All Articles Tagged "sexual assault"
There are plenty of people who love to dismiss the notion that there’s a rape culture that exists within our society. Rape culture excuses the behavior and in some cases the people who perpetuate these heinous acts. They excuse this behavior by pointing the finger at victim, asking questions like what did she drink?, what neighborhood was she in?, what time of night was it? and most commonly, what she was wearing?
All of this is victim blaming. It insinuates that the victim had something to do with their own assault. And it’s all problematic. More than anything we need to be teaching our brothers, our sons and cousins about consent, what constitutes it and what doesn’t, and above all else, don’t rape women. It all seems very simple. But in our society women have conversations with the younger generations about how to protect themselves from sexual assaults but not as often are younger males told simply do not assault women.
To illustrate society’s reliance on victim-blaming, yesterday Twitter user Christine Fox, who writes under the Twitter handle @steenfox, started a conversation where she asked her followers what they wore when they were sexually assaulted. Her question debunked the myth that women can somehow prevent their attacks by dressing differently.
There were several harrowing responses. Women wrote how they were wearing jeans and t-shirts, some were in office clothes, bathing suits, school clothes, a maxi dress, hooded sweatshirts etc.
The most memorable responses came from women who were sexually assaulted as young children.
“pink princess pajamas. I was 6.”
“House clothes-probably jeans and a t-shirt. I was 7. My mom’s friend babysat me. It was her nephew…”
“Pajamas at a sleepover in a room full of girls and an irresponsible mother.”
“…a black & white striped, one piece bathing suit with a ruffle around the middle. I was 6.”
Then there were the women who had survived several assaults and described more than one outfit.
Fox herself told The Washington Post that she was assaulted by a man she knew and trusted and there was nothing she could have done differently.
Fox says she hopes people focus on these stories. These stories and the brave people who shared them inspired some much needed conversations.
“I’m not an advocate or anything like that. I’m just a person who has had this experience. I had no idea that it was going to turn into this. The most important thing is that it brought awareness to a lot of people, myself included.”
She said in addition that the survivors, parents reached out to her to tell her they were going to talk to their children about sexual assault.
Clayton County Sheriff Phillip Emmanuel Richards, 42, is behind bars after a 13-year-old girl accused him of sexually assaulting her, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
According to police reports, the teen is actually a relative of Richards’ girlfriend. The alleged incident occurred around 1 a.m. Saturday morning after Richards’ was asked to look after the juvenile. The teen, who was asleep on the floor, says she woke up to Richards sexually attacking her after she fell alseep watching a movie in her mother’s room.
“The complainant indicated that the offender performed a sexual act on a juvenile victim as she was asleep on the floor,” said Clayton County Police officer Ron Coloma in an emailed statement.
The teen says she escaped Richards’attack by running to her room, climbing out of a window and fleeing to a relative’s home to get help. Not long after her escape, officers were dispatched to the alleged scene of the crime. Richards was later arrested and charged with aggravated child molestation.
According to WSBTV, Richards has been denied bond and is currently being held at the Clayton County jail. He has also been placed on administrative leave without pay impending the outcome of the case.
A California court charged five time Pro-Bowl player turned NFL analyst, Darren Sharper with drugging and raping two women on Friday. His arraignment has been postponed until February 20.
The list of charges is long as Sharper is charged with two counts of rape by the use of drugs, four counts of furnishing a controlled substance and one count of possession of a controlled substance. The controlled substances include morphine and a form of the sleep aid, Ambien.
The 38-year old who once played for both the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints is suspected of raping seven women in four other states by lacing their drinks with drugs, and may have even drugged others in their company. He is suspected of 11 druggings total.
According to CNN.com, on October 30 Sharper met two women at Los Angeles nightclub, Bootsy Bellows and invited them to a party as alleged by authorities. Sharper then told the women he had to stop by his hotel room to pick up something and offered them drinks once they arrived which caused them to pass out. When they woke up hours later one of the women believed she had been sexually assaulted and immediately sought medical treatment. Another California woman alleges a similar incident happened to her in October. Women in New Orleans, Nevada and Arizona all share similar stories in which Sharper is a suspect.
Sharper was arrested on January 17 by Los Angeles police and released on $200,000 bond. The NFL subsequently suspended him without pay. If convicted he faces up to 30 years in state prison.
If the allegations are true, we hope that Sharper pays for what he put these women through. It’s another harsh reminder that whether you’re partying with co-eds or professional athletes, you have to be extremely cautious and aware of your surroundings. No woman’s dress or behavior justifies her being assaulted, but that’s no excuse to be unaware of the signals you may be sending or how you are compromising your safety when you meet a man and accompany him to his room or residence at all hours of the night. At the same time we can’t seem to understand why these high-profile men feel the need to resort to drugging and raping women. In any case if this is indeed a pattern for Sharper, he has some serious problems and needs professional help.
You may have noticed some slight shade at last month’s Golden Globe Awards when Woody Allen received the highly regarded Cecile B. Demille Award. The famed writer/director/producer has a pretty creepy reputation in terms of his personal life ever since marrying the adoptive daughter of actress Mia Farrow, his partner of 12 years. He was also accused of sexually abusing another one of Farrow’s daughters, Dylan. Shortly after Diane Keaton took to the stage to accept the award on Allen’s behalf (he wasn’t in attendance), Mia Farrow and son Ronan took to Twitter to express a little passive aggression. Ronan tweeted:
“Missed the Woody Allen tribute – did they put the part where a woman publicly confirmed he molested her at age 7 before or after Annie Hall?”
Well just when we thought the annual round of accusations were over, The New York Times has recently published an open letter that Dylan Farrow has penned to the obscure film director and former step-father/brother-in-law (Is that how that works?) It’s definitely a difficult read:
“When I was seven years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim, closet-like attic on the second floor of our house. He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother’s electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me.”
“He talked to me while he did it, whispering that I was a good girl, that this was our secret, promising that we’d go to Paris and I’d be a star in his movies.”
Just recently, while leaving Madison Square Garden after a Knicks game with his wife, Soon Yi and their daughter, Allen fumbled through his phone ignoring a photographer who asked about the detailed accusations. Allen has long denied the claims, but Dylan Farrow admits that she has never gotten over the fact that he was never convicted of the crime.
From R. Kelly to Chris Stokes of R&B group B2K fame, it’s sad how often sexual assault and molestation is quickly swept up under the Hollywood red carpet. It seems more often that it’s only treated as the next new scandal or hot headline and nothing ever seems to really get done about it. It appears that money and fame can buy anything, even innocence. Unfortunately what’s all too often left behind are victims who were robbed of theirs.
To read the article in its entirety, visit The New York Times
A 16-year-old high school student out of Philadelphia was allegedly viciously assaulted while being handcuffed by a police officer during an arrest that he says was unwarranted.
According to Philly Daily News, Darrin Manning was stopped by police after he and his teammates exited a subway station while they were on their way to play a high school basketball game. According to reports, one of the students possibly made a snide remark to the officers who Manning says were staring them down, and when one in particular approached, Officer Thomas Purcell, the young men ran off. Manning ran at first and then stopped, saying he did this because “I didn’t do anything wrong.” The teen was then confronted by Purcell, and according to a police report, Officer Purcell claimed he got into a scuffle with the student. Manning shared with Fox News that he was put in handcuffs and then patted down in a graphic manner by a female officer, who pulled on his genitals. He stated:
“She patted me down again, and then I felt her reach, and she grabbed my butt. And then she grabbed and squeezed again and pulled down. And that’s when I heard something pop, like I felt it pop.”
The officer allegedly squeezed his test*cles so hard, one ruptured. After spending eight hours in jail that evening, the next day, Manning had emergency surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and his mother says doctors told her that it could affect his ability to have children in the future.
After the incident, Manning’s mother, Ikea Coney, shared her anger with reporters:
“I’m just grateful that they didn’t just kill him. The doctor told me, ‘You need to press charges,’ and that just alarmed me.”
Despite his injuries, Manning faces charges of aggravated assault and resisting arrest. The founder of his high school, Veronica Joyner, says that Manning has straight-As and never had disciplinary problems. The family is fighting with their lawyer to get Manning’s charges dropped.
The police force in the 22nd district in Philadelphia said there will be an internal investigation on this incident but they also shared that while Manning was in their custody, he did not complain of any pain. On a side note, according to the Huffington Post, Officer Purcell had complaints brought against him in 2008 and 2009 for false arrests. He was cleared of any wrongdoing.
Below is the news report on this story. What do you make of all that Manning went through?
In an interview with the UK paper The Guardian, Chris Brown speaks with writer Decca Aitkenhead about the time he was sexually assaulted by a teenage girl, but it’s all good, because boys “can’t” get raped:
It’s different in the country. By that point, we were already kind of like hot to trot, you know what I’m saying? Like, girls, we weren’t afraid to talk to them; I wasn’t afraid. So, at eight, being able to do it, it kind of preps you for the long run, so you can be a beast at it. You can be the best at it.” (…he doesn’t want to say how many women he’s slept with: “But you know how Prince had a lot of girls back in the day? Prince was, like, the guy. I’m just that, today. But most women won’t have any complaints if they’ve been with me. They can’t really complain. It’s all good.”)
A friend and I were having a conversation recently, which was sparked by the story of the Montana school teacher who received 30 days in prison for the sexual assault of a 14-year-old student. The girl killed herself as a result of the sexual assault and the attention that surrounded it. During our conversation, my friend, who is the daughter of a former sex crime detective, remarked very poignantly on what her father used to tell her about how some sexual abuse victims can come to perceive their victimization. Basically, if you live in a particular environment long enough, no matter what kind of sick and depraved things happen in that environment, it all becomes sort of normal. In that spirit, it puts attention on understanding how patriarchal norms also help to normalize the sexual abuse of boys in our society.
Brown is not the only Southern boy to have been sexually abused as a prepubescent kid. R&B singer Ne-Yo told the story once of “losing” his virginity at 9 years old to a teenager. A couple of years ago, NOLA native and rapper Lil’ Wayne admitted to Jimmy Kimmel in an interview that he was “seduced” by a grown woman at the age of 11 years old. However, I don’t know if we can blame this on country folks – or by default the black community in general (because generally that’s how these things go whenever the person in question is African-American). Why? Because in popular culture, particularly in film and in television, it has pretty much been perpetuated that manhood and an active sexuality go hand in hand. One of the biggest movie troupes in teen flicks is the awkward and nerdy high school guy, who has one summer to finally lose his virginity so he can enter college, or adulthood, as “a man.” Once he gets the punany, he is suddenly transformed from awkward nerd into cool stud. And if he fails, well, he ends up as the 40-year-old electronic store employee with an abnormally large action figure collection and still on the hunt for his manhood.
Outside of the realm of entertainment and on to the more personal, I have heard similar stories from men I know who claimed to have had their first sexual experience at prepubescent ages, and at the hands of a much older woman. In the majority of instances, their “sex partners” were women well into their middle ages and they weren’t looking for it, nor were they the initiators. Their first experience, just sort of happened; like an ex-boyfriend, who told me of his first sexual encounter happening at 12 years old and being at the hands of a 42-year-old former neighbor and friend of his mother. When I raised the point that what happened to him verged on, if not surpassed, sexual abuse, he just kind of shrugged it off and said, “It’s different for girls and boys. All my friends were already f**king and I was the last one. So when she came along, I was like, yeah…”
However, the thought never occurred to him that perhaps his friends were lying to impress him and others. And perhaps, the pressure he felt to measure up to his friends motivated him more than his desire to actually be with this woman. What if my ex-boyfriend would have resisted the advances of his mother’s friend and instead told his homies that he opted for chastity instead? In our society, a man, who has never “engaged” in sexual intercourse is looked upon as socially awkward or worse, “not man enough.”
In this respect, the expectation to be hyper-masculine can be just as oppressive to boys, who in actuality, might have more thoughtful and gentle spirits. In fact, there is research that suggests that one in three boys feel pressured into sex and are more likely to think that waiting is a myth. However, that is not the general message we see. What we see and hear is that men are supposed to do it and do it regularly. Not only that, but they are supposed to do it with a variety of partners: older, younger, man, woman, fat, slim, one-legged, bucked teeth, Spanish, Asian, etc…the more conquests, the bigger his badge of masculinity. It is this constant pressure to hold up to the ideas of what male sexuality is supposed to be, which probably keeps boys from admitting to weakness and vulnerability, including being pressured and forced into a sexual relationship they didn’t want or feel that they were ready for.
I can’t say if this is what Chris Brown feels emotionally about the incident being sexual assault or molestation. I would say that a 15-year-old engaging in sexual activity with an 8-year-old is definitely sexual abuse. And I would also say that his continued reliance on his sexual prowess with the opposite sex as a testimony to what kind of partner he is with the ladies – even years removed from that “country” upbringing – says lots about how we rear boys to view themselves and their roles in society.
In crazy world news…
According to the Daily Mail, 27-year-old Richard Thomas of Manchester (in England) was given five years and four months in jail, as well as inclusion in the Sex Offenders’ Register for life for rape. He pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a woman he knew after entering her home in a drunken and high stupor. As the story goes, Thomas went into the victim’s home on July 20 in the middle of the night while she was sleeping after taking a sleeping tablet. When she awoke, she looked up to find that Thomas was assaulting her. Prosecutors claimed that no actual words were spoken as she made the horrifying discovery, and that Thomas pulled up his pants and ran out the house.
When he was arrested soon after, it was found that Thomas had been high on coke and ecstasy, and had been drinking, so he says that he couldn’t and still can’t recall much of the incident. However, he still plead guilty to the rape, telling his lawyer of the victim, “…she tells the truth. If she says I have done it, I have done it.” The two actually knew each other in the past, and while Thomas knew the victim had another illness she was trying to keep in check, he wasn’t aware that she also has HIV…
When Thomas was told by police that the victim had HIV and that he could have possibly contracted it, according to the Daily Mail, he collapsed and asked to be taken to the hospital. He is still waiting to hear whether or not he contracted the virus, which of course, is incurable, and will be told his test results this Friday. Thomas has reportedly been trying to contact his family, but they allegedly don’t want anything to do with him. While he waits to find out the outcome of his test, and prepares for jail, without the support of his family, his own lawyer had this to say about a possible positive test:
“It is his own fault, if he had not committed this offence he would not have placed himself in this position.”
Dr. Phil done messed up now!
In an attempt to either spark controversy, come up with an idea for a new segment of his talk show, or just piss a heck of a lot of people off, Phil McGraw, known to most of us as just Dr. Phil, has most certainly done the latter with a controversial question he asked on Twitter that many say incites sexual assault.
As you can imagine, it didn’t take long before two things happened: one, people went all the way in on the television psychologist, and two, the tweet was subsequently deleted. Unfortunately for Dr. Phil the damage wasn’t undone by the simple delete of a tweet. Inevitably, the hashtag #DrPhilQuestions lit up Twitter with people berating the talk show host with such tweets as:
If a woman has an opinion that differs from yours, should you assume she has her period? #drphilquestions
— shannonwoodward (@shannonwoodward) August 21, 2013
Is it okay to belittle teenage rape victims for Twitter attention? Well, what if I’m drunk? #DrPhilQuestions
— Cliff Pervocracy (@pervocracy) August 20, 2013
If a person is a misogynist, is it OK to just refer to him as “Dr. Phil” from now on? #DrPhilQuestions
— Imran Siddiquee (@imransiddiquee) August 20, 2013
All of the backlash prompted “The Dr. Phil Show” to issue a statement explaining Dr. Phil’s true intentions, which read:
“This Tweet was intended to evoke discussion leading into a very serious show topic based upon a recent news story, hence the #teensaccused label. It was a poll question, not a statement or a joke. As he has maintained over many years, Dr. Phil believes that the position of those incapacitated in any fashion; be it drugs, alcohol, age or mental illness can not and do not have the capacity to give their consent to anything, especially sex, which could have life changing repercussions. This was a research post in preparation for a show, not a personal post and Dr. Phil deleted it the second he saw it. It was clearly ill-advised. We sincerely apologize that it suggested anything other than what was intended, data gathering. As you can imagine, Dr. Phil is very upset that this happened.”
Still, the #teensaccused segment was taped yesterday and will air in the next season of Dr. Phil’s show. Guess we’ll have to wait until the air date to see if the backlash is addressed. Do you think Dr. Phil’s tweet was irresponsible?
From The Grio
Rosa Pickett was 17 when she was raped in her hometown of Robbins, Il. on September 3, 1977.
She was walking to a party at night in the nearly all-black village of Robbins located in the Cook County region that also contains the mecca of Chicago. After being rescued by a stranger who found her in a ditch, he took her home. Her mother barely recognized Pickett’s face, which was swollen from receiving repeated punches during her assault.
Mother and daughter, eager to report the crime in a timely manner that might lead to a conviction, went to the hospital so that medical workers could administer a rape kit, a police-approved means of collecting evidence in the aftermath of a violent sex crime.
Pickett’s rape kit remains lost after 36 years. Her assailant was never found. From her perspective, Picket was sexually assaulted, reported her crime, and the Robbins police did nothing.
Lost rape kits: A prevalent problem
This is not an isolated incident. A 2013 investigation launched by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office has uncovered that at least 203 rape kits have been collected in the tiny locale of Robbins since the mid-’70s, but were never used to properly investigate sexual assaults.
Because of a 2010 law passed in the state of Illinois requiring police to account for unprocessed rape kits, Cook County began the task of tracking down what happened to kits collected at hospitals, or that were sent in from police departments, but did not result in convictions or seemed otherwise unaccounted for.
In January 2013, the previous mayor of Robbins, Irene Brody, who just stepped down this year, invited these authorities to review how sexual assault evidence in her town was housed. According to the Sheriff’s Office, Robbins had an alarmingly high number of rape kits that were unaccounted for at 44. Additionally, no rape convictions related to these kits had come out of the town.
Among shelves filled with evidence gathered at the scenes of sexual assaults — shreds of torn clothing, stained paper bags, and vials of blood – 51 unsubmitted rape kits were discovered jammed onto a massive basement rack.
One hundred and fifty additional kits were unearthed that had been submitted to a central state agency for analysis and returned to local Robbins police, but then were never subsequently “worked” — meaning the police never followed up on the evidence in an attempt to identify suspects.
Addressing police failures
In February 2013, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office held a town hall meeting to invite Robbins residents to discuss this and other issues stemming from poor policing. Officers stood accused of not responding to emergency calls, and failing to solve robberies. Rape victims were also asked to come forward to be matched with the rape kits that had been discovered. Prosecutors were going to make an effort to reopen cases.
It was at this meeting that Rosa Pickett first stepped forward.
Now Pickett is working with the Sheriff’s Office to be the face of its efforts to work all the kits to potentially bring about convictions, or at least some measure of justice for sexual assault victims whose cases were forgotten.
In Pickett’s case, the negligence was so great that her rape kit is gone. After sorting through disorganized file cabinets and stacks of boxes, Cook County Sheriff’s Office officials were only able to find a single typed card documenting her rape 36 years ago. Perhaps the rape kit — probably contained in a small box that became stamped with labels and scrawled with handwritten numbers after phases of use — was confused with refuse in the rubble of the police storage area.
Yet, in addition to misplaced rape kits, unused kits lead to additional levels of injustice that can rarely be compensated for due to the passage of time.
Passage of time creates greater injustices
Had police used Pickett’s kit when it was collected, it may have helped them determine who raped and beat her in 1977. Even if Pickett’s kit had been found in 2013, the crime was so long ago, the DNA evidence it contained would not have been as effective as evidence 36 years later.
Many issues related to lost time — such as kit contents being completely used during a first analysis, with no opportunity to acquire new samples closer to events — make the negative effects of letting so much time pass even greater.
Today, vast databases containing DNA that has been collected from criminals now assist in processing rape kits, but these did not exist when Pickett was assaulted. For other victims, these databases offer hope.
In the case of another Robbins victim who has stepped forward, her rape kit has already identified a suspect through DNA evidence, decades after she was sexually assaulted.
Pickett is an older woman, who survived a drug addiction acquired after her assault to become a successful mother. This victim, a younger woman, prefers to remain anonymous.
The violent rape she endured at the age of 14 in 1991 still evokes sobbing when she tries to recount her story. Still, after courageously stepping forward, her kit was found and worked by Cook County Sheriff’s Office officials this year as part of the current audit. And the DNA from her kit matched a suspect in the system.
But, because her rape kit sat unworked on a basement shelf in Robbins for 22 years, her attacker might go unprosecuted. In this victim’s case, the statute of limitations has run out.
Read more at TheGrio.com
His name is Aswad Ayinde, director of the MTV Video Music Award winning Fugees video, “Killing Me Softly,” and aside from some serious jail time, Ayinde needs the butt-whooping of a lifetime.
We told you earlier in the year about the “Killing Me Softly” director around the time his second of five trials had started. It was reported today that he was given 50 years in prison for his actions, which included raping one of his daughters since she was eight years old, and impregnating her four different times. Ayinde was accused of sexually assaulting five of his seven daughters and impregnating some of them, bringing about six children, so that he could create a “pure bloodline.” A few months ago, his wife, Beverly Ayinde, recounted her life with the director, including his control over herself and their children:
“He equaled himself to being a prophet. As time went on, he was god-like. I had to call him, ‘my god.’ He equated himself to Jesus Christ … He would sit us all down and lecture us about his greatness and his power … At another point, he equated himself to Prince and Michael Jackson.”
Not only did Ayinde sexually assault his daughters many times, he also walked around his family’s home unclothed according to testimony, and he even made lewd comments about his children in front of Beverly. This includes a time where he told her that spirits were telling him that he should perform oral sex on the victim of this second case when she was just eight years old. Beverly claims she didn’t call police because he threatened to kill the girls, and according to reports, all of his sexual assaults went on for 30 years in different homes (and even an abandoned funeral home), until Beverly left her husband. But despite all that, it was his daughters that went to the police in 2006. As the victim from this second trial put it, “We found out we had other siblings, young siblings, and we had to put him to a stop. Even though we were healing, they could still fall victim.” She’s probably referring to the 12 other children Ayinde had with other women over the years. Ayinde was also accused of beating his daughters and brought some of the children they had into the world in the family home, with at least two dying in the home and being buried without authorities knowing at the time.
Though he was given 50 years for his crimes against his daughter on Friday, in 2010, he was sentenced to 40 years for assault for raping and impregnating another one of his daughters (hence the 90). The women impregnated were given separate trials, so that’s why Ayinde has three more to face. The daughter from this second trial, now 35, has had two children from her father who have genetic illnesses caused by incest (and reportedly had four in total with one dying of spinal muscular atrophy). She is doing better these days, and she even went back to school to study communications. But she took time out to speak out against her father, and to him, at his trial in New Jersey on Friday as he prepared for another sentencing by saying, “I can’t describe how much you hurt me and my sisters.” The last time Ayinde tried to assault this particular victim, was in 2003.
While 90+ years in prison sounds like a hell of a punishment, what God has in store for this man is on a whole other level…