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19 02 2007

Hey – check us out on our new myspace page! Stop by and show us some love…

Good article about sexual assault myths — connections to Duke Lacrosse

19 02 2007

The myths about sexual assault
Attackers often fall within family tree or ‘trusted’ circle

February 18, 2007

At 10 years old, Iowan Johna Sullivan became one of the 80 percent of child sexual-assault victims in America who are attacked by someone they know and trust.

It happened within her home. Like most victims, she didn’t immediately tell, a fact often used by defense attorneys to undermine the credibility of rape survivors. Like many others, she was afraid of being disbelieved, afraid of what she might have done to cause the assault and afraid of the violence her assailant threatened to commit if she said anything.

As with three-quarters of child victims, the truth spilled out by accident, Sullivan says.

Telling her mother ended the abuse. Johna’s mother believed her, and her attacker was removed from her life. But charges were never filed, and her assailant was never prosecuted.

Sullivan declines to say why, but that part isn’t uncommon either. Sexual assault is the most under-reported crime of any indexed by the federal government’s crime statistics. The closer the victim-offender relationship, the less likely it is to get reported.

Because of that, according to experts, most people don’t realize how prevalent it really is.

A few of us got a better idea after a seminar earlier this month at Florida’s Poynter Institute, which runs forums for journalists. This one was called Reporting on Sexual Violence. One clear message emerging from the week: To understand how common rape is and how badly it destroys lives, society needs to confront some basic assumptions about what rape is, who commits it and who is victimized.

It turns out much of what I thought I knew was useless.

Start with the word “rape.” There’s not even a common definition of it. Some crime indexes, such as the government’s Uniform Crime Report, limit their definition of rape to penile-vaginal penetration. Others, such as the National Crime Victim Survey, consider penetration with foreign objects, and include attempted rapes and male victims in their statistics. Yet another, the National Women’s Study, includes forcible oral and anal sex.

Because of the different ways sexual assault is defined and the data are collected, statistics vary widely. Some sources look at the number of rapes reported to law enforcement in a given year. Others have surveyed a random group of people to determine the likelihood of an individual being raped over a lifetime. Experts offer estimates of anywhere from one in three to one in eight women who are raped in a lifetime.

Having an accurate count matters in order for law enforcement, policymakers and the public to understand the magnitude of the problem and the resources and prevention approaches needed.

Sullivan knows these debates because she gravitated, as an adult, into a related line of work. She’s the director of the Crisis Intervention and Advocacy Center in Adel. She also knows that some of the approaches communities are using to stop sexual assaults against children won’t help situations like hers, which represent the majority. One of those is the Iowa law that requires people on the sex-offender registry to live no closer than 2,000 feet from schools or child-care centers.

“The current residency restriction law would not have protected me,” Sullivan wrote me. “My abuse was never reported to law enforcement and/or child protective services. Residency restrictions are based on the assumption that sex crimes against children are most often committed by strangers. Most often, however, children know the person who sexually abuses them and that person lives in their home.”

That gives lie to the biggest myth about sexual assault: of the stranger jumping out of the bushes. While that may be the most common media image, the vast majority of sexual assaults are by people known to their victims.

Defense attorneys exploit myths

Read the rest of this entry »

In The People’s Hands Call for submissions foward widely!!!

12 02 2007

In The People’s Hands (a grassroots literary zine)

Theme: Africana Women and Violence

Submission Deadline: March 5, 2007


Africana (women of African heritage) share an interesting and distinct relationship with violence. Throughout h(er)story, and contemporary times Africana women have interfaced with police brutality, sexual assault, verbal attack, cultural brutality, academic dehumanization, reproductive injustice, political, and social disenfranchisement. Thank goddess, this is not the story of Africana women in total. We also experience and create love, joy, spirit, resilience, and fortitude that make our individual and collective journeys worth traveling. The complex relationship Africana women share with violence is reflected in our relationships with other women, men, ourselves; and is wonderfully and heartfully highlighted in the songs we sing, the stories we share, the love we make, the poems we recite, the food we cook, etc. etc.

In The People’s Hands, a SpiritHouse publication, was created to hear the voices of diverse communities. Submit work that explores your personal relationship with violence as an Africana woman or work in which explores this theme. Submit a literary creation that fits one or a combination of categories. Please note: We will not use your submission for any other purposes than creating In The People’s Hands literary zine. We will not reproduce in total or in part your submission for any other purpose than the paper-based, and online publication of this project. After publication author retains all implicit and explicit publication rights.



Two poems (maximum of two pages)

Short Fiction

1 story (maximum of four pages)


1 Essay (maximum of three pages)

Visual Art

2 pieces (please note one maybe chosen as the cover of collection)

Along with your creative work send:

-Two sentence biography

-picture (optional)

-contact information (phone, email address)

All submissions must be sent to:


In the subject line please type: Africana Women and Violence Issue

About the Sponsoring Organization

SpiritHouse- www.spirithouse-nc.org

SpiritHouse is a nonprofit grassroots community-based organization. We are part of a movement of progressive movements and organizations that endeavor to connect people to each other for the purpose of liberation, enlightenment, and fulfillment. We are independent. We are not supervised by any corporate, religious, or state bureaucracy. Our freedom allows us the flexibility to work and develop the partnerships of our choice. This gives us clarity and direction.

About the Editor-In-Chief www.myspace.com/mamashieroglyphics

Ebony Noelle Golden, MFA, is a poet, performer, and educator currently teaching African American Literature, Composition and Creative Writing at North Carolina Central University and Louisburg College as a Visiting Instructor. She has self-published a chap book of poems titled the sweet smell of juju funk and is currently editing mama’s hieroglyphics to be released next year. In the near future, Ebony plans to undergo doctoral studies in Performance and stage her multimedia choreopoem, What Aunt Sarah Says to Siffronia When Sweet Thing is Moon-Watching and Peaches is Dancing to the Wind. Ebony can be contacted via email at furiousflower@gmail.com.

Poem about My Rights – by June Jordan

11 02 2007

Even tonight and I need to take a walk and clear

my head about this poem about why I can’t

go out without changing my clothes my shoes

my body posture my gender identity my age

my status as a woman alone in the evening/

alone on the streets/alone not being the point/

the point being that I can’t do what I want

to do with my own body because I am the wrong

sex the wrong age the wrong skin and

suppose it was not here in the city but down on the beach/

or far into the woods and I wanted to go

there by myself thinking about God/or thinking

about children or thinking about the world/all of it

disclosed by the stars and the silence:

I could not go and I could not think and I could not

stay there


as I need to be

alone because I can’t do what I want to do with my own

body and

who in the hell set things up

like this

and in France they say if the guy penetrates

but does not ejaculate then he did not rape me

and if after stabbing him if after screams if

after begging the bastard and if even after smashing

a hammer to his head if even after that if he

and his buddies fuck me after that

then I consented and there was

no rape because finally you understand finally

they fucked me over because I was wrong I was

wrong again to be me being me where I was/wrong

to be who I am

which is exactly like South Africa

penetrating into Namibia penetrating into

Angola and does that mean I mean how do you know if

Pretoria ejaculates what will the evidence look like the

proof of the monster jackboot ejaculation on Blackland

and if

after Namibia and if after Angola and if after Zimbabwe

and if after all of my kinsmen and women resist even to

self-immolation of the villages and if after that

we lose nevertheless what will the big boys say will they

claim my consent:

Do You Follow Me: We are the wrong people of

the wrong skin on the wrong continent and what

in the hell is everybody being reasonable about

and according to the Times this week

back in 1966 the C.I.A. decided that they had this problem

and the problem was a man named Nkrumah so they

killed him and before that it was Patrice Lumumba

and before that it was my father on the campus

of my Ivy League school and my father afraid

to walk into the cafeteria because he said he

was wrong the wrong age the wrong skin the wrong

gender identity and he was paying my tuition and

before that

it was my father saying I was wrong saying that

I should have been a boy because he wanted one/a

boy and that I should have been lighter skinned and

that I should have had straighter hair and that

I should not be so boy crazy but instead I should

just be one/a boy and before that

it was my mother pleading plastic surgery for

my nose and braces for my teeth and telling me

to let the books loose to let them loose in other


I am very familiar with the problems of the C.I.A.

and the problems of South Africa and the problems

of Exxon Corporation and the problems of white

America in general and the problems of the teachers

and the preachers and the F.B.I. and the social

workers and my particular Mom and Dad/I am very

familiar with the problems because the problems

turn out to be


I am the history of rape

I am the history of the rejection of who I am

I am the history of the terrorized incarceration of


I am the history of battery assault and limitless

armies against whatever I want to do with my mind

and my body and my soul and

whether it’s about walking out at night

or whether it’s about the love that I feel or

whether it’s about the sanctity of my vagina or

the sanctity of my national boundaries

or the sanctity of my leaders or the sanctity

of each and every desire

that I know from my personal and idiosyncratic

and indisputably single and singular heart

I have been raped


cause I have been wrong the wrong sex the wrong age

the wrong skin the wrong nose the wrong hair the

wrong need the wrong dream the wrong geographic

the wrong sartorial I

I have been the meaning of rape

I have been the problem everyone seeks to

eliminate by forced

penetration with or without the evidence of slime and/

but let this be unmistakable this poem

is not consent I do not consent

to my mother to my father to the teachers to

the F.B.I. to South Africa to Bedford-Stuy

to Park Avenue to American Airlines to the hardon

idlers on the corners to the sneaky creeps in


I am not wrong: Wrong is not my name

My name is my own my own my own

and I can’t tell you who the hell set things up like this

but I can tell you that from now on my resistance

my simple and daily and nightly self-determination

may very well cost you your life


10 02 2007


A national day of action to end sexual violence (funky fresh title coming soon) is set for April 28, 2007 in Durham NC.

Lots of TBA’s in the works much more info coming soon

Email questions to Ubuntunc@gmail.com

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