sexual assault

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:

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:

Republican leaders quash consent bill once again

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Apparently "No!" means "Just go right ahead."

For the fourth time, a bill that would close a loophole in North Carolina law when it comes to consent is dead. And Jeff Jackson, the state senator who has filed it four times, is beyond frustrated.

"I wish we could say we were confused at this point except at this point we know," Jackson said. "A couple of years ago you could say, 'Maybe these guys just don’t understand the issue.' You can't give them the benefit of the doubt anymore. This is purposeful." The "guys" Jackson is referring to are Republican state lawmakers. The issue is being able to revoke consent during sexual intercourse.

"Sexual behavior" is one of the broadest terms that could be used, ranging from timid to violently aggressive. There is no way to know how somebody will act once they've fallen into that primal zone, and it's nothing short of insane to posit that a woman who suddenly finds a hand wrapped around her neck, slowly tightening, does not have a legal right to extricate herself from that situation. Here's more from Jeff Jackson:

NC Senate needs to act quickly on sexual assault bill

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There is simply no excuse for this dereliction of duty:

House Bill 393 passed the state House of Representatives without dissent in April, receiving strong bipartisan support. The measure would change state law to override the decade-old legal precedent on sex with incapacitated victims. The bill would also change the definition of a child’s caregiver and make it illegal to tamper with someone’s drink even if another crime does not occur afterward.

So far, there’s simply been no action in the Senate on HB 393, not even a committee hearing.

They've had time to authorize gambling on horse races, but not sexual assault victims. They've had time to expand the Board that oversees massage therapists, but not sexual assault victims. They've had time to address the speed limit in an exclusive golfing community, but not sexual assault victims. You get the picture, and it's an ugly picture at that. Fix it.

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:

The State of Rape: Consent bill dies in NC Senate committee

There is absolutely no excuse for this:

A bill that would make it illegal to continue to have sex with someone who told the other person to stop has died in a state Senate committee.

North Carolina may remain the only state in the country where someone cannot be charged with rape for continuing to have sex with a partner who told them to stop. It stems from a 40-year-old legal precedent.

And of course included in that bill was a section dealing with rapists having their way with women too drunk or drugged to know what was happening. The bill should have sailed out of committee with a unanimous vote, out of both houses the same way, and on the Governor's desk before the ink had dried. But apparently this is 1519 instead of 2019.

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:

Bravery in the face of male sexual privilege

Hat-tip to Annie Kiyonaga at the Daily Tarheel:

"I remember an eighth grade boy from Mater Dei, an all-boys Catholic middle school in our area, walking up to me and asking me to give him a blowjob. And I distinctly remember telling him to go fuck himself. I remember the adrenaline rush of standing up for myself, and the concurrent swell of queasiness I felt when I thought about this random boy, with his adolescent swagger, feeling entitled enough to ask me for something that I didn’t even fully understand yet. I remember feeling small and ridiculed, despite my big, confident refusal. I was 12."

Follow the link and read the whole thing, including the parade of sexist idiots trying their best to shut her up in the comments. This has been going on seemingly forever, but brave young women like Annie may hold the only key to stopping it, through exposing the disgusting underbelly of our society's biggest blind-spot.

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:

Thanksgiving open thread: Celebrate, but also contemplate

Sometimes my mind works in strange ways. On holidays like today, I often wonder what other people are doing, if families are coming together in joy or reaffirming why they have avoided each other for so long. And then I start to think about those family members who are suffering in secrecy, who probably view holidays as a cruel reminder of the normal life they have been denied. Domestic abuse victims are sometimes completely shielded from view, but much more often, they have to put on a show of happiness to conceal their situation, or face the consequences after everybody leaves. We kid ourselves that these situations are rare, but it's likely happening only a few doors down in our neighborhood. And maybe even right in front of us. The CDC just published a new report this year, and the numbers are staggering:

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