Tuesday, August 23, 2011

You Are Not Perfect: Reason #5 Why Rape is Under-Reported

Today's not-so-news is that the prosecutor's office is going to ask to have the sexual abuse charges against Dominique Strauss Kahn dismissed.

Read all about it:  http://www.usatoday.com/money/world/story/2011/08/AP-source-DA-likely-to-drop-Strauss-Kahn-case/50085112/1

Their issue is that the plaintiff was not completely honest about aspects of her past.

However, none of the lies that diminish her credibility had anything to do with the facts of this case.

So, ladies, this has some serious repercussions for us all. Did you ever lie, even a little, about how many calories that "sliver" of cheescake had? Or about how much you spent on that outfit? Did you ever exaggerate, ever so slightly, about your last vacation or last night's date? Sure these may have seemed harmless at the time, but your credibility is now totally, irrevocably, damaged should you ever have the need to press charges of rape.

And guess what else? A number of rapists actually seek out potential victims who would make less credible plaintiffs.

Learn how to better prevent rape, as well as get better DNA evidence, in a self-defense class.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Do You Need to Defend Yourself from Canvassers?

You know, those people hanging out on street corners, clipboard in hand, collecting signatures (and sometimes money) to save the children, the whales, the unborn, the undead, . . .

Apparently in downtown Seattle some canvassers are getting too aggressive. Councilmember Tom Rasmussen is considering a law to do something about it.

Hear about it, and some opinions, on KUOW-FM, where yesterday Mr. Rasmussen and others answered questions posed by host Ross Reynolds and listeners who called and emailed in.  http://www.kuow.org/program.php?id=24293

Sure some canvassers are annoyingly aggressive. However, I don't see the need for a law to deal with them. A simple "no thank you" and walking on should do the trick. (Yes, I do teach that, and other verbal safety skills, in some of my self defense classes.)

For instance, I am walking around Westlake Mall (seems to be Canvasser Central these days) and am approached by a young man (or woman) asking for just a few moments of your time to save the children. I will make a snap decision: to give them some of my time, or to say "no thank you" and walk on. Either choice is fine, as long as it is MY choice and I'm not just getting sucked into it because that's what good folk like us do. My choice would be to say "no thank you" and walk on, secure in the knowledge that I'm already doing the right thing because have a charitable giving plan already in place. If that canvasser then feigns shock that I don't care about the children, I will WALK ON. I do not feel I need to answer to him. I owe him nothing, and will not get sucked into a time-wasting, energy-draining conversation web.


Remember the sage advice of Eleanor Roosevelt: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." It's up to each and every one of us to spot emotional manipulation and deal. It's just the right thing to do.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Why Rape is Under-Reported: Reason #11

Because sometimes those charged with keeping a safe environment act with indifference.

Here's a current example:  http://www.news-leader.com/article/20110816/NEWS12/110816008/Lawsuit-filed-against-Republic-School-District-over-rape-claim
and http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2011/08/17/297888/missouri-school-sued-for-allegedly-making-special-ed-student-write-apology-letter-to-her-rapist/ (same story, 2 articles).

In this story, a special education middle-school girl is penalized for reporting harassment and assault by a classmate. She's even made, by school authorities, to write an apology and hand-deliver it to her rapist. Then she's expelled from school, for allegedly making a false report.

When she's allowed to return to the school the next year, she is again harassed and assaulted by the same boy. School authorities again do not believe her, but this time her mother takes her to a Child Advocacy Center for an exam. Seems the exam showed she had been raped; semen found on her is said to match that of the boy. Boy is arrested, charged, and plead guilty.

Family files lawsuit against School District. School District replies that the girl failed to use reasonable means to protect herself, the suit against them is frivolous, and hence the School District defendants are entitled to be awarded attorneys' fees.

So, it's the girl's fault. Again.

And that's still another reason that sexual assault is rarely reported.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Car Stalk

I usually don't get to hear NPR's program Car Talk on Saturday mornings. I'm generally off teaching a class at that time. But this past Saturday found me chasing a "sick" cat, trying to get her in the cat carrier to go to visit the vet. Soon as she heard the sound of the carrier door open, she dashed upstairs, faster than I imagined, and under the bed, in a place impossible for me to reach. So, a very frustrated me got to listen to the radio.

It was the final caller that really got my attention. Myrna's question was about finding a possible GPS device put on her car by her soon-to-be-ex-husband. Turns out her to-be-ex was a control freak, in that he read her mail and email, and always insisted on knowing where she was going and had been. And now that there's a nasty divorce in process, he's reaching out.

Tom and Ray had some funny suggestions (hey, this is a comedy show). They surmised that the devise was certainly affixed to the car's undercarriage by a magnet, and would be apparent once a mechanic got the car on a lift. They suggested she park her car in front of her to-be-ex's best friend's house overnight, or attach it to other cars (even a different car each day), to mess with his tracking.

You can listen to the show here (http://www.cartalk.com/Radio/WeeklyShow/online.html) until the next episode comes out. Segment 10.

I'm glad Myrna felt secure enough about her safety to be light-hearted about this guy's possible stalking behavior, but other women whose partners are putting GPS devices on their cars may not be able to take it so casually. As a self-defense teacher, I regularly have students who've been stalked, and it's a harrowing experience. I recommend that if you believe that your car is being tracked via GPS, please contact your local domestic violence hotline for advice, especially if their stalker has a history of threatening or committing violence.


And my partner finally crawled under the bed, hauled out the cat, and took her to the vet. She's fine now. But we knew that, she's got her sassy back.