Author Topic: Violence against Women  (Read 63056 times)


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« Reply #50 on: June 09, 2003, 12:12:10 PM »
From the NYT today (

Congo's Warring Factions Leave a Trail of Rape

URHALE, Congo ? They had walked through the banana groves and up the empty red dirt roads. Among them was a mother of two, clutching a child at her breasts, a pregnant woman holding her belly, a girl in a tattered blue school uniform skirt.

By any measure, the war in this country is among the cruelest in the world, and these are the survivors of one of its cruelest weapons. They and countless others have been raped by soldiers spreading terror through the countryside; of this group, only the 13-year-old girl, who screamed with all her might as her attacker grabbed and tore at her clothes, had been spared.

The three sought help at a mobile medical program at a long-abandoned health clinic in this small town in eastern Congo. They came to get tested for AIDS, get checkups for the babies and talk for a while with someone who would listen. The medical convoy brought a doctor, a lab technician and two midwives, and the women of Burhale had sent word through the banana groves and had gone to fetch those they knew to be in need of help. They were not hard to find: the fighting between armed factions claiming control of this region over the last couple of months has left a trail of rape victims.

In Bukavu, the nearest big city, an average of 20 village women a week trickle into Centre Olame, a church-run rape victim center. On a recent morning, Mathilde Mahindo, who runs the center, pored over data from the week before. The victims ranged in age from 17 to 48. Most had been raped several times, one by 10 men. The husband of one victim was abducted. Another woman was raped with her mother.

Every week for nearly five years, Ms. Mahindo, has stared at lists like this one. She still cannot explain why it is happening, nor how to exorcise it. Discussing sex is taboo in Congolese society, Ms. Mahindo said, and talking about sexual assault is even less acceptable. There are no rituals in the culture to remove the stain of rape ? not from the victim, her family or her community.

"Rape doesn't have a place in the culture," she said. "Even if everyone wants to close their eyes and ears, we have to create a scandal. Because what is it for? It is to exterminate a community."

No one knows how many have been raped during Congo's four-year war. It is clear that especially in this part of the country, South Kivu Province, sexual attacks have become endemic and have gone virtually unpunished, as soldiers from one armed group after another have seized villages, pillaged homes, taken women and girls at the point of a gun or knife. Neither 4-year-old girls nor 80-year-old grandmothers have been spared. Judging by the new cases before the mobile medical clinic, many have been raped by several men.

For women in rural eastern Congo, rape is an occupational hazard. Here women work the fields. They trek for miles to fetch water and firewood. They walk to and from market, usually on long empty stretches of country road or through dark forests. Doctors, social workers and investigators say all armed groups in the region are guilty of the crimes, from Rwandan factions to Mai-Mai militias supported by Congo's government to the Hutu fighters who work alongside them.

"It is just such an effective tool to harass, intimidate, terrorize the population, to keep people on the move," said Karin Wachter with the Bukavu-based office of the International Rescue Committee, an American aid agency. "It is also the issue of impunity. There are no consequences for their actions."

Leaders of the main factions have begun to acknowledge the rapes. But though they say they punish wrongdoers, the leaders lay most of the blame at their enemies' feet. Few, if any, face prosecution in a country where basic government functions have all but collapsed.

In a recent interview in Bukavu, the political chief of the Mai-Mai group, Masa Walimba, boasted of two soldiers who had been executed for rape and looting. He said his opponents, a Rwandan group called the Congolese Rally for Democracy, which controls South Kivu, were the worst offenders.

The South Kivu provincial governor, Xavier Cirimwamialso cited an incident from the enemy camp: an ethnic Hutu combatant, he said, had snatched a baby from its mother's back, and used it to beat the woman before raping her. "I know my military is disciplined," Mr. Cirimwami said of the forces of his Congolese Rally for Democracy. "There are just a few cases of rape or robbery, and those we punish."

Rights groups, with United Nations officials, have begun a campaign for stronger prosecution, including encouraging women to testify against the accused and lobbying the leaders of the armed factions to take action against the perpetrators. Rape is a war crime, prosecutable under international law.

At the mobile clinic here, the thought of punishment for rapists was met with skepticism. Just the other day, a father of two girls, ages 12 and 14, who had been raped, marched into the barracks of the Congolese Rally for Democracy and demanded justice. The local commander took the rare step of throwing the accused in jail, clinic workers said, but who knew for how long. "Maybe in one week they will say he ran away and they will release him," Dr. ?tienne Mugula said.

Across eastern Congo and most noticeably in South Kivu, rape or the threat of rape has scattered villagers, spread disease and split families.

Valeria Mwanamutumu, a 40-year-old widow, was raped in front of her 12-year-old daughter on a Wednesday morning in March. That day, hearing gunshots coming closer to her house, she crawled under her bed and told her children to keep quiet. Two soldiers dragged her out by her legs and raped her, one after the other. They kicked her for good measure and with a gun at her chest, threatened to kill her as she screamed. Her children knew not to protest. If they did, the eldest, a 12-year-old girl, would be next.

The young girl visiting the clinic today was assaulted not far away from that attack on a Wednesday afternoon in May. She was at home alone when a uniformed soldier began shooting outside. He stormed in and started tearing off her clothes. The girl said she screamed at the top of her lungs, which was hard to imagine this afternoon as she whispered her story to a doctor, her eyes downcast, scratching the wooden stool under her. The soldier got scared and left, she told the doctor, who could do little more for her than offer anti-anxiety medication.

In this village, clinic workers said, girls do not like to go to school anymore; they are afraid of what will happen on the long walks there. Some women are terrified of going to the fields or fetching firewood. Some sleep in the banana groves, thinking they are safer there than at home. Many of those who have been raped have left their villages altogether, in terror or in shame.


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Violence against Women
« Reply #51 on: June 10, 2003, 11:13:37 AM »
Crafty,  I think what you're getting at is that the female cadet surely needs to own up to the consequences of her own actions, and cannot lay full blame/fault on the male cadet.

Unfortunately, I've only been following this discussion sporadically, and have likely missed something.  (but here goes anyway...) What I see is that violence from strangers is lumped in with "intimate" violence, where the attacker is known or even familiar with the victim.  I think it's apples v. oranges, and require very different thinking/skills to address.

I originally disagreed that violence is a male tool targeted specifically at women to "keep them down."  However, that does not mean that men cannot be perpetrators of violence against women.  I submit that it is not a question of gender, but of ability.

I think that perpetrators of random violence, such as a rape/robbery in the street, would be more likely to be male simply because women are generally aware of the limitations of their physical strength against most men.  When you "even" the field, however, I find that women generally have no problem attacking other women, or other men they feel "they could take."  

With intimate violence, the proportion of male to female perpetrators grows even more level.  I have known both male and female victims, and I can vouch that they would consider it absurd to simplify their situations into solely male/female socialized gender roles.  

I found this article on the web, which I found an interesting read, and thought I'd post it here as further fodder.

It's Always His Fault

Femininist Ideology Dominates Perpetrator Programs
? 1997 by Sally L. Satel,M.D.
Psychiatrist and lecturer at the Yale School of Medicine
Reprinted with kind permission from The Women's Quarterly (ISSN:1079-6622) published by the Independent Women's Forum.
Summer 1997 - Number 12
Battered Men - The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence
Battered Men in Washington and Nationwide
   Let's call him "Joe Six Pack." Every Saturday night, he drinks way too much, cranks up the rock 'n roll way too loud, and smacks his girlfriend for acting just a bit too lippy. Or let's call him "Mr. Pillar of the Community." He's got the perfect wife, the perfect kids. But he's also got one little problem: every time he argues with his wife, he loses control. In the past year, she's been sent to the emergency ward twice. Or let's say they're the Tenants from Hell. They're always yelling at each other. Finally a neighbor calls the police.
Here is the question. Are the men in these scenarios:
a) in need of help;
b) in need of being locked up; or
c) upholders of the patriarchy?

Increasingly, public officials are buying into Gloria Steinem's assertion that "the patriarchy requires violence or the subliminal threat of violence in order to maintain itself." They are deciding that perpetrators need to be indoctrinated in what are called "profeminist" treatment programs. And they are spending tax dollars to pay for these programs.    
A portion of the money for the re-education of batterers comes from Washington, courtesy of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). To obtain passage of VAWA, feminist organizations like the National Organization for Women and even secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, pelted legislators with facts and figures: "The leading cause of birth defects is battery during pregnancy." "In emergency rooms, twenty to thirty percent of women arrive because of physical abuse by their partner." "Family violence has killed more women in the last five years than Americans killed in the Viet Nam War." Happily, these alarming factoids aren't true. But the feminist advocacy groups were able to create new bogus statistics faster than the experts were able to shoot the old ones down. And some of the untruths--like the fiction that wife-beating soars on Super Bowl Sunday--have become American myths as durable as the story of young George Washington chopping down the cherry tree.

Congress generously authorized $1.6 billion to fund VAWA. But there is increasing evidence that the money is being used to further an ideological war against men--one that puts many women at even greater risk.
... The feminist theory of domestic abuse, like the feminist theory of rape, holds that all men have the same innate propensity to violence against women. ... Domestic abuse, in feminist eyes, is an essential element of the vast male conspiracy to suppress and subordinate women.    

"Battering is a fulfillment of a cultural expectation, not a deviant or sick behavior."    

In at least a dozen states, including Massachusetts, Colorado, Florida, Washington, and Texas, state guidelines effectively preclude any treatment other than feminist therapy for domestic batterers.    

The dogma that women never provoke, incite, or aggravate domestic conflict, further, has led to some startling departures in domestic law.    

there are virtually no convincing data that this feminist approach to male violence is effective.    

As Judge Cannon says, "We treat women as brainless individuals who are unable to make choices."    

Persuading victims of domestic violence that they need no psychological help or are never to blame can also backfire, because it pushes many women away from seeking counseling that they plainly need.

Some of these women end up doing the killing themselves, a tragedy that has happened "more than once on my watch," the prosecutor said.    

And here is the cruelest failure of profeminist therapy. Since many victims of domestic abuse do want to hold their families together, and since they are trying to weigh the risks of staying with an abusive mate, it does them an enormous disservice to put a dangerous man through a program that cannot fulfill its promise to cure him.    

"In the sessions, group discussions among participants were not allowed to develop--maybe the leaders were afraid we'd unite and challenge their propaganda." Rather than improve their relationships, Don felt the therapy only helped to increase polarization between men and women.    

Don's group leaders were adamant that alcohol was never a cause of violence. Feminist theory downplays the relevance of alcohol abuse, and as a particularly foolish result in Don's program, failed to make sobriety a condition of the treatment for domestic batterers.    

"The course leaders were fixated on male-bashing."    

"I see the part I played in the drama of my relationship. .. a relationship is a dynamic interaction and if both want to change, counselors should work with them." But this, of course, is precisely what state guidelines in nearly half the country now or will soon prohibit as the first course of treatment.    

Richard Heyman, of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, found that group conjoint therapy (several couples treated together) produced a significant reduction in both psychological and physical aggression immediately following treatment and one year later.    

psychologist Judith Shervin writes, "men and women are bound in their dance of mutual destructiveness.... Women must share responsibility for their behavior and contributions to domestic violence."    

But self-defense doesn't explain all female-on-male aggression. Women suffered actual injury at about seven times the rate of men but that they used weapons such as baseball bats, boiling water, and knives (among other things) to make up for their physical disadvantage. Many of these women freely admitted on the survey that their use of weapons was not in self-defense.    

Researcher Murray Straus has been revising his views. "I [once] explained the high rate of attacks by wives largely as a response to or as a defense against assault by the partner. However, new evidence raises questions about that interpretation."    

In fact, among America's rapidly growing population of elderly couples, violence by women appears more common than violence by men.    

Anyone still inclined to blame domestic violence on the patriarchy and male aggression ought to take a look at the statistics on violence against children.    

Consider domestic aggression within lesbian couples. If feminists are right, shouldn't these matches be exempt from the sex-driven power struggles that plague heterosexual couples? Instead, physical abuse between lesbian partners is at least as serious a problem as it is among heterosexuals.    

Like so many projects of the feminist agenda, the battered women's movement has outlived its useful beginnings, which was to help women leave violent relationships and persuade the legal system to take domestic abuse more seriously. Now they have brought us to a point at which a single complaint touches off an irreversible cascade of useless and often destructive legal and therapeutic events. This could well have a chilling effect upon victims of real violence, who may be reluctant to file police reports or to seek help if it subjects them to further battery from the authorities.


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« Reply #52 on: June 12, 2003, 09:11:44 AM »
Thank you lynda for posting.  Your point of view brings a welcome balance to these forums.

A nation of one ancestry and race is weak. We must hold strong our custom of welcoming all foreigners who seek to join our cause, treating them with dignity and respect and teaching them our language and customs.

-Attila the Hun


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« Reply #53 on: June 12, 2003, 10:32:30 AM »
Quote from: lynda
Consider domestic aggression within lesbian couples. If feminists are right, shouldn't these matches be exempt from the sex-driven power struggles that plague heterosexual couples? Instead, physical abuse between lesbian partners is at least as serious a problem as it is among heterosexuals.

One of the wonderful things about being an ideological fanatic is that if the facts are spun properly, they can either be made to support your beliefs, or discounted and then ignored. Such a person would argue that, if there is ever domestic agression within lesbian couples (and they might also claim that it is probably more common in heterosexual relationships and attack or ignore any statistics which contradict their views), it is becasue the lesbians live within a repressive patriarchial terror regime that conditions them to act in accordance in an exploitive and violent male oriented manner which would otherwise be unnatural to them.

When one deals with ideologues or fanatics, don't expect them to have a passion for truth. Do not expect them to provide evidence that supports their claims, even if you ask for it politely and repeatedly. They are likely to ignore such requests, change the subject, or perhaps engage in some sort of personal attack. They will believe what they want to believe, and avoid considering evidence that they find inconvenient.



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« Reply #54 on: June 19, 2003, 06:02:22 PM »
hello all!

Marco: you seem to have a passion for the "Truth" which is a very Western Ideology, taking its origin in the Platonic Forms.  And Realism is but one paradigm, one philosophical perspective.  However, it is the dominant one to the exclusion of Social Constructivism, or Phenomenology, for example.  But the 'problem' with ideology is not what it values, Truth for the Realist, and experience for the Phenomenologist, but what's at stake in an ideology is the elimination of all the opposing voices.  I did a lot of research for my philosophy of science course on Nazi science and it became quite clear to me that Nazi science was so successful because it existed within a paradigm of science known as Realism where scientific Truth is waiting to be 'discovered' by the scientist.  Further, it was the very nature of Realism as a scientific ideology which fed the Nazi ideology and was in turn fed by it.  
My point: in your paradigm Marco, you clearly value Truth as the basis of your knowledge, and so by this evaluation, this judgment, you come across as the very fanatic you seem to be criticizing.  I am writing this to make you and others aware of this inherent judgment.  I read what you say with the understanding that you place value on "facts" and "evidence", I only hope that you can read what I have written with the mutual understanding that I value the human experience and that I seek truth through our subjective experiences.

Note: I started this forum with a specific purpose but also with an overarching intention, as I've said before, to challenge the dominant episteme and so I hope you are able to appreciate (of course, I don't expect agreement because that would make me an ideological despot) the above comments in light of this note.


p.s. I made some points throughout this forum for which I chose not to provide "evidence" to substantiate them, because a) I wanted to avoid a battle of "facts" (I have confidence that we can do our own research if something sparks our interest further), and b) it is my politics to subvert our cultural bias that the Truth is in the "facts".


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« Reply #55 on: June 20, 2003, 09:52:42 AM »
For those of us who haven't read philosphy in a while...

'episteme' = scientific knowledge, which the speakers of Latin later called 'scientia', and which the speakers of English today call 'science'


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« Reply #56 on: June 20, 2003, 10:16:20 AM »
Woof All:

  Just a quick yip as I dash about my day:

  Thank you Lynda for the terminology assist!

  "Social Constructivism, or Phenomenology, for example. But the 'problem' with ideology is not what it values, Truth for the Realist, and experience for the Phenomenologist, but what's at stake in an ideology is the elimination of all the opposing voices. I did a lot of research for my philosophy of science course on Nazi science and it became quite clear to me that Nazi science was so successful because it existed within a paradigm of science known as Realism where scientific Truth is waiting to be 'discovered' by the scientist. Further, it was the very nature of Realism as a scientific ideology which fed the Nazi ideology and was in turn fed by it."

Some questions and comments:

1)  Social constuctivism/Phenomenology?  What's that?

2)  Was Nazi science successful???  Wasn't it at variance with the facts???
  e.g. are Jews really inferior?  Are Aryans really superior?  

3)  Speaking with less that certainty, I was under the impression that the Nazis were rather full of non-factual mystical notions such as the collective unconscious of the German Aryans, astrology, etc.  Indeed wasn't the Nazi symbol itself taken from Tibettan religion?

4) "I seek truth through our subjective experiences." That's all well and good, but speaking as a one who has more than a little reading background in this area (I'm Jewish) I would offer that this is exactly how the Nazis got to some of their most hideous conclusions of racial differences-- the absence of facts and the primacy of emotion and subjectivity.

5) "I made some points throughout this forum for which I chose not to provide "evidence" to substantiate them, because a) I wanted to avoid a battle of "facts" (I have confidence that we can do our own research if something sparks our interest further), and b) it is my politics to subvert our cultural bias that the Truth is in the "facts"."

Well, you have succeeded in making assertions without evidence :twisted:    

I think this is going to get too Mars and Venus for me for now!



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« Reply #57 on: July 04, 2003, 08:50:14 AM »
Friday, July 04, 2003  

Fighting the myth of the woman warrior

Have you heard of Army Sgt. Casaundra Grant? Probably not, because her story has been largely ignored by the press. She?s a 25-year-old single mother who lost both of her legs during the Iraq war when she was accidentally pinned under a tank. Her 2-year-old son ?prayed for her legs? the first time he saw her stumps. Sgt. Grant is upbeat and grateful to be alive, reports the San Antonio Express-News, but is this really the way we want to fight our wars, with young mothers coming home in wheelchairs? (By the way, has anyone noticed how many of our women warriors seem to be single mothers?)

In the Middle East, cultural attitudes have remained unchanged for millennia. In the United States, they change dramatically in a decade. Whereas 17 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that it was fine for Georgia to outlaw sodomy, today, the court practically throws open the door to gay marriage. So, too, with women in combat.There is a vocal constituency of feminists (both male and female) who do want to end the military?s prohibition on women in combat, and they?ve been making steady progress.

One of the results of Clinton administration changes was Jessica Lynch, whose story has become more opaque. We first learned of her when the U.S. military announced that she had been rescued from an Iraqi hospital. The Washington Post ran a gripping front-page story, citing unnamed Pentagon sources, who described Lynch as the Sergeant York of 2003. The plucky gal had emptied her rifle into the enemy, we were told. She?d been stabbed and shot, and had other injuries but kept on fighting. ?She didn?t want to be taken alive.?

It wasn?t true. The story began to unravel as soon as Lynch was taken to West Germany for medical treatment. Doctors said there were no signs of gunshots or stab wounds, but she did have injuries consistent with a truck accident, and a terrible one at that. Everyone else in her vehicle was killed.

Meaning no disrespect to Private Lynch, who deserves every care her country can offer, why was the Post so eager to paint her as a Rambo-style hero? And why did it take weeks for the Post to acknowledge that the original story was false? Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness ( says she?s seen it all before. ?Remember Captain Linda Bray? She was the military police officer in Panama who took enemy fire and handled herself with coolness under fire. Later we found out that she had been sent to secure a Panamanian dog kennel. Still, that was enough for the feminists to declare that the argument over women in combat should be over.? Then there was Kara Hultgren, the Navy pilot who was killed trying to land on an aircraft carrier. Donnelly recalls how the Navy spun the story to suggest that it was mechanical error in order to conceal its double standard on male versus female aviators. But the Navy?s own internal investigation revealed that Hultgren had been responsible for the accident, and more damning for the Navy, that she had been certified to fly, though she?d twice before made the mistake that killed her.

The Post?s own ombudsman, Michael Getler (and the Post deserves praise for maintaining an ombudsman; The New York Times doesn?t deign to) asked: ?What were the motivations (and even the identities) of the leakers and sustainers of this myth, and why didn?t reporters dig deeper into it more quickly?? Yet he answered his own question, ?This was the single most memorable story of the war, and it had a unique propaganda value. It was false, but it didn?t get knocked down until it didn?t matter quite so much.?

Just so. Every American knows the name of Jessica Lynch, which suits those who like the image of the fighting Amazon. Very few know that Lynch?s story is mostly myth, and that suits them, too.

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C. Her e-mail address is


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« Reply #58 on: August 09, 2003, 04:25:05 PM »
Woof All:

Earlier in this thread there was some speculation as to how this case might turn out.


Assault Charges Against Air Force Officer Dismissed
From Associated Press

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. ? The Air Force has dropped sexual assault charges against an officer accused of raping an Air Force Academy cadet last year, but he still faces administrative punishment for less serious offenses, his lawyer said Friday.

"We're pleased that the commander followed the advice of the investigating officer. We believe this is a fair outcome," said lawyer Frank Spinner.
The charges against 2nd Lt. Ronen Segal were dropped after the investigating officer said the woman had been capable of giving or withholding consent and "did not in any way object to or resist" Segal performing a sexual act on her earlier, the Air Force said Friday.

The woman ? a freshman at the academy when Segal was a senior ? testified she went to his home after he sent her an e-mail asking to get together. She said she didn't remember what happened after they drank wine and began kissing, but that she was being raped when she came to.

If you want other stories on this topic, search the Archives at


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« Reply #59 on: August 11, 2003, 01:04:47 PM »
Woof All:

Earlier in this thread there was discussion about rape during war.  This from today's LA Times

Crafty Dog

Rape a Weapon in Liberian War
 Act that terrorizes and humiliates women and girls has become more common. 'Abnormality has become normal,' says one observer.
By Ann M. Simmons, Times Staff Writer

MONROVIA, Liberia ? The mother could only watch, hysterical and helpless, as a gunman raped and murdered her daughter. It was the little girl's 10th birthday.

"I just wanted to commit suicide," said the 42-year-old woman weeks later, shaking with sobs as she recalled the scene. "I just wanted to die."
The story told by the woman, who out of fear identified herself only by her first name, Rita, illustrates one of the most brutal aspects of Liberia's 14-year war. Aid workers and Liberian medical experts say rape has become a weapon of choice.

Rape victims accuse government soldiers as well as rebels fighting to oust President Charles Taylor.

"Rape is seen as a weapon of this civil war ? as a tool to humiliate, bring fear and terrify the society," said Edward Grant, thought to be Liberia's only psychiatrist. "Before 1990, you could hardly hear about rape. Now things have gone [through] the roof."

Abuses often escalate during times of conflict, but human rights groups say the scale of the atrocities in Liberia is almost unfathomable.

Figures are impossible to track. Many victims feel ashamed and choose to stay silent. Others are trapped behind rebel lines, where aid workers say no counseling services are available.

Amnesty International said in a 2001 report that "women and girls have been raped ? often by gangs of soldiers ? after fleeing the fighting and being arrested at checkpoints."

Sometimes women are accused of backing the opposing faction or having relatives on the other side.

But often, women are attacked indiscriminately by drunk or drugged fighters intent on taking advantage of easy prey.

"When an attack takes place and an area has been captured, whoever captures the place, commits the crime," said Miatta Roberts, a counselor with the Liberian-run Concerned Christian Community, the only remaining group in the country that counsels rape victims.

A shaky truce is now in place after the arrival in Monrovia last week of the first contingent of West African peacekeepers. Taylor has said he will cede power to his vice president today and has promised to leave the country, which was founded in the 19th century by freed American slaves.

In a farewell address broadcast Sunday, Taylor said he was stepping down to end the bloodshed. He didn't say anything about his pledge to go into exile in Nigeria but declared: "God willing, I will be back."

The situation in Liberia remains volatile, and despite the presence of the peacekeeping force, women in particular feel vulnerable.

Roberts' group is caring for 626 rape victims who have taken refuge at a Monrovia soccer stadium crammed with displaced families. The women are given individual trauma counseling, and every morning scores of them gather to play games, sing traditional songs and chat.

But because of the stigma, few are willing to share their stories.

"The rape victim feels hopeless," said Roberts. "They feel embarrassed."

Rita, the mother of the 10-year-old, still is numb with anguish.

Seated on a bench in the tented headquarters of the Concerned Christian Community, she related how government soldiers broke into her house on July 20. One hit her in the head with a hammer and tore off her clothes but found out that she was menstruating.

Another fighter who called himself Black Dog dragged the screaming child, Nanu, from her mother's side and threw her to the ground.

"They raped her to death in front of my eyes," said Rita, who has not been able to make contact with the girl's father in Belgium. "Can you imagine for a mother to see that?"

One fighter slashed Rita's 16-year-old son on the hand. Another grabbed her 14-year-old daughter, who also was raped.

Once a well-established businesswoman who owned a boutique and several cars, Rita said most of her belongings, including her photo album, were looted. Her one cherished possession is a single picture of her deceased daughter, taken when she was 11 months old.

Specialists say that years of war in Liberia have destroyed the ethical standards of much of society.

"All the morals, the cultural norms, everything has broken down that used to keep society together," said Grant, the British-trained psychiatrist. "Before, you were not the son of one person, you belonged to the whole village. People could beat you if you misbehaved. But now, all that is gone. Abnormality has become normal."

Under Liberia's penal code, rape is punishable by a prison term of up to 10 years. But there is no functioning court system, and violators act with impunity.

In the absence of justice, victims would like revenge.

"If I had a brother who had a gun, I would recommend that he shoot them," said Komasa Jallah, 31, who was raped three times in one day when rebel soldiers captured her hometown in the country's northern Voinjama district.

She managed to flee to the outskirts of Monrovia, where she was seized by another rebel commander and held as his concubine. She escaped after two weeks and made her way to the soccer stadium with the other rape victims.

Being repeatedly raped often crushes the women's dreams of marriage and children. Many men shun rape victims, and complications of venereal disease often leave the women sterile, Roberts said.

Raped three times by government and rebel fighters in 2001, 20-year-old Cecelia Nyumah said she now suffers from abdominal cramps and genital pain. The young woman has had three miscarriages. "What happened to me," she said, "I can't forget."


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« Reply #60 on: September 04, 2003, 11:37:52 PM »
Woof All:

  This thread started concering violence against women, but it seems pertinent to me to touch here upon the matter of sexual violence against men.  If the cited datum of 20% of men in prison being sexually assaulted is correct and there being many millions of men in prison, the numbers of men raped etc is quite large.

  The following article is not particularly deep-- but it does report on new legislation regarding rapes in prison as well as present a fair question to society.  

Crafty Dog



Nation Cherishes Rule of Law, Yet Unmoved by Prison Justice

c.2003 Newhouse News Service


More stories by Delia M. Rios
What was perhaps most surprising about the sudden, brutal prison killing of the defrocked priest John Geoghan was the utter lack of surprise.

Convicted of molesting one child, accused of preying on as many as 130, he was the emblem of the child molestation scandal roiling the American Catholic church. The conclusions drawn about his slaying were certain if hasty, and the word "predictable" was bandied around to describe the target he must have presented to other inmates.

The commentary in news coverage was almost blase, as if this were not only expected, but accepted.

Geoghan's slaying once again exposed a parallel justice system inside the nation's prisons, administered by inmates according to their own codes of conduct and mores. Child molesters, among the most reviled members of prison society, are likely to face jailhouse retribution.

How can this be, in a nation that prides itself on the rule of law?

Criminal justice professionals say the reason has everything to do with the management and culture of prisons, a sense of inevitability about violence within prison walls, and public attitudes.

"It's beyond acknowledgment -- it's a tacit acceptance," said Paula C. Johnson, professor at Syracuse University's College of Law and a former prosecutor and defense attorney.

But to accept this dual system is to concede a failing of American justice. "The fact of being a prisoner does not mean that you have forfeited those rights that the legal system has not taken away from you," said William Galston, director of the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at the University of Maryland.

Philosophers, Galston explained, would say it's a duty of care; lawyers that it's a requirement of due diligence.

So how has it come to this?

"You have to start with the reality that prisons are to some degree run by the inmates -- they're not a zoo with everybody behind bars 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said Frank Hartmann, executive director of the Program in Criminal Justice Policy at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Prison officials are most concerned with the perimeter -- or outside walls. Inside, there is greater freedom of movement and inmate control than the public supposes, Hartmann said -- especially in prisons that are ill-managed, understaffed and overcrowded.

"There's a kind of balance of terror," Galston said. "Guards have tools at their disposal, but prisoners have tools at theirs."

Prison society, like any other, has a pecking order and a set of norms. That's true whether inmates are men or women. In women's prisons there is special scorn for mothers who have abused their children.

"There are sanctions ranging from shunning people to hurting them," Hartmann said. "It's always been immensely interesting to me that for people who don't abide by the law outside, there's a very strict set of norms on the inside."

He cites a New York case in which an inmate serving time for robbery and rape was exonerated, based on new DNA evidence, of the rape charge: "He was very proud of this; he said, `Look, I'm a robber, but I'm no rapist.' Both are against the law, but that's not the issue."

The most extreme inmate sanction, of course, is death. It doesn't happen as often as it once did. There were 56 homicides in prisons in 1999, compared with 124 in a much smaller 1973 prison population. There were five homicides for every 10,000 inmates in 1999, but 61 for every 10,000 inmates in 1973, according to Steven Barkan, a University of Maine sociologist and co-author of the new textbook "Fundamentals of Criminal Justice."

Assaults are a different story. A survey of inmates in three Ohio prisons, published in 1998, reported that 10 percent had been physically assaulted in the previous six months.

From his reading of surveys conducted from 1996 to 2000, Barkan concluded that one-fifth of prison inmates had been sexually assaulted.

The Rape Elimination Act of 2003 recently approved by Congress would require a comprehensive accounting of prison rape, which is now lacking. Said Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Alabama Republican who sponsored the legislation, "We all agree that punishment for a criminal defendant should be set by a judge and should not include sexual assault."

But all this begs an unanswered question.

"What do you do," asked Bill Pooler of Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, "when you lock up that many people prone to violence?"

The problems are daunting. For one, Pooler said, it's not possible to completely control every prisoner, all the time -- the thriving prison economy, whether for drugs or cigarettes, is proof.

As Hartmann points out, there are always places where inmates can hide from guards, and prisoners have nothing but time to study guard movements.

Syracuse's Johnson says a key limitation is the need to maintain order and security in an institution where prisoners outnumber prison staff. However counterintuitive that may sound, keeping order depends to some degree on the inmates. It's one reason the inmate hierarchies are tolerated, though there is an effort to keep them in check.

Those in the criminal justice field suspect that the general public, rather than being outraged by all of this, is quietly content to let things go on as they are.

"A lot of people feel they get what they deserve," said sociologist Barkan, who studies public attitudes toward crime and criminals.

The problem with that argument, he said, is twofold: Many prisoners are in for non-violent crimes and suffer worse fates than the courts intended; and most inmates eventually leave prison to live again among their fellow Americans. If nothing else, Barkan said, people on the "outside" should consider the long-term public safety issue.

Maryland's Galston says these issues should be morally troubling.

"Our society, like any society, wants certain unpleasant jobs done in a way that the majority doesn't have to pay attention to," he said. "That's true of garbage collection and it's true of prisons -- we don't want to know where it goes or what happens to it when it's gone, we just want it to be done."

But from time to time, something penetrates the physical and psychological isolation of prisons from society at large. In Galston's words, the "seal is breached." That happened with the news of Geoghan's death.

It remains to be seen whether Geoghan was singled out because he was a child molester or for some other reason. But whatever the killer's motivation, Johnson is struck by an ambivalence in the reactions of the ex-priest's accusers.

"That is not the justice they had in mind," she said. "The tragedy is now compounded by the way his life ended. They can't exactly be satisfied that this is the way the system should have worked."

Sept. 1, 2003

(Delia M. Rios can be reached at


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Violence against Women
« Reply #61 on: February 26, 2004, 11:11:53 AM »
Woof All:

Question: An example of the "same old thing" or an example of why its a poor idea to put women into certain environments?


Pentagon Faulted for Sex Attacks on Female GIs
Senators call for more action to stem assaults and improve treatment for victims.

WASHINGTON ? Alarmed by reports of sexual assaults on female service members in the Persian Gulf region, senators admonished the Pentagon on Wednesday to do more to halt the attacks and to improve treatment for the victims.

Appearing before a panel of the Senate Armed Services Committee, a group of senior Pentagon officials acknowledged that significant shortcomings remained in the handling of sexual assault cases but insisted progress had been made.
"No war comes without costs, but the costs should be borne out of conflict with the enemy, not by egregious violations by some of our own troops," said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).

David Chu, undersecretary of Defense for personnel, said new figures show the rate of sexual assaults against women in the military fell from 6% to 3% between 1995 and 2002.

The Pentagon officials said there have been 106 reports of sexual assault of troops deployed in the region ? including Iraq and Afghanistan ? over the past 14 months.

But the senators made it clear they were not satisfied either with the level of misconduct that persists or existing measures for treating victims of assault.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), chairman of the personnel subcommittee, called the percentage of sexual assaults suffered by women in uniform "shocking" and labeled some of the recent allegations "very frightening."

"I'm concerned because I don't feel a sense of outrage by military leadership, not at this point at least," added Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.).

"This committee is prepared to back the U.S. military to achieve zero tolerance" of sexual abuse incidents, said Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), who chairs the full committee. But, he warned, "if you don't carry it out, we're going to take over."

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has ordered a high-level review of the handling of reports of sexual assaults and the care provided victims, particularly in cases arising from overseas deployments to combat zones. The review's findings are is due in May.


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Violence against Women
« Reply #62 on: July 05, 2004, 07:35:26 AM »
Woof All:

Should this happen, it will be very interesting to observe the reactions of various military, political and civilian players.


Female US soldier in Iraq targetted for kidnapping

PTI[ THURSDAY, JULY 01, 2004 08:48:06 PM ]
WASHINGTON: Terrorists in the Abu Musab Zarqawi network in Iraq are specifically trying to kidnap an American female service member to further horrify the US public, senior defence officials were on Thursday quoted as saying.

The word is being passed within the network on the importance of taking one or more women hostages, The Washington Times reported quoting two senior US defence officers.

"We have heard through intelligence channels that several extremist organisations are attempting to capture coalition servicemen and women. We have instituted additional force protection methods to thwart these attempts," a senior military officer in Iraq told the paper.

Another defence source said there is an "edict, either on paper or as an order," within terrorist networks to capture an American female service member."

Of the 140,000 US troops in Iraq, about 11,000 are women.

Russ Iger

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In the Philippines....
« Reply #63 on: July 20, 2004, 09:08:12 AM »
MANILA, July 19 (Reuters) - A drunken Filipino farmer nailed his wife's mouth shut and beat her to death in front of their children, then prepared breakfast for her the next day without realising he had killed her, police said on Monday.

Police called to the house of Rodolfo and Vilma Porras in the town of Manapla, in the central Philippines, on Saturday found the 40-year-old woman dead in her bed with one-inch (two cm) nails driven through her mouth and the back of both knees.

Police officer Eliseo Solaban said two of the couple's four children, a girl aged 10 and a boy of eight, told investigators their father beat their mother to death with an iron and drenched her with boiling water after coming home drunk.

The girl was still in shock, Solaban said by telephone.

Porras, 40, was on the run on Monday. The man awoke on the morning after Friday's killing and cooked breakfast as normal, then fled after realising his wife was dead, the policeman said.


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an eye for an eye, a tooth in my boot
« Reply #64 on: August 02, 2004, 10:04:11 PM »
In a departue from my usual liberal to waaaaay left to no-wing politics, I think the whole thing is f***ing bulls**t! Train all women in FMA from the minute they can walk and give them each a handgun when they turn 21. Rapists should be castrated with rusty farm implements in public, and child molesters used for medical / consumer-product vivisection. After public castration by a blind escrimador of course. Other than that, live and let live.

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Bronx man attacks girlfriend with machete, cops report
« Reply #65 on: August 03, 2004, 07:09:20 AM »
Bx. man attacks girlfriend
with machete, cops report

A blood-soaked man clutching a machete stood over his helpless girlfriend on a Bronx street yesterday after hacking her neck with the weapon, cops and witnesses said.
Henry O'Kiefe, 50, of the Bronx stalked his girlfriend as she left a Baychester Ave. Econo Lodge, where he believed she'd been seeing another man, police sources said.

After confronting her on the street, O'Kiefe chopped the woman across the neck and body repeatedly with the wood-handled machete, police said.

"I thought the guy had a stick. Then I saw the blood dripping from the machete," said Mario Malave, 67, who chased O'Kiefe before cops arrived. "He was all full of blood," said Malave. "I saw the woman on the ground bleeding. ... She wasn't screaming. She must have been in shock."

The grisly attack unfolded in Co-op City just before 2:30 p.m., triggering a large police response.O'Kiefe initially tried to escape by car along Baychester Ave., witnesses said. But after turning onto Co-op City Blvd., he ditched his car and stalked into the woods behind the motel, with the machete.

Cops quickly ringed Givans Creek Woods as an NYPD helicopter hovered over the 11-acre city park. Heavily armed Emergency Service Unit officers with police dogs caught O'Kiefe after he cut his hand climbing a fence.As cops carted O'Kiefe away, he muttered, "What happened?"His wounded girlfriend, whose name was not released, was taken to Jacobi Medical Center, where she was in stable condition.


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Re: Violence against Women
« Reply #66 on: January 05, 2010, 11:38:26 AM »

CHESHIRE, Conn., July 25, 2007
Ghastly Details In Conn. Home Invasion
Papers Report Mother, Two Daughters Raped Before Their Deaths

Home Invasion Murder
Authorities in Connecticut believe two paroled convicts in custody are to blame for a violent home invasion that turned deadly. Bianca Solorzano reports.

The SUV that authorities say was used by the two suspects in an attempt to get away, with a damaged police cruiser in the background, July 23, 2007.  (AP)
. Firemen investigate a burned area of the home of Dr. William Petit in Cheshire, Conn., on July 23, 2007.  (AP)
 Suspects Joshua Komisarjevky, left, and Steven Hayes, July 24, 2007.  (CBS/AP)

Home Invasion Horror
Connecticut family terrorized by intruders, wife, two daughters killed, husband wounded.
.(CBS/AP)  The two men accused of a brutal Connecticut home invasion may not have had violent crimes in their long lists of prior convictions, but sources tell local newspapers the pair's record changed when they invaded the home of a prominent doctor early Monday morning.

"This is everyone's worst nightmare," Lt. Jay Markella, Cheshire police spokesman, told the Waterbury newspaper. "It's by far the worst thing any of us have ever seen."

Joshua Komisarjevsky, 26, of Cheshire, and Steven Hayes, 44, of Winsted, were arraigned Tuesday on charges of assault, sexual assault, kidnapping, burglary, robbery, arson, larceny and risk of injury to children. More charges are pending, state police said Tuesday night. The two men could face the death penalty.

Prosecutor Michael Dearington said he had not yet decided whether to pursue the death penalty.

"I know the public consensus is they should be fried tomorrow," he said.

The state medical examiner confirmed that Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, was strangled and that her daughters, 17-year-old Hayley and 11-year-old Michaela, died of smoke inhalation. The deaths were ruled homicides.

The girls' father, Dr. William Petit Jr., a prominent endocrinologist, remained hospitalized with head injuries.

All three women were raped, sources familiar with the investigation told both the Waterbury Republican-American and Hartford Courant. Petit was beaten with a baseball bat, thrown down the basement stairs, and then tied up in the cellar.

The girls, sources told the Courant, were tied to their beds and raped repeatedly, then left to burn after gasoline was poured around their beds and ignited.


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Re: Violence against Women
« Reply #67 on: January 05, 2010, 12:13:52 PM »
Suspect in NH machete attack regrets girl survived
January 05, 2010 1:49 PM EST

MILFORD, N.H. (AP) — Newly released court documents say one of the men charged with killing a New Hampshire woman in her bed told police his only regret was that he didn't succeed in killing her 11-year-old daughter.

In the documents released Tuesday, 20-year-old Christopher Gribble told police that he had wanted to kill someone for a long time. He said he was disappointed he didn't feel any emotion following the Oct. 4 killing of Kimberly Cates in her Mont Vernon home.