5-22-19 US lawmaker 'punched wife for not undressing quickly enough'
A Mississippi state lawmaker has been arrested accused of drunkenly assaulting his wife because she was taking too long to undress for sex. Doug McLeod, 58, was arrested on Saturday night in George County on a minor domestic violence charge. His fellow Republicans in the state said Mr McLeod should resign immediately if the claims are true. Mr McLeod, a father-of-three, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the BBC. When police arrived at his home in Lucedale, 150 miles (240km) south-east of the state capital Jackson, they found Mr McLeod intoxicated with an alcoholic beverage in hand, according to an official report viewed by the Sun Herald newspaper. Deputies described Mr McLeod as slurring his speech and walking "slow in a zigzag pattern". When he was informed police had been called about an alleged domestic assault, he reportedly said: "Are you kidding me?" According to the Clarion Ledger newspaper, the officers' report said they found Mr McLeod's wife and another woman inside the house, frightened. The other woman told officers that Mr McLeod's wife had run into her room with a bloody face. They locked the door and Mr McLeod began banging on the door, threatening to "kill her [expletive] dog" if they did not let him in. Mr McLeod's wife alleged her husband was drunk and "snapped" - and had done so before when intoxicated. The lawmaker is accused of punching her in the face, bloodying her nose, because she was too slow in undressing to have sex with him. Police reported finding blood on the couple's bed and bedroom floor. She said she did not need an ambulance, and that her daughter would take her to see a doctor. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in three US women have experienced some form of physical violence from a partner. (Webmaster's comment: Typical Male Brute!)
5-17-19 Mothers speak out over Kenya femicide cases
Femicide – the killing of a female, on account of her gender – is a global issue. Activists in Kenya say there has been a spike in violence recently, with 40 women reported to have been killed this year alone. BBC Africa has visited the county of Busia in western Kenya which has been the scene of several high-profile cases.
5-16-19 The rapes haunting a community that shuns the 21st Century
In Manitoba, an insular Mennonite colony in Bolivia whose residents eschew modernity, a group of men were rounded up in 2009. Later, they were convicted of the rape and sexual assault of 151 women and girls - including small children - within this small Christian community. So why are Manitoba's leaders now lobbying to free the men from prison? Unpaved dirt roads run alongside fields of soya and sunflowers and connect the far-flung houses of Manitoba, home to 1,800 people. Treads from the iron wheels of tractors are sunk deep into the mud - rubber tyres are prohibited on motorised vehicles, deemed too modern. The hot, still air is occasionally stirred by the passing of a trotting horse pulling a buggy laden with women in wide straw hats and men in dark dungarees. This is the principal form of transport in Manitoba. For members of the colony, driving a car or motorcycle is banned and punishable by excommunication by the bishop and ministers. To outsiders, it looked like a peaceful, if mysterious, haven from the modern world. Then in June 2009 the prosecutor for the district of Santa Cruz received a call from a police officer in the eastern Bolivian town of Cotoca. "He told me, 'Doctor, some Mennonites have brought men here who they're saying are rapists,'" remembers Fredy Perez, the prosecutor who investigated the case. "The image we have of Mennonites in Bolivia is that they work from six in the morning until nine at night, they're very religious, and they don't dance or get drunk. So when I got that call from the officer, I just couldn't believe it." But in Manitoba, many people had for months - years even - lived with the knowledge that something was deeply amiss. "In the night we heard the dogs bark, but when I went out, I couldn't see anything," says Abraham (not his real name), who was the father of teenaged daughters back in 2009. "In the morning we couldn't get up because we were half anaesthetised," he recalls. "We couldn't move… We didn't know what happened, but we knew something had happened. "And it wasn't just once - they were here twice those men." While the whole family was drugged and incapacitated, all his daughters were attacked by men who broke into their home. At the time, shame prevented the girls from telling their parents.
5-16-19 Canada cop asked if teen was 'turned on' by alleged sex assault
Canadian politicians have condemned an "appalling" police interrogation of a teenager who reported an alleged sexual assault. Videos obtained by aboriginal television network APTN show a police officer asking the girl whether she "was at all turned on" by the incident. The news organisation did not identify the teenager, who is indigenous, in the video. The police interview took place in 2012 in the province of British Columbia. According to APTN, the video was released as part of a civil suit being filed by the alleged victim, who was in foster care at the time, against the British Columbia Ministry of Child and Family Development. The line of questioning was called "profoundly outdated, offensive, and wrong" by federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale on Wednesday. The videos show an unidentified Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer asking the girl about how the alleged incident compared to her previous sexual experiences; about how hard she tried to fight, and later, warning her about the consequences of making a false report. "Were you at all turned on during this at all? Even a little bit?" the officer said. He also questioned whether she was "responsive" to the man she said had assaulted her. "Physically you weren't at all responsive to his advances?" the officer asks. "Even maybe subconsciously?" "Maybe subconsciously. No. Not. I was really scared," she responds. The officer answers: "Because you understand that when a guy tries to have sex with a female and the female is completely unwilling it's very difficult, right?" "No survivor of sexual assault should ever fear that their case will not be taken seriously or that they will be re-victimised in the process," the minister said responding to official opposition leader Andrew Scheer during parliament's question period. Mr Scheer said he was "shocked and horrified" by the video and described the line of questioning as "appalling and insensitive". (Webmaster's comment: Many men are convinced that all women want some man's filthy old dick slamming up into them. It feels so good doesn't it!)
5-10-19 Milano’s moment of power
In the midst of the Harvey Weinstein “maelstrom” in 2017, Alyssa Milano fired off a tweet before going to bed, said Karen Heller in The Washington Post. It read, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply.” The actress woke up to 53,000 replies; within two days, #MeToo appeared 12 million times on Facebook and Twitter and trended in 85 countries. “I was in over my head,” admits Milano, 46. Nonetheless, she was struck by the scale on which “collective pain could be transformed into a collective power.” A bedroom-poster idol since co-starring on the 1980s sitcom Who’s the Boss?, Milano got an early taste of activism at 15, going on national TV to kiss the cheek of Ryan White, a teen infected with HIV who was fighting to attend school in Indiana. She experienced her own sexual assaults at 19 and 24, and recently returned to therapy to address her trauma. Now in activist overdrive, she’s prominent on the political front lines, appearing at the Brett Kavanaugh hearings on Capitol Hill, and in Parkland, Fla.; Flint, Mich.; and the Mexico border. Her advocacy has made her the target of vicious online trolling, but Milano says it only fuels her determination. “Are they trying to silence me, trying to hurt me? Because, like, none of it’s working.”
5-10-19 Rape victims could lose all privacy
Imagine being sexually assaulted and mustering the courage to go to the police, said Will Gore, only to have them confiscate your phone and rifle through your text messages and Instagram posts. That will be the appalling result of new British police guidelines that require crime victims to agree to surrender their digital devices and social media passwords to officers. If they refuse, police might tell them their case won’t be investigated. The new policy will almost certainly make rape victims less likely to come forward—and only some 15 percent of them go to the police now. Authorities say they don’t want cases to collapse at trial when it emerges that exonerating evidence wasn’t revealed. But the danger is that juries could “read into an online exchange a kind of implicit consent.” By forcing victims’ digital lives into evidence, prosecutors can make “a flirty text message the short skirt of the 21st century.” Once, victims were told what they were wearing had invited rape; now they’ll be told it was what they posted. Yet “rape doesn’t happen in an exchange of messages, however sexually suggestive their content.” It happens in the physical world, when a person’s refusal of consent is ignored. Loss of digital privacy will be “a further violation” of that already traumatized victim.
5-8-19 'Sugar daddy' dating site fined for promoting prostitution
The Norwegian businessman behind a "millionaire dating" site has been handed a six-month suspended sentence for promoting prostitution. A court in Belgium handed the sentence to Sigurd Vedal, the investor behind RichMeetBeautiful, which connects wealthy older men to young women. Mr Vedal was personally fined €24,000 and his company €240,000 (£207,000). The site caused a scandal in 2017 after advertising "sugar daddies" to Belgian university students. Mobile billboards from the company toured areas near the Free University of Brussels campus encouraging students to register for the service for financial gain. Alongside sexualised imagery, the ads invited students to "improve your lifestyle" or have a "zero euro student loan" by dating a "sugar daddy" - a term for older wealthy men interested in meeting younger women. Similar adverts caused uproar in France where they advertised "romance, passion and no student loan". Mr Vedal is also accused of "aggravated pimping" in that country. In the Belgian case, the university complained to police, who seized the billboards and later charged Mr Vedal with "incitement to debauchery and prostitution". He maintained that he and his company were only trying to facilitate unusual dating. In April, as the trial was under way, he told the court that he would not mind his daughter registering on the site "if she wants it and she wants it because she wants to start a real relationship", according to Belgian newspaper De Standaard. Prosecutors, however, said the site's purpose was clear. "Even if weasel words were used, everyone knew what it was about," the state prosecutor told the court. "There are half-dressed women on the site, there are no photos of couples in a restaurant." "Students are reduced to sex objects that must undress for money."
5-7-19 Keith Raniere: Trial begins for Nxivm 'sex cult' leader
A Brooklyn courtroom has heard opening statements at the sex trafficking and conspiracy trial of Keith Raniere, the leader of a suspected sex cult. Speaking in court on Tuesday, Assistant US Attorney Tanya Hajjar called Mr Raniere a "predator" who exploited women, including a 15-year-old girl. Prosecutors have alleged that Mr Raniere oversaw a "slave and master" system in his group, called Nxivm. Mr Raniere, 58, has pleaded not guilty to all charges. If convicted, he could face life in prison. "The defendant took advantage of them emotionally and sexually," Ms Hajjar said, according to local media. "He sold himself as the smartest, most ethical person in the world." Ms Hajjar said on Tuesday that Raniere's victims included three Mexican sisters, one of whom was only 15 years old. According to prosecutors, another sister was confined in a room for two years. Marc Agnifilo, one of Mr Raniere's lawyers, said his client's sexual encounters with women were consensual and he denied child pornography and sexual exploitation charges. Speaking in court on Tuesday, Mr Agnifilo told jurors that women joined the group voluntarily, describing Mr Raniere as a strict taskmaster, not a criminal. "This is something these people signed up for," Mr Agnifilo said, according to US media. "Control can be very bad. Control can also make Marines. Control can make gold medal winners." Five women, including US actress Allison Mack, have already pleaded guilty to their involvement with Nxivm. The United States attorney's office opened an investigation into the group following an investigation by the New York Times. Investigators claim that women were recruited as "slaves" and were allegedly expected to perform menial chores for "masters" and have sex with Mr Raniere, who was known as "The Vanguard".
5-5-19 Wrongly convicted man who served 30 years faces new rape charge
A man whose rape conviction was quashed after he had served 30 years in jail has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman this year, reports say. George Perrot, 50, is due to appear in court accused of rape and other charges, the Republican newspaper reports. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges in relation to an incident on 4 January in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Mr Perrot is being held without bail until his case is heard on Monday. The allegations against Mr Perrot come three years after he was freed from prison by a judge who ruled he was wrongly convicted of rape in 1987. George Perrot was arrested in 1985, aged 17, accused of raping 78-year-old Mary Prekop at her home in Springfield, Massachusetts. He was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison, but was freed in 2016 after the Supreme Court exonerated him because of flawed evidence. The prosecution's case rested on faulty FBI analysis of a single hair found at the crime scene, the court ruled. Mr Perrot's release, after a decades-long legal battle to clear his name, generated media attention worldwide. The new charges against him allege rape, open and gross lewdness, resisting arrest, and assault and battery on a police officer, according to the Republican. The newspaper reports that police found Mr Perrot lying unconscious on the ground, with his face between a partially naked and unconscious woman's legs. When interviewed by police, the woman claimed she did not consent to sex with Mr Perrot, it reports. The last thing she remembered before losing consciousness, she reportedly told police, was snorting some powder she claims Mr Perrot gave her.
5-3-19 U.S. blocks aid for rape victims
The Trump administration has made an “open declaration of hostility toward women worldwide,” said Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir. During what should have been a routine approval last week of a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning sexual violence in wartime, the American delegation insisted that all references to protecting women’s “sexual and reproductive health” be removed. The U.S. said it would veto the resolution if there were any whiff of the idea that a woman raped during war might be allowed to get an abortion. France’s U.N. ambassador, François Delattre, called the U.S.’s interference “intolerable and incomprehensible,” saying women should not be forced to bear their rapists’ children, and he is right. A married woman who bears such a child can be rejected by her husband; an unmarried one can face social ostracization. Such women are doubly victimized, “their lives forever altered with no hope of support from society at large.” And the scale of the problem worldwide is staggering. It’s not just state armies that prey upon women in conflict zones—U.N. peacekeepers also commit sexual abuse. In Cambodia alone, nearly 25,000 babies “were fathered and abandoned by peacekeepers.” Thanks to America’s puritanical insistence, the U.N. will be able to do little to help women “subjected to the most intrusive violations of their bodily integrity.”
5-1-19 'No sex without fighting' - tackling toxic masculinity in DR Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo has some of highest rates of sexual violence in the world. But a new approach is trying to tackle this by encouraging men to confront and question their toxic masculinity. Moises Bagwiza is one of the men who now reflects with regret on his past, and his recollections of how he treated and raped his wife, Jullienne, are frank, graphic and disturbing. "Sex with her was like fighting. I didn't care what she was wearing - I would just tear it all off," he says. In a modest bungalow in the quiet village of Rutshuru, eastern DR Congo, Mr Bagwiza recounts one particular assault when his wife was four months pregnant. "I turned around and gave her a small kick on her stomach," he says, explaining that she fell to the floor, bleeding, while concerned neighbours rushed over to take her to hospital. Her crime? She had secretly been saving up money for household expenses through a local women's collective. This resentment lies at the heart of what some are calling a crisis of modern African masculinity. For centuries, men have been raised with very clearly defined ideas of what it means to be a man: strength, emotional stoicism, being able to protect and provide for your family. But evolving gender roles, including greater female empowerment, combined with continued high levels of male unemployment are thwarting men's ability to live up to these traditional ideals of manhood. And for some men like Mr Bagwiza, a financially independent woman poses such an existential threat to their sense of entitled manhood that they are thrown into crisis. A builder in the local village, he says he felt violence was the only way he could communicate with his wife. "I thought she belonged to me," he says. "I thought I could do anything I wanted to her. When I would come home and she asked me something, I would punch her."
5-1-19 Swarthmore fraternities disband after 'rape attic' claims
Two fraternities at a US college have disbanded after leaked meeting minutes that referred to buying date rape drugs and a "rape attic". Students had staged sit-ins at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, calling for Phi Psi and Delta Upsilon to be banned from campus. College president Valerie Smith said the frats had agreed to disband but that an investigation would continue. "As a community, we have much healing to do," she added. Fraternities are exclusive, mostly all-male student organisations. Some are based on areas of study, professions, academic credentials, or on specific religious or ethnical backgrounds. Others serve more of a social purpose. Last month two student publications - The Phoenix and Voices - published what are alleged to be internal documents from the Phi Psi fraternity. The redacted, 117-page documents include "meeting minutes" and details of pledging rituals from 2012-16. They feature racist, misogynistic and homophobic language and accounts of physical and sexual assaults, and bravado about buying "date rape" drugs. The "minutes" also allege that Delta Upsilon "have both a rape tunnel AND a rape attic (gotta choose one or the other)". Allegations of sexual assault, violence and harassment have also been shared by students on an anonymous Tumblr page named "Why Swarthmore's Fraternities Must Go." In her statement, Ms Smith said that an investigation ordered into the fraternities would continue, despite the two groups having disbanded. "We have heard heartbreaking stories from students who feel unwelcome to the point of wanting to transfer out of our community," she said. "Those stories have come from across the spectrum of our student body - from student protesters to fraternity members. Stories such as these reflect our failure to realise the values we so often espouse."