Wednesday, February 27, 2013
In 2007, Annie Clark was [legal word, allegedly] raped. She was a student at University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. She reported the rape to the University.
When then student Annie Clark reported her rape to an unnamed administrator at UNC, he told her that rape is like a football game. That looking back, she might have wished she had done something differently. Annie Clark and Andrea Pino-- also a sexual assault survivor from UNC/Chapel Hill-- began the process to submit a formal complaint to the United States Department of Education, Civil Rights over their treatment by UNC after reporting that they were raped. They were joined by a third student who had to remain anonymous due to safety concerns and Landen Gambill, along with a former assistant dean at UNC.
In 2009, student Landen Gambill reported that her ex-boyfriend raped her after she had broken up with him due to his abusive behavior. Both were students at University North Carolina - Chapel Hill and as far as I can tell, still are.
Landen Gambill, like other survivors of sexual assault at that time, was advised to go through UNC's Honor Court-- which is a student-run but with faculty advisors non-legal court system set up so the legal students could have some practice in their chosen profession-- but there were problems. Her counsel asked her to recount the rape in full detail. After being assured that any documents and reports submitted to the Honor Court would be held in confidence, her counsel gave papers involving her testimony to her parents. He used the excuse that he thought her parents ought to know some things in there.
There were also varying accounts of how much training specific to sexual assault cases and vics that the Honor Court folks received. Someone at the University initially claimed there was a whole day of specific training. A student involved with the Honor Court program said maybe an hour. Someone at the University then revised the estimate from a whole day to oh the training was/is given on an individual basis. It appears that the Honor Court no longer addresses sexual assault cases. That might have been a sort of end to it except for this:
Five days ago, on February 22, Landen Gambill received a notice that she had violated some rule or other of the University Code involving the intimidation of another student [or according to one commenter on another site: talking about the Honor Court's "private hearing"]. The notice was written by Elizabeth Ireland, graduate student Attorney General. The other student in this case is Landen Gambill's ex-boyfriend, the [legal word, alleged] rapist. Expulsion is at the top of the list of what the penalties are for violating the University Code.
radical sapphoq says: Expulsion is not a suitable "punishment" for a survivor of sexual assault who has been speaking out about rape publicly. Neither are suspensions, probations, loss of academic grades, a written warning, an educational "assignment", or loss of "privileges." There should be NO penalty to Landen Gambill for speaking out publicly about her sexual assault. The Honor Court at UNC - North Carolina should have left this one alone. I can't help but guess that the [legal word: alleged] rapist is the one who brought up the new "charges" i.e. complained to the Honor Court that Landen Gambill's publicity [N.B. She has not mentioned his name] is effecting his grades, his well-being or causing him to feel "unsafe." Perhaps he wasn't, but that is my guess. And again, only a guess.
This whole affair smacks of just one more justification to call the culture among certain schools and universities a hostile culture, a culture of abuse, and/or a rape culture. Meanwhile, the [legal word, alleged] rapist is living in the dorms across the road from Landen Gambill.
They live among us. Student rapists, administrators who tell a survivor of sexual assault that rape is like a football game, Honor Courts who "find" alleged rapists not guilty and survivors guilty. They move among us. Old men who beat kids in Florida Reform Schools until their backsides were black in a punishment building called "The White House" and raped them under the dining room in a basement referred to as "The Rape Room"; younger men and women at troubled teen industry facilities who direct teens to lie on the floor for hours in unnatural positions, or lock them in dog cages or deny them medical treatment, adequate food, or proper sleep; middle-aged staffers and corrections officers who still have the strength to knock a student or juvenile prisoners to the ground during a face down restraint; puppets who push buttons in order to deliver shocks to autistic kids in institutions for going off task during class time. They travel among us. Survivors who are beautiful in their resistance to the shaming and silencing imposed by a sick and corrupt System.
Saturday, February 23, 2013
To Matt Barber,
Quite frankly, I am glad that you are not my father. My father never would have told me that I am other than who I am. He respects my autonomy. He knows that he does not own me.
It is the height of arrogance to assume that you can define your children as "gay" or "not gay" regardless of their sexual attraction. While it is true that a gay man or a lesbian or a bisexual can decide not to act on physical urges for a sexual relationship with others of the same gender, they do not cross over into heterosexuality by doing so. They will be who they are-- gay, lesbian, or bisexual-- even if and when they choose celibacy.
Our children will always be our children. If our children are fortunate, they will grow into adolescence. Those teens who are lucky will survive into adulthood. Part of the parenting process involves letting go of our children as we perceive them. Whether or not we "allow" our kids to be who they are, they are going to be who they are. Whether or not we "believe" that a few of our kids are not straight, they are going to be who they are. When my niece came out as a lesbian, I celebrated her willingness to live her life in an honest and truthful manner. I love my niece exactly as she is today. Her parents do also. She is quite lucky that you are not her parent.
Your non-acceptance of non-heterosexuality in teens who are gay, lesbian, or bisexual is your problem. If you are ever faced with this issue within your family, I hope that you will attend several meetings of P-FLAG. You will still be a Christian after P-FLAG with your same objections to non-heterosexuality. Of that I am sure. The parents in P-FLAG have been where you are. They learned how to accept non-heterosexuality in their family members. So can you. You can accept that your family member is not straight while still maintaining a warm, loving relationship with that family member.
I am not going to even attempt to sway you from your religious stance against homosexuality, lesbianism, or bisexuality. You have a right to believe as you will. And yes, you have a right to express your beliefs in the manner that you have expressed them in your open letter to gay [and lesbian and bisexual] teens. I have a right to express my opinions. And I have done so, without attacking you as a person.
Your argument that the world's major religions all condemn homosexuality is not satisfactory. Some of the responses to your blog post indicate that neither the Hindu religion nor the Buddhist sects condemn homosexuality. Your attempt to throw biology into the mix within the same argument is also not satisfactory. Strawberries. Strawberries reproduce in two ways-- sexually and asexually. Homosexuality does in fact occur in nature. Ask any farmer who has ever had the misfortune of owning a bull which turned out to be gay. And even if all of the religions in the universe deny homosexuality a place at the table of salvation in the afterlife, it does not follow that homosexuality should be forbidden to us in this life. There was a time when the vast majority of people believed that the earth was flat, that the sun revolved around the earth, and that affliction is the result of sin.
Your argument that AIDS is an affliction of gay men is old and tired. AIDS is a virus, not a sin. People who have intimate sexual contact with those infected by HIV run the risk of becoming HIV+. People who share needles with infected people run the risk of becoming HIV+. People who receive blood transfusions of infected blood products run the risk of becoming HIV+. Contact has to be made with an infected individual in order to contract the virus. Heterosexuals do become infected by AIDS. AIDS is not a disease that is limited to gay men. We would do better to teach our teens to use protection-- rubbers for the men and dental dams for the women-- when having sex than to tell them that AIDS is a disease of the gay community. We should also be teaching teens not to share needles. Addicts who use injectables should have their own set of works if they are not willing or able to decide to quit. The risk of infection is not limited to needles while using street drugs. We should also be teaching our teens to insist that any tattoo artists use fresh needles and unopened bottles of ink when getting any future tattoos.
You did not address transgenderism or inter-sexed states in your open letter to gay teens. I will do so here even though you did not. A compassionate society would ensure that transgendered folk who wish to transition to their preferred gender could do so. A compassionate society would also ensure that the medical needs of people born inter-sexed-- that is having characteristics of both sexes-- are provided for. Those who are born with Androgen Insufficiency Syndrome are male by chromosome studies but are usually raised as female. This is because AIS individuals do not respond to androgen. Period. An AIS female will need surgeries in order to correct genitalia to an average appearance, estrogen in order to mature sexually, and competent medical services throughout her life. While it is true that a transgendered person can choose to suppress thoughts and behaviors related to transgenderism-- it's called purging within the community-- this suppression is usually not a long-term "solution."
Again, Matt Barber, it is not okay for any of us to define who someone is. Identity is personal. Everyone has to do that for themselves. You do not own your children. Please allow your teens the dignity of self-definition. It is a great tragedy to risk estrangement with your own children as they mature into adults because you could not or would not accept that gay teens, lesbian teens, and bisexual teens do exist regardless of your feelings about the issue.
To all teens everywhere,
Not all adults and not all Christian adults believe as Matt Barber does. Hopefully, your parents and families will accept you for who you are. If they do not, it is their problem. However you choose to walk in the world-- whether straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans-folk, intersexed, queer, or questioning-- you deserve not to live a lie. Whether you choose to be sexually active in whatever degree that makes sense to you or celibate, you deserve to be who you are always. Whether or not society or your family celebrates who you are, there are people who will. You are the future. You will be here after the rest of us are dead. You deserve the right to define yourselves. Not even Matt Barber can take that from you.
Dear Cardinal Roger Mahony,
When people confronted you about the pedophile priests in the Roman Catholic Church you had the utter audacity to report in your blog on 2/14/2013 that you:
"Thanks to God's special grace, I simply stood there, asking God to bless and forgive them."
What?!? I'm quite sure that your described response did n o t h i n g for the people who confronted you. And to rub salt into the wounds of the people that you were supposedly called to minister to, you went on to write about it in your blog. Sometimes the better part of wisdom really is to admit wrongdoing. Whipping yourself in self-serving blog posts and then writing about being a poster child of sorts for humiliation in my opinion is totally lame.
Your other blog posts of late talk about being like Jesus, humility, and acceptance of being scapegoated. Doesn't much sound like you are accepting any responsibility to me.
if anyone wants to read the drivel.]
And by the way, if Jesus existed, he almost certainly was not a pedophile. And he did not cover up the wrong that people around him had done. The throwing out merchants and usurers from the Temple is the story that immediately come to my mind. Jesus did not ignore what was happening. Nor did he say to them, "Shhhh, just go round the back or to the temple up yonder." So no, you are not like the Jesus in the Gospels. Not at all.
Being scapegoated is nothing in comparison to the pain of kids who were sexually violated by priests. Just so we are clear about that. The humiliation of having been a victim is far greater than any "pain" you might be feeling. Especially within a society that continues to blame the victim. I'm willing to bet on it.
Dear Pope Benedict a.k.a. @Pontifex [on Twitter (®)],
Your-- or someone in your office-- make such pretty words on Twitter (®) of late. Stuff your pretty words. Your pretty words aren't enough.
Your pretty words do nothing about those kids, and adults who as kids, who were sexually abused by priests. What did you do? You allowed the transfer of accused priests to other parishes with other kids and their parents who did not know what "the new Father" had done or alleged to have done in his previous parish.
I have no hopes for the new Pope acting any more justly than you the old Pope. Even so, on February 28th, I'll be celebrating your departure. If I was still a drunk, I would be planning to get totally loaded. But I'm not. So instead, I will just eat a piece of dark chocolate while listening to some nerdcore in your dishonor.
Dear Roman Catholics,
I am outraged that some priests [and maybe even a few nuns?] have sexually abused kids and teens [and maybe even a few adults?]. I am deeply sorry for the people who have had to live through the abuse, far more than I am for any priests, cardinals, or popes who covered it up.
It is not my intention to attack you or even to attack your religion.
Saturday, February 16, 2013
Two teachers were arrested in China in October of 2012. Their crimes? Abusing kids in the classroom. The incidents led to an outcry among people who use the Chinese micro-blogging service called Weibo. They saw the first picture of a teacher pulling on a young boy's ears, uncovered personal details and more pictures of kids in her classroom being abused on her micro-blog, and agitated for her arrest. A second teacher in a different province was also fired for abusing kids in her classroom. The Chinese users of Weibo spoke up loudly and clearly.
Meanwhile, here in the United States we continue to send our teens off to dangerous troubled teen industry facilities with documented histories of abuse, torture, rape, and death. How barbaric! There are many pictures and videos on the internet for our perusal. There are survivor testimonies, reddits, forums. There are web pages set up as memorials to the kids who went off to these places-- boot camps, religious boarding "schools," behavioral modification facilities, wilderness expeditions et. al.-- and didn't return alive. Yet, we cannot or will not educate ourselves. We have self-designated teen behavioral experts, talk show hosts, and educational consultants advising us to ship our teens out to these disgusting places. We have learned nothing. We have become immune to horror. The many pictures and videos ready and available for our immediate consumption clearly illustrate that this abuse exists. Where is the public outcry? Our "experts" and teen seminar leaders tell us that the kids are troubled, manipulative, liars. Workers on staff in the troubled teen institutions routinely advise parents that their teens will complain and to discount anything that the teen tells them.
Teens get sent off to these places and then discover that there is no way to contact their parents by phone or letter without direct staff oversight. There is no way to contact a state official to complain about mistreatment. [N.B. And religious schools operate extralegally]. There is little if any contact with the outside world. The kids are isolated. Sometimes they are told that sleep and food are not rights. Sometimes they are not allowed to communicate with other teens around them. Sometimes they are placed in isolation rooms for weeks or months. Sometimes they are forcibly given powerful drugs. Sometimes they are raped, beaten, mocked. Sometimes face-plant restraints are used on them. Sometimes their medical complaints are ignored or discounted. Sometimes they die.
And yet, the unknowing and willfully ignorant American public rally around strangers who claim to be able to get through to our teens. We sign away our parental rights, allow teens to be forcibly removed from our homes, turn them over to places sight unseen that claim to treat a variety of teen ills. Yeah, there is something wrong with this picture.
radical sapphoq says: Wake up. Parenting is your job and your responsibility. Before signing up your child for any program or service, get informed about the pros and cons. Type the name of the place that you are considering sending your kid to followed by the word "survivors," "abuse," "lawsuit," or "critics." Investigate the alternatives. Know your options. Underneath the shiny suits and self-assured sales pitches may be people who are interested in your wallet. Some people out there are sick, much sicker than your rebellious teen. Some people are slimy. The agendas of the troubled teen industry may not match your own. Not everyone wishes us well. Not everyone has our best interests or the best interests of our teens at heart. Politicians can be bought. Politicians may share a religious ideology with a popular teen "expert" or with those who are running a particular troubled teen service. These are uncomfortable truths that I and others have written about. You ignore them at your peril and at the peril of your "troubled" teen.
http://www.helpsavetroubledteens.com/ [note: slide show toward the bottom right]
Monday, February 11, 2013
So the news is out that Mr. Pope Benedict XVI has resigned, effective on February 28, 2013. Although I am not a Roman Catholic, I myself will be having a party on that day. There is no love here for the @Pontifex-- the first Pope on Twitter ever. I've never cared for the man-- this supposed figurehead representation of a god on earth-- who managed to alienate those of us fighting for civil rights for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transfolk, intersexed, queers, and the questioning. He's also done a smack up bang job of pissing off Muslims, Jews, Anglicans, the survivors of childhood sexual abuse by priests, and AIDS activists who know that the use of condoms in Africa truly does save lives. About the only positive thing that I can say about the man is at least his family reportedly were anti-Nazis.
So now I wait with baited morning breath for the announcement of who the next papal man in a dress will be. Anybody but Dolan will be my battle cry. Because Dolan is also a man cut from similar cloth. The truth is that whoever gets the office will likely continue the conservative trends of Mr. Pope Benedict XVI. Quite frankly, because I am familiar with some of the crap that has come out of Dolan's mouth, I view the man with some alacrity. If he winds up in the Vatican, I will wear the black band of mourning around my arm for at least a week.
I have a problem when a church-- any church-- endeavors to impose its' viewpoints upon the rest of us. The difference between the uneducated probably interbred folks of Westboro and the Vatican King is obvious to me. The Vatican has entirely too much influence on the world. Westboro is a mere footnote in the vomitus running down the gutter. Because of this influence, I am indeed interested to see who the next pontifex will be. And also, whether or not he keeps the Twitter account.
Some of the responses of government spokespeeps from around the world have been interesting. Granted, Mr. Pope was wise to step down when he or someone realized that he is mentally and physically declining. But the fact remains, this one was not loved. I can make an educated guess that the various soundbites were made in order to grease relations with the next one before he is even elected. In other words: Even governments can and do kiss ass.
The observation that liberals have viewed this pope with suspicion doesn't go far enough. I think the real word is akin to the word "hatred." It appears to be popular in some circles these days to make the claim that "we don't hate anyone." Sorry folks, there are people that I hold in such contempt that I do indeed hate them. And yes, this blog writer does indeed hate Mr. Pope Benedict XVI. I've crossed out the word liberal from my self-description years ago. Yet, I am not a conservative either. I don't feel comfortable in either camp these days. But to all appearances, most would claim me as a lib because of my stance on civil rights for all civils. At any rate, I despise Mr. Pope Benedict XVI as much as I despise Dolan. And that is the long and short of it.
radical sapphoq says: Good riddance to the current @Pontifex. Maybe the next one won't be such a public relations disaster. And maybe the next one will not be complicit in the cover-up of priests who have, do and will sexually abuse kids and teens within the mantle of their "priestly" office. Fat chance of the latter, I know, but hope is a precious commodity. Le sigh. The beat goes on.
A smattering of a bunch of news references:
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
What kind of world are we leaving to those coming up after us?
institutional abuse Big Brother wwasps Josh Shipp politicians Business As Usual liars Drones censorship R-FID aids Wars poverty Genetically Altered Foodstuff roll red roll Forced Drugging ect Third World fracking Religions ignorance of science Conformity incest is best Persecutions genital mutilation of little girls Human Slave Trade forced Compliance group think Homeland Insecurity war on privacy Uniform frogs with severe birth defects Pollution political correctness Fauxfended racism Sexism sizeism Ageism the process Nazi Pope woo woo Homelessness Aspen Education Group hunger Genocide ethnic cleansing Pedophiles discrimination Shirley Mac Laine psychics Spy teen torture camps are legal Bombs 666 Oral Roberts and his brother Anal expect a miracle today Money security Deepak Chopra gurus Empty Promises acid rain Jail The Potsmokers mosquitoes Nigerian Scams fedbook Fakebook who's watching who Worms trojans Casualties Of War living in garbage heaps Corporations Are People don't ask don't tell go to hell Xenophobia use the spittle from toothbrushing and tongue scrapings to wash your eyes out for a long life Snake Oil frauds Two Party System fixed elections No Elections killing me softly with bullshit STOP