Posted in Crime, Current Events, Dating, Rape

Date Rape, Nail Polish and Empowering Women

Nail-PolishThere’s been a lot of uproar lately about this new nail polish that can detect whether or not date rape drugs are present in one’s drink. After applying the polish, a person can stir the drink with their finger, and the color will change if drugs are detected.

A lot of women are critical of this, saying the responsibility of whether to rape or not falls squarely on the shoulders of the rapist. Still others hail this as a wonderful invention.

I agree with those who say this nail polish is a wonderful thing. While I also agree that only the rapist bears responsibility for committing the crime of rape, I fully support anything that empowers women, and makes them less likely to be victimized.

No one would tell a homeowner not to bother locking their doors at night, because we all understand that doing so makes us less likely to be the victims of a home invasion. Equally true, if someone neglects to lock their doors, no one is going to blame them for getting robbed. The robber is still fully responsible for committing the crime.

We tell women not to leave their drinks unattended in bars, we tell women to use the buddy system when out partying, and to make sure someone is always aware of their plans. We fully support women who choose to take self-defense classes, and constantly remind them to “trust” their guts, don’t be afraid to walk away from a situation that feels funny, even if the reason for that feeling is not easily identified.

How is the idea of the nail polish any different from any of those things? There is nothing wrong with taking action to make us less likely to be victimized. If, despite the actions we have taken (and even if no action was taken at all), the unthinkable happens, it is not the victim’s fault. That’s not what this nail polish symbolizes, nor is that what supporters are claiming.

Predators use ever-evolving technology to accomplish more and more dastardly deeds. It’s high time technology was used to stop them in their tracks.

Posted in Current Events, Florida State University, Football, Jameis Winston, News, Rape, Sexual Assault, Sports

Jameis Winston, Rape and Skeletons in the Closet

I think the state’s attorney got it right in the Jameis Winston case, when deciding against charging him with the rape of his accuser.

It’s not easy for me to say that.

This case touched a nerve with me, and chilled me to my core.

Years ago, while attending a large university, I was raped by a football player. We both lived on campus, and he was known to me as an acquaintance. In fact, I had a little crush on him. One Saturday night, I wasn’t feeling well. Most of the dorm was empty. My fellow classmates were either out at parties, or had gone home to spend the weekend with their families. My roommate was visiting her boyfriend. I had a cold, so I stayed in.

He called me that night, asking if I was interested in trading CDs- I had a massive collection, and so did he. We’d spoken in the dining hall on more than one occasion about swapping albums. I remember being a little mortified at the thought of seeing him, on account of I didn’t look very good, having been sick most of the day.

Reluctantly, I agreed.

I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say, I ended my night in the emergency room with several injuries, and a positive rape kit. After my release from the ER, I went to the police station with my parents and pressed charges.

He was picked up in his dorm (after his roommate swore repeatedly he wasn’t there), and was quickly charged with rape.

While not a national story, mine was a sensational scoop among the locals. I was stalked, threatened and harrassed. Once, I even tried to drop the charges, as I was scared, lonely, and caving under the pressure of it all.

My request was denied, and I was threatened with arrest, should I choose to stop cooperating with the prosecuting attorney‘s office.

The trial took place about nine months later, and my rapist was convicted after a jury deliberated for just under three hours. I remember the tears streaming down his face as they took him into custody after the guilty verdict was read.

After serving the bulk of his sentence, my rapist had his conviction overturned. The appellate judge said he hadn’t received a fair trial. He was ordered re-tried or released. The choice was mine, and I chose to let it go, and walk away. In my mind, by making this decision, I was finally putting a period on the end of this horrible run-on sentence. I was moving on.

If I thought it was over, I was sorely mistaken.

He subsequently sued the state for wrongful imprisonment.

He won.

Seems I couldn’t put a period on it afterall, and all these years later, I’m still trying to move on.

Now comes Jameis Winston, and the state attorney’s decision not to press charges against him in the sexual assault of his accuser. I purposely avoided the media coverage as much as I could, but when word got out that all 86 pages of the investigative material had been released to the public, I couldn’t help myself.

Anxiously, I read every single page.

I’m jaded. I’m nothing close to unbiased, and don’t pretend to be. Yet after reading all of it, I was devastated. I’ve been accused by too many people to count as being someone who wrongfully accused an innocent man of rape. My name is on websites as a person who purposely, knowingly lied about being sexually assaulted. I’ve been listed among the names of people who have falsified rape allegations.

I know my journey, I know the truth about what I went through. That’s why it never once dawned on me that people actually do fake these things. Because of my experience, because of how terrible every single second of it was, and because of the pain and trauma I carry with me to this day, I never paused long enough to consider that sometimes women lie.

I don’t know what happened between Jameis and his accuser. I do know her story changed multiple times. I know she told two of her friends he hit her on the head, causing her to black out, and therefore remembers nothing of the assault. I know she told investigators something altogether different.

I don’t know who is lying, and if it’s her, I don’t know why she pursued this.

I do know that had this case gone to trial, there would not have been a conviction. I also know about women, and how vengeful people can be when they think they’ve been treated badly.

I know the risk males- especially black males- take when they put themselves in positions of weakness, when they treat women badly, and then expect those women to stand up and act honorably on behalf of them.

Sometimes women lie, and men go to jail for crimes they didn’t commit. Many times, though, women are telling the truth, and the men that assaulted them go free.

No one but Jameis Winston and his accuser truly know what happened that night. Just as no one but my rapist and me truly know what happened the night he assaulted me.

If his accuser was not telling the truth, I hope she gets help, and comes to understand the gravity of what she tried to do. I hope she comes to appreciate the life she has forever changed, and I hope she comes to terms with why she made the choices she made that night.

I hope Jameis sees this for the close call it was. As with all things, there’s a lesson to be learned from this experience. I hope he comes to realize how close he came to the fire, and how he almost got himself burned.

Posted in Celebrity, News, Rape, Sex

Cee Lo Green, Rape, and A Voice

As a fan of  “The Voice”, I was a little surprised to learn one of the show’s coaches and musical super-stars Cee Lo Green has been accused of sexual battery.

He looks so lovable and sweet, no?

I started looking into the story, and as details began to emerge, didn’t find it quite so far-fetched anymore. I am saddened, and I hope his alleged victim (if she is telling the truth) remains strong as she prepares to do battle against a powerful celebrity, the court system, and society as a whole.

Regarding crimes such as sexual assault, the motivation, contrary to what many think, is rarely sexual. Rape is generally an exercise in control. The predator wants to control its prey.

Simple.

This is why it isn’t unusual to find celebrities and other popular people, otherwise having no trouble finding willing sexual partners, committing violent crimes against women. Equally common, however, are instances in which celebrities fall victim to vicious schemes- untrue allegations designed to force them to pay obscene amounts of money to keep criminal opportunists silent.

Which of these scenarios is true in this case, though?

According to the complaint, Cee Lo took a woman to a restaurant in LA several months ago. He bought her a drink, and she remembers nothing after that point. Later, she woke up in a bed somewhere, naked. She does not live in the state of California, and when she returned to her home state, she says she immediately reported the assault to local authorities. At some point, seemingly weeks later, local law enforcement referred the case to LAPD for investigation.

Los Angeles police officers went to the restaurant in question, and spoke with employees and patrons. They also had the complaining witness make a phone call to Cee Lo in an attempt to get him to admit to having drugged the woman in taped conversation. Sources close to the woman claim that Cee Lo admitted giving the woman ecstasy (referred to in the phone conversation as MDMA), and apologizes for doing so. What he apparently does not admit to is giving her the drug without her knowledge, and does not admit to “slipping” it into her drink, as she alleges.

Cee Lo’s camp says the accusations are bogus, and that he is not a violent person. They claim the woman first tried to get him to pay her money to remain quiet, and when that didn’t work, she went to police and lied. This might explain the delay between the incident itself and the woman’s filing of her complaint. Another valid point made by Cee Lo’s supporters is that if he really is on a recording admitting to drugging his accuser, he would have been in custody by now.

Also, a quick google search of ecstasy and its side effects explains that the drug is a stimulant. Not only is it unlikely to render users unconscious, it generally has the opposite effect of keeping someone up for hours and- on occasion- days.

Not knowing anything about his alleged victim, and only knowing what I see on TV of Cee Lo Green’s personality, I am left to my own research to try and form an idea of what really happened.

The truth is, I don’t know. None of us do.

What I do know, however, is that the persona of a celebrity- what they show us when they’re walking the red carpet, giving interviews and performing for the public- is rarely an accurate portrayal of the real human being within. Cee Lo, it appears, is no exception.

Happy-go-lucky on stage, flamboyant, care-free and fun as he appears, he has a dark past. At best, he struggled in his younger years with a temper. At worst, he has a real problem with women.

While married to his (now ex) wife in 2001, Green was arrested and charged with simple assault and disorderly conduct. He’d had a dispute with his wife that turned violent, culminating in his threatening her with a wooden statue, and busting the windows of their car. Cee Lo neglected to show up to court after posting bail, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Arrested again, he spent a couple days in jail, ultimately pleading ‘No Contest’ to the disorderly conduct charge. He was placed on probation, took a domestic violence class, and seems to have stayed out of trouble since that time.

Interesting, perhaps, is that his wife later filed for divorce (in 2004), citing “mental and physical cruelty” as the reason for the split.

Cee Lo has never made it a secret that he was not on a good, solid path in the past. In one interview he says he was a “kleptomaniac, pyromaniac, just plain maniac. I was enraged without an outlet. I was aggressive, and I was pretty efficient with it. I took pride in that ability.” He goes on to say that music, and his association with it, “tamed a savage beast.”

Did it, though?

Posted in C-Haze, Children, Current Events, Family, Liberia, News, Parenting, Rape, Sex, Sexual Assault

Shame, Child Rape, Phoenix and Liberia

You know, I really do try to respect other cultures.

I swear I do.

But this shit right here is disgusting.

The story takes place in Phoenix, AZ.

A little eight year old Liberian girl was lured into an alley by four boys- aged 9, 10, 13 and 14- who promised her some chewing gum if she went with them.

Once in the alley the boys restrained the little girl and took turns sexually assaulting her.

The poor child was severely injured and was hospitalized.

The boys were charged with sexual assault and kidnapping, with the 14 year old being charged as an adult.

When the little girl was released from the hospital, authorities had no choice but to place her with child protective services, rather than send her home to her family.

Why?

The family, part of a community of Liberian immigrants in Phoenix, does not want her.

She has shamed them.

They have disowned her.

We learn that this is not uncommon in Liberia, and in fact, this sort of b.s. occurs all over the world.

It is especially distressing when one realizes that rape was not a crime in Liberia until 2006.

Read that shit again- I said rape was not a crime in Liberia until 2006.

Unbelievable.

I don’t understand how anyone, regardless of cultural background, can justify turning their backs on a tiny child- under any circumstances- let alone in a situation like this one.

She was kidnapped and raped repeatedly by other children… fellow refugees…

… And she’s the one who has brought shame onto the community.

Talk about ass backwards.

I wonder what the family of those little child-deviants think about their sons…

Are they disgusted?

Worried about the fact that they have managed to raise child-predators?

Concerned about the type of men they will become?

Have these boys shamed their families?

I think especially of the 14 year old- the teen who is to be charged as an adult- he isn’t going to survive in a man’s prison system… as a non-American… not once his fellow inmates learn that he kidnapped and raped a little girl.

May God have mercy.