Posted by Libergirl…Laughing OUT LOUD!
The vote tallies for the runoff election in the Atlanta mayoral race are official, but with a razor-thin margin remaining, the trailing candidate said Monday that she plans to ask for for a recount.
Election officials in Fulton and DeKalb counties, which both include parts of Atlanta, certified their votes, which still have Keisha Lance Bottoms winning the race. Bottoms’ lead grew from 759 votes in unofficial tallies released last week to 832 votes in the certified results. That still amounts to less than 1 percent of the votes.
The candidates have 48 hours from the certification in each county to request a recount, and Mary Norwood told reporters she would likely do so Tuesday.
“It is absolutely imperative that we take a look at every single ballot,” Norwood said.
More from TPM
Posted by Libergirl
The women accusing the Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct have faced doubt and derision. Other women, who have alleged sexual assault or harassment by powerful men in Hollywood, Silicon Valley and elsewhere, have become targets for online abuse or had their careers threatened. Harvey Weinstein went so far as to hire ex-Mossad operatives to investigate the personal history of the actress Rose McGowan, to discourage her from publicly accusing him of rape.
There are many reasons for women to think twice about reporting sexual assault. But one potential consequence looms especially large: They may also be prosecuted.
This month, a retired police lieutenant in Memphis, Tennessee, Cody Wilkerson, testified, as part of a lawsuit against the city, not only that police detectives sometimes neglected to investigate cases of sexual assault but also that he overheard the head of investigative services in the city’s police department say, on his first day in charge: “The first thing we need to do is start locking up more victims for false reporting.” It’s an alarming choice of priorities — and one that can backfire.
In 2015 we wrote an article for ProPublica and the Marshall Project about Marie, an 18-year-old who reported being raped in Lynnwood, Washington, by a man who broke into her apartment. (Marie is her middle name.) Police detectives treated small inconsistencies in her account — common among trauma victims — as major discrepancies. Instead of interviewing her as a victim, they interrogated her as a suspect. Under pressure, Marie eventually recanted — and was charged with false reporting, punishable by up to a year in jail. The court ordered her to pay $500 in court costs, get mental health counseling for her lying and go on supervised probation for one year. More than two years later, the police in Colorado arrested a serial rapist — and discovered a photograph proving he had raped Marie.
What happened to Marie seemed unthinkable. She was victimized twice — first raped, then prosecuted. But cases like hers can be found around the country. In 1997, a legally blind woman reported being raped at knife point in Madison, Wisconsin. That same year, a pregnant 16-year-old reported being raped in New York City. In 2004, a 19-year-old reported being sexually assaulted at gunpoint in Cranberry Township, Pa.
In all three instances, the women were charged with lying. In all three instances, their reports turned out to be true. The men who raped them were later identified and convicted.
In 2001, a 13-year-old in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, reported being abducted and molested. “You keep lying and lying and lying and lying,” a police detective told her. In 2015, a physical therapist in Vallejo, California, reported being kidnapped and sexually assaulted. The police called her story a hoax. One lieutenant said that she “owes this community an apology.” In both instances, video footage later surfaced affirming the victims’ reports.
In Marie’s case, and with some of the other cases, the victims hadn’t acted the way the police thought a victim should act. Their affect seemed off, or they declined help from an advocate, or they looked away instead of making eye contact. As a result, their stories became suspect.
In Lynnwood, the police have since changed the way they do things to prevent anything like Marie’s case from happening again. Detectives today receive additional training about trauma and cannot doubt a rape report absent “definitive proof” that it is false. In an effort to build trust, the department ensures that victims get immediate help from specially trained advocates. Those changes correspond with guidelines for rape investigations that sex-crimes experts have urged for police departments around the country. Those guidelines stress: The police should investigate thoroughly while reserving judgment. Evidence trumps assumptions. The police should be wary of stereotypes; they should not, for example, find an adolescent victim less believable than an adult. Some victims will be hysterical, others stoic; police should not measure credibility by a victim’s response. Police should not interrogate victims. They should listen.
Nationally, police departments, victim advocates and academics have experimented with ways to relieve the burden on rape victims who might fear dismissal, or even arrest, by reporting their attacks to the police. Perhaps the most influential campaign to change police procedures is known as Start by Believing, sponsored by End Violence Against Women International, an organization that conducts training for the police and victim advocates. The campaign asks participants to make a simple pledge: Start the process of investigation by believing those who come forward. Police agencies in nearly every state have joined up.
Police in Ashland, Ore., started a program called You Have Options. Agencies that participate handle sexual-assault complaints in a radically different way. Victims can report a rape but request that the police not pursue criminal charges. The idea is to give more control to victims, who might otherwise be reluctant to involve themselves with law enforcement. The detective who founded the program believes it will help the police in the long term by increasing the number of people who come forward and allowing police to collect information that could be used in future investigations if a victim changes his or her mind.
Both programs are controversial. For instance, Stacy Galbraith, the detective in Colorado who arrested the serial rapist in Marie’s case, told us her starting point isn’t believing: “I think it’s listen to your victim. And then corroborate or refute based on how things go.”
You Have Options is an even tougher sell. Many police officers are instinctively resistant to the idea of not immediately investigating a rape. Their job, after all, is to catch bad guys, not let them get away.
It is clear that some law enforcement agencies have begun to experiment with ways to be more responsive to rape victims. It is equally clear that there are no simple solutions. The path forward will almost certainly be contentious. But if we are going to make it easier for victims to tell their stories to law enforcement, change is essential.
By Ken Armstrong, T. Christian Miller / ProPublica
Posted by The NON-Conformist
Movie stars are supposedly nothing like you and me. They’re svelte, glamorous, self-possessed. They wear dresses we can’t afford and live in houses we can only dream of. Yet it turns out that—in the most painful and personal ways—movie stars are more like you and me than we ever knew.
In 1997, just before Ashley Judd’s career took off, she was invited to a meeting with Harvey Weinstein, head of the starmaking studio Miramax, at a Beverly Hills hotel. Astounded and offended by Weinstein’s attempt to coerce her into bed, Judd managed to escape. But instead of keeping quiet about the kind of encounter that could easily shame a woman into silence, she began spreading the word.
“I started talking about Harvey the minute that it happened,” Judd says in an interview with TIME. “Literally, I exited that hotel room at the Peninsula Hotel in 1997 and came straight downstairs to the lobby, where my dad was waiting for me, because he happened to be in Los Angeles from Kentucky, visiting me on the set. And he could tell by my face—to use his words—that something devastating had happened to me. I told him. I told everyone.”
More from STEPHANIE ZACHAREK, ELIANA DOCKTERMAN AND HALEY SWEETLAND EDWARDS
PHOTOGRAPHS BY BILLY & HELLS FOR TIME
Posted by The NON-Conformist
Two politicians, on polar opposites of the spectrum, were disgraced with charges of sexual harassment this month.
First, we had Roy Moore, the brash, Bible-thumping, Supreme Court-ignoring former Alabama chief justice. Before five women came forward with stories of being molested by Moore in their teens, he was poised to beat Democrat Doug Jones in the race to fill the Alabama Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Second, enter Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, who was accused of molesting Los Angeles-based KABC radio anchor Leeann Tweeden during a 2006 USO tour, two years before he was elected to the Senate. In her statement, Tweeden recalled the former “Saturday Night Live” comedian had written some sketches as part of the show, including a scene where the two kiss.
On the day of the show Franken and I were alone backstage going over our lines one last time. He said to me, “We need to rehearse the kiss.” I laughed and ignored him. Then he said it again. I said something like, ‘Relax Al, this isn’t SNL … we don’t need to rehearse the kiss.’
He continued to insist, and I was beginning to get uncomfortable.
He repeated that actors really need to rehearse everything and that we must practice the kiss. I said ‘OK’ so he would stop badgering me. We did the line leading up to the kiss and then he came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth.
I immediately pushed him away with both of my hands against his chest and told him if he ever did that to me again I wouldn’t be so nice about it the next time.
I walked away. All I could think about was getting to a bathroom as fast as possible to rinse the taste of him out of my mouth.
I felt disgusted and violated.
In addition to Franken’s behavior backstage, he took a photo during the flight home, smiling at the camera with his hands over Tweeden’s chest while she slept. His response to her accusations was immediate, issuing an apology and assuming responsibility for his actions:
The first thing I want to do is apologize: to Leeann, to everyone else who was part of that tour, to everyone who has worked for me, to everyone I represent, and to everyone who counts on me to be an ally and supporter and champion of women. There’s more I want to say, but the first and most important thing—and if it’s the only thing you care to hear, that’s fine—is: I’m sorry.
I respect women. I don’t respect men who don’t. And the fact that my own actions have given people a good reason to doubt that makes me feel ashamed.
But I want to say something else, too. Over the last few months, all of us—including and especially men who respect women—have been forced to take a good, hard look at our own actions and think (perhaps, shamefully, for the first time) about how those actions have affected women.
For instance, that picture. I don’t know what was in my head when I took that picture, and it doesn’t matter. There’s no excuse. I look at it now and I feel disgusted with myself. It isn’t funny. It’s completely inappropriate. It’s obvious how Leeann would feel violated by that picture. And, what’s more, I can see how millions of other women would feel violated by it—women who have had similar experiences in their own lives, women who fear having those experiences, women who look up to me, women who have counted on me.
Coming from the world of comedy, I’ve told and written a lot of jokes that I once thought were funny but later came to realize were just plain offensive. But the intentions behind my actions aren’t the point at all. It’s the impact these jokes had on others that matters. And I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to come to terms with that.
While I don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit as Leeann does, I understand why we need to listen to and believe women’s experiences.
I am asking that an ethics investigation be undertaken, and I will gladly cooperate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did just that, calling for an ethics investigation.
As with all credible allegations of sexual harassment or assault, I believe the Ethics Committee should review the matter. I hope the Democratic leaders will join me on this. Regardless of party, harassment and assault are completely unacceptable—in the workplace or anywhere else.
Al Franken was among the Democrats who joined him. The first to condemn him was embattled Republican candidate Roy Moore, who responded via Twitter.
Al Franken admits guilt after photographic evidence of his abuse surfaces.
Mitch: “Let’s investigate.”
In Alabama, ZERO evidence, allegations 100% rejected.
Mitch: “Moore must quit immediately or be expelled.”
President Trump, who has remained silent on the accusations leveled against Moore, was quick to comment on Franken’s case through Sarah Huckabee Sanders, with the spokesperson telling reporters the Senate ethics probe is the “appropriate action.”
These events come on the heels of a bipartisan effort this week to reform the way sexual harassment is treated on Capitol Hill. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., unveiled separate bills addressing the complaint process and boosting transparency. The actions came a day after Speier (who revealed her own #MeToo story in October) testified in congressional hearings Tuesday on the subject following last week’s passage of a Senate measure calling for more sexual harassment training.
I have had numerous meetings with phone calls with staffers, both present and former, women and men who have been subjected to this inexcusable and often illegal behavior. In fact, there are two members of Congress, Republican and Democrat, right now, who … have engaged in sexual harassment.
These harasser propositions such as, ‘are you going to be a good girl,’ to perpetrators exposing their genitals, to victims having their private parts grabbed on the House floor. All they ask as staff members is to be able to work in a hostile-free work environment. They want the system fixed, and the perpetrators held accountable.
Speier went on to note that Congress paid out $15 million of taxpayer money in harassment settlements over more than a decade with guilty parties remaining anonymous. A member of the first House Administration Committee’s hearing to review sexual misconduct policy in the House, Barbara Comstock, R-Va., brought the point home:
There is new recognition of this problem and the need for change of a culture that looks the other way because of who the offenders are. Whether it’s Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly, Mark Halperin, Roger Ailes, Kevin Spacey or one of our own, it’s time to say no more.n
By Jordan Riefe/truthdig
Posted by The NON-Conformist
According to a recent study, 86 percent of women who have spent time in jail report that they had been sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. As well, while women represent just 13 percent of the jail population between 2009 and 2011, they represented 67 percent of the victims of staff-on-inmate sexual victimization. Sexual violence is so pronounced among jailed and incarcerated women that Sen. Cory Booker, (D-NJ,) labeled the overarching phenomenon as “a survivor-of-sexual-trauma to prisoner pipeline.”
These numbers come from the Vera Institute of Justice, which authored a survey last year titled “Overlooked: Women and Jails in an Era of Reform.” Given the rising numbers of incarcerated women, specifically in local jails, and the lack of research on them, the Institute wanted to examine who those women were and what adversities they faced. Other findings were equally alarming as those above.
Two thirds of the women in jail are of color, and the majority of that population is also low-income. Further, nearly 80 percent of the incarcerated are mothers, most of them raising a child without a partner. Eighty-two percent were incarcerated for nonviolent offenses, while 32 percent have serious mental illness and 82 percent suffer from drug or alcohol addiction. Finally, 77 percent of those polled were victims of partner violence and and another 60 percent experienced caregiver violence.
First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray, who works with women at Rikers Island, added that in addition to the prevalence of sexual assault, abuse and trauma present in the lives of the majority of incarcerated women, “women are often trapped in a lower-paid status,” she told Salon on a recent episode of “Salon Talks.”
This economic reality is often what inspires the crimes that end up landing these women in local jails in the first place. Laurie Garduque, the criminal justice director of the MacArthur Foundation, which co-published the survey, told Salon that many women end up in jail because of “crimes of poverty.” During the survey, she encountered women who were jailed for reasons like unpaid parking tickets, stealing discount clothes for their children and for failing to show up to court.
“A lot of people are there because they haven’t paid their fines and fees, haven’t paid their child support, have outstanding bench warrants,” she added. Beyond that, many are forced to stay in jail awaiting pre-trial because they have no resources to pay cash bail.
The survey found that in 2012, 36 percent of women were being held in a pre-trial unit in Massachusetts because they could not afford bail amounts of less than $500. Given that Black and Latina women live at low-income rates disproportionate to the white population, they are also the cohorts most impacted by the cash bail system.
Simply, the economic realities for women compounded by the economic realities for people of color combine to create a system where members of certain at-risk populations awaiting trial may spend significant time behind bars for minor offenses they were compelled to commit regardless of whether they are convicted of them or not. “It’s really a revolving door,” Garduque said.
Garduque also emphasized another point. “Over the same period of time where we’ve seen a growth in incarceration with respect to prisons, we’ve seen growth and the reliance of jails,” she continued. “So they’ve become transformed, devoted less to protecting public safety and more in line with housing poor people, and people with behavioral health issues, or where other systems have failed them.”
Many of these problems only mount once a woman is jailed as “most jail environments were not designed with them in mind and do not take into account the particular adversities they have experienced,” the report says. Garduque explained that many jails are not equipped to deal with gynecological issues, pregnancy, menstrual cycles or the fact that the majority of women in jail retain custody of their children.
All of this data points to a striking problem in criminal justice reform. Policymakers tend to address reform in stages, prioritizing some populations and leaving others vastly overlooked. Because women still represent a small percentage of the jail population, “the jails have not focused their time or resources to think about what specifics needs need to be addressed,” Garduque said. “That’s why jail, in many respects, will make women even worse off.”
Overall, though the population of 1.2 million women currently supervised by the criminal justice system in many ways mirrors that of incarcerated men, being that both disproportionately house affect the low-income population and people of color. Yet, reformers rarely include women in the discussion of mass incarceration and criminal justice reform. It’s a striking mistake given the shifting demographics of those behind bars.
While there has been an overall decline in the number of incarcerated men on a local and state level, the same is not true for incarcerated women. In fact, “the rate of growth for female imprisonment has outpaced men by more than 50% between 1980 and 2014,” the Sentencing Project says.
Given that women are the fastest growing jail population in the nation, the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge is working with jurisdictions to address the “misuse and overuse of jails” and to reduce jail populations by fostering more equitable justice systems.
The Vera Institute and the MacArthur Foundation see women-specific reforms as the only route forward. “It’s much more complicated than it is for men,” McCray added.
In an attempt to address this, the foundation selected various jurisdictions with different resources to demonstrate that “regardless of their resources,” Garduque said, “if they have the political will, and if they have the knowledge and information, that they can enact the reform to eliminate unnecessary use of jail and still address the issue of racial and economic disparity.”
There has been a tentative response to the plight of incarcerated women in Congress as well. In July, Booker proposed a new bill titled “the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act” cosigned by Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Dick Durbin. According to Slate, some of the provisions include a ban on the shackling or placing in solitary confinement of pregnant inmates.
Further, the bill would require prisons to provide free menstrual products for those awaiting trial and bar male guards from supervising female inmates in bathrooms, except during emergencies. Inmates would no longer be charged for calling friends and family members. The bill would also consider the placement of incarcerated women who are mothers in relation to their families, and foster more accessible communication and visitation between mothers and their children in general.
These and other proposed reforms contained within the Dignity Act fall in line with what the Vera Institute urges. Yet, the Dignity Act would only apply to women in federal prisons. Even with its passage, things would not necessarily change for the number of individuals jails and state prisons who make up the overwhelming bulk of the incarcerated women in the United States.
Still, the act’s passing would be a step forward for many and, perhaps, a motivation for state and local authorities to reconsider and revise their own practices.
Whatever the case, the already dire situation for women behind bars — and quite specifically in jail — erodes further toward the inhuman with every passing day. It’s a systematic crisis that, by now, has transcended the legal and the logistical to take on the dimensions of a moral emergency.
“I know there’s a lot going on right now,” Booker told Refinery 29, referring to the political climate. “But you can always judge the greatness of a society by looking at who it imprisons and how it treats them.” By that measure, the United States has much to do in order to claim any kind of greatness.
By Rachel Leah / Salon
Posted by The NON-Conformist