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...]

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...]

Chris Brown and the Uses of Compassion

Welcome back, Chris Brown! Honestly, I thought we’d finished with you when you completed your entirely inadequate community service sentence for 1. beating Rihanna to a pulp and 2. repeatedly demonstrating that you had no real understanding of, let alone remorse for, what you’d done. Though the story’s ending was unsatisfying, I was just glad when it was over. But then you went on GMA and got asked a couple of totally softball questions about your lady-smacking ways, and you threw a tantrum, and broke a mirror, and also ripped your shirt off because sometimes, when The Man is keeping you down, the only thing left to do is show him your pecs. So much for the anger management classes, and hey, good to know you don’t limit your violent outbursts to women you’re dating. Female morning show anchors: check yourselves.
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Rough Justice

OK, so most of us at least dimly suspect that half of what goes down in the US justice system is some pretty dodgy shit: people getting locked up forever for having a joint, cops getting away with murder, what have you, it’s a mess. But in a courtroom, you hope you can at least assume that crime victims and the prosecution are more or less on the same side, in that they all want the guilty party to be found guilty and punished accordingly. But anyone who has more than passing familiarity with court proceedings knows that prosecutors are often arrogant, conviction-getting machines who won’t let anything stand between them and a win, even if it means compromising the rights of the victims whose interests they claim to represent. [Read more...]

We Don’t Know Jack

And we don’t know Charlie, either. Or Mel, or Chris, or Mike, or any of the host of public figures whose Wikipedia entries contain the footnote *Also likes to beat up women he’s sleeping with. Once you start looking, you see the landscape is littered with famous abusers. And while we often know more than we care to about the details of their freak-outs and rage benders, what we don’t seem to know is what the hell is wrong with them. And that strikes me as kind of important information to have, if we want to prevent them from being violent. [Read more...]