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Cruising safety & SV

July 28, 2010, 12:52 pm — admin (Uncategorized)

Any frequent cruisers out there who want to weigh in on this news?

Apparently just last month Congress passed the “Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act.”

According to the president and founder of RAINN, cialis the bill provides enhanced safety measures for travelers.

New provisions include: increased shipboard security; medical staff trained for post-attack evidence collection; ships required to stock post-exposure prophylactic drugs & a mandate that all victims be given immediate access to the National Sexual Assault Hotline.

All of this seems like a pretty good idea, pharm which makes me wonder—why weren’t these rules already in place? And was there a specific incident or string of incidents that convinced Congress that the cruise industry needed more oversight?

Consent not required?

July 27, 2010, 11:50 am — admin (Uncategorized)

Sometimes it’s pretty hard to feel confident that our legal system-with its reliance on a “jury of peers”- is working all that well.

Case in point:

“A [St. Louis] jury ruled yesterday against a woman who claimed her reputation was damaged after she was featured on a “Girls Gone Wild” video. What makes this case remarkable is that she didn’t expose her own breasts – she was assaulted.

Several years ago, a 20 year old woman in a bar had someone pull down her top in front of the girls gone wild cameras. Although she never gave them consent to show her breasts, they featured the incident in one of their videos. When the now-married and mother of two ‘Jane Doe’ found out, she sued for damages.

The jury, however, decided that since Ms. Doe “was willing to dance in front of the photographer, she was probably cool with having her breasts on film. [The jury] said she gave implicit consent by being at the bar, and by participating in the filming – though she never signed a consent form, and she can be heard on camera saying “no, no” when asked to show her breasts.”

While the jury verdict is incredibly troubling for several reasons (implied consent! forcible stripping!), the reaction to the jury verdict is equally upsetting.

For example, the fine folks at the Riverfront Times in St Louis decided to nominate Ms. Jane Doe for “their ‘Ass Clown of the Week’ award, which is given to the person “whose words or actions you thought brought them the most shame this week.”

Lets tally this up:

  1. Ms. Doe was assaulted on camera
  2. The assault is recorded and then used in video for mass distribution
  3. Ms. Doe loses a jury trial for damages after she learns of the taped/mass produced assault video
  4. The Riverfront Times nominates her for their “Ass Clown of the Week” award

Wow and wow.

The STL jury should be ashamed of themselves for allowing Girls Gone Wild to accept “implicit consent” AND for taping/publishing images that were produced through force.

As for the Riverfront Times, perhaps some angry emails/comments are in order? Since when is someone an “ass clown” for having the bravery to confront a corporation that took advantage of an assault? Feel free to comment on the blog explaining to Ass Clown list author Chad Garrison, why it’s not OK for women to be assaulted, and that if they are..it’s darn well within their right to try and seek recourse through the legal system.

Another Slate article: Why Don’t More Women Sue Their Rapists?

June 11, 2010, 11:12 am — admin (Uncategorized)

Slate is really on a roll lately with interesting sexual violence articles.

This one is actually a few weeks old, but still definitely worth a mention.

The author of Why Don’t More Women Sue Their Rapists? poses some interesting questions about the civil legal remedies available to survivors.

Under the original provision of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), women could sue their rapists in civil court. If they won the judgment, they could collect both damages and attorney fees.

The ability of rape victims to seek a civil remedy, however, was seriously damaged by a 2000 Supreme Court Ruling. In United States v Morrison the court decided that a victim’s suit could not go forward because “Congress had overstepped its constitutional authority by creating a federal remedy in the criminal-justice realm that usually falls to the states.” While the court agreed that it was well-within the rights of a rape victim to sue her/his attacker, the ruling basically forced these cases to the state court level and stripped certain protections that were originally included in the law (such as the requirement that attorney’s fees be included in successful judgments).

Without the power provided by the original VAWA language, it is much more difficult for survivors to file civil suits against individual rapists. For example, a rape victim who files a civil suit against an acquaintance may have to pay attorney fees, or be unable to secure legal representation because individual judgments do not usually provide a hefty pay-out.

Luckily, the author points out that “At the moment, only Illinois, California, and New York City have laws that pick up on this message of VAWA,” which help make civil cases against rapists easier for victims to consider.

While NYC might be better than some other places, I wonder how many victims understand that this is a legal remedy?

Do you know anyone who has sued (successfully or unsuccessfully) their rapist in civil court?

Do you think that this needs to be publicized more widely?

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Blog posts are the responsibility of their authors, and do not reflect the opinions of the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault.

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