COULD THIS HAVE BEEN PREVENTED – - sexual assault near university

THE STORY: A 20 year old college woman walking to a friend’s house at 1 am is approached by 2 men. They force her into an alley and sexually assault her. Good news is the attack was interrupted by 2 passersby and the predators fled the scene. (“Good news” because she wasn’t killed.)

COULD THIS HAVE BEEN PREVENTED: I have a friend who loves to trail ride (on a bike). I’ve told her a number of times she canNOT be riding alone “on these trails.” One time she said, “I’ll be fine.” Another time she said, “I’m on a bike; what could an attacker do?” To which I responded, “All he has to do is push you off your bike. It takes no work and no effort. And since other riders are so scarce (she normally rides in the middle of weekdays) you’re at the total mercy of your attacker.”
In this situation, we have a 20 year old woman in a downtown area walking alone. Is she asking for it?? Absolutely NOT! But downtown districts are not the safest places in the world even for men. In these situations, there are 2 types of victims. The first: the victim who perceives no threats – - like my bike-riding friend. The second: the person who thinks it won’t happen to them. I’ll speak with women and they’ll say, “You gotta tell my daughter that running alone on trails is not safe.” To which I respond, “I will; but odds are it will not stop her. When you tell her to not run alone, I’ll bet she says, ‘quit worrying about me mom. I’ll be fine.’” And the mom always confirms this.

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 know her assailant.

The world has changed and crimes of all types have intruded into every enclave – - even those that used to be considered safe.

This woman might have asked someone else to walk with her. She might have asked her friends to come and pick her up. Or she might have taken a cab. This is not about chiding her for not doing these things; it’s about trying to keep one’s self out of harm’s way.

Stay safe.

Richard

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IMPORTANT LESSONS from a DFSA (drug facilitated sexual assault) in Canada

THE STORY: 2 doctors arrested on Feb. 19, 2011. A 23-year old woman, who KNEW one of the doctors, was seeking “career guidance.” She met him and a friend at a bar in downtown Toronto. She claimed they took her to a 2nd bar where a substance was placed into her drink. She was then taken to a local hotel and sexually assaulted by both men. At the bail hearing, the prosecution brought a 2nd victim into the court who stated she had been assaulted on a different occasion by 1 of the 2 men. The bail hearing was cancelled (no bail) pending review of the new allegation.

I WILL NOT BE DOING A “COULD THIS HAVE BEEN PREVENTED.”
Instead I want to address several important issues surrounding this case.

1) More than 80% of all sexual assaults take place in situations where the victim knows the assailant. (Source: U.S. Department of Justice) While this case is developing in Canada, there is no reason to think the statistics are much different for that region.
LESSON 1: Just because you know someone casually, does not mean you KNOW them well enough to automatically assume they can be trusted. I HATE that I am contributing to the overall paranoia surrounding sexual assaults, but these days it is absolutely essential, that all women acknowledge the truth of LESSON 1. Both of these men are doctors. Both of them are probably reasonably respected in the community. In the mug shots, 1 of them is a pretty good looking guy and they other might be if he didn’t have a few days’ beard growth. Tall, dark and handsome DOES NOT EQUAL trustworthy!

2) In sexual assaults committed in America, approximately 65% of the men were drugging or drinking and almost 60% of the women were doing the same.
LESSON 2: When meeting someone that you do not know extremely well for “drinks” – - skip the alcohol. You will see why in the next item.

3) No matter what type of drug has been ingested, short of an actual knockout drug that renders the victim immediately unconscious, there is oftentimes a period between the time the drug was received and the time the victim loses control or consciousness.
LESSON 3: You’ve only had 1 or 2 drinks and suddenly you feel sick or like you are losing control of your faculties. IMMEDIATELY call out to a bartender, manager, bouncer or police officer that you think you’ve been drugged and you need their help. DO NOT ALLOW ANYONE ELSE TO GIVE YOU A RIDE OR INSURE YOUR WELL-BEING (unless it’s a girlfriend who accompanied you to the location). The person offering assistance is almost always the person who has administered the drug.

4) Coming forward requires bravery – - especially in America where the VICTIM IS GENERALLY CONSIDERED GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN TRUSTWORTHY (except in cases involving unknown assailants). Being a man, I cannot comment on the pain experienced by a rape or sexual assault. I cannot comment on the “reliving” of the attack. I cannot comment on the difficulty of coming forward (which often has shame attached to it – - even though it shouldn’t).
BUT I CAN SAY, the sooner a victim comes forward: a. the more likely evidence is preserved; b. the more likely the victim’s story will be believed; c. the more likely other women will come forward (we saw this just the other day in San Jose California); and, d. the more likely the perpetrators of these crimes can be stopped from victimizing more women.

Here is a link to the original article I read regarding this matter: http://www.torontosun.com/news/torontoandgta/2011/02/19/17340181.html

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COULD THIS HAVE BEEN PREVENTED – - gang rape by college baseball players

THE STORY: A criminal trial of 1 man (former college baseball player at DeAnza College located in San Jose California. A civil lawsuit against 5 additional men. A woman claims that when she was 18 or 19 she was gang raped by a group of then, DeAnza College Students. A 2nd woman has now come forward stating that 10 weeks before this incident she was raped by 1 or more of the same men at a different party but in the same house and the same room as the plaintiff.

All men claim innocence but what was noteworthy was that during the gang rape attack, the victim was saved by a group of soccer player women who basically broke the door down to rescue their friend from the attackers. The soccer player women were hailed as heroes by the City of San Jose.

DEFENDANTS CLAIM – - consensual sex. This is almost ALWAYS the claim made by any attacker. It is then up to the police to gather witnesses and evidence to the contrary. Given that the victim had to actually be rescued by her friends, I think we can assume the story pretty much went the way the prosecution is telling it.

1 in 4 to 1 in 5 college women will be sexually assaulted during their tenures as students. This statistic is provided by the United States Department of Justice.

We do not know that either of these women were college students because their names have been withheld. Both however, were teenagers at the time of the assaults. Both attended, on separate occasions, what is pretty much your standard college party. Massive amounts of free alcohol to any person in attendance – - especially women.

RESPONSE

Rape is rape. Whether a woman is taken by force or has been drugged or is passed out drunk, rape is rape. In these environments, young women are looking to have fun at a party – - NOT be raped. And while some may point the finger at the young women (both teenagers at the time of the attacks), the bottom line is that they did not provoke the attack any more than someone taking money out of an ATM provokes a robbery.

HOWEVER, young women need to understand that they must take precautions in these situations. They MUST watch out for each other. It is clear that many men at this age cannot be trusted and given this situation, women need to take care of one another. Alcohol or drugs are present in either the male or female or both in more than 55% of all sexual assaults. Given this fact, it is incumbent upon women to watch their alcohol intake. Further, in these free-for-all type party situations, women can easily be served drinks laced with GHB or any number of other drugs that will complete disable them.

THE THING THAT BUGS ME THE MOST is that the schools KNOW THIS IS GOING ON yet are doing virtually nothing to stop it. They claim they are doing everything in their power – - but in reality they are doing almost nothing. Rape and sexual assault of young women still appears to be a right of passage. At what point will we start holding the people who permit these crimes to continue responsible – - in addition to the attackers themselves?

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WAS Inés Sainz of TV Azteca “ASKING FOR IT?”

BY NOW EVERYONE KNOWS HER NAME.

THE STORY: Good looking and all around fun person, Inés Sainz of TV Azteca, is in the New York Jets’ locker room and unknown (“unknown” because we have not been told what they were), inappropriate comments were made by multiple team members to her.

Sainz tells a story. We really don’t know exactly what was said.
If sexually explicit, harassing type language was used by players on Sainz = not okay.
If 1 (or more) of the players thought she was attractive and asked her out = no violation of anything.
Players have no less and no more rights than anyone else, to ask someone out. And whether or not the recipient of the communication wants to be asked out by me or anyone else, we still have the right to ask – - ask long as it is not in a threatening, harassing or aggressive nature.

THERE ARE A FEW IMPORTANT ISSUES HERE:

1) We do not know truth of the exact words. So we’re kind of stuck. Was she harassed or was someone merely asking a cute woman for a date?

2) People have said that because of how Sainz uses her looks or her sexuality, that if something inappropriate did happen, she should have known it was likely and if she didn’t want that type of “predictable” response, she should down play her looks or actions.
If a woman poses in Playboy, and a stalker rapes her, was she asking for it?
The answer is: No Woman “Asks” To Be Raped – - EVER!!
And whether or not Sainz uses her natural gifts of beauty and/or personality to get ahead, no person has the right to break rules or laws in response to that.

3) If I were a male reporter, would I be allowed to be in the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team locker after a game? I think we all know the answer to this. But this is NOT a conversation about equal treatment. If women have just as much right as men to be in the locker rooms of football players or any other professional male athletic organizations, then NO ONE should be allowed in the locker room. Let the guys shower and dress in peace, interview after they exit the primary locker room to exterior interview areas.

SO WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE US?

NO WOMAN “asks” to be harassed, raped, or assaulted, any more than someone driving a nice car asks to be car-jacked, someone carrying a purse asks to be purse-snatched, or some 6-year old girl playing in her front yard “asks” to be kidnapped. The reason rape and sexual assault are runaway crimes in the world and on college campuses is because of this ongoing perception that the victims have brought the attacks on through their actions or words. When the public truly understands this is not the case, people will stand up and say, “It is not okay for a woman to be raped every 35 seconds in America.”

YOUR THOUGHTS??

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VICTIM REQUESTED NO POLICE INVOLVEMENT

SOMEONE ASKED ME TO COMMENT ON THIS CASE:

BACKGROUND: In a nutshell – - some dirtbag put up a YouTube video bragging about his sexual assault of a young woman attending Denison University in Granville OH. The man was interviewed by University security but refused to be interviewed by police. The woman did NOT want the police involved and therefore did not cooperate with the investigation. It appears the matter will be closed.

This is a really difficult issue. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – - I’ve never given birth and therefore I have ZERO idea what a woman experiences, but it really looks like it hurts. I will never experience the pain and fallout of a sexual assault, but it really looks like it hurts.

I completely understand that many women just “want it to be over with.” And so they don’t want any more discussions, prosecutions, or any other actions that will remind them of the assault. 42% of all rape victims never tell a single person about the incident, let alone report it to the police. These women will withdraw into their own worlds. Students drop out of school and life. They cover up and carry their shame of the incident. Depression, suicidal thoughts and even suicide attempts are not unusual.

The problem is threefold:
1) This guy not only committed the assault, but then goes into a public forum to brag about his actions. I don’t know how you feel about this, but it totally pisses me off. And I want him off the streets so that he does not commit repeat acts with other female students.
2) The guy goes onto a public forum, brags about the assault, and nothing happens. Picture a bank robber or kidnapper going on YouTube and bragging about his latest crime and having nothing happen. The “message” that gets sent out is, “Do what you want because odds are, nothing’s going to happen to you anyway.”
3) Women in these situations just want the whole thing to disappear. The problem is, that while the incident does disappear from the public eye, it still exists in both the conscious and subconscious of the victims. Sometimes a big part of the healing process is seeing justice. And I don’t mean like revenge, I just mean justice. Even if this guy was not convicted, but his family spent 75,000 $ in legal fees, he was arrested, booked, and had to be bailed from jail, sometimes the process can actually be the punishment. So even if there was no conviction, there would be a process that at least partially punished this guy for his crimes.

WHAT SHOULD BE DONE:
1) I would ask the woman to cooperate – - no matter how painful. Get this guy off the streets or at least get him to understand the nature of his crime.
2) With or without the woman’s cooperation, the authorities (District Attorney) have what amounts to an entirely voluntary confession to the commission of a crime. Prosecute Him! Part of the problem with rape and sexual assault in America is the authorities make conscious decisions, “Oh, if it doesn’t matter to the victim, then it doesn’t matter” – - BUT IT DOES!
3) AT THE VERY LEAST, Denison University has enough information to expel the student. Kick him out – - a) it sends a message to other male students and b) it prevents this guy from hurting other young women under the University’s care.

YOUR THOUGHTS??

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CAMPUS DEAN SAYS, “IT’S NOT MY JOB”

Campus Dean Says, “It’s Not My Job”

I received the following email a few days ago from an associate dean of 1 of the largest, most prestigious universities, in the United States.

“We have received about 10 postcards from you [they didn’t receive 10, they received 4], and we’re not interested. Really, this office is the inappropriate recipient since Dean [name deleted] is an administrator only, and has no interaction with students and no participation in student policies or procedures…”

READERS PLEASE NOTE: You need to understand, there are probably 3 to 5 people in this university who are ABOVE this particular dean – – I looked it up on the campus website.

So if the # 3 or 4 person is not in a position to affect policy, I ask you WHO IS?!

Too many people have been saying for too long, “that’s not my job.” And decade after decade thousands of college women are raped or sexually assaulted each year. The schools act like they’re doing everything they can, yet the numbers go unchanged year after year. The U.S. Department of Justice states that 20 to 25 % of all college women will be raped or sexually assaulted during their tenures as students. 25%?? ARE YOU JOKING??!! If 25% of our cars were being stolen people would be going insane!

At what point do we say “Enough!”

At what point does someone like this Dean – – who, by the way is female, make a decision to be part of the solution instead of allowing the problem to persist?

Is any of this okay with you? Because, it’s not okay with me!

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2 MEN RIDING FROM NY TO CA TO RAISE AWARENESS

I don’t normally report news stories – - since, well… they’re news and most people can read about them either online or in their papers.

HOWEVER, every once in a while something jumps out. Below is such a story.

Ed Smart and Ahmad Rivazfar are riding their bicycles from New York to Los Angeles in an attempt to increase awareness and raise money for enacting laws intended to protect children from violent crimes. Ed Smart is the father of Elizabeth Smart who was taken, by people unknown to the family, from her bedroom at age 14 and by some miracle found alive in Utah 9 months later. Two of Ahmad’s daughters were raped and left to die by an ex-wife’s boyfriend. The 8-year old survived the 6-year old did not. YOU HEARD THAT RIGHT – - ages 8 and 6!!

Ed Smart: “The one thing we all have in common is the commitment to our children. Having gone through the nightmare that we have, our endeavor is to stop predatory crimes and to see that other families don’t have to go through what we’ve been through.”

Their group is Surviving Parents Coalition.

One of their primary goals is to get a law in every state designed to take DNA swabs from every person arrested for a felony crime. Many states do NOT engage in this practice until there is a conviction – - which in many cases may never arrive or at the least, can be delayed by 6 months to a couple of years.

Their website is www.DNAsaves.org.

As a side note – - New York to Los Angeles in 30 days?? On a bike?? I don’t think I could do San Francisco to Los Angeles in 30 days!

Thank you Ed and Ahmad and all the people who are part of the rider support team and those who are supporting the cause.

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COULD THIS HAVE BEEN PREVENTED?

Sexual Assault Green Bay WI

Charges were reinstituted against a man accused of have sex with (raping) an unconscious woman (who was intoxicated – - a 2nd charge). The reason the charges were “reinstituted” was because another woman stepped forward and accused the perpetrator of a drug facilitated attack (drugging of a person, so as to render that person incapable of fending off an attack). The District Attorney now had 2 victims reporting against the same attacker, permitting charges to be filed and which will, hopefully, result in a conviction.

RESPONSE

This particular attack falls into a couple of possible realms. Unanswered questions make it difficult to formulate a perfect response. Were these victims people who knew their attacker? We can potentially assume “yes” since more than 80% of all sexual assaults occur where the victim DOES know her attacker. If this was the case, we then jump into, scenarios where women should not assume a man is a good guy on the first few dates. In Preventing Sexual Assault: 171 Ways Women Can Prevent Sexual Assault, I spell out that, while someone may appear nice, we really have no idea about people until we’ve been out at least 4 or 5 times. So in these early getting-to-know-you stages, limiting the dates to well-trafficked public locations is always best.

We also know that in at least 1 of the attacks, the perpetrator had sex with (raped) a woman who had apparently passed out from drinking too much alcohol. This brings us to a 2nd response – - that dealing with alcohol. In approximately 75% of all rapes, the man has been drinking or drugging, and approximately 65% of the women have been drinking or drugging. One of the strange things about alcohol is it seems to wind men UP and wind women DOWN, so even if a woman does not pass out, her defenses will still fall and her ability to recognize warning signs will be severely diminished.

As easy and innocent as it may seem to down a few drinks while on a date, to deal with nervousness or to just enjoy the drink, it is extremely important that women remain alert in the early stages of any relationship. I am not saying no men can be trusted, but the problem is that distinguishing trustworthy from not can be very difficult.

Take the first few dates slowly. Stay in public venues and keep liquor intake to a minimum AND WATCH YOUR DRINK. If you feel any kind of wooziness coming on from drinking only ½ of a drink, get to a bouncer, cop or someone in charge and tell them you think you’ve been drugged. These people have a responsibility to ensure your safety once you’ve brought this issue to their attention.

Also, please keep in mind: These posts are Monday morning quarterbacking. It’s easy to sit in a chair and say what someone “should have done.” Also, the exact facts of the attack are not always clear, leaving a potential for error. Information becomes the key. For Example: If someone knows that it will take 12 seconds to get into an elevator and for the doors to close, then running into an elevator for refuge may get dismissed and the potential victim will seek a 2nd or 3rd avenue of escape or thwarting an attack. Read more at Facebook.com/KeepYourDaughterSafe. Please tell your friends about us on Twitter and on Facebook. Together we can make a difference. Thank you.

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RESPONSE TO StopStHarassmnt (STOP STREET HARASSMENT) a twitter user

Response To StopStHarassmnt (Stop Street Harassment) from Twitter

So I’m parked under a tree next to a park talking on the phone. A girl walks by on the other side of the street with her backpack in tow – - maybe 13 or 14 years old. No real notice. She keeps walking – - I keep talking.

Then I see a guy moving toward her from the park. No shirt, had been playing horseshoes with friends. I thought, “Man I hope this guy doesn’t do something stupid.”

He starts kind of talking at her from the middle of the street. It’s a hundred feet away so I hear none of the conversation.

I’m thinking, “She’s 13 you moron. What the hell are you doing? What do you hope to accomplish from this? Do you really think she’s going to decide to run to you and hug you like you’re her long lost nephew?? She’s 14 – - all you’re doing is scaring her.”

The good news is, she stepped up her pace and kept moving.

Then I wondered, “Has any woman EVER responded to something like this?” The numbers have to be lower than the odds of winning the lottery.

How must it feel?

I guess like being pregnant – - I’ll never know. Looks like it hurts but I’ll never know!

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I WAS TALKING TO AN FBI AGENT

I Was Talking To An FBI Agent…

about my book. He said, “I hope your book talks about how women dress.” To which I responded, “No it does not.”

I then went on to ask the question if he were dressed in a pair of shorts and a workout shirt and went into his favorite watering hole one day after a long run, and started talking to a couple of guys about the latest sporting news, then woke up the next morning realizing that he’d been raped by those same guys, would he say that it was because of how HE had been dressed? Of course not.

Women get to wear what women want. It’s part of living in a free country.

But here’s how backwards this country is when it comes to the issues of rape and sexual assault: the first thing people think when an attack is reported is, what did the woman do to provoke the attack or “she’s lying – - there really was no ‘attack.’”

Even in my conversations and posts where I talk about what could have done to thwart an attack, people will say, “Richard, a woman should not have to THWART an attack.” And my response to this is, “You’re absolutely right! In a perfect world of mutual respect, no person should ever have to be concerned with their safety.” The problem is we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a world where women have to remain vigilant. We live in a world where women have to watch out for each other.

Keep Your Daughter Safe does not address what women wear because no person should have to decide how to dress based on whether or not that decision will impact a potential attack. Once again, we get stuck in this unbelievable spiral of “Well look at how she was dressed.” Have you ever heard of someone being held up after taking money out of an ATM and having someone say, “Well of course you were asking for it; you shouldn’t have been withdrawing money.” Of course not. Such a response would be absurd.

But for rapes and sexual assaults, these comments are commonplace.

Is this okay with you? It’s not okay with me!

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