Author of Adam and Steve, a novel about reexamining your prejudices

Posts tagged ‘sexual assault’

A lesson of tolerance from the Girl Scouts

Girl Scouts of the United States of America

Girl Scouts of the United States of America (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over a decade of statistics evidencing sexual violence against females in America tell a sobering story that, if we are truthful, comes as no surprise.

  • In 1995, of the 126,000 children who were victims of sexual abuse, 75% were girls.
  • In 1997, girls 16-19 were four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.
  • In 1998, one of every six or 17.7 million American women were the victim of an attempted or completed rape.
  • In 2003, nine of every 10 rape victims were female.
  • In 2006, 232,960 women or 600 women everyday were raped or sexually assaulted. *

Females are overwhelmingly the victims of sexual violence perpetrated by heterosexual men.  Nonetheless, to their credit, women, for the most part, do not condemn the entire heterosexual male population for the epidemic of violence against them in this country. If they did, society as we know it would cease to exist. Few women would endanger themselves or their daughters by living under the same roof with a man whose heterosexual orientation was the root cause of female sexual abuse.

To condemn an entire group for the acts of a few is a hallmark of intolerance and prejudice. The Girl Scouts of the United States of America, an organization devoted to the well-being of America’s girls and young women, has refused to so broadly blame heterosexual men. Accordingly, membership in the organization as adult volunteers is open to both women and men 18 years and over. The organization uses screenings and reference checks conducted by independent, third-party agencies to protect girls and young women from potential volunteers and staff who might cause them harm. See, http://www.girlscouts.org/for_adults/volunteering/volunteer_faq.asp.   This approach seems to have worked.  We have not heard stories of sexual abuse within the Girl Scouts or of its supporters demanding the prohibition of heterosexual males from serving as volunteers.

On the other hand, by refusing to accept gay scouts or permit gay volunteers, the Boy Scouts of America has condemned the entire gay population for sexual violence against boys. In a change of policy, the organization now allows gay youth as scouts, but continues its prohibition against gay volunteers. Some view this change as a step in the right direction. Others view it with fear and trembling. In actuality, the new policy is morally inconsistent and perpetuates the BSA’s blanket condemnation of gay men. The BSA and many of its supporters use their homophobia as a shield against a simple and, perhaps, inconvenient truth. Sexual orientation is not what makes either a heterosexual or a homosexual man a predator. The BSA’s new policy is only an expression of the organization’s continuing prejudice and intolerance, both of which the BSA has no right to teach our children.

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* Http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-victims, and http://.now.org/issuew/violence/stats.html.  See, National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women Survey, 1998; U.S. Department of Justice, 2003 National Crime Victimization Survey, 2003; U.S. Department of Health $ Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, 1995 Child Maltreatment Survey, 1995.

Domestic Violence – Remember Kasandra

English: Colin Henderson's winning design will... (Design: Colin Henderson; Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On December 1, 2012, Jovan Belcher, linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, shot Kasandra Perkins, his girlfriend and mother of his baby daughter Zoe, nine times, killing her then killing himself. Three months later, Rihanna confirmed that she and Chris Brown reconciled approximately four years after he severely beat her by, among other things, shoving her head against a car window, punching her face repeatedly, including her left eye, and biting her on her left ear. http://www.thesmokinggun.com/file/lapd-details-rihanna-beating?page=4. Both Kasandra Perkins and Rihanna are two of the approximately 1.1 million women annually who are physically assaulted, including raped and murdered, by an intimate partner. http://www.lovetakestime.com/art-domesticviolence.html. They are victims of domestic violence – “a pattern of coercive behavior that is used by one person to gain power and control over another.”  http://www.vaw.umn.edu/documents/inbriefs/domesticviolence/domesticviolence.html.

It should be inconceivable that home is not a safe haven and a loving partner is someone to be feared. Yet, that is life for those 1.1 million women and many more who keep the abuse hidden.  The abused may staunchly protect the abuser, but he often gives himself away. Although any male – no matter his education, financial wherewithal, or ethnicity – can become the perpetrators of the approximately 21,000 domestic crimes against women taking place weekly, http://www.lovetakestime.com/art-domesticviolence.html, his intimidation or threats, superior feelings, stranglehold domination, total financial control, isolation of his partner or verbal or emotional abuse are but a few of the telltale signs of the brutality lurking within.   http://www.ncadv.org/files/DomesticViolenceFactSheet(National).pdf

Once that violence erupts, the likelihood of it exploding again and again are extremely probable. The more frequent the abuse, the more severe it becomes until the abused is in mortal danger.  http://www.lovetakestime.com/art-domesticviolence.html. Sadly, there’s no longer hope for Kasandra, but there’s still hope for Rihanna and the myriads of others like her. An abusive relationship can be transformed into a safe and secure relationship, but only after hard work by both partners. They must seek professional help. She to grow in self-esteem and assertiveness, and he to accept responsibility, be held accountable, and learn new ways to cope with anger and resentment. http://www.lovetakestime.com/art-domesticviolence.html.

At the very least, Kasandra’s death should make us, the silent bystanders, more aware of the hidden abuse among us. We must recognize a cry for help and then be ready and willing to intervene promptly. Otherwise, Kasandra and so many before her will have died in vain.

Save our military women from our military men

English: WASHINGTON (March 26, 2010) A poster ...

WASHINGTON (March 26, 2010) A poster supporting the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program.  (U.S. Navy photo illustration/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you know who Margaret Corbin was? She fought in the Revolutionary War beside her husband, firing a cannon in defense of Fort Washington overlooking the Hudson River in Manhattan.  After her husband’s death in battle, Margaret continued to fight until she was wounded. The rest, as they say, is herstory. Woman have served in the military ever since.

When a woman joins the military in a time of war like Margaret did, she expects her life to be on the line for her country and for her fellow military personnel. She’s aware she may never again see her husband, child, parent or sibling. She’s courageous and selfless much like her male counterpart.  She’ll risk her life notwithstanding that those in whose country she fights may wish she and our military presence would pack up and leave.  It’s a perilous and thankless job.

What she doesn’t expect and certainly doesn’t deserve is to be victimized by her fellow comrades-in-arms while the brass and the government, for the most part, look the other way.  As posted in the Huffington Post on December 27, 2012, one-quarter of all military women serving in Iraq or Afghanistan reported being sexually assaulted.  That’s an outrageous statistic, but only part of the shameful story.

  • A servicewoman was nearly 180 times more likely to be a victim of military sexual assault than to die while deployed during the last 11 years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • An estimated 19,000 assaults occurred between October 1, 2010 –  September 31, 2011; roughly 52 assaults per day.
  • The conviction rate for sexual assaults in the military is slightly under 6%.
  •  In slightly less than half of the reported cases, the offender was of a higher rank than the victim.

See, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/06/military-sexual-assault-defense-department_n_1834196.html and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/27/military-sexual-assaults_n_2370099.html

The possibility of sexual assault was reason enough for our military men and members of Congress to prohibit gay men from serving for generations; notwithstanding, that gay men had been serving with distinction and without assaulting their fellow military men in any numbers even remotely close to the statistics cited above. Hetersexual military men were terrified of the sexual assault they now inflict in record numbers on military women. Ironic isn’t it?

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