Thank You for Your Service: “The Invisible War” Confronts Military Rape

"The Invisible War"

Still from The Invisible War.

It’s Oscar week, so I decided I’d get in on the fun by watching a nominated film that touches on my pet issues and doing a little write-up. Of course, “fun” in this case means watching a devastating documentary about rape in the military and then attempt to write about it while sniveling into my cardigan sleeve. [Read more...]

Sovereign

Maze of Injustice_CoverLet me set the scene: it was 2005, and I’d been working in the domestic violence field about six months. It was my first real job as an activist, the realization of a hazy, amorphous dream I’d left a Ph.D. program to chase (albeit in a roundabout way). I was in that exciting phase when you first start something new, and everything’s novel and fascinating just for its own sake. I was constantly amazed by what I was learning. I’m telling you this because the key thing to understand about me back then is that I was still capable of being shocked:  [Read more...]

Shilling the Angel in the House

Because I am a glutton for a very particular kind of punishment, I just read the transcript of Ann Romney’s speech to the Republican Convention last night. I knew going in that Mrs. Romney and I don’t exactly see eye-to-eye on the GOP’s lady-friendliness, but I was interested to see what use the Party would make of her. Given the absolutely banner year of crap the GOP has had with women’s issues, I assumed that her speech would try to repair some of the damage done by the Legitimate Rape Brigade  by distracting us with a few examples of times her husband’s party was not being overtly hostile to women. Couldn’t hurt, right? [Read more...]

Beat Cops

Do you remember that recent case out of NYC in which a patrol officer was accused of raping an intoxicated woman while his partner stood guard outside her apartment? And then they were both acquitted despite a mountain of convincing evidence, and people were horrified and everything was gross, the end? Well, as it turns out that wasn’t the end, because another woman has emerged to say that she was mistreated by the same pair of cops several months earlier—not raped, but physically abused and personally degraded in a circumstance in which the two were charged to assist her. There are records of the complaints she filed at the time, so taken together with the alleged rape it’s all a little fishy, no? One might deduce—if one were an extremely jaded feminist blogger, for example—that Officer Kenneth Moreno has a problem with the ladies. [Read more...]

Happy International Women’s Day, Suckers

So there I was in the gym locker room, minding my own business for once, and in under a minute of watching CNN I saw the following headlines: 1) Jet-setting sociopath Joran van der Sloot, who came to prominence for allegedly-probably murdering Natalee Holloway in Aruba, is trying to plead down to manslaughter charges for totally-definitely murdering Stephany Flores in Peru. 2) In Texas, 18 men were arrested on suspicion of gang-raping an 11-year-old girl, though the suspects are black and it’s Texas, so I forbear further comment. 3) A judge upheld a statutory rape charge against one of the teens on trial in the Phoebe Prince suicide-bullying case. [Read more...]

Rape is a Favorite Pastime in War and Other Uprisings

The moment there is any breakdown in the normal social order, women start to get raped. The first time I noticed this was in the Hurricane Katrina aftermath. First we heard the reports of looting, then of the chaos afflicting the law enforcement system, then gradually the first rape reports began to trickle out. Then the trickle became a flood, and with that flood came the grim suspicion that the stories we were hearing only hinted at the full scope of the violence that was taking place. And at the time I remember feeling confused. I remember thinking that the looting made sense—supplies were scarce, people were stranded—but rape? How did mass sexual assault follow from a hurricane?

Now we’ve heard about Lara Logan, the CBS correspondent who was raped and beaten by a group of men after she was separated from her crew in Tahrir Square on Friday. [Read more...]