Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page reaches mandatory retirement age of 70 in August. In an interview with Associated Press, he spoke of the 12-13,000 domestic violence cases in Minnesota each year. “Being a woman in this society is dangerous, simply because you’re a woman,” he said.
Page is one of only two NFL defensive linemen to be league MVP (1971) and played 14 years in the league, 8 of them with the Viking’s Purple People Eater defense. He has served on the Supreme Court for 22 years. Photo by Jim Mone, AP. More here.
While “we” ( and I mean media and politicians, and some members of society) talk a talk about supporting victims, “we” also routinely find ways to discredit them, even when, as in Brandon Vandenberg’s case (photo on right) there is a video of him violently raping his victim at Vanderbilt University.
I’d prefer that he be prosecuted for human traficking, but perhaps he’ll get the punishment he skated away from in New York City.
“It’s clear in this Court’s view that a victim of crime is entitled to a certain amount of protection from the person who has victimized her.”
So wrote Connecticut Judge Stanley Fuger in a decision barring a habeas corpus petitioner from issuing a subpoena for the victim of his sexual assault without first proving to the court that the victim’s testimony is relevant to the claims before the court. Victim Rights Center of Connecticut represents the victim in the case, and filed a motion asking for the protection that the judge ordered.
We are unaware of any other decision of its kind in the country, although it seems likely that there must be some unpublished ones.
Judge Fuger stood up squarely for the common-law and due process rights of a victim to be free from invasions of her privacy. “It is true that if a subpoena is issued, the victim in that matter can, of court, file a motion to quash; but having already been the victim of a sexual assault,” the judge wrote, “. . . receiving a subpoena to testify in a court proceeding involving the victimizer can be,m simply in and of itself, an anxiety-producing situation.” The decision specifically recognized “the interests of the victim in being allowed to put this crime and trama associated with being the victim of that crime behind her without having to be reminded, bothered, harassed . . . through further questioning.”
The decision and Victim Rights Center’s motion
Excellent, short, readable article on how to recognize and respond to Human Trafficking. This is a crime with lots of attention, but society is still in denial about how common it is. While many victims are minors, and many victims are from other countries, we have a major problem with both sexual and worker trafficking in the US.
When we look at “perfect families” like TV’s Cosbys & Camdens (Seventh Heaven) we just know that child abuse is happening only in imperfect families. Here lies the myth that leads to widespread disbelief when a child reports abuse. When we fail to hear that child because the offender is a “nice guy,” we condemn that child to continued abuse and lifelong suffering.
“Nice” is a behavior choice, not a character trait. Child abusers cultivate “nice” precisely because they remain safe as long as the other adults in the child’s life will not believe the child.
The reality of child sexual abuse is, that by some measures, 1 in 5 children will be sexually abused before the age of 18. Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s blog contains a powerful summary of the issues we so often ignore about child sexual abuse.
After a jury found Francis Anderson not guilty by reason of insanity for assaulting a correctional officer, he was sent to Connecticut’s secure mental treatment facility. While there, he repeatedly assaulted staff and other patients. Each time he was charged with one of these assaults, he was returned to the facility and did it again. Judge David Gold eventually set bond in one of the assault cases, and Anderson was moved to a secure prison facility. Judge Gold based his decision specifically on victim’s rights provisions — holding that the victims of the prior assaults had a right to feel secure and to be protected from the offender. “Not setting bail, Gold said, would mean that those found not guilty by reason of insanity would be free to commit however many serious crimes they wanted with the guarantee that they would be returned to the hospital with the same victimized staff and patients.” [Hartford Courant] Anderson appealed, claiming in a somewhat rambling brief, that he had a right to be at a facility that treated his mental illness at the highest possible level. He did receive mental health treatment after he was transferred to a prison.
Victim Rights Center avoided any input into the case only because Deputy Assistant State’s Attorney Nancy Walker, who argued on behalf of victims, has a close relationship with VRCCT’s attorneys. Our friends at National Crime Victims Legal Institute (www.ncvli.org) filed an amicus brief defending the decision on behalf of victims. The brief is available on their website.
The following links are to Hartford Courant reporter Alaine Griffin’s articles on the case and argument. http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-criminally-insane-francis-anderson-supreme-court-0115-20150115-story.html#page=1 —— http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-francis-anderson-whiting-supreme-court-0116-20150115-story.html
While Anderson claims that the issue is one of the rights of mentally ill people, the court could most simply decide the case as one concerning bond for the new assaults — for which no finding of mental illness had been made. We hope, however, that the CT court will accept the opportunity to be as courageous as Judge Gold and declare that victim rights stand on equal footing for state purposes as those of criminal defendants. (Victim Rights and criminal defendant’s rights are both in Article I, sec. 8 of the Constitution [though Amendment XXIX].
Not a personal fan of Duke (it’s a rivalry thing), but these posts by Duke athletes demonstrate why language matters.
Governor Rick Snyder-R of Michigan has vetoed a bill passed by the Michigan legislature that would have permitted gun possession by people subject to a domestic violence restraining order. Good for him to take a stand for victims:
“We simply can’t and won’t take the chance of exposing domestic abuse victims to additional violence or intimidation,” Snyder said. “There are certainly some reforms that can improve the way Michigan issues concealed pistol licenses and we support the rights of law-abiding firearm owners, but it’s crucial that we leave in place protections for people who already have endured challenges and abuse.”
Yet more proof that society has not gotten past the Patriarchy. Even women of power get less credit for ideas than men in the same meeting. See the NYTimes opinion piece: Speaking While Female, at: