In a move that underscores the indecent state of immorality in Indiana’s sex crime laws, rape charges against Donald Ward were recently expunged from his criminal record. This revision underscores how desperately every resident of Indiana, and certainly every student attending college there, needs Indiana’s laws to change! Continue reading “IN” state laws support “IN”decency!!→
I’ve researched sexual assault laws across the country and back again. As a survivor, the author of 3 books on the subject and a TEDx Talk presenter, I can tell you, emphatically that we have so much sexual assault in our nation because our lawmakers are principally male!
Century after century, men have created the laws that kept us “LESS THAN!” We need to change this dynamic, and we need to do it NOW!
Seventy-six percent of the states and territories of the United States fail to define CONSENT in their laws.
I have fought to change this for the past 10 years. Today, a legislator in NY and another in Indiana, if re-elected, have pledged to adopt new laws on sexual assault in their states. They are Asm. Rebecca Seawright, a Democrat in NY City, NY, and Representative Sally Siegrist, a Republican in West Lafayette, Indiana. If you live in either location, and want to see a change in the prosecution of sex crimes, vote these ladies back into office!
As an advocate, I’ve spoken to men and women on both sides of the aisle. The single most common male-legislator resistance I receive to rightly defining consent in our laws is that our courts would be overwhelmed with sexual assault cases. Every time I hear this absurdity it blows my mind! Without realizing it, what they are saying is that they know how frequently sex crimes defile victims, but they are okay doing nothing about it!
Let’s all pull together to stop this nonsense!
Get women into positions of power that can shut down the volume of sex crimes for this generation and every generation to come! #Vote4Women!
Watch and share this TEDxTalk! Show it to your next powerful, female legislator!
Jamaican law is far superior to US law when it comes to recognizing the horror of rape by fraud! Read this important article, written by Orville Taylor and published today in The Gleanerin Kingston Jamaica. Pay close attention to this statement:
“Indeed, capacity is also affected by knowledge so that if someone pretends to be someone else and gets to engage in intimate contact with the ‘victim’ by fraud, it is assault and rape if it goes far enough. Believe it: If a woman masquerades as a man, and, based on deception, gets into sexual activities with a heterosexual woman, it is also assault.”
There is simply no excuse for our US laws to disregard the heinous assault on the victim in cases where a sexual predator’s weapon of choice is trickery!
If our laws were clear that consent is freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement, #FGKIA, accountability would exist for all types of sex crimes, not simply the specific mentions our law makers call “sexual assault” or “rape,” while completely ignoring all the rest!
It’s become pretty obvious why we have so much sexual assault in the US. It’s because our law makers enable it! We need to overcome this hurdle.
Since the beginning of time, consent was, is, and always will be the same…… freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement…… even though, throughout the US, our laws fail to define consent properly. Failing to “define consent properly” contributes to rape.
Ridiculous excuses that prevent our laws from protecting us abound. Opposition stems from the ignorance of people with rape mentalities and law makers who want their votes, whether they have a rape mentality or not. All the road blocks come down to the same thing……
“If we recognize what consent actually is….. too many people will go to jail.”
But if a person defiles another person, a harm that can forever impact their entire journey through life, shouldn’t there be prohibitions and penalties against doing so? And doesn’t that victim deserve justice?
Laws change morality!
Generation after generation believed that enslaving another man, woman or child was acceptable behavior. People were barbarically ripped from their families and transported by ship to our shores to be marketed for sale in plain sight. It took changing our laws to stop that grotesque cannibalization of humanity.
Until we stop tolerating the omission of fact in our laws and in our minds, that no one has the right to touch another human being without their freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement, sexual assault will continue unabated in the US. It’s that simple.
We can whine and complain.
We can create all the hashtags social media can absorb.
We can parade all the high profile offenders we can locate in the press.
The only thing that will stop sexual assault is a law that clearly states what consent is: freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement. #FGKIA!
Ob-fus-cate: verb, to obscure, confuse, complicate, muddy, cloud
A 15 year old girl from a middle class family, who loved to swim and dive at Columbia Country Club, was sexually assaulted. I know this for a 100% absolute fact because….. I’m that girl. And I know who the offender was with 100% absolute accuracy, because he was my father.
The irony of the similarities between Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and I made yesterday’s proceeding particularly difficult for me to watch. At one point I distracted myself by pondering whether she or I would score higher on a full twisting, forward, one and a half in pike position, the signature dive that earned me the city championship in Columbia, South Carolina.
As I held up my trophy, I wondered whether onlookers could peer through the thin veneer of my accomplishment and sense my awful, haunting shame that lay beneath. And I was sure that both Dr. Ford and I had shared that same struggle for many years.
Like Dr. Ford, I was groped. Unlike Dr. Ford, I didn’t wait 30+ years to reveal what happened to me. It took me nearly 50 years to publicly disclose this information.
Dr. Ford proved a number of things yesterday….. the first being that truth doesn’t need to shout. In steep contrast to Brett Kavanaugh’s overly righteous indignation, her facts sang out with the resonance only truth can provide.
It was blatantly apparent that she’d made every effort possible to bring her facts to light in a way that would not hinder the SCOTUS appointment schedule. It was never her intent to cause the delay that preoccupies the GOP side of the isle and closes their eyes to the overwhelming significance of her claim. She’d hoped to inform the public before Kavanaugh became Trump’s recommendation. But she was stymied along the way.
Enter Chuck Grassley…
Senator Chuck Grassley who Chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee turned his position into a bully pulpit to dominate the proceedings with attacks on Democrats for allegedly slowing the process. He consistently and continuously misused Ford’s allegations as a cudgel to wage tribal warfare against the other side of the isle. His intent to win completely obscured what should have been paramount in his decision making process…… What would truly be in the best interest of our nation AND the world?
Grassley attempted to detour the seriousness of Ford’s accusations down the rocky road of political blame. Rather than inquiring about the nature of Ford’s experience, his only inquiries were attempts to fault Democrats for inappropriate handling of her message; as if the world would be fooled into ignoring how totally disturbed his priorities were. He seemed to believe we are all too dumb to see that he is attempting to suppress the horror Kavanaugh exacted on the sanctity of Dr. Ford’s body to rush approval through before the mid-term elections.
Grassley and other Republicans, the majority of his committee, are intent on securing a conservative replacement for Justice Kennedy’s available seat. They are acting out of fear that they may lose their majority advantage with the November vote. Despite that the world easily sees through his smoke screen, he continuously claimed his grandstanding was merely an explanation of the “process.”
In the absolute height of irony he said, “I’m not going to reward people for playing a political game,” as if we couldn’t recognize his con. And he’s attempting to con us in the most transparent way…. by refusing to subpoena witnesses or have the FBI conduct an appropriate investigation. At the very least, Kavanaugh should be required to submit to a polygraph. It could have been administered yesterday evening, immediately after the hearing and prior to this morning’s judiciary meeting.
If Kavanaugh is approved, the American Bar Association should step in and conduct a full investigation to determine if he, indeed, should be stripped of his judicial credentials. In fact, even if he’s not approved, he should be investigated.
The perfect witness…. credible, knowledgeable and humble
Dr. Ford had no ulterior motive. She was not touting any candidate in the ring. She simply knew of the diabolical mindset of one particular candidate and thought his despicable attempt at sexually assaulting her was sufficiently heinous to counter politics. She credibly reported that he’d put his hand over her mouth to stop her from screaming, and she feared for her life. Her concerns rang true to both survivors and people who’d never been assaulted.
Ignoring fact to favor partisan politics
As if the credible sexual assault allegations against him were not enough to slow or stop the process of appointment, Brett Kavanaugh’s performance from yesterday, both his attitude and behavior, should have knocked him off anyone’s list for appropriate judicial conduct. His personal attempts at obfuscation through heated, sometimes angry, sometimes attacking, righteous indignation fell flat in the minds of anyone and everyone who ever dealt with a liar.
The fact that he could honestly say “I was not there” when he has no idea when or where the actions took place, is absurd. To Dr. Ford, his behavior would be indelibly etched into her memory as a result of the neurological response to the trauma she experienced. But to Kavanaugh, it was just one of many rowdy, drunken, irresponsible acts, with no specific impact to carve it into his memory.
Business as usual for sexual assault
Yesterday’s events clearly showed why we have so much sexual assault in the US. While it sickens me, it doesn’t surprise me.
I have long known that our law makers refuse to enact the cure for sexual assault because men like Kavanaugh would go to jail if they did. And many of our law makers think exactly like Kavanaugh, including Grassley, Lindsey Graham and Sen. Hatch, minimizing the relevance of sex crimes.
If our laws clearly stated, “Nonconsensual sex is sexual assault, and consent is freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement, #FGKIA,” Brett Kavanaugh could have, and possibly would have, been arrested for what they excuse as just “boys being boys.”
Until our legislators enact what sexual assault really means and define consent in our laws, survivors will continue to choke on the grotesque invalidation we experience with the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. No matter what the Judiciary Committee does today, there is still hope that the larger body of the Senate can steer our nation back to a moral and appropriate path with their ultimate vote.
Please contact your legislators and let them know you will not elect them again if they vote to put Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court. And personally, I hope you’ll join me in prayers to whatever God you chose, in order to stop this train wreck from continuing.
Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona just stepped forward in an attempt to bring the nation together. He has suggested a one week delay in the Senate’s vote on Kavanaugh while the FBI conducts an investigation into the allegations that have been made against him.
While this means that Kavanaugh’s name will be reported to the Senate for a vote, it indicates that without such an investigation, the ultimate vote may go against his approval.
Unfortunately, there are issues regarding Kavanaugh’s candidacy that surfaced yesterday that won’t necessarily come up in the investigation. Kavanaugh was found to be untruthful in much of his statement. He repeatedly mis-characterized his drinking and stated that witnesses named by Dr. Ford had “denied” her claims when they did not. He made provable comments to objectify a female classmate that he denies as well as other glaring inconsistencies with truth. Kavanaugh seems to have the same disconnect to truth that Donald Trump has…. a characteristic that is untenable in a judge.
What Senator Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump will do regarding Senator Flake’s request for an investigation remains to be seen. It’s my belief; however, that Trump holds the cards, and even he can see that the uproar for moving forward without an appropriate investigation would wreak havoc on his political agenda.
He would if he could. He and his minions tried mightily and failed due to the bravery, courage and truth of one woman; Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.
Please, help pass new legislation on sexual assault. Watch this TEDx Talk! today!It’s free…. doesn’t cost you a dime, just a few moments of your time that could help change the world! It’s not political! It’s not sexist! But it’s crucial in the war to conquer sexual assault!
There are soooo many lessons to be learned by Bill Cosby’s trial and conviction! Today, as he was led to prison in handcuffs, the wry smugness that had punctuated his features had finally vanished. The downward cast of his eyes in his mugshot mimicked the steep decline of his fall from grace.
Here’s my take on the three biggest lessons we can learn from his conviction…..
Andrea Constand’s Impact Statement underscores that violence is far from the only way victims of sexual predators can be harmed. Instead of using violent force to overwhelm her, Cosby used drugs. Constand’s brains were muddled and it was impossible for her to freely give knowledgeable and informed agreement. #FGKIA
Just like Constand was denied consent by Bill Cosby, any victim who is denied consent is sexually assaulted, not seduced.
It’s high time for our law makers to get it right and protect society!
Our present system of testimony in sexual assault trials is appalling. Constand admirably described her ordeal at her deposition for her civil case:
I had to relive every moment of the sexual assault in horrifying detail in front of Mr. Cosby and his lawyers. I felt traumatized all over again and was often in tears. I had to watch Cosby make jokes and attempt to degrade and diminish me, while his lawyers belittled and sneered at me. It deepened my sense of shame and helplessness, and at the end of each day, I left emotionally drained and exhausted.
There is no reason why the offender and the victim must actually sit in the same room. With our present state of technology, this method of questioning is outdated and unnecessary. By its very nature, it’s intimidating and one of the reasons sexual assault victims refrain from speaking up. It forces the victim to relive their trauma in front of the very person who traumatized them.
Murder victims are not alive to testify in person about their murder, yet justice proceeds. Victims whose soul has been murdered should not have to be in the same room as the person who murdered their soul. It’s cruel, and thanks to technology, it’s unnecessary.
One person’s testimony meant nothing to law enforcement. Constand’s case only succeeded in generating action once scores of victims came forward. Her story is the same for countless victims that report the horrific crimes they suffered. Instead of securing the support, help, and justice they sorely need, they’re met with disdain, disbelief and dismissal from the authorities. Had Cosby not been a public figure, it’s unlikely he would have been arrested on sexual assault charges.
In another less high-profile case, Mario Anioine, in Kansas City Missouri, harmed 30+ women. A Federal Prosecutor called him a “serial rapist.” Yet the SVU Prosecutor failed to file charges for rape against him. Fortunately, he was ultimately found guilty of federal cyber crimes.
Each victim of sexual assault deserves to secure the unequivocal support of law enforcement. Their attitude toward non-violent rape or rape by acquaintances is appalling. NYPD Commander Peter Rose of the 94th Precinct disclosed the horrid underbelly of police mentality toward acquaintance rapes when he stated that violent rapes by strangers was a real crime and ignored 10 out of 13 acquaintance rape cases in his precinct.
Enough Is Enough!
How long must we tolerate our lawmakers’ uncanny blindness toward the sexual sanctity of a person’s body and the life-altering, deeply painful, and shameful pall it casts over the victim for the rest of their entire life?
We CAN make a difference! We CAN get the laws changed across the US! Please watch this TEDx Talk! Share it with everyone you know! Call your legislator and say #FGKIA, Sign it into law Today! Don’t vote for them if they won’t give you a new law that protects yourself, your children and your children’s children!
Was Saturday’s US Open match a clear case of misogyny? Can we infer that the official, Carlos Ramos, acted out of contempt for women?
For those who are unaware of the circumstance, the short story is that Serena Williams was given three successive and progressive penalties, which arguably could have made a difference in the outcome of the match. The unfortunate result is that the actions of Continue reading #Serena and #Consent→
July 30- Today’s court date for Harvey Weinstein has been postponed ’til September 20th.
What will happen then?
Superior Court Justice Jame Burke will deliver his decisions on motions that have been filed “off-calendar” by the prosecution and the defense. Those motions could include a decision to admit evidence of “prior bad acts” into testimony.
New York judges are held to narrower constraints than in Pennsylvania, where admitting testimony from prior victims turned the tide against Bill Cosby.
The impact of consent
If NY’s laws defined consent as “freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement, #FGKIA,” convicting Harvey Weinstein would be a slam dunk! But in NY, like many other states, prosecutors are held to convincing the jury that the offender’s conduct meets specific language for a particular act that has been legislated as “without consent” in penal code. This narrow approach makes it difficult to prove whether a sexual assault took place…. not because the case lacks evidence, but because the law simply fails to define the specific type of sexual assault that occurred. Coercing a person into acquiescence should never be seen as “consent” in our laws.
A similar current case in Manhattan could provide clues to Harvey Weinstein’s fate
Neurologist Ricardo Cruciani is scheduled for a decision on motions on August 2nd. He, like Weinstein, is charged with Predatory Sexual Assault, which carries harsh penalties under NY State law.
Cruciani stands accused by six patients of molesting and sexually assaulting them at his office at Beth Israel Hospital in NYC. One patient described that she felt helpless to resist his attacks because she suffered from chronic pain. He was the only doctor who’d helped manage her pain for several years. Eleven other patients at his practices in PA and NJ made similar claims against him. Supreme Court Justice Mark Dwyer will announce his decisions on the Cruciani motions on Thursday, August 2nd.
For more information on how consent impacts sexual assault…. watch this TEDx Talk.
July 25, 2018- NYC- A major milestone to define CONSENT took place today! Subsequent to my TEDx Talk, “When YES Means NO, the Truth About Consent,” two legislators, Indiana State Representative, Sally Siegrist (R) and NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright (D) pledged their bipartisan support to establish a clear definition for consent in the laws of their respectively red and blue states. This meeting of the minds shows that no matter what your politics, we can all unite against sexual assault!
Rep. Siegrist, who successfully fought for legislation to curb human trafficking in Indiana in last year’s legislative session, is determined to conquer sexual assault for her state. Here’s the link to her newsletter. Together with Assembly Member Seawright, a long time champion for women’s rights and the former Chair of the Board of the Feminist Press, they make a powerful pair!
Clearly defining consent will enable the police, prosecutors, judges and jurors to hold sexual predators accountable under the law and prevent the confusion between what constitutes “bad sex” or an actual sexual assault.
“Confusion over what consent actually is makes it difficult for society to comprehend. Our laws don’t tell us the definition. They only tell us what “consent” is not. We need laws to express the real meaning of consent…. Freely Given, Knowledgeable and Informed Agreement, #FGKIA,” says Short.
Both Indiana and NY will have legislative efforts to drive the issue of consent forward, and YOU can help! If you’ve been the victim of a sexual assault in either Indiana or NY and would like to speak out at a legislative hearing on this issue, please complete the totally private form below.
Also, if you are interested in helping to get other states to focus on this issue, please complete the form that follows.
In her very first question for our radio interview, Kaity Kline, Public Affairs Director for Rowan Radio On Demand, 89.7 WGLS FM, wanted to know; Why is it sexual assault even when the victim doesn’t expressly say “no” – like in the case of accused sexual predator, Harvey Weinstein?
Yes, President Bill Clinton was likely to have been a sex addict when he cavorted with Monica Lewinsky in the oval office some 20 years ago. He seemed to have had a voracious sexual appetite and no boundaries about what and where sexual conduct was appropriate. But according to Maureen Dowd in this weekend’s OpEd for the NY Times, he belongs in the #MeToo mix of sexual predators.
On May 30th, at the Hay Festival in Hay-on-Wye Wales, an annual literature and arts festival, Germaine Greer made some devastatingly damaging claims about rape including that rape is just ”bad sex” and calling for lower penalties for sexual assault. Greer is an author and academic born in Australia and residing in the UK.
Her comments not only fly in the face of #MeToo and #TimesUp, but also my TEDxYouth@UrsulineAcademy talk (#TEDxUA and #TEDxUrsulineAcademy) that’s soon to be released.
“Most rapes don’t involve any injury whatsoever,” she said. “Centuries of writing and thinking about rape — as inflicted by men on women — have got us nowhere.” Rape, she said, should be viewed as a “lazy, careless and insensitive” act.
“Every time a man rolls over on his exhausted wife and insists on enjoying his conjugal rights, he is raping her,” she said. “It will never end up in a court of law.” She added, “Instead of thinking of rape as a spectacularly violent crime — and some rapes are — think about it as nonconsensual, that is, bad sex.”
She said the penalty should be 200 hours of community service: “If we are going to say trust us, believe us, if we do say that our accusation should stand as evidence, then we have to reduce the tariff for rape.” (In England, the maximum sentence for rape can be life in prison.)
At one point, Ms. Greer said the punishment could be an “r” tattooed to the rapist’s hand, arm or cheek.
While Greer is correct that not all sexual assaults are violent rapes, she fails to recognize the destruction of a victim’s self worth in all sexual assaults. So while not all sexual assaults are violent, and therefore punishable as an “aggravated” crime, they should still be punished, and a tatoo doesn’t cut it!
Every human being deserves the right to freely give knowledgeable and informed agreement #FGKIA every time they engage in sexual conduct. Without that willingness to engage, – whether undermined by force, duress or ripped from them by deception – they are being assaulted, not seduced. Force, otherwise known as violence, is only one of several ways a victim is deprived of consent (#FGKIA.) But all nonconsensual sex harms the victim. And everyone engaging in sex is entitled to consent to both the action itself and the actor.
How do we fix rape?
Our laws must reflect the proper definition of consent…. #FGKIA! in order to properly deal with sexual assaults of all kinds. Properly defining consent as freely given knowledgeable and informed agreement, #FGKIA, is the solution….. not decriminalizing this egregious and life altering crime!