Category: Sexual Harassment


Daniel Bice | No Quarter

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos sought to quell a leadership crisis by announcing Saturday that he and fellow Republicans plan to oust his embattled No. 2.

In a statement released by Vos’ office, Assembly GOP leaders said they intend to strip Majority Leader Bill Kramer of his leadership post after he was accused of sexually harassing at least two women while in Washington, D.C., for a recent fundraiser.

“We believe the serious nature of the alleged incidents require us to ask the Assembly Republican Caucus to remove Rep. Kramer from his position as the Assembly majority leader,” the statement said. “It is clear he has lost our trust and confidence. On Tuesday, Assembly Republicans will take a vote to remove him from his leadership position and we will then determine how best to fill the position of majority leader.”

The announcement came after Kramer abruptly checked himself into a treatment facility for unspecified reasons.

Sources said Kramer had been scheduled to chat with Vos (R-Rochester) on Saturday about whether he could remain in the Assembly leadership while facing these serious accusations. That discussion never happened.

Cameron Sholty, Kramer’s chief of staff, declined to provide details about where his boss was getting treatment and what it was for.

“Please understand that I won’t discuss the representative’s treatment,” Sholty said by email.

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Associated Press

A view north from atop the U.S. Capitol dome shows Union Station and the Russell Senate Office Building during a media tour in Washington

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A view north from atop the U.S. Capitol dome shows the Russell Senate Office Building (R) and Union Station (2nd R) during a media tour of the dome on Capitol Hill in Washington, December 19, 2013.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The women of the Senate who led the fight to change how the military deals with sexual assault in its ranks are hailing passage of a comprehensive defense bill that now heads to President Barack Obama for his signature.

The Senate voted 84-15 Thursday night for the $632.8 billion bill that covers combat pay, new ships, aircraft and military bases. Drawing the greatest attention were provisions cracking down on perpetrators of sexual assault and rape.

The military’s handling of high-profile cases united Democrats and Republicans, House and Senate in a concerted effort to change the Uniform Code of Military Justice, with Senate women leading the fight. Estimates from the Pentagon that 26,000 members of the military may have been sexually assaulted last year, though thousands were afraid to come forward for fear of inaction or retribution, emboldened lawmakers to act.

“Today represents a huge win for victims of sexual assault, and for justice in America’s armed forces, but this is no finish line,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., one of seven women on the Armed Services Committee who pushed for the changes. “In the months and years ahead, vigilance will be required to ensure that these historic reforms are implemented forcefully and effectively.”

The legislation would strip military commanders of their ability to overturn jury convictions, require a civilian review if a commander declines to prosecute a case and require that any individual convicted of sexual assault face a dishonorable discharge or dismissal. The bill also would provide victims with legal counsel, eliminate the statute of limitations for courts-martial in rape and sexual assault cases, and criminalize retaliation against victims who report a sexual assault.

“Today we have taken a major, unprecedented step toward finally eliminating the plague of sexual assault in our nation’s military,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

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Military.com

Congress Sends Sweeping Defense Bill to Obama

President Barack Obama speaks at a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington,Tuesday, April 30, 2013.

WASHINGTON — The women of the Senate who led the fight to change how the military deals with sexual assault in its ranks are hailing passage of a comprehensive defense bill that now heads to President Barack Obama for his signature.

The Senate voted 84-15 Thursday night for the $632.8 billion bill that covers combat pay, new ships, aircraft and military bases. Drawing the greatest attention were provisions cracking down on perpetrators of sexual assault and rape.

The military’s handling of high-profile cases united Democrats and Republicans, House and Senate in a concerted effort to change the Uniform Code of Military Justice, with Senate women leading the fight. Estimates from the Pentagon that 26,000 members of the military may have been sexually assaulted last year, though thousands were afraid to come forward for fear of inaction or retribution, emboldened lawmakers to act.

“Today represents a huge win for victims of sexual assault, and for justice in America’s armed forces, but this is no finish line,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., one of seven women on the Armed Services Committee who pushed for the changes. “In the months and years ahead, vigilance will be required to ensure that these historic reforms are implemented forcefully and effectively.”

The legislation would strip military commanders of their ability to overturn jury convictions, require a civilian review if a commander declines to prosecute a case and require that any individual convicted of sexual assault face a dishonorable discharge or dismissal. The bill also would provide victims with legal counsel, eliminate the statute of limitations for courts-martial in rape and sexual assault cases, and criminalize retaliation against victims who report a sexual assault.

“Today we have taken a major, unprecedented step toward finally eliminating the plague of sexual assault in our nation’s military,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

Another member of the Armed Services panel, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., said the special counsel “will help encourage victims to come forward to seek justice, and it will help ensure that perpetrators are held accountable for their crimes.”

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TSA: Thousands Standing Around while Trained Sexual Assaulters Touch Some Ass

breakingtheset

Published on Oct 18, 2013

Abby Martin cites a new report by the Arizona Republic about the Phoenix International Airport about TSA misconduct, highlighting instances where agents have abused the elderly and the disabled.

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Examiner.com

Federal air marshal arrested for taking cell phone photos up women’s skirts (Video)

A federal air marshal was arrested in Nashville, Tenn., Thursday for allegedly taking cell phone photographs up women passengers’ skirts. Adam Bartsch, 28, was arrested after another male passenger noticed him taking the inappropriate photos, and wrestled the federal air marshal’s cell phone from his hands, according to ABC News2 on Oct. 17.

Passenger Rey Collazo said he first saw Bartsch, who he did not know was an on-duty air marshal, taking the pictures while boarding the plane.

He described how he reached over and grabbed the cell phone from Bartsch. Collazo said he had to twist the phone out of the marshal’s hand, and after a short struggle he shoved him back and took the phone away from him.

Collazo notified the flight crew, who in turn called authorities, after first calling Bartsch a “disgrace” to men and human being.

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By Nicola Abé in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan

Photo Gallery: Rash of Suicides Plagues Afghanistan
REUTERS

Women in Mazar-e-Sharif have straddled the worlds between Western freedoms and conservative traditions for a decade. As the Taliban gains strength and the West pulls out, Afghanistan’s most liberal city is being plagued by a rash of suicides.

Fareba Gul decided to die in a burqa. She put on the traditional gown, which she usually didn’t wear, and drove to the Blue Mosque. There, at the holiest place in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif, she swallowed malathion, an insecticide. She then ran over to the square, where hundreds of white doves were waiting to be fed by visitors. When she was surrounded by the birds, the cramps set in.

“Fareba was lying on the ground when I arrived, and people were standing all around her,” says her uncle Faiz Mohammed, whom she had called before taking the poison. “She was screaming for help.” He lifted up his niece, carried her to a taxi and took her to a hospital. Foam was pouring from her mouth, and she was slipping in and out of consciousness. One hour later, 21-year-old Fareba Gul was dead. She died on the same day, and in the same hospital, as her 16-year-old sister Nabila.

Behind the tragedy lay a harmless love affair, relatives say. The sisters had been fighting, and Nabila had taken things too far: She had fallen in love. Fareba, the relatives say, got angry, calling Nabila’s behavior “indecent” and demanding that she end the affair. Both got very upset and were screaming at each other. Their mother entered the room and slapped Nabila. Then, Nabila reportedly took the poison from her father’s cabinet and swallowed it in her room. A few hours later, Fareba took the same pills. “She felt guilty,” says her uncle.

The sisters’ double suicide hangs over the city like a dark shadow. Mazar-e-Sharif is widely viewed as one of the most peaceful and liberal cities in Afghanistan. But could this be an omen of what lies ahead for the country once Western troops start withdrawing in the near future?

Living in Mazar-e-Sharif means living in relative security. But now more and more women are starting to hurt themselves here, as well. It leaves one baffled, but it is still no coincidence.

More than anywhere else in Afghanistan, women in Mazar-e-Sharif are torn between tradition and their newly won freedom, between family expectations and their own sense of self. They are trapped in a society that is at once deeply conservative but also offers just enough freedom for women to discover a modern, Westernized lifestyle. Girls can go to school, women can work, and both can surf the Web and watch cable TV. But forced marriages, domestic violence and many limitations continue to exist for many of them — and are all-the-more difficult to bear. Under these circumstances, choosing how and when to die can become a form of self-determination.

Zarghana, 28, has survived two suicide attempts. She enjoyed success working...

Farshad Usyan/ DER SPIEGEL

Zarghana, 28, has survived two suicide attempts. She enjoyed success working for a human rights organization as a teacher, but then her husband abandoned her with their seven children and she lost her job. Her father refuses to let her divorce her husband, a stepbrother whom she was forced to marry at a young age.

When asked about the women killing themselves, the city’s police chief claims that such things “only happen in Heart province or in remote mountain villages.” Women’s rights organizations point to poverty and a lack of education as the main factors behind the suicides.

But the family home of the dead sisters is located in one of the best areas of town. It is spacious and in good condition, with a garden full of blooming roses. Marzia Gul, their mother, says “Please, come in,” and sits down on the sofa in the living room, sinking into the red upholstery. “Fareba, my oldest daughter, studied law,” she says. “She wanted to be a lawyer like her father” and was just a year away from her final exams. Nabila, the younger one, also did well in school, she continues. “She wanted to be a journalist.”

Marzia gets up, walks over to the cupboard and takes a photo from a glass tray. The picture shows a smiling little girl with pigtails and freckles. “She was so kind and helpful,” she says. Then her voice breaks.

A Place of Despair

The sisters’ suicide is particularly unsettling because the girls led privileged lives in this long-suffering country. They watched Bollywood films, had mobile phones and Internet access. Along with jeans and makeup, they wore headscarves but no burqas. They didn’t have to hide from the world.

And they lived in a city that does not force the well-off to barricade themselves behind concrete walls. A powerful governor controls life in this part of Afghanistan — so effectively, in fact, that residents hardly have to fear death from a bomb attack. Foreign aid workers are permitted to move around freely. Visitors barely see any weapons in the streets. Instead, they can watch women in the bazaars trying on shoes, their eyelids shaded with the traditional cosmetic kajal and their hair lightly covered by a headscarf.

Indeed, in theory, Mazar-e-Sharif is a place of hope. But at least in the regional hospital’s department of internal medicine, the city is a place of despair.

“Fridays are the worst,” says Dr. Khaled Basharmal as he takes out a notebook. “Eight attempted suicides on a single day.” He reads off the names of the most recent patients — Raihana, Roya, Shukuria, Terena, Rahima. There are also the names of two young men.

“It’s a disaster. Since late March, we’ve had more than 200 cases,” Basharmal says. The sisters, Fareba and Nabila Gul, were among his patients as well.

Basharmal is sweating underneath his white coat, and he is exhausted. It’s noon now, and he was forced to work another shift that lasted through the night.

No official statistics are kept, and no one can confirm his figures. Nevertheless, Afghanistan is believed to be one of the few countries in the world that has more women taking their lives than men. A recent study concluded that five out of every 100,000 women are committing suicide each year. But the real number is likely to be much higher, especially in rural areas far away from the big cities. More than 1.8 million women in Afghanistan, which has an estimated population of 31 million, are said to be suffering from depression.

 

More than anywhere else in Afghanistan, women in Mazar-e-Sharif are torn...

Getty Images

More than anywhere else in Afghanistan, women in Mazar-e-Sharif are torn between tradition and their newly won freedom, between family expectations and their own sense of self. They are trapped in a society that is at once deeply conservative but also offers just enough freedom for women to discover a modern, Westernized lifestyle. Girls can go to school, women can work, and both can surf the Web and watch cable TV.

 

Read More  and See Additional Photos Here

 

 

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Dubai sentences Norwegian woman who reported rape

Marte Deborah Dalelv in Dubai on 19 July 2013 Marte Deborah Dalelv says she is “very nervous and tense” but remains hopeful she can overturn the sentence on appeal.

Interior designer Marte Deborah Dalelv was on a business trip in Dubai when she says she was raped.

The 24-year-old reported the March attack to the police but found herself charged with having extramarital sex, drinking alcohol, and perjury.

Convicted earlier this week, she says she is appealing against the verdict.

The appeal hearing is scheduled for early September.

Describing the sentence as “very harsh”, she told the AFP news agency: “I am very nervous and tense. But I hope for the best and I take one day at a time. I just have to get through this.”

The case has angered rights groups and the authorities in Norway.

‘Wanted’

Ms Dalelv says she had been on a night out with colleagues on 6 March when the rape took place.

She reported it to the police, who proceeded to confiscate her passport and seize her money. She was charged four days later on three counts, including having sex outside marriage.

File photo of Dubai Dubai’s cosmopolitan atmosphere belie deeply conservative roots

Her alleged attacker, she said, received a 13-month sentence for extra-marital sex and alcohol consumption.

The Norwegian government had secured Ms Dalelv’s conditional release so, since being charged, she has been living under the protection of the Norwegian Seamans’ Centre in Dubai.

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Dubai Pardons Woman Sentenced to Prison After Telling Police She Was Raped

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Marte Dalelv from Norway flashes a smile at the Norwegian Seamen’s Center in Dubai, on July 22, 2013 after she was pardoned by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum of an extramarital sex charge and allowed to fly home

Photo by KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images

The Associated Press with the good—and overdue—news:

A Norwegian woman at the center of a Dubai rape claim dispute said Sunday that officials have dropped her 16-month sentence for having sex outside marriage and she is free to leave the country. “I am very, very happy,” Marte Deborah Dalelv told The Associated Press. “I am overjoyed.” …

[Norwegian Foreign Minister] Barth Eide told the Norwegian news agency NTB that international media attention and Norway’s diplomatic measures helped Dalelv, who was free on appeal with her next court hearing scheduled for early September. Norway also reminded the United Arab Emirates of obligations under U.N. accords to seriously investigate claims of violence against women.

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Project Syndicate - the world's pre-eminent source of original and exclusive op-ed commentaries

NEW YORK – Around the world, people’s understanding of why rape happens usually takes one of two forms. Either it is like lightning, striking some unlucky woman who was in the wrong place at the wrong time (an isolated, mysterious event, caused by some individual man’s sudden psychopathology), or it is “explained” by some seductive transgression by the victim (the wrong dress, a misplaced smile).

This illustration is by Barrie Maguire and comes from <a href="http://www.newsart.com">NewsArt.com</a>, and is the property of the NewsArt organization and of its artist. Reproducing this image is a violation of copyright law.
Illustration by Barrie Maguire

But the idea of a “rape culture” – a concept formulated by feminists in the 1970’s as they developed the study of sexual violence – has hardly made a dent in mainstream consciousness. The notion that there are systems, institutions, and attitudes that are more likely to encourage rape and protect rapists is still marginal to most people, if they have encountered it at all.

That is a shame, because there have been numerous recent illustrations of the tragic implications of rape culture. Reports of widespread sexual violence in India, South Africa, and recently Brazil have finally triggered a long-overdue, more systemic examination of how those societies may be fostering rape, not as a distant possibility in women’s lives, but as an ever-present, life-altering, daily source of terror.

The latest “rape culture” to be exposed – in recent documentaries, lawsuits, and legislative hearings – is embedded within the United States military. As The Guardian reported in 2011, women soldiers in Iraq faced a higher likelihood of being sexually assaulted by a colleague than they did of dying by enemy fire.

So pervasive is the sexual violence aimed at American women soldiers that a group of veterans sued the Pentagon, hoping to spur change. Twenty-five women and three men claimed that they had endured sexual assaults while serving, and lay the blame at the feet of former US Defense Secretaries Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates. The reason, the lawsuit claims, is that these men oversaw an institutional culture that punished those who reported the assaults, while refusing to punish the attackers.

When Maricella Guzman reported a sexual assault in her first month of service in the Navy, instead of being “taken seriously,” she says, “I was forced to do sit-ups.” Women soldiers who had served in Afghanistan came forward to speak with the filmmakers Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick, whose Oscar-nominated film The Invisible War exposed the scale of the problem. The fear of rape at US-held battlefields led directly to endemic illnesses caused by dehydration: women at the front, serving in 110-degree heat (43 degrees Celsius), did everything possible to avoid drinking, because rape was so common in the latrines.

The tales of colleagues, and even superiors, assaulting soldiers whose lives they are supposed to protect – stories that reveal the license that the attackers must have felt they had – are harrowing enough. What becomes clear from story after story in The Invisible War is a consistent – indeed, nearly identical – narrative of concealment, cover-up, and punishment of alleged victims, for whom justice was almost impossible to obtain through institutional channels.

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James Taranto has decided to inject himself into the military rape issue; problem is, his ideas are all of the antiquated 'blame the victim' variety. Image @PSAWomenPolitics

James Taranto has decided to inject himself into the military rape issue; problem is, his ideas are all of the antiquated ‘blame the victim’ variety. Image @PSAWomenPolitics

Image Source

The Wall Street Journal

Gen. Helms and the Senator’s ‘Hold’

An Air Force commander exercised her discretion in a sexual-assault case. Now her career is being blocked by Sen. Claire McCaskill. Why?

JAMES TARANTO

Lt. Gen. Susan Helms is a pioneering woman who finds her career stalled because of a war on men—a political campaign against sexual assault in the military that shows signs of becoming an effort to criminalize male sexuality.

Gen. Helms is a 1980 graduate of the Air Force Academy who became an astronaut in 1990. She was a crewman on four space-shuttle missions and a passenger on two, traveling to the International Space Station and back 5½ months later. Two days after arriving at the station in 2001, she, along with fellow astronaut Jim Voss, conducted history’s longest spacewalk—8 hours, 56 minutes—to work on a docking device.

In March, President Obama nominated Gen. Helms to serve as vice commander of the Air Force Space Command. But Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat who sits on the Armed Services Committee, has placed a “permanent hold” on the nomination.

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Associated Press
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.

At issue is the general’s decision in February 2012 to grant clemency to an officer under her command. Capt. Matthew Herrera had been convicted by a court-martial of aggravated sexual assault. Ms. McCaskill said earlier this month that the clemency decision “sent a damaging message to survivors of sexual assault who are seeking justice in the military justice system.”

image

Associated Press
Lt. Gen. Susan Helms

To describe the accuser in the Herrera case as a “survivor” is more than a little histrionic. The trial was a he-said/she-said dispute between Capt. Herrera and a female second lieutenant about a drunken October 2009 sexual advance in the back seat of a moving car. The accuser testified that she fell asleep, then awoke to find her pants undone and Capt. Herrera touching her genitals. He testified that she was awake, undid her own pants, and responded to his touching by resting her head on his shoulder.

Two other officers were present—the designated driver and a front-seat passenger, both lieutenants—but neither noticed the hanky-panky. Thus on the central questions of initiation and consent, it was her word against his.

On several other disputed points, however, the driver, Lt. Michelle Dickinson, corroborated Capt. Herrera’s testimony and contradicted his accuser’s.

Capt. Herrera testified that he and the accuser had flirted earlier in the evening; she denied it. Lt. Dickinson agreed with him. The accuser testified that she had told Lt. Dickinson before getting into the car that she found Capt. Herrera “kind of creepy” and didn’t want to share the back seat with him; Lt. Dickinson testified that she had said no such thing. And the accuser denied ever resting her head on Capt. Herrera’s shoulder (although she acknowledged putting it in his lap). Lt. Dickinson testified that at one point during the trip, she looked back and saw the accuser asleep with her head on Capt. Herrera’s shoulder.

 

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The Denver Post 
Posted:   06/20/2013 06:27:50 PM MDT
Updated:   06/21/2013 10:47:38 AM MDT

By Chris Staiti and Barry Bortnick, Bloomberg News


Norwood School Superintendent David Crews said experts were brought in to talk about hazing and bullying in the wake of an incident in which a 13-year-old boy was sodomized by upperclassmen. Crews imposed a one-day, in-school suspension on the three boys accused of the assault. (Barry Bortnick/Bloomberg News)

NORWOOD, Colo. — At the state high-school wrestling tournament in Denver last year, three upperclassmen cornered a 13-year-old boy on an empty school bus, bound him with duct tape and sodomized him with a pencil.

For the boy and his family, that was only the beginning.

The students were from Norwood, Colo., a ranching town of about 500 people near the Telluride ski resort. Two of the attackers were sons of Robert Harris, the wrestling coach, who was president of the school board. The victim’s father was the K-12 principal.

After the principal reported the incident to police, townspeople forced him to resign. Students protested against the victim at school, put “Go to Hell” stickers on his locker and wore T-shirts

Norwood, Colo., is so small that its 300 students in preschool through 12th grade attend classes in a single building. (Barry Bortnick/Bloomberg News)

that supported the perpetrators. The attackers later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges, according to the Denver district attorney’s office.”Nobody would help us,” said the victim’s father, who asked not to be named to protect his son’s privacy. Bloomberg News doesn’t identify victims of sexual assault. “We contacted everybody and nobody would help us,” he said.

High-school hazing and bullying used to involve name- calling, towel-snapping and stuffing boys into lockers. Now, boys sexually abusing other boys is part of the ritual. More than 40 high school boys were sodomized with foreign objects by their teammates in over a dozen alleged incidents reported in the past year, compared with about three incidents a decade ago, according to a Bloomberg review of court documents and news accounts.

Among them, boys were raped with a broken flagpole outside Los Angeles; a metal concrete-reinforcing bar in Fontana, Calif.; a jump-rope handle in Greenfield, Iowa; and a water bottle in Hardin, Mo., according to court rulings and prosecutors.

At New York’s elite Bronx High School of Science, three teenage track-team members were arrested after a freshman teammate alleged they repeatedly hazed him between December

Norwood’s single main street, with laundromat and diner, presents a working-class contrast to the lavish Telluride ski and summer resort 33 miles away. (Barry Bortnick/Bloomberg News)

and February, including holding the boy down and sodomizing him with their fingers. They pleaded not guilty in New York state criminal court in the Bronx, according to Melvin Hernandez, a spokesman for the Bronx District Attorney’s office. A lawyer for one of the boys was unavailable for comment; the other two declined to comment.While little research has been done on boy-on-boy sexual hazing, almost 10 percent of high school males reported being victims of rape, forced oral sex or other forms of sexual assault by their peers, according to a 2009 study in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

“This is right out of ‘Lord of the Flies,”‘ said Susan Stuart, a professor of education law at Valparaiso University Law School in Indiana, who has studied an increase in federal lawsuits brought by male victims of sexual hazing. “And nobody knows about it.”

Hazing in high school is fueling college hazing, experts say, as a new generation of players on middle- and high-school sports teams learn ways to haze through social media, said Susan Lipkins, a psychologist in Port Washington, N.Y., who has studied the subject for 25 years. The practice has been increasing in frequency over the past decade, becoming more brutal and sexually violent, she said.

“Each time a hazing occurs, the perpetrators add their own mark to it by increasing the pain or humiliation,” Lipkins said.

High school boys are trying to prove their masculinity to each other by humiliating younger boys because that’s what they think manliness is all about, said William Pollack, associate professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School.

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Barack Obama, Martin Dempsey

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

President Barack Obama speaks during a meeting with Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, left, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and the service secretaries, service chiefs, and senior enlisted advisers to discuss sexual assault in the military in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 16, 2013.

(WASHINGTON) — The Air Force’s top general said Friday that sexual assaults in his branch of the military typically involve alcohol use and can be traced to a lack of respect for women.

“We have a problem with respect for women that leads to many of the situations that result in sexual assault in our Air Force,” Gen. Mark Welsh told reporters in a lengthy interview in his Pentagon offices.

He spoke one day after he and other military leaders were summoned to the White House to discuss the sexual assault problem with President Barack Obama, who has expressed impatience with the Pentagon’s failure to solve it.

Welsh said combatting the problem, which he characterized as a crisis, is his No. 1 priority as the Air Force chief of staff. He said he reviews every reported case of sexual assault; last year there were 792 in the Air Force.

Welsh addressed criticism about his comment last week, in response to questions at a congressional hearing, that the problem can be explained in part by a “hook-up mentality” in the wider society. Some said his remark implied that the blame rests mainly with victims.

“If I had this to do over again, I would take more time to answer the question and not try to compress it,” he said, adding that his point was that every person who enters the Air Force needs to be instructed in “this idea of respect, inclusion, diversity and value of every individual.”

“Now, I didn’t say it that way in the hearing, and I wish I had because I think it gave, especially victims, the opportunity for someone to interpret what I said as blaming the victims,” he said, adding that as a result, “I am sorry about that because there is nothing that is farther from the truth.”

Obama said after Thursday’s meeting with the military leaders that he is determined to eliminate the “scourge” of sexual assault in the military, while cautioning that it will take a long and sustained effort by all military members.

“There is no silver bullet to solving this problem,” Obama said.

 

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Welsh: Open to all options to stop military sexual assault

By Jennifer Hlad

Stars and Stripes
Published: May 17, 2013
Welsh

Gen. Mark A. Welsh told reporters Friday morning that he is “open” to taking some of the UCMJ authority that exists now on sex crimes out of the chain of command.
Scott M. Ash/U.S. Air Force/File photo

WASHINGTON — As the president continues to press top military brass to stop sexual assaults and a third man in charge of sexual assault prevention is accused of misconduct, the Air Force chief of staff said he’s open to doing what advocates have been suggesting for years: Removing the authority to prosecute sex crimes from the chain of command.

Currently, commanders are responsible for initiating courts-martial against alleged attackers in their own chain of command, and for reviewing the results of courts-martial. Victims and advocates say that system discourages victims from reporting and can lead to problems when the accused has a better reputation within the unit than the victim does.

Gen. Mark Welsh told reporters Friday morning that he believes “all options should be on the table” for addressing sexual assault, and that he is “open” to taking some of the UCMJ authority that exists now on sex crimes out of the chain of command. He also said he believes it’s time to strip from commanders the ability to reverse courts-martial findings, though he said he believes commanders should retain the authority to reduce sentences.

The issue came into the spotlight earlier this year, when an Air Force lieutenant general decided to overturn the sexual assault conviction and sentence of a fighter pilot in Italy.

 

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US military ordered to recertify sexual assault prevention personnel

Defence secretary Chuck Hagel moves to quell outrage in order to each branch of military to address sexual assault issue

  • Associated Press in Washington
  • guardian.co.uk, Friday 17 May 2013 16.47 EDT
Hagel And Dempsey

Defence secretary Chuck Hagel and General Martin Dempsey at a briefing about sexual assault in the military. Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Defence secretary Chuck Hagel on Friday ordered the military to recertify every person involved in programmes designed to prevent and respond to sexual assault, an acknowledgement that assaults have escalated beyond the Pentagon’s control.

He said this step is one among many that will be taken to fix the problem of sexual abuse and sexual harassment within every branch of the military.

At a news conference with General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Hagel said he believes alcohol use is “a very big factor” in many sexual assault and sexual harassment cases, but there are many pieces to the problem.

Hagel said it has become clear to him since taking office in February that holding people accountable for their actions is important, but simply firing people is not a solution.

“Who are you going to fire?” he asked.

 

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March 15, 2013

 

womenEgyptian women protest in Tahrir Square in Cairo in 2011 against violence against women. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

(CNSNews.com) – As the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women tries to finalize a document on violence against women by the end of its two-week session Friday, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is leading a pushback by governments that accuse it of trying to undermine religious or cultural values.

Egypt’s ruling Islamist party called on all Muslim countries to “reject and condemn” the draft document under discussion at the CSW session in New York, warning that it would undermine the family, subvert society, and “drag it to pre-Islamic ignorance.”

“This declaration, if ratified, would lead to complete disintegration of society, and would certainly be the final step in the intellectual and cultural invasion of Muslim countries, eliminating the moral specificity that helps preserve cohesion of Islamic societies,” it said in a statement.

The declaration would in fact be non-binding, although U.N. documents are typically cited in future negotiations as having set norms to be built upon.

Earlier, Libya’s grand mufti issued a fatwa (religious ruling) against the draft document.

Among elements in the CSW draft opposed by the Brotherhood are some that would resonate with many Western conservatives – including a reference to “safe abortion” where permitted by law and an allusion to same-sex relationships (couched as the right to decide without coercion on “matters related to their sexuality.”)

Others, however, touch on norms Westerners would generally not dispute but which the Brotherhood says are contrary to shari’a, such as those relating to early marriage, polygamy, and inheritance equality.

Where the CSW document calls for women to enjoy equality in “participation and decision-making in all spheres of life,” for instance, the Brotherhood sees a threat against the right of Muslim men to give or withhold consent for wives to travel or work.

Full equality in marriage, it said in the statement, would allow Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men, abolish polygamy, and remove the authority of divorce from husbands.

 

womenEgyptian women take part in demonstrations against the Mubarak regime in Cairo on Jan. 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

The Brotherhood was also unhappy that the document sought to promote “full sharing of roles within the family between men and women such as: spending, child care and home chores.”

Egypt wants the draft amended to allow countries to sidestep those recommendations they view as clashing with religious or cultural values.

The document itself urges against such a provision, calling on states “to refrain from invoking any custom, tradition or religious consideration to avoid their obligations” with respect to eliminating violence against women and girls.

 

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NCW responds to Muslim Brotherhood statement

  /   March 14, 2013

National Council for Women denies the UN declaration on violence against women breaches Islamic Shari’a

 Egyptian women demand their rights on the occasion of the International Women's Day, (Photo by Mohamed Omar/DNE)

Egyptian women demand their rights on the occasion of the International Women’s Day, (Photo by Mohamed Omar/DNE)

The National Council for Women (NCW) denied in a statement released on Thursday that a declaration regarding violence against women currently being drafted in the 57th United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women breaches Islamic Shari’a.

The Muslim Brotherhood released a statement on Wednesday denouncing the declaration for “contradicting principles of Islam and destroying family life and the entire society”.

“The Brotherhood’s statement is completely unfounded,” the NCW said in its statement. The council added that the final draft of the declaration is yet to be released and voted on.

The council denied that the declaration goes against the principles of Islam, eliminates Islamic manner or destroys families. “This misleading allegation abuses religion to taint the UN and stall women’s rights,” the statement read. It added that the “accusations” referred to in the Brotherhood’s statement are all non-existent in the draft declaration.

“The points mentioned in the Brotherhood’s statement cannot be found in the declaration; neither literally nor metaphorically,” said Abeer Abul Ella, head of the NCW’s media office.

In its statement, the Muslim Brotherhood listed ten points allegedly present within the declaration which represent “the final step in the intellectual and cultural invasion of Muslim countries”.

The points include: granting girls sexual freedom as well as the freedom to decide their gender, providing contraceptives for adolescent girls and legalising abortion “in the name of reproductive rights”, granting adulterous wives and illegitimate children equal rights, granting equal rights to homosexuals and protecting and respecting prostitutes, allowing wives to legally accuse their husbands of rape or sexual harassment, allowing equal inheritance rights among men and women, replacing husbands’ guardianship with partnership, full equality in marriage legislation (which would allow Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men), removing the divorce authority from husbands and giving it to legal courts, and abolishing the need for husbands’ consent on matters such as their wives’ work, travel or going out.

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By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 09:06 EST, 2 March 2013 | UPDATED: 09:44 EST, 2 March 2013

Vermont state police have charged two men with Connecticut ties in an alleged child sexual assault case spanning several years that involved a victim who says he was wrapped in cellophane and subjected to other bondage.

State police charged 39-year-old Frank Meyer of West Haven, Conn., and 42-year-old Brett Bartolotta of Cavendish, Vt., with aggravated sexual assault and slave trafficking Wednesday.

The New Haven Register reports Meyer is a West Haven Fire Department captain and Bartolotta is a former West Haven firefighter.

 

AccusedAccused: Frank Meyer, 39, of West Haven, Conn., and Brett Bartolotta, 42, of Cavendish, Vt., are charged with aggravated sexual assault and slave trafficking

 

Authorities say a 25-year-old man came forward with the allegations last month, saying the assaults began when he was 12 and the sexual relations continued to last year.

The assaults allegedly occurred in Ludlow and Cavendish.

 

Both men pleaded not guilty and are detained on $50,000 bail.

The men allegedly bribed the boy to get him to perform hundreds of sexual favors.

Among the gifts was a dirt bike and a hunting bow.

worked Shared history: Both men have worked as volunteer firefighters for this West Haven fire department

The boy met Bartolotta when he went to a friend’s house to ride their dirt bikes, NBC Connecticut reported.

 

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