Beyond the act of physical and sexual violence, post traumatic rape syndrome, as well as the refusal of many rape victims to report when they have been assaulted can be attributed to a prevailing rape culture on America’s college campuses. Rape culture is a term used to describe the way rape, sexual violence, and sexual abuse are linked to the culture of society. Essentially sexual violence and speech against women is normalized and excused in media and pop culture. Thus, male sexual aggression is in a number of ways encouraged and supported in society. Here, violence and sexuality are interchangeable. Violence is seen as sexy, and sexuality is seen as violent. Music fills the airwaves telling women that “I know you want it” and “I’ll BEAT the pussy up” and if you are familiar with soca music from the Caribbean, you may have heard the song “Kick In She Back Door”, which is literally about breaking into a woman’s home (and her body) through anal penetration if she refuses a man’s sexual advances.
This rape culture simply takes its cue from or is steeped in patriarchy; which is the general structure of privilege in society, where heterosexual men have more power and influence over other members of society.
When most women become pregnant, understandably they believe the choice of how they give birth will remain theirs; whether to deliver vaginally or through cesarean surgery or where to give birth, at home or at a hospital. Decades ago, those decisions were well within the domain of pregnant patients whose reproductive liberty and autonomy interests gained constitutional recognition in the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade.
After all, whose body is it anyway? But what may have seemed clear-cut decades ago, is now put to the test by doctors and lower courts.
Decades ago, refusing to undergo cesarean surgery was not a crime. That’s another matter now in the wake of recent “fetal protection” enactments that make it a crime for a pregnant woman to engage in any conduct that might threaten harm to a fetus. Some doctors believe this applies to how a woman gives birth.
Melissa Rowland refused to undergo the cesarean surgery recommended by her doctor. She was later charged with murder after one of her fetuses was stillborn. Rowland accepted a plea deal, which made her criminally liable for child endangerment.
Nigeria wrapped up its inquiry into the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls by militants on Friday with little progress to show, reporting almost none had been freed after the initial kidnapping some girls escaped from.
Submitting the final report, Brigadier General Ibrahim Sabo said 219 girls remained at large, a total virtually unchanged since Boko Haram militants stormed their secondary school in northeast Borno state on April 14 to kidnap them.
A total of 57 girls, almost all of whom escaped shortly after the abduction, have been reunited with their families, he added. The kidnapping of the teenage girls taking exams in Chibok village sparked global outrage for its sheer barbarity.
Washington Post syndicated columnist George Will is standing by his recent article on sexual assault that sparked considerable backlash and led at least one prominent newspaper to drop his byline.
In an interview with C-SPAN that will air in full sometime in July, Will said he wouldn’t take back a word of his controversial column, and dismissed his critics as overreacting. “Today, for some reason, indignation is the default position of certain people,” Will said. “I think it has something to do with the internet.”
Will takes issue with the Obama Administration’s recent report on the scope of the campus rape crisis, which cites data from the Department of Justice to conclude that one in five college women are the victim of sexual assault. He claims that statistic is much too high and doesn’t line up with the other data about sexual assault reports.
Over the past week, experts who research violence against women have pointed out the flaws with Will’s interpretation of the data, which relies on a dubious analysis from the American Enterprise Institute — a right-wing group that has a long history of downplaying campus sexual assaults. Nonetheless, Will is defending his column as an important tool to educate people about the real data at the heart of the issue.
A behavioral health therapist who pleaded guilty to patient abuse and unlawful restraint for sexually abusing a former patient who has severe mental health issues, was chastised by Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Timothy McCormick before he sentenced him to eight weekends in jail.
“What were you thinking?” McCormick asked Gregory Markovich after the victim spoke emotionally for 45 minutes about how she has been unable to cope after the incident last September. “You can tell this victim has serious underlying issues and you were her social worker and was aware of it. What you engaged in is beyond comprehension.”
Markovich, 63, of Conneaut, said he had no explanation and began an affair with the victim after he was no longer her therapist.
He said they lived together for a year-and-a-half and he wanted to help her.
“You took advantage of her,” McCormick said. “You knew how troubled she was and didn’t have the ability to make an educated consensual decision to develop a relationship. Shame on you.”
Razieh Ebrahimi was forced to marry at the age of 14, became a mother at 15, and killed her husband at 17. Now at 21, she is on Iran’s death row.
Ebrahimi, who shot dead her hubsand while he was sleeping, faces imminent execution, despite international laws prohibiting execution for crimes committed by juveniles.
Human Rights Watch, has urged Iran’s judiciary to halt the execution. Earlier this week, Ebrahimi’s lawyer also asked judges to consider a retrial, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported.
“I married our neighbour’s son when I was only 14 because my dad insisted,” Ebrahimi was quoted as telling officials working on her case, according to Mehr. “My dad insisted I should marry him because he was educated and was working as a teacher. I was 15 when I gave birth to my child.” Her child is believed to be now six years old.
“I didn’t know who I am or what is life all about,” she said soon after being arrested. “My husband mistreated me. He used any excuse to insult me, even attacking me physically.”
Amina Filali committed suicide by swallowing rat poison in March 2012. She was 16 years old. Amina was raped in her small Moroccan town by a man she was then forced to marry. Moroccan law allowed rapists to escape prosecution by marrying victims under age 18. In Morocco and elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa, such acts are often seen to restore the ‘honour’ of the victim and her family. But Amina could not live with her restored ‘honour.’
Amina’s death caused an outcry in Morocco and throughout the region, challenging the misplaced idea that rape can bring a family into disrepute and that the value of a young woman lies in her virginity.
In the wake of Amina’s death, Morocco changed its laws in January 2014. Rapists can no longer escape prosecution by marrying their victim. However, rapists will be punished differently depending on whether or not their victim was a virgin at the time of the attack.
In neighbouring Algeria and Tunisia, the law allows rapists to walk free if they marry their victim—if she is under age 18.