Donald Trump is as ignorant as he looks…
On Tuesday, the Pentagon released a report about the rampant sexual assault taking place within the United States military. The figures the report laid out were shocking to read. From the Associated Press:
The Pentagon report says that the number of sexual assaults reported by members of the military rose from 3,192 to 3,374 in 2012, while the department estimates that as many as 26,000 service members were assaulted, based on anonymous surveys, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the report.
Politicians from President Obama on down condemned the findings. For noted military theorist Donald Trump, however, the study sent a different message:
26,000 sexual assaults or rapes reported in military last year-and that is just the number that is reported (many do not want to report).
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 7, 2013
The Generals and top military brass never wanted a mixer but were forced to do it by very dumb politicians who wanted to be politically C!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 7, 2013
It’s quite the classy response! Is Trump saying that men are all prone to rape? Or that women shouldn’t be allowed in the military because they’ll inevitably be assaulted? This seems like a very dark view of the world. Trump has threatened to run for president in the past, but it’s possible that he just lost the women’s vote. And men’s. And military families. And everyone, everywhere.
Standing steadfast as the most socially right-wing candidate in the GOP presidential field, Rick Santorum has repeatedly touted his extreme anti-choice position, which dictates that abortion should be uniformly illegal, even in cases of rape or incest. He even suggested that physicians who provide abortions to such victims should be criminally charged.
Last Friday, CNN’s Piers Morgan asked Santorum to clarify his reasoning behind such a callous position. Insisting that “it’s not a matter of religious values,” Santorum explained that sexual assault victims should “accept this horribly created” pregnancy because it is “nevertheless a gift in a very broken way” and that, when it comes down to it, a victim just has “to make the best out of a bad situation“:
SANTORUM: Well, you can make the argument that if she doesn’t have this baby, if she kills her child, that that, too, could ruin her life. And this is not an easy choice. I understand that. As horrible as the way that that son or daughter and son was created, it still is her child. And whether she has that child or doesn’t, it will always be her child. And she will always know that. And so to embrace her and to love her and to support her and get her through this very difficult time, I’ve always, you know, I believe and I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you. As you know, we have to, in lots of different aspects of our life. We have horrible things happen. I can’t think of anything more horrible. But, nevertheless, we have to make the best out of a bad situation.
The problem with Santorum’s sense of humanity is that it doesn’t seem to extend to the victim. The emotional and physical trauma endured during and after a sexual assault often leaves a woman feeling robbed of any control over her own body and welfare. Robbing a woman of the choice to decide what to do with such “horribly created” consequences only contributes to the victim’s trauma.
What’s more, Santorum’s argument forces a woman in these circumstances to share his religious beliefs and “accept what God has given to [her.]” A woman may very well share his belief and decide to carry the pregnancy to the term, but the fundamental point is that that should be her choice — not the government’s, and certainly not Santorum’s.
What the hell is wrong with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board? Why did they publish that ridiculous ad in the first place?
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board provoked an enormous backlash by airing ads that tell women who are date-raped that they have only themselves and their friends to blame. The ad was part of a $600,000 campaign aimed at curbing excessive drinking.
After hearing from hundreds of rape victims that the ads were extremely upsetting, even traumatizing, the board has decided to pull them:
The ads send the message that women are not only at fault for getting themselves raped—a societal bias reflected in and re-enforced by too many court decisions—it’s your fault if your friend gets raped, too.
Last night, after receiving hundreds of phone calls and hundreds of email complaints, the PLCB has yanked the ads.
“We feel very strong, and still do, that when we entered the initial discussion about doing a campaign like this it was important to bring the most difficult conversations about over-consumption of alcohol to the forefront and all of the dangers associated with it—date rape being one of these things,” says PLCB spokesperson Stacey Witalec.
“That being said, due to the number of concerns that we heard about that specific ad, and the victims especially that we heard from talking about how the image … made them feel victimized all over again, we felt it was prudent to pull it.”
The board undoubtedly had good intentions when they launched their campaign, but there are better ways to go about it. As Jezebel pointed out, “Shock tactics aren’t necessary to increase awareness of the possibility of rape. We know what can happen after a night of drinking.”
And their blame-the-victim message reinforced the difficulty prosecuting rapists in the state. It’s easier to get away with sexual assault in Pennsylvania than anywhere else in the country because it’s the only state that doesn’t allow expert testimony in rape cases. Because experts aren’t allowed to educate jurors about the behaviors of sexual assault victims and assailants, “jurors are left making judgments based on the biases perpetuated in the PLCB ad.”
“We’ve had several cases where juries have acquitted serial rapists because they felt the victims’ behavior after the assault was counterintuitive,” says Deborah Harley, chief of the Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit of the District Attorney’s Office.
During a news brief on this morning’s Fox & Friends, Gretchen Carlson reported that CBS correspondent Lara Logan had been “beaten and sexually assaulted by a mob of men while covering the political uprising in Egypt.” While Carlson reported the story as nothing but factual, during her report, the onscreen text read, “Journalist Assaulted in Egypt? Report: Protesters Attacked CBS’ Lara Logan.”
Is Fox really questioning the validity of the story? If not, why the question mark?
Fox isn’t alone in having a completely inappropriate response to Logan’s tragic assault. Others have seized on the story to attack Logan, suggesting that the reason this happened was because she was a pretty woman reporting in the middle of a war zone. As Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams observed:
In a stunningly offensive blog post titled “Lara Logan, CBS Reporter and Warzone ‘It Girl,’ Raped Repeatedly Amid Egypt Celebration” for LA Weekly, writer Simone Wilson managed to mention Logan’s “shocking good looks and ballsy knack for pushing her way to the heart of the action” before getting to the assault itself. She then went on to imagine how it happened: “In a rush of frenzied excitement, some Egyptian protestors apparently consummated their newfound independence by sexually assaulting the blonde reporter.” Well, sure, what other motive for an assault could there be, given that Logan is, in Wilson’s words, a “gutsy stunner” with “Hollywood good looks”? And how else do Egyptians celebrate anyway but with a gang assault? It’s not like she deserved it, but well, she is hot, right?
Wilson wasn’t the only person out there to be wildly tone-deaf in response, either. When the news broke, Nir Rosen, a fellow at the New York University Center for Law and Security, promptly whined to Twitter, “It’s always wrong, that’s obvious, but I’m rolling my eyes at all the attention she’ll get,” adding, “She’s so bad that I ran out of sympathy for her.” He soon backpedaled, deleting several of his most offensive posts and tweeting, “I apologize and take it back. joking with friends got out of line when i didnt [sic] want to back down. forgot twitter is not exactly private.” Apparently he still hasn’t remembered that sexual assault isn’t great joking around material.
Rosen since resigned his post at NYU.
But he’s not alone. Read more here…
CBS News says correspondent Lara Logan “suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault” while covering the resignation of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.
The CBS statement:
On Friday February 11, the day Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak stepped down, CBS correspondent Lara Logan was covering the jubilation in Tahrir Square for a 60 MINUTES story when she and her team and their security were surrounded by a dangerous element amidst the celebration. It was a mob of more than 200 people whipped into frenzy.In the crush of the mob, she was separated from her crew. She was surrounded and suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers. She reconnected with the CBS team, returned to her hotel and returned to the United States on the first flight the next morning. She is currently in the hospital recovering.
There will be no further comment from CBS News and Correspondent Logan and her family respectfully request privacy at this time.
On Tuesday’s “CBS Evening News,” Katie Couric said that she was “pleased to report” that Logan is “recovering well in the hospital.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists report on attacks on the press in Egypt in 2005 referenced female journalists facing sexual assault:
A report published in 2005 by the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights said that “journalists in Egypt suffer numerous forms of discrimination including unfairness in legislation, judicial prosecution of journalists for their writing and opinions, assault and death threats, and sexual assault of female journalists.”
Now this should be interesting, and less intimidating to the U.S. Government…uh, on second thought…
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Tuesday the Swedish women who have accused him of sexual assault had got into a “tizzy” about the possibility they had caught a sexually transmitted disease from him.
Assange told the BBC that one account of what happened in August — the month at the centre of allegations against him — was that the two women had panicked when they found out they had both slept with him and went to police who “bamboozled” them.
He insisted he was fighting a Swedish extradition warrant because he believes “no natural justice” would occur in Sweden.
“There are some serious problems with the Swedish prosecution,” he said in an interview from the mansion of a wealthy supporter in eastern England where he must stay as part of his bail conditions.
Sweden wants Britain to extradite the 39-year-old Australian to face questioning over allegations from two women that he raped one of them and sexually assaulted the other in Stockholm in August.
Assange claimed that the Swedish authorities had asked that his Swedish lawyer be “gagged”, adding that his offers to be interviewed by video link or by Swedish officials in Britain had been rejected.
“I don’t need to be at the beck and call of people making allegations,” he said. More…