rape culture

Monsters on Campus: UNC-CH survey of sexual assault is chilling

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The problem appears to be getting much worse:

About three thousand undergraduate women start their college careers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill each fall. By the time they graduate, nearly half are likely to experience sexual assault or misconduct. A quarter are likely to experience assaults that meet the definition of rape -- and that’s only the women.

Those numbers are based on the anonymous responses of college seniors at UNC-Chapel Hill who participated in the largest survey ever about sexual violence on college campuses.

Not trying to blame the victim here, but: The magic number is 2. While female students may still be vulnerable using the buddy system, the "he said, she said" dynamic is broken. That potentially corroborating witness will discourage most budding rapists, and they will go to great lengths to separate you. You don't go to a party, or leave a party, without your sidekick. Rushing, crushing, pledging, or even going to the fricking library, go with a friend. Lecture over, here's more:

Predator in Blue: Fired detective still stalking rape victims

Quite possibly the ultimate betrayal:

A Fayetteville police detective fired last year over inappropriate messages sent to women who had been raped has been charged with later tapping into a police department database to obtain information about the women.

Paul George Matrafailo III, 34, of 2816 Ally Rayven Drive, was arrested Monday on a felony charge of unauthorized access of government computers.

Needless to say, it takes a special kind of @$$hole to stalk a rape victim, and that level of personal (disgusting) behavior could not go unnoticed by co-workers and supervisors. I'm not just speculating about that, he was actually reprimanded for similar behavior a year before he was fired:

Delays in NC's sexual assault cases stretch into years

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Adding insult to injury for the victims:

Once law enforcement arrests a rape suspect in North Carolina, the wait only begins for both the rape survivor and the accused. Resolution of the charges typically takes more than a year, Carolina Public Press found in June in a statewide analysis of court data, with some cases taking much longer.

The average sexual assault case that remained open and was included in the analysis had been open for 900 days, or about 2 ½ years. But some cases have been open for longer than 4 1/2 years after an arrest, which was the most the data available could show.

Can you imagine that? Being raped by some dude, and then going month after month knowing he's out there somewhere roaming around? If that happened to my daughter I'd probably end up in jail myself, especially after watching something like this happen more than once:

Wealthy pedophile and child sex-trafficker hangs himself in jail

Not shedding any tears for this piece of trash:

Jeffrey Epstein, the financier indicted on sex trafficking charges last month, committed suicide at a Manhattan jail, officials said on Saturday.

Manhattan federal prosecutors last month charged Mr. Epstein, 66, with sex trafficking of girls as young as 14, and details of his behavior have been emerging for years. Mr. Epstein, a financier with opulent homes, a private jet and access to elite circles, had been dogged for decades by accusations that he had paid dozens of girls for sexual acts in Florida.

Don't say I never post good news or upbeat stories and such. This is better than a baker's dozen of fluffy bunnies.

The State of Rape: Lack of funding and delay tactics plague victims

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A system that seems to favor the predators:

“Cases don’t get better with time; they often get worse,” Pearce said. “If they can delay it and let it go on for longer, it’s less likely the evidence will be fresh. You are hoping the victim will grow tired of it.” With every delay in their case, victims can get discouraged. People move. Memories fade.

“(These crimes) are done in the dark, they are done in secret and done in private,” Pearce said. “Oftentimes that victim is the only primary witness.”

Keep in mind, in most of these cases, the accused rapist is out on bond pending the trial. In other words, free to assault other women, and free to harass their accuser. And of course there are "friends" of the accused who are out there harassing the victim, in an effort to get her to drop the charges. She might as well be in prison (or house arrest) herself, which often leads to the "People move" observation above. It's a shameful and untenable situation, and lawmakers who set budgets need to be called to task:

Two bills dealing with Rape are no-brainers

And if they are buried in committee we won't just acquiesce:

North Carolina is the only state in the country where continuing a sex act after being told to stop is not a crime due to a decades-old legal precedent. And while the law says sex with an incapacitated person is rape, a court precedent more than a decade old says the law doesn’t apply if the victim caused his or her own incapacitation through drinking or drug use.

The two bills that would change the pair of legal precedents have so far not had a formal committee hearing, but that could change after the legislature’s spring break.

Probably not the time or place to have this particular discussion, but we're going to have it anyway: Sexual intercourse is (of course) the most intimate stage of a relationship, but it's also extremely hormonal in nature. People react differently under that physiological change, and not always for the better. This provides new information to each of the individuals taking part, and what seemed like a great idea fifteen minutes ago can become repulsive fairly quickly. A good analogy might be: You want to cross the road, and the only car you see is a half-mile away. But as you step out, you realize that car is going faster than you thought, so you decide to wait. Should you be forced to cross anyway, because you initially thought it was safe? Of course not, because you have the freedom to change your mind. And so should women who have previously given consent for sex. And as for the drug and/or alcohol situation:

CoA rules UNC must release details of administrative sexual assault cases

Sweeping it under the rug is no longer an option:

In a ruling issued Tuesday, the North Carolina Court of Appeals said UNC must release the names of people found responsible for rape, sexual assault or any related acts of sexual misconduct through the University's Honor Court, Committee on Student Conduct or Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office.

Erica Perel, the general manager of the Daily Tar Heel, said she's glad the case is coming to a resolution. "This information is something that Daily Tar Heel reporters have been seeking for quite a few years, as DTH reporters have reported on sexual assault on UNC’s campus and UNC’s response to those assaults," Perel said. "This will kind of help complete the picture of the true nature of assault on campus."

Overall, this is a good thing. Some victims and their advocates have made legitimate arguments that having their identity revealed can make their lives harder, and could discourage others from coming forward in the future. But sexual predators are almost always repeat offenders, and keeping their behavior confidential merely puts other females at risk, even if it's a delayed risk:

Defending the indefensible: CMPD "explains" rape kit backlog

There's more to this story than just numbers:

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police on Wednesday said the number of victims adversely affected by untested rape kits is much lower than the foundation’s investigation showed. Of the approximately 1,000 untested kits, 650 are related to cases that are already closed, said CMPD Capt. Cecil Brisbon. Some of the remaining kits have been submitted and the remainder are “being reviewed to determine the need for analysis.”

Just because a case is "closed" it doesn't mean testing is no longer necessary. If a case is closed because the victim refused to press charges, it doesn't mean she wasn't raped, and it also doesn't mean her rapist hasn't done it before or will rape again in the future. And if the case ended in a conviction, processing the kit is doubly important. Getting that DNA data on file in the FBI's CODIS database is a critical link in the chain of evidence, because just like other terrorists, rapists thrive when information is not shared by law enforcement. Here are some more numbers for the CMPD to chew on:

Training Programs & 24-Hour Hotlines Are Great, But When Is the Air Force Really Going to Tackle Sexual Violence?

Last Tuesday, Mother Jones ran an interesting article on actions taken by the U.S. Air Force to counter the epidemic of sexual assaults occurring in its bases and Academy.

Its efforts were spurred by the scandal that occurred two and a half years at the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio during a training program. As Mother Jones reports, at least 70 individuals came forward with charges of “unwanted touching, inappropriate relationships, and rape” by at least 30 training instructors.

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