“What would you like to see happen as a result of this process?” I was asked this question by friends and family in late October of 2012. Then in November by two officers from the LAPD. Later, by a detective. And three more times by the university staff members assigned to adjudicate my report of sexual assault –– most recently, on April 2.
This question has haunted me, as I infer it haunts other rape survivors. I have never been able to answer it. Until now.
Invited to write about my experience as a rape victim who is attempting to “seek justice,” it occurred to me finally: I just want to stop the rape. That’s what I want.
My rape and the ensuing process was fairly typical. I trusted a man I was getting to know not to rape me. Then, once raped, I struggled to re-interpret myself as not-raped, because the pain and horror of accepting I had been raped was too much for me to bear. Typical.
Where my story isn’t as typical begins about one month ago. After my university failed to take immediate action against the student who raped me (despite having been provided with several audio recordings in which my rapist confessed to raping me) and after I became so socially ostracized that I contemplated suicide, it was suggested to me that I did not have to wait for the world to decide whether it would advocate for me or not.
I could self-advocate. I could post my name and photograph and his name and photograph to the Internet.
And so I did. Keep reading »
The Department of Justice issued new national medical guidelines yesterday revising the 2004 standard of care for victims of sexual assault. Instead of focusing on the criminal justice aspect of evidence collection during the medical exams, the emphasis now is to support the victim’s health needs — including offering female victims yemergency contraception or information on how to obtain EC. The guidelines also encourage victims to undergo forensic evidence collection, even if she does not plan to report the rape to police immediately, and stipulates how evidence should be collected and what equipment should be used to do so. As explained by The New York Times, “The guidelines emphasize that the rape victim’s physical and emotional needs should take precedence over criminal justice considerations.” Keep reading »
accountability, noun — the quality or state of being accountable; especially: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions
It must be nice to be Steubenville, Ohio, football coach Reno Saccoccia. Coach Saccoccia is required by law to report child abuse and is said to have known about the rape of an unconcious teenaged girl by two Steubenville football players — a text message from Trent Mays, one of the two football players convicted of rape last month, said “I got Reno. He took care of it and shit ain’t gonna happen, even if they did take it to court. Like he was joking about it so I’m not worried.” Saccoccia also did not punish the players involved nearly harshly enough, allowing them to play eight games of the 10-game season. Yet he has had a two-year contract with Steubenville City Schools renewed; in addition to coaching the Steubenville football team, which is a separate contract, Saccoccia is newly confirmed as the director of administrative services, a position which requires Board of Education approval.
In other words, even though this man is roundly considered to have done next to nothing to hold the convicted rapists on his football team accountable for their actions, the city of Steubenville still wants to give him a paycheck. It’s mind-boggling. [WTOV9, The Atlantic Wire]
A five-year-old girl in India was abducted and raped last week by a neighbor who held her captive for three days and left her for dead. She suffered serious internal injuries and is now hospitalized in New Dehli critical condition. As of Monday morning, two men have been arrested in connection with the rape.
Keep reading »
In yet another case of a school valuing athletic prowess over student safety and justice, a Michigan high school has just been sued by the National Women’s Law Center for failing to respond to a sexual attack on school grounds–because the perpetrator happened to be a star player on the basketball team.
The chilling story goes like this: in 2010, a female student (Jane Doe) was sexually assaulted in Forest Hills Central High School’s soundproof band room by a well-known member of the boy’s basketball team. Jane reported the attack to a teacher, who alerted the school principal. The principal held a meeting with Jane and her parents, not to offer the school’s help in bringing Jane’s attacker to justice, but to discourage them from pressing charges. Why? To protect the young man’s chances of getting recruited to a top college team, of course! (Because if Steubenville taught us anything, it’s that there’s nothing more important than protecting the promising futures of young rapists.) Keep reading »
The Wall Street Journal is about as publicity stunt-y as The New York Times’ Style section in terms of publishing articles guaranteed to kick up a fuss. But the WSJ, being owned by Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp (Fox News, etc.), leads with a conservative slant. This week’s case-in-point is an op-ed by lawyer Judith Grossman, whose son was accused of vaguely stated sexual misconduct by an ex-girlfriend at his college and subjected to a messy campus tribunal process.
You can read the entire piece here, but the summarized version is that her son was accused by an ex-girlfriend of “nonconsensual sex,” as Grossman puts it, “that supposedly occurred during the course of their relationship a few years earlier.” She then describes the “nightmare” her son and family endured through the college’s tribunal process. Her son was given written notice of the charges against him from the campus Title IX officer, listed in “a barrage of vague statements.” Writes Grossman, “The letter lacked even the most basic information about the acts alleged to have happened years before. Nor were the allegations supported by any evidence other than the word of the ex-girlfriend.” During the two-hour tribunal process, her son was grilled by the campus. Eventually the charges against him were dismissed — an outcome, Grossman implies, attributed to the fact he has a lawyer for a mother who was able to advise him on how to handle it. Keep reading »