Friday, September 30, 2011

Feminists and Police

For some reason, feminism and hatred for the police seem to go together like feminism and being pro choice does. If you don't agree with the latter, you can't possibly be the former. Because apparently, cops don't care about women's issues. They don't arrive quickly enough when you complain about a man masturbating on a subway platform opposite of you. They believe in rape myths. They brutally attack "peaceful female protestors." Is there anything cops get right with women?

Yes. Everything. As a whole, the police are there to help people. To ensure public safety. Every time someone calls the police, it is dealt with to the best of their ability. It is dealt with as swiftly as possible. Every domestic violence call that comes in, they show up. Just recently, a police officer was killed when he arrived at such a call. The man, still in his rage, pushed the cop over the stairwell, and he died.

He isn't alone. The police put their lives on the line every day, and often it is for the safety of women. I've been with a detective working on a sexual assault case. A case of date rape, while the victim was in the hospital. I know how seriously these accusations are taken.

And I have seen first hand how police treat stalking. While I was a college student, I started receiving phone calls from a restricted number at all hours of the night. 2am, 4am, 5am. Always the same, no answer until I hung up. They'd come every night for a couple of weeks, then stop for a couple of weeks. For months this went on. After a few calls, I threatened to call the police, but never followed through.

I felt the same way as most feminists apparently do. What were the police gonna do? They'd probably think I was overreacting and write it all off.

Until one night I heard heavy breathing on the other side. I didn't know who they were, how they got my number, or if they knew who I was, where I lived. I freaked out. And I went to the police.

To my surprise, they were amazingly helpful. The officer assigned to my case assured me that is was a case of harassment, and that it was illegal. He assured me I had done the right thing in coming to him. He kept in contact me with me throughout the investigation, and eventually found out who he was, and even (I still don't quite know how), how he had gotten my number. And he put out a warrant for his arrest.

I couldn't be more grateful for that cop, or for the entire police department.

To denounce an entire department because of a few perceived shortcomings, or a few bad cops, or, even more common, because of a few bad headlines, is as bad any racist, who denounces an entire people for the headlines of a few bad apples.

I am a feminist. And I love, respect, and appreciate, the police.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

7 Year Old Girl Repeatedly Sexually Assaulted in School

I hope the headline is enough. Her parents are suing the school for lack of supervision as well as negligence, in their failure to prevent these attacks. AttackS. That's plural.

It started when the boy kissed her. Teachers were informed. Then he put his hand down her pants in class. Teachers were informed. Then he continued to put his hands in her pants in hallways. Again, the school was informed. Until finally the parents were forced to sue.

The two kids were never separated - they were continually put in the same classes despite the allegations. There is no mention of whether the boy was ever even punished. The school's defense?

The parents never requested separation.

Yup. That's right. The school apparently saw no reason to separate a boy from the girl he was molesting because the parents didn't specifically ask for it. When you're that young, it really shouldn't be that difficult to put two kids in separate classes all day. And whether requested or not, there is no reason to not do that. That's problem number 1.

The defense goes on to say that on one of the days that the girl complained to her mother of an unwanted touching, that a teacher saw the girl laughing with the boy near the bathroom. Now, I don't know what happened. I do, however, know what it's like to be young. How difficult it is to be the victim of bullying. And how hard it is to be the outcast. It is undoubtedly believable that she may have had to endure the presence of this male in order to avoid being cast out. Laughter is not a sign of compliance. Problem number 2.

Their third argument is that the hallway in which the alleged touching took place was frequented by many students and faculty. I guess this is their attempt to argue that lack of supervision was not a factor. Ya know, in case the argument that it never happened doesn't pan out. I've always been a firm believer that a defense should pick a story and stick to it. Apparently no one else is. Either it didn't happen, or it happened despite supervision.

I believe both are false. I don't know how a seven year old child could make up these stories. Yes, there are many cases of sexual abuse on children which turns out to be false because of false victim statements. Yes, children are easily coerced into saying whatever the authorities want them to say. But this girl came home to her mother and told her each of the incidents as they happened. Spread out over 2 years. Law authorities were never told in the hopes the school would help prevent such incidents.

I was recently speaking with someone I know whose child is being bullied. The kid has taken to fighting back. The mother had spoken with the school on various occasions but they failed to stop the bullying, and yes, the kid finally took matters into his own hands, at which point the mother was called in and chastised. She was appalled.

When you drop your child off at school for 8 hours a day, you are putting the child in the care of the school authorities. They are expected to protect your kid from any harm. Their job is not just to educate them, but to keep them safe.

Especially safe from any sort of sexual touching. Especially after repeated complaints. This poor girl is clearly already traumatized, as evidenced by her seeking comfort and solace from her mother on so many occasions. And now, is quite possibly, doubly so with the suit going to trial (as most victims are when the case is put in the spotlight).

Also importantly, where is this boy's mother? Or father for that matter? Were they ever notified of these events? Did they ever punish him for it? Did they ever teach him respect for women? Did he exhibit any misogynistic characteristics prior, traits they may have ignored, may have written off as "boys being boys?"

Why a seven year old child would even need to be taught respect for any female is a societal problem worth addressing.

Worth addressing in a school system that doesn't respect the children they're paid to protect. Everything needs to be overthrown and done over.

People just need to be taught respect.

Father's lawsuit: White Plains school failed to protect girl, 7, from unwanted touching

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mental Illness

Tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and the failed attack on the Capitol Building. Every newspaper or magazine has had pages upon pages of tributes to the survivors and those lost. To the Heroes - civilians, PAPD, FDNY, NYPD...

2,997 people died that day, but thousands more survived. Of those, few, if any, were left unscathed.

Yesterday's New York Post had an article on Howard Lutnik, the CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald, who would have died with 658 of his employees, had he not been taking his son to his first day of kindergarten. The article is on his intense Survivor's Guilt - essentially, on his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, although they never called it that. His recurrent nightmares. He still can't talk about that day without crying.

But, according to the Post, "the notoriously tough Lutnick never sought help from a therapist or medication, relying instead on friends and family to get through the toughest days."

I take huge offense at the comment. It implies that seeking help from either a therapist or from medication is a sign of weakness. The CEO was too "tough" to to seek help. Well, Mark DeCambre and Bob Fredericks (the journalists who wrote this particular article), I don't think it's a matter of strength to get through a mental illness. Thousands of people, I'm sure, sought help for their PTSD after the attacks. And no one who made it out of those buildings is weak.

PTSD is a very real illness, just like depression is, just like cancer is. And all three of those can be fatal. Seeking help can save lives. If Howard Lutnick can get through his pain with the help of family and friends, well more power to him (although by the sounds of the article, it really doesn't sound like he has been able to). I'm happy for anyone that can fight a mental illness, diagnosed or not.

People die every day from suicide. People who didn't have to die. Who, had they sought help, maybe would have never felt so hopeless. Insinuating that seeking help, that seeing a therapist, or that taking medications, is a sign of weakness, or that fighting depression on your own is a sign of strength, is a misconception that can prove fatal for many.

The CEO of a company that lost 658 employees, including some family members, ten years ago tomorrow is undoubtedly tough. But not seeking help is not evidence of his toughness.

I believe seeking help is a sign of self-awareness. And, more importantly, it's a sign of strength.

I hope that Howard Lutnick, and everyone, can someday recover from the events of that tragic day 10 years ago. God Bless America.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Definition of Rape

"Rape," as defined by Mirriam-Webster dictionary:

1: an act or instance of robbing or despoiling or carrying away a person by force
2: unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against the will usually of a female or with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent — compare sexual assault, statutory rape
3: an outrageous violation

Definition of "incapable of valid consent" (according to New York State Law):

A person is deemed incapable of consent when he or she is:
(a) less than seventeen years old; or
(b) mentally disabled; or
(c) mentally incapacitated; or
(d) physically helpless; or ... (paragraphs of material irrelevant to this post)

Being intoxicated to the point of black out is undoubtedly mentally incapacitated. If it wasn't, drunk driving wouldn't be such an issue. Even beyond that, being that drunk also renders one physically helpless.

So why is that, while the jurors on the infamous Rape Cops Case all apparently agreed that "the accuser may have consented to sex, then blacked out about it" (New York Post) did they find the defendant not guilty? Videos, testimonies on both sides, all the evidence pointed to the accuser being drunk to the point of being ill, and definitely to the point of black out.

Yet she was mentally and physically capable of lawful consent? Whether she begged Moreno to do it, or whether Moreno physically forced himself on her - either way, with the accuser in the state that she was, could not have consented. Any sexual contact, therefore, in unlawful.

And if they had sex, as the jurors believe they did, then he raped her.

Maybe the jury of her peers should have received an education prior to the trial.

Maybe everyone should.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Good Job, France...

(Thanks to Kerry for bringing this to my attention)

Man Ordered to Pay Ex-Wife $14,000 over lack of sex

I think one commenter on the article pretty much sums up my thoughts:

Cailin rua
"...nobody should be forced or coerced into having sex with anyone else, and [feminists] would disagree with this judgment based on the likelihood of it being used to over-ride consent in French marriages."

I would hope everyone would disagree with this ruling, not just feminists. I'm sure, however, that there are plenty of people in France who are rejoicing at the possible repercussions of this, including taking their spouses to court to force more sex.

Or rather, to rape them.


I recently had the displeasure of viewing a commercial for the discount clothing store Marshall's, where a woman drives a trailer filled with Marshall's clothing looking for women to advertise to.

No big so far.

However, in this particular commercial, the trailer stops at an art viewing. It shows three (?) women looking at an abstract painting (one that I thought was actually pretty cool) with utter confusion. Their facial expressions can even be seen as disgusted. What is this thing and why is it art? they seem to be saying. Far too advanced for a silly ignorant woman to understand.

But wait! Here comes the Marshall's Lady! She understands women, and saves them from such an inappropriate place for us. Who needs intellectual stimulation when you have a trailer filled with fashionable clothes?

Oddly I was thinking about shampoo commercials earlier, and how for the most part, they only show shiny, healthy hair. They show only exactly what the advertised product does. I wish more commercials would do that. Fashionable clothes at a discounted price sounds great. Advertising them at the expense of women....not so great.

I wonder if they teach misogyny in advertising classes. Or if the people who go into advertising just don't realize what they're promoting.

It's amazing how people who make a career out of visionary art can be so blind.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Dress Like a Slut

To avoid rape or sexual assault in general, women shouldn't wear provocative clothing, such as tight, low-cut shirts, or miniskirts. This will help prevent men's irresistable urge to procreate, and thus reduce rape stats.
Unfortunately for those who try to claim such things, eg the Toronto cop who spurred the SlutWalk, the statistics say otherwise.

A Federal Commission on Crime of Violence Study found that only 4.4% of all reported rapes involved provocative behavior on the part of the victim. In murder cases 22% involved such behavior (as simple as a glance).

Most convicted rapists do not remember what their victims were wearing.

Most sexual assault victims are wearing regular clothes like blue jeans or pajamas when they are assaulted, not provocative clothing.

The most common outfit of rape victims is jeans and a t-shirt or sweatshirt. It is true that some articles of clothing are easier to remove than others, but there is no data to suggest that a potential victim is at greater risk because of how she is dressed.
-Things That Cause Rape

Facebook and Consent

I hope I don't need to write anything to explain why this bothers me. I don't care if it's supposed to be a joke. Saying "Who cares as long as you get some" to a simple comment about consent is atrocious. Consent is not a joke, and cannot be joked about since its gravity is understood by the masses. Maybe when society learns the prevalence of rape, and the disastrous effects the crime has on its victims, maybe then sexual assault, and consent, can enter such immature vernacular. Maybe. (Even then, it will be tasteless)

Where are these kids' mothers? Or any women in their lives who can steer them right? Where is Mark Zuckerberg, who claims to prohibit any hate-fueled or pro-violence groups? This promotes rape - a serious crime of assault. Even as a joke, it is inappropriate at best.

So "who cares as long as you get some"?

I do. And so should you.