to apologize for his remarks, saying that he would never discourage women from reporting rape or sexual assault.
But the damage had already been done.
According to theGrio, Lincoln University accepted Jennings’ resignation Monday morning and named the school’s general counsel Valerie Harrison as acting president while they search for a permanent 14th president for the University.
Just Like She Said: Janice Dickinson Releases Pictures Of Bill Cosby In That Patchwork Robe+ New Victim Steps Forward
Earlier this week, we told you about Janice Dickinson stepping forward once again with her allegations that Bill Cosby sexually assaulted her in Lake Tahoe back in 1982. And in detailing the story, she recalled that right before she remembers passing out, she watched as Bill Cosby untied the belt of his patchwork robe.
Well, Janice recently sent polaroid pictures from that night to TMZ. And like she says, Cosby is sitting there, in a patchwork robe, talking to someone on the phone.
Judging by the amount of skin you see on his chest and his legs, under the table, I doubt he has a whole lot of clothes on underneath.
Janice told TMZ she took these Polaroids in the hotel room after she took the pill but before she actually blacked out.
Dickinson says she woke up the next morning with semen in between her legs.
The pictures certainly don’t corroborate, without a doubt, Janice’s story of sexual assault. But I certainly find it jarring to see these images after listening to her story.
Several will reference Dickinson’s sexual past, to which she’s admitted, as a reason not to believe her. But perhaps, she took the picture before the assault because she could feel herself slipping away.
Unless that picture reveals something we can’t readily see, we’ll probably never know what happened.
Whatever did happen that night, we can all agree that Cosby, with his wedding ring on his finger, and in this state of undress, shouldn’t have been there.
What do you make of the pictures?
And in other Bill Cosby sexual assault news, poet Nikki Giovanni, seven years ago, spoke openly about Bill Cosby’s penchant for pulling his pants down.
Then, as if all of this weren’t enough, another victim has come forward. 52-year-old Angela Leslie, a former model and actress, spoke the the New York Daily News about her Bill Cosby sexual assault story. And shockingly, her story is much like Barbara Bowman.
Cosby, under the guise of advancing her career, invited her to meet with him. And like Bowman, he told her to pretend like she was drunk and gave her a dark drink to aide her in the exercise. But Leslie said she only pretended to drink it because it was too strong for her.
Afterward, Cosby instructed her to wet her hair. She did so and when she came back into the room, Cosby was in bed.
“He had taken his clothes off. He summoned me over to the bed and I walked over. He proceeded to get some Vaseline lotion and he put my hand on his penis and did the masturbation movements with his hands on mine.”
Leslie said she stood there frozen but then start pulling away from him.
“I felt pretty dirty and disgusted. I really wanted to act and be a dancer in the entertainment industry. After I didn’t go along with what he did, he sort of dismissed me from his room. He didn’t speak to me the next day. I really feel he took away my ability to do what I’ve dreamed of all these years. I was on my way. I did several movies. After I met Cosby, nothing. I feel he should not clip the wings of people with dreams and desires to be in the industry just because he’s in a high position. He should use it to help, if possible. I feel I was hindered by him because I just didn’t go along with what his usual scheme and plan was for women.”
Leslie believes had she drank the whole drink, she would have been raped. She makes the 8th victim to come forward with these allegations.
“I’m coming forward now because I’ve been watching the news and seeing these ladies come forward. Cosby’s not saying anything. He’s not apologizing. He’s pretending that it didn’t happen and it happened. It happened with me. He got my hand, he put it on his penis. It’s something I did not got there for. I did not initiate that kind of action. I want people to know that he’s not the person America thinks that he is.”
I get Dr. Bill Cosby’s silence regarding the resurfacing rape allegations against him. If I were in my 70s, I would want to live out the rest of my life with as little drama and ruckus as possible, and perhaps, being only human, if I were in his shoes, I would respond to the questions about the allegations the same way.
But I am not in his shoes. I am in a very different position. I am a young woman of color who grew up tuning into The Cosby Show weekly, feeling loved and embraced and understood by a family structure that seemed so close to mine in a great many ways but so different in others. I was too young then to give any thought to any allegations. I didn’t understand the severity of such claims. My mind had not yet been open to the gross mistreatment of women who have suffered rape at the hands of any man – but especially at the hands of powerful or beloved men. Without giving it much thought, I believed he could do no wrong. Not Heathcliff Huxtable. Not the jazz enthusiast. Not the tough-loving, baby-delivering father figure who just wanted to eat his sub sandwiches and raise sane children.
As a teen, I dismissed the allegations as some money-hungry woman’s ticket to her 15 minutes of fame. I never once questioned. That is a problem. Not just because I never questioned but because that sort of apathy is all too common even among women. How often do we wonder, “Well, what did she do?” “What is her end-game?” and “She probably just wants his money” when a woman is brave enough to come forward and say that she has been violated by a well-respected man? How often do we victim-blame and never once question the person in question?
We have all fallen into the trap of believing that some of us are infallible. Why is getting angry and mistrusting the victim(s) our normal reaction? What is that bitter root in our society that teaches us to blame the victim before ever even giving a thought to the perpetrator?
As a survivor of sexual assault, I am equal parts disappointed and disgusted. My adoration for Heathcliff Huxtable aside, this cannot be ignored. More than 13 women have been suffering in silence for years. Had I gone to authorities about my sexual assault, I am almost positive I would have faced much more scrutiny than the perpetrator. More than 13 accounts. More than 13 women. It is not out of line to say that at the very least, these allegations deserved an in-depth investigation ages ago.
The alleged victims deserve more than silence from Mr. Cosby. All of his supporters who grew up looking up to him deserve more than his silence. The general Cosby-adoring public needs to put aside their adoration and look at the situation for what it currently is. And as vocal as Dr. Cosby has been about the respectability of Black Americans, this is much more important to speak on. Sexual assault, especially when you are allegedly involved in any way, shape, or form, is serious. It is one of the leading but most underreported crimes, most especially against women. This issue deserves as much of an outcry if not more. Dr. Cosby has made it a point to condemn young people of color who don’t speak or dress appropriately, and he’s done the same to those who give their children names that aren’t easy to pronounce, but it is time, Mr. Cosby, to be open, honest and tell your truth–whatever it is. If not for yourself, but for the women who have come forward and for the great many of us who wait, with bated breath, for your response.
La Truly is a writer, higher education professional, and young women’s empowerment enthusiast. She mixes her interest in social and cultural issues with her life experiences to encourage thought, discussion and positive change among young Women of Color. Follow her on Twitter: @ashleylatruly and check out her site: www.ashleyjh.com.
If you’ve read Janice Dickinson’s autobiography, you may already know that she’s spoken about Bill Cosby sexually assaulting her.
And now that the allegations have resurfaced, and more and more women are coming forward, with similar stories, Janice Dickinson sat down with Entertainment Tonight’s Kevin Frazier to explain what happened to her back in 1982 with Dr. Cosby.
“In 1982, I was on a job in Bali, in Indonesia. And he called. And the conversation, to the best of my recollection, ‘You need to get to Lake Tahoe because I’ll be performing there and I want to offer you that job we talked about. As well as helping you with a singing career I hear you’re trying to do.’
When I arrived at Lake Tahoe, Bill was performing at the venue and then after dinner, in my room he’d given me wine and a pill. The next morning I woke up and I wasn’t wearing my pajamas. And I remember before I passed out that I had been sexually assaulted by this man.
Before I woke up in the morning, the last thing I remember was Bill Cosby…uh…in a patchwork robe, dropping his robe and getting on top of me.”
Then Janice explains why she’s coming forward, again, to tell this story.
“I’ll tell you why. I’m doing this because it’s the right thing to do. It happened to me and this is the true story.”
Good for Janice having the courage to relive what must have been a very traumatic moment in her life. As sad of a commentary as this is, people don’t often believe certain issues are indeed problematic or that people have pure motives for coming forward, until there’s a celebrity’s face attached to it.
You can watch the full piece of her interview in the video below.
Bill Cosby And His Lawyer Speak On Rape Allegations: “The Fact That They Are Being Repeated Does Not Make Them True”
Ever since comedian Hannibal Buress called Bill Cosby a “rapist” on stage last month, Bill Cosby has taken quite the beating in the court of public opinion. He has cancelled appearances on The Queen Latifah Show, as well as The Late Show With David Letterman recently, and who could forget the fiasco that was Cosby asking fans to make memes of him on Twitter? Also, one of Cosby’s alleged victims, Barbara Bowman, spoke out last week to the Huffington Post Live and had this to say in a piece for The Washington Post:
While I am grateful for the new attention to Cosby’s crimes, I must ask my own questions: Why wasn’t I believed? Why didn’t I get the same reaction of shock and revulsion when I originally reported it? Why was I, a victim of sexual assault, further wronged by victim blaming when I came forward? The women victimized by Bill Cosby have been talking about his crimes for more than a decade. Why didn’t our stories go viral?
And Cosby had an interview with NPR recently where he was finally asked about those allegations, allegations that weren’t included in his new biography, Cosby, and that he’s never spoke on, aside from denying them in a civil lawsuit against him in 2006. To say the silence was uncomfortable after the question was asked would definitely be an understatement. He didn’t answer, and from there, I guess it was finally time for Cosby’s lawyer to step in. John P. Schmitt took to Cosby’s website to let people know that Cosby will never speak on the allegations, and just because women have come forward to say they were sexually assaulted by Cosby, that doesn’t make their claims true. In Schmitt’s eyes, the lawsuit was handled, so they won’t be speaking on the matter again:
Over the last several weeks, decade-old, discredited allegations against Mr. Cosby have resurfaced. The fact that they are being repeated does not make them true. Mr. Cosby does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment. He would like to thank all his fans for the outpouring of support and assure them that, at age 77, he is doing his best work. There will be no further statement from Mr. Cosby or any of his representatives.
What do you make of the statement?
For those still wondering if there is such a thing as rape culture? The short answer is: absolutely.
While the long answer comes courtesy of CNN.com. In particular this article about five New Orleans Police Department Special Victim Unit detectives, who may have failed to investigate a combined 1,111 sex crimes over a three-year period.
According to CNN, the revelations are from a recent study entitled Documentation of Sex Crime Investigations by Five Detectives in the Special Victims Section of the New Orleans Police Department, which was conducted by the New Orleans Office of Inspector General. You can read the report in its entirety here.
However in the executive summary, N.O Inspector General E. R. Quatrevaux writes that the office conducted the investigation after reviewing information gathered by the Audit Division of this Office for its Audit of NOPD’s Uniform Crime Reporting of Forcible Rapes and discovering that 23 out of the 90 sex crime related reports audited, “raised concerns about the documentation of the investigations.”
At the time of the investigation, there were only nine detectives working the special victim unit, which is mostly responsible for sex crimes. However, in the Inspector General’s report, the five detectives being audited only conducted thorough investigations (including supplemental investigations) on a total of 179 instances (or 13 percent) of the 1,290 sex crime-related calls assigned to them. The rest of were mainly “short and vague” incident reports.
The CNN article highlights one particularly heinous case involving a toddler:
“According to the seven-page document released Wednesday by the city’s Office of Inspector General, a 2-year-old was brought to a hospital emergency room after an alleged sexual assault. Tests would show the toddler had a sexually transmitted disease, the report said.
The detective in the case wrote in his report that the 2-year-old “did not disclose any information that would warrant a criminal investigation and closed the case,” the inspector general’s report said.
The Inspector General’s reports cites the lack of supervisor as a major cause for the detectives’ negligence. According to CNN, most of the incidents in question occurred under the reign of previous police chief Ronal Serpas. However Cmdr. Michael Harrison, interim N.O police chief, calls the findings of the report “a disappointment” and reflective of the need for “ more work to do within the department than he originally thought.” CNN also reports that the officers in question have been transferred the five detectives to “patrol-related duties.” And the department has instituted policies to ensure cases are being thoroughly investigated.
Outside of the failure to follow up on sex crime allegations, a couple of the officers in question failed, on several occasions, to follow up on medical reporting including rape kits within some of these cases, which could have led to suspect matches in the cases. And as CNN reports:
“A review of the DNA Laboratory’s records shows that as of October 13, 2014, the NOPD has failed to respond to 53 state lab requests for “reference samples” to confirm that DNA obtained in an investigation matches DNA in an FBI database, the report said. The requests date back to July 2010.”
The lack of followup on physical and other medical evidence is particularly frightening and also corresponds with another national problem related to untested rape kits. According to the website EndTheBacklog.com, while there is no comprehensive national registry on hand with actual numbers, experts estimate that there are an upwards of hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits (the site also offers a map to show just how pervasive the problem is and what legislation is on the books or has been introduced to combat it).
The issue of untested rape kits was one, which I had also profiled in a piece from last year about Wayne County D.A Kim Worthy’s attempt to get 11,000 untested rape kits in the Detroit area tested. Thankfully, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced earlier this week his office’s intentions of issuing up to $35 million in grant money to help prosecutors around the country test the tens of thousands of rape kits currently collecting dust on police evidence shelves.
Great news, but what good is it going to do if we can’t even get officers in charge of handling the evidence to take it seriously?
With some of the country’s prestigious colleges and universities under federal investigation for the mismanagement and handling of campus sexual assault claims, policies, and procedures, the current administration has developed a task force and begun spearheading an aggressive campaign to bring awareness to the issue of campus sexual violence. Despite the heightened attention about campus sexual assault in the media, there still seems to be a lack of discussion, programming and available resources for survivors. As a result, many campus sexual assaults go under or unreported and most survivors suffer in silence given the fact that many campuses are not properly prepared to respond to an incident. In addition, campus administration, staff, faculty, medical personnel, clinicians and therapist still seem to be missing the mark when it comes to providing effective reporting measures, survivor support and treatment options. These factors help desensitize the issue and create more complex concerns in the management of survivors and perpetrators. It also makes it even more difficult for survivors to report assault, heal, and seek out support and/or treatment. Given this lack of preparedness, consequently, many survivors end up dropping out of school, suffering from mental health challenges or substance abuse issues.
Because sexuality affects how we think, act and even how we relate to other people, it is very important that survivors of campus sexual assault heal; however, this can only happen once the survivor feels safe and supported by campus administration, staff, faculty and the community. It’s also important for campus administration, staff, and faculty to understand the dynamics of campus sexual assault. They must realize that there is no quick fix. Sexual healing is a process that occurs overtime. It can take several months to several years for a survivor to report the assault, come to terms with it, and begin the process of healing.
The journey to healing from a campus sexual assault is best undertaken only after a survivor is in a stable and safe environment and seamless, coordinated services and a significant support system are in place. Therefore it is critical for campuses to recognize this need and step up to the plate and begin to make our campuses and communities surrounding the campuses safer. In order to address campus sexual assault, campuses must first create a culture of healthy sexuality. It takes a coordinated effort from everyone. Men must become advocates, comprehensive and culturally relevant prevention programs grounded in best practices must be established, and bold awareness campaigns, by-stander intervention techniques, and sexuality training for all campus administration, faculty and staff, community partners and members should be put in place. In addition to survivor support, there must be anonymous and confidential reporting options, aggressive investigation procedures, perpetrator accountability and perpetrator programs designed to reduce the likelihood of recidivism. Something must be done to make college and university campuses safer! It’s time to stop sweeping campus sexual assaults under the rug. Speak up! Speak out! Speak often! Speak Positively!
Dr. TaMara loves nothing more than talking about sex! At the age of 13, she told her mother she wanted to be a Sex Therapist! Her passion is deeply rooted in spreading messages about healthy sexuality. Dr. TaMara is a sexologist, sex therapist, educator and motivational speaker with more than 20 years of experience speaking, writing and teaching about sexuality. She travels the country helping individuals embrace and honor their sexuality. Dr. TaMara has published numerous books and articles. She is the owner of L.I.F.E. by Dr. TaMara Griffin Live Inspired Feel Empowered LLC-LIFE Follow her on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, www.drtamaragriffin.com or www.projectcreatesafe.com.
Most times, when there’s a discussion about rape or sexual assault against women, we hear the same words we’ve heard since we first started leaving the house without our parents. “Don’t put yourself in a harmful or dangerous situation.” “Don’t leave your drink unattended.” “Don’t wear revealing clothing.” “Don’t walk alone.”
We’ve heard these warnings. We’ve been trained, coached and tested on what to do in a potentially dangerous situation, i.e. being in a place where men are present.
It’s nothing new. But since many women know these tips and tricks and are still being raped and assaulted at alarming rates, we’ve been wondering when are people going to start addressing the men who either perpetuate this violence or stand idly by while it happens?
Apparently, now is the time.
In an effort to address rape and sexual assault on college campuses, The White House launched a national campaign in September called “It’s On Us” that explicitly challenges men to not only examine their thoughts on sexual assault but also intervene when consent is not given and create environments where sexual assault is not tolerated or excused.
In promotion of this campaign, top Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett spoke to Buzz Feed about the reasons the campaign is specifically targeting men.
“Bystander involvement can be very important, and oftentimes men underestimate other men’s attitudes toward violence. They don’t understand that other men are opposed to violence too,” Jarrett said. “So if they get the sense that it’s OK [to intervene] because everyone else around the room feels the same way you do, so the first person who gets up will inspire the next person to get up, and the next person and a next person. Because everyone is uncomfortable with it, but as a general rule men don’t know that.”
In a new PSA, released by the White House, a man looks on, from the couch, as a woman, seemingly inebriated, is cornered by a man who is trying to prevent her from leaving a party.
Kyle Lierman, a member of Jarrett’s staff said, “Most young men can relate to the guy that’s sitting on that couch. You have to show them how they can be a part of the solution.”
When the White House created a sexual assault task force, they found that activists thought the White House enforcement mechanisms were vague. And so they went back to the drawing board, to fine tune things.
Jarrett said, “It’s a whole new paradigm, because what we’re saying is that everyone has a role to play, and the responsibility should not simply be shouldered by the woman,” Jarrett said. “Historically, you’ve heard people say to women, ‘Well, take self-defense classes,’ and, ‘Don’t put yourself in a situation where harm could come to you.’ “We think by making this a responsibility of the entire community, it would take a little of that responsibility off of the woman and it would ensure a change in culture,” she said. “There are limits to what you can do with rules and regulations and laws. The only way you’re really going to change behavior is to change a culture of what’s acceptable behavior and what’s not acceptable.”
Thankfully, women and political entities aren’t the only ones talking about the issue of rape and assault. Jarrett says it’s become a national discussion.
“It’s becoming a part of the conversation that everyone is having,” she said. “I have several friends who have either juniors or seniors in high school. Every parent is asking the question, ‘What is the attitude of the college or university you’re considering toward sexual assault?’ When my daughter went to college 10 years ago, it never occurred to me to ask that question.”
Take a look at the most recent PSA in the video below.
Bill Cosby Asks Fans To Make Memes Of Him And It Backfires, As They’re All About Those Rape Allegations
On Monday, Bill Cosby, or someone in his camp who controls his social media account, asked Twitter followers to “meme him.” The link he shared on his Twitter page took people to his personal website, where they could use a meme generator.
Obviously not too familiar with how social media works nowadays, Cosby probably didn’t expect that a majority of the memes wouldn’t be positive. In fact, folks used his signature lines and favorite things (like Jello pudding), to blast the iconic comedian and his past. His past, which includes allegations of rape, was brought back into the spotlight after comedian Hannibal Buress spoke the allegations in his stand-up show in Philly last month. And when he did, a woman from the original case (which was settled out of court in 2006) came forward afterwards to tell her story. So the memes focused on that:
— New York Magazine (@NYMag) November 11, 2014
— Taylor Armosino (@tarmosino) November 10, 2014
— sideshowRaheem (@sideshowRaheem) November 10, 2014
You get the point. Basically, the meme idea was all bad. Whoever controls his Twitter account wound up deleting the tweet, but the memes his camp inadvertently encouraged are still up and will probably exist on the Internet forever. I’m pretty sure somebody is going to get fired for this…