Dylan Farrow published an open letter on Saturday in which she publicly addressed, for the first time, her accusations that Woody Allen sexually abused her when she was a child. Within hours there weresloppy responses calling into doubt the veracity of her testimony.
In the midst of the many conversations that were generated online, I saw this tweet by Zerlina Maxwell, which sums up the core of our problem with rape: “Testimony is evidence. Stop saying there is no evidence. #dylanfarrow”
Given the statistics surrounding sexual abuse and the persistence of false rape accusation myths, maybe we should teach our children, particularly our girl children, how to gather evidence of their assaults.
As I wrote in an earlier post here, ”How We Teach Our Children That Women Are Liars,” this is what a 14-year-old French girl had to do in November. She went to her school counselor and then the police to explain that her father was raping her. She asked for help and was told she needed “hard evidence.” So, she videotaped her next assault. After he was arrested, his attorney explained, “He insists that these acts did not stretch back further than three or four months. His daughter says longer. But everyone should be very careful in what they say.” Because, really, even despite her seeking help, her detailed recitations, her fearlessly filming her father’s attack, you really can’t believe what the girl says, can you?
Dylan Farrow is in a situation that thousands deal with every day. In general, people want to look away, muttering some variant of “he said/she said.” But, that phrase implies an equivalence where we have a gross imbalance, because “he” is more trusted, virtually always, in every capacity, than “she.”
There is a substantial body of research documenting our preference for thinking of men as more competent and moral. Researchers who studied gendered speech patterns found that people expect different kinds of lies from men and women and that women are considered more trustworthy, unless lies include another person, in which case, confidence in the veracity of what women say plummets.
These beliefs are part of the same fundamental gender schemas that hold men out as more deserving of trust in general. The reason victim-blaming happens and “controversy” can exist in cases like Roman Polanski’s rape of a child is because men, especially but not uniquely, heterosexual white men, are culturally entitled to be believed and admired. We transfer this information to children very early in life.
Additionally, people seem to feel that institutions are neutral and fall back, essentially, on this idea. This weekend, Allen’s representatives issued this statement: “At the time, a thorough investigation was conducted by court appointed independent experts. The experts concluded there was no credible evidence of molestation; that Dylan Farrow had an inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality; and that Dylan Farrow had likely been coached by her mother Mia Farrow. No charges were ever filed.”
"At the time" was when the controversial "Parental Alienation Syndrome" (PAS) developed by psychiatrist Richard Gardner took root in our court systems. Joan Meier, a professor of clinical law at George Washington University, recently quoted in an extensive Al Jazeera report on PAS, explained, “It really is Gardner’s PAS that laid the groundwork for what is happening in family courts across the country. When a mother alleges abuse or children allege abuse or fear or hostility to a parent who is alleged to have been abusive, it tends to be very quickly attributed to the mother’s vendetta.” Studies have found no evidence to support Gardner’s theory. The Al Jazeera piece provides a litany of startling examples, of children remanded to abusive men because of this junk theory, that defy sense.
"At the time" people joking referred to the Philadelphia sex crimes division as "the lying bitch unit.”
"At the time," Jim DeRogatis began to document R Kelly’s sexual predation of countless teenage girls.
"At the time" Lee Dalton was molesting one of the 43 children he’d been attacking for decades, an allegation of abuse against a Horace Mann teacher and sexual predator was made and ignored.
"At the time," people were signing their sons up as Boy Scouts unaware of 30 years worth of hidden abuse records.
“At the time,” a boy known as Victim 5 met Sandusky (when he is 7 or 8 and in second or third grade), and, after Sandusky began to molest him in the shower, escaped.
“At the time,” Roman Polanski moved to Europe, having settled a case in which he’d drugged and raped a 13-year old girl while she repeatedly said ‘no,” because, as he explained later, “Everyone wants to f**k young girls.”
"At the time," an ever-growing list of Catholic priests, the BBC's Jimmy Savile, Casa Pio's politicians, and tens of thousands of others granted authority and/or a “privacy of the family” rape waiver were molesting children and raping women with impunity, despite report after report after report. Forty-six percent of children raped are raped by a family member in their homes – today, not “at the time.”
When you stop and think about the overwhelming incidence of the sexual abuse of women and children and what it means in terms of our culture, it is staggering. Just over 42% of female rape victims are first raped before they turn 18, 29.9% between the ages of 11 and 17, and 12.3% of female victims and 27.8% of male victims are raped when are 10 or younger. It is highly unlikely that these are stranger rapes and highly likely that these are trusted adults.
The point of this list is just to demonstrate the failures of the very institutions that others are using to defend Woody Allen. We will never know what happened between Allen and Farrow. But, we do know that their words are not treated the same way.
In case it’s not clear, I don’t actually think we should be teaching children to film their abuse. However, given these realities, it’s a sad truth that it would make our relentless unwillingness to look this problem in the eye much, much harder.
When children, especially girls, are the victims of sexual assault, people seem to forget that power is relevant - that idea gets subsumed in confused ideas about sex and “little lolitas” or “scheming girls and women” narratives.
- 6 months ago
- 1 year ago
June 1987, Madonna was rushed to the Cedars Sinai hospital for an X-ray after her then-husband—Sean Penn hit her across the head with a baseball bat. At the time, they had been having a heart-to-heart talk about reconciling.
Madonna did not make an official complaint because Penn was about to serve a short jail term for attacking a film extra and violating the probation he’d been given for punching a fan. It was a decision she would come to regret. In the late afternoon of December 28, 1988, Penn scaled the wall surrounding the Malibu house and found Madonna alone in the master bedroom.
According to a report filed by Madonna with the Malibu sheriff’s office, the two began to quarrel. Penn told her he owned her “lock, stock and barrel”. When she told him she was leaving the house, he tried to bind her hands with an electric cord. Screaming and afraid, Madonna fled from the bedroom. Penn chased her into the living room, caught her and bound her to a chair with heavy twine. Then he threatened to shave her hair. Penn was “drinking liquor straight from the bottle” and the abuse went on for nine hours, during which he smacked and forced Madonna to perform a “degrading sex act” on him.
He went out to buy more alcohol, leaving Madonna bound and gagged. Some hours later, he returned and continued his attacks, then finally untied her. Madonna then fled the house and ran to her car. Penn ran after her and was banging on the windows of her Thunderbird while she spoke to police on her mobile phone. Fifteen minutes later, she staggered into the sheriff’s office.
Because you need to know.
what a fucking stellar human being.
- 2 years ago
A lot of talk about “mutual abuse” has been flying around my dash recently to describe relationships where “both parties fucked up.” And I’m uncomfortable with it.
You guys, I have seen first-hand a good number of relationships described as “mutually abusive” by victims, bystanders, and (most especially) perpetrators. But I have never seen first-hand a relationship that could actually, fairly be described as “mutually abusive.” The only thing that MIGHT even comes close to what I would envision a truly mutually abusive relationship looking like might be what happens between Jamie and Twiggy as described here. But again, I don’t know for sure and it’s certainly not my place to say.
If mutually abusive relationships do exist, it’s clear to me that they are a small minority of the abusive relationships that get classed initially as “mutual.” Overwhelmingly, accusations of “mutual abuse” are leveraged by abusers against survivors as a way of obfuscating power dynamics, psychologically harming the survivor and controlling their sense of reality (gaslighting), and chocking the survivor off from community support and safety. Less commonplace—but still frequent—declarations of “mutual abuse” come from enablers who further the abuser’s pattern of psychological/emotional violence, bystanders who are profoundly confused, and survivors/victims who have internalized their abuser’s justifications, deflections, and need to establish dominance.
It’s been my observation that perpetrators and their sympathizers all make variations on just a few, tired arguments about how the abuse was “mutual.” As you read them, keep in mind how all of these tactics uphold a truly abusive and unsafe paradigm that gives the abuser power, minimizes the bigger picture, and robs the victim/survivor of agency.
1. “But he had the nerve to *defend* himself!”
- 2 years ago
Father With Autistic Son Sends His Kid to School With a Wire, Exposes Bullying and Abuse by Teachers
equal treatment for people with disabilities is the one social issue i am really passionate about and man this…… i don’t even know man
this is just awful
Holy fucking hell
Is pretty damn fucking terrible.
- 2 years ago
A judge in Florida has sentenced a man charged with domestic battery to take his wife, and victim, on a date. Or as MSNBC puts it in their disgusting lede: “Just in time for Valentine’s Day, a Florida judge ruled on Tuesday that a man involved in a scuffle with his wife treat her to an evening at a local bowling alley and a romantic meal at Red Lobster.”
Judge John Hurley [who also ordered that Joseph Bray, 47 and his wife Sonja, 39, get marriage counseling] handed down this ruling instead of setting bond or slapping Bray with a prison sentence after he deemed domestic violence charges leveled by Bray’s wife to be “very, very minor.”
According to Bray’s arrest affidavit, Bray and his wife got embroiled in a spat after he failed to wish her a happy birthday. Bray’s wife claims that her husband shoved her against a sofa and grabbed her neck. The judge, citing Bray’s otherwise clean record and the incident’s apparent lack of serious violence, did not consider Bray’s behavior a major offense."
TW For Domestic Violence , Violence apology, and Rape at link.
- 2 years ago
***TW Sexual Assault, Harassment***
A year and a half ago (after already being followed a couple of times before, but luckily I noticed and went into a shop until they left), a young guy tried to talk to me in the train station as I was on my home. He asked if he could talk to me and I said ‘no’ and walked away. I then got on my train. I changed twice and walked all the way through the stations, got out at my stop and walked up my little street. It was late at night and there was no one around. I was at my front gate, and was halfway through putting in my security code to open it when I felt someone close behind me. I turned and it was the guy who had tried to talk to me. I was so shocked and when I realised the lengths he’d gone to follow me, I was terrified. I called out in a very strong, firm voice to go away (not very politely!) in French and English and he just stood there and laughed at me.
I realised he was serious about this and it wasn’t just a game so I ran as fast as I could down towards the train station, but I didn’t get very far as he ran faster than me and ran in front of me, stopping me and trapping me. Then he pulled down his pants and laughed. I don’t think he expected me to run, because that’s what I did, very fast, up to my gate and I had time to put in my code and get through before he had time to pull up his pants and get there too.
I was pushing the gate closed from the inside and he was pushing it on the outside and shouting at me. I pushed it so hard and managed to close it and ran for my life up to my apartment. I was so scared to leave my flat as I knew he knew where I lived and could be waiting for me. I went into shock the next morning and was shaking and cold and scared. When I reported it to the police, they said that it is common and that as soon as they get you into the courtyard of your apartment building, they rape you as you have nowhere to go and are trapped."
And this is just one more example of why whenever someone tells me that street harassment is ‘not a big deal’ and ‘you should be flattered/it was a compliment’ and all the other bullshit things people say to excuse sexual harassment I want to punch them in the face.
- 2 years ago
I blogged about the last death and the book To Train up a Child here. I also talk about the fact that after I posted this on facebook, one of my ‘friends’ stood in support of the book! It still blows my mind that people from my old church actually OWN this book. ~ Kim
Preaching Virtue of Spanking, Even as Deaths Fuel Debate
PLEASANTVILLE, Tenn. — After services at the Church at Cane Creek on a recent Sunday, a few dozen families held a potluck picnic and giggling children played pin the tail on the donkey.
The white-bearded preacher, Michael Pearl, who delivered his sermon in stained work pants, and his wife, Debi, mixed warmly with the families drawn to their evangelical ministry, including some of their own grandchildren.
The pastoral mood in the hills of Tennessee offered a stark contrast to the storm raging around the country over the Pearls’ teachings on child discipline, which advocate systematic use of “the rod” to teach toddlers to submit to authority. The methods, seen as common sense by some grateful parents and as horrific by others, are modeled, Mr. Pearl is fond of saying, on “the same principles the Amish use to train their stubborn mules.”
Debate over the Pearls’ teachings, first seen on Christian Web sites, gained new intensity after the death of a third child, all allegedly at the hands of parents who kept the Pearls’ book, “To Train Up a Child,” in their homes. On Sept. 29, the parents were charged with homicide by abuse.
More than 670,000 copies of the Pearls’ self-published book are in circulation, and it is especially popular among Christian home-schoolers, who praise it in their magazines and on their Web sites. The Pearls provide instructions on using a switch from as early as six months to discourage misbehavior and describe how to make use of implements for hitting on the arms, legs or back, including a quarter-inch flexible plumbing line that, Mr. Pearl notes, “can be rolled up and carried in your pocket.”
The furor in part reflects societal disagreements over corporal punishment, which conservative Christians say is called for in the Bible and which many Americans consider reasonable up to a point, even as many parents and pediatricians reject it. The issue flared recently when a video was posted online of a Texas judge whippinghis daughter.
Mr. Pearl, 66, and Mrs. Pearl, 60, say that blaming their book for extreme abuse by a few unstable parents is preposterous and that they explicitly counsel against acting in anger or causing a bruise. They say that their methods, properly used, yield peace and happy teenagers.
“If you find a 12-step book in an alcoholic’s house, you wouldn’t blame the book,” Mr. Pearl said in an interview.
But he acknowledged that the methods are not right for out-of-control or severely overburdened parents.
In the latest case, Larry and Carri Williams of Sedro-Woolley, Wash., were home-schooling their six children when they adopted a girl and a boy, ages 11 and 7, from Ethiopia in 2008. The two were seen by their new parents as rebellious, according to friends.
Late one night in May this year, the adopted girl, Hana, was found face down, naked and emaciated in the backyard; her death was caused by hypothermia and malnutrition, officials determined. According to the sheriff’s report, the parents had deprived her of food for days at a time and had made her sleep in a cold barn or a closet and shower outside with a hose. And they often whipped her, leaving marks on her legs. The mother had praised the Pearls’ book and given a copy to a friend, the sheriff’s report said. Hana had been beaten the day of her death, the report said, with the 15-inch plastic tube recommended by Mr. Pearl.
“It’s a good spanking instrument,” Mr. Pearl said in the interview. “It’s too light to cause damage to the muscle or the bone.”
Some of the Williamses’ other tactics also seemed to involve Pearl advice taken to extremes; the Pearls say that “a little fasting is good training,” for example, and suggest hosing off a child who has potty-training lapses. The Williamses have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial.
The Skagit County prosecutor said that he was not charging the Pearls and that the case for homicide did not depend on the Williamses’ readings or religion.
But Dr. Frances Chalmers, a pediatrician who examined Hana’s death for the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, said of the Pearl methods: “My fear is that this book, while perhaps well intended, could easily be misinterpreted and could lead to what I consider significant abuse.”
The same kind of plumbing tube was reported to have been used to beat Lydia Schatz, 7, who was adopted at age 4 from Liberia and died in Paradise, Calif., in 2010. Her parents, Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz, had the Pearl book but ignored its admonition against extended lashing or harm; they whipped Lydia for hours, with pauses for prayer. She died from severe tissue damage, and her older sister had to be hospitalized, officials said.
The Schatzes, who were home-schooling nine children, three of them adopted, are both serving long prison terms after he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and torture and she to voluntary manslaughter and unlawful corporal punishment. The Butte County district attorney, Mike Ramsey, criticized the Pearls’ book as a dangerous influence.
Isolde Raftery contributed reporting from Seattle.
The Pearls’ teachings also came up in the trial of Lynn Paddock of Johnson County, N.C., who was convicted of the first-degree murder of Sean Paddock, 4, in 2006. The Paddocks had adopted six American children, some with emotional problems, and turned to the Internet and found the Pearls’ Web site, Mrs. Paddock said. Sean suffocated after being wrapped tightly in a blanket. His siblings testified that they were beaten daily with the same plumbing tube. Mr. Paddock was not charged.
Some conservative Christian parents reject the Pearls’ teachings and have started apetition drive asking sellers like Amazon not to stock their books.
Crystal Lutton, who runs Grace-Based Discipline, one of several Christian blogs that oppose corporal punishment, said the danger with the Pearls’ methods is that “if you don’t get results, the only thing to do is to punish harder and harder.”
Parents at Mr. Pearl’s church said they largely followed the couple’s approach and were puzzled by the controversy. The Pearls’ children, too, say the attacks on their parents are misguided.
“I had a wonderful childhood,” said their daughter Shoshanna Easling, 28, who is training her two children the same way. “My parents never spoke to me in anger, and I can only remember being spanked a couple of times.”
Mr. Pearl said that Shoshanna was spanked probably 50 times as a toddler but that it soon became unnecessary.
Through book and video sales and donations, the Pearls’ No Greater Joy Ministriesbrings in $1.7 million a year, which they say goes back into the cause. They live in a one-room apartment near the church. In his spare time, Mr. Pearl practices an offbeat hobby: he is a champion knife and tomahawk thrower.
Much of their advice is standard: parents should be loving, spend a lot of time with their children, be clear and consistent, and never strike in anger. But, citing Biblical passages like, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son,” they provide instructions for “switching” defiant children to provide “spiritual cleansing.”
They teach parents to use light taps to train infants not to roll off a blanket. For older children, parents are told to respond to defiance by hitting hard enough to sting with a willow switch, a belt, a wooden spoon or the tube.
Mr. Pearl describes child-rearing as a zero-sum test of wills. If a verbal warning does not work, he said, “you have the seeds of self-destruction.”
That the three known deaths involved adoptees worries Lisa Veleff Day of Portland, Me., who adopted two children from Ethiopia. “These children have been ripped from their home country, extended family, culture and language,” she said. “The last thing they need is to be smacked around.”
Mr. Pearl said he opposed the adoption of older children. But on the central issue, he and his wife do not waver. “To give up the use of the rod is to give up our views of human nature, God, eternity,” they write.
Isolde Raftery contributed reporting from Seattle.
See also: This article by a woman who actually ‘parented’ using Pearl’s teachings until she saw how the abuse was hurting her children. TW for child abuse Quote from the story: ” Eventually, there was immediate and unquestioning compliance. My ex-husband had quelled the rebellion in three kids. He had created unfocused, freaked-out little robots who obeyed. ”Source:
- 2 years ago
I was careful in all the ways they tell you to be, to make it difficult to find my house, for example, and most of the rape threats, and the death threats, the casual verbal abuse from people who disagreed with my stances on subjects like rape being bad and abortion being a personal matter, weren’t really that threatening in that they didn’t pose a personal danger to me, and I was rarely concerned for my safety. That wasn’t the point, though, which is what I told a friend when she got her first rape threat and called me, sobbing. I wished she’d been spared that particular blogging rite of passage, but unfortunately she hadn’t been.
‘They want you to shut up,’ I explained. ‘That’s the point of a rape threat. They want to silence you. They want you to shrink down very small inside a box where you think they can’t find you.’
And it works. I see it happening all the time; blogs go dark, or disappear entirely, or stop covering certain subjects. People hop pseudonyms and addresses, trusting that regular readers can find and follow them, trying to stay one step ahead. Very few people openly discuss it because they feel like it’s feeding the trolls, giving them the attention they want. Some prominent bloggers and members of the tech community have been bold enough; Kathy Sierra, for example, spoke out about the threats that made her afraid to leave her own home. She’s not the only blogger who’s been presented not just with vicious, hateful verbal abuse, but very real evidence that people want to physically hurt her, a double-edged silencing tactic, a sustained campaign of terrorism that is, often, highly effective.
- 2 years ago
Macho culture, playing Russian roulette with detainees’ lives”, rampant abuse, “carpet karaoke”. Where have we heard similar rhetoric before? Because none of these allegations sound totally novel, right? Oh yes. In case you weren’t aware, the “illegal alien” profit machine is in the hands of the same corporation that used to run the infamous Abu Ghraib prison. That’s right, the corporate tentacles of G4S are in charge of managing a whole variety of “non humans” to be subjected to unspeakable acts of violence.
Evidently, G4S track record of detainee safety in Australia was so poor that the government was forced to cancel the contracts. Instead, new ones were awarded to Serco, whose care of immigrants seems to follow the same sickening pattern:
At the detention center Serco runs in Villawood, immigrants spoke of long, open-ended detentions making them crazy. Alwy Fadhel, 33, an Indonesian Christian who said he needed asylum from Islamic persecution, had long black hair coming out in clumps after being held for more than three years, in and out of solitary confinement.
“We talk to ourselves,” Mr. Fadhel said. “We talk to the mirror; we talk to the wall.”
Naomi Leong, a shy 9-year-old, was born in the detention camp. For more than three years, at a cost of about $380,000, she and her mother were held behind its barbed wire. Psychiatrists said Naomi was growing up mute, banging her head against the walls while her mother, Virginia Leong, a Malaysian citizen accused of trying to use a false passport, sank into depression.
All of this is done in the name of safety. Safety for the citizens of the Nation States that allow these atrocities; safety for national borders; safety for the politicians’ careers who appeal to an increasingly populist platform to gather support from a population who, in the absence of responses about their troubles have turned to immigrants as an easy scapegoat."
**TW ABUSE, VIOLENCE**