Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Encouraging Male Voices

Susan Estrich, an outspoken sexual assault activist, recently wrote on male rape and the "lack" of victims. In Houston, Texas a serial rapist has victimized over 5 males ages 18 to 21 since September:
More victims are suspected, but may be silent for many reasons. Fear of being revictimized in the criminal justice system, not believed, facing homosexual stigma regardless of sexual orientation, and because rape is viewed as a "women's issue" often encourage such silence.

Susan Estrich's column:

Statistics based off police reports often show low to no levels of male sexual assault. As Ms. Estrich notes, "what none means is that serious criminals are getting away with rape, and boys and men are suffering the stigma of shame along with the pain and anguish of brutalization." Normally reported male rapes involve children, leading to facts like the average age for male rape is 4 (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2000).

When male sexual assault is brought to the fore-front we learn much about the nature of rape. Perpetrators of reported male rape are 61% male, 28% female, and 11% are both! We learn that female perpetrators more often use coercion 91% of the time and 50% are adolescents baby sitters (JAMA, 1998). Many people don't realize females rape; rape is not solely men raping women. If we want to create a world without sexual violence male victims need support and outlet for their voice.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Media Support for a Rapist

A New Years party two years ago has landed Genarlow Wilson in jail for 10 years, though it could and should have been more. While ABC's news story clearly attempts to paint a picture of "normal teen sexual behavior" it still manages to show the assaults for what they were. Please visit for the full story:

As noted from the article "a portion of a tape ...[shows] Wilson, then 17 and an honor student and star athlete who was homecoming king...having intercourse with a 17-year-old girl, who was seen earlier on the bathroom floor. During the sex act, she appears to be sleepy or intoxicated but never asks Wilson to stop. Later on in the tape, she is seen being pulled off the bed."

As stated in the definitions provided on this site, consent cannot be obtained from unconscious or severely impaired individuals, therefore making any sexual activity with them illegal. Even in the construction of this paragraph the writer is doing everything in their power to "soften" the rape. They mention he's an athlete, I'm sorry, a "star" athlete, an honor student, homecoming king...but what about this girl? Was she homecoming queen, top of her class, a star athlete? No, she is "sleepy/intoxicate" and apparently consenting to sex without awareness (sarcasm!). The fact that she was previously passed out in the bathroom and then seen pulled off the bed after her rape clearly demonstrates her inability to have consented or prevented her assault.

It turns out, as you read the article, that he was not convicted or raping this 17-year-old girl, but does receive charges for corruption of a minor since the tape shows a 15-year-old girl giving oral sex to a "train" of men including Wilson. The article says people are outraged that this is called an assault and that the child molestation law was "never meant to police teen sex." Call me crazy, but when I was a teen having sex with a nearly unconscious or unconscious individual was not put into "teen sex" but into the rape category. Am I the only one shocked not only by the case but by the media's response?

The article contains a site to Wilson's appeal for his supporters:, but I encourage individuals to write to ABC Primetime: about their coverage, to New York's Coalition Against Sexual Assault: to encourage efforts to affect local media, and to Georga's Network to End Sexual Assault: to encourage their awareness and actions against moves to diminish sexual assault legislation around such "teen sex".

Sexual Assault in the Amish Community

(Vernon County, WI) ABC News covered a story of Mary Byler, a now 22 year-old woman who has left the amish community where she was repeatedly sexually assault and raped by her own family members."If somebody was raping me, I'd look up to the ceiling, count the blocks or count the cracks in the wall, or just I was completely not there emotionally". Mary reports that he brother Johnny started assaulting her when she was 6 and he was 12. Another brother, Eli, also started to repeatedly rape her. These abuses lasted for several years along with physical beatings from her stepfather.

In the Amish community women are characterized as quiet and submissive, according to Irene Garrett who has also left the community and written on her experiences there. The community does not teach women about sex, let alone what sexual assault is, leaving many unable to describe what has happened to them as anything other than "bad".

Mary's mother would tell her she didn't "fight hard enough" or "pray hard enough" when she told her mother what was happening. In fact her brothers would repeatedly confess their sins in church where their punishment would be removing them from church activities for a set time until they show true repentence. The community strongly emphasizes public confessions, but also immediate forgiveness and essentially forgetfulness of what happened.

Mary decided to take action by alerting authorities after her 4-year-old sister reported to her mother that another brother, David, was "being bad" to her. The following details of the legal process can be found with the full story at:

Opinion Submission for ABC should go to:

Kindergarten Assaults

An Associated Press story was recently posted about the sexual assault of two kindergartener girls. The offender's mother had warned officials that her child might be dangerous since she had been sexual abused. Despite the warning, two classmates were repeatedly subjected to sexual assaults from this female student during nap times and recess. A law suit is now filled in Austin, Texas against Eanes Independent School District and the elementary school principal by the victims' parents. Not only was the warning about the offender not taken seriously before the incidents, but also sexual discrimination played a role in how the school handled it afterward. The victims' parents believe the assault would be have been taken more seriously had the offender been male.

The story can be found at:

Interesting fact: 4,000 sexual assaults occur in public schools each year (US Department of Education, Violence and Discipline Problems in the US Public Schools, 1997)