This morning, the White House released a report on sexual assault in college as the president announced a new initiative to improve the criminal justice response to rape on college campuses.
The report, “Rape And Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call To Action,” prepared by the White House Council On Women And Girls, notes that one in five women will be sexually assaulted during college and most are assaulted by someone that they know. Only 12 percent of these victims report the sexual violence. The report also notes that rapists tend to be repeat offenders, noting how one study had more than half of admitted rapists confessing to as many as six rapes each. Another huge problem is the often-dismissive response from local police and college administrations. Keep reading »
In the most recent episode of “Downton Abbey” to air in America, the lady’s maid Anna Bates — whose story through four seasons has almost exclusively focused on her romance with her husband — is raped by a visiting valet. It is not the first example of sexual misconduct on the show. But it is the most sexually violent act to occur to any character. Not surprisingly, the incident has been hugely controversial.
When it first aired in the UK, viewers complained about sexual violence on an otherwise fairly frothy PBS program. (I say “fairly frothy” in a nod to the deaths of Sybil and Matthew.) The UK’s media regulatory agency declined to investigate the over 400 complaints made to both the agency and ITV, the channel on which “Downton” airs, saying that it provided a proper warning before the show about the content. But now that it has aired on PBS here in America, a large share of the criticism is coming from feminist bloggers who take issue with how the rape was handled on the show. Keep reading »
UPDATE, 3:30: Matthew Barnett plead guilty to the child endangerment charge this afternoon as part of a plea deal. He was sentenced to two years of probation and a four-month suspended jail term. [AP]
Matthew Barnett, the teenaged boy from Maryville, Missouri, who initially saw charges against him dropped in the alleged sexual assault of Daisy Coleman, was charged today with a single count of misdemeanor child endangerment.
And … that’s it.
You read that right: No sexual assault charge whatsoever. Keep reading »
UPDATE, 7/14/14: Conor Oberst’s accuser, Joanie Faircloth, released a statement today admitting her accusations were “100 percent false.”
The recent rape allegations against Conor Oberst of the band Bright Eyes hit really, uncomfortably close to home for me.
In the past few weeks, it’s come to light that an anonymous xoJane commenter confessed in a comment in a post thread that when she was 16, a decade ago, she had some inappropriate sexual contact with Oberst, who was in his mid-twenties at the time. The comments have since been deleted but a rape allegation was made; the commenter wrote that her husband had encouraged her to “out” Oberst as a means of empowerment. Keep reading »
Daisy Coleman, the Maryville, Missouri, teenager whose rape by a politically well-connected classmate attracted nationwide attention, tried to commit suicide this week.
Daisy was raped in 2012 at age 14 by some of her male classmates at a party she attended with a girl friend. Both girls were given alcohol by older boys and allegedly raped while drunk; one of the rapes was allegedly recorded with an iPhone camera and passed around school. The night, the boys dropped Daisy and her friend, Paige Parkhurst, off at Daisy’s home. While Paige made it inside, Daisy was left outside on the front lawn overnight in freezing temperatures while drunk. Her alleged rapist, high school football player Matthew Barnett, then 17, had all charges dismissed against him. Matthew is the grandson of a MO state representative. Keep reading »