Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

In the News: 13.6-20.6

The Stanford rape and the social media effect by Winnie M Li

At the time of my own rape, I found myself Googling news stories and reading what complete strangers were saying about it. Yet, nowhere was there a place for me, the victim, to speak. The Stanford rape victim and social media have changed all that, writes Winnie M Li.

The internet has erupted in fury after the sentencing of Brock Turner, a star athlete for the Stanford University swim team, who was convicted of three sexual offences, and more specifically of assaulting an unconscious, intoxicated 23-year-old woman behind a dumpster. Judge Aaron Persky only sentenced Turner to six months in county jail, noting that a harsher sentence would have a "severe" impact on him.

The victim's court statement to Turner - a powerful, harrowing 12-page account of the impact the crime has had on her - went viral, with more than 13m views on Buzzfeed alone. So too, did a letter by Turner's father, defending his son - lamenting how his life should not be ruined by "20 minutes of action". ...

In Orlando, as Usual, Domestic Violence Was Ignored Red Flag by @schemaly

Early Sunday morning, Omar Mateen began killing people in what became the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. Authorities will now study what may have made the 29-year-old go to the Pulse gay nightclub with the intention of ending so many lives.

The Washington Post reported Monday that "although family members said Mateen had expressed anger about homosexuality, the shooter had no record of previous hate crimes." But that depends on how you categorize domestic violence.

Mateen's coworker, Daniel Gilroy, who requested a transfer so he wouldn't have to work with Mateen, describes him as "scary in a concerning way.... He had anger management issues. Something would set him off, but the things that would set him off were always women, race or religion. [Those were] his button pushers."

Mateen reportedly beat his ex-wife, Sitora Yusifiy, and at one point held her hostage, but was never held accountable. She divorced him after only four months of marriage, citing his mental-health issues. Her family, she says, had to "pull [her] out of his arms." She describes Mateen as practicing his religion — Islam — but showing "no sign" of violent radicalism. It's understandable what she means there, but perhaps it's time our society started to think of physical abuse, possessiveness and men's entitlement to act in those ways toward women as terroristic, violent and radical.  ....

Home Office refuses to reveal whether women in Yarl's Wood have been raped in case it 'damages the commercial interests' of companies by Siobhan Fenton

The Home Office is refusing to reveal how many detainees have been sexually assaulted or raped inside Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire in case the information becoming public knowledge harms the “commercial interests” of private companies that are involved in running it, The Independent can reveal.

Like all Government departments, the Home Office is subject to legislation that requires public bodies to disclose information that is in the public interest. However, since The Independent submitted a request for information about sexual violence against detainees in the centre in March, the Home Office has refused to disclose this information. A member of Home Office staff argued this was on the grounds that: “disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests” of people involved with running Yarl’s Wood. ...

Britain has confused social sociopathy for economic debate via @WritersofColour

We may never have been able to predict the murder of Jo Cox, and yet close observers of the long struggle with nationalist extremism will find the formula of this kind of statement-violence familiar. A man shouts in the name of his allegiance, “Britain First!” before maiming and killing, publicly, those whose ideals and way of life has become an offence to the barbarous.

In all likeliness this was not symbolic brutality against the system — not an act of a random nature against any old representative of the political class — but a fundamentalist attack on a woman whose ideals, both in her charity work and as MP, placed human rights for disenfranchised Syrians, oppressed Palestinians and immigration at the core of her narrative. What an appallingly upsetting shame then that she should die, not because of her stance on human rights but instead killed within a British climate that has confused social sociopathy for economic debate and scaremongering immigration laws. ...

The images of Reeva Steenkamp's corpse invade her privacy, even in death by Marianne Thamm

When Oscar Pistorius took off his prosthetic legs and walked across a Pretoria high courtroom on his stumps, the message was clear: Oscar the victim. Oscar in pain. Oscar humiliated. Oscar crushed.

On the third day of a hearing in which Judge Thokozile Masipa will eventually sentence the former athlete on the charge of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, Pistorius’s defence team said they wanted to show the court that he was no longer a “strong, ambitious man winning gold medals”.

“I don’t want to overplay vulnerability … I don’t want to overplay disability … It doesn’t mean because he’s vulnerable that he can do what he likes. But please let’s understand … who is this man that you must sentence?” his lawyer, Barry Roux, said.

Then it was the turn of Barry Steenkamp, Reeva’s father, to appeal to the court to publicly release graphic images of his daughter taken shortly after her death.  ...

This is what a fascist looks like by Robert Kazandjian via @WritersofColour

Jo Cox, Labour MP for Batley and Spen, partner of Brendan Cox and mother of two young children, was murdered in the street by a fascist terrorist. We have sleepwalked into a nightmare. Jo Cox’s murder was the inevitable, tragic consequence of a steady flow of fascistic bile that has permeated the mainstream political discourse. Our Prime Minister described human beings fleeing death and destruction as a ‘swarm’. A columnist for a national newspaper with a daily average readership of 5.5 million people called for the use of gunships to halt the arrival of ‘human cockroaches’. Posters for the official Brexit campaign depict human suffering as a dangerous threat, and demand WE take back control of OUR borders.

We are drowning in hatred. ...

Why is the killer of British MP Jo Cox not being called a "terrorist"? by @ggreenwald

BRITISH LABOUR MP Jo Cox was brutally murdered yesterday. Although the motive is not yet proven, there is mounting evidence that the detained suspect, 52-year-old white male Thomas Mair, was motivated by political ideology. Cox was an outspoken advocate for refugees. At least two witnesses say Mair, as he carried out the attack, yelled “Britain First,” the name of a virulently right-wing anti-immigrant party. He has years of affiliation with neo-Nazi groups: what Southern Poverty Law Center describes as “a long history with white nationalism.” The U.K. is in the midst of a bitter and virulent debate about whether to exit the EU — Cox opposed that — and much of the pro-Brexit case centers on fear-mongering over immigrants. ....

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