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Posts Tagged ‘rape’

       Today news reports say that scientific data collected from the suspect in the murder of Arkansas anchorwoman Anne Pressly confirms the investigator’s belief that the suspect, Curtis Lavell Vance, is guilty of assaulting her and murdering her.  The DNA that they collected from Mr. Vance is also linked to another woman’s rape in April.  Investigators allegedly are 110% convinced that they have the right person in custody!  You have to be pretty sure of someone’s guilt to make that kind of statement.  The authorities must have plenty of evidence to make such a claim…the rest of us will have to wait for that information to be released during a trial of the suspect to have complete understanding.

         Anne’s parents have been speaking out during the six weeks since her murder.  Today, they said that there is evidence that she was also sexually assaulted.  They may want to be careful about what information that they put out for public consumption; they don’t want to give ammunition to the defense of the person who is finally brought to justice for the murder of their daughter.  

       After all, if they get a conviction they will not want it to be overturned on a technicality…they will want that person to pay for murdering their daughter.  Still, in all honesty, it must be extremely difficult to keep quiet when every fiber of their being is probably are calling out for the whole story to be heard and to get justice.  Their emotions as Anne’s parents must be terribly powerful; I know it must take tremendous courage to look upon his face and not want to get revenge.  I know they are Christians…however, their human emotions are subject to extreme ups and downs just like anyone else.   Peace to those who knew her and loved her; and, to the woman who was assaulted in April. 

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         For many reasons, all of the details about Anne Pressly’s murder case have not been released.  One thing to think about is when, and if, prosecutors actually get a suspect into court to begin proving their case.  What if that suspect cannot get an impartial trial because of all of the information out there that can influence a jury?  So, the authorities have held back much of the information relating to Anne’s murder.  I think that is only right.  It would be a double tragedy to have found the actual person responsible for her murder only to have a guilty plea overturned due to a technicality such as not being able to find an impartial jury!

        On the other hand, there is a suspect in custody now.  His name is Curtis Lavell Vance.  He has given a DNA sample that has allegedly been linked to a woman’s rape in April.  That DNA that he has given, also is allegedly linked to Anne’s death scene.  There really has to be a strong link for the authorities to take it to trial.  I don’t know what evidence the police have been able to obtain…and, neither does most of the people in the media who are commenting on it.

         As hard as it is…we have to wait for things to go to trial; if indeed this evidence is strong enough to take to a courtroom and get a conviction.  All we can do is hope and pray that if Mr. Vance is indeed responsible for either the April rape; or, for Anne’s murder, that he is held legally responsible and is removed permanently from the citizen population. 

          In any case, we can all pray for the woman who was raped in April; as well as those who have been affected by the murder of Anne Pressly.  When it is possible to remove offenders from the opportunity who commit violence upon another person; then, we must do everything in our power to make sure that those charges stick!  But remember, innocent until PROVEN guilty.  We all want to see the person who did these horrible things to these women pay the price; but, that doesn’t mean proven guilty in the public opinion…but, in a court of law.  We all deserve that and; Anne, and the woman who was raped, deserve to have a positive identification of the person who subjected them to such horror & violence!

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       Slavery exists even today; i know that that sounds like an inflammatory statement but it is true.  It is just not talked about in any kind of real, life changing way.  I read a book recently which opens up a whole new way of looking at the world.  It is rather frightening.  Slavery exists today in what is called, modern day slavery….human trafficking.  People are bought and sold all over the world…but, it is not a subject that has been addressed in the fullness that it needs to be; to face it and, attempt to overcome it.

        The book is called, A Crime So Monstrous; it was written by author Benjamin Skinner; published in 2008.  He has traveled to places around the globe to educate and inform the world of the human injustice that is perpetrated against those who are vulnerable, and can not fight back without help.  It is a moral call to action.  Once your eyes have been opened up to the extent of the evil that is human trafficking…you will never look at the world in the same way.  Children, women, men, young and old…it doesn’t matter…crimes against humanity should never be tolerated.

        So what is modern slavery-human trafficking?  It is the forced sale of human beings to be used and abused.  There are many forms of it…from sexual slavery, prostitution, forced labor, to forced child marriages and the list goes on.  There are very real networks that cross continents buying and selling humans against their will; it impacts well over 800,000 individuals a year.   Sometimes repeatedly; without concern for the well-being of those who are being transferred like a piece of property.  It is illegal, it is immoral and it doesn’t stop there…sometimes, in many cases it is multi-generational.  In those cases, debt forces multiple generations to work to pay off debts…doing hard labor, with little or no pay.  In conditions not suitable for proper human living conditions.  Often, violence is used to coerce people to do things against their will.  They do not get proper food, shelter, health care or healthy human interaction.  It is not right.  Many of the victims are the most vulnerable in society…the weak, the poor, the disabled, the homeless, and those who are without protectors.

        Do you think it doesn’t affect you?   What if it was happening in your town?  What if it was in your neighborhood?   What if one of your loved ones came up missing?   Missing family member…what if they have become one of the invisible slaves bought and sold for someone else’s gain and pleasure?  People who patronize the prostitutes on any street, in any country, around the world did you ever wonder if …are they doing it because they want to?  Or, are they being forced to perform as a prostitute because they are in fact, someone’s slave?  If you purchase their services…you could be part of the problem. How about people who purchase the servant to cook, or clean in their business or home, especially those  individuals not legally present in that country; are they working for them willingly, or have they been bought and paid for?  

         Our country, the United States of America, is involved in war.  Our military men and women have seen things in other countries that would shock you.  In some of those countries, when war breaks out…rape is used as a tool to destroy cultures and to break down the resistance of the opposing fighters.   Our military men and women have seen what happens to the women in those countries that have been warring with one another when they have gone in to establish some kind of peace-keeping.  Women and children, as well as men, are raped and used horribly.  Some of them never recover, physically or emotionally.   This is unacceptable behavior…no matter what country it takes place in.  These are issues to think about.  No-one is guaranteed safety from these predators.  http://www.humantrafficking.org/updates  This is a global issue.  It affects us all.  If you met one of these individuals in person… how you could be unaffected?  Yet most of us live our lives unaware of their plight.  Their stories of abuse would horrify you. 

         Many of the hotbeds in the modern day slavery networks, are on the news everyday…either they are points of travel destinations, or glamour spots that the rich and famous travel to and from…others are known for their sexual tourism…PLEASE STOP FEEDING THE MONEY MACHINE.   Someone’s “tourism” is someone else’s nightmare!!!   Do some research…don’t travel or support countries that are known for trading the services of human beings, illegally, for money.  Governmental leaders must take a stand and enforce those who would disregard the value of human lives by their inaction.  We must expect legal consequences and demand it from the authorities who can make a difference.

         Ben Skinner’s book, A Crime So Monstrous, touches on some of those people and their situations.  It breaks your heart.  And yet, you know that it is just a way of outlinning the scope of the problem.  You can find out more about the book here:  www.simonsays.com  It is also available as an e-book.  Take the time to educate yourself…read it; and, understand how this affects us all.  We need to stand up and demand that our leaders help to wage a war against those who would commit crimes against humanity in such a vile, and dehumanizing way.  Thank you to those who fight the fight against such inhumanity in our world.  

See possibly related story:  http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/WireStory?id=6081857&page=1 or http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=6121646

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       There was a recent news story that did much to anger those who work with women who have been “date raped”.   Helen Mirren, a British actress, who won awards last year for her portrayal of the Queen, did an interview with GQ in which she claimed to have been raped several times, many years ago, when she was a student.  Helen is 63 years old now. 

         The reason some people have been upset with Helen, over that interview, is that she seemed to down play the experiences.  She said there was no extreme violence, she was not hit…but rather, was locked in a room and made to have sex.  She did not file charges in those incidents.  She also said that if a man and a woman were about to get intimate and the woman changed her mind, and the man continued; that was indeed rape.  However, in that circumstance; she didn’t feel that a woman could then turn around and take that man to court for it.  Those are highly controversial remarks when taken individually or out of context.  To some people…those comments smack of judgementalism…that those situations aren’t worthy of prosecution of a person who sexually assaults another.  Those comments appear inflammatory to many folks.

         Most people are clear that if a stranger attacks another person and forces sexual relations…then that is rape.  It is true enough…it is.  But there are other forms of rape as well that aren’t as clearly defined for some people. (more…)

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         A new way of collecting physical evidence in rape cases is making news.  It seems that many rape victims are leaving the medical setting; rather than, face another trauma of talking to; or, being interviewed by police after being raped.  They are too frightened in some cases of dealing with the police; some are fearful of talking to police for a variety of reasons such as possible drug/alcohol use at the time of the attack.  Many victims are worried about revenge violence for reporting the assault.  Some of the victims are young and don’t want their friends/parents/or significant other to find out.  Some rape victims just can’t deal with one more thing, that is out of their own personal control.

           So, the newly titled, Jane Doe rape kits are being offered; the evidence is collected by a specially trained nurse/doctor; and no name is put on the sealed envelopes…only an identifying number.  This way, when and if, the victim is ready to file a police report the evidence is still available.

           States are going to be required to offer the Jane Doe kits starting in 2009.  The kits are expensive; about $800.00.   It will be left up to the states which locations will have the kits available.  This way of collecting evidence just may improve the reporting of rape crimes.  In 2006, before the Jane Doe kits have become more commonly, available…it has been estimated that less than half of all rapes have been reported.  That also means that victims who may have been exposed to Sexually Transmitted Diseases aren’t being tested or treated.  Pregnancies can occur if too much time passes without medical care and of course, unless they seek it out, oftentimes, counseling or support services aren’t offered because the medical/legal profession would not be notified of the attack.  The Jane Doe kits have some definate positives…but what about other issues?

          Some of my questions would be…how long does the evidence, kept in storage, last?  How long would a victim have, before that evidence was no longer viable? The physical evidence and the photo’s collected at the time, in the Jane Doe kits, would still be helpful…but, what about a victim’s documented memories? 

         Would a legal team be able to tear apart a victims testimony in court; if, some extended time passed before a police report was made and documented?  Would their testimony of events be questioned due to a time lapse between the actual rape, identification and prosecution of a suspect?   Could the questioning of a victim’s memories of the rape be called into question; giving the legal representatives an edge in getting the charges of the suspect dismissed?  These are all important questions, as it would be horrible to go through such an experience; only to have it all dismissed, after summoning up the courage to actually file a report and go through the legal process.

         What do you think about the Jane Doe kits for rape victims?  Do you feel they will be helpful or harmful to prosecuting a case against a suspect? 

        

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