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These photos that were requested in this case are not particularly sensational.

Oh, no — THESE photos weren’t important at all:

Rape is Rape … Except When You’re a Female Detainee
When Obama Whitewashed Rape

The court order stipulated the release of an estimated 2,000 photographs taken from Abu Ghraib and six other prisons across Iraq and Afghanistan. According to Major General Antonio Taguba, who led the formal inquiry into prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, the photographs in question depict “torture, abuse, rape and every indecency.”

Explaining his decision to ignore the order, President Obama argued, “The most direct consequence of releasing [the photographs], I believe, would be to inflame anti-American public opinion and to put our troops in greater danger.”

I think I found the perfect keynote speaker for your college’s next Take Back the Night rally!

President Obama went on to add, apparently with no sense of shame whatsoever, “I want to emphasize that these photos that were requested in this case are not particularly sensational.”

And as a precautionary measure against the possibility that rape is actually “sensational” — especially when perpetrated (and gleefully documented) by the U.S military — the Pentagon’s official position on this matter is that the photographs in question do not even exist. Indeed, it’s unlikely that any of this “rape” stuff even happened. There’s certainly no evidence to support such wild claims.

But what about the video Major General Taguba obtained during his investigation, which shows “a male American soldier in uniform sodomizing a female detainee“? Don’t worry, that’s not “particularly sensational.” No need to fret! Move along! Also: that video doesn’t exist, and that never happened.

How about the photograph that depicts “an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner”? Or the photograph that shows “a male translator raping a male detainee”? Or the countless photographs which are said to document “sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube”? How about the photo that shows “a female prisoner having her clothing forcibly removed to expose her breasts”?

That’s just a long list of “not particularly sensational”, misinformed speculation. Please try to remember: these photographs don’t even exist, according to the Obama Administration.

You could go read the whole thing but, it will probably make you sick. And then you wouldn’t want to know this:

Justice Department Ends Investigation Into Bush-Era Torture, With No Charges

Well, that’s that.

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The Mourning After Pill

Brought to you by Mr. Deity and Lucy

Mr. Deity has a regular youtube series satirizing religion and features guest skeptics, like Michael Shermer.  But he’s gotten some flak over this video and accusations that he’s shilling for the Democrats, which shows that some people don’t really *get* Mr. Deity.  Mr. Deity is about how ridiculous religious judgmentalism is and pokes holes in the reasoning behind it.  While Mr. Deity and Lucy (for Lucifer) step out of character for this video, the video is not inconsistent with their criticism of religion in general.

Still, it must be annoying to have to answer comments like these:

  • When did Mr. Deity just become a spokeshole for the Democratic Party? I suppose there’s some snarky response chambered and “We’ll return to our regularly scheduled broadcast after the election” but I am disappoint. Lord knows I don’t want a social conservative in any office, let alone one that’s been insulated to the extent that he believes in mythical biological mechanisms, however it’s genuinely douchey to be a shill for the Dems and trying to tie in Paul Ryan.

    promontorium 1 day ago

  • First of all, I find it enlightening that in your mind standing up for rape victims makes me a schill for the Democrats. That’s apparently not something a Republican would do(?). Second, Ryan is connected because he and Akin co-sponsored a bill redefining rape as “forceable rape.” You don’t need an adjective before the word rape — as Ryan now understands… “rape is rape.” It saddens me when good people like you see this stuff only through the lens of politics, rather than right and wrong.

    misterdeity in reply to promontorium 18 hours ago

Violet’s take on female self-defense mechanisms

She totally wants it.

Violet Socks at Reclusive Leftist comments on Todd Akin’s assertion that womens’ bodies can deal with unwanted intercourse. Akin said, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down”

Violet speculates on the ideal rape self-defense mechanisms women might have developed:

So, presumably, he thinks that God Himself specifically equipped women with the magical, hitherto unknown superpower ability to “shut that whole thing down” so as not to get pregnant from rape. But why only that? Why didn’t God go further, and give us the superpower ability to, I don’t know, secrete a toxin that would instantly dissolve the human penis that’s being forced into our bodies? Or maybe the superpower ability to cause the owner of said penis to keel over and die? Or even better, perhaps we could have the superpower ability to detect a potential rapist before he even gets started, and then emit a fantastically noxious pheromone that would knock the fucker over and render him senseless.

Funny what you can come up with when you let your imagination and righteous indignation roam without supervision.  Violet’s talents are wasted on a blog.  I’d read any science fiction she wants to write.

I don’t know whether the absence of these built in self-defense mechanisms is more evidence that God doesn’t exist or that rape is evolutionally favorable.  Depressing.

Still, Akin might have saved himself a lot of ridicule and consternation if he had just taken the trouble of reading up on the women who were systematically raped in Bosnia and Sudan in the recent past.  Akin just felt the truthiness in his gut.  Either that or there is no such thing as rape.  All women secretly want it.  That’s why they let their shields down and get knocked up.

What’s really amusing is that Claire McCaskill was trailing this braintrust.  Well, it *would* be funny if there weren’t so few women in Congress and McCaskill wasn’t such a craven Obama fangirl who doesn’t want anyone to know she’s a Democrat.  It makes me feel sorry for Missouri’s children.  They didn’t choose to be raised and educated in Missouri.

Getting justice for Assange without cheapening rape allegations

If I were the Swedish women who filed rape allegations against Julian Assange, I would be positively livid that the Swedish government didn’t do all that was humanly possible to make sure he stood trial in Sweden, was convicted in Sweden and spent all of the jail time that was coming to him in Sweden.

The fact that the Swedes are not guaranteeing that Julian Assange will not be turned over to (fall into the hands of, intercepted on the way, captured by a separate entity and turned over to, you imagine the permutations, use your imagination) the US once he is extradited to Sweden tells me everything I need to know about how seriously Sweden is taking the accusations of rape.

All you hyperventilating “feminists” who are screaming for Assange to be strung up by his balls even though nothing has been proven yet, should be outraged that Sweden is not absolutely committed to bringing Assange to trial in Sweden.

An accusation does not mean the guy is guilty.  Yeah, yeah, I know what you *feel* based on what you’ve read but you’ve only heard one side of the story.  It was a similar attitude that drove people over the edge in the Casey Anthony trial.  They just *feel* she’s guilty of murder.  Without evidence, they couldn’t convict her of a damn thing.  Maybe she did something, maybe she didn’t.  Anger and truthiness doesn’t make it OK to convict someone without a trial no matter how much you sympathize with the victims.  It is precisely the reason why we have due process and all that shit that the US threw out the window after 9/11.  Lynch mobs are unacceptable.  Innocent people can be hurt.  Oh, sure, to some of you, you just know that he did it because you automatically identify with the accusers.  But that’s not the way the law works.

If Sweden wants a trial for rape, if it considers the allegations to be serious and wants justice for the victims, it’s pretty easy to agree not to send him to the US.  If he turns out to not be guilty, offer him asylum in Sweden.  How hard is this??  What does the US have to do with a rape in Sweden?  The answer is- nothing.  The US wants to do to him what we do to other people who we want to punish without actually having to go through the bother of having a trial and presenting evidence.  I guarantee you that if Assange comes to the US, he’ll be treated like an enemy combatant, stuck in a jail indefinitely and never come to trial because his “crime” concerns state secrets that can’t be presented in court.  To be honest, none of us are safe from that kind of treatment.  It started under Bush but it got worse under Obama.  It’s yet one more reason why I will NEVER vote for Obama.  He violates every American standard of justice that I believe in.

I’m sure that it’s in the best interests of the US to whip up a frenzy over a rape and make it look like he has to answer to US, but such is not the case.  The issue is being deliberately confused so that even if Assange is found to have done nothing in Sweden, deep sixxing him in a US jail is going to look acceptable because he now looks like a rapist.  But that’s not justice.  If the Swedes want to try him for rape, let them try him for rape.  If the US wants to try him for accepting classified information, let them apply for extradition based on that.  But let’s not haul his ass off to jail in the US based on a crime that may or may not have happened in Sweden.

Apparently, this is how the Ecuadorans see the situation as well.

The fact that Sweden isn’t moving heaven and earth to guarantee that justice for the alleged rape victims happens in Sweden tells me everything I need to know about how whistleblowers will be treated in the future.  They’ll be accused of bestiality or pedophilia or rape.  And the disgust that will be provoked in the audience will be enough to make the whistleblower look bad no matter what they did.  The practice will become so common that it will become positively Soviet and people around the world will roll their eyes when another rape allegation comes out against a person who has gone afoul of the political system.

The people who are being denied justice right now are the alleged victims and their credibility will always be questioned because Sweden wouldn’t pursue the alleged perpetrator to face justice in Sweden and only Sweden.  It is Sweden that is trivializing and cheapening allegations of rape.

Comments are closed for this post.  People are not thinking rationally because they are angry.  I’m not interested in debating irrational, angry people, just like I don’t want to argue with a foaming at the mouth nutcase that wants to string up Casey Anthony.

Get a grip.  You’re not helping rape victims.  And if there are any comment planters in the audience, go peddle your wares elsewhere.

Something’s happening here

While Republicans have backed off their wildly offensive & dangerous plan to redefine rape as “forcible rape”, two recent bills make it clear their frightening disregard for the safety of and respect for women continues.

Here’s Violet, the Reclusive Leftist, discussing the first:

These are the people who want you to die

If you’re a pregnant woman, that is. You’ve probably read about the “Let Women Die” Act currently in the House; the bill would allow hospitals to simply refuse to provide emergency life-saving medical care to a pregnant woman if such care involves aborting the fetus. I was fascinated to see that the bill, which was introduced by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Andromeda Galaxy), has 100 co-sponsors. One hundred! That’s almost one-fourth of the entire House of Representatives. Here they are:

100 co-sponsors! All but one of the Kansas Representatives (and one a woman!) signed on.   I wonder if there’s a corresponding bill planned that they MUST save the woman if letting her die would kill the fetus?  Probably not.

And today, there is this cheerful piece of news:

Georgia Republican’s bill would reclassify rape victims as ‘accusers’

When is a rape victim legally a victim of rape?

According to a Georgia state representative, the term “victim” should be applied only after the accused has been convicted.

State Rep. Bobby Franklin (R-Marietta) recently introduced a bill mandating that not only victims of rape be re-classified as “accusers,” but victims of stalking, harassment, and family violence should as well.

If passed, the legislation [PDF] would amend state criminal law “in the context of a number of statutes making reference to circumstances where there has not yet been a criminal conviction; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.”

Critics said that they feared Franklin’s bill would decrease reports of rape, which is itself already an underreported crime [PDF], according to the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

I don’t know what’s behind this apparently sudden volley of aggressively anti-woman legislation.  But, it seems to me that we’d better be watching our legislators very closely.  These bills might be shot down in the next week or two.  But, these guys have an agenda and something tells me we’re just beginning to see it.

As bad as they are, the thing that worries me isn’t so much out-in-the-open bills like these.  What worries me is that the stuff in these bills could be slipped into other — bigger — critically “important” bills.  And actually get passed.

That’s what I’m worried about.  How about you?

Are women real citizens or not? Not if we have no control over our own bodies.

CBS News graphic

I came across a shocking story a few days ago, and I just can’t stop thinking about it. The story is about a young college student who was raped at a party, after apparently being drugged. How many times have we heard this story? Well, it happened to “Hannah” in December of 2006. Here’s Hannah’s story, magnificently told by Amanda Hess at the Washington City Paper.

The story is long, but I hope you can take the time to read the whole thing.

The gist of it is that Hannah was dancing with Bilal, another Howard University student whom she knew slightly. This is her last memory of that night:

“He was getting a little rough, and I remember trying to kind of just get away from him,” she recalled in the deposition. “I remember I tried to stop dancing with him.…[There was] a little too much of sexual suggestion.…just touching me too much.” She started to feel blurry, woozy, dizzy, “and then nothing.”

The young men who threw the party supposedly had a rule that no one was allowed upstairs. They even had a furniture barricade and a bouncer guarding the staircase. But somehow Hannah ended up in the upstairs bathroom anyway. The next morning, Hannah

woke up in her Howard University dorm room with a piece of her life missing. Hannah, a 19-year-old sophomore, had unexplained pain in her rectum and hip. Her panty liner, which she had worn the night before, was missing. Vomit dotted her gloves and coat. Her friend Kerston lay beside her in the skinny dorm room bed. Kerston told Hannah not to shower—they had to go back to the hospital to secure a rape kit.

Hannah had been fortunate in that her girlfriends stuck by her. They demanded to be allowed upstairs to look for her and kept insisting they wouldn’t leave with out her even when the bouncer and the young men who lived in the house tried to make them leave. Hannah was finally allowed to come downstairs, and one of her friends stayed with her all night to make sure she didn’t shower or do anything else to prevent evidence from being collected.

Hannah was so ill that she couldn’t stop vomiting, even the next morning. She was in pain in her rectum and her hip and leg hurt so much she was limping. When her friends got her to the hospital, she was terribly sick and incoherent from whatever drug she had been given.

You’d think a doctor or nurse would realize that this young woman had been hurt and probably given a date rape drug, and would at least treat her injuries. But that isn’t what happened to Hannah, because in Washington D.C., only the police can determine whether someone was raped. The hospital refused to give Hannah a rape kit because the police determined that, since she couldn’t remember the last name of the young man she was dancing with and since she had been drinking and “must have blacked out,” she couldn’t be given official rape victim status.

About a year ago, I wrote a post about the LAPD’s shameful backlog on analyzing rape kits. But until now, I had no idea that hospitals didn’t routinely collect rape kits–evidence that could be used in a prosecution of the crime.

Hannah was drugged and raped, and the next day she was re-traumatized by having to deal with two misogynistic bureaucracies–the DC police and the Howard University Hospital. According to Amanda Hess, a program called SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) was in effect in DC area hospitals at the time of Hannah’s rape. This program was supposed to prevent rape victims from having to sit in emergency rooms for 12 hours waiting to be seen. But it wasn’t easy to find a hospital that would participate in the program.

“One hospital’s response literally was, ‘We don’t want to be the rape hospital,’” [a sane spokewoman said]. Finally, Howard University Hospital agreed to host the program, providing local rape victims a greater chance of seeking justice from their attackers. But once the program was established at Howard, rape victims encountered another problem: All victims would have to receive police authorization before receiving an examination.

That was the Catch-22. The police had to authorize a rape kit, and the police decided Hannah couldn’t have one. Therefore, no police report was taken, no charges were filed, and no one went to the scene of the crime to collect evidence!
Continue reading

“It’s what we might expect in Afghanistan, not in the United States.”

DNA under microscope

DNA under microscope

That is how Nicholas Kristof ended his column yesterday about the low priority law enforcment has been putting on testing for DNA in open rape cases. Kristof writes:

When a woman reports a rape, her body is a crime scene. She is typically asked to undress over a large sheet of white paper to collect hairs or fibers, and then her body is examined with an ultraviolet light, photographed and thoroughly swabbed for the rapist’s DNA.

It’s a grueling and invasive process that can last four to six hours and produces a “rape kit” — which, it turns out, often sits around for months or years, unopened and untested.

Stunningly often, the rape kit isn’t tested at all because it’s not deemed a priority. If it is tested, this happens at such a lackadaisical pace that it may be a year or more before there are results (if expedited, results are technically possible in a week).

I was shocked to read that rape kits are not routinely and promptly processed so that perpetrators’ DNA can be checked against DNA databases, although I probably shouldn’t have been. This is just another sign of the low value put on women’s lives in American culture. But thanks to a March 31, 2009 report from Human Rights Watch on the backlog of unprocessed rape kids in Los Angeles County (linked in the Kristof op-ed), this outrageous situation is getting some much needed attention in the media. Perhaps some other police departments can be shamed into changing their attitudes toward investigating rapes and tracking down the perpetrators. Continue reading