Category Archives: Crime

One avenue for justice in Maryville, closed.

Across the internet, various groups are demanding justice for Daily Coleman, the 14-year-old girl who was allegedly raped by a popular high school football player from a well-connected family. But it’s unclear what that “justice” would actually look like. A special prosecutor has been appointed to the case, and I’m hopeful she’ll be able to shed light on all the facts. But were it not for conservative Supreme Court justices, Daisy could have had other options: She could have sued her alleged attacker under a federal cause of action established by the Violence Against Women Act. I’m writing about that in The Nation today:
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Posted in Crime, Discrimination, Feminism, Gender, Law, Politics, Rape Culture, Sexual Assault | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Is Anonymous good for Maryville?

There’s a part of me that thinks yes — when the legal system has failed, there are few other options to seek justice, and an internet collective isn’t the worst one. But I’m also incredibly wary of unchecked power and the ethos of spreading information without verifying its authenticity or accuracy, and a movement that feeds on rage and indignation without any real accountability. It’s particularly important to look at these issues when they’re being carried out for a cause we believe in. Does the calculus change if Anonymous’s tactics are leveled at someone we support? And then, are the tactics and ethics bad, or just the issue? I have a feeling this position will be very unpopular with the Feministe commentariat, but here goes: Continue reading

Posted in Crime, Law, Politics, Rape Culture, Sexual Assault | Tagged , | 149 Comments

What’s going on in Maryville?

In Maryville, Missouri, a 14-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a high school senior from a well-connected family. She and a 13-year-old friend snuck out to go to a party with some senior boys, mostly popular football players. They gave her alcohol until she blacked out, and one of them had sex with her. Photos were taken. Then they left her on her doorstep in the winter cold, where she nearly froze to death. Sexual assault, sexual exploitation and endangerment charges were all brought. Then they were dropped. The girl’s family was essentially run out of town, and their house eventually burned down. The entire story is horrific, and the Kansas City Star offers a great piece of in-depth reporting here. Continue reading

Posted in Crime, Law, Rape Culture, Sexual Assault | Tagged | 30 Comments

Playing with Murder

An anti-abortion siege is under way in Albuquerque, and activists there are using tactics and rhetoric we’ve heard before — tactics and rhetoric that have a marked history of getting abortion providers killed. I’m detailing the pro-life strategy of violence in Salon: Continue reading

Posted in Crime, Feminism, Health, Politics, Religion, Reproductive Rights, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Freedom to Abuse Kids

This week at the Guardian I’m writing about the gay conversion therapy ban passed in New Jersey, and how religious freedom is too often used as an argument for abusing kids — at the expense of children’s own equal protection under the law.
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Posted in Crime, Discrimination, Education, Health, Law, Medicine, Parenthood, Politics, Race & Ethnicity | Tagged , | 140 Comments

Treating Tracy Connelly like a woman

Last week, Tracy Connelly was murdered in the van where she lived with her partner. Police suspect the killer was a client; Connelly was a sex worker who lived across from St. Kilda Gatehouse. She was also a loving partner and beloved friend to other women in her community. Continue reading

Posted in Crime, Media & Media Literacy, Work | Tagged | 19 Comments

Guilty verdicts in Richmond High School rape case

[Trigger warning]: In 2009, a 16-year-old girl was beaten and raped for more than two hours on the Richmond High School campus in California. She nearly died after the attack, which was perpetrated by multiple men while even more looked on. After four years, some justice is being done: Two of the accused have been found guilty and are facing long sentences. I’m obviously not a big fan of long prison sentences as a general rule, but for sadists who rape and torture a young woman for group entertainment over the course of several hours? Yeah, those guys probably shouldn’t be walking the streets. Neither should the onlookers who encouraged the violence and did nothing to stop it. Continue reading

Posted in Crime, Rape Culture, Sexual Assault | 68 Comments

Juror B37 has decided she’s had enough publicity after all (with @MoreAndAgain update)

Just two days after acquitting George Zimmerman of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges for killing Trayvon Martin, Juror B37 — one of five white women on the six-woman jury — had signed with Martin Literary Management to write a book. President Sharlene Martin released a statement saying that B37 felt it important that the public understand her experience during the trial. After the public got to know B37 a little better, however, the book plans have disappeared. Continue reading

Posted in Crime, Law, Media & Media Literacy, Racism | 45 Comments

Today in stupid crap

1. We’re trashing a teenager who is doing her civic duty and whose friend was murdered. Good job, everyone, you should be proud. No, she doesn’t speak like a 50-year-old white lawyer. But Rachel Jeantel is not on trial here, and the attacks on her are awful. Also, watching George Zimmerman’s defense lawyer hammer the fact that Trayvon Martin told Jeantel that he was being followed by a “creepy-ass cracker” in a transparent attempt to stoke some racial animus among white people who are deeply offended at being called “crackers” was pretty appalling. Continue reading

Posted in Class, Crime, Feminism, Law, Politics, Racism, Reproductive Rights | Tagged | 138 Comments

America’s Prisons are a National Disgrace

This week at the Guardian (and in the national news media) there’s been much attention paid to the role of private contractors in our intelligence and military operations, after an NSA employee leaked classified documents about U.S. spying to Glenn Greenwald. I’m using my column this week to talk about a different kind of privatization in American security: The privatization of our prison system, which turns the building and management of prisons over to corporate entities. Of course, even non-privatized prisons in the U.S. are rife with abuses. But privatization creates strong financial incentives for increased incarceration; the actors who are incentivized are particularly powerful, politically connected and monied. There’s also little oversight and regulation of private prisons, as attempts to do so are met with significant push-back. A part of the column (content warning: the text below and particularly the linked column include descriptions of violent prison abuses): Continue reading

Posted in Business, Crime, Law, Politics, Race & Ethnicity, Racism | Tagged , , , | 26 Comments

Texas jury says that sometimes, killing an escort is okay (Updated)

Ezekiel Gilbert contracted for services with Lenora Ivie Frago, an escort he found on Craigslist. At the end of their Christmas Eve engagement, he paid her her $150 fee, and she walked out — which angered him, because he’d assumed that sex was included as part of the package. Gilbert shot Frago in the neck, paralyzing her; she died of her injuries seven months later. His defense before the courts? That his actions were justifiable because she was stealing the $150 — and under Texas law, he was acquitted. Continue reading

Posted in Crime, Law, Sex | 130 Comments

Not our fight: Male Violence and the Bystander Effect

[Trigger warning for domestic violence]

These good people, these people whom, albeit in different industries and capacities, are each individually working to make the future a better place than the present, do nothing. They, of relative privilege, watch the aforementioned horror unfold. Some are stunned. Some don’t notice. Some shake their heads. It’s a shame, they think. It’s fucked up, they think. It makes my blood boil, they think. But they do nothing. They hold their girlfriends tighter. They back their friends away from the scene. They try to break their stares. They go get more drinks. These are good people. But they do nothing. They are silent.

A few try. Three university age young women try. They do as their friends tell them. Go get security, they say. But security does nothing. This is between a husband and a wife, they say. Please go back inside, they say. The young women beg their friends and the bar security to do something. They do nothing. Get away from the car, they say. There is nothing you can do, they say. You’re going to get hurt, they say. You’re being irrational, they say. It’s not our fight, they say. Continue reading

Posted in Crime, Domestic Violence | Tagged , , , | 92 Comments