WBEZ | rape http://www.wbez.org/tags/rape Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The Cultural Impact of Bill Cosby’s Arrest http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-06/cultural-impact-bill-cosby%E2%80%99s-arrest-114396 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/15632863209_c03270276b_h.jpg" style="height: 259px; width: 310px; float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="(flickr/Ted Eytan)" />The last year for actor-comedian-philanthropist Bill Cosby was rife with allegations of sexual assault, and now for the first time he&rsquo;s facing criminal charges. The Black community has had mixed feelings about Cosby&rsquo;s innocence or guilt, leaving some feeling betrayed. Is the Black community alone in this? NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans explains the cultural impact of Cosby&rsquo;s arrest.&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 06 Jan 2016 14:20:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-06/cultural-impact-bill-cosby%E2%80%99s-arrest-114396 For some teen girls, surviving a rape can mean losing an education http://www.wbez.org/news/some-teen-girls-surviving-rape-can-mean-losing-education-113698 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/npr_4_3_15_slteens-73f5e54fe48c3617f3dd3844c55e5957a61141d3-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res455034458" previewtitle="Maria Fabrizio for NPR"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Maria Fabrizio for NPR" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/06/npr_4_3_15_slteens-73f5e54fe48c3617f3dd3844c55e5957a61141d3-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="(Maria Fabrizio for NPR)" /></div><div><div>Last spring, with the Ebola outbreak under control, students in Sierra Leone returned to school after a months-long hiatus. But absent from the classrooms were several thousand adolescent girls. A law that went into effect in April bars &quot;visibly pregnant&quot; students from school.</div></div></div><p>The consequences of this new law have been heartbreaking, says Esther Major, who researches economic, social and cultural rights at Amnesty International. &quot;A 12-year-old girl I interviewed was five months pregnant. She was raped &mdash; and my heart broke,&quot; Major recalls. &quot;And she told me of her hopes and dreams to help people in the future but now she feels she won&#39;t be able to do that.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p>Major co-authored&nbsp;<a href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/afr51/2695/2015/en/">a report</a>&nbsp;Amnesty published this Friday titled&nbsp;<em>Shamed and Blamed: Pregnant girls&#39; rights at risk in Sierra Leone</em>.&nbsp;We asked her to tell us more about the law and its effects.</p><p>The interview has been edited for length and clarity.</p><hr /><p><strong>Why is Sierra Leone banning pregnant students?</strong></p><p>This official ban occurred in April, but we know that the practice had gone on informally for a long time.</p><p>Moijueh Kaikai, the minister of social welfare, told us that he could not have pregnant girls with normal girls because it&#39;ll encourage other girls in the class to get pregnant. He said, &quot;During the Ebola outbreak children were given clear instructions: Do not touch... These girls could not even comply with basic rules and there must be consequences for their actions.&quot;</p><div id="res455034500"><div><strong>RELATED:&nbsp;<a data-metrics="{&quot;category&quot;:&quot;Story to Story&quot;,&quot;action&quot;:&quot;Click Internal Link&quot;,&quot;label&quot;:&quot;http:\/\/www.npr.org\/sections\/goatsandsoda\/2015\/04\/06\/397272538\/visibly-pregnant-girls-are-banned-from-school-in-sierra-leone&quot;}" href="http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/04/06/397272538/visibly-pregnant-girls-are-banned-from-school-in-sierra-leone">&#39;Visibly Pregnant&#39; Girls Are Banned From School In Sierra Leone</a></strong></div></div><p>This language is deeply concerning. There is among many the idea that the girls have &quot;chosen&quot; pregnancy and should be punished as a result. But many of these girls are either victims of sexual violence or they didn&#39;t have the information or the health services to avoid early pregnancy. And even if they did choose to become pregnant, they should not have the right for an education taken away from them.</p><p><strong>Can these girls go back to school once they&#39;ve had the baby?</strong></p><p>Because they don&#39;t have the support and finances to have child care, the likelihood of their returning to school after giving birth is very, very slim.</p><p>Girls talked to us about their desire to contribute to their country and how they wanted to be nurses, doctors and lawyers, and would love to go to school if given the chance to do so. In particular one girl said how humiliated she felt when she found out she was pregnant and her school bag and books were given to her younger sister.</p><p><strong>Pregnant girls are also banned from taking national exams coming up this month, right?</strong></p><p>Yes. These two sets of exams on Nov. 23 are crucial. One set determines who can go on to senior high school. And the other set is for graduating seniors, in rough American terms similar to a high school diploma.</p><p>Some girls in desperation inevitably are going to try to hide their pregnancy in order to be able to sit these crucial exams. In our interviews, we heard that girls were strapping their stomachs down in order to pass for non-pregnant in order to be able to sit the exams.</p><p><strong>So &quot;visibly pregnant&quot; students are banned. But do schools actually check to see if girls are pregnant?</strong></p><p>We spoke to girls who had their breasts and stomachs touched and some were being forced to give urine tests.</p><p><strong>Your report recommends that pregnant girls should be allowed back in school and allowed to take exams. What else do you and your colleagues recommend?</strong></p><p>Schools should be prohibited from the treating girls in this degrading way to ascertain their pregnancy status.</p><p>One of the girls said to us, &quot;Instead of banning us from school, why didn&#39;t they give us sex education?&quot;</p><p>Instead of punishing the girls they should be punishing rapists. And giving the girls the information, health services and support they need to go forward.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/11/09/455012815/for-some-teen-girls-surviving-a-rape-can-mean-losing-an-education?ft=nprml&amp;f=455012815" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 09 Nov 2015 12:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/some-teen-girls-surviving-rape-can-mean-losing-education-113698 For students accused of campus rape, legal victories win back rights http://www.wbez.org/news/students-accused-campus-rape-legal-victories-win-back-rights-113350 <p><div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/As%20colleges%20have%20been%20cracking%20down%20on%20campus%20sexual%20assault%2C%20some%20students%20have%20been%20complaining%20that%20schools%20are%20going%20too%20far%20and%20trampling%20the%20rights%20of%20the%20accused%20in%20the%20process..jpg" style="height: 440px; width: 620px;" title="As colleges have been cracking down on campus sexual assault, some students have been complaining that schools are going too far and trampling the rights of the accused in the process. (Alberto Ruggieri/Illustration Works/Getty Images)" /></div><div><p>College students can&#39;t miss the warnings these days about the risk of campus sexual assault, but increasingly, some students are also taking note of what they perceive as a different danger.</p><p>&quot;Once you are accused, you&#39;re guilty,&quot; says Parker Oaks, one of several Boston University students stopped by NPR between classes. &quot;We&#39;re living in a society where you&#39;re guilty before innocent now.&quot;</p><p>Xavier Adsera, another BU student, sounds a similar theme. &quot;We used to not be fair to women on this issue,&quot; he says. &quot;Now we&#39;re on the other extreme, not being fair to guys.&quot;</p><p>As colleges crack down on sexual assault, some students complain that the schools are going too far and trampling the rights of the accused in the process. In recent months, courts around the nation have offered some of those students significant victories, slamming schools for systems that are stacked against the accused.</p><p>&quot;Schools are overcorrecting,&quot; says a student from the University of California, San Diego. &quot;People like me are always getting hurt.&quot;</p><p>The student, who was suspended last spring after a fellow student accused him of sexual assault, asked to remain anonymous to protect his reputation. He says he was shocked by the accusation and denies any nonconsensual contact. He and his accuser had been hanging out, texting, partying and studying together on friendly terms for months after the alleged assault, he says. And he says he still has text messages to prove it, including her messages asking to come over to his place and share drinks, or &quot;pre-game,&quot; together before a party.</p><p>But he says he never had a chance to make his case because the school wouldn&#39;t let him introduce his text messages as evidence, challenge the investigator or effectively cross-examine his accuser.</p></div><p>&quot;I was so angry because that was really my sole opportunity to defend myself,&quot; he says.</p><p>So he took his&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nacua.org/documents/Doe_v_RegentsUCASanDiego.pdf">case to court</a>, filing as John Doe, and won what&#39;s being called a landmark ruling against UC-San Diego. The judge said the school&#39;s process was unfairly skewed against Doe and ordered the school to reinstate him. &quot;While the Court respects the university&#39;s determination to address sexual abuse and violence on its campus,&quot; wrote Superior Court Judge Joel M. Pressman, &quot;the hearing against petitioner was unfair.&quot;</p><p>&quot;I was ecstatic at that point,&quot; Doe says. &quot;It kind of took some b**** for a judge to come out and make the decision that they made, because every single point that we raised about unfairness and lack of evidence, the judge agreed with.&quot;</p><p>&quot;A case like this makes for a really easy lesson to say, &#39;This is what not to do,&#39;, &quot; says Western New England University law school professor Erin Buzuvis, who&nbsp;<a href="http://title-ix.blogspot.com/">blogs about sexual assault</a>&nbsp;and also consults to universities on how to handle allegations. The San Diego ruling is one of a recent flurry of decisions slamming schools for systems stacked against accused students.</p><p>In the past few months, Middlebury College and the University of Southern California were both ordered to reinstate expelled students. So was the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga after a judge ruled the school was basically upending a fundamental principle of justice by making an accused perpetrator prove he wasn&#39;t guilty.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;ve looked at what a university has done and thought, &#39;Oh, gosh, what are you thinking?&#39; &quot; Buzuvis says.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" in="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_120314163508.jpg" style="height: 227px; width: 310px; float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="This Wednesday, March 14, 2012 photo shows attorney Wendy Murphy in the law library at the New England School of Law in Boston. Murphy, who has filed numerous Title IX complaints on behalf of victims, says colleges cave too easily in the face of threatened lawsuits from students accused of sexual violence. Most victims don't have the resources to pursue lawsuits, which is precisely why Title IX procedures on campus must work for them. That means putting a thumb on the scale in favor of victims - such as the &quot;preponderance of the evidence&quot; standard the Obama administration has said schools must use in adjudicating such cases. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)" />Some 50 challenges lodged by accused students are now in the pipeline; that&#39;s up from about a dozen just two years ago. Even one of the more brazen lawsuits, which claims a kind of reverse discrimination in federal court, recently logged a rare (albeit preliminary) legal victory.</p><p>The case, against Washington and Lee University, argues that overzealous administrators, who are using Title IX to crack down on gender discrimination and sexual assault, are actually violating the federal law at the same time by systematically discriminating against men. Most such cases filed in federal court have failed to get out of the box, but a judge allowed the claim against Washington and Lee to at least survive a first hurdle.</p><p>At the same time, the public conversation around campus sexual assault is beginning to put more focus on due process for accused students, and many campuses have been adding new protections for accused students &mdash; like the right to an attorney.</p><p>Joe Cohn, who&#39;s been advocating for the rights of the accused with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, says he&#39;s heartened that two new bills on campus sexual assault include robust due-process protections. (The bills are the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/3408">Fair Campus Act</a>&nbsp;and the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/3403">Safe Campus Act</a>.) He says he also sees it as a victory that he &mdash; as an advocate for the accused &mdash; was invited to testify at a recent congressional hearing. But once there, he says, he was struck by how much more the pendulum has yet to swing.</p><p>At the hearing, Democratic Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado wondered aloud why campuses don&#39;t decide cases using a lower standard of evidence. &quot;I mean, if 10 people are accused and under reasonable likelihood standard maybe one or two did it, it seems better to get rid of all 10 people,&quot; he said. Polis has since walked back his comments, saying he &quot;went too far by implying that I support expelling innocent students from college.&quot; But Cohn says he continues to be dismayed that the comment was made and that it drew applause.</p><p>&quot;We are a ways away from reaching the kind of equilibrium that will provide fundamental fairness to everyone involved,&quot; Cohn says.</p><p>In some ways, advocates say, accused students are following much the same path that victims did: first suffering silently, thinking they&#39;re the only ones, then slowly connecting with others, then with attorneys and eventually becoming a force to be reckoned with.</p><p>&quot;The irony isn&#39;t lost on us,&quot; says Sherry Warner-Seefeld, founder of a group called Families Advocating for Campus Equality. &quot;The parallels are uncanny, frankly.&quot;</p><p>Warner-Seefeld started the group a year ago after her son was suspended for sexual assault and then won on appeal. Now, Seefeld says, she can barely keep up with calls from guys in the same situation. Many accused students see themselves as victims, she says, and they feel as traumatized as victims of sexual assault.</p><p>&quot;If we dare to suggest such a thing, there are a number of people that go pretty hysterical about that,&quot; she says. &quot;But we know for a fact that there are huge amounts of depression [among students who have been accused and punished after a hearing they claim was unfair].&quot;</p><p>Warner-Seefeld says she&#39;s encouraged by what she sees as a new trend in the courts. She says there&#39;s no question that schools have historically had a problem: automatically doubting and blaming accusers. And she&#39;s quick to add that it&#39;s still an issue. But schools need to fix that, she says, without creating a new problem by automatically doubting and blaming the accused.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/10/15/446083439/for-students-accused-of-campus-rape-legal-victories-win-back-rights?ft=nprml&amp;f=446083439"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Thu, 15 Oct 2015 10:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/students-accused-campus-rape-legal-victories-win-back-rights-113350 Worldview: The use of rape as a weapon in the Syrian war http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-03-23/worldview-use-rape-weapon-syrian-war-111753 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP843070667155.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="A Syrian refugee woman who fled violence in Syrian city of Ayn al-Arab or Kobani seen outside her tent in Turkey’s newly set-up camp in the border town of Suruc, Turkey, Friday, Jan. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/197316777&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 23.9999980926514px; line-height: 22px;">Sexual assault and the war in Syria</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-b89f245d-47f6-8992-68c6-48d11f8ca12d">Rape has been used as a tool of war, in Bosnia, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and countless other conflicts and now, in Syria. &nbsp;Many experts believe because of the social taboos around rape, the number of cases of rape in Syria has been underreported. </span></p><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-b89f245d-47f6-8992-68c6-48d11f8ca12d">Manal Omar is </span>associate vice president of the Center for the Middle East and Africa at the U.S. Institute of Peace. &nbsp;She&rsquo;s spent the last year talking with Syrian women, some of whom have been raped. She joins us to discuss how the epidemic of sexual assault is changing the way Syrian women feel about the conflict.</p><p><strong>Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em>Manal Omar is the associate vice president of the Center for the Middle East and Africa at the <a href="https://twitter.com/USIP">U.S. Institute of Peace.</a></em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/197317096&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><font color="#333333" face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-size: 23.9999980926514px; line-height: 22px;">The impact of barrel bombs on civilians in Syria</span></font></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-101d7abd-47f8-519f-c8b0-5a8bc920f0dc">Last month Syrian President Bashar Al Assad gave an interview to the BBC. In it, he denied that his government had ever used barrel bombs to target Syrian civilians. &nbsp;He called the accusations &ldquo;childish.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span><span id="docs-internal-guid-101d7abd-47f8-519f-c8b0-5a8bc920f0dc">Barrel bombs are crude and highly explosive. They&rsquo;re filled with scrap metal and nails which enhances their fragmentation when they explode.&nbsp;</span>Sometimes they&rsquo;re even filled with chemicals like chlorine. &nbsp;Last week Doctors without Borders said that barrels filled with chlorine were dropped from helicopters in the town of Sarmin. In &nbsp;a recent Op-Ed that appeared in the New York Times, Dr. Hassan (he is using a pseudonym &nbsp;out of fear for his safety) &nbsp;wrote about the carnage he says he&rsquo;s witnessed from barrel bombs. He called on the international community to stop them. He joins us to discuss the impact of the bombs on Syrian civilians.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em>Dr. Hassan is a surgeon in Aleppo, Syria. He is using a pseudonym out of concern for his safety.</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/197317573&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><font color="#333333" face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-size: 23.9999980926514px; line-height: 22px;">Women for Women International empowers women by teaching them business skills</span></font></p><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-492f58bc-47f9-fc6a-1907-cd299b648082">The war in Syria is entering its fifth year. According to the UN, &nbsp;almost half of Syria&rsquo;s population has been forced to flee since the conflict began in 2011. Now, one in four of these refugee households is headed by a woman. &nbsp;Women are tasked with seeing the survival of their families. Mandana Hendesssi &nbsp;is the Regional Director for the Middle East and European Operations at Women for Women International. The organization &nbsp;helps marginalized women in countries affected by war and conflict. They&rsquo;re supporting a program to help Syrian women in the Kawergosk refugee camp in Irbil, Iraq. There, women are receiving counseling and business skills training. They&rsquo;ve started their own businesses in the camps to meet the market needs, everything from selling clothes to offering haircuts. Mandana Hendessi tells us more about the project.</span></p><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-492f58bc-47fa-8867-6772-74344b42cd20"><strong>Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em>Mandana </em></span><em>Hendessi is the Regional Director for the Middle East and European Operations at <a href="https://twitter.com/WomenforWomen">Women for Women International.</a></em></p></p> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 13:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-03-23/worldview-use-rape-weapon-syrian-war-111753 'Push' author Sapphire revisits childhood abuse in second novel http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/push-author-sapphire-revisits-childhood-abuse-second-novel-106243 <p><p><strong><em>[Trigger Warning] </em></strong></p><p>Sapphire does not shy away from difficult subjects.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/sapphire%20penguin%20press.jpg" style="height: 450px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Sapphire (Courtesy of Penguin)" />The author, who chose her pen name as a salute to strong black women, is known for penning devastatingly realized stories of childhood sexual abuse and trauma. Her 1996 novel <em>Push&nbsp;</em>tells the story of Claireece &ldquo;Precious&rdquo; Jones, an illiterate, obese, 16-year-old girl pregnant with a second child by her own father. The novel was adapted in 2009, and the resulting film, <em>Precious</em>, garnered many accolades, including two Academy Awards. But the film also stirred controversy with its graphic depictions of incest and domestic abuse. &nbsp;</p><p>Sapphire was herself the victim of childhood sexual assault. In 2010 <a href="http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/how-author-created-film-character-precious-through-her-own-sexual-abuse-6735992.html">she told the <em>London Evening Standard</em></a> that her father, a Korean War vet, had molested her at age eight. Her mother abandoned their family five years later.</p><p>&ldquo;It was traumatic &mdash; but to be left with our crazy dad, doubly so,&quot; she told the paper.</p><p>She created the character precious from an amalgam of her own experiences and those of students she later mentored in Harlem.</p><p>Sapphire followed <em>Push</em> with a sequel, <em>The Kid</em>, in 2011. As the novel opens, we learn that Precious has died of AIDS, leaving her nine-year-old son Abdul alone in the world.</p><p>Abdul is sent to live in a Catholic orphanage, and what befalls him there is brutal and heartbreaking -- and all too familiar to anyone who follows the ever-unfolding story of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. (A new wrinkle in that story unfolded just this week, as files released by the Diocese of Joliet <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/suburbs/joliet_romeoville/chi-open-files-part-of-settlement-for-priest-sex-abuse-victim-20130320,0,440885.story">revealed decades of abuse</a> hidden by high-level clergy.)</p><p>Abdul is sexually assaulted by a priest during his time in the orphanage. And as sometimes happens to those who have been abused, he goes on in turn to become an abuser, raping younger, weaker boys living in the orphanage.</p><p>&ldquo;While numerous heterosexual black male writers and critics have bemoaned the . . . one-dimensional portrait of black man as victimizer, few have been interested in or have had the courage to explore the obvious other end of the stick: the black male as victim of sexual abuse,&rdquo; Sapphire said at a talk in Chicago last week, reading from a Q &amp; A section published alongside her novel. &ldquo;<em>The Kid</em>, among other things, begins an accurate portrayal of what happens to many young males who have been abused and their sometimes hideous response.&rdquo;</p><p>The results for Abdul are devastating, as they were for his mother. And while <em>Push</em> addressed the failure of the nuclear family to protect its children, <em>The Kid</em> takes up the failure of institutions charged with their care.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re really looking at the abandoning of the social contract in a way we didn&rsquo;t see in <em>Push</em>,&rdquo; Sapphire said. &ldquo;That was something I really wanted to show: What happens when everything except the soul of the individuals fails?&rdquo;</p><p>Sapphire read two passages from <em>The Kid</em> during her appearance at Chicago Public Library. We&rsquo;ve included an excerpt of her talk here in audio form, but please be warned. . . . &nbsp;</p><p><strong><em>TRIGGER WARNING</em>: <em>The book excerpt Sapphire reads here includes a graphic rape scene</em></strong><em>, </em>in addition to a later scene which shows some redemption and healing for her main character. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range">Dynamic Range</a></em>&nbsp;<em>showcases hidden gems unearthed from</em>&nbsp;<em><a href="https://soundcloud.com/chicago-amplified/a-conversation-with-u-s">Chicago Amplified&rsquo;s</a></em>&nbsp;<em>vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Sapphire spoke at an event presented by Chicago Public Library in March. Click</em>&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/sapphire-discusses-kid-106224">here</a>&nbsp;to hear the event in its entirety.</em></p></p> Sat, 23 Mar 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/push-author-sapphire-revisits-childhood-abuse-second-novel-106243 We need to talk about Steubenville http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-03/we-need-talk-about-steubenville-106203 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Steubenville_Rape_Protest_ap_img.jpg" style="width: 427px; height: 280px;" title="(Michael D. McElwain/AP)" /></div><div><p dir="ltr"><em><strong>TRIGGER WARNING:</strong> This blog post and the article linked in it will contain graphic details of the Steubenville rape case and may be triggering to victims of sexual assault.</em></p><p dir="ltr">Six years ago, I was raped.</p><p dir="ltr">I&rsquo;ve never been able to call it that or say the word out loud, not even once. I&rsquo;ve used other words to describe it, like &ldquo;molestation&rdquo; and &ldquo;sexual assault,&rdquo; words that don&rsquo;t invalidate the experience but make it easier for me to talk about.</p><p dir="ltr">I came out about it over a year ago in an article for In Our Words and never using the word rape. When I talked about the experience with a friend who hadn&rsquo;t read the piece, I referred to it simply as &ldquo;assault.&rdquo; She misunderstood and thought I&rsquo;d been the victim of street abuse, a mugging or other forcible attack. I didn&rsquo;t know how to tell her that her assumption was incorrect. I didn&rsquo;t know how to just say it.</p><p dir="ltr">Even after coming out as a survivor of sexual assault, I&rsquo;ve struggled with how to deal with my abuse. I never confronted my assailant, despite the pain he caused me and the fact that if I type his name into Facebook, he comes up neatly in a friend search. I could be friends with this person. I could request him and we could have a nice chat about the weather, tea or Hillary Clinton, who everyone loves now.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Isn&rsquo;t it great that she came out as a supporter of marriage equality? Isn&rsquo;t it great that spring is finally here? I can&#39;t wait for the weather to turn. Oh, isn&rsquo;t it not great that you raped me?&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">I doubt he realizes what happened or thought about me afterward, because we live in a culture that only tells us that &ldquo;No means No.&rdquo; We aren&rsquo;t told that &ldquo;I have a boyfriend&rdquo; means no or &ldquo;I&rsquo;m drunk&rdquo; means no or &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not sure about this&rdquo; means no or &ldquo;Stop&rdquo; means no or the sound of the other person crying means no. As he put his hands down my pants, asserting his power over the situation, I began to cry but instinctually covered by mouth, because I didn&rsquo;t want his friends to hear me.</p><p dir="ltr">A part of me couldn&rsquo;t out him as a rapist, and I felt sympathy when I looked at his body next to mine on the floor the following morning. I felt a strange compulsion to care for the person who had hurt me most in the world. When I talk to other survivors, I find out I&#39;m not the only person who has felt this way. I&#39;m not alone. I&#39;m never alone.</p><p dir="ltr">I felt sorry for him, even at my darkest moments. When I thought about committing suicide, multiple times, I felt sorry for him. When I had to seek help and emotional support from my mother, who should never have had to think about her child that way, I felt sorry for him. I felt sorry for him when I had to tell my boyfriend that I was raped, and he accused me of cheating on him. I felt sorry for him because even though my heart was breaking, it could break openly. I shared my experiences with close friends and family who were supportive of my struggle. I rediscovered the power of community.</p><p dir="ltr">I felt sorry for him because he had to go back into the closet, one that he still lives in. He&rsquo;s forced to hide who he is and committed unspeakable acts on someone who wanted to comfort him. That night, I thought that he might need a friend or someone to listen. I saw part of myself in him and recognized my own struggle to come out. In sharing my story publicly, having my experience affirmed, I felt sorry that he&rsquo;d never gotten the experience of putting this complicated part of his past out there.</p><p dir="ltr">Because he couldn&rsquo;t recognize his actions as vile and destructive he slept soundly after raping me, his legs sprawled out like a chalk outline at a crime scene. I felt sorry because he kissed me afterward for the first time, as if it were a stamp of approval for our &ldquo;lovemaking,&rdquo; like he was delicately kissing me goodnight.</p><p dir="ltr">I felt sorry not because he will live with this for the rest of his life, but because he&rsquo;ll never think about me again and doesn&rsquo;t know he should.</p><p dir="ltr">I think about him every day, when I want to and when I don&rsquo;t. Some days I feel ugly and disgusting. Some days it&#39;s because of what he made me feel. Some days it&#39;s not. Every once in a while I still think about killing myself, not violently or actively but passively, as if it were one of many options in a refrigerator, hidden in the block of cheese next to the almond milk. Other days I just go on Facebook. Most days I just am.</p><p dir="ltr">In the past few days, I&rsquo;ve thought about my abuser a lot. The man is still out there, tagging photos of his girlfriend on the Internet, eating at the Cheesecake Factory, unwrapping Christmas presents with his family and doing all the mundane things rapists do when they go back to their regularly scheduled lives.</p><p dir="ltr">After the Steubenville verdict came down, there&rsquo;s been a great deal of outrage for the sympathy that CNN showed the perpetrators of this heinous act, sympathy that didn&rsquo;t seem to be shared for the victim. We were outraged that CNN expressed sorrow toward the rapists&rsquo; loss of potential. I was outraged, so outraged I could barely see.</p><p dir="ltr">However, I shared in their paradoxical sorrow on Monday. I felt sorry. I feel sorry -- very, very, very sorry.</p><p dir="ltr">I&rsquo;m sorry for the Steubenville football players who raped the Jane Doe not because their actions deserve my sympathy or their status as local sports heroes, good students, sons or brothers warrants my regard. I feel sorry for them because they photographed their victim and mocked her brutal rape as if it were a clever inside joke between friends. I feel sorry for them because they are so casually sociopathic that they couldn&rsquo;t recognize dragging someone&rsquo;s naked, unconscious corpse outside through the grass and dirt as anything but a funny prank. I feel sorry for them because it took a jury of their peers and the onslaught of the feminist media to recognize what they did as reprehensible, not just what boys do. I feel sorry that any person has such capacity to harm anyone else and then broadcast it for social media consumption as if she were a boxing match on Pay-Per-View. I feel sorry that we<a href="http://www.jennytrout.blogspot.com/2013/03/i-didnt-know-exactly-what-rape-was.html?zx=78f9d02c5ac7b460"> still don&#39;t know</a> what abuse is.</p><p dir="ltr">I&rsquo;m sorry that they live in a community that doesn&rsquo;t teach them to value female bodies and to think so little of human life that they could say that she looked &ldquo;deader than O.J.&rsquo;s wife,&rdquo; as if domestic violence and murder were coyly de rigueur.</p><p dir="ltr">They are the most at fault in the situation and deserve to be punished for every single thing they did to that girl, but what about the bystanders who watched it happen and didn&rsquo;t think they were witnessing a rape or the football coach who encouraged them to laugh off the situation? What about the Steubenville community who continues to hold them up as heroes? How do we punish that?</p><p dir="ltr">I&rsquo;m sorry that they are raised to be men in a culture that upholds violence against women as a form of masculine camaraderie and that anyone should have to teach them not to rape -- that not torturing and victimizing their friend is a conversation that ever needs to happen. In this case, that conversation never happened at all, in a society that puts the burden on women not to get rape and then blames them for enticing men. We teach women that certain types of behavior provoke rape and that being modest and demure in dress helps women keep their virtue. I wasn&rsquo;t wearing a short skirt. Did my blue jeans prevent my rape? Nothing can prevent rape, except not raping someone. Not being an entitled d*ck prevents rape, not your choice of clothing.</p><p dir="ltr">I&rsquo;m sorry that many have rushed to defend them for being rapists and that many will continue to uphold their male privilege, as if their behavior were biological and natural, and those two boys, despite their public apologies and courtroom tears, will secretly believe she was asking for it. After the victim, whose name will not be printed here out of respect for her suffering, reported her rape, she has been harassed by a community that we are told exist to ensure her safety. If she were kidnapped, her face would be splashed all over the news, but she is in the public eye, again against her will, and people have so little compassion that they think she wanted this. No one asks to be bullied or criticized and forced out of their community by those who love them.</p><p dir="ltr">I&rsquo;m sorry that I&rsquo;ve heard continual apologies written about the football players who perpetrated this violence but almost nothing about the strike on her permanent public record. The Jane Doe attended a neighboring school, where she was an honors student and at the top of her class, but not a single account of the case I&rsquo;ve read fawned over her academic achievements of lamented her &ldquo;bright future.&rdquo; A story on Yahoo! discussed how the Steubenville football team was the &ldquo;<a href="http://sports.yahoo.com/news/highschool--steubenville-high-school-football-players-found-guilty-of-raping-16-year-old-girl-164129528.html">pride of the community</a>,&rdquo; but what about this girl? Why can&rsquo;t we have pride in her academia or her courage in coming forward with her story, in the face of insurmountable odds and a system that favors abusers? That&rsquo;s the kind of strength I want to champion. This girl is a hero.</p><p dir="ltr">I&rsquo;m sorry that these men will continue to see their victim as weak and helpless and will never be witness to the quiet courage that comes from living every day as a victim of abuse. They&rsquo;ll never meet my mother, who was beaten in the face with a box fan by her ex-husband, a man she had to go into hiding to escape. They&rsquo;ll never meet my high school best friend who was raped by her boyfriend, who didn&rsquo;t know he could rape her. They&rsquo;ll never meet the friend who put his hand in my underwear at a bar when he was drunk and I was not, the man who didn&rsquo;t realize that he was sexually assaulting me -- because he wasn&rsquo;t aware that was not my definition of fun. They&rsquo;ll never meet the friends who made excuses for him or the boyfriend who asked me if I liked it. They&rsquo;ll never understand that rape isn&rsquo;t always the man on the street. Rape can be someone you trust with your life.</p><p dir="ltr">I&rsquo;m sorry that the Steubenville rapists will be locked away by our criminal justice system, punished in a system that profits off of their recidivism and their repeated mistakes rather than helping them to grow, change or stop raping people. We live in a culture that confronts our problems by locking them away, looking at the criminal justice system as the ultimate form of closure. What about the women who continue to be abused every day, whose assaults are erased by a system that shames them into silence, or the men who are told they cannot be raped? When will we finally recognize rape as a culture we are all complicit in?</p><p dir="ltr">I&rsquo;m sorry that it took the severity of these crimes, our &quot;<a href="http://www.newstatesman.com/laurie-penny/2013/03/steubenville-rape-cultures-abu-ghraib-moment">Abu Ghraib moment</a>,&quot; to make our nation finally recognize the ubiquity of rape culture and reflect on the negative consequences of male privilege or question &quot;<a href="http://prospect.org/article/toxic-masculinity">toxic masculinity</a>.&quot; Although Steubenville has been called sexual assault&rsquo;s Abu Ghraib, I worry that we focus our need for blame only on the rapists and not on the system who feels their crimes are worth three years total, a fraction of the sentence Aaron Swartz would have served for non-violent cyber crime. We need to open our eyes to the ways that we are all bystanders in this event. We cannot stop rape from happening again, but we can make ourselves aware of the realities that people face and create a more just and equal society.</p><p dir="ltr">However, I&rsquo;m most sorry for the Steubenville Jane Doe, more sorry than I will ever be for the men who couldn&rsquo;t even call her abuse &ldquo;rape.&rdquo; I feel sorry that she needs to be seen as someone&rsquo;s<a href="http://bellejarblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/i-am-not-your-wife-sister-or-daughter/"> wife or daughter</a> to understand that we should not rape her and that her self-worth isn&rsquo;t tied to her intrinsic human rights. I feel sorry that even in defending her, we look at her as property, only worth her weight in male regard, and that her daughters will grow up with the same internalized shame. I feel sorry that when the news cycle dispenses of the Steubenville case, my children won&rsquo;t know what the word Steubenville means. I feel sorry that we aren&rsquo;t teaching our children better, but I know they deserve better. This Jane Doe deserved better. My mother deserved better. I deserved better. Everyone deserves better.</p><p dir="ltr">I&rsquo;m not sorry for talking about my rape or that it took so long for me to say that word, and I&rsquo;m not sorry that we have to talk about Steubenville until everyone is &ldquo;<a href="http://rantagainsttherandom.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/so-youre-tired-of-hearing-about-rape-culture/">sick</a>&rdquo; of hearing the term &ldquo;rape culture,&rdquo; until we understand that no one is asking for it, until we learn that &quot;<a href="http://www.thenation.com/blog/173370/only-yes-means-yes-what-steubenvilles-rape-trial-reminds-us-about-sexual-consent">only Yes Means Yes</a>,&quot; until we start teaching people<a href="http://m.xojane.com/entertainment/girls-adam-natalia-rape-scene"> not to rape</a> and until every person is safe. &nbsp;I&rsquo;m bloody motherf*cking sorry that Ashley Judd has to remind us every day that being raped matters, that rape is a fact and that we will need to have to discuss it again and again and again, whether people get tired of it or not. I&#39;m sorry that we couldn&rsquo;t respect someone&rsquo;s basic humanity enough to never have this conversation to begin with.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Nico Lang writes about LGBTQ life in Chicago. Follow Nico on Twitter @<a href="http://www.twitter.com/nico_lang">Nico_Lang</a> or<a href="http://www.facebook.com/nicorlang"> Facebook</a>.</em></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 21 Mar 2013 08:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-03/we-need-talk-about-steubenville-106203 Is it possible to joke about rape? http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-10/it-possible-joke-about-rape-96254 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2012-February/2012-02-09/6171300790_126833e135_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago stand-up comedian Ever Mainard has become a viral sensation by joking about something that many people consider verboten: rape. Vocalo's Brian Babylon and Molly Adams spoke with Tony about breaking taboos in the name of comedy, and how truth can sometimes trump taste. Before going on <em>848</em>, Brian and Molly talked with Ever Mainard in her Lincoln Square neighborhood about her sudden fame. Below is an edited look at her responses to their queries; hit play to hear their whole conversation.</p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332731123-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/evermainard street tape.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><em><strong>How does it feel to be internet famous?</strong></em></p><p>It feels kind of cool, but also strange, because my mom doesn’t own the internet, so she doesn’t get it. She’s like, “What does that mean?”</p><p><em><strong>Can a rape joke be funny?</strong></em></p><p>Absolutely! Obviously. I think the thing that people are missing is that it’s not necessarily a rape joke. Like I went on stage knowing a little bit like, I want to tell this story about how it felt as a woman to be followed, and having that perception in her mind…because one out of four women are raped. And the statistics climb higher. So there’s that thought in my mind like, this is it. There’s nobody else around, this guy’s following me. And he wasn’t being discreet about it. I’m just walking to the corner store. Like I’m walking towards you.</p><p><em><strong>After you realized you were fine, did you feel bad for overreacting?</strong></em></p><p>Right, everything was fine, I just ducked. I just got out of there. I wasn’t raped, obviously. I think that joke would have happened a lot differently if I had been raped. But it’s just a joke about that whole idea of being a woman, knowing that…it’s like a cloud. It’s like a black cloud, walking alone at night.</p><p><em><strong>Is this a way to get this topic out in the open?</strong></em></p><p>I think that’s a gift that we all share as comedians is to be able to talk about this, and not just rape in general, but taboo subjects. And to bring it to other people’s minds, in front of their faces, without just being like, barky. Does that make sense?</p><p>I think as comedians that’s our gift. Yeah, we can tell fart jokes all we want, but we also have that power, because we’re on a stage with a microphone, and we have so many peoples attention. And they’re listening to us, and they want to hear what we say, and they want to hear what we have to say, and when you have that power, you can say whatever you want.</p><p><em><strong>Some people said that you were racist for pointing out that the man who was following you was Black. What do you think about that claim?</strong></em></p><p>I did say it was a Black man, but I also said that race had nothing to do with it. It didn’t matter, this persons skin color. What mattered was that I was being followed by a man, and no matter what color, a woman will always be scared when they’re walking alone at night, and some dude just jumps out of nowhere and starts aggressively following you....A fur hood and sunglasses at night! You’re covering your face!</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/29ArdxWYBGQ" frameborder="0" height="360" width="480"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 10 Feb 2012 14:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-10/it-possible-joke-about-rape-96254 Appeals court slams Lake County, Illinois prosecutors http://www.wbez.org/story/appeals-court-slams-lake-county-illinois-prosecutors-94809 <p><p>An Illinois state appeals court is scolding Lake County prosecutors for distorting evidence in the trial of Juan Rivera. Rivera was convicted by three juries for the 1992 rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl in Waukegan, Illinois, about 40 miles north of Chicago.</p><p>But the appeals court found the last trial should not have resulted in a conviction, and that no rational trier of fact could have found Rivera guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.</p><p>The third trial was ordered after new DNA testing excluded Rivera as the source of semen taken from inside the victim. Prosecutors argued that the 11-year-old may have had sex earlier in the day before Rivera raped and murdered her.</p><p>The jury convicted Rivera in 2009.</p><p>In throwing out the conviction the appeals court said Lake County prosecutors under Mike Waller offered up unproved and speculative scenarios.</p><p>The court wrote, "The state's theories distort to an absurd degree the real and undisputed testimony that the sperm was deposited shortly before the victim died."</p><p>Rivera has spent nearly two decades in prison.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Sun, 11 Dec 2011 17:09:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/appeals-court-slams-lake-county-illinois-prosecutors-94809 Jordan firm accused of sexual abuse supplied clothes to Sears, Target and others http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-27/sears-and-other-major-retailers-purchase-clothing-jordanian-factory-accu <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-September/2011-09-27/sweatshop (2).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Jordan’s economy sits atop a foundation of factory labor, with garment exports making up roughly 20 percent of the kingdom’s gross domestic product. But after a Bangladeshi worker recently claimed that her Sri Lankan manager raped her, Jordan’s clothing industry has turned upside down. Now Classic, Jordan’s largest garment exporter to the U.S., might shut down amidst an international outcry about sexual abuse in its factories.</p><p>Today, we’re exploring these startling revelations of torture and rape. We speak with Charles Kernaghan, executive director of the <a href="http://www.globallabourrights.org/" target="_blank">Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights</a>, a U.S. watchdog organization that’s helping factory workers in Jordan get their stories out to the public.</p><p>The group says that, since 2007, at least 300 young female employees have been raped and brutalized by Classic managers while sewing clothes for giant retailers, including Hanes, Target, Sears, Macy’s and Land’s End. These garments enter the U.S. duty-free under the <a href="http://www.ustr.gov/trade-agreements/free-trade-agreements/jordan-fta" target="_blank">U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement</a>. Sanal Kumar, Classic's managing director, says the charges are a ploy by U.S. labor unions to bring factory labor back to the United States.</p><p>We also meet a group of Chicago-area high school students who've decided to take up the mantle in defense of Jordan’s sweatshop workers. The students, from Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville are part of the “<a href="http://ylcnet.org/">Youth Labor Committee</a>.” We talk to students Jennifer Wolan and Steven Kidera, as well as teacher Bruce Taylor, about their efforts to bring this issue home to their community.</p></p> Tue, 27 Sep 2011 15:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-27/sears-and-other-major-retailers-purchase-clothing-jordanian-factory-accu SlutWalks don't work in South Africa, says Johannesburg blogger http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-22/slutwalks-dont-work-south-africa-says-johannesburg-blogger-92333 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-September/2011-09-22/southafrica1.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Earlier this year, a police officer went on a routine visit to York University in Toronto to advise young women on safety. His tip? Women should avoid dressing like sluts to avoid sexual assault.</p><p>His comments sparked a global protest movement called "SlutWalk." From Canada to the U.S. to India and, now, South Africa, women take to the streets, sometimes in their bras and underwear, to protest prevalent attitudes that blame victims of sexual assault, not the perpetrators.</p><p>Writer Zama Ndlovu felt uneasy when the SlutWalk campaign rolled into her native South Africa. She wrote <a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Africa/Africa-Monitor/2011/0823/Why-I-will-not-take-part-in-a-South-African-SlutWalk" target="_blank">a column</a> in the <em>Christian Science Monitor</em> arguing that SlutWalks are culturally insensitive and “not the right tool” to solve the problem of widespread sexual violence. A <a href="http://mg.co.za/article/2009-06-18-quarter-of-men-in-south-africa-admit-rape" target="_blank">new study</a> by South Africa's Medical Research Council says that one in four South African men admit to having raped a woman at least once. Zama tells us why she won't participate in SlutWalk Johannesburg.</p></p> Thu, 22 Sep 2011 15:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-22/slutwalks-dont-work-south-africa-says-johannesburg-blogger-92333