dreamer_easy: (melanin)
Reading about bullying is at once reassuring and liberating, and bloody horrible, as all the old nausea and dread comes rushing out. I've parked so much information about the subject here there's probably not a whole lot of value in my adding much more, but I may take some notes and add further info and/or insights at some point. In the meantime, have a squiz at The Web Means the End of Forgetting, There's Only One Way to Stop a Bully, and this particularly ugly example of how malicious gossip online - in this case, a deliberate distortion swallowed and spread by the credulous - can affect someone IRL.

ETA: Six Causes of Online Disinhibition, for good or ill; and from the same psychology blog, 10 Rules That Govern Groups, Group Polarization, and Fighting Groupthink.

Putting that topic aside for now, here's some Australian stuff:

The Brisbane Times reports on sexual assault during Schoolies' Week. Beneath the titillating headline there's a surprising amount of acknowledgement that the problem is the rapists and not their targets - in particular, the need to educate young men.

Still on The Kids, a survey of young Australians brings out concerns about how police interact with them, including racist assumptions and general disrespect. (Have I told you this story before? My first conscious awareness of Privilege™ came when inspectors insisted a pair of teenagers Of Middle Eastern Appearance produce their train tickets, but let off the middle-class Anglo thirtysomething - me! - when I couldn't find mine promptly.)

Gay marriage: what would it really take? A detailed look at the state of play in Australia. (ETA: the same politics explains why schools get chaplains instead of counsellors.)

Heck, while I'm here, have this, too:

We Are All Talk Radio Hosts: "Our hypothesis is that the function of reasoning is argumentative. It is to devise and evaluate arguments intended to persuade... Skilled arguers, however, are not after the truth but after arguments supporting their views." Oh, shit.

ETA: And this: The forgotten Muslim victims of 11 September 2001, from the UK's Independent, 11 October 2001.
dreamer_easy: (anti-bullying)
Given his feminist cred, I wonder if Neil Gaiman remarking that "George R. R. Martin is not your bitch" can be read not as a misogynist slip, but a use of the culture's current popular metaphor for exploitation and abuse. In which case, the insult is not directed at the targets of abuse, but at the abusers, with the sense of "stop treating other people like your personal property". It's not a metaphor I'd use myself, and it's right to point out its ugly connotations. But just how useful is it to pillory a long-standing feminist ally on the basis of a single remark? How about (and has this expression has ever been more apposite?) playing the ball instead of the man?
dreamer_easy: (BRIC A BRAC quotations)
Frustratingly, migrating to the new puter has somehow resurrected a bunch of deleted bookmarks. It's a real jumble. So apologies for any duplicates which get posted as I try to sort them out.

Doctors' fears mean woman is sent to Darwin for abortion: "Queensland Health is paying for a woman to be sent to Darwin for an abortion because doctors fear they will be jailed if they perform the operation here... A source told The Cairns Post the fetus to be aborted was so 'significantly abnormal that it would not survive' if it were born."

Activist seeks divorce ban in California: "The effort is meant to be a satirical statement after California voters outlawed gay marriage in 2008, largely on the argument that a ban is needed to protect the sanctity of traditional marriage. If that's the case, then Marcotte reasons voters should have no problem banning divorce."

‘Sexting’ bullying cited in teen's suicide

The Characteristics of Bullying Victims in Schools

Cyberbullying is as common as name-calling, study shows

Britain's criminalising of children breaches their rights, says report

Patrick Stewart: the legacy of domestic violence

via [livejournal.com profile] qthewetsprocket, Schrödinger's Rapist: a guy's guide to approaching strange women without being maced. Gentlemen, give this a read - despite the serious subject matter, it's very funny.
dreamer_easy: (CURRENT AFFAIRS)
Surely it's up to a court to determine whether Roman Polanski ought to face punishment, not up to his powerful friends nor public opinion. If he deserves leniency for one reason or another, then a sentencing judge will take that into consideration.
dreamer_easy: (HOLD ON)
A couple more statistics:
  • In the Australian state of Victoria, from 2000-2003, police classified only 2.1% of reported rapes as false reports. (Statewide Steering Committee to Reduce Sexual Assault. Study of reported rapes in Victoria. Office of Women's Policy, Department for Victorian Communities, Melbourne, July 2006.)

  • In 1991, the San Francisco Examiner reported that "in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Richmond last year, the unfounding rate on sexual assault cases was less than 1%". Actual false reports would have only been part of that figure. (Quoted in Benedict, Helen. Virgin or Vamp: How the Press Covers Sex Crimes. Oxford University Press, New York, 1992.)
Many published statistics on the frequency of false rape reports are not the result of systematic studies, which is one reason why the figures vary so widely. For example, researchers may just rely on their own opinions, or on the opinions of police, whether or not the report was actually investigated. These opinions are often based on assumptions about how a genuine rape victim would appear and behave - assumptions which are not supported by the evidence.

These opinions can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Faced with suspicion and disbelief from police, genuine rape victims may withdraw their complaints in despair or fear, and police may then record those withdrawn complaints as false reports - "proving" they were right to doubt the victim. "Surveys of US rape crisis centers revealed 17 states where adult rape complainants, unlike adult victims of other crimes, are required to take a polygraph exam before their charges are accepted. Many survivors faced with these unsupportive early warning signs withdrew their charges, and police listed their cases as false rape allegations or 'recantations'." (Rozee and Ross, 2001).

Despite the lack of evidence to support it, the belief that false reports are a significant percentage of rape reports is held by police, lawyers, judges, jurors, the media, and members of the public. It's all over the net. The baseless belief that women often falsely report rape is "one of the most important barriers to successfully investigating and prosecuting sexual assault" (Lonsway et al 2009). Countless genuine victims have been turned away by police because of the myth; countless rapists have escaped punishment because of it. There is no other crime in which victims are subject to this baseless scepticism.

__
Rozee, Patricia and Mark P. Koss. Rape: a Century of Resistance. Psychology of Women Quarterly 25 2001 pp 295-311. (Citing Sloan, L.M. (1995) Revictimization by polygraph: The practice of polygraphing survivors of sexual assault. Journal of Medicine and Law 14 pp 255-276.)

Lonsway et al. False Reports: Moving Beyond the Issue to Successfully Investigate and Prosecute Non-Stranger Sexual Assault. The Voice 3(1) 2009. (Newsletter from the American Prosecutors Research Institute.)
dreamer_easy: (HOLD ON)
Although it's a common belief that women frequently falsely report rape, there is no evidence that this is the case, and some evidence that women do not often make false reports. In 2007 I made a series of postings in which I outlined some of the research. I'd like to follow those up now with some more facts and figures specifically about false reports. To begin with:

  • "The San Diego Police Department Sex Crimes Division routinely evaluated the rate of false reports over several years and found them to be around 4%. In a recent study of 2,643 sexual assault cases reported to British police, 8% were classified as false allegations. Yet when researchers applied the actual criteria for a false report, as opposed to an unsubstantiated or unfounded report, the figure dropped to 2%." (Raphael, J. The Duke Lacrosse Case: Exploiting the Issue of False Rape Accusations. Violence Against Women 14(3), March 2008. I'd like to track down the original sources of these figures.)

  • Raphael also remarks: "Professor Lisak reminds us that not a single 'benchmark' study on false rape claims can be found in the social science literature". (Citing Lisak, D. (2007). False allegations of rape: A critique of Kanin. Sexual Assault Report 11, no. 1, 1-2, 6, and 9.) This is why I say there is "some" evidence that women don't often falsely report rape: no-one has ever specifically researched the prevalence of false reports.

  • ETA: "False allegations are widely believed to be a common occurence in cases of sexual assault. However, to date, there is no evidence to support this view. I would therefore counsel caution when statements are made about behaviour, which might be prefaced 'everyone knows'. In such circumstances, it is more likely that nobody knows."
    Adshead, Gwen. Psychological trauma and its influence on genuine and false complaints of sexual assault. Medicine, Science, and the Law 36(2) 1996 pp 95-99.

  • "To the best of the authors' knowledge, there are no statistics maintained on false allegations."
    Hazelwood, Robert R. and Ann Wolbert Burgess. "False allegations of rape". in Hazelwood, Robert R. and Ann Wolbert Burgess (eds). Practical Aspects of Rape Investigation: A Multidisciplinary Approach (4th ed). CRC Press (Taylor and Francis Group), Boca Raton FL, 2008.

dreamer_easy: (FAIL)
From AOL UK News:



I'm still looking for a contact email / feedback form / whatever for AOL News. (Also curious about journalism rules in the UK.) Background to the nightmare is available from Media Watch.
dreamer_easy: (CURRENT AFFAIRS)
Australian judge: it's OK to rape an unconscious woman. SMH columnist defends him against mean old feminists. Peachy.

Let's have some cheering crap:

Advice on finding a lost cat

Via [livejournal.com profile] fritters, here's a baby deer washing a very happy cat.

The exact link between obesity and diabetes may have been found - a protein secreted by fat cells.

More helpful science on teenagers' brains. "You constantly hear parents saying to their teens, 'What were you thinking?' but the truth is, they're not thinking at all. They are controlled by the emotional part of their brain. The frontal lobe, which is responsible for rational thought, is under construction. The limbic system, which is responsible for emotional thought, is running the show. That's why teens are moody and why they take risks and engage in excessive behaviour. They simply can't put the brakes on." We mock and sneer but the truth is we couldn't really help it.

The Catholic Church in Australia is auditing its carbon footprint with a view to reducing it. (I typed that as "crabon footprint", which is probably what New New York has to audit.)
dreamer_easy: (THE HELL)
I'd express some sort of outrage over Miranda Devine's offering this morning, only I can't actually work out what she's saying. I think she's trying to get across that men are natural born rapists and that women's best bet is to try and appeal to their chivalry, but the piece is such a muddle that I can't really be sure. One paragraph says that men's behaviour is natural and another says that girls learn their attitude to sex from the media. Whatever the hell she's on about, it's all feminism's fault, of course.
dreamer_easy: (FRIENDLY CONDOM)
For young women, here are some snappy retorts to use if you're pressured for sex. "BOY: Everyone else is doing it. GIRL: Well, you'd better go and have sex with everybody else then." (Where would we be without Kaz Cooke? 'A Modern Girl's Guide to Safe Sex is one of the best books I've ever owned.)

From the ever-useful snopes.com, the debunking of a chain email warning against the HPV vaccine Gardasil. (While I'm on the subject, condoms do reduce the risk of HPV transmission.)

Australian sexual assault victims will be given free legal help to stop their attackers using their medical and counselling records against them in court.
dreamer_easy: (FRIENDLY CONDOM)
Doing a bit of research here, which has prompted two thought balloons:

1. If promoting condoms does not encourage promiscuity, then is the flipside of this also true - that fear of adverse consequences doesn't deter people from having sex? (Obviously we're talking about averages here; individuals will vary.)

2. I found a letter to the editor which stated that "abstinence works every time - condoms don't". Now any health worker handing out the French letters will agree that abstaining from sex, delaying first sexual intercourse, and so on, are excellent strategies. However, it only takes a few moments' thought to realise that abstinence is not a guarantee of avoiding STDs or unwanted pregnancy. I don't mean in the sense that everyone makes mistakes and has moments of weakness: I mean that having sex is not always a choice.
dreamer_easy: (IT'S THE MIND)
Happy or not, Russians rarely smile in public

Why girls are killing themselves. "[Teenage girls] lack the privacy needed to work through the emotional struggles of adolescence because of cell phones, instant messaging, and social networking sites. 'Let's say things aren't going well in middle or high school and you email someone about it,' Hinshaw says. 'Soon it's all over everyone else's email, text messages, MySpace, Facebook. Everyone knows what's going on in your life and they're all talking about it. You can't escape it.'" (Online fandom's version of this is the "dogpile", in which a small scale dispute explodes into a drama with a cast of thousands.)

How muggers and rapists pick "easy targets"
dreamer_easy: (AND MORE)
Rick Warren's Africa Problem: "Warren's defense against charges of intolerance ultimately depends upon his ace card: his heavily publicized crusade against AIDS in Africa. [...] But since the Warren inauguration controversy erupted, the nature of work against AIDS in Africa has gone unexamined. [...] an investigation into Warren's involvement in Africa reveals a web of alliances with right-wing clergymen who have sidelined science-based approaches to combating AIDS in favor of abstinence-only education."

Bystander training - teaching onlookers how to intervene - can help combat bullying and sexual assault.

Gender pay gap hurting fertility: study "The number of women working and the hours they work have been on the rise during the past decade, in contrast to the static rate for men... Despite this, women continue to earn, on average, eight per cent less than men, a gap slightly wider than a decade ago. The research shows women also take on the majority of family responsibilities, which is affecting decisions to have children."

The number of Australians with HIV has hit a record high

Australia couples trial a male hormonal contraceptive

Report sharply criticizes sex education in Texas schools. Abstinence-only education, plus a parental consent requirement for minors to obtain contraceptives, would certainly help to explain why Texas has a teen pregnancy rate 50% higher than the national average.
dreamer_easy: (feminist)
Iraqi women suffer 'silent emergency': "Despite the billions of dollars poured into rebuilding Iraq and recent security gains, a quarter of the women interviewed still do not have daily access to water, a third cannot send their children to school and since the war started, over half have been the victim of violence."

Aussies urged to stop domestic violence

All jokes aside, it's a disgrace; "But after 30 years of campaigning, little seems to have changed. Recent Bureau of Statistics figures show that in 30 years there has been a minuscule 1.5 per cent decrease in violence against women in Australia."

Physical Violence (including Sexual Violence) in Australia from the Australian Bureau of Statistics

Child abuse needs own watchdog: "Currently just five to 10 per cent of child sex abuse cases which proceed to court result in a plea or verdict, and only half of those result in a conviction".

Gender-based violence high in Papua New Guinea

Legal threat to UK councils over rape victims: "Research reveals that one in four local authorities in Britain offer no specialised services for women who have faced violence or abuse, and shows that a quarter of those rape crisis centres that are still operating believe they will either have to close or radically cut services in 2009."



All right. Now some hope.

NSW courts shift protects violence victims

Family murders under review: "All domestic violence homicides that occurred over the past five years are set to be reviewed by a new body announced by the NSW Government late yesterday."

Queensland to tackle domestic violence: "The Queensland government will launch a new domestic and family violence prevention strategy likely to see perpetrators rather than victims ousted from their homes."

International Campaign Against Honour Killings

St James Infirmary in San Francisco and AIM Healthcare in Los Angeles teach sex workers how to protect themselves and provide medical care.
dreamer_easy: (SHE STANDS UP AGAIN)
Students stay silent on sex assaults

"Schools frequently dismiss sexual assault between students as part of the 'rough and tumble' of high school life, a report by the Australian Institute of Family Studies shows."

Fortunately, sexual assault was never a component of my own experience of bullying at school, and physical assault was a rare one. But that who-cares, kids-will-be-kids attitude is entirely familiar.

ETA: The report, available online, is: Responding to young people disclosing sexual assault: A resource for schools. Glancing through, what's familiar is not just the attitude that bullying is normal and harmless, but the attitude that sexual assault is normal and harmless - an attitude which has been used to protect rapists for literally centuries.

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