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Categories : LOVE, SUSTAIN, TRANSFORM, UBUNTU writes!
The myths about sexual assault
Attackers often fall within family tree or ‘trusted’ circle
By REKHA BASU
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
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Categories : duke lacrosse rape case
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)
1 story (maximum of four pages)
1 Essay (maximum of three pages)
2 pieces (please note one maybe chosen as the cover of collection)
Along with your creative work send:
-Two sentence biography
-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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Categories : Uncategorized
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
as I need to be
alone because I can’t do what I want to do with my own
who in the hell set things up
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
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
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
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Categories : Uncategorized
MARK YOUR CALENDARS!!!!!
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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Categories : LOVE, SUSTAIN, TRANSFORM