WBEZ | rape http://www.wbez.org/tags/rape Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en '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 County starts freeing inmates wanted by ICE http://www.wbez.org/story/county-starts-freeing-inmates-wanted-ice-91808 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-09/Cook county jail Ted S. Warren-scr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A new Cook County ordinance that touches the hot-button issue of immigration is allowing inmates out of the county’s jail and making waves in other parts of the country.</p><p>The ordinance, approved Wednesday by the County Board, halts compliance with Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests that certain inmates stay in jail up to two business days beyond what their criminal cases require. The requests, known as detainers, give ICE time to pick up the inmates for possible deportation.</p><p>Sheriff Tom Dart’s office says by Friday afternoon the jail had freed 11 jail inmates named in ICE detainers.</p><p>ICE took custody of 721 Cook County inmates on detainers this year and 1,665 last year, according to Dart’s office. “I guess that’s it,” spokesman Steve Patterson says.</p><p>The ordinance requires the jail to free such inmates unless the federal government agrees in advance to pay for the extended confinement. ICE says the feds don’t reimburse any local jurisdiction in the country for those costs.</p><p>“It’s like a godsend,” says Carlos Torres, 29, of North Lawndale.</p><div class="inset"><p><span style="color: rgb(165, 42, 42);"><span style="font-size: 24px;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;">‘You have many localities and state legislatures trying to do immigration policy. We’re not best equipped to do this.</span></em></span></span><span style="color: rgb(165, 42, 42);"><span style="font-size: 24px;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;">’</span></em></span></span></p></div><p>Torres says Chicago police last month arrested his father after finding narcotics in a car in which he was a passenger. Torres says his father, a Mexico native, has an expired green card and that his U.S. record includes a burglary conviction. “So that would make him more likely to get deported,” Torres says.</p><p>ICE found out Torres’s father was in the jail and put a detainer on him. But the ordinance gives the inmate a better chance of walking free after a court appearance Tuesday. “I’m relieved,” Torres says.</p><p>Jesús García, D-Chicago, and other commissioners who backed the measure say detainers violate inmates’ due-process rights and erode community trust in local cops.</p><p>“You have many localities and state legislatures trying to do immigration policy,” García says. “We’re not best equipped to do this.”</p><p>García says local governments are stuck with the job until Congress overhauls the nation’s immigration laws.</p><p>Those localities have some cover from a federal court ruling in Indiana this summer. The ruling says compliance with ICE detainers is voluntary.</p><p>Still, a few Cook County commissioners have qualms about ignoring them. “Under this ordinance, gang bangers and people involved in drug dealing, sex trafficking and criminal sexual assault will be released back into our communities,” Timothy Schneider, R-Bartlett, said during Wednesday’s County Board meeting. “This is clearly our Willie Horton moment.”</p><p>A Massachusetts prison released Horton, a convicted felon, as part of a weekend furlough program in 1986. He did not return and committed violent crimes that came back to haunt Gov. Michael Dukakis in the 1988 presidential campaign.</p><p>ICE sounds a similar alarm. “ICE has not sought to compel compliance through legal proceedings [but] jurisdictions that ignore detainers bear the risk of possible public safety risks,” the agency said in a statement about the Cook County vote.</p><p>Asked whether ICE will take the county to court to compel compliance, the agency did not answer.</p><p>The ordinance, meanwhile, is reverberating beyond the county. “For a long time we felt like we were in this alone,” says Juniper Downs, lead deputy counsel for Santa Clara County, California. “Cook County’s bold policy may affect the direction of the policy we develop.”</p><p>At least three other counties — Taos and San Miguel, both in New Mexico, and San Francisco in California — have limited the sorts of inmates they’re holding on ICE detainers. None has gone as far as Cook County, which is ignoring the detainers altogether.</p></p> Fri, 09 Sep 2011 23:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/county-starts-freeing-inmates-wanted-ice-91808 Lollapalooza: 'No concerns' about Eminem’s hate http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-07-14/lollapalooza-no-concerns-about-eminem%E2%80%99s-hate-89123 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-July/2011-07-13/eminem-hatesigns.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-13/lolla logo.jpg" title="" width="197" height="175"></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-13/emhatesigns-320x232.jpg" title="" width="320" height="232"></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>UPDATED WITH (NON-)COMMENT FROM THE PARK DISTRICT, 9:15 a.m. Thursday</strong></p><p>Confronted by a coalition of domestic violence groups, rape victim advocates, and gay rights organizations, the promoters of the Pitchfork Music Festival belatedly invited those activists into this weekend’s festival in Union Park to present a counterpoint to the hate-filled lyrics of Odd Future, the most controversial booking in the fest’s six-year history.</p><p>More than five times as large and set in Chicago’s prestigious front yard of Grant Park, Lollapalooza has no plans to do anything similar to balance the anti-woman, anti-gay views frequently espoused by Eminem, one of the six key headliners in that event’s seventh year as a reinvented destination festival.</p><p>Though Eminem has been working hard in recent years to seem more cute and cuddly—and he now is safe enough to preside at the Grammys and provide the soundtrack for Detroit car commercials—he once was pop music’s reigning bad boy of shock, outrage, and venomous spew, before Odd Future and after Marilyn Manson, and part of a long line of acts that includes Alice Cooper, the Geto Boys, Slayer, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, the Meatmen, and many, many others.</p><p>The man born Marshall Mathers is infamous for his particularly nimble flow of invective about gays and women, especially the mother who done him wrong and the ex-wife he is forever fantasizing murdering. He also is, no surprise, one of the few influences and musical heroes that the devoted button-pushers in Odd Future happily acknowledge and celebrate.</p><p>Between Friends and Rape Victim Advocates are two of several groups attending Pitchfork in an effort to raise awareness about violence against women and gays in counterpoint to Odd Future. Asked if those or similar groups will be represented on the Lollapalooza midway—which usually hosts a wide array of activists, from environmental and voter registration groups to the non-profit Parkways Foundation, which applies for all of the concert’s licenses—Lollapalooza spokeswoman Brittany Pearce responded via email.</p><p>&nbsp;“We have not received any concerns from our ticketgoers regarding Eminem performing at Lollapalooza,” Pearce wrote. “We always address questions, concerns that come to our website accordingly.”</p><p>Since that didn’t answer the question, I repeated it in a second exchange. “We did not receive applications from any such groups,” Pearce wrote, echoing the excuse Pitchfork originally gave. “We do, however, support domestic violence shelters and human rights organizations through our charitable donations.”</p><p>Asked if Rape Victim Advocates and Between Friends are considering an attempt to raise awareness at Lollapalooza similar to what they are doing at Pitchfork, Sharmili Majmudar, executive director of the former, wrote, “We’ve been focused on Pitchfork, as you know, and so haven’t discussed Lolla yet, though I was very aware Eminem would be performing. As I had mentioned to you before, we are also planning to have at least one if not more follow-up events to continue the conversation about music, culture, violence, misogyny, homophobia, and responsibility…</p><p>“We are trying to promote having the larger, more nuanced conversation rather than targeting single artists/groups, especially since general critique around violent lyrics is disproportionately targeted towards hip-hop artists of color.”</p><p>Hip-hop artists may indeed get more flak for their homophobia and misogyny than, say, death metal bands or witch house groups. But then this critic would argue that Eminem and Odd Future both have made this kind of hate an emphatic and disproportionate part of their oeuvres, if not their key selling points, in contrast to Cannibal Corpse or Salem or, hey, the Rolling Stones of “Brown Sugar” and “Black and Blue.” We shouldn’t let any of them off the hook, either. But they aren’t playing a festival in a public park.</p><p><a href="../../blog/jim-derogatis/2011-05-02/pitchfork-odd-future-endorsing-rape-or-showcasing-art-85888">As noted when I first wrote about this issue in May</a>, thanks to the Eminem and Odd Future bookings, this summer is a banner season for lyrics full of hateful fantasies about women and gays issuing from the big festival stages in Chicago’s parks—a fact that is all the more disturbing given the city’s statistics for sexual assaults (the Chicago Police crime index listed 1,359 cases in 2010) and the recent increase in violent crimes in Boystown. The Park District, however, does not seem any more concerned about the issue than Lollapalooza’s promoters are.</p><p>I’ve been chasing Park District spokeswoman Jessica Maxey-Faulkner for comment on this issue for weeks, and I finally told her that my deadline was 6 p.m. yesterday. If or when she or anyone else from the city responds, those comments will be posted.</p><p><strong>UPDATED: </strong>"I am unable to comment at this time, as we have not been able to discuss the matter with Lollapalooza organizers," Maxey-Faulkner wrote on Thursday morning.</p><p>To be clear, only a fool would contend that hateful lyrics about women, gays, or anyone else directly prompt hateful actions; we aren’t yet such a nation of zombies that free will no longer exists. And only an idiot or a fascist would argue that these artists do not have the right to freely say anything they want to say; free speech does and needs to reign supreme.</p><p>But free speech does not mean that promoters <em>have </em>to book an act whose lyrics offend many of their concertgoers, and with which they themselves may disagree. They have <em>chosen</em>, for whatever reasons, to do so. And it’s the critic’s job to question that decision and to say whether or not that speech is <em>art.</em></p><p>This critic believes that both Eminem and Tyler the Creator, the driving force behind Odd Future, are betraying their considerable talents as rappers and lyricists by dwelling on hateful, violent fantasies, which are, sadly, clichéd, redundant, intentionally disturbing, and ultimately pathetic for their transparent attempts to shock us. Nothing in popular culture ages or gets tiring more quickly than contrived shock. But that is not to say that, whatever the intention, the substance of those words should not be addressed. Words matter, and arguably in no genre more than in hip-hop, where the true measure of an artist remains the ability to thrill us with nothing more than a microphone and freestyle lyrical skills.</p><p>As someone who has covered both Lollapalooza and Pitchfork since their inceptions, both festivals originated as true alternatives to the kind of prejudices prevalent in too much mainstream culture. While they have never exactly been Woodstock, Lilith Fair, or a Gay Pride parade, they did once stand for exactly the opposite of the kind of hate and exclusion that Odd Future and Eminem proudly flaunt.</p><p>Yes, I remember the controversy that the original Lollapalooza faced in the early ’90s for the shortage of women on its bills, something it addressed by adding L7 and the Breeders to the lineup in 1994. And sure, the old Lollapalooza booked Ice-T’s Body Count, complete with its “Cop Killer” and home invasion fantasies. But the overall vibe of the old festival overwhelmingly was anti-hate and pro-inclusion, in large part due to that significant social activism component on the festival’s midway, which invariably spilled onto the stage.</p><p>Is the Grant Park Lollapalooza paying any more than lip service to social activism? Does it stand for anything other than booking the acts that will sell the most tickets, beer, and souvenir crap that weekend in the park? And will Lollapalooza reconsider, as Pitchfork did, the need to present the other side of the hatred heard onstage by inviting activists to provide the counterpoint at the concert?</p><p>At the moment, the answer to all of those questions seems to be “no.”</p><p><strong><u>EARLIER REPORTS IN THIS BLOG ON PITCHFORK AND ODD FUTURE</u></strong></p><p>July 13: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-07-13/linksomania-more-pitchfork-odd-future-and-advocacy-groups-89062">Linksomania: More on Pitchfork, Odd Future and the advocacy groups</a></p><p>July 7: <a href="blog/jim-derogatis/2011-07-07/better-late-never-pitchfork-invites-advocates-balance-odd-future-88852">Better late than never: Pitchfork invites advocates to balance Odd Future</a></p><p>June 30: <a href="blog/jim-derogatis/2011-06-30/pitchfork-promoters-meet-rape-and-domestic-violence-groups-88609">Pitchfork promoters to meet with rape and domestic violence groups</a></p><p>June 29: <a href="blog/jim-derogatis/2011-06-29/domestic-violence-groups-protest-odd-future-pitchfork-88478">Domestic violence groups to protest Odd Future at Pitchfork</a></p><p>May 8: <a href="blog/jim-derogatis/2011-05-09/linksomania-new-cultural-czarina-trouble-park-district-odd-futurepitch">Odd Future/Pitchfork fallout</a></p><p>May 2: <a href="blog/jim-derogatis/2011-05-02/pitchfork-odd-future-endorsing-rape-or-showcasing-art-85888">Pitchfork &amp; Odd Future: Endorsing rape or showcasing art?</a></p><p><strong><u>SOME OF THIS BLOGGER’S EARLIER CRITICISM OF AND REPORTING ABOUT EMINEM:</u></strong></p><p>2009: <a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/music/2009/05/eminem_relapse_shadyaftermathi.html">Album review: Eminem, “Relapse”</a></p><p>2002: <a href="http://jimdero.com/News2002/May26Eminem.htm">Eminem’s big mouth just melts</a></p><p>2001: <a href="http://www.jimdero.com/News2001/NewsFeb18EminemRoundtable.htm">Teens ‘stand up’ on Eminem</a></p></p> Thu, 14 Jul 2011 10:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-07-14/lollapalooza-no-concerns-about-eminem%E2%80%99s-hate-89123 DePaul professor heads UN investigation of human rights abuses in Libyan war http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-06-23/depaul-professor-heads-un-investigation-human-rights-abuses-libyan-war-8 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-June/2011-06-23/libya2.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The Libyan government has repeatedly denied allegations that Colonel Muammar Qaddafi has ordered soldiers to systematically rape women who support the rebel movement.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.law.depaul.edu/faculty_staff/faculty_information.asp?id=5" target="_blank">Cherif Bassiouni</a> is a human rights law pioneer who has worked for the United Nations on investigations looking into war crimes in Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. The UN recently tapped him to investigate human rights violations in Libya. His commission's report, released earlier this month, examined allegations of sexual violence, disappearances and NATO bombings of civilians. He tells about what his investigation has revealed.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 23 Jun 2011 15:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-06-23/depaul-professor-heads-un-investigation-human-rights-abuses-libyan-war-8 In Libya, al-Beidi's story raises awareness of sexual violence under Qaddafi http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-04-07/libya-al-beidis-story-raises-awareness-sexual-violence-under-qaddafi-848 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-April/2011-04-07/109382376.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Libyan Iman al-Obeidi caught the world’s attention last month when she burst into a Tripoli hotel and told the international press she was detained and gang-raped by Qaddafi’s militiamen. The scene—and her subsequent seizure by pro-Qaddafi hotel workers—was captured on video.</p><p>Obeidi’s frankness won her many supporters among Libyan rebels. Her story also raises the issue of rape in a society that rarely speaks about sexual violence.</p><p>Asma Magariaf, a Libyan-American activist based in Washington D.C., discusses the significance of Obeidi’s tragic ordeal.</p></p> Thu, 07 Apr 2011 16:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-04-07/libya-al-beidis-story-raises-awareness-sexual-violence-under-qaddafi-848