Beyond the Campus: Week 20

This is my final Beyond the Campus post. I want to take this time to say thank you to the entire SAFER team for allowing me this space, and for their guidance, passion and relentless activism. And I’d like to thank YOU, dear readers, for your conversation, linking and sharing, and general involvement with SAFER and my posts. But fear not – this is not the last of Beyond the Campus: SAFER is looking for someone to take my stead. Interested? Contact contact@safercampus.org.

Now, some quick news from this past week.

Women Undefined praised True Blood for showing an accurate portrayl of a woman experiencing flashbacks from sexual violence: “This aftermath, the day to day grind just to make it through an hour, a minute, is something people don’t see with domestic violence and rape victims…The grief, anguish and suffering of Tara was perhaps the most heart wrenching and personally touching thing I have seen on television, ever.” Feminist issues made it into the mainstream in other ways, like a piece on untested rape kits in Marie Claire, and Law & Order adapting an episode around one such story.

There were some legislative wins as well: New York made it easier for those who are victims of sex trafficking and forced prostitution, as did Bangladesh. Some citizen activism caught a cop threatening someone with rape, and Female Impersonator wrote a great piece about consent and coming out.

Throughout this whole process, though the news isn’t always good, it always made me happy to see a mainstream outlet pick up on a feminist issue, or for several bloggers to rally around one particular story to cry out its injustices. This is activism in progress. And your sharing, your re-tweeting, your comments and writing, all help to bring these issues to light.

So thank you, and keep up the good work.

~Amanda

Amanda is the author of the blog, The Undomestic Goddess.

Beyond the Campus: Weeks 18 & 19

This week in sexual assault activism: A woman was raped in NYC’s Riverside Park, reported it, and it turned out that the suspect was linked to other suspicious behavior with women before, and more women came forward to report their assaults by the man. Finally, he was indicted. See what sharing information can do? It can save others. In a Hollaback moment, a picture posted of a subway harasser on the Daily News was recognized and the man has been since arrested. Let’s keep it going for citizen activism! A vigilante feminist stood up to the assault on women’s bodies through images of starvation, and this girl who stood up to a sexist boss, even though it turned out to be a hoax, I hope lit a fire under many a discriminated-upon female worker’s buttocks.

Let’s talk about workplace harassment. A hedge fund and a strip club in NY are both facing sexual harassment lawsuits, a Queens cop has filed suit against the NYPD, and Hewlett-Packard’s CEO has stepped down to avoid similar claims (but don’t worry, he left with a $28 million severage package). Jezebel reaffirms that workplace harassment is about more than just sexual advances, and called out Slate’s advice columnist who told women experiencing harassment in law to suck it up. And it’s not just on the job itself, but even getting certain jobs where women are discriminated against. Gawker compiled a list of jobs where it actually hurts your chances to be an attractive woman.

Now for misuse of power from trusted professionals. Remember that story of the Chicago doctor who assaulted multiple women? Well, it turns out he may not lose his license after all. But on the bright side, that cop who assaulted women in exchange for the promise to help out their families financially has been sentenced to five years for sexual abuse. Teachers didn’t fare too well either this past week. An NYC Catholic high school teacher admitted to placing a video camera in the girl’s locker room, and in the worst of news, a school used a rape victim as “bait” to catch kids having sex on school property after school, where she was raped again, along with another girl. Parents, understandably, were outraged that school authorities would use someone’s daughter in such a dangerous probe.

And of course, victim-blaming. The Dallas Police Chief blamed the city’s rapes on drunk women, and in clarifying his statements, didn’t hold rapists themselves any more accountable. In uncovering a story from Rand Paul’s past that involved kidnapping and trying to force a girl to do drugs, the media shrugged off the incident as “boys will be boys.” Shelby Knox takes on why that kind of thinking is dangerous for both young women and men. Later, Paul’s victim came forward to assert that there was no kidnapping – but one can’t help but wonder if there was any pressure for her to come out and say so. Jezebel also asked women what they were wearing when they were street harassed, and it turns out, no, they were not asking for it! No matter what they were wearing! And sadly, in Abu Dhabi, a 14 year-old girl has been jailed for having “consensual sex” with a man twice her age – consent in this case meaning that she opened the door. We need to stamp out victim-blaming myths both at home and abroad.

As for violence against women, a Department of Building’s official did some citizen activism himself by stopping a man beating his wife on the Grand Central Parkway. The wife told police ”they always had fights like that,” which makes you wonder what would have happened over time if the official didn’t intervene. Similarly, a Turkish man accused of beating his wife tried to pass off the incident as a traditional dance. I have a feeling some traditions, especially the misogynistic ones (which are mostly, all of them, across most cultures) needn’t be upheld. And in Queens, a woman expresses her fear of being stalked by her estranged husband who has beat her, was jailed for assault (and quickly released on bail) and violated her restraining order. One can only hope this story will help get him back behind bars, and help others realize the importance of threats when it comes to violence against women.

What have you been reading about activism regarding sexual violence these past two weeks?

Amanda is the author of the blog The Undomestic Goddess.

Beyond the Campus: Week 17

We’re not out of the celebrity woodwork yet. The Mel Gibson saga continues, Casey Affleck and Michael Lohan are both being charged with harassment, and a third victim of Roman Polanski’s has come forward. There’s also been a lot of buzz about a recent court case that ruled a woman gave implied consent to be filmed for Girls Gone Wild just be being in the bar, despite the fact that her top was forced down, she didn’t sign any release forms, and she can be heard saying “no” on camera. The Curvature points out that age-old victim-blaming myths are at work here, while Tiger Beatdown argues that this “implied consent” leaves women vulnerable and in less control of their bodies (but alas, there are defendants of the ruling). Also in regards to victim-blaming myths, Sociological Images broke down a report about what men view as “immodest” behavior from a woman, and sure enough, it’s not (just) the clothes a woman wears, but the way she walks and acts despite of everything else. So, ladies, even if you flatten your breasts to ward of sexual assault like the girls in Cameroon, that look you give a guy DESPITE ALL INTENTIONS totally cements your consent. See how that works?

Luckily, some are working to curb the effect of such blame on the victim. Cleveland.com reported that poorly chosen words in assault statements (such as “had sex” vs “rape” and other language that feminists are already pointing out in the media) can hurt the case (duh) and advocated better police training. In other good news, a class action lawsuit has been filed against the US Military on behalf of all sexual assault survivors.

Across the pond, a British guru used his position of power to assault women, often employing psychological tactics of social pressure within a group of women. Clearly, in his position of a healer and group leader, these women felt they could trust him, which is why I’m irked by the judge’s remark that “This is a complete betrayal of women by women.” No, this is a complete betrayl of a trusted professional posing as a rapist.

I’m also shocked by this court case in which a judge ruled a man was legally allowed to rape his (18 year-old!) wife because he practiced the law of Islam (thankfully, an appeals court has overruled this decision). Also, a polygamist leader who set up a marriage of a 14 year-old girl to her cousin who then repeatedly sexually assaulted her has been cleared of charges, Republicans voted against a bill that would strengthen enforcement for sexual assault of Native American women (though luckily, it passed, and Obama is set to sign it), and Amanda Hess takes a look at sexual assault behind bars, and how women are made doubly the victim.

What have you been reading this week?

Amanda is the author of the blog The Undomestic Goddess.

Beyond the Campus: Week 16

Let’s follow up on the Mel Gibson story from last week. While many blogs and news sources have condemned Gibson’s actions, pointing out exactly why he should be held accountable and calling out the media for ignoring domestic abuse, or defending Oksana Grigorieva’s recording as a means of self-defense, there’s still plenty of victim-blaming to be had. The Today Show said Grigorieva was acting passive-aggressive to push Gibson, Forbes Women described his behavior as “human,” Gibson excused himself of blame in saying that quitting smoking had made him “crabby,” and as for the tapes, Dan Abrams doesn’t think they were recorded legally. And to further complicate matters, it now looks like Grigorieva is under investigation for extortion. Yes Means Yes contemplated Gibson’s case along with Al Gore’s to ask simply, “Is this the face of a monster?” They remind us that whatever our disbelief that a beloved public figure could do such a thing, “We have to be willing to accept that if he did, he’s not the person we thought he was, and he doesn’t deserve our support.” Speaking of which, two more of Gore’s former masseuses have come forward to report abuse. Jaclyn Friedman writes at The Nation how the media should report on the case. And as if we needed more celebrity drama, Michael Lohan has also been charged with harassment and allegedly threatened to kill his fiance.

In more victim-blaming, the BBC reported on a rape at a music festival by describing what the victim was wearing and encouraging women to stay with their friends (which clearly didn’t work, as another rape was reported shortly after, though festival officials say they’re unrelated). Lawrence Taylor’s wife also made sure to kick her husband’s victim while she was down, saying “good girls don’t run away,” “that’s what happens when you run away,” and the real charmer, “How in the heck do you rape a prostitute.” There’s more calling out the “good girls don’t” argument over at Yes Means Yes.

In police matters, abyss2hope lays out Milwaukee’s failures in addressing sexual assault and their plan for improvement, while highlighting Rochester, MN‘s enlightened attitude towards victims. A New York EMT was charged with a string of assaults (including – trigger – sodomizing an 11 year-old girl at gunpoint), and the Curvature reports on a story that highlights both police abuse and dating violence.

On the technology front, Jezebel takes a look at an online game that thrives on female subservience, and a 12 year-old girl took to Facebook for help during her sexual assault. abyss2hope points out: “Technology can be a useful tool for those being assaulted and it can be useful for bystanders. If technology is exploited fully by all non-offenders that may cause some offenders to have more fear of detection.” However, technology can work against a victim – here’s one instance of a rape that was filmed and cast live on the web…but not reported.

In other news, The American Prospect takes on the “epidemic” of false rape allegations, abyss2hope reports on a new study that challenges stereotypes of adolescent sex offenders, Full-Frontal Activism points out the parallels between intersex “treatment” (often performed without consent) trauma and sexual assault trauma, and the Curvature reports on a devastating story from our military. Finally, an excerpt from Jessica Stern‘s new book confronts the memory of her rape (mega trigger warning here).

I’d like to end by asking what you think of this recent news story about “deceit rape” – an Arab man who lied about being Jewish for sex (and is now jailed in Israel) – is lying about one’s identity a form of rape? Leave your thoughts below.

Amanda is the author of the blog The Undomestic Goddess.

Beyond the Campus: Week 15

Or, the week Mel Gibson taught us all a lesson about abusive relationships, domestic violence, and violence against women (your complete internet-meme related guide here). *Trigger warning* Despite the obvious terrifying threats made in the phone calls (such as hitting his girlfriend and mother of his child upside the head with a bat and burying her in the rose garden, but first she has to perform oral sex on him), there are actually people out there defending Gibson, such as conservative blogger John Derbyshire of the National Review: ”The guy was drunk, for heaven’s sake” (our bad! We didn’t know! Exonerate the poor bastard!) And Roman Polanski rape apologist Whoopi Goldberg is also taking Gibson’s side (but, well, she’s defended questionable cases before). I listened to all three harrowing rants, and the one good thing to take away from it is that Oksana Grigorieva, Gibson’s girlfriend/victim, knows exactly what’s happening to her. She tells Gibson how he controls her every move, how he has taken away her friends, her livelihood, and likens herself to being puppeteered like a marionette. She tells him how he cannot love her because someone who treats her like that is not showing love. She tells him she’s going to go to the police. I cannot say for sure if all women in her situation (that of an abusive husband or boyfriend) are as self-aware. But I also can’t help thinking how the media would treat this story if she told Gibson how much she still loved him and wanted to work things out. Would his words be viewed as harshly? Even with all the evidence (and what other evidence might there be in cases of verbal and emotional abuse and threats of violence?), some aren’t so sure that it will hold in a court of law. Even so, Women Undefined reminds us why this case is so important – that we are finally talking about these issues in the public sphere. (If you can stomach any more news about Gibson, it also appears that he has a history of playing “pranks” on female colleagues, that in retrospect appear both frightening and telling.)

Now let’s talk about something that happens before the recognized verbal or physical assault – something that happens to women on a daily basis, and positions them as “less-than” and free to be commented on: slut-shaming. Recent high-school graduate Lilly blogged about her own experience with this at her summer job, and her conclusions were echoed throughout the (internet) land. Slut-shaming is what makes girls like this make up stories to cover up their sexual activity, because they’re so ashamed at what their reputation might be.

There are also some updates about past stories. The man we met last week robbing and attempting to assault a 3-year old was aquitted. Steven Seagal‘s sexual harassment case has similarly been dismissed. It also turns out that the Grim Sleeper case from last week (which, as one astute commenter pointed out, is named as such because of the gap in time between crimes) was poorly handled.

There’s yet more news from celebrity-ville: Jaleel White, best known as Urkel from Family Matters, has been accused of domestic violence, while Amanda Hess reminds us what happens when we “hope” that an assault case isn’t true – we end up blaming the victim. And everybody’s talking about what’s going to happen to Lindsay Lohan while she’s in jail.

What have you been reading in sexual assault activism this week?

Amanda is the author of the blog The Undomestic Goddess.

Beyond the Campus, Week 14

The Huffington Post reported on Illinois’ new rape kit law, which would require investigating law enforcement agencies to submit all evidence of sexual assault to the crime lab within 10 days of receiving it from a hospital. However, the New York Times points out a loophole in the law language (“if sufficient staffing and resources are available”) and The Curvature remarks, “In cases where a victim knows hir rapist and the accused claims that all sexual contact was consensual — a majority of cases — the rape kit doesn’t do a whole lot…But I say that anyone who subjects themselves to what is usually the indignity and invasion of a rape kit examination damn well deserves to have hir law enforcement agency take that effort and sacrifice seriously.”

I say Illinois’ new law is an incredible step in the right direction (good going, home state!), certainly lightyears ahead of Gov. Jindal’s manadatory ultrasound law for abortion with no rape exemption, as RH Reality Check reported, or Sharron Angle’s advice to a pregnant victim of incest to turn lemons into lemonade, as Change.org pointed out.

There was unfortunately too much news this week regarding violence against women, with Mel Gibson hogging the spotlight as the most visible victim-blamer. The LAPD has luckily arrested a man known as the “Grim Sleeper” who has been accused of sexually assaulting and killing 11 victims (ps, what’s with all the cutesy names for perpetrators of violent acts? Rape and murder is not “sleeping” just as the DC man who broke into women’s homes and touched himself was not a “hugger” or whatever they called him – it belittles the gravity of the assault).

Children, as always, made devastating headlines. First, a New Jersey man was arrested for raping (and thus killing) a 7-month old girl. In New York, a man robbed a 3-year old girl and was attempting sexual assault when neighbors discovered him. And in Ohio, a 31-year old woman posed as a teenage boy to assault a 16-year old girl. But what’s more, as Gawker pointed out, the media was trying to pinpoint the story as a real-life Boys Don’t Cry, which is taking a story about transsexual tragedy and likening it to child abuse. Good call on pointing out that fail. Another media fail, as NOW aptly pointed out, was a graphic depiction of sexual violence on True Blood.

Gender Across Borders has a brave post from a rape survivor about coping and opening up to new lovers: “In the past I tried to talk to old boyfriends about it, but they didn’t want to hear it, or didn’t want to believe it. They denied my story when I needed their support. I couldn’t believe my ears when my exes did what society so often does in cases of sexual assault—they blamed me, the victim.”

In other parts of the world, Vietnam is being rocked by the idea of a “virginity spot” that is freeing rapists left and right, and the UN released a toolkit of how to deter sexual violence in war.

What are some positive things that people are doing to combat sexual assault that you’ve seen this past week?

Amanda is the author of the blog, The Undomestic Goddess.

Beyond the Campus: Week 13

This week, Al Gore’s accuser came out of hiding, then Portland police reopened her case (although Mediate founder Dan Abrams doesn’t think it will lead to any charges), and Yes Means Yes blog broke down what Gore’s silence and denial really means, and reminds us that it’s not just the high-profile cases, everybody’s story gets attacked. We learned that the New York City Council ELIMINATED (not just cut down) on sexual violence funding (and that the police were reporting assaults as misdemeanors to manipulate statistics – what, don’t want to fill out extra paperwork?), while The Curvature reported Connecticut increased their funding for domestic violence prevention and response (who’s moving?). We also learned of some more high-profile rapes, with Judy Blume’s grandson being among the accused (Judy fricken Blume! You have respect for the female experience in your genes, you should know better, for shame!), as well as this film blogger on the run from allegations of sexual misconduct with his underage stepdaughter (a case of Woody Allen imitation?). And Sharron Angle told us that if we’re raped, it’s all part of god’s plan, and we should probably have our rapist’s baby too while we’re at it.

In abuse of police power, Women Undefined reports that an Oregon police officer was caught sexually abusing prostitutes, while Yes Means Yes reminds us that even sexual beings (yes, even sex workers!) command consent just like everybody else (and in case you missed it, police were threatening rape to protesters at the G20 summit – the G20!). In other authoritative inaction, a woman was severly beaten up at an NYC subway stop while station agents watched (which reminded me of this rape case where a station agent also stood by and did nothing – hey, great thing the MTA is cutting those positions so there will be even LESS useless witnesses around).

In other news, Amanda Hess at The Sexist broke down the coercion that occurred on the set of Olivia Munn’s Playboy photo shoot (that she explained to Time Out New York this week still haunts her), a Queens woman was busted for forcing young Korean women into sex slavery on Long Island (it always hurts when it’s women hurting other women, doesn’t it?), and The Curvature pointed out this great ad out of Scotland explaining that, no, women aren’t wearing that skirt just “asking” to be raped.

What else have you seen in sexual assault awareness this week?

See all Beyond the Campus posts here.

Amanda is the author of the blog, The Undomestic Goddess.

Beyond the Campus: Week 12

This was the week of high-profile rape accusations. By now I’m sure you’ve heard about the sexual assault allegation against Al Gore (as if his divorce wasn’t shock enough, or the rumor of an affair with Larry David’s ex-wife). Of the charge, Feministing reminds us that liberal, progressive men can assault women too: “Now, there’s no way for us to know what’s true and what’s not, but I would really hate to see folks automatically come to Gore’s defense because of his reputation in the progressive and liberal spheres. In fact, the woman accusing Gore seems to know all too well that this kind of defense (and victim-blaming) is a distinct possibility.”

An icon of another sort, the Mets’ Johan Santana (and, let’s be honest, the only reason that team has a chance) was accused of sexual assault last year in documents recently released by TMZ. Nothing came of the case as “there was not enough evidence to prove lack of consent” according to the prosecutor (though as we know in some cases, “lack of evidence” can really mean intimidation). Santana admits to having sex with her, but says she never said “no” (leaving it the woman’s responsibility to not get raped). From the story, it seems that the pair had a history, and Santana perhaps misread cues and took it too far. He never saw the woman after that incident (which would lead me to believe that this in fact was not consensual), and she had completed a rape kit shortly after the event (which makes me think that she wasn’t after money). This story sparked an interesting conversation between me and my boyfriend (a Mets fan), who argued that, unlike Ben Roethlisberger or Lawrence Taylor (who was just indicted, btw), Santana doesn’t have a history of aggression, sexual or otherwise, or is a known asshole like this guy, who warns athletes to treat their mistresses right if they don’t want to be accused of rape. Which is why it’s important to note that, like Feministing’s point with Al Gore, nice guys can rape too – especially if we live in a society where rape culture is so prominent that men (and even women) can’t distinguish between consent and sexual playfulness – especially when force is so often depicted as playfulness. I’m currently in the middle of reading The Beauty Myth and the chapter on sex is spot on about how our cultural portrays rape as sex and tricks us into believing that’s a desirable situation (see: high end fashion ads, mainstream porn, etc).

This type of culture also leaves plenty of room for victim-blaming, like The Examiner did in reporting a sexual assault (oh but don’t worry, they apologized later by saying their intern did it). And Jezebel writes: “there’s only one proven cause of all rapes: rapists. Rather than arguing over the motivation for a crime committed by so many different people in so many different circumstances, maybe we should simply concentrate on lifting the blame from those upon which it all too often falls: the victims.”

And how about harassment in the workplace? Rape culture certainly allows for that (because you see, women in public spaces = open to commentary, touching, and the like). Take for instance this parks employee being groped by her supervisor on her first day of work, or this restaurant owner who groped his teen worker, or this doctor who set up a video camera to spy on women in the bathroom. These are assaults that happen everyday to women’s bodies, confidences, and sense of security.

As the discussion with my boyfriend concluded, he remarked how the entire culture has to change in order to fix this problem. We’re getting there, a bit at a time, but we must be that change we wish to see. That means speaking up, sharing our stories, and calling out friends when they’ve crossed a line. What’s one thing you can do this week to help prevent sexual assault?

See all Beyond the Campus posts.

Amanda is the author of the blog The Undomestic Goddess.

Beyond the Campus: Week 11

Here’s what’s been happening in sexual assault this week:

Glenn Beck and the “you asked for it” syndrome – an excerpt from his new book:

“Noah and Molly find themselves in bed together early in the book after a harrowing experience at a Founders’ Keepers rally. They agree to sleep in bed together because Molly is too scared to sleep at home, but Molly insists that nothing sexual will take place. Noah agrees, on the condition that she ‘not do anything sexy.’ [Ed note: Meaning anything he interprets as being sexy. Dressing in clothes, for instance, or simply having breasts, may work against her in this case. See: The Beauty Myth.] She presses her cold feet against his legs, and Noah responds:

‘Suit yourself, lady. I’m telling you right now, you made the rules, but you’re playing with fire here. I’ve got some rules, too, and rule number one is, don’t tease the panther.’”

Because men are helpless hormone machines with no power over women’s wanton sexuality. In fact, the men are the real victim here, aren’t they? Also, Glenn Beck as a sex panther? Ew.

And on the topic of sexy ladies, Yes Means Yes blog talked about how slut-shaming hurts women who have been raped, pointing to both the current “What would you do” story about helping a domestic violence victim if she was dressed “inappropriately,” and the infamous 2002 rape trial of an unconscious teenage girl that resulted in a hung jury. Gender Across Borders suggested that this sexual violence starts off with high school “lists” and “rankings” of girls by looks and sexual acts – something that creates a grave disrespect for women in young men, and RH Reality Check talked about when school don’t do enough to prevent sexual bullying.

Spare Candy reminded the media that “rape” isn’t “having sex,” and The Curvature reminded us that we still need to care about male rape victims, and how the Justice Department failed yet again to address prison rape by the latest deadline. Oh, and remember last week’s Central Park rape? Well, the accused are upset about their reputations. They claim, “She wasn’t yelling; she wasn’t screaming. There was no rape.” See, you need to yell in order for it to be rape. Just scared or threatened into silence? No justice for you.

What have you been reading this week?

Amanda is the author of the blog The Undomestic Goddess.

Beyond the Campus: Week 10

I’m considering renaming this series “Victim-Blaming 101.”

One of the main stories this week was about the Central Park rape – a 23 year old woman was waiting for a crosstown bus at 86th and Fifth Ave (for those not familiar with New York, that’s essentially the Met; or, for the bad-television inclined, right where the Gossip Girls eat their yogurt before class) when three men offered to walk her through the park where they then assaulted her. Police arrested one guy right away, and then the other two, who claimed that if they did force her to do anything, “she would have had a scratch or something.” You’d think this is a great, case-closed, justice-served example, but wait – all three men have been let go because “the women they’re accused of attacking have emotional or drug issues too severe for them to testify credibly.” Free to rape again! When the story broke, the New York Post and other sources made sure to point out that the woman lived in a homeless shelter and that she was intoxicated; meanwhile, the Post’s commenters let their racism flag fly high in speculating about the perpetrators.

So what happens when a rape victim isn’t perfect? Jezebel and The Line Campaign share their thoughts. Scarleteen also calls out a common rape survivor stereotype. But even the rich and famous aren’t immune to assault or being slut-shamed: Amplify points out how ex-Playboy bunny and Girl Next Door Kendra Wilkinson is assaulted on tape, and again when that tape is released against her wishes. And Amanda Hess picked apart an open letter up on Broadsheet condemning women celebrities in sex tapes.

In sports, video released around the Roethlisberger case revealed that his accuser feared his temper: “I didn’t want, obviously, him to hurt me any more than he was going to,” she said. But don’t worry, he’s beginning a PR campaign so I’m sure come football season public opinion of him will be just dandy. And most importantly, free to rape again! And Cheeseheads, don’t feel so proud: a Green Bay Packer has also been accused of assaulting two women.

I also hate that every week I have enough material for an entire paragraph on child sexual assault, though as the BBC reports, children make up half…half of all sex offenses. Let’s start with the case of a 13 year-old girl who was raped repeatedly by a 30 year old man, became pregnant and tried to self abort with a pencil, and then has articles written about her that make mention of the fact that SHE has not been charged. Wow. Gotta make sure you’re charging those minors! Darn kids, getting themselves raped and impregnated. I also found this article that refers to the girl’s rapist as her boyfriend, says that if she’d gone to Planned Parenthood she’d probably still be getting raped, and that, of course, none of the psychological trauma she went through changes the fact that a fetus is dead. Just try to swallow that one. Think 13 is young? An Amish man is accused of raping girls aged 5 to 15, and in the UK, two teen brothers are accused of raping their 4 year-old sister (you know, right around the age you start to retain memory?). Also, a new study on teen sexual behaviors also leaves out the fact that those who say they “didn’t really want” sex to happen at the time are rape victims.

Finally, in following up with some older stories, the funeral was finally held for the Queens rape/murder victim, another KBR employee claims she was choked unconscious, beaten and raped while working in Iraq, and one of the first stories this column has covered – about the gang rape of a 7 year-old girl in Trenton, NJ – has some depressing developments: no DNA evidence was found, the accused are no longer being tried as adults and their bail has been reduced. Says one of the boys’ lawyers (who has been oh-so-cheerful throughout the case): “Of course there’s no semen because there was no rape. The whole story was fabricated.”

So, I’m spent. This tweet sums it up best: @ProChoiceGal: Tired of living in a rape apologist world :( . It’s exhausting.

Amanda is the author of the blog The Undomestic Goddess.