It is not just in the courtroom where women are not always believed. If you have been following the news over the last few weeks, you have seen and heard and read about so many vivid and horrifying examples, whether it be sexual assault or domestic violence.
Let’s try to put aside the political ramifications of all this. The feelings and emotions that have been unleashed reach far beyond any single candidate. They get to the core of our lives — how we treat one another, how we stand up for those who are under assault, how we live as men and women in our society.
Trump’s comments about women and sexual assault, Muslims, minorities, etc., are difficult to hear because they’re coming from a man running for president — but also because it forces us to confront our own worst tendencies. Trump is able to do and say these things with little or no consequence because of his privilege as a wealthy, white man. And before you think he’s different from you, before you distance yourself from his actions, consider your own privilege and how you’ve used it to say and do things that are insensitive and inappropriate.
On Oct. 13, Lou Dobbs, an anchor for Fox Business Network, helped circulate the address and phone number of Jessica Leeds, one of the women who have recently come forward to accuse Donald Trump of inappropriate sexual contact. Dobbs tweeted a link to a news site that published Leeds’ address and phone number taken from public records and also quoted a tweet that included Leeds’ contact information. Dobbs has 794,000 followers.
Of course this it is not “just talk” as he and his defenders have claimed. But also concerning is the response from some Republican and religious leaders who had previously supported Trump now saying they can't anymore because of the women in their lives — daughters, wives, and mothers — who they want to protect. Women don’t need protection from men; women need men to stop being predators, enablers, and bystanders. Women are human beings made in the image of God regardless of their relationship to a man. This isn’t a woman’s issue; it’s a human issue.
When we come across bullies and predators in our world, we can respond with revulsion, or with silence. Bullies and predators want to have cheerleaders around them, encouraging their awful words and deeds. If we won’t applaud them, bullies and predators want us to at least abstain from criticizing them.
That’s why we’ve seen such a pushback against so-called “political correctness” by hate groups.
Baylor University’s former Title IX coordinator, Patty Crawford — who maintained the post during the recent campus sexual assault crisis that resulted in the ouster of president Ken Starr, football coach Art Briles, and athletic director Ian McCaw — resigned earlier this week after filing complaint against the school and refusing to sign a confidentiality agreement. Crawford's resignation came the same day two more women joined a class-action lawsuit against the school for failing to adequately address sexual assault allegations, bringing the total number plaintiffs to eight.
Brock Turner’s case is not an isolated incident of a poor judge or a flawed judicial system. The roots of Brock Turner’s three month sentence goes deeper than the courtroom in Santa Clara, Calif. These roots extend deeply into the soil of power, privilege, and patriarchy — systems actively formed, in part, by misdirected Christianity. Eldredge, Harris, Driscoll, and Piper are only four recent examples of a harmful narrative that has been preached for centuries.
In a 399-0 vote, a bipartisan bill to ensure sexual assault survivors in federal criminal cases have rape kits administered in all cases passed on Tuesday. According to The Hill, the bill also protects survivors from having to pay for any evidence collection and survivors would be allowed to request preservation of any evidence for the maximum statute of limitations.
The conversation — tagged #KissShameBye and hosted by the No Shame Movement — explored purity culture and its impacts on sex, dating, and marriage. Participants discussed one “source text” for purity culture in particular — I Kissed Dating Goodbye, a hugely popular book among young evangelicals, published 20 years ago, that advocates against dating before marriage and underscores themes of purity, defilement, saving oneself for marriage, and losing one's self-worth if engaged in anything other than hetero marital physical contact.
After applying for an internship with the China Soul for Christ Foundation, a 23-year-old university student found herself in a Paris hotel bed with the foundation’s famous founder, Yuan Zhiming, according to a new independent investigation.
The unnamed woman’s story is laid out in the investigation by GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment), a Virginia-based nonprofit founded by one of Billy Graham’s grandsons, Boz Tchividjian.
A new film opening July 8 focuses attention on a long-ignored war crime — the sanctioned and systematic rape of Polish nuns during World War II.
The Innocents (Les Innocentes) tells the story of a young French doctor who is called to a Polish convent to aid a young novice in a breech labor. She discovers that Soviet soldiers, with the approval of their officers, raped dozens of the nuns during the occupation, leaving five of them pregnant.
The judge who sentenced Brock Turner to a mere six months in prison for three counts of sexual assault has been removed from a new case involving sexual assault, reports NBC News.
Prosecutors in California used a procedure that often comes into use when a judge’s impartiality is under question. But, according to the district attorney, the move came amid concerns over a recent stolen mail case.
Former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner made headlines when he received a six month prison sentence for raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. Turns out, he will only serve half of his already very short sentence, reports Mic.
A document on the Santa Clara County Department of Corrections lists his release date as Sept. 2, 2016.
So the story, as presented, has been either one of the downfall of a Cinderella sports team or one of political hypocrisy. And left behind are the stories of women whose lives were forever changed and subsequently ignored, first by the administration and now by the media.
Ta-Nehisi Coates on the Obama administration’s decision to seek the death penalty for the Charleston shooter: “The hammer of criminal justice is the preferred tool of a society that has run out of ideas.”
“... this is a story much larger than Ken Starr and Baylor. This story is about power, and money, and institutions that claim to be faith-based but refuse to stand for victims and against violence.”
Lives in the hands of algorithms—
A judge has ordered that Bill Cosby stand trial for charges in a case of sexual assault. According to Reuters, a Pennsylvania judge decided "that there was enough evidence for the entertainer to be criminally tried on charges that he attacked a woman in 2004 after giving her drugs."
The woman is Andrea Constand, a former Temple University staff member who alleges that Cosby gave her pills and assaulted her in his home in 2004. More than 40 women have come forward with similar allegations, but Constand's case is the only one that has resulted in criminal charges filed; in fact, for many, the statute of limitations prevents it.
Sexual assault in the military has been a major issue for decades, and not only are the victims traumatized — they’re punished for speaking out. Human Rights Watch issued a new report and short documentary exposing how sexual assault and harrassment survivors have been discharged for "personality disorder."
Better dead clean, than alive unclean.
That Mormon mantra apparently was ringing in a young Brigham Young University student’s mind in 1979 as she leapt from a would-be attacker’s car on the freeway.
According to the Broken Silence survey (commissioned by Sojourners and IMA World Health), faith leaders play a key role in preventing and responding to such violence. Though a majority of respondents reported feeling ill-equipped to deal with issues of sexual and domestic violence in their congregations and communities, an overwhelming majority of faith leaders (81 percent) indicated that they would take appropriate action to reduce such violence if they had the training and resources to do so.
This gap is precisely why seminaries and divinity schools are essential to addressing domestic abuse and sexual assault. Your theological schools can and must take the lead on educating more faith leaders about sexual and gender-based violence.
In a powerful introduction to an even more moving song from Lady Gaga, Vice President Joe Biden appeared at the Oscars Feb. 28 in a plea to “change the culture” and ensure that “no abused woman or man…ever feel they have to ask themselves ‘what did I do?’”