What is Consent?


 

Everything You Need to Know About Consent That You Never Learned in Sex Ed

What it looks like, what it sounds like, how to give it, and how to get it

 

Dr. Zhana is an NYC-based sex researcher, writer, and educator who teaches Human Sexuality at NYU. She has a PhD in Developmental Psychology from Cornell University, where she studied how different aspects of sexuality are linked to health and well-being.

Over the past couple of years, we have started emphasizing the importance of sexual consent more than ever before in U.S. history. But what often gets left out of these discussions is how exactly you go about the business of obtaining and providing consent in real-life sexual situations. And especially, how to do it without the much-feared “ruining of the mood.”

There’s more than one way to approach consensual sex. The debate is still raging over where exactly the line of consensual sex versus sexual assault should be drawn: Some insist that the old “only no means no” approach is adequate, which is the idea that unless you explicitly say “no,” you are implicitly consenting to whatever is being done to your body. Others argue that we need a new standard of “only yes means yes,” which is the idea that unless you explicitly say “yes,” you are not giving consent. But regardless of where you think the legal lines should be drawn, we can all agree that we want both ourselves and our partners to be enthusiastic about any sexual encounter. That is to say that every sexual encounter is ideally met with enthusiastic consent, rather than a situation where someone feels obligated or pressured to say yes, despite not being totally excited about participating.

There is no single approach for negotiating enthusiastic consent that will work for every person in every situation, but here are some things you can do to ensure that both you and your partner will be happy and comfortable with the physical activity you engage in.

Obtaining Enthusiastic Consent

The person initiating the sexual encounter, or initiating the escalation of sexual intimacy in the sexual encounter has a lot of responsibility in making sure the other person feels safe, comfortable, and is truly enjoying themselves. Here’s what you need to know about obtaining enthusiastic consent.

Avoid partners who are vulnerable

When people are intoxicated, sexually inexperienced, in a new situation, or acting recklessly or immature, their physical and/or mental capacity to make informed sexual decisions is impaired or limited. The more vulnerable they are — and the more vulnerable than you they are — the greater the risk they will feel coerced or regretful the next day. If they are particularly vulnerable (like heavily intoxicated, asleep, unconscious, or not of legal age), they are not legally capable of providing consent, and sex with them is by default sexual assault, no matter how eager they seem.

Establish reciprocal interest before you start thinking about physical touch.

Part of this is the good old art of flirting and building erotic tension: Are they making eye contact, smiling at you, leaning in, chatting excitedly… Don’t just come up to someone out of nowhere and ask them if you can kiss them, or worse, touch them. The other part of this has to do with trying to ensure your partner’s intentions and expectations of the sexual encounter are in line with yours. If you just want a casual hookup, but they are hoping for a relationship, try to find out if they’d be OK with it.

Negotiate consent verbally.

Explicitly asking for permission is the most obvious way to escalate to physical touch, and the one most commonly discussed when enthusiastic consent is brought up: “May I kiss/touch/take your shirt off…” “Is it OK if I ____?” For safest results, it’s good to ask permission for any escalation in intimacy, so a permission to kiss someone is not an automatic permission to touch them below the belt. This is an effective method that is preferred by some people, but it is also the one many people feel is a potential mood-killer.

Luckily, there are other ways to verbally obtain consent. Instead of asking for permission, you can offer your partner something you’d like to do for them. “I would love to kiss you/give you a massage/take your shirt off… Would you like that?” Or, alternatively, you could invite them to do something to/for you: “I’d love a massage. Would you like to give me a back rub?”

Another way to do this is to tell your partner what you plan on doing for/with/to them before you actually do it, an approach known as safe-porting. That gives them a chance to process that info and decide whether they are on board with your ideas. For example, if you’re making out with your clothes on, you can say “I’m gonna slide my hand underneath your shirt…,” then wait for their reaction — verbal or nonverbal — before you decide whether you should actually do it or not.

Establish “blanket consent” ahead of time.

One strategy for people who are more experienced is what sex educator Kenneth Play calls “blanket consent:” Explicitly agreeing on a “only no means no” policy. At some point — either before you start anything physical or after you’ve already obtained consent for a few individual acts — tell your partner something like, “I’d like the freedom to hook up without continually asking permission for each individual act. But consent is really important to me, so I’d like you to tell me if something doesn’t feel good, if you want me to slow down or stop. Does this work for you? Do you feel comfortable saying ‘no’ when you want to say ‘no’? Or would you rather me check in with you more regularly? Totally cool either way.”

This is for people who are more sexually experienced, because it assumes that both partners know exactly what they (don’t) want and are assertive enough to communicate that. While this is an ideal we should all strive to, in reality, many people are not ready for an agreement like this. I would caution against taking a blanket consent approach with partners who are in any way vulnerable (see point #1). Remember that at any point, no matter what you agreed to, you or your partner can say no or change your mind about what you already established.

Negotiate consent nonverbally.

Some people argue that consent must always be verbal, that trying to decipher body language is just too uncertain, too much room for error. Indeed, trying to negotiate consent without any words is riskier: Unlike spoken language, not everybody is good at reading body language, and not everyone is good at “speaking” body language.

That said, there are some partners and some situations where you can successfully negotiate consent nonverbally, but it requires a lot more experience, carefulness, and perceptiveness.

The basic rule is build it up slowly, and get continued, reciprocated, and enthusiastic responses before you escalate to each subsequent intimate act. Like, don’t just grab someone’s butt or thigh right away; start with touch that is noninvasive, like briefly touching their hand, patting their back or arm, lightly grazing their knee with yours (and all of these should come only after you’ve already established basic mutual interest, see point #2). Then, and this is absolutely critical, read their body language (or verbal response) very carefully. Are they responding with a smile, leaning in closer, letting out a little sigh, reciprocating with a similar touch, saying “your hand feels so soft”? If so, that usually means “yes, continue.”

Are they pulling away, freezing in fear, do they seem uncomfortable, or do they not respond in any sort of way? Those are all the nonverbal equivalent of a “no” and you should stop touching them. If their body language is ambiguous, or if you’re not quite sure what it is saying, don’t assume it’s saying what you want it to be saying! Defer to one of the verbal consent options instead. And in general, for best and safest results, combine nonverbal consent with verbal consent options.

Encourage your partner to say “no” (as well as “yes”) at any point.

Regardless of the primary method of obtaining consent you choose to take, you can always add this to the mix. Some time early in the physical encounter, pause for a moment and say something like what author Michael Ellsberg says: “I want you badly, but I’m also committed to you feeling totally safe and comfortable with me. So if anything I do with you makes you feel even slightly uncomfortable, I want you to say ‘Stop’ or ‘Slow down’ immediately and I’ll stop or slow down.”

Err on the side of caution.

If you’re not sure whether your partner is providing enthusiastic consent, err on the side of caution — especially if you’re hooking up with a new partner, or someone more vulnerable than you. General rules of thumb: Only take enthusiastic “yes” (either verbal or nonverbal) as “yes.” Take “no,” “maybe,” and doing nothing all as no; even take a hesitant “yes” as no. If they seem hesitant, give them time and space to make a decision without pressure. Say something like, “You seem hesitant right now, why don’t you think it over and maybe we’ll do that next/some other time.” There will be other opportunities.

Providing Enthusiastic Consent

Most of the conversations around consent revolve around obtaining consent, placing all the responsibility in the hands of the person initiating the action. But in every sexual encounter, each of us has just as much responsibility to provide continuous enthusiastic consent as we have to obtain it. It is important to let your partner know you are really into it — and you have to be completely honest about it. You must own your “yes” as well as your “no.”

Share your intentions and limitations.

What are you looking for in this scenario? If you wouldn’t be hooking up unless this had potential to be more than a hookup, let your partner know. If you wouldn’t be doing this if they had another partner, ask them whether they’re single. Don’t assume that just because you want or don’t want something that the other person is on the same page.

Let your partner know what kind of consent works for you.

And do this before or as soon as things start turning sexual. Are you the kind of person who likes to take things slow, be asked verbally before any escalation of physical closeness, and checked in with often? Tell them that. If you’re new to sex, or with a new partner, this might be the way to go. Or do you prefer the more traditional “only no means no” approach? Say “Feel free to explore my body without asking. I’ll let you know if something is uncomfortable.” But keep in mind, giving people this type of blanket consent carries the responsibility of actually saying “no” when you want them to stop.

Provide continuous positive feedback.

Provide continued “yes” feedback. You can do this verbally, by saying things like “yes,” “that feels good,” “I like that,” and by telling your partner how and where to touch you. Or you can do it nonverbally, by touching your partner, returning their kisses, taking their clothes off, and showing them how and where to touch you.

Learn how to convey “no” effectively and get comfortable doing it.

Saying “no” is not easy; it can be awkward, uncomfortable, anxiety-provoking. But you are your own first line of defense: Research shows there are far more people out there willing to disregard a lack of enthusiastic “yes” than there are people willing to push through a strong “no.” You can say “no” gently (but firmly), either nonverbally (by moving away, moving their hand away) or verbally (e.g., “I’m not interested, thanks for asking,” “I don’t like ______,”). If people aren’t getting more subtle signs, you can move on to saying “no” more forcefully. Doing nothing is NOT a very clear “no.”

Err on the side of caution.

If you’re not sure what you want, err on the side of caution and say “no.” Especially with new partners you don’t know well or when you’re feeling vulnerable. You can always change your mind to a “yes” later.

Keep in mind, there is no one type or form of consent that works for everyone in every situation. Which approach you take will depend on who you are, who your partners are, and what the situation is. Also keep in mind that no one was born knowing how to negotiate these situations. We’re all always learning and improving, and making mistakes. When you screw up, make amends (as much as possible), then learn from your mistakes and don’t repeat them. And remember, like with many things in life, practice makes perfect.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can seek help by calling the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673).For more resources on sexual assault, visit RAINN, End Rape on Campus, Know Your IX, and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

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Stealthing: A new sex trend that may be rape


 

New Study Documents the Rise of Sex “Trend” Called “Stealthing”

Men are reportedly removing condoms during sex without their partner’s consent.

A new study documents the rise of a particularly disturbing sex trend called “stealthing,” or when a man removes a condom during sex without his partner’s consent. The Huffington Post reports that this study, conducted by Alexandra Brodsky for the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, contains interviews with victims of this method, as well as a investigation into the corners of the internet that encourage men to do this to their partners.

Brodsky explained to The HuffPost that she began the study after realizing that several of her friends were “struggling with forms of mistreatment by sexual partners.” The victims in her research all felt violated after having been “stealthed,” but many were unsure of how to report such behavior, or if it constituted as rape. One particular victim in her study described being “stealthed” as “rape-adjacent.”

Incidentally, a man in Switzerland was convicted of rape earlier this year for removing his condom mid-intercourse without the consent of his partner. Dr. Sinead Ring of the University of Kent explained to Broadly that this type of act violates “conditional consent,” meaning: just because someone consents to sex with a condom does not mean they are consenting to sex without a condom. It is so important to know that consent is not a one-time transaction; enthusiastic consent should be clear throughout every step of a sexual encounter.

What’s even more disturbing is the fact that “stealthing” is widely discussed online in some internet circles, and, as Brodsky learned through her research, some men actually encourage one another to practice this behavior. According to the study, there are men who believe they are entitled to “spreading their seed,” and see “stealthing” as a tactic that is within their rights. Brodsky notes that there are message boards online where men give one another “tips” for removing condoms during sex without their partner’s knowledge. “Proponents of ‘stealthing’ root their support in an ideology of male supremacy in which violence is a man’s natural right,” she added.

Brodsky explained that she hopes to provide people with the tools they need to talk about sexual violence more openly, and to seek help when they need it. She explained: “One of my goals with the article, and in proposing a new statute, is to provide a vocabulary and create ways for people to talk about what is a really common experience that just is too often dismissed as just ‘bad sex’ instead of ‘violence.'” The bottom line is that you should never be forced to do something that makes you uncomfortable, and no one should ever make you feel as though you don’t have agency or control of your own body.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can seek help by calling the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673). For more resources on sexual assault, visit RAINN, End Rape on Campus, Know Your IX, and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

 

 

This is yet another case of men believing they have all the rights, and that women’s lives, rights and opinions are “naturally” subordinate to the man’s — if, indeed, women’s rights exist at all.

THIS is what is meant by “rape culture” – the pervasive, accepted view that men can do anything they want; that women who do not want sex, or unprotected sex, are “teases”; the idea that “boys will be boys” and all women “want it” and that “no” means “maybe” or “yes”.

NO means NO.  Yes means yes AT THAT MOMENT, but does not give a man the right to change the rules part way through, and does not mean that the woman doesn’t have the complete, unconditional right to change her mind at any time for any reason from Yes to NO.

We need to break the rape culture.  To make women as important as men, to ensure that women can say NO and have it honored, every time, without exception, and that, if it is not, the man will face legal consequences, every time without exception.

Overriding the woman’s conditional consent is nothing new. Back in the 80’s, when HIV was first being discovered, and shortly after it was determined to be sexual transmitted, some men were diagnosed as HIV positive.  Because they were angry, bitter and resentful because of this disease, regardless of the source of the infection, some infected men decided to act out their anger and resentment by not telling their partner they were HIV positive, and deciding not to use a condom.  Many women became HIV positive in this way, and the men who did this were found guilty of attempted murder, even in those cases where the partner was not infected.  This “stealthing” is a similar phenomenon — men deciding to extend a woman’s conditional consent into unconditional consent.  It is immoral and should every bit as illegal as traditional rape.

 

Namaste,

Barbara

Women Strike in Argentina after brutal rape and murder of 16-year-old girl


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Women Strike in Argentina After the Brutal Rape and Murder of a 16-Year-Old Girl

 

Women Strike in Argentina After the Brutal Rape and Murder of a 16-Year-Old Girl

PHOTO OF WOMEN IN MEXICO CITY PROTESTING THE FEMICIDES IN ARGENTINA BY PEDRO PARDO

Argentina has seen 226 femicides in 2016, with 19 in just October alone. Following the news of Lucia Perez’s murder, women gather to protest the ongoing violence against women in the country.

Today, women across Argentina are participating in a national protest against gender-based violence after a 16-year-old girl was drugged, raped, and murdered earlier this month. Prosecutors told media that two drug dealers forced Lucia Perez to consume a large amount of cocaine to incapacitate her, and “impaled her through the anus, causing pain so excruciating that she went into cardiac arrest and died,” The Straits Times reports.

“I know it’s not very professional to say this,” said Maria Isabel Sanchez, lead prosecutor on the case, “but I’m a mother and a woman, and though I’ve seen thousands of cases in my career, I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Perez joins a long list of victims of femicide in Argentina. Since her death on October 8, three more women were killed in separate incidents just in Córdoba, Argentina. The naked, strangled body of another woman, 22 years old, was discovered in a box in a vacant lot near Buenos Aires last week.

According to local media, Argentina has seen 226 femicides in 2016 so far, with 19 in the first 17 days of October alone.

In response to these killings, and in particular Perez’s brutal rape and murder, women’s rights organization Ni Una Menos and other groups dubbed today Black Wednesday to mourn those lost, calling for a “women’s strike” to demand an end to the violence and draw attention to the economic disparity between Argentine men and women. According to Economía Feminista, the wage gap between men and women in Argentina is approximately 27 percent; for informal jobs, which one-third of Argentine women have, that figure jumps to 40 percent.

Women were asked to wear black and walk out of their jobs and houses at 1 PM “to be seen, to be heard.” The hashtags #NiUnaMenos (Not One Less),#NosotrasParamos (Women Strike) and #VivasNosQueremos (We Want Ourselves Alive) have united protesters on social media.

In a document addressed to participants, organizers wrote: “Because behind the increase and viciousness of femicide and violence against women, there’s also an enormous economic plot; the lack of women’s autonomy leaves us unprotected when it comes to saying ‘no.’ In consequence, this lack of autonomy turns us into moving targets of trafficking networks or of ‘cheap’ bodies that are used for trafficking and retailing.”

Cassia Roth teaches Latin American history at the University of California-Los Angeles. She says socioeconomic factors influence gender-related violence. “Poverty requires many women to work outside of the home,” she tells Broadly, and when they do, men often feel emasculated because of a long history of “patriarchal gender relations that privilege male power and female submissiveness,” a lot of which has to do with family honor, toxic masculinity and a double sexual standard.

“All of these factors can converge in a patriarchal system that stresses male superiority and which normalizes violence towards women,” she says.

In July, Argentine President Mauricio Macri announced a national plan to lower the rates of violence against women. The plan includes working to change the patriarchal culture by introducing gender violence awareness into school curriculum.

But more needs to be done, Roth says. The protests today reveal a shift away from blaming the victim toward blaming the system, she continues. “This a larger problem and not an individual problem. The onus is not on women; the onus is on changing the way women are viewed in our culture.”

In an interview with Americas Quarterly, Ingrid Beck, one of the founders of Ni Una Menos, calls machismo a global issue. “Well if you look at what’s happening in the US, what [Donald] Trump is saying, to me it speaks to the fact that the problem isn’t just of the countries of Latin America.”

Roth agrees. “This culture is also present in the United States, where victim-blaming for both sexual crimes and domestic violence is still common, and a presidential candidate can be caught on tape talking about sexually assaulting women and pass it off as ‘locker room’ talk.'”

No One Asks to be Raped


Judge Dispels The Myth Of The ‘Perfect’ Rape Victim In Powerful Verdict

“No one asks to be raped.”

 

An illustration from the day in court that Judge Marvin Zuker announced Mustafa Ururyar’s guilty verdict. 

“For much of our history, the ‘good’ rape victim, the ‘credible’ rape victim has been a dead one.”

That’s just one of the many powerful statements Ontario Court Justice Marvin Zuker said in court last week while delivering his verdict in a Canadian university rape case. The judge announced that he found the defendant guilty of sexual assault and proceeded to point out the insidious effects of victim-blaming in his 179-page verdict.

“The myths of rape should be dispelled once and for all,” Judge Zuker read aloud in court last Thursday. “We cannot perpetuate the belief that niceness cannot coexist with violence, evil or deviance, and consequently the nice guy must not be guilty of the alleged offense.”

View image on Twitter

Ururyar found guilty of sexually assaulting York U student Mandi Gray. ” Rape it was” @CityNews

The case, which began in February, involved Mustafa Ururyar and Mandi Gray, two doctoral students at Toronto’s York University. According to The Guardian, the two had been casually dating when Gray went to Ururyar’s apartment one night in January 2015.

As the two made their way back to Ururyar’s apartment, Gray said he became angry and started calling her “a slut” and “needy.” Gray testified that Ururyar forced her to perform oral sex on him and then raped her later that night.

Ururyar had pleaded not guilty to sexual assault, claiming that he and Gray had engaged in consensual sex on the night in question. According to Judge Zuker’s verdict, Ururyar’s defense repeatedly attacked Gray’s character and attempted to discredit her story throughout the trial.

Judge Zuker was not accepting Ururyar’s “twisted logic,” as he said in his verdict. The judge denounced Ururyar’s defense, calling it all a “fabrication” that is “credible, never,” adding, “I must and do reject his evidence.”

Judge Marvin Zuker

The judge described how traumatizing the defense’s character assassination must have been for Gray and condemned a culture that is so quick to victim-blame:

The court was constantly reminded, told, as if to traumatize the helplessness, the only one we can believe is Mr. Ururyar, because she, she Ms. Gray, cannot remember. What a job and a real bad one, trying to shape the evening. We must not create a culture that suggest we learn that rape is wrong through trial and error.

How can you prove it? You don’t remember. He knows you don’t remember. He is going to write the script and he did. Testimony incomplete, memory loss, etc. etc. And, of course, typically, no dialogue in the story. One full sentence by Ms. Gray? What is it? No power, no voice, defenceless. To listen to Mr. Ururyar paint Ms. Gray as the seductive party animal is nothing short of incomprehensible. He went or tried to go to any length to discredit Ms. Gray, if not invalidate her. Such twisted logic.

… There is no demographic profile that typifies a rapist. There is a danger of stereotyping rapists. When the accused is a friend of the victim and uses that relationship to gain, and then betray the complainant’s trust; there may be a need to be informed in order to recognize and understand the accused’s predatory behaviour. No other crime is looked upon with the degree of blameworthiness, suspicion, and doubt as a rape victim. Victim blaming is unfortunately common and is one of the most significant barriers to justice and offender accountability.

…The responsibility and blame lie with the perpetrator who takes advantage of a vulnerable victim or violates the victim’s trust to commit the crime of sexual assault. Rape is an act of violence and aggression in which the perpetrator uses sex as a weapon to gain power and control over the victim. It is too common to redefine rape as sex and try to capitalize on the mistaken believe that rape is an act of passion that is primarily sexually motivated, It is important to draw the legal and common sense distinction between rape and sex… There is no situation in which an individual cannot control his/her sexual urges.

Towards the end of his statement, Judge Zuker clarified  what consent really means and why a survivor’s actions before the assault should never be used to excuse rape.

“Without consent, ‘no’ means ‘no,’ no matter what the situation or circumstances,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if the victim was drinking, out at night alone, sexually exploited, on a date with the perpetrator, or how the victim was dressed. No one asks to be raped.”

In his verdict, the judge actually underlined that last sentence (on page 172 in the embedded statement below).

The same day Judge Zuker read his verdict, Gray released a public statement in response to Zuker’s powerful words. “I am tired of people talking to me like I won some sort of rape lottery because the legal system did what it is supposed to do,” Gray wrote.

In a conversation with reporters after the hearing, Gray called the verdict a “huge victory,” but added that Zuker’s statements can’t undo the trauma she’s endured.

“I think it’s massive, these statements,” Gray said. “But, I mean, these statements don’t un-rape me, first of all, and nor does it erase the process that I’ve had to go through.”

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I decided to publish another blog today because this Canadian judge has the courage and the strength to what three American judges have not done. He has not punished the victim for her own rape. He has stated for the record that No means No. Our judges slapped the hands of the convicted rapist and let them off without jail time.

 

American men, there is no reason for you to violate a woman. No does mean no. Rape has to do with power and control and not really sex. What kind of man can’t control himself? Once again, we see here in America that there is no respect for women, no consideration for their feelings…It is a War on Women.

 

Congratulations to our Northern neighbors. Hats off to the judge who is man enough to follow the law and do what is right.

 

Namaste

Barbara

Convicted Rapist receives no time


 Convicted Rapist Austin Wilkerson Receives No Prison Time — Even Less Than Stanford Rapist

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If you are a regular reader, you will notice that this is the second rapist who has been found guilty yet has not been required to do any prison time. Speaking as a woman, community service and/or probation is not justice for having someone putting himself inside your body and using you and discarding you as if you were yesterday’s newspaper. Rape is a horrible crime of power and control. There should be a long prison sentence for the perpetrator. I hope we don’t see more of this trend.

Namaste,

Barbara

Three jailed for India mother and daughter gang rape


 

 

 

Three jailed for India mother and daughter gang rape

a protester against rape in IndiaImage copyrightAFP
Image captionThe incident has caused outrage across the country, and raised questions about police efficiency

Three men suspected of participating in the gang rape of a woman and her teenage daughter have been sent to jail for 14 days as investigations continue.

The two were dragged out of a car by a group of men along a highway between Noida, a Delhi suburb, and Kanpur city on Friday, reports said.

Three male relatives travelling with them were assaulted and tied up.

The incident has caused outrage across the country and raised questions about police efficiency.

Some of the victims alleged that they got no response from the official helpline number.

One of the men who was attacked told the Hindustan Times newspaper that the line had been continually busy and that when they finally got through, the officer at the other end of the line had “repeatedly asked questions instead of rescuing the family”.

Family members also alleged that a police van had driven past the field in Bulandshahr area where the incident took place, but had not stopped.

Senior police officer Sujeet Pandey told BBC Hindi on Monday that the three men, who were arrested on Sunday, were remanded in prison after they were identified by their victims.

Three more men were detained today, he added.

The Uttar Pradesh state government has suspended seven policemen in connection with the incident and set up a 300-member taskforce to investigate the incident.

The family was also robbed of money, jewelry and their mobile phones.

Scrutiny of sexual violence in India has grown since the 2012 gang rape and murder of a student on a Delhi bus.

However, brutal sexual attacks against women and children continue to be reported across the country.

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My heart aches for the fact that there has been another rape. Actually, there have been thousands world wide today, but this one was a mother and daughter. This just seems heinous to me. World leaders need to recognize that crimes against women are serious. Rape is a crime where a woman body in invaded, ravaged and desecrated. Rape should be almost as serious as murder. Rape kills a part of a woman and it can never be replaced.

 

The Pope says that the world is at war, not a religious war, but war. I say there is a war against women and minorities going on.I am anti war, but we have to punish people who attack events and groups of people severely. We need to punish rapists very severely because they can not stop their behavior. They feel no remorse and should be shut away for the rest of their lives.

 

There are too many people in prison for minor charges serving long sentences and rapists getting out in a couple of weeks. The is backwards. This needs to be straightened out. We need to protect citizens, especially women and children. We need to prevent an all out war.

 

“We regard our living together not as an unfortunate mishap

warranting endless competition among us

but as a deliberate act of God

to make us a community of brothers and sisters

jointly involved in the quest for a composite answer

to the varied problems of life.”

—Steven Biko

U.S. Military Accused of Punishing Sexual Assault Victims in New Human Rights Report


First women couldn’t be in the military because it was too “tempting” to have women on military bases.  Next, we could have women in the military, but they could only do non-combat duty.  Now, women in the military can be in combat.

As a pacifist, I don’t want any of this; I’ve always been a pacifist and I’m sure I will die a pacifist.  As a feminist, however, I support a woman’s right to choose what do with her life, and that includes military service.

What disturbs me about women in the military isn’t that they want to go and serve their country, or that they want to be able to fight for their country; it is the fact that sex, once again, is being used as an excuse for harassment, molestation and rape.

For thousands of years, males — i.e. Adam and all non-feminist men after — have used the excuse “she made me do it”.  There is not a legitimate reason, ever, to sexual molest, rape, attack or violate a woman.  In actuality, these things have to do with power and control, not with sex.

The military is the American bastion of male power and control.  The good old boys are going to have to suck it up and get a grip on themselves; they need to realize that the only thing they have legitimate power and control over is themselves, and begin to act accordingly.

 US Military Accused of Punishing Sexual Assault Victims in New Human Rights Watch Report

The War in South Sudan


UN Cites ‘Horrendous’ Human Rights Situation in South Sudan

A U.N. report describing sweeping crimes like children and the disabled being burned alive and fighters being allowed to rape women as payment shows South Sudan is facing “one of the most horrendous human rights situations in the world,” the U.N. human rights chief said Friday.

Zeid Raad al-Hussein lamented the crisis in the nearly 5-year-old country has been largely overlooked by the international community, and his office said attacks against civilians, forced disappearances, rape and other violations could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The U.N report released Friday is the work of an assessment team deployed in South Sudan between October and January and says “state actors” bear most responsibility for the crimes. It said Zeid recommends that the U.N. Security Council consider expanding sanctions already in place by imposing a “comprehensive arms embargo” on South Sudan and consider referring the matter to the International Criminal Court if other judicial avenues fail.

In scorching detail, the report, which focused on events in 2015, cited cases of parents being forced to watch their children being raped, and said investigators had received information that some armed militias affiliated with government forces “raided cattle, stole personal property, raped and abducted women and girls” as a type of payment.

“The quantity of rapes and gang-rapes described in the report must only be a snapshot of the real total,” Zeid said in a statement. “This is one of the most horrendous human rights situations in the world, with massive use of rape as an instrument of terror and weapon of war, yet it has been more or less off the international radar.”

David Marshall, the U.N. human rights officer who coordinated the assessment team, told reporters in New York that the “machinery of violence” by the government needs to be dismantled.

“It was a reign of terror,” he said.

Also on Friday, human rights watchdog Amnesty International accused the South Sudanese government of war crimes after its troops allegedly suffocated 60 boys and men in a cargo container at a Catholic church and then dumped their bodies in an open field.

Amnesty said researchers spoke to 42 witnesses to the October incident, including 23 who said they saw the men and the boys being forced into one or more shipping containers and dead bodies being removed.

“We take seriously these allegations as a responsible government,” presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said of the Amnesty report. “The government has dispatched a team to investigate.”

He insisted government soldiers do not kill civilians.

However, Malaak Ayuen, director of information for the South Sudanese military, acknowledged that civilians had been killed amid the fighting.

“If the fighting takes places with you and your family in your room, certain things can get broken,” he said, adding that the rebels themselves are civilians because they do not wear uniform.

“When fighting takes place in the residential area definitely there will be casualties because of stray bullets,” Ayuen said. He said people being burned alive was the result of tracer bullets hitting grass huts by accident. To the reports of rape he said there was no evidence that government forces were involved.

The U.N. report said the human rights situation has “dramatically deteriorated” since South Sudan erupted into civil war in December 2013. The crisis stemmed from a falling-out between President Salva Kiir and his deputy, Riek Machar, that boiled over into an armed rebellion. Tens of thousands have died and at least 2 million people have been displaced from their homes.

Machar has been reinstated as vice president part of a peace deal signed in August, but sporadic fighting and extra-judicial killings persist.

The 17-page report notes that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had already in May 2014 pointed to “reasonable grounds” to consider that crimes against humanity had been committed in South Sudan. In a sign that little has been done since then, the report said “the killings, sexual violence, displacement, destruction and looting that were the hallmarks of the conflict through 2014 continued unabated through 2015.”

Recommendations in previous reports to the U.N.’s Human Rights Council, a 47-member body currently in session in Geneva, “remain largely unimplemented,” it said.

———

Patinkin reported from Juba, South Sudan. Associated Press writer Dave Bryan contributed from The United Nations.

bjwordpressdivider (1)

In my opinion, the UN needs to do more about the attacks on civilians than to write a report. While the reports are good, they are doing nothing to provide relief for the citizens who are suffering and they are not providing justice for all of the victims of the murders and rapes. The world needs to take this on and to speak out against the atrocities and protect the civilian population from further rape, murder and torture.

 

I think we need to be writing to the UN and to Amnesty International to stop the slaughter of human lives. The victims of this civil war in South Sudan need to have a voice. And they need to be protected from the anger and hatred of the soldiers who are fighting this war. Women and children are not involved and when rebels take this war to the villages and harm, torture, and rape and kill, there is no place these civilians can flee to. People are suffering needlessly because the soldiers are using them as weapons. It is horrifying and despicable.

 

We need a civilized end to this warfare. There needs to be a peace accord and surrounding countries need to bring both sides to the table to talk about a peaceful conclusion to this war. It doesn’t accomplish anything and war ends many lives. For the sake of the victims, we need to make a peace that will hold and keep the citizens of the South Sudan safe and unharmed.

 

Namaste,

Barbarabjwordpressdivider (1)

 

According to the UN report, militias operated under a “do what you can and take what you can” agreement that allowed them to rape and abduct women and girls as a form of payment.

They also raided cattle and stole personal property, it added.

‘Killed for looking’

The scale and type of sexual violence committed in South Sudan constitute some of the most horrendous human rights abuses in the world, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said

  • One woman said she had watched her 15-year-old daughter being raped by 10 soldiers after her husband was killed
  • Another said she had been stripped naked and raped by five soldiers in front of her children on the roadside
  • Witnesses told investigators that several women had been abducted and held in sexual slavery as “wives” for soldiers in the barracks
  • Young-looking women were specifically targeted and raped by about ten men, one witness said. In some cases, those who tried to resist or even looked at their rapists were killed, she added

The UN said government forces and allied militias had gang-raped girls and cut civilians to pieces. It also accused opposition fighters of committing human rights abuses.

 

Sexual slavery can be stopped, if we all want it to stop

Abduction and torture, including rape of civilians must stop. Rape is not the prize for soldiers who are fighting.

Rape as a Weapon of war


Mass Rape, a Weapon of War, Traumatizes South Sudan
By NICK CUMMING-BRUCEMARCH 11, 2016

12southsudan-web1-master675

The aftermath of an attack in February on a United Nations camp for civilians in Malakal, South Sudan. 

 

GENEVA — First they killed her husband. Then, the South Sudanese woman said, government soldiers tied her to a tree and forced her to watch as at least 10 of them raped her 15-year-old daughter.

A little more than two years after the outbreak of civil war in South Sudan, the United Nations said Friday that all parties to the conflict had committed serious and systematic violence against civilians, but it singled out forces loyal to President Salva Kiir as the worst offenders.

“Crimes against humanity and war crimes have continued into 2015, and they have been predominantly perpetrated by the government,” David Marshall, the coordinator of a United Nations assessment team, said in an interview that was videotaped in South Sudan and released Friday along with the team’s report.
The mother’s account to United Nations investigators of the rape of her daughter was among many stories cited by the United Nations as evidence that government forces and affiliated militias had used sexual violence systematically to punish and terrorize civilians. Opposition forces also committed atrocities, but to a lesser degree, the United Nations said.

“This is one of the most horrendous human rights situations in the world, with massive use of rape as an instrument of terror and weapon of war, yet it has been more or less off the international radar,” Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, said in a statement.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and more than two million forced to flee their homes since the start of the conflict between Mr. Kiir and his former vice president, Riek Machar, in December 2013, the United Nations said. The two sides agreed last August to set up a transitional government, but they have yet to do so.

In its 102-page report, the assessment team estimated that 10,553 civilians had died in Unity State in the 12 months that ended in November. Most appeared to have been killed deliberately, the team said.

The South Sudanese conflict intensified last year, particularly in Unity State, “where there has been a push by the government, both through the military leadership and the political leadership, to displace, kill, rape, abduct and pillage large portions of the civilian population,” Mr. Marshall said. “The consequence is that there has been much terror.”

Rights groups that have been expressing alarm about South Sudan for the past two years seized on the report to press their demands for a Security Council arms embargo and the establishment of a special war crimes court.

“While justice and an arms embargo alone will not solve this disaster, they are an essential contribution to ending the litany of appalling abuses against civilians,” said Jehanne Henry, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. Tom Andrews, a former United States congressman who is president of United to End Genocide in Washington, said: “The time for pleading and begging South Sudan’s government to implement a peace deal is over.”

 

The United Nations assessment team, which visited South Sudan between October and January, recorded detailed accounts of how civilians, including women and children, had been hanged from trees, burned alive, shot and hacked to pieces with machetes. Churches, mosques and hospitals came under attack, the team said.
The team said it documented more than 1,300 cases of rape between April and September in Unity State alone, and 50 more cases from September to October. Mr. al-Hussein said the numbers “must only be a snapshot of the real total.”

Government forces carried out most of the rapes in 2015, although in some cases, criminal gangs that have flourished in South Sudan’s prevailing lawlessness were involved, the team found.

Army-affiliated militias, made up mainly of youths, raped and abducted women and girls essentially as a form of payment, under an agreement that allowed them to “do what you can and take what you can,” the team reported. The militias stole cattle and other property under the same understanding, the team said.

Some women reported being taken as “wives” by soldiers and kept for sexual slavery in barracks where they were raped repeatedly. In some instances, witnesses said, attackers killed women who resisted them or even looked them in the eye, or who showed signs of being unable to withstand continued gang rape, the United Nations reported.

In one incident, witnesses saw soldiers arguing because one of them wanted to “take” a 6-year-old girl he thought was “beautiful.” Other soldiers eventually shot the girl, the witnesses said.

The United Nations team concluded that the violence it documented required a degree of preparation that suggested there was a plan to attack the civilian population. Attacks by the armed forces loyal to Mr. Kiir largely targeted members of Mr. Machar’s Nuer community, which is consistent with the government’s political objective of weakening its opponents and communities perceived as supporting them, the team said.

Critics of the government also became targets of state violence, the United Nations team said. Human rights activists, journalists and United Nations aid agency staff members were threatened, harassed, detained and in some instances killed, the team said.

One journalist, Peter Julius Moi, was shot dead in the capital, Juba, in June, only days after Mr. Kiir threatened to retaliate against journalists who reported “against the country.”

Another journalist, Joseph Afandi, who had written articles critical of the government, was found dead near a Juba graveyard earlier this week, according to the local news media, which reported that he appeared to have been beaten and burned. Mr. Afandi had been released in mid-February after two months of detention without charge.

“There needs to be a commitment to end the violence, and then there needs to be a commitment on meaningful accountability, to investigate, prosecute and punish the perpetrators,” Mr. Marshall said in his recorded interview.

But the reality is that “that can’t happen given that the machinery of violence is basically the state,” he added. “Both the military arm and the civilian leadership are part and parcel of the problem. They are orchestrating the violence against their own civilians.”

The United Nations report came as the world body’s Human Rights Council prepared to take up the South Sudan conflict. The council’s 47 members will vote this month on a resolution that is likely to call for the United Nations to appoint a special rapporteur to monitor developments there and report back to the council, according to diplomats engaged in negotiating the text.

 

bjwordpressdivider (1)

 

So here we are, hearing stories of murder and rape during war. I think that the UN should stop rapes of women and girls.It is totally uncivilized to fight a war this way. Civilians do not often have a lot to do with the causes of war and yet they regularly pay the price.

 

I believe that it is an crime worse than murder. Rape, especially in the third world countries, takes a woman’s life away from her and she is still alive to watch how it unravels and disappears. Little girls, if they are not killed during the rape, often have serious physical and emotional injuries. Soldiers often use rifle butts and knives to commit the rapes. Fathers and brothers are many times made to watch. There have been reports of rapes among little girls as young as six years old.

Think about your daughters and granddaughters going through an experience like this. It is horrifying. The UN needs to intervene and punish all soldiers who commit rape and murder among innocent civilians. We must focus on our similarities and remember we are all children of the universe. We are star matter. Yes, you may have decided that you have a right to participate in war but nothing ever gives you the right to injure innocent citizens. Wars don’t accomplish anything; they destroy lives and countries. They are good for nothing. This depravity is despicable in the eyes of civilized peoples.

 

 

Namaste,

Barbara

 

bjwordpressdivider (1)

Soldiers waging war on civilians including rape and murder.

Soldiers waging war on civilians including rape and murder.

 

 

Soldiers fighting in the South Sudan war

Soldiers fighting in the South Sudan war

Till It Happens to You


At this year’s Oscars, Lady Gaga and a stage of Sexual Violence Survivors took a stand for all the victims, with her anthem which became the theme for the documentary “Hunting Ground” about sexual violence on college campuses.

 

 

 

bjwordpressdivider (1)

 

 

A Woman’s Issue

 

The woman in the spiked device that locks around the waist and between

the legs, with holes in it like a tea strainer

is Exhibit A.

 

The woman in black with a net window

to see through and a four inch

wooden peg jammed up

between her legs so she can’t be raped

is Exhibit B.

 

Exhibit C is the young girl

dragged into the bush by the midwifes

and made to sing while they scrape the flesh

from between her legs, then tie her thighs

till she scabs over and is called healed.

Now she can be married.

For each childbirth they’ll cut her

open, then sew her up.

Men like tight women.

The ones that die are carefully buried.

 

The next exhibit lies flat on her back

while eighty men a night

move through her, ten an hour.

She looks at the ceiling,listens

to the door open and close.

A bell keeps ringing

Nobody knows how she got here.

 

You’ll notice that what they have in common

is between the legs. Is this

why wars are fought?

Enemy territory, no man’s land,

to be entered furtively,

fenced, owned, but never surely,

scene of these desperate forays

at midnight, captures

and sticky murders, doctors’ rubber gloves

greasy with blood, flesh made inert, the surge

of your own uneasy power.

 

This is no museum.

Who invented the word love?

 

—————–Margaret Atwood, feminist author and poet

Author of the Handwife’s Tale

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood

 

 

 

 

 

bjwordpressdivider (1)

 

 

stoprape

 

 

 

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