Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

In the news (2.10.16) – on rape culture, domestic violence and male perpetrators

A high school student accused a classmate of sexual assault. Her school suspended her:  via @slate

Peachtree Ridge High School is a low-slung concrete building in Suwanee, Georgia, an affluent suburb north of Atlanta. School had just gotten out on Feb. 4, 2015, and a 16-year-old sophomore was waiting just inside the main entrance for her mother to pick her up, she says, when a male classmate approached and said he wanted to show her some video equipment. She says that she followed him into the school’s newsroom, just down the hall, where he allegedly coerced her into performing oral sex.

...And although colleges are required to report sexual assaults—and their policies for handling them—to the government under a law called the Clery Act, the mandate doesn’t apply to K-12 schools, whose workings remain almost entirely opaque. Public schools such as Peachtree Ridge have every incentive to avoid confronting sexual assault, according to Bruno: A K-12 education is a right, and public schools that expel rapists often not only assume the burden of arranging a transfer but sometimes continue to pay for the offending student even after the transfer is complete. The pressure to take sexual assault seriously “just hasn’t hit high schools—they haven’t had their watershed moment yet,” Bruno says. ...

“He had the house, the kids – I had nothing” @thepooluk

A line that came towards the end of The Archers’ hour-long jury special worried me almost as much as whether the jury would find Helen innocent or guilty of attempting to murder her husband, Rob. He said: “You haven’t got rid of me and, as long as we have a child together, you never will." In the death throes of an abusive relationship, there is one thing in the wreckage that will survive: the familial ties – the bonds of love – between parents and their children.

As low points go, finding myself standing outside my house at 2am with a bin bag full of clothes was one of my lowest. It wasn’t my choice. An hour earlier, anything of practical use had been taken from me, including my car keys. I had nowhere to go and no means of getting there. Worse still, my three small children were asleep inside. I promised myself it would only be a temporary separation but I had no idea how I could fix it. ...

How has rape become such a common trope of television drama? by Ellen Vanstone

I didn’t set out to contribute to rape culture. Like all sensible people, I’m a feminist. Granted, the white, privileged kind who’s gone through life with easy access to education, well-paying jobs, sexual liberation, freedom of speech and the right to trash men and the patriarchy in the most general and vile terms every time something didn’t go my way in matters of life or love. In short, I never felt particularly personally oppressed.

Then I started working in TV drama.

The revelatory moment – the point at which my complacent-feminist innocence was violently taken from me, leaving me feeling exposed and violated, so to speak – came when I was writing on a series about cops who dealt with the mentally ill.

Domestic abuse: Coercive control in Scottish Law by Vicky Allan

... However, last week MSPs debated in the Scottish Parliament the new Domestic Abuse Bill, which plans to create a specific domestic abuse offence recognising such “controlling and coercive behaviour” and could make Scotland one of the first countries in the world to criminalise partner psychological abuse.

What’s planned is a pioneering piece of legislation which encompasses both the horror of domestic physical violence and the interconnected torment of psychological abuse. Already in England there is a controlling and coercive behaviour offence, but it is narrow in scope. This particular law would be hugely symbolic. It would make clear, as Justice Secretary Michael Matheson, launching the planned draft bill at Edinburgh Women’s Aid last week pointed out, that “exerting total control over your partner’s every movement and action, forcing your partner to live in constant fear, is criminal and unacceptable in our society”. ...

California scraps 10-year statute of limitations on rape cases by Tim Walker

California has ended its 10-year statute of limitations for rape cases in the wake of the allegations of multiple historical sexual assaults by the comedian Bill Cosby.

Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill on Wednesday, allowing prosecutors to file certain rape and child molestation charges without the previous 10-year time limit on when the incidents took place. The new measure will come into effect from January 2017, but will not work retroactively, meaning it does not apply to the existing allegations against Mr Cosby. ...

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