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Expat wanderer

The Hunting Ground: Campus Rape Victims Speak Out in New Movie

 

From AOL News via Sports Illustrated

When I lived in Kuwait and Qatar, I was appalled by the way rapes were treated, it was like this huge wave of abductions and violations, and nothing was done. As it turns out, things are changing a lot slower in my own country than I thought. This new film, The Hunting Ground, is by the same person who documented violence and rape in the US military, spurring then Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, a truly decent man, to put the fear of God into the military leaders who were covering up the many rapes and blaming the victims. We have the same problem on college campuses.

 

There is only one cure. We have to raise our sons to respect women. We have to continue raising the bar for equality in our country until women have equal access to jobs, health treatment, legal proceedings, etc. Films like The Hunting Ground are painful, and at the same time, help us to face, and to overcome our societal short comings.

I love it that this film is “giving voice to those who have no voices;” that these courageous women speaking out have bravely named their rapists and described their circumstances. It can’t be comfortable, but it is their right. I am proud that they are not intimidated by fear of the ‘blame the victim’ mentality they have endured on their college campuses. When did colleges and universities begin placing money-making and winning teams before the well-being of their students?

New film gives chilling account of sexual assault on college campuses

 

BY JEFF BENEDICT

Sexual assaults on college campuses have reached alarming levels and the issue has drawn the attention of Congress and even President Obama himself. The latest research indicates that one in five college women will be sexually assaulted and as many as 90% of reported assaults are acquaintance rapes. It is believed that more than 100,000 college students will be sexually assaulted during the current school year. Nowhere is the deck stacked more against sexual assault victims than in college athletics. In just the last few years alone there have been cases at Florida StateMichiganOregonVanderbilt andMissouri.

All of this is a backdrop to a harrowing new film that premiers in theaters on Friday in New York City and Los Angeles. The Hunting Ground is a jarring exposé that shines a bright light on the epidemic number of sexual assaults taking place on college campuses each year.

The Hunting Ground features a group of survivors who faced harsh retaliation and harassment for reporting that they had been raped. The film focuses on institutional cover-ups and the brutal backlash against survivors at campuses such as HarvardYale,Dartmouth, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USC and the University ofCalifornia-Berkeley, among others. 

Some of the most vexing stories featured in the film involve women who were assaulted by athletes. While The Hunting Ground isn’t all about sports, the most dramatic moment in the film occurs two-thirds of the way through when the woman who accused former Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston—who after a strong showing in last week’s Combine is projected by many to be the No. 1 pick in this spring’s NFL draft—appears and tells her story publicly for the first time. The woman, who is named in the film but SI.com has chosen to protect her identity, is shown on camera and gives her life-changing account of what she says happened the night in December 2012 she left a Tallahassee bar with Winston.

Photo: Getty Images

A high school honor student who planned to attend medical school, the woman is articulate and attractive. She looks like the girl next door, a person you would trust to babysit your children. It is uncomfortable to watch—yet impossible to look away—when she describes being beneath Winston on his bathroom floor, repeatedly telling him “no” before being physically overpowered. 

“We’re grateful it’s the first time people will get to hear [her] story,” said The Hunting Ground director Kirby Dick. “It’s her first-hand testimony. Up to this point it hasn’t been in a public space.”

The woman’s parents also appear in the film. Her father talks about driving to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital with his wife to be with their daughter hours after the incident.

There is nothing easy about retelling these stories for the world to see. But the attorney for the woman who says she was raped by Winston, John Clune, said his client decided to break her silence in the film because she felt it was the right venue to tell her story.

“The film was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Clune said. “The work by these filmmakers is nothing less than groundbreaking. It took tremendous courage, but our client and all of the incredibly brave women in the film have advanced the cause of rape survivors everywhere.” 

The Hunting Ground also examines a sexual assault accusation against a Notre Damefootball player in 2010. Tom Seeberg, whose daughter committed suicide after she says she was sexually assaulted by a Fighting Irish starter, tells a heartbreaking account of school officials thwarting the investigation into his daughter’s complaint. A former Notre Dame police officer reveals that he and his colleagues were not allowed to approach or question an athlete on athletic properties. 

The film also mentions rape cases involving football players at Missouri and Vanderbilt, as well as basketball players at Oregon.

The testimonials of rape survivors are wrapped between raw footage that is both gut-wrenching and disturbing. A small mob of unruly fraternity pledges at Yale are captured on film outside a freshman dorm for women, chanting: “No means yes. Yes means anal.” All the while a guy with a bullhorn is shouting: “Louder.” 

In another scene we see drunken frat boys spilling out of a house where there is a sign out front that says: “THANKS FOR YOUR DAUGHTERS.” It’s enough to outrage any parent with a daughter heading off to college. 

The film is directed by Dick and produced by Amy Ziering, the team behind the Oscar-nominated film The Invisible War, which revealed systemic sexual assaults and cover-ups within the U.S. military. That movie prompted Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to announce significant policy changes and inspired the passage of the Military Justice Improvement Act. 

Dick and Ziering started looking into the situation on college campuses shortly after the release of The Invisible War. “We were astonished that the problem was as serious in higher education as it was in the military,” Dick said. 

Full disclosure: I appear in The Hunting Ground as an expert. Two of the cases in the film—Lizzy Seeberg’s alleged assault at Notre Dame and running back Derrick Washington’s sexual assault of a student at the University of Missouri—are featured in my book The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football, which I wrote with 60 Minutes correspondent Armen Keteyian. 

Some of my research is also featured in the film, including the statistic that student-athletes are responsible for 19% of the reported sexual assaults on campus, despite the fact that they comprise just 3.3% of the male student population. Those figures arose from a first-of-its-kind study I conducted with researchers at the University of Massachusetts in the mid-90s when we were granted access to judicial affairs records and police reports at colleges across the country. 

Photo: Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Over the past 20 years I have researched hundreds of cases of sexual assault involving athletes. During that time I’ve interviewed countless sexual assault victims. The thing I found most telling was what prosecutor Willie Meggs did not say in the film. Meggs was asked if he thought a rape took place in Winston’s apartment. It was a perfect opportunity for the man who chose not to prosecute Winston to say no.  Instead, he said something “bad” happened in that apartment that night. He just didn’t have sufficient evidence to prove it. 

That’s not unusual. That’s typical. Only about 20% of rapes reported to the police in the U.S. are prosecuted. Yet at least 92% of reported sexual assault claims are found to be true. The problem is that date rape cases are very difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, especially when alcohol is involved and the incident occurs in the perpetrator’s apartment, dorm or hotel room. The doubts raised by those factors are amplified when the accused is a star athlete.

The greatest achievement of The Hunting Ground is that it empowers rape victims to team up with each other and come forward. It’s fair to say that for the first time in many years, women like Jameis Winston’s alleged victim have powerful allies. 

By the time the NFL draft takes place in May, the film will be in theaters around the country, the name of Winston’s accuser will be everywhere and more details about the night in question will likely come out. All of this brings to mind the legal maxim caveat emptor, which essentially is a warning that means let the buyer beware. 

Jason Licht, the general manager for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, ultimately has to decide whether to use the first pick on Winston. He’s on record saying: “This is the most important pick, potentially, in the history of the franchise.” 

Memo to Licht: Watch The Hunting Ground.

The ramifications in this instance are equally big for the NFL, whose image took a beating over the last year after Ray Rice was caught on tape knocking out his then-fiancé in an elevator. The controversy erupted after Commissioner Roger Goodell imposed a two-game suspension without bothering to obtain and watch the video.

Memo to the Commissioner: Watch The Hunting Ground. 

No matter what happens with Winston, the film succeeds in its main goal: to shine a light on sexual assault on college campuses. It’s an important issue that isn’t going away, and if something drastic isn’t done immediately, it will only get worse.

Jeff Benedict is a lawyer and has written five books on athletes and violence against women, including Public Heroes, Private Felons: Athletes and Violence Against Women, and Out of Bounds: Inside the NBA’s Culture of Rape, Violence and Crime.

 

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February 26, 2015 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Civility, Community, Crime, Cultural, Health Issues, Interconnected, Law and Order, Leadership, Lies, Living Conditions, Mating Behavior, Rants, Relationships, Values | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Houston Backlog of 6,663 Rape Kits Tested, Resulting in 850 DNA Hits

In the category of ‘you can run, but you can’t hide’ is the fact that hundreds, thousands of rape kits have gone untested in police departments all over the United States. Too expensive, or so they say, to process them all, but the force of public opinion is relentless, and the result is that some of these kits are finally producing results and convictions that, at long last, give the rape victims some satisfaction.

I worked with one of the very first Rape Crisis Lines, back in the beginning when it was all new, in, of course, California. We worked with the victims, but we also worked with emergency workers and with police. It was a team. Most of the police I worked with were merciful and compassionate, but there are other places where the police culture is harsh, and rape victims are not well-treated. There are still those people who believe that somehow a victim asked for it in some way.

I learned some surprising things as I worked with the victims. I learned how strong and how smart victims (they’re not all women) can be. They did what they had to do to stay alive, and they memorized everything they could to be able to tell the police. Many made it a point to leave DNA in the car, or to save the rapist’s DNA. It was less about the physical violation than finding oneself in a position of utter powerlessness, and not knowing if you were going to survive. I didn’t pity the victims; I admired their courage and resilience.

JUAN A. LOZANO, Associated Press

HOUSTON (AP) — Evidence from more than 6,600 rape kits that went untested for years in Houston have turned up 850 hits in the FBI’s nationwide database of DNA profiles, marking a major step in the city’s $6 million effort to address the backlog, officials announced Monday.

Charges have been filed against 29 people, six of whom have been convicted, since the city launched an effort in 2013 to test 6,663 rape kits — some of which dated back nearly three decades. Testing was completed in the fall, and the results have now been uploaded to a database used by investigators nationwide to compare DNA profiles of possible suspects, Mayor Annise Parker said.

“This milestone is of special importance to rape survivors and their families and friends because it means their cases are receiving the attention they should have years ago,” Parker said at a news conference, where she joined local law enforcement officials to announce the results.

Police are continuing to review the matches to see if charges can be filed in other cases. In the cases where prosecutors have won convictions, defendants have received sentences ranging from 2 to 45 years in prison. One case was dismissed after the victim decided not to pursue the case.

Rape kits include biological samples and physical evidence gathered from sexual assault victims that are later processed to see if they match a suspect’s DNA. Testing results are uploaded to the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS.

Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said there were some cases where suspects committed other crimes while rape kits that could have identified them sat untested.

“Now that the testing of these kits is complete, we know that it’s up to us to finish the job and to seek justice for these victims. The ball is in our court and we will do our best to put the people who are responsible for these heinous crimes behind bars for as long as possible,” she said.

Experts say Houston’s backlog — and similar backlogs in other U.S. cities — are due in part to the high cost of testing which can run from $500 to $1,000 per kit, though advocates argue that the lack of testing signals that sex crimes haven’t always been law enforcement priorities.

More than 12,000 kits went untested for years in Memphis, Tennessee, which is facing a lawsuit from rape victims as it tries to test the kits. In Detroit, prosecutors discovered more than 11,000 rape kits in an abandoned police warehouse in 2009, and Cleveland prosecutors have sent their entire 4,700-kit backlog for testing.

“This is not a Houston problem. It’s not a Texas problem. It’s a nationwide issue that built up over years and years,” Parker said.

___

Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/juanlozano70

February 24, 2015 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Crime, Law and Order, Quality of Life Issues, Women's Issues | , , | Leave a comment

Rape Victim Should Have Just Closed Her Legs: Defense Attorney

Ignorance and outrageous statements on rape are rampant world-wide. Today, this story from New Zealand, via AOL HuffPost World:

 

This week’s example of how not to handle a rape trialhave comes to you from New Zealand, where a defense attorney is being criticized for saying a sexually assaulted woman should have kept her legs shut.

Speaking to a Wellington District Court jury on Wednesday, defense lawyer Keith Jefferies claimed that his client, George Jason Pule, a bouncer at a local club, had merely engaged in consensual sex with the victim, as quoted by local paper The Dominion Post.

Jefferies’ “proof”? The drunk 20-year-old woman did not attempt to stop Pule’s advances after he convinced her to follow him down an alley.

“All she would have had to do was to close her legs,” Jefferies told the jury in his closing argument, per the Post. “[I]t’s as simple as that.”

Pule had attempted to claim that the victim had filed a false rape charge because she regretted having sex with him, reports the Post.

Despite his best efforts, Jefferies’ client was ultimately convicted on the rape charge and is currently awaiting sentencing.

It’s been a difficult month so far for victims advocates in New Zealand, with the Wellington trial following news of an alleged “teen rape club, ” known as the “Roast Busters,” operating in New Zealand. Members of the group, which is currently being investigated by police, are said to have boasted about getting underage girls drunk and sexually assaulting them. 

“This whole situation is horrific,” Wellington Rape Crisis Center’s Natalie Gousmett said in a press release. “First we have the abhorrent behaviour of the members of the rape group, causing serious harm to the victims they have targeted. Then we have appalling coverage by media, including extreme victim-blaming. … All of this demonstrates the rape culture in [New Zealand], which is extremely harmful to survivors.”

Gousemett went on to note that victims who “are told they are at fault for being raped” are far less likely to come forward and receive the support they need.

In an effort to counteract the problem, advocacy groups have launched a new public service campaign called “Who Are You,” urging New Zealanders to keep “an eye on your mates when you’re out –- You look after them, they look after you. It’s all about having fun and making it home safely.”

November 14, 2013 Posted by | Character, Crime, Cultural, Living Conditions, Safety, Social Issues, Women's Issues | , | Leave a comment

Expat Teacher Murdered In Qatar After Night of Clubbing?

The prosecutor says violent crime is rare in Qatar.
If, by violent crime, the prosecutor is excluding abduction, rape in isolated sites in the desert, and expats who quietly exit the country when they discover the justice system is not going to prosecute Qatari citizens, only if those are excluded, along with the rape and abuse of local domestic workers, then he can say violent crime is rare.
Violent crime is not rare. It is not talked about.
This girl met up with people who seemed trustworthy. They were probably educated, and spoke English well. They might have even seemed gentlemanly. They offered her a ride home. They dropped off her friend.  But this girl never made it home.
One of the bravest women I ever knew, at 16, told me she was lucky to be alive. She accepted a ride home; they were brothers of a school friend. She reported them to the police. The boys were held – briefly – and she forced them to strip during the line-up to have them endure just a tiny amount of what she had endured. The prosecutor ultimately told her that they could not be prosecuted. Her family, shattered, left the country. It was a very common story, this ride home from a club turning into a nightmare, through which some victims live – and some don’t.
The 16 year old was very stoic. She said if she let it get to her, they won, they would be in her head. For most victims, the memories and the nightmares resonate for a long time.

Qatar expats shocked after UK teacher’s suspected murder

Yolande KnellBy Yolande KnellBBC News, Doha, Qatar

Lauren PattersonLauren Patterson had gone to a nightclub with a friend before she went missing

The suspected murder of a young primary school teacher from south-east London has deeply upset British expatriates living in the Gulf state of Qatar.

However, two weeks after Lauren Patterson disappeared following a night out in the capital, Doha, officials have given few details about her disappearance.

DNA tests have been carried out on the remains of a body found in a remote area of desert but the results have not yet been released.

At the Newton British School, where Ms Patterson worked, one mother paid tribute to a talented teacher who she said had been a favourite of her little son.

However, staff refused to comment, saying they had been advised not to.

“We’re a small, close-knit community and we’re all in deep shock,” explained headteacher Katherine Dixon. “We are dealing with small children here.”

Security camerasWhen 24-year-old Ms Patterson went out on 11 October she had just returned from a trip home to the UK for her grandmother’s funeral.

She and a female friend decided to go to Club 7 on the seventh floor of the luxury La Cigale Hotel.

It is a popular venue where all nationalities mingle on the dance floor as DJs play ambient house music.

High living standards and high tax-free salaries draw thousands of Britons to Qatar

Groups sip cocktails around low tables decorated with colourful, illuminated ice buckets.

Everyone entering the club has their ID checked and they are watched by burly bouncers and security cameras.

It is believed that in the early hours of the morning, the two women left with two local men they knew who had offered to drive them home.

Ms Patterson’s companion was dropped off safely but she went missing.

The alarm was raised by her friend who called the police the next day.

Arrests

Reports say a falconer found a badly burnt corpse shortly afterwards. Two suspects were detained although no details about them have been confirmed.

Mohammed Rashed al-BinaliPublic prosecutor Mohammed Rashed al-Binali says violent crime is “very rare” in Qatar

The case has been referred to the attorney general.

“Violent crime is very rare in Qatar,” public prosecutor, Mohammed Rashed al-Binali told me in his smart office surrounded by shining skyscrapers in central Doha.

“We are continuing to investigate the case. We cannot give more details at the moment but the Ministry of Interior did arrest the suspects within 24 hours.”

Alison Patterson has flown to Doha and is awaiting further news about her daughter.

She told the BBC she would only make a statement “when I feel the time is right and I have received all the information concerning Lauren”.

Meanwhile, the British Foreign Office says it is providing the family with consular assistance.

Qatar, which will host the 2022 World Cup, is generally considered one of the safest places in the Middle East for Westerners.

The tiny, but very wealthy Gulf state, which is the biggest exporter of natural gas in the world, relies heavily on its growing foreign workforce.

It now has some 17,500 British residents. Most are attracted by the high living standards and high tax-free salaries.

Yet work permits can be easily revoked and this makes employees from overseas very wary of upsetting the authorities.

While Qatar has recently supported opposition movements pushing for greater freedom across the Arab world, the nation itself remains very conservative and tightly controlled.

October 31, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Circle of Life and Death, Crime, Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Law and Order, Lies, Living Conditions, Mating Behavior, Qatar, Safety | , | Leave a comment

Military Sexual Assault Cases ‘Skyrocket’ in 2012

From AOL/Huffpost Political News:

 

Do you think sexual assaults have really increased? I don’t. I think those assaulted – it isn’t always women – are becoming braver about reporting the assaults. Until now, reporting a sexual assault has not resulted in the investigation of the assault, but has often resulted beating up the victim, especially if the one committing assault has friends in high places. The lower-ranking assault victim faces insults, lack of interest, friendly advice to just let it drop, and accusations that it was a ‘relationship.’ I’d like to believe that while the change is slow, and a long time coming, there is a change which will rein in some of these arrogant aggressors.

 

WASHINGTON — The sexual battery arrest of the Air Force officer who led the service’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response unit underscores how far the Defense Department has to go in addressing the plague of sexual crimes in the military, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said Tuesday.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., told a committee hearing that a Pentagon report to be released later Tuesday reportedly estimates that, on average, there are more than 70 sexual assaults involving military personnel every day.

Authorities in Arlington County, Va., said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski was charged with groping a woman in a northern Virginia parking lot on Sunday. Krusinski was removed from his post in the sexual assault unit after the Air Force learned of his arrest. He started in the post in February

“While under our legal system everyone is innocent until proven guilty, this arrest speaks volumes about the status and effectiveness of (the Defense) department’s efforts to address the plague of sexual assaults in the military,” Levin said.

The Pentagon report says that the number of sexual assaults reported by members of the military rose from 3,192 to 3,374 in 2012, while the department estimates that as many as 26,000 service members were assaulted, based on anonymous surveys, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the report.

Gen. Mark Welsh, the Air Force’s chief of staff, told the committee that he and Air Force Secretary Michael Donley were “appalled” by Krusinki’s arrest. Although the case is being adjudicated by the Arlington County police, Welsh said the Air Force has requested jurisdiction.

A police report said that the 41-year-old Krusinski was drunk and grabbed a woman’s breast and buttocks. The woman fought him off and called police, the report said.

The Arlington County Sheriff’s office said Krusinski was released Sunday on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond. An arraignment is scheduled for Thursday.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has spoken with Donley about the matter and “expressed outrage and disgust over the troubling allegations and emphasized that this matter will be dealt with swiftly and decisively,” Pentagon press secretary George Little said in a statement.

Two cases involving decisions by three-star generals to overturn guilty verdicts in sexual assault cases have outraged members of Congress and propelled a bipartisan push to change the military justice system to essentially strip commanding officers of their ability to reverse criminal convictions.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., is holding up the nomination of Air Force Lt. Gen. Susan Helms, tapped to serve as vice commander of the U.S. Space Command, until the Missouri Democrat gets more information about Helms’ decision to overturn a jury conviction in a sexual assault case.

Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin, commander of the 3rd Air Force at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, overturned the conviction against Lt. Col. James Wilkerson, a former inspector general at Aviano Air Base in Italy. Wilkerson had been found guilty last Nov. 2 of charges of abusive sexual contact, aggravated sexual assault and three instances of conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman. The incident had involved a civilian employee.

 

May 7, 2013 Posted by | Crime, Cultural, Law and Order, Leadership, Mating Behavior, Political Issues, Relationships, Social Issues, Statistics, Women's Issues, Work Related Issues | , , , | Leave a comment

Maldives Rape Victim Sentenced to 100 Lashes for PreMarital Sex

maldives
Where are the Maldives Islands?

Raped by her stepfather, impregnated against her will, her stepfather killed the baby, and now, sentenced by Sharia law to 100 lashes for pre-marital sex. How can this be justice? (This is from BBC News)

Maldives girl to get 100 lashes for pre-marital sex
By Olivia Lang
BBC News

A 15-year-old rape victim has been sentenced to 100 lashes for engaging in premarital sex, court officials said.

The charges against the girl were brought against her last year after police investigated accusations that her stepfather had raped her and killed their baby. He is still to face trial.

Prosecutors said her conviction did not relate to the rape case.

Amnesty International condemned the punishment as “cruel, degrading and inhumane”.

The government said it did not agree with the punishment and that it would look into changing the law.

Baby death

Zaima Nasheed, a spokesperson for the juvenile court, said the girl was also ordered to remain under house arrest at a children’s home for eight months.

She defended the punishment, saying the girl had willingly committed an act outside of the law.

Officials said she would receive the punishment when she turns 18, unless she requested it earlier.

The case was sent for prosecution after police were called to investigate a dead baby buried on the island of Feydhoo in Shaviyani Atoll, in the north of the country.

Her stepfather was accused of raping her and impregnating her before killing the baby. The girl’s mother also faces charges for failing to report the abuse to the authorities.

The legal system of the Maldives, an Islamic archipelago with a population of some 400,000, has elements of Islamic law (Sharia) as well as English common law.

Ahmed Faiz, a researcher with Amnesty International, said flogging was “cruel, degrading and inhumane” and urged the authorities to abolish it.

“We are very surprised that the government is not doing anything to stop this punishment – to remove it altogether from the statute books.”

“This is not the only case. It is happening frequently – only last month there was another girl who was sexually abused and sentenced to lashes.”

He said he did not know when the punishment was last carried out as people were not willing to discuss it openly.

February 27, 2013 Posted by | Crime, Cultural, Family Issues, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Mating Behavior, Women's Issues | , , | Leave a comment

Manohar Lal Sharma: “Until today I have not seen a single incident or example of rape with a respected lady”

If you are a follower of my blog, you know I am not a person of violent tendencies. This morning, however, I am so thankful to be half a world away from the scum lawyer who would make these statements about a woman so brutally raped by six men that she died of horrendous internal injuries.

I am fighting instincts which would wish him ill. When he accuses rape victims of being responsible for their attacks, it pushes me over the line.

A person should be free to take a bus without fear of assault. And I suspect that there are also male victims, too ashamed to come forward.

Manohar Lal Sharma
Manohar Lal Sharma, lawyer for one of the accused, speaks to journalists outside the Saket district court complex in New Delhi, India, on Jan. 10. Police badly beat the five suspects arrested in the brutal gang rape and killing of a young woman on a New Delhi bus, Sharma said Thursday, accusing authorities of tampering with evidence in the case that has transfixed India. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

As the trial of the men charged with the brutal gang rape and murder of a woman in New Delhi last month gets under way this week, a lawyer for some of the accused suggests the victim was partly to blame for the attack.

Lawyer Manohar Lal Sharma said his clients were innocent and implied that the 23-year-old student must have been in some way responsible for the horrific crime, Bloomberg reports.

“Until today I have not seen a single incident or example of rape with a respected lady,” Sharma said. “Even an underworld don would not like to touch a girl with respect.”

The lawyer’s controversial comments are sure to anger victim’s advocates, especially in light of somewhat similar sentiments proclaimed by Indian guru Asaram Bapu.

Last week Bapu said the victim should have “taken God’s name and could have held the hand of one of the men and said I consider you as my brother and should have said to the other two ‘Brother I am helpless, you are my brother, my religious brother,'” according to the Hindustan Times.

It is worth noting, however, that a representative for Bapu later said the media distorted the guru’s remarks.

“[He] never made such statements. He just asked his women followers to avoid such situation anyhow,” the rep told Asian News International. “He was only suggesting that women should try their level-best to come out from such situation by using diplomatic ways.”

News outlet The Week compiled a list of several other statements that seem to place blame on the rape victim. The compilation includes a comment from Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee president Botsa Satyanarayana, who suggested the victim stayed out too late.

“Do we roam in streets at midnight as we got Independence at midnight?” Satyanarayana said. “She should have assessed the situation before getting into the bus.”

The attack, which occurred on the evening of Dec. 16, has shocked Indian residents and prompted violent protests in cities across the country, CNN notes.

Sharma, who stepped in to help defend the suspects when many other lawyers refused to represent them, also claimed his clients had been tortured by police while in jail, Time reports.

The main suspect in the trial, the bus driver, will plead not guilty according to Reuters, as will the driver and a third suspect he represents.

“We will plead not guilty. We want this to go to trial,” Sharma said. “We are only hearing what the police are saying. This is manipulated evidence. It’s all on the basis of hearsay and presumption.

January 13, 2013 Posted by | Civility, Community, Crime, Cultural, India, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Mating Behavior, Safety, Social Issues, Women's Issues | , , | 13 Comments

Turkish Rape Victim Kills and Beheads Her Rapist to Protect Her Honor

Not all women will show this kind of courage and determination when bullied and intimidated by a powerful rapist. Now, she faces the penalty, but her actions have ignited a debate in Turkey. I found this on Huffpost, a re-publication of a CNN story:

A 26-year-old Turkish woman, who was impregnated by her rapist, reportedly shot and beheaded her alleged attacker to protect her honor. The case has forced the country into a new round in the intensifying debate over abortion.

Nevin Yildirim, a mother of two from Turkey’s Yalvac district, faces charges of murder for the August killing of 35-year-old Nurettin Gider. Yildirim, according to CNN, is at least five months pregnant and claims she was rape-impregnated by Gider.

Yildirim told police that Gider, a father of two who was married to her husband’s aunt, first raped her in January, when her husband left town to work a seasonal job.

Yildirim said Gider threatened to kill her children if she alerted anyone to the crime. The rapes allegedly continued over the course of the next several months and Gider reportedly threatened to publish photos he took of Yildirim’s pregnant body if she did not do as he said, Turkish broadcaster DHA reported.

On Aug. 28, Yildirim claims spotted Gider climbing up a wall behind her house and grabbed a rifle that was hanging on the wall.

“I knew he was going to rape me again,” Yildirim said at an Aug. 30 preliminary hearing.

Yildirim allegedly shot Gider twice and chased him from her property. She claimed in court he was armed at the time.

“He fell on the ground. He started cussing,” she said. “I shot his sexual organ this time. He became quiet. I knew he was dead. I then cut his head off.”

Witnesses told police they saw Yildirim walk into the village square, carrying Gider’s bloody head by his hair.

“Don’t talk behind my back, don’t play with my honor,” Yildirim allegedly told witnesses in the square as she threw Gider’s head to the ground. “Here is the head of the man who played with my honor.”

Authorities arrived on the scene shortly thereafter and Yildirim was taken into custody without incident.

“He kept saying that he would tell everyone [about the rape],” Yildirim told authorities, according to Doğan News Agency. “My daughter will start school this year. Everyone would have insulted my children. Now no one can.”

“I saved my honor,” she added. “They will now call [her children] ‘the kids of the women who saved her honor.'”

According to CNN, Yildirim went to a health clinic for an abortion prior to the murder but was turned away because she was 14 weeks pregnant at the time. In Turkey, abortion is only permitted during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. Anything beyond that requires a special circumstance.

Turkey’s abortion debate has now been re-kindled as the public prosecutor’s office considers Yildirim’s request. Authorities are waiting for experts to weigh in on her mental stability.

“The extremity of Nevin’s actions show the extent of the trauma the rape has caused,” Dr. Gürsel Öztunalı Kayır, Foundation for Women’s Solidarity, told International Business Times. “We shouldn’t be distracted by the murder; if she wants to have an abortion following months of abuse, she should have the right.”

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, however, considers abortion “murder” and wants the practice outlawed. Melih Gökçek, mayor of the capital, Ankara, supports the proposed ban, saying a mother who considers abortion should “kill herself instead and not let the child bear the brunt of her mistake,” IBT reported.

Women’s groups in Turkey consider Yildirim a heroine. The case also resonates in the United States, where abortion remains a topic of heated debate.

September 6, 2012 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Circle of Life and Death, Counter-terrorism, Crime, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Family Issues, Health Issues, Living Conditions, Turkey, Women's Issues | , , | 5 Comments

Rape for Chatting

Also from today’s Arab Times – rape is every big as horrifying when it happens to a man. I am glad this young man had the courage to report it to the police, and to prosecute his attackers.

I wonder how they found out their sister was chatting with this man?

Brothers kidnap, rape man in revenge for ‘chatting’ with their sister

KUWAIT CITY : The Criminal Court Monday dismissed an objection latter submitted by a bedoun identified only as Ali A., requesting the court to cancel a five-year jail sentence which has been issued against him in absentia in a case filed against him and his brother for kidnapping and molesting a Kuwaiti man.

During a previous session the defense lawyer had told the court there was no evidence to prove his client had committed the crime.

He added the victim’s testimony was contradictory and requested the court to cancel the verdict of the Court of First Instance and acquit his client.

Case papers indicate the victim filed the case against two brothers accusing them of kidnapping and molesting him after learning about his relationship with their sister via the Internet.

The victim explained he chatted with the sister of two men on the Internet and they exchanged messages on their cell phones. When the girl’s brothers learnt about this relationship, one of them called him and said he wanted to meet him.

When the victim met one of them, identified only as Essa, the latter asked him to get into his car and drove off. On the way, Essa stopped the car and his brother Ali got in.

The two men took the victim to a building under construction and ordered him to take off his clothes and molested him. They threatened to kill him if he talked to anybody about the incident.

On April 2, 2005, the Court of First Instance sentenced Essa to five years in jail to be followed by deportation and Ali to five years in absentia because he was not arrested or interrogated.
The session was presided over by Judge Abdullah Al-Sane.

By Moamen Al-Masri
Special to the Arab Times

June 11, 2008 Posted by | Community, Crime, Cross Cultural, Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Mating Behavior, Relationships, Social Issues | | 4 Comments

Dubai Rape Case Update (Two)

In another tiny little article, but high up on page 3 of the Kuwait Times is:

UAE Court Upholds Verdict in Rape Case
Dubai: An appeals court in the United Arab Emirates yesterday upheld 15 year jail terms handed down against two Emiratis convicted of raping a French-Swiss teenager, and AFP journalist said. The judge in Dubai took just a few seconds to announce his ruling after proceedings opened. The defense wanted the sentences pronounced on December 12 to be quashed, and a lawyer for the two men told AFP after Sunday’s ruling that a further appeal would be lodged with the supreme court. Prosecutors had demanded the maximum punishment, which could have meant the death penalty. A third defendant is being tried in a juvenile court. One of the men who raped the European teenager was HIV-positive, but has since been found to be clear of the sexually transmittable disease. The boy’s mother, Veronique Robert, launched a media campaign to publicize the case and gather support for her demand that the UAE recognize homosexual rape in its legal system and set up institutions to treat AIDs sufferers. She protested against the original verdict, saying that “15 years is nothing for someone who knew he had AIDs.”

Comment: Did you read this sentence?:

One of the men who raped the European teenager was HIV-positive, but has since been found to be clear of the sexually transmittable disease.

Can you tell me who has been found to be clear of the disease? One of the men? The teenager?

Comment 2: Bravo, UAE judges!

February 18, 2008 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Community, Crime, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Health Issues, Just Bad English, Living Conditions, Mating Behavior, Political Issues | , , | 11 Comments