Impunity in rape case(s) – no surprise there

The NY Times recently covered a rape charge, resulting in acquittal, against two NYC police officers. The writer, John Leland, gets the angle correct in writing about the non-surprise of 2 police officers getting acquitted. However, I’d add that we’re not ever surprised when violence against women results in impunity – it’s the number one reason why the violence continues worldwide.

Reacting to police rape case with anger, but little surprise

In interviews around the city on Thursday and Friday, reactions to the verdict revealed the simple terror elicited by the case — that the very people sworn to protect you can take advantage of you. Amid the anger, many expressed little surprise that in a trial without physical evidence, the jury believed the officers over the woman accusing them, who testified that she was too drunk to remember much of what happened.

“It’s disgusting,” said Annie White, a retired home health care aide, who said she had to shut off her television after watching the verdict.

“New York City cops can get away with anything,” Ms. White said, sitting in front of her home on 117th Street in Harlem. “This is the only place I know where there are certain rules for police officers and certain rules for civilians. Acquitting those two today is totally out of line. They should put those cops in jail where they belong.

“Right is right, wrong is wrong. To take advantage of a drunk woman? If you’re a woman in this city you don’t have a chance; you can’t even call the police. If they were civilians, they would be in jail.”

The trial of the two officers, Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata, featured spirited courtroom confrontations and a steady drip of intimate revelations, including the woman’s familiarity with various sexual positions and the song that Mr. Moreno testified that he sang to her when he cuddled her in her bed (Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer”).

The officers were found guilty of official misconduct and fired from the force — an inadequate punishment, several people said, for officers who took advantage of a woman at her most vulnerable.

Male anchor calls talk show host a slut

I’m actually against all derogatory names being used on TV against women – slut, ho, bitch. We already have to put up with terms like gold digger, baby mama, bridezilla, etc. It goes on and on – terms like fembot and helicopter mom seem to come out of the blue on a regular basis – gee, let’s see what name we can come up with today to put down women. And then there’s the personal attack – like Ed Schultz calling Laura Ingraham a right-wing-slut. I can’t even imagine getting away with that with another group – gay men, lesbian, Blacks… So please, if you’re fed up with these attacks, sign the petition on Change.org:

Women’s Rights Petition: Tell MSNBC to suspend Ed Schultz for calling extremist host a right-wing slut

While conservative bloggers and watchdog organizations are highlighting Schultz’s remark,  the Women’s Media Center also calls on MSNBC to suspend Schultz for his comments, since they not only attack Ingraham, but all women. Ms. Ingraham is no friend to the Women’s Media Center, but a sexist and misogynist attack based on her gender and not her political views or comments is harmful to women in media, politics, and beyond.

Ingraham provides enough fodder for progressive criticism that such base attacks have no place in coverage. As a new generation of women enter media and politics, such comments dissuade women from exposing themselves to vile attacks, and perpetuate inequality in newsrooms and in congress. Join us in telling MSNBC that Schultz’s comments are just as worthy of suspension as Shuster’s, and to send a message to their on-air personalities that sexism is harmful and unacceptable!

Round up of family court cases, new policies

(The following articles come from several sources, including the folks behind sites like Parenting News Network, Dastardly Dads, Justice Posterous…)

Does access trump safety?

Boise man, child who died in
murder-suicide Thursday identified

http://www.idahostatesman.com/2011/05/20/1656600/boise-man-child-who-died-in-murder.html

Court records indicate Davis and Natasha’s mother were not
married. There was a legal battle over the girl’s custody which was resolved in
2009, according to Ada County court records.

Initially,
Davis said the girl’s mother refused to let him have access to Natasha
following her birth but a visitation schedule was worked out once lawyers were
hired, the documents say.

Davis sued for joint custody and was granted in April 2009,
according to the records, but a 50/50 split was not to occur until 2013. Until
then, Davis had custody certain days of the week.

Read more: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2011/05/20/1656600/boise-man-child-who-died-in-murder.html#ixzz1N8EqLkd7

Custody battle erupts in gunfire

http://citizensvoice.com/news/custody-battle-erupts-in-gunfire-1.1150096#axzz1N2q4PoFu

In a flurry of gunfire, police said Cooper fatally shot a mother of three and wounded two men before
turning the gun on himself
. His ex-girlfriend and target, Shaundra Langille, 28, survived the shooting rampage by hiding in a closet with the couple’s 9-month-old  daughter and another child, authorities said.

Police  arrived at the chaotic murder-suicide scene around 3:20 p.m. to find Shana Bagley’s body outside the
front door of Apartment 413 in the Hanover Village Apartments, dead on her 25th  birthday.

Read
more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/custody-battle-erupts-in-gunfire-1.1150096#ixzz1N89HDFo4

Family denies custody battle caused deaths

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/8251950/grieving-family-denies-custody-dispute

“Both  parents had access to the children and there was no custody battle,” the family said in a statement.

I have an article posted on the  blog that also states access is not a factor when fathers kill (meaning they
don’t kill because they don’t have access, which is what many fathers rights  groups claim) – rather, vengeance often plays a role (and ironically, women are  stereotyped – esp. in family court –as being vengeful).

Records: Barbone admitted to hitting baby; autopsy results in

Neighbors  devastated by murder charge

http://www.localnews8.com/news/27931821/detail.html

The records said that Barbone tried  to quiet his son down when he started crying at 1:30 a.m. Monday. Barbone
changed his diaper and tried to get the baby to fall asleep with him on a  couch. Barbone allegedly admitted to the reporting officer that when the boy would  not quiet down, he struck the baby on  the back of the head with his fist and then elbowed him in the head, according to the records.

When Barbone realized the child was  unresponsive he took him to Portneuf Medical Center from the home he was
staying at on La Montagna Strada, which is less than a mile away from the  hospital. This happened around 7 a.m., according to the records.

Doctors worked to save the infant  for 30 minutes before declaring him dead. They said the infant was most likely
dead before he arrived at the hospital, according to the records.

Barbone had been living with his girlfriend and her two  other children in Sunny Creek Courts on the south part of town, the manager of  the trailer court said. Barbone had moved out after being charged with domestic
battery, but that the family was back together again late last week, and  neighbors saw Barbone and his girlfriend smiling together, the manager said.  Barbone had visitation custody with  the infant, according to court records.

Father charged in slaying of teen

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/father-charged-in-slaying-of-teen/2011/05/21/AFzRYj8G_story.html?wprss=rss_local

I’ve only read the Washington Post article regarding this case – which has “father” in the headlines, but I’ve  seen other that said “man.”  It also says he killed “teen” not daughter. Lastly, the WaPo quotes  that the father had a “sexual relationship” with the the teen – huh?!  Isn’t this molestation?!

It says the girl lived with Mom but visited Dad.

Valrico father arrested after child’s thigh bone is
fractured

http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/crime/valrico-father-arrested-after-childs-thigh-bone-is-fractured/1170540

VALRICO — A 24-year-old man was accused of aggravated child abuse Thursday  after deputies say he pulled his 3-year-old boy to the ground and fractured the child’s thigh bone.

This is what the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office says happened:

Matthew Clark was changing his 1-year-old’s diaper at his apartment on N Valrico Road when his 3-year-old came up to him, which aggravated Clark. He grabbed the  3-year-old by the shoulder and pulled the child to the ground.

The child hit the ground with his left knee and fell on his side. Clark heard a  pop. The child cried.

But deputies say the father didn’t seek medical treatment or call 911. About  half an hour later, he dropped both
children off with their mother
. She took them to the hospital. Clark, who lists his occupation as a shift leader at Tijuana Flats, was being held in jail without bail.

Tenn.
Custody bill that seeks to maximize parents’ involvement headed to governor

http://www.greenfieldreporter.com/view/story/f2918ebe4e0b4c318432988b26a87bd0/TN-XGR–Child-Custody/

NASHVILLE,  Tenn. — A proposal that would require  judges to consider how to maximize a parent’s involvement in a child’s life  when making custody decisions is headed to the governor for his
consideration.

The measure sponsored by Democratic Sen. Andy Berke of Chattanooga was approved  19-9 by the Senate on Saturday. The House version passed 92-0 last month. Although  not the only factor to be considered, legal experts say the call for “maximum participation possible” could lead some judges to increase visitation time or divide custody 50-50 more often.

Democratic  Sen. Beverly Marrero of Memphis says judges should be given “tools to do what they think is in the best interest of the children of Tennessee.” Gov. Bill Haslam is expected to review the proposal once it reaches his desk.

Australia  is having their problems with Fathers rights, too:

Children, the biggest losers in shared care?

http://www-public.jcu.edu.au/jcnn/makingnews/JCU_079915

“In the Family Court, the Howard Government brought in a law colloquially known as the ‘shared care’ law,”
Overington said. “It essentially requires judges of the Family Court to  consider giving parents a 50-50 or a shared care split of the children after divorce.”

The law represented a radical  change in policy. Judges are now being asked to consider the child’s best interests will be served by an equal relationship with both parents, almost  regardless of the circumstances Overington said.

“They are now legally bound to do  so and, ironically, they are splitting custody between the parents who are least able to share.

“Something like nine in 10 couples reach an agreement themselves before they even reach the Family Court. The cases that do end up in court are the ones where the  couples are essentially at war over even the smallest details of their  children’s lives. Yet they are the ones who are forced to cooperate. That’s why we’ve ended up with the kind of problems we’ve seen.”

Overington outlines an example  where a man and woman have a one-night stand and the woman falls pregnant, reminiscent of a case in New South Wales earlier this year. “The father was not, according to the mother’s testimony, that interested in having a relationship with the child, but very desperately did not want to pay any maintenance,” Overington  said.

“According to the law, the more time you have custody of the child the less you have to pay in maintenance, so the father wanted to have the child 50 per cent of the time.

“So you have a child under the age of one – still on the breast – being shuffled back  and forwards between houses at two-hour intervals so both parents can have  their equal time.

“To my mind, that is not in the best interests of the child. It may be in the best interests of the father, but it’s certainly not in the best interests of the infant.”

New bill on child abuse aims to halt false claims

http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110519/NEWS/105190332

The bill is designed to discourage adults from using malicious allegations of abuse in bitter divorce or child custody cases, supporters say.

And-

Mish said holding people accountable for false reports is “a good thing.” But the bill could  have the unintended consequence of  keeping children trapped in abusive situations because adults are fearful of making a report that, while true, might not be able to be proven, she said.

If they were familiar with current research, they’d know that the vast majority of abuse claims are made in good faith. This punishment can hurt protective parents and children more than it can help innocent men. (And it disregards
the false accusations of being an unfit or unstable mother).

Stepmother of boy accused of killing his neo-Nazi father charged with child endangerment

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/05/neo-nazi-father-killed.html

Two of Hall’s children were from a previous marriage, including his  10-year-old son. According to court records, the boy had a history of  aggression and violence after his parents went through a bitter divorce, with both Hall and his ex-wife, Leticia Neal of Spokane, Wash., accusing each other of abusing and neglecting the
children.

Hall was granted full custody of the children. Last year, Neal filed for custody of the 10-year-old
boy and his 9-year-old sister, saying she was concerned about the children’s well-being because of the father’s affiliation with the neo-Nazi group. Hall opposed the motion, saying Neal had had no contact with the children for six years.

Disabled mom fights for custody of son

http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/relationships-and-special-occasions/parenting/aisha-sultan/article_1873270b-be68-5672-b379-8887a18e02b3.html

And now, with their child in kindergarten, she’s trapped in a yearlong custody battle with her ex-boyfriend, the baby’s father. Currently, the parents share custody, but her ex is seeking full custody. Flynn says her disability is at the heart of the issue.

“Her ability to parent because of her disability will be on trial,” her attorney Jack Cavanagh said. A resulting side effect of the  stroke has been aphasia, a language disorder that makes her struggle to find the words she wants to communicate. Her speech comes in short, halting bursts, and she lost her ability to read.

Do fathers have a lower standard for parenting?

Do fathers have a lower standard to live up to in parenting? Check out these 2 articles:

This dad smoked marijuana and took methadone, passed out perhaps, and the baby was asphyxiated. Imagine if this case involved a mother:

Bedtime turned deadly
for infants: Tragic accident or is it a crime?

http://www.pnj.com/article/20110522/NEWS01/105220318/Bedtime-turned-deadly-infants-Tragic-accident-crime-?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7CFRONTPAGE%7Cp

It was the second time the young father had kept his son overnight, Price-Morgan
said. She said she had insisted the baby sleep in a crib while staying with
him.

Cook was tearful as he recounted to officers that he didn’t put the baby in the
crib, according to a sheriff’s report. Instead, he said, he must have fallen
asleep with the child on the futon in the same room.

He also admitted that he’d smoked marijuana after leaving work at 5 p.m. the day
before.

His urine on the day of the baby’s death tested positive for marijuana and
methadone, a powerful prescription narcotic, according to the report.

Drug paraphernalia, including marijuana pipes, equipment for snorting crushed pills
and an empty prescription bottle, were in the room with the futon and the empty
crib, officers also said. The smell of marijuana in the room was strong.

Seconds of shaking, years
of recovering

http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20110522/LOCAL/305229909

What’s he’s been through is often fatal, and many more
children who survive do so only technically, with brains so severely damaged
they cannot function.

And what happened to Drake nine years ago takes the life of
nearly one child every day across America. But for those who survive, it causes
untold damage to developing brains that lead to a lifetime of difficulty.

Drake was once a shaken baby.

In March 2002, 24-year-old Ryan Woodward had care of his
2-month-old son, Drake. At some point, Woodward shook the baby so violently he
caused retinal hemorrhages to both Drake’s eyes and brain damage.

And-

Parents have
to be careful about with whom they leave their children
. Such injuries are entirely preventable, Prosecutor
Richards said.

Richards said she frequently sees cases in which a single mother leaves her baby in the care
of a young father, with little to no parenting skills and a short fuse.

“They lose their temper and shake the child,” she said.

–The father was the one who shook the baby (which is often
the case in shaken baby syndrome) so saying “parents” have to be careful doesn’t make sense.
And, why does the blame fall on a (single??) mother who “leaves” the
baby with the father?!?  (Does it really matter whether she’s married to the father or not?!)

What does it take to get a child abuser national attention? Being a female?

Could you name 3 parents that’ve killed their own kids? I imagine Susan Smith would come to mind…Casey Anthony is currently in the news… But — can you name any men who’ve killed their kids?

What does it take for a male child abuser (killer) to get national media attention – and a debate on child abuse (or better yet, child protection)? Do you have to be a female?

Here’s an article about a 6’10” male that THREW a baby and beat him until he died. Hello, national media? This is not an isolated case – many men are in the local news who beat babies, infants, and kids. What the hell does it take to propel them to national news – and consciousness? 

DCF takes blame for beating death of Tampa baby

Kirkland-Williams, who is 6-feet-10, was charged on Thursday with first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse. Deputies say he admitted that he attacked the child while angry with Ezekiel’s mother.

She wasn’t in the room when he threw the child, he said. He aimed for the bed, but the baby struck a dresser, he told investigators.

Next, he said, he put the baby in bed on his stomach. Ezekiel would not stop crying, so the boyfriend hit him twice on his back, deputies reported.

Why does beating a baby not warrant national news? This is infuriating.

Oregon House bill will deter reporting child abuse

This bill will deter parents from making claims of child abuse for fear of being penalized. If legislators would only read current reseach or visit Web sites like the American Bar Association, The Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence, etc. rather than rely on sterotypes, they would find out that most mothers make allegations of abuse in good faith. Sometimes the allegation may be believed by the mother but untrue. It’s a very small fraction of cases that are made for malicious reasons.

Research also finds men make more false allegations (of being unfit or of neglect) than women, but apparently the legislators aren’t concerned about mothers.

New bill on child abuse aims to halt false claims

Victim blaming in the media regarding the IMF chief’s sexual assault case

This is from the Women’s Media Center and it contains a link to a petition to protest the media’s rampant victim blaming:

“Dominique Strauss-Kahn may have more to worry about than a possible prison sentence.” That was the first sentence in an article in the New York Post today about the IMF Chief accused of sexually attacking a woman in a New York City hotel. The article then proceeds to “out” the alleged victim for living in an apartment building for people and families living with HIV/AIDS. This type of coverage does nothing to help hold an alleged rapist accountable and only contributes to victim-shaming and stigmatizing people living with HIV/AIDS – With no respect for the accuser’s medical confidentiality or the confidentiality of the residents in that building. Further, they repeatedly refer to her as maid, rather than a victim, and highlight her immigration status and race. The New York Post should be ashamed for framing their coverage of sexual assault about concerns for an alleged attacker, rather than the impact of a violent sexual assault on a woman at her place of work. They also printed this quote:

“One high-powered lawyer, who was among those trying to reach her to offer to rep her, said ‘She could make $6 million, maybe more, just by shutting her mouth.”

As heinous as the NY Post’s piece was, they’re not the only ones who are guilty of harmful coverage. The Daily Beast ran this commentary by Bernard-Henri Levy in which he questioned the alleged victim’s legitimacy:

“I do not know—but, on the other hand, it would be nice to know, and without delay—how a chambermaid could have walked in alone, contrary to the habitual practice of most of New York’s grand hotels of sending a ‘cleaning brigade’ of two people, into the room of one of the most closely watched figures on the planet.”

If that wasn’t bad enough, The American Spectator published this despicable piece by Ben Stein yesterday, in which he ranted:

“The prosecutors say that Mr. Strauss-Kahn ‘forced’ the complainant to have oral and other sex with him. How? Did he have a gun? Did he have a knife? He’s a short fat old man. They were in a hotel with people passing by the room constantly, if it’s anything like the many hotels I am in. How did he intimidate her in that situation? And if he was so intimidating, why did she immediately feel un-intimidated enough to alert the authorities as to her story?

People accuse other people of crimes all of the time. What do we know about the complainant besides that she is a hotel maid? I love and admire hotel maids. They have incredibly hard jobs and they do them uncomplainingly. I am sure she is a fine woman. On the other hand, I have had hotel maids that were complete lunatics, stealing airline tickets from me, stealing money from me, throwing away important papers, stealing medications from me. How do we know that this woman’s word was good enough to put Mr. Strauss-Kahn straight into a horrific jail?”

After all this media coverage, all women (and men) may have more to worry about than the possibility that an international leader is guilty of sexual assault. This type of coverage reinforces the power structures that legitimize sexism and rape, and works directly against the elimination of sexual violence in our culture. In a country where a woman is sexually assaulted every two minutes, such pieces do real harm.Tell the NY Post, the Daily Beast, and the American Spectator that media have a responsibility to work towards the elimination of rape culture and sexism – Not to legitimize it!

Send a letter by clicking here: http://www.change.org/petitions/media-stop-victim-blaming-and-shaming-in-coverage-of-imf-chiefs-alleged-sexual-assault

Change.org