“Get Out of Your Car!” ….. Is it time for our courts to review when it is and when it is not justified for police to order someone out of their car?

One of the quotes from one of my books is “Thank a cop today. It’s one of the toughest jobs I’ve ever seen.”

That being said…..

At this time, it appears clear that Sandra Bland died at her own hands. HOWEVER, I believe we can also assume that she would still be alive today had she not been arrested. And why was she arrested? Because she was resisting arrest. Why was she resisting arrest? Because she refused to get out of her car and when Officer Encinia tried to pull her out, she resisted and was subsequently arrested.

Would Samuel DuBose be alive today had Officer Tensing not tried to pull him out of his car and for what legitimate reason? Of course he would. I’ve logged over 500,000 miles without front license plates and have NEVER been pulled over. I’m white; BuBose was not. But this is beside the point. An officer, for no apparent reason and, in my opinion, no legal justification decides to reach in and pull someone out of his car, then shoots him at point blank range when the occupant fails to cooperate.

On numerous occasions, both state and federal courts have made it clear that police officers have the right to ask (order) someone to “step out of the car.” But no one is talking about WHY they’ve been given this “right.”

OFFICER SAFETY.
Yes, that’s the justification. Yet, in example after example and event after event, it becomes crystal clear that ordering someone out of their car really only brings about 2 events: 1) it escalates a situation that really never needed to be escalated and, 2) it places police officers at INCREASED risk of personal injury.

Who am I? A two-time attendee of police academies. Once when I was 18, and another when I was 36. Why is this important? Because here’s what’s taught.
In pulling over a driver for a violation of the vehicle code…
First: The initial approach is the most dangerous. This means the officer is in the greatest danger as he/she is exiting the squad car and approaching the other vehicle.
Second: On the officer’s approach, view the driver, occupants and car interior to maintain safety and/or to see if any additional laws are being broken, besides that justifying the initial contact.
3: By asking the driver or other occupants to exit the vehicle there is a better ability to see if any laws are being broken, e.g. a bag of drugs was underneath someone BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, the officer now has the legal right to search the person “for weapons” due to the courts wanting to ensure “officer safety,” which, to be clear, allows the officer to find other laws that are being broken, drugs, weapons, etc. – - even though this search has virtually nothing to do with officer safety.

So, in an effort to increase arrests, officers request people remove themselves from their cars. BUT, as I stated earlier, having individuals outside of the car actually places police officers at GREATER risk, not less. It also serves to escalate the potential for aggressive behavior since in many cases, the occupant does not understand why he/she is being ordered out of the car.

Try this. Next time you’re being pulled over, try to get out of your car. The first thing you’ll be told over the squad car’s loud speaker is, “Get back in your vehicle” or “Remain in your vehicle.” Why? Because cops know they are SAFER when occupants REMAIN IN THEIR CARS.

So if police officers are safer when we stay in our cars, how is it being justified that they order us out? Officer safety? Clearly not.

Now I understand that when an officer smells alcohol on someone’s breath or in the car or he/she has radio’d in and gets an open warrant returned, that he/she has every right (and duty) to order someone out of their car.
But when someone is ordered out, because the cop doesn’t like how the person is verbally interacting with him or her, this becomes a different story.

Failure to signal. Is this a crappy little ticket? Sometimes yes; sometimes no. It depends on whether or not the failure to signal affected other drivers. If there are no other cars, it’s a crappy ticket.

No front license plate. A crappy little ticket. Is it legal to pull someone over for this? Yes. Have I ever known a single person in my entire life, who was cited for this violation? No. And I spent 5 years with a police department.

Do either of these situations warrant the driver being dead? No.
Officer safety had nothing to do with either of these situations.
Both drivers could’ve been handed their tickets and been sent on their way. Instead, both Sandra Bland and Samuel DuBose are dead.

Up until the mid-90s officers justified use of lethal force by saying, “I thought he had a gun.”
NOW, all the officer has to do is “fear for his life” regardless of the absence of a weapon and whether or not the officer really did fear for his/her life and, FAR MORE IMPORTANTLY whether the officer was the person responsible for escalating a nothing situation in the first place.

I don’t get to walk into a biker bar and loudly proclaim that “all bikers are pu**ies and fa**ots” then shoot the first person who tries to fight me.
Police officers should not be allowed to deliberately and aggressively escalate a situation then claim they feared for their safety to justify shooting an unarmed person.

Our courts need to ensure that someone getting pulled over to be given a ticket, lives to pay the ticket.

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YES MEANS YES IS MEANINGLESS

Justice Potter Stewart in 1964 explaining his position regarding a “pornography” case (Jacobellis v. Ohio) brought before the United States Supreme Court stated, “I shall not today attempt to define [pornography]… But I know it when I see it…”

I can’t put my finger on exactly what a “yes” is, but any person with an IQ higher than a cow knows what “no” or “stop” means. And any person that presses forward (usually men), either by force or some other form of coercion, is committing a sexual assault.

You’re a man or a woman, but whichever you are, picture that you’re currently involved in a make-out session with someone you feel attracted to (and they to you.)
As you are kissing one another, do you ask or do you expect the other person to ask, “Is it okay if I caress your neck?”
Is it okay if I move my hands under your blouse or shirt?
Is it okay if I touch your private parts?
Is it okay if we have sex?

NO. Besides being a total mood killer, this process would be ridiculous.

What happens instead?

You’re making out and at some point the other person physically uses his or her hand to stop your hands from moving to parts preferred kept private. OR he or she says something to the effect of “Stop” or “I’m not ready for that” or any similar type of statement.

Once the forward movement is stopped or requested to be stopped, IT IS THE OTHER PERSON’S DUTY TO STOP. But I also need to point out that just because a man or woman doesn’t want to engage in oral or some other kind of sex, does not mean that they aren’t interested in continuing to kiss or engage in acts previously engaged in during the interlude – - it just means they don’t want to go further.

I’ve been with women who’ve asked me to stop, and guess what? STOP IS WHAT I DID. We continued to kiss and do the other stuff because “stop” just meant she wasn’t ready to move to the next level.

I have no interest in “Yes Means Yes.”
But I am EXTREEEEMLY interested in No Means No.

Why is “Yes Means Yes” being debated one might ask. Schools are attempting to define (not that they actually care) they are attempting to define a specific “policy.” So that, in theory, they could now hold a person responsible for a violation of that policy.

A few years back California tried to call it murder to kill someone when a person was drunk driving. People who knew me all said, “Well Richard, I guess you’re pretty happy that they’re finally punishing these people.” (Note: I have always HATED drunk drivers.)
To which I responded, “I’M NOT HAPPY AT ALL. The state came up with something that looks like they’re doing something about drunk driving; when they really aren’t. Killing someone by drunk driving is not murder. Murder by definition requires intent (or a complete lack of care for lesser degrees of Murder such as Murder 2, etc.). Given that a person is legally drunk, intent could NEVER be established due to diminished capacity. This person could not be bound to a contract he or she had signed, nor could they be held responsible for the commission of “murder.”
“If the State TRULY wanted to change the law here is how they would do it. ‘We the legislature for the State of California hereby write a new law intended to dissuade people from driving drunk and to punish those who continue to risk and take the lives of innocents while drunk driving. This is the law: Any person who is driving a car and is involved in a collision with another car or pedestrian where the death of any person occurs, is guilty of Death By Drunk Driving. The punishment for violation of this law will be such and such.’”
“What are the elements of this crime? A driver has to be proven to be above the legal limit to drive and there was a death. THAT’S IT!! No arguments about intent. No trying to prove the person has drunk driven in the past. No Nothing. Was the person above the legal limit and was there a death. DONE! Guilty! That’s all the legislature had to write. Instead, they called it murder – - which any idiot, mediocre attorney could argue was not really murder and get his client off the hook.”

Schools are in a similar position now. What they want to do is muddy the waters by arguing did she REALLY mean “yes.” This is a waste of everyone’s time.

If schools or the state want to make a difference here’s what they write.

1) If a person is passed out from either drinking, drugs, or merely a deep state of sleep, and another person fondles or engages in any sexual act with the person, the perpetrator of such act is guilty of rape or sexual assault.
2) If a person’s capacity is diminished by drugs or alcohol or is not mentally capable of giving consent or physically or mentally incapable of preventing sexual contact, the perpetrator of the act is guilty of rape or sexual assault.
3) If a person has spoken the words, “stop,” “I don’t want to,” or has physically attempted to stop the advances of another person and the aggressing person through force, violence, threat of force, threat of violence or any other means engages in sexual activity the perpetrator is guilty of rape or sexual assault.

BE CLEAR – - I cannot always define clear concise consent – - BUT EVERYONE (including perpetrators) IS CRYSTAL CLEAR WHEN “NO” IS PRESENT.

Determining whether a Rape or Sexual Assault has taken place is not rocket science. If a woman has said “no” or is incapable of saying no or has been forced to engage in sexual acts then a rape or sexual assault has taken place.

Any person attempting to classify this stuff as anything other is attempting to, once again, charge the victim with the responsibility for the commission of the crime.

F – - “Yes Means Yes.”

Police and District Attorneys: Enforce the laws that are on the books.
Government: Enforce mandatory reporting laws that are already on the books.
Schools: Quit F’ing around. Admit that you don’t give a sh** about half of your student population. Write your rules steps 1,2,3 above and enforce this garbage. WTF??!! Do the young women under your care REALLY mean soooo little to you that you would allow 20 to 25 % of them to be raped or sexually assaulted while students of your F’ing institutions?

The police and DAs probably aren’t going to step up their actions. They’re already overworked and some are underpaid.
There’s nothing more the legislative bodies can do, since laws are already on the books.
BUT YOU SCHOOLS. I know what’s going to get your attentions. The hundreds of millions of dollars of lawsuits that are going to start raining down on your F’d up institutions. You could make this problem disappear overnight. YOU JUST DON’T WANT TO.

Young Women and Parents. THE TRUE POWER LIES IN YOUR LAPS.
You have a choice. Say NO.
No – we will not write any more checks to colleges and universities;
No – we will not show up in class;
No – we will not participate in ANY events;
until this school we’re in and EVERY SCHOOL we’re attending cleans up their acts.

Dr Martin Luther King had it right. But everyone forgot his lesson. “Don’t meet violence with violence. Boycotts can accomplish the exact same result.” Piss off Gays or Lesbians on TV and advertisers pull their dollars IMMEDIATELY. People get fired. Policies change. OVERNIGHT.

Tell the colleges and universities that your daughters are attending ENOUGH!
NO MORE RAPES.
NO MORE SEXUAL ASSAULTS.
NO MORE SHIRKING YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO KEEP YOUNG WOMEN UNDER YOUR CARE SAFE.

The time has come.
20 to 25 % – - ARE YOU F’ing KIDDING ME??!!

 

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UConn WRITES A BIG CHECK FOR TITLE IX VIOLATION

University of Connecticut agreed to write a check for 1.3 million to 5 current and former students who had filed a lawsuit under Title IX.

900,000 of those dollars went to one women.

GOOD! Actually Not Good – - GREAT!!!!!!!!

Colleges and Universities across America for the past HALF CENTURY have decided that it was perfectly okay for roughly ONE HALF of their students to be at risk of being raped or sexually assaulted. According to the United States Department of Justice, 20 to 25 % of college women will be raped or sexually assaulted during their tenures as students.

Do the majority of colleges and universities actually giva damn? NO THEY DO NOT!

When Title IX, which was technically an anti-discrimination bill, passed in 1972, schools pretty much ignored it.
Then when the Clery Act was passed in 1990, schools and colleges decided to ignore that as well – even though it carried fines of up to 35,000$ per violation.
And Even After the now famous Dear Colleague letter was issued by the Department of Education in April of 2011 making it so F’ing crystal clear a 2nd grader could figure it out – - STOP NOT REPORTING (rapes and sexual assault) and STOP ALLOWING (female students to be harassed) and START CHANGING (your systems) – it too went unregarded.

HOW DID UConn, Yale, Occidental, USC, and so many others respond you ask?
FIRST: They changed the definition of rape and sexual assault so they didn’t have to be reported.
SECOND: They convinced the reporting students to NOT FILE CHARGES and NOT MAKE WAVES when incidents were brought to the schools’ attention.
THIRD: They did nothing that would lead any ordinary and prudent person to believe that they give a SH** about any of the female students attending their colleges.

WELL F U – UConn and those that will follow.
1.3 million is a drop in the bucket. These lawsuits are going to go into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
But sooner or later you will get it.
Sooner or later you will make a conscious decision to do the “right thing” even if it’s only so that you no longer have to be writing settlement/lawsuit checks.
Sooner or later you will put into place VERY SIMPLE and EASY steps to ensure the safety of HALF OF YOUR INSTITUTION’S student population.

Rape and Sexual Assault are no longer going to be rights of passage for our daughters!!

 

 

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THE WAR ON WOMEN aka SB5 and the Tx Gov

If you’re looking for the solution I promised on Twitter, please scroll down to SOLUTION.
If you enjoy reading the mindless ramblings of someone NOT IMPACTED BY THIS ISSUE AT ALL – - feel free to start at the beginning.

There’s a thing going on in Texas right now. It started last Friday, worked its way into a frenzy over the weekend, culminating in a 12 hour, WAY TO GO @WendyDavisTexas, filibuster, and summarily killing the proposed legislation, only to have the Gov – - decide to spend gazillions of more of the taxpayers hard-earned dollars on ANOTHER special session to wear down opponents.

You see, the Texas legislature is attempting, through SB5, to close 88% of the abortion clinics while also making it illegal for ANY abortion to take place for ANY reason after week 20- – including pregnancies having occurred through rape, incest, or other sexual assaults.

Now I know aLOT of women do NOT support abortion. And this post is primarily geared towards you.

Here’s what you need to worry about.
Forget about your daughters who may become pregnant. (btw: this seems to be the fastest way to get someone to change position.)
Forget about the fact that a woman has to relive the rape or incest for the remainder of her life in addition to now going to term with the perpetrator’s baby.
Forget about the fact that men who don’t have to deal with ANY of these issues are deciding what’s in women’s best interests.

Let’s look at the most important issue EVERY WOMAN should be paying attention to. The government, Texas, and many other locals, is doing it’s best to wipe your rights from the planet.

You need to take a very hard look at the fact that some issue as stupid as this would be taking so much time and consideration, when virtually every state in the union still has NOT climbed out of this UNBELIEVABLE economic mess – - created by – - you guessed it – - more men.

Ya. We don’t need to be concerned with getting out of this devastating recession. Instead, what we’re going to do is stop someone from having a 500$ abortion, then pay (through welfare) a quarter of a million $ for the state to raise someone’s kid. Ya – - that makes sense.

I’m notta man-basher. I’ma guy.
But one thing I’m crystal clear on – - for whatever reason, America has decided to WAGE WAR ON WOMEN.

2 TRILLION $ wasted on Iraq and Afghanistan. What do we have to show for it?
3000 dead American soldiers.
30,000 wounded American soldiers.
Over a 250,000 dead civilians in the 2 countries we invaded.
Would a woman have done this? Notta chance. At least not one who had any children. No mother would be okay with another mother having her kids come home in a coffin. EVER!

7 TRILLION $ blown through a shattered economy. Who was at the wheel? Forget about politics – - it was men buying and selling Americans like we were oranges.
Would moms have deliberately set into motion a series of events that would bankrupt millions of American families? NEVER!

And now you have the Gov of Texas and his legislative cohorts trying to tell every woman in Texas how her body is going to be treated.

Be very clear women who are against abortion – - this is a very simple “divide and conquer” ploy.
It has NOTHING to do with Right To Life and everything to do to push women back into the place you occupied 200 years ago – - barefoot and pregnant and in the home.
If this is what you want – - I’m totally kool with that. But I don’t think the majority of women are of this mindset. I think the majority of women want to be treated with the SAME RIGHTS and the SAME RESPECT that all men demand.

I believe that you want this country and this world to be a BETTER PLACE for you and your families.

Wiping your rights off the map – - absolutely not gonna get you what you want.

Pay attention. This is how it started in Germany back in the mid 30s. Back then it was a guy named Hitler versus the Jews. Now it’s men versus women. Don’t believe me – - look around.
Somewhere in America a woman is raped approximately every 40 seconds and approximately 2 more are sexually assaulted.
The Department of Justice states that approximately 50% of ALL WOMEN will be raped, sexually assaulted or physically abused at some point during their lifetimes. Some statistics go as high as 84%!!
1 in 4 to 1 in 5 college women will be raped or sexually assaulted during her tenure as a student. Since when did rape and sexual assault become rights of passage for young women?

AND THESE STATISTICS ARE VIRTUALLY UNCHANGED FOR THE PAST 30 YEARS.

This is not about rape, sexual assault and physical abuse. It’s about a climate of repressing women.

Look around – - WalMart – - multi BILLION $ lawsuit filed because women were being paid LESS than their male counterparts doing EXACTLY the same jobs.

Women filling our prisons for drug crimes – - primarily brought about through the repercussions of incest and other sex crimes having been committed against them when they were helpless children.

Women in the military being told “You shouldn’t have joined. Your presence here is causing men to go out of control and rape you.” Seriously??! Do we (men) have so little control that they need to be PROTECTED FROM THE MERE PRESENCE OF A WOMAN???? SERIOUSLY??

It’s happening. And whether you support or stand against abortion – - be VERY CLEAR – - you are AT WAR. And you better start to unite or the men win. And I’ve already seen way Way WAY too much proof that if men continue to “win” America will LOSE.

THE SOLUTION: On Monday July 01 – - the day the Gov of Texas is trying to re-establish a new hearing for this legislation – - EVERY WOMAN IN THE STATE STAYS HOME. You don’t go shopping. You don’t go to work. You don’t take your kids to school. You don’t do anything other than channel surf or chat with your friends on the phone or on line.

You let these people know you’re not screwing around and it’s not okay to be pushed into a 1730s version of women in America.

YOU HAVE TO UNITE.
YOU HAVE TO STAND UP TOGETHER.
YOU HAVE TO SAY “ENOUGH.”

Enough Rape
Enough Abuse
Enough unfair treatment

ENOUGH!!

p.s. Guv Perry’s special line. 512 463 2000 Feel free to give him a buzz and let him know what you think. Tell him no more wasted time and $ on SB5 or any similar bills.

Here’s the general number for the state capital. Feel free to call it if the other number is busy. 512 463 0063

Go to web address www.Senate.State.tx.us/75r/senate/members.htm
Pull down the phone numbers and just start calling each State Senator and let him/her know your feelings.

Make a few phone calls. Let them know that none of you will be anywhere other than your homes on Monday July 01, 2013. Let them see what it means when women decide AS ONE, that they are no longer willing to be victims of a war on women.

Way to go @wendyDavisTexas YOU’RE THE GREATEST.

Wendy Davis for President. I’d vote!

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SAFETY TIPS OR VICTIM BLAMING

I’m a true believer in offering varying points of view. I feel they further discussion on important topics. We may not always agree, but different opinions give us all the opportunity to gain new vantage points and potentially shift our positions on specific topics.

The below email was sent by Sally. Her Twitter handle is @arthurstodgyn. It has been re-posted in this blog in its UNedited form and in its entirety, WITH her permission. My response to her writing will be found at the conclusion of her email to me. Thank you again Sally for reminding us about information that sometimes gets lost in the discourse taking place on this topic.

To those readers of this blog – - please try to read Sally’s email from a non-judgmental point of view. It’s people like her that are doing WAY more than just sitting on the side-lines commenting about the game. I don’t agree with every point she’s made, but it’s very clear her writing was extremely well thought out and presented.

Email:

Dear Richard,

I have an idea for how to end rape: stop people raping.

Your approach is to blame the victims. Let me explain using examples from your tweets:

“Tip 52: Girls walking home from school should always walk with another person.

Imagine a situation where a school girl walking home alone is raped. You’ve just given the rapist and their supporters a convenient get-out clause: “She was walking alone. It was her fault”.

“Tip  37: If riding public transportation, ride as close to the front of the bus or train as possible.”

In this victim-blaming scenario one can say “the silly woman rode in the wrong part of the bus”. If only she’d stayed at the front of the bus, or: if only her rapist had decided not to rape her.

I see that you have responded to some of the criticism of your tips on Twitter with words such as “Sorry you feel that way. We’re all just trying to make a positive difference”. The problem is that you are making a *negative* difference by excusing rapists – and the majority of men, with words like “Most men don’t just go away.” – - by using victim-blaming language that suggests it’s women’s (incidentally, men and those with non-binary gender identity can be raped too) responsibility to avoid being raped and not men’s (incidentally, women and those with non-binary gender identity can perpetrate rape too) responsibility to avoid raping. This actually gives a free pass to those considering raping (“go ahead, it’s their fault they aren’t protecting themselves properly”), and gives the friends and family of a perpetrator an easy way to avoid the uncomfortable realization that someone they like and/or love did a terrible thing (“it was her fault. She shouldn’t have been jogging with earphones”).

Thank you for reading this far. I’ve pointed out the serious problems with your approach and am hopeful that you are genuinely interested in making a positive difference rather than perpetuating victim-blaming. This is what you can do to have a positive impact:

Teach people not to rape.

Tell your audience that their bodies are their own and others may not touch them without permission and that they must respect the bodily autonomy of others. Tell them that an absence of “no” is not the same as “yes”. Tell them that consent under pressure is not consent. Tell them that everyone has the right to withdraw their consent to sexual activity at any time, however far along you are. Tell them that there are never any circumstances when someone owes them an orgasm. Tell them that consent to a certain activity on one occasion does not equal consent to do that activity again. Tell them that sleeping on public transport does not make someone available for sex. Tell them that erect tissue does not substitute for consent. Tell them that a lack of resistance does not substitute for consent. Tell them that someone who identifies as (for example) kinky/a slut/gay/a swinger/polyamorous/bi/queer, or wears a skirt/makeup/heels, or is drunk at a sex party in your bed has to give active consent before you can touch them. Tell them that consent to (for example) penis-in-vagina sex is not consent to oral sex, that consent to one particular sexual act is not consent to another sexual act. Tell them about power dynamics: that factors such as physical strength, gender, education, race, social class, financial power, and social status can skew a power dynamic so that a person may find it difficult to withhold consent. Tell them that when they are in a power position it is their responsibility to make sure the consent they receive would still be consent if the power dynamic didn’t exist. Teach them to be mindful of power dynamics and the steps they must take to mediate them. Tell them that consent to sex with a condom is not consent to sex without a condom. Tell them that consent when you have withheld facts that may mean they would not give consent if they had known them (for example that you have an STI or you are cheating on a partner) is not consent. Tell them about the consequences of rape, for both the survivor and the perpetrator, and their family and friends… The list could go on and on. I hope you get the idea.

You are in a very strong position: as a male role model you can educate other males (and maybe some women and genderqueer/genderfluid/intersex people too) not to rape.

I look forward to reading your reply.

Yours,

Sally Russell

MY RESPONSE:

One thing I state to many people is the very fine line that must be walked when presenting safety tips so as to NOT inadvertently crossover into blaming the victim for the crime. Rape and Sexual Assault (SA) are the only 2 crimes I know of that the victims must CONSTANTLY prove that a crime was actually committed and who must continually defend themselves against a public that is all-too-quick to blame them for having caused the crime to come about in the first place.

In a perfect world, rape and sexual assault would someday disappear. The problem is, there are certain people who just aren’t good people. Some call these people sociopaths, others call them A**holes, but whatever we choose to term them, they are people who for all practical purposes, do not care AT ALL about how their actions and/or words impact those with whom they come in contact.

Robbers, burglars, rapists, and other bad guys have been with us since the dawn of man. There is NOTHING that leads me to believe they will one day magically disappear, thereby enabling us: to leave our purses in our cars with rolled down windows and unlocked doors; to no longer fear walking alone at night or through a “bad” neighborhood; to park our bikes outside grocery stores without being chained to trees; etc.

Are we (myself and many others) trying to cause a shift in the culture? Absolutely! The actions of people like Sally and thousands of others will definitely reduce the incidence of rape and sexual assault throughout the world. The problem is approximately 20% of rapes and sexual assaults take place where the victim does NOT know her/his attacker. These attacks are committed by Serial Assailants. Serial Assailants will NEVER just “not rape,” no more than serial pedophiles will just not commit crimes against children, and no more than robbers will just stop robbing. These people don’t have the tiniest ounce of humanity to be concerned with their victims. They are committing crimes in spite of the potential of spending life in prison or receiving other forms of punishment for their crimes. These people will NEVER say, “Gee I think I just won’t rape anyone ever again.” They aren’t wired like that.

The culture shift we (Sally and the rest of us) are seeking is that which impacts the Situational Assailant (oftentimes occurring through date rape). The Situational Assailant commits the crimes of Rape and SA, because of mood, timing, thought processes, current environmental factors, etc. Many of these attacks could potentially be prevented through organized efforts to put these individuals in touch with the actual damage they are causing their victims. Many of these offenders would NEVER want their mothers, their sisters, or their girlfriends to be raped or sexually assaulted, yet somehow it’s okay for them to perpetrate these acts upon other people’s mothers and daughters. This is the consciousness shift we must work towards.

This being said, it is incumbent upon all parents to not only spread the word to bring about a shift in culture, but to still do everything in our power to protect our daughters from the criminal element – - whether robbers, burglars, or rapists.

The tips I provide are merely tips. The printer of my books once told me, “Richard, these books aren’t just preventing sexual assault books – they’re excellent crime prevention books.” I responded, “I know. These strategies are victim avoidance strategies – - some of which apply to young women, some of which apply to 50 year-old men. But I’m writing because a 14 year-old girl, or boy for that matter, does not have the life experiences to recognize potentially bad or dangerous situations. This information is for them.”

My tips are not intended to EVER allow a perpetrator of ANY crime to make the claim, “Well just look at what she was wearing.” Or “She was walking on the wrong side of the street.”

My tips are in NO WAY ever meant to lead any person to believe that if a woman had only done such and such she would not have been raped. When one woman’s window is locked at night, a Serial Assailant (predator) will merely move to the next residence and the one after that until he finds the UNlocked window.

Self-defense, safety tips, and other things we do to protect ourselves from the criminal element absolutely does NOT mean that when we fail to do these things we are giving permission to bad guys to commit crimes against us.

But we MUST acknowledge that people know they shouldn’t be waiving wads of cash around because they may be robbed; we know not to leave our purses in unlocked cars. But the second we tell a young woman, “It’s not safe to trail jog alone” suddenly we are victim-blaming, or at the very least, implying that IF something does happen to her – - “See. She didn’t follow my advice.”

I have NEVER done this. Nor would I EVER.

NOTHING gives a man the right to lay his hands on ANY woman or child.

But given the violent world we live in, at a certain level we must take steps and precautions to ensure our safety.

As parents, we have a duty to our children to protect them from criminals; not just close our eyes and say things such as “Tell the drug dealer to ‘stop dealing drugs’” – - instead of warning our children on the dangers of drug use. “Tell the burglar to ‘stop breaking into homes’” – - instead of locking our doors and windows at night or when we go out. “Tell the rapist ‘just don’t rape’” – - instead of taking steps to ensure our personal safety.

What parent will say, “Oh tell men just don’t rape” while at the same time NOT telling her daughter that it’s not safe to walk alone, it’s not safe to be out late at night, it’s not safe to do this or do that.

We try to protect our kids by making them wear helmets when they ride bikes, wear jackets when it’s cold, to not play with fire, to not smoke or use drugs, but suddenly when we try to warn them about how their actions can potentially result in a sexual assault, we are engaging in victim-blaming – - or worse yet, excusing the behaviors of violent criminals.

If a bad guy were to pull a gun on my daughter I would DEFINITELY want her to know EXACTLY what to do – - so that she is neither raped NOR killed – - which is the outcome in 95% of the occurrences where guns are involved in female abductions. I don’t want my daughter or anyone else’s to die because she didn’t know what to do in such a situation. And I will risk being called a victim-blamer LONG before I will stop speaking the message of keeping young women out of harm’s way.

Do I want and hope for a shift in culture? Absolutely! Am I willing to ignore common sense actions that people could take to avoid being victimized by bad people? ABSOLUTELY NOT.

Sally’s writing ends with a long paragraph about the conversations in and around rape and sexual assault. Her points in this paragraph are BEYOND REPROACH. Young women need to be taught that in EVERY CASE their bodies belong to them. And young men need to be taught that in NO CASE is it EVER acceptable to breach another person’s right to exercise personal boundaries.

[NOTE: I do realize men are victimized along with trans-genders and others. However, female victims make up almost 100% of all rapes and sexual assaults. And young women, aged 14 to 23, make up 75% of these – - at least in America. I needed to try to reach the largest group impacted by these crimes. This does not make commission of these crimes by or against people other than women any more acceptable.]

Thank you for your email Sally. It was a reminder that I don’t address these topics nearly enough.

I look to the day where women no longer have to even think about the other half of the population as being potential aggressors.

Best to all and Stay Safe.

Richard

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COULD THIS HAVE BEEN PREVENTED? Man gains access through open window in middle of night rapes woman.

THE STORY: Upper East Side. Middle of the night. Man climbs in through window 27 year woman wakes up during the process of being raped.

COULD THIS HAVE BEEN PREVENTED: This one is probably going to have aLOT of people saying, “Of course it could have been prevent. Close the window!” In my book, Preventing Sexual Assault: 171 Ways, an entire chapter is devoted to safety in the home.

There are several issues here so sit back. I will ask certain questions or make certain points and address each as a separate item.

1) How many of us sleep with our windows open instead of running the air conditioning? I say “us” because I am one of these people.

In this particular case, many of the units in this part of town have what are known as window gates. Picture a metal gate that can be opened or closed and you get the idea. The problem is many people leave these gates open, making for easy access to rapists, burglars or other criminals.

I always tell people that they should NEVER leave first floor windows open. If you are going to leave a sliding door or window open leave it no more than maybe 6 or 7 inches and make sure the window or door can be locked into position.

I suggest that if there is easy access to 2nd stories – - such as is the case with many townhouse style homes, that people apply the same rules.

2) I have a screen on my window. So even though the window is open, I would hear someone trying to pull the screen off.

Right and wrong. Yes, most people would be awakened by an intruder attempting to remove a screen. HOWEVER, something as simple as a pen knife (small knife with a blade of less than an inch or two) can easily cut through most screens. Intruders don’t want to go through the hassle or the risk of waking occupants by trying to remove the screens – - they just take 10 seconds to cut the screen out and climb in.

If you are relying on a screen to stop and intruder at least hang some type of noisemaker in or near enough that if the screen is removed or someone climbs in, noise will be made and hopefully they will be scared off.

Best practice: assume the screen is not even there. Would you still feel comfortable being asleep? If the answer is “no” then do not leave your window open more than several inches and make sure it is locked into position.

3) One of the residents commented that she was keeping a baseball bat next to her bed “just in case.”

It makes no difference if you have a bat or even a gun, when we are in REM sleep, very little is going to wake us up. By the time you realize an intruder is in your room, it’s already too late. Do not count on weapons to keep you safe. Make sure these people can’t get into your home to begin with.

Further, in many situations weapons end up being used against the homeowner. They are valuable in situations where, let’s say someone has accessed the downstairs part of your home but has not yet gained access to your bedroom. But even in this case, having a lock on your bedroom door and calling 911 is still your best bet.

Somewhere in America a woman is raped approximately every 35 seconds. A couple more are sexually assaulted. And while approximately 80% of these occur where the victim knows her assailant, that still leaves a HUGE number where the victim does NOT.

Whether attempting to prevent rape or any other type of home intrusion crime, make sure windows that can be easily accessed remain closed and locked or locked into open positions of no more than 6 or 7 inches.

Your comments or ideas on safety tips you’ve heard??

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FROM TIME TO TIME I AM ASKED TO TALK ABOUT RAPE SCENES IN MOVIES AND ON TV.

With publicity ramping up for the yet-to-be release of a movie containing a particularly violent rape scene, I chose today to respond.

There are 2 types of rape scenes. The first glamorizes rape and the second attempts to depict it in all it’s violence and tragedy.

In the movie The Passion of Christ, we saw Jesus tortured and killed. While the experience of watching this was moving for Christians and non-Christians alike, things can be taken too far.

In court rooms, prosecutors often avoid using color photographs of victims who have experienced savage physical attacks. Studies have shown that juries are turned off by such photographs and will actually lose favor for the prosecution/victim because of what they feel to be excessive prosecutorial zeel. In other words, juries feel that a prosecutor is somehow trying to paint the case so as to get a conviction “at all costs.” Juries don’t like this and will respond to it by coming back with not-guilty verdicts even in cases where guilt is evident.

I met a young woman once who said she fantasized about being raped. I responded, “Really?” I then walked up behind her and without touching her, whispered 7 words into her ear. He body trembled. I asked her if she was still interested in experiencing being raped. She said, “No.”

It is virtually impossible to truly exhibit rape in all its badness since much of the fallout experienced through this crime is psychological in nature. So while the actual criminal act can be depicted, it fails to do justice to the true brutality of the crime itself.

Next there are shows or movies that will display rapes and sexual assaults for their entertainment value. “Entertainment value” refers to part of a story or part of a story line. Again, the actual depiction fails to connect viewers to the true savagery of such attacks and it therefore leaves them with this sense of “sexual assault isn’t really that big of a deal.” The majority of these depictions merely serve (albeit in many cases, inadvertently) to minimize the true nature of rape and sexual assault.

Add to the above situation, story lines where the victim ends up falling in love with and marrying her attacker and you have entered a completely new realm of disconnect between the writers of these shows and real life. Could you picture being robbed by 3 or 4 men, who then savagely beat you using baseball bats and knives? You lose one of your eyes from the attack. You experiencing brain damage and other visible scars from the attack. Well multiply this times 100 and you might start to see how it is INSANE to think that a rape victim could ever fall in love with her attacker.

Do I think rape scenes should be shown in movies or on TV? No – - not really. Such depictions fail to ever capture the true brutality of this crime. And because of this, the crime is minimized in the eyes of the viewers.

In his study titled The Mental Health Impact of Rape, Dean Kilpatrick, Ph.D., found the following:
Almost one-third of rape victims experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Rape victims were 3 times more likely than women who were not victims of a violent crime to experience a major depressive episode.
A victim of rape was 13 times more likely than a non-crime victim to have attempted suicide.
1 in 8 rape victims has attempted suicide.
Rape victims were 13 times more likely to have a problem with alcohol.
Rape victims were 26 times more likely to have some type of drug abuse problem.

Can the true nature of rape and/or sexual assault be depicted on either the big or small screen? No.

YOUR THOUGHTS??

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STORY OF THE WEEK – - ATTEMPTING TO HIDE BEHIND “RELIGIOUS FREEDOM” FAILS. Warren Jeffs gets 120 years.

Well the verdict AND SENTENCING are in. Warren Jeffs was convicted of sexual assault of a 12 year old girl and sentenced to 120 years. Jeffs is 55 so the odds are pretty good that he will spend the remaining years of his life in prison.

THE STORY: Warren Jeffs splits off from the Mormon Church. He forms his own sect known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This “church” has approximately 10,000 followers in the United States.

The primary complaint against this church was that it promoted “marriages” between older men and MUCH younger women (teenage girls).

The problem is these girls were in no position to prevent or report the abuse.

Dozens of other men have been indicted on sexual assault of a child, bigamy and other related charges. Eight of these men have already been convicted on felony charges.

HIDING BEHIND RELIGIOUS “FREEDOM”

One of Jeff’s primary positions was authorities had no right to prosecute based on his rights under the First Amendment – - the right to exercise freedom of religion without government interference. The jury of 10 women and 2 men, didn’t buy it.

Whether this “church” or the Catholic Church, nobody gets to hide behind the cloak of religious freedom to violate the law – - especially when it pertains to the rape and/or sexual assault of innocent children.

COULD THIS HAVE BEEN PREVENTED: in this particular case – - NO. The girls were innocent victims and the church existed in an extremely remote region. The only people who were aware of the abuse were the victims, the perpetrators, and other “believers.”

WHAT’S YOUR OPINION? Was 120 years too light of a sentence??

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ASSANGE, WIKILEAKS FOUNDER, EXTRADITION FOR RAPE ORDERED – - what is rape??

While I believe much of what is happening to Julian Assange is political; and while I find it noteworthy that neither woman came forward until she found out there was another woman; this case gives me the opportunity to comment on and define rape.

Even though we are dealing with a foreign country, Sweden, the definition of rape is still the same: unwanted or unknown intercourse.
Unwanted would be were a woman says no and she is forced into intercourse either by someone she knows or someone unknown to her. Rape CAN occur even between a boyfriend and a girlfriend, 2 strangers who have already had consensual sex, and in some regions a husband and a wife.
Unknown sex occurs where the victim has passed out or is asleep (as is the situation with Assange). In this situation the area is a little more grey. Husband and wife/boyfriend and girlfriend – - probably somehow acceptable (see also legal), casual acquaintance/casual encounter more than likely NOT okay/legal. Meet a girl at a party, she passes out, you have sex with her – - in many regions you have committed a rape AND I AGREE WITH THIS POSITION.

A 3rd area of rape is Statutory Rape. This is where any person has intercourse with another person under the age of 18 (in most areas of the United States) and as low as 16 in some regions/countries. A boyfriend and girlfriend both aged 15 having consensual sex could result in a prosecution of Statutory Rape – - not likely, but it can happen. We see prosecutions for this crime more when dealing with a man over the age of 18 have sex with a girl usually under the age of 16 (even if the law says the cutoff is 18 not 16). I do not consider Statutory Rape and act of rape since it is almost always consensual. And many provinces term it Unlawful Sex as opposed to Statutory Rape since the word “rape” usually has very specific connotations – - especially in the legal realm. I’m still NOT okay with men over 18 having sex with girls under 18, but I’m also not okay with terming them rapists.

Is Assange guilty of the charges? I’m not sure. He does not seem to argue that he was having sex with these women and in Sweden, unprotected sex when one party has requested protected sex, is also considered an act of rape – - so he may very well be guilty. Is this politically driven? HIGHLY LIKELY. But breaking the law is breaking the law and the mere fact that 1 person is prosecuted for the exact “crime” that someone else was not prosecuted for, does not make commission of the act okay and/or legal. Think of it like speeding – - just because everyone is doing it does not make it okay nor does it mean you can’t, or won’t, get a ticket.

That’s it for today.

Stay Safe.

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COULD THIS HAVE BEEN PREVENTED – - a precaution that both women AND MEN should take

THE STORY: 4am. A woman is stopped at a red light. She is accosted by 2 gun-wielding men. We do NOT know how she was accosted but you will see my assumptions below. They car-jack the vehicle with her in it. They sexually assault her. Drop her on a corner and take off in her vehicle.

COULD THIS HAVE BEEN PREVENTED: the men gained access to this woman’s vehicle in 1 of 2 ways:
1) she was driving with her doors unlocked, so they opened the door, showed her a gun and ordered her to drive.
2) she was stopped, her doors WERE locked, but when they produced a gun and told her to open the door – - she complied.
Whether to prevent a car-jacking, assault, or even a mere robbery attempt, it is ALWAYS a good idea to drive with the doors locked and windows up – - especially at night. This prevents someone from just getting into your vehicle.
But you say, “Richard, my windows were rolled up and the doors were locked. The man tapped his gun against the glass and told me to open the door. What was I supposed to do – - let him shoot me?” This gets into a 2nd arena. The majority of people showing weapons are not interested in USING the weapon. The weapon is an intimidator intended to get someone to do what the criminal wants (hand over money, accompany them to a remote location, etc.) – - in this case it was “give me your car” and subsequently the woman with it.

You’re stopped at a red light. It’s 4 am (in other words no cars). SOMEONE TAPS A GUN ON YOUR WINDOW. YOU HIT THE GAS PEDAL, RUN THE RED LIGHT AND CALL THE POLICE. It’s highly unlikely the person is going to start shooting. And given that many female abductions result in the murder of the woman, driving away and having the criminal shooting at me is a risk I would take.

HOWEVER this brings me to an important point. I see many drivers pull up to a red light or stop sign behind another car and they pull RIGHT UP to the other car’s bumper. You always want to be able to see the other car’s rear wheels touching the ground. By being able to see this, you will have created a safe distance between your car and the one in front of you.
• This gap permits you to get around the car in front of you if it stalls or is stalled.
• It enables you to get around the car if the driver tries to get out and attack you for any reason.
• And, last but not least, it creates a buffer zone so that in the event you are rear ended, you are less likely to slam into the car in front of you.

This woman was lucky. Normally when a woman is taken in a vehicle, she is killed. This particular case also supports a point I make in my book, which is if a man is robbed, the robber takes the victim’s wallet and/or watch and takes off, but when a crime is committed against a woman, it is not unusual for it to turn into some type of sexual assault.

Stay alert and stay safe.

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