Rolling Stone brings attention to U of Virginia’s rape tradition

It took Rolling Stone’s “A Rape on Campus” to really get the attention of privileged and ostrich-like University of Virginia and its terrible record of denying justice to rape victims.

As someone who loved living in Charlotteville just a bit over a year ago, I can tell you talk (at least among my friends there) has been of little else than the RS article this past week. After years when a lonely few tried to get the attention of a University proud of its traditions — however harmful, the mess is out in the open and a subject of much debate, hand-wringing and justification. This blog post from doctoral candidate Willa Hammett Brown distills the problems and the reactions of UVA really concisely.

Exposing (and defending) Cosby

You would have to be off the grid to have missed the reports that Bill Cosby sexually assaulted more than fifteen women who have made their reports public.  But if you rely on the TV, here’s some print journalism on the issue:

The Washington Post published details from many of the victims.

And to see how alive and well rape culture is, take a look at this Salon report on an outrageous article in The Wrap trashing the victims in the guise of defending Cosby.

Just another powerful male, thinking he can get away with anything. And getting away with it for a long time.

Intersection between delinquency and victimization

The National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence from OJJDP (Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention) has issued a number of reports. The latest is Children’s Exposure to
Violence and the Intersection Between Delinquency and

It concludes that somewhere around a third of victimized children end up committing delinquent acts.  (This is a very rough numerical interpretation, leaving out the children who have not been victimized from the charts in the article.) Get the full picture in the publication itself.

Trauma, first responders, and victims – outstanding 20 minute video

The approach of first responders to victims of sexual assault (& other crimes) often makes the difference between a winnable case & a disaster. More important, it can permanently affect the victim’s chances of recovery from the trauma of the crime.
“I’m sorry that this happened to you” may be the most important thing you can say to a trauma victim. The next most important: “I believe you.”
This outstanding video is an introduction to how the traumatized brain works, and how police can understand victim behavior which does not seem “right.” Take 20 minutes to watch!


Real stories: why women who are raped don’t report. And men don’t either.

In a twitter feed #beenrapedneverreported you can read the reasons for yourself. The Montreal Gazette reports.

No matter how often I explain very low reporting rates to  doubters — some in the law enforcement community– I am still not always believed. Maybe this will help. These women have no motive to openly state that they were raped. You cannot draw statistical conclusions about how many non-reports there are, but who cares? The point is that these victim/survivors of serious crime do not report for many reasons, most commonly, that society would not or did not believe them.

Here is a reminder that men are raped, also, but that fact should not detract from the importance of the original #tag. Men are joining in the Twitter disclosures, and that’s great! Society needs to see this as a social and public safety issue, and promote changes that will encourage reporting & sensitive response.

For educational material about believing victims, see the excellent Start By Believing.

Sixth Circuit upholds same-sex marriage ban – sets up conflict for Supreme Court

In a first among Federal Circuit  Courts of Appeals, “the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed federal district court judges in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee who had struck bans on same-sex marriage and said the issue is most appropriately decided in the political arena.”

This 2-1 decision conflicts with four other Circuit Courts of Appeals. The conflict might be enough for the US Supreme Court to take on the subject sometime. Thus far, however, that Court has refused to hear challenges to the opinions upholding same-sex marriage.  Will it act differently now?


The great enemy of the truth . . . the myth.

John F. Kennedy

“The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie–deliberate, contrived and dishonest–but the myth–persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”

-John F. Kennedy [Commencement Address at Yale University, June 11 1962]

Victim blaming, again: College tells women to practice facial expressions to avoid rape

Ramapo College in New Jersey focuses on women’s  behavior instead of that of the rapists, in presentation on alcohol use.  The student newspaper gets it right, if a little more politely than I would have done: ”

Alcohol Presentation Strikes Wrong Note on Sexual Assault

There are lots of enterprises willing (for a price) to help colleges take the right approach to sexual violence. Many even have good programs to offer. Ramapo did not pick a good one!