Tuesday, August 31, 2010

ACLU Asks for Emergency Reporoductive Care

NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union today asked the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services to ensure that religiously-affiliated hospitals provide emergency reproductive care as required by federal law, specifically the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) and the Conditions of Participation of Medicare and Medicaid (COP).

"The lives and health of pregnant women seeking medical care should be of paramount importance," said Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. "No woman should have to worry that she will not receive the care she needs based on the affiliation of the nearest hospital."

In a letter, the ACLU asks that the Centers investigate situations in which patients' lives and health were jeopardized as a result of hospitals' adherence to religious doctrine, rather than medical ethics, and to issue a formal clarification that denying emergency reproductive health care violates EMTALA and COP. Catholic hospitals operate 15 percent of the nation's hospital beds.

The ACLU sent the letter in response to situations such as one that occurred in Phoenix last year, in which a pregnant woman with life-threatening pulmonary hypertension was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, a Catholic hospital, which then debated whether to terminate the pregnancy, even though without such a procedure, the woman would have died. While the hospital's ethics committee ultimately approved the procedure, the sister who served on the committee was demoted.

"While the hospital in this case made the right decision in saving this woman's life, the subsequent treatment of the staff could have a chilling effect on the staff at hospitals across the country that may face similar situations in the future," said Daniel Pochoda, Legal Director of the ACLU of Arizona. "Religiously-affiliated hospitals – which are often the only hospital in a particular area – are not exempt from providing critical care to patients who come through their doors."

The situation in Phoenix is part of a worrying pattern of religiously-affiliated hospitals denying emergency reproductive care to patients, as highlighted in an article in the American Journal of Public Health. The article cites instances in which miscarrying women were forced to travel to another facility after religiously-affiliated hospitals refused to terminate their pregnancies, and a woman who was denied care until the moment her fetus' heartbeat stopped, placing her in grave peril.

"The law rightly requires hospitals to provide life-saving medical care to their patients," said Vania Leveille, ACLU Legislative Counsel. "The government must ensure that the well-being of the patient does not take a back seat to religious beliefs."

The letter is available at: www.aclu.org/reproductive-freedom/aclu-letter-centers-medicare-and-medicaid-regarding-denial-reproductive-health-

Monday, August 30, 2010

Comprehensive Sex Education Program

from cleveland.com

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Cleveland school district is applying for federal money that, if granted, would extend the district's 4-year-old sex education program by five years.

District officials hope to secure $1 million each year for the five years, not only to make improvements in its existing comprehensive sex education program and to make it available to all 48,000 students, but also to track behavior change and create a model that other school systems can replicate.

Earlier this year, Congress approved more than $100 million for evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs. It's a fundamental shift from the previous "abstinence-only" focus, on which the federal government has spent over $1.5 billion since 1996.

Since 2007 Ohio has not accepted any money from the federally funded State Abstinence Education Grant program because of its restrictions on how the money could be spent

Funding for the K-12 Responsible Sexual Behavior Initiative, the district's first comprehensive program designed for all grade levels, has fluctuated since it was launched in 2006 with an $800,000 block grant from Cuyahoga County.

One frequently heard criticism for any sex education program that starts in kindergarten is that it starts at too early an age.

But the curriculum that the Cleveland schools use is tailored to grade level. Elementary school students, for example, talk about good touch/bad touch. Instruction for the 'tweens includes abstinence and HIV. High school students talk about safer sex and condom use.

I Personally think its great that Ohio is trying to educate our children early and well. Hopefully part of their program includes who to tell and how to tell them if someone is sexually abusing you.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Public Forum September 14th

Cuyahoga County residents have a clear and understandable concern about the many tragic incidents of child maltreatment and domestic violence that occur in our community.

Earlier this year, Phillip Morris, columnist for The Plain Dealer, wrote “[W]e cannot keep bringing children into the world to be abused and killed. Zealously reproductive unfit ‘parents’ should be financially encouraged not to reproduce. I don't know how to make the decision about fitness. All I know is the conversation is worth having.”*

Is there a relationship between family violence and the use of family planning? Is family planning an effective tool to combat family violence? Should it be?

You are invited to a public forum to explore these and related questions on:

DATE: Tuesday, September 14, 2010

TIME: 2:30-4:30 p.m. (Reception: 4:30-5 p.m.)

PLACE: Cleveland Sight Center, 1909 East 101 St. (Free parking)

MODERATOR:Phillip Morris
Phillip Morris is a columnist for The Plain Dealer. His focus centers primarily on city governments, city neighborhoods, public schools, and crime. He also has written extensively about family – especially parenting issues. Morris has received a number of journalism awards, including recognition as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Commentary.

PRESENTERS: Judge Ronald B. Adrine
Judge Adrine was first elected to the bench of the Cleveland (Ohio) Municipal Court in 1981. The Judge has lectured extensively on domestic violence issues for a host of organizations, associations, and governmental agencies and is the co-author of Ohio Domestic Violence Law part of Thompson/West Group Publishing's Ohio Handbook Series.

Lillian Williams
Lillian Williams, BS, MHA has nearly 20 years experience in the field of family planning and reproductive health care. Ms. Williams has extensive knowledge and background in operations management and program evaluation. She currently employed by Planned Parenthood of Northeast Ohio as Regional Director of Health Center Operations.

Timothy Boehnlein
Tim Boehnlein has over 14 years’ experience in the field of domestic violence, and speaks and trains on topics including offender treatment and stalking. He is the Associate Director of the Domestic Violence Center of Greater Cleveland, where he was responsible for establishing the Batterer Treatment Program and the Gender Violence Prevention Project, focused on middle school and high school students.

Rebecca Cline
Rebecca Cline, MSW, LISW is Prevention Program Director for the Ohio Domestic Violence Network (ODVN). She provides training and technical assistance about domestic and family violence prevention to Ohio communities. Her background includes domestic violence shelter work, domestic violence related healthcare training and community education, community organizing and coalition building.

This forum is presented in partnership by the Northeast Ohio Family Health Program of The Center for Community Solutions and Planned Parenthood of Northeast Ohio.

It is free to attend, but reservations are requested by September 10. Please RSVP to Pam Williams at 216-781-2944 ext 203 or _pwilliams@CommunitySolutions.com_

*Phillip Morris’ original column can be found at: http://www.cleveland.com/morris/index.ssf/2010/02/saving_abused_children_sometim.html

A related follow-up column is at: http://www.cleveland.com/morris/index.ssf/2010/07/keeping_kids_away_from_unfit_p.html

Thursday, August 26, 2010

And Now for Poker Names!

Yesterday you got the great poker number of $19,000 and today it's time for the names of all those who helped raise that money!

A giant THANK YOU to:

Sharon Alexander
Kerry Anderson
Valerie Anderson
Mike Baraona
Chioke Barkari
Lisa Berg
Melissa Bilancini
Kip Botirius
Sheila Carney
Sachin Chopra
Ruth Coffey
Erin Davis
Pete DeMarco
Linda Ferris
Linda Fortunato
Matt Fritz
Christine Fugate
Erika Harper
Denise Harrison
Kelsey Hawke
Jason Holstein
Rebecca Holstein
Bernadette Howell
Angie Ilg
LaToya Jones
Verla Jones
Kevin Kendall
Ryan Knotts
Mark Kopack
Liz Lierman
Constance Mash
Chris Meyer
Dave Mikolay
Adrienne Montalvo
Dan O'Donnell
Christopher Peterson
Sheronda Peterson
PJ Porter
Tom Reilley
Ann Revelt
Erin Roberts
Natalie Rose
Heather Schavio
Jim Schenker
Sonia Scott-James
Sharon Shepherd-Harvey
Dan Singerman
Hannah Singerman
Scott Smith
Patty Strohmeier
Maryse Sulimma
Carol Timmers
Heather Tripp
Justin Tripp
Karla Ullrich
Aretha Wilson
John Wojton

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Lucky Poker Number

So what was our final poker tally?

One thousand?

Four thousand?

12 thousand?


15 thousand?


Your hard work definitely paid off! Thanks so much!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ohio attorney general, Richard Cordray, pushes statewide discussion about testing rape kits

by Rachel Dissell in the Plain Dealer on Monday, August 23rd

Wading into a national debate, Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray is calling for a statewide conversation among lawmakers, law enforcement and victim advocates about the testing of rape evidence kits.

On one side are those who want all kits submitted to a lab for examination, reasoning that by collecting more DNA profiles, authorities will find links to serial rapists and solve more cases.

Others say mass testing is a waste of money and the movement to do so masks the fact that most sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows -- not strangers whose identities are in question.

The kits contain evidence collected at hospitals after a sexual assault is reported. Blood, semen, saliva, hair or other evidence can be used to identify or exclude a suspect as an attacker.
Testing policies are inconsistent in Ohio and throughout the country. Here, each law-enforcement entity decides how, and whether, to test rape kits.

While state-run labs in Ohio prefer that cases be vetted for possible useful evidence before the kits are submitted, they won't turn away evidence. And some Ohio cities and counties have locally funded labs that make their own policy or charge by submission.

"It's a patchwork quilt," Cordray said in a phone interview last week. "It would make sense to have some kind of universal protocol or best practice."

Cordray began to explore the issue after Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath decided to submit all rape kits to state labs for testing this year, a move prompted by questions about how many untested kits the city had sitting on property-room shelves -- and whether testing that evidence could have solved more cases.

Cleveland's shift in philosophy to test all kits is similar to a new law signed in Illinois in July that made it the first state to require that every properly collected sexual-assault evidence kit booked into police evidence be tested within six months.

Scrutiny of the process in Illinois was stirred in part after Human Rights Watch, an independent advocacy group, started gathering data last year that eventually revealed that 80 percent of kits collected in that state since 1995 had never been tested. The group's report was part of a series that looked at rape-kit testing and backlogs across the country.

News of the Illinois law re-ignited the national debate among victim advocates, law enforcement and researchers about what makes the most sense: Testing all rape kits submitted to police or only the ones that are needed to investigate and prosecute open cases.

Those in favor of mass testing, including some criminologists, argue that studies show sexual assault to be a pattern offense -- meaning most attackers don't attack only one victim. They believe if more DNA profiles are collected, more crimes are likely to be linked to serial rapists.

Anecdotally, that has been reported across the country as more DNA has been loaded into national databases.

click here for the entire article and to leave comments

Monday, August 23, 2010

Latino Community Open House

Mi Cases es tu Casa

Cleveland Rape Crisis Center welcomes and opens our home to the Latino Community.

Join us for food, drink and fellowship!

Thursday, September 9, 5:30 - 7:30p.m. with brief remarks at 6:15 p.m.

Join us at the Leader Building, 526 Superior Avenue, Suite 1400 (SW Corner of E.6th and Superior in Downtown Cleveland, 44114 - Across from Cleveland Public Library)

Complimentary parking available at the PNC Garage on Vincent between E. 9th and E. 6th streets. CRCC will provide a parking pass for this garage when you arrive at the reception.

Kindly RSVP at 216-619-6194 X 126 or info@clevelandrcc.org.

Friday, August 20, 2010


To all of you who helped out with the Nautica Charity Poker Festival a great big giant THANK YOU!

The event was a staggering amount of work made possible only through the help of our wonderful volunteers. It was also a great success!

Stay tuned for the final tally and some great pics!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

from a Fellow Advocate

from Mike Scur, Hotline Advocate since Fall 2009

The Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010: A Step Forward for Native Women

Posted by Lynn Rosenthal on July 29, 2010 at http://www.whitehouse.gov/

The President just signed the Tribal Law and Order Act -- an important step to help the Federal Government better address the unique public safety challenges that confront tribal communities.

According to a Department of Justice report, Native American women suffer from violent crime at a rate three and a half times greater than the national average. Astoundingly, one in three Native American women will be raped in their lifetimes. At the White House Tribal Nations Conference in November 2009, President Obama stated that this shocking figure "is an assault on our national conscience that we can no longer ignore."

Last week, Congress took another important step to improve the lives of Native American women by passing the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010. The Act includes a strong emphasis on decreasing violence against women in Native communities, and is one of many steps this Administration strongly supports to address the challenges faced by Native women.

The stipulations in the Act that will benefit Native women reflect several Administration priorities. The Act will strengthen tribal law enforcement and the ability to prosecute and fight crime more effectively. The Indian Health Care Improvement Act will require that a standardized set of practices be put in place for victims of sexual assault in health facilities. Now, more women will get the care they need, both for healing and to aid in the prosecution of their perpetrators.

Victims of domestic violence and sexual assault will now more often encounter authorities who have been trained to handle such cases. The Act expands training of tribal enforcement officers on the best ways to interview victims of domestic and sexual violence and the importance of collecting evidence to improve rates of conviction. The Director of Indian Health Services will coordinate with the Department of Justice, Tribes, Tribal organizations and urban Indian organizations to develop standardized sexual assault policies and protocols.

Special Assistant US Attorneys will be deputized under the Act to prosecute reservation crimes in Federal courts, and tribes will be given greater authority to hold perpetrators accountable. These provisions help to increase communication between tribal law enforcement, Federal authorities and the court system. As numbers of convictions grow, more women may be willing to report the abuses against them so that their abusers may be prosecuted.

However, the Act focuses not only on prosecution but also on prevention. It reauthorizes and improves programs to prevent and treat alcohol and substance abuse, as well as programs that improve opportunities for at-risk Indian youth. Getting men and boys involved in stopping the violence against women and girls is an important step to ending it everywhere, giving youth a chance to change their own futures.

This Act, combined with the great work that Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice are doing to combat violence in American Indian/Alaska Native communities, is an important step towards our Administration’s priority of ending violence against women and girls, and making Native communities safer and more secure. One in three is a statistic that is intolerable, and the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 will help to change that.

Lynn Rosenthal is the White House Advisor on Violence Against Women

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's Here!

It's finally here!

The 2010 Nautica Charity Poker Festival benefitting the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center!

Thanks to all of you volunteers who have stepped up to ensure this event is a great success. It's wonderful working with you outside the realm of direct service!

And if you weren't able to volunteer, you can still help out by coming down to play!

Tuesday, August 17th from 4:00-midnight
Wednesday, August 18th from 4:00-midnight

Let's have some FUN!

Monday, August 16, 2010

from Michael Sangiacomo, The Plain Dealer

Please read - I'd love to hear your comments on the last paragraph. You can also link to the Plain Dealer's site here to read what others have to say ...

ELYRIA, Ohio -- A 16-year-old North Ridgeville boy was sentenced Thursday to five years probation for the stabbing death of the 55-year-old man he said was sexually abusing him.

Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Burge sentenced Daniel Kovarbasich to the probation, which includes treatment in a program of the court's choosing.

Kovarbasich did not react when the sentence was announced.

Assistant Lorain County Prosecutor Tony Cillo had asked for the maximum 10-year sentence.
On April 29, Burge found Kovarbasich guilty of voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault for the death of Duane Hurley, also of North Ridgeville.

Kovarbasich said during the trial that on Jan. 22, he hit Hurley on the head with a pickle jar, then stabbed him repeatedly.

In nervous, halting testimony, Kovarbasich told of two years of sexual relations with Hurley in exchange for money, clothes and other favors. He said he didn't tell anyone about it because he was "embarrassed and ashamed."

Cillo said Thursday that the court only had Kovarbasich's word that a sexual relationship existed. He added that even if it existed, Kovarbasich was clearly the one in charge, getting money from Hurley in a "quid pro quo" relationship.

Kovarbasich's attorney, Jack Bradley, told the judge there is no legal justification for an adult to have sex with a 15- and 16-year-old boy.

Marcy Utlak, spoke for the victim's family. She demanded jail for the boy who killed her uncle.
"Duane had bad arthritis and was 100 pounds overweight, which is why he had to pay people to cut his lawn. We only have Kovarbasich's word about the sexual relationship," she said.

She called Kovarbasich "a cold-blooded murderer."

After Utlak spoke and before announcing the sentence, the judge told the people in the courtroom that he knew Hurley.

"He was a nice guy. I was a fan of all the work he did with youth and sports in Avon Lake and other places . . . His sexual preference was for pubescent boys and there is no way in our society for him to express that preference . . . It was what he was born with . . . what he was stuck with," Burge said.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cleveland police officers get training on human trafficking

by Rachel Dissell, Plain Dealer on August 10th

Cleveland police training instructor George Kwan wants officers to look for signs of human trafficking in the situations they encounter everyday.

Kwan implored the patrol officers and detectives, who were sitting through a new training program Tuesday, to keep their eyes open for what he called shoppers and smugglers.

The shoppers, he said, target a specific type of young girls, enticing and persuading them to leave for a better life -- before entrapping them in the sex trade.

The smugglers deal mainly in non-English speaking people, forced to work low or no wage jobs. They may be the ones that refill your soda at the buffet restaurant, he said.

Human traffickers profit by forcing people -- usually at-risk youth or immigrants -- to work for them. They can be a part of worldwide networks or one-person local operations. It is basically the modern day equivalent of slavery, he explained.

The training was meant as an elementary primer on what constitutes human trafficking and who is most at risk -- not an in-depth session on how to investigate the crimes.

It comes on the heels of a statewide report released in February that pointed to Ohio's weak human trafficking laws, demand for cheap labor and proximity to the Canadian border make it ripe for illegal activity.

The introduction is especially important since, Kwan said, a new casino planned for downtown would undoubtedly fuel more drug, sex and fraud-related crimes.

He also said the high prevalence of vacant houses in the city, make easy squatting ground for daytime brothels.

However, Kwan warned the officers that they are limited in how they can respond to trafficking offenses because there is no specific law in Ohio that make human trafficking a crime -- only tougher penalties for people who commit other crimes, including kidnapping, abduction, compelling prostitution and child endangering.

Forty-two other states do have laws that allow them to bring charges with serious penalties against human traffickers.

"Ohio is open, open season for this type of trafficking," Kwan said.

The training was also attended by members of a committee overseeing implementation of a plan to improve Cleveland's repose to sex crimes and missing persons cases.

Kwan tried to bring the issue home for the officers by highlighting local cases of missing teens, Amanda Berry, Georgina "Gina" DeJesus and Ashley Summers. All of teens vanished from West Side neighborhoods in the past seven years. The fact that none of them have been found leaves open the possibility.

He held up a sheet of paper, dotted with rows of pictures of girls missing from the area to make his point.

What do they have in common?

"They are all attractive, they are all between the ages of 14 and 17 and they are all gone," he said. "Anyone think we have a shopper here?"

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Allow Me to Introduce ... LaToya Jones!

LaToya recently reached her 5 year anniversary as a Hotline Advocate. I'd like you to know a little bit more about her and I'm sure you'll join me in wishing her a "Happy Anniversary"!

What led you to volunteer with CRCC? A school project.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering with CRCC? Allowing others a chance to vent and express how they feel.

What do you find most challenging about volunteering with CRCC? Sometimes the stories the survivors tell are very sad.

What do you do in your professional life? I am a Probation Officer for Cuyahoga County.

What do you enjoy doing when you're not working or volunteering? Reading, skating, movies, spending time with my niece.

What do you do most often to practice self-care? Meditate

If you had a magic wand, what would you wish? That everyone would be happy

If you won the lottery, how would you spend the money? Family, friends, donate to charities

Game: Taboo
Book: Anything by Michelle McKinney Hammond
Movie: Love and Basketball
Website or blog: facebook
Musician or group: Musiq
Vacation spot: Florida
Meal: Shrimp
Spot in your house: My room
Sports team: Cavs

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Craigslist is hub for child prostitution, allege trafficked women

The online classified advertising site, Craigslist, is facing accusations that it has become a hub for underage prostitution after two young women placed an advertisement in the Washington Post saying they were repeatedly sold through the site to men who "paid to rape" them.

The allegations came as a federal judge threw out an attempt by Craigslist – named after its owner, Craig Newmark – to stop a criminal investigation over its "adult services" section which is alleged to carry thousands of prostitution ads daily.
In an open letter to Newmark placed in the Washington Post, the two women appealed for him to shut Craigslist's adult services section.

One of the women, who identified herself as MC, said she was forced into prostitution at the age of 11 by a man who trafficked "many girls my age".

"All day, me and other girls sat with our laptops, pasting pictures and answering ads on Craigslist, he made $1,500 a night selling my body, dragging me to Los Angeles, Houston, Little Rock – and on one trip to Las Vegas in the trunk of a car," the ad said. "Craig we write this letter so you will know from our personal experiences how Craigslist makes horrific acts like this so easy to carry out … and the men who arrange them very rich."

The second woman, identified as AK, said that last year she met a man twice her age who pretended to be her boyfriend. "He put my picture on Craigslist, and I was sold for sex by the hour at truck stops and cheap motels, 10 hours with 10 different men every night. This became my life," the ad said. "Men answered the Craigslist advertisements and paid to rape me. The $30,000 he pocketed each month was facilitated by Craigslist 300 times."

AK said she knew of more than 20 girls who were trafficked on the site: "Like me, they were taken from city to city, each time sold on a different Craigslist site."

The ad was partly paid for by Fair Fund, a group working with young women who have been sold for sex. It described Craigslist as "the Wal-Mart of online sex trafficking". Fair Fund said it had checked the women's accounts and could vouch for them. It said AK had met the US attorney general, Eric Holder.

Craigslist's chief executive, Jim Buckmaster, said it worked tirelessly with law enforcement agencies to identify ads that exploited children, manually reviewed every adult service ad before posting and required phone verification by the person placing it.

Two years ago, under the threat of legal action by about 40 US states, Craigslist began charging $10 (£6.25) per posting for adult services ads, whereas most of the site is free. Some of the revenue goes to charity. That did not reassure groups working with children forced into the sex trade.
Thousands of ads continue to be placed each day that list charges for encounters. Many include words that the Fair Fund says are flags for underage prostitution such as "fresh" and "inexperienced".

Last month, dozens of anti-prostitution groups led protests outside Craigslist's San Francisco HQ to demand an end to sex trade ads.

Last week, Newmark was confronted in the street by a CNN reporter with ads from Craigslist that appeared to offer girls for sex, and the case of a 12-year-old girl forced into prostitution and sold on the site until she was freed in a police raid north of Washington in June. A 42-year-old man was charged with human trafficking. Newmark declined to respond.

The website is under criminal investigation in South Carolina, where the attorney general, Henry McMaster, described Craigslist's alleged promotion of prostitution as a "very serious matter". On Friday, a federal judge threw out an attempt by Craigslist to block the investigation. The same day, the attorney general of Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, called for Craigslist to scrap sex adverts.

Buckmaster has accused McMaster and other law enforcement officials of "grandstanding" and attempting to impose an outdated sexual moral code.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Thank you, Sarah Kostick!

This isn't my first post about how wonderful Sarah Kostick is. And those of you who have had the opportunity to volunteer or train with Sarah also know that she's fabulous.

But there is an all-new reason that Sarah is such a stand-out Advocate.

You see, Sarah graduated from law school in the spring and has spent the entire summer studying for the bar exam. And last week she drove herself to Columbus to take actually take the killer test.

So what does this have to do with Advocacy?

Bear with me.

On her way back from Columbus, just hours after completing the most grueling examination of her entire life, Sarah got an emergency request to act as a F2F Advocate. And she took it!

Sarah ignored all the excuses she had at the ready. She thought about the survivor waiting for an Advocate at the hospital. She went to the hospital without even going home first.

Not only did she show up but she did an amazing job and made an immeasurable difference to the survivor. And that is why Sarah is not only an amazing Advocate but an amazing person.

Thank you, Sarah!

Monday, August 9, 2010

From a Fellow Advocate

from Mike Scur, Hotline Advocate since Fall 2009

It’s fairly ridiculous when a woman’s explicit statement of dissent (saying “No, no” when asked to remove her clothes at a bar) can be disregarded by being present in a bar when dancing infront of a camera. Unfortunately that’s how a jury ruled things in Missouri, suggesting she had “implicitly consented” by dancing prior.

Mo. woman loses lawsuit over 'Girls Gone Wild’ video

by Tim O'Neil, http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/article_30865bcc-95eb-11df-9734-00127992bc8b.html

ST. LOUIS -- A jury on Thursday rejected a young woman's claim that the producers of a "Girls Gone Wild" video damaged her reputation by showing her tank top being pulled down by another person in a Laclede's Landing bar.

A St. Louis Circuit Court jury deliberated 90 minutes before ruling against the woman, 26, on the third day of the trial. Lawyers on both sides argued the key issue was consent, with her side saying she absolutely refused to give it and the defense claiming she silently approved by taking part in the party.

The woman, identified in court files as Jane Doe, was 20 when she went to the former Rum Jungle bar in May 2004 and was filmed by a "Girls Gone Wild" video photographer. Now married, the mother of two girls and living in the St. Charles area, Doe sued in 2008 after a friend of her husband's reported that she was in one of the videos.

"I am stunned that this company can get away with this," Doe said after the verdict. "Justice has not been served. I just don't understand. I gave no consent."

But Patrick O'Brien, the jury foreman, told a reporter later that an 11-member majority decided that Doe had in effect consented by being in the bar and dancing for the photographer. In a trial such as this one, agreement by nine of 12 jurors is enough for a verdict.

"Through her actions, she gave implied consent," O'Brien said. "She was really playing to the camera. She knew what she was doing."

Told of that reasoning, the tearful woman said, "I was having fun until my top was pulled off. And now this thing is out there for the world to see forever."

David A. Dalton II of St. Peters, lawyer for the defendants, said, "The jury listened to the evidence and made the right decision." Dalton said he knew before the trial began that the general reputation of "Girls Gone Wild" videos presented him with a challenge.

Crews that produce them travel to taverns, beaches and other tourist spots and publicly encourage young women to disrobe. The videos include other sexually charged episodes.
The woman's lawyers had asked for about $5 million, including the $1.5 million they estimated the company has made on the video in question, called "Girls Gone Wild Sorority Orgy."

Stephen Evans of St. Louis, her lawyer, argued Thursday that Doe never gave consent — and even could be heard in original footage saying "no" when asked to show her breasts shortly before another woman suddenly pulled Doe's top down. Evans said the company usually gets women to sign consent forms or give verbal consent with cameras rolling.

"Other girls said it was OK. Not one other one said, 'No, no,'" Evans said. "She is entitled to go out with friends and have a good time and not have her top pulled down and get that in a video."

Doe filed suit against MRA Holding LLC and Mantra Films Inc. of Tulsa, Okla. No executives testified.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Cleveland Rape Crisis Center advocate to be located onsite at Sex Crimes Unit

Reporting a crime can be intimidating, and the nature of a sex crime can make reporting an even greater challenge. A sexual assault survivor may feel shame or be in shock. He or she may fear being judged or not believed when disclosing the terrifying experience they have been through. Given these facts, it is easy to understand why sexual assault is the most under-reported crime in the U.S.

Cleveland Rape Crisis Center and Cleveland Division of Police are taking steps to support victims who choose to report a sexual assault. Starting in the fall, an advocate from CRCC will be available on-site at the Sex Crimes Unit. This developing partnership works to address the recommendations set forth by Mayor Frank Jackson's Special Commission on Sex Crimes and Missing Persons.

"We are formalizing and enhancing a partnership that has been in place for several years," said Megan O'Bryan, CEO of Cleveland Rape Crisis Center.

The advocate in the sex crimes unit will have access to police reports within a day or two after they are made. "With this partnership, we can reach out to survivors and offer advocacy and therapeutic services at a critical time," said Ashley Hawke, Director of Advocacy Services. "Our hope is that, with these supportive services, individuals can better understand and participate in the criminal justice process."

Model policy from the International Association of Chiefs of Police recommends prompt use of a victim advocate to provide support and inform victims about the criminal justice process. O'Bryan noted, "By working closely with our advocates, Cleveland's Sex Crimes Unit is utilizing a best practice. This can only strengthen the services victims receive, and both organizations."

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Volunteers Needed for Research Study

Researchers at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing with the permission of the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center are conducting a study to learn more about survivors’ relationships following a sexual assault.

You may take part in this research study if you:

  • Have experienced unwanted sexual contact
  • Have been forced to participate in sexual activities without your consent or against your will

You may not take part in this research study if you:

  • Are under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the interview
  • Are experiencing psychotic or manic symptoms which would interfere with your being able to focus on the interview
  • Are currently experiencing an acute crisis which would prohibit you from being able to focus on the interview
  • Are currently seen by the researcher for care (to be determined during initial phone contact)

What will be asked to do?

  • Talk with the female researcher to learn more about the study so you can make an informed decision
  • Be willing to talk about your personal relationships after the sexual assault occurred
  • Participate in an interview of about 60-90 minutes (the researcher may contact you for clarification if needed)
  • Review a summary of the findings from everyone who participated to ensure your experience is accurately represented

You will be compensated for participation in this study.

If you are interested in learning more about this study or if you have questions, please contact the researcher at 440-382-8636

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Getting Married and Changing Names

--Hello all--

I will be out of the office for awhile because I'm getting married!!!!

When I return I will be Sarah Bartholomew-Fisher.
I had a very hard time deciding what to call myself after I get married. It seems like whatever I chose, I was going to have to explain to someone.

Lisa Belkin from the New York Times writes -
Hyphenating works, at least for a generation, but can be long and cumbersome. Using one name for work and another at home means never remembering who you are. Giving baby boys Dad’s last name and baby girls Mom’s last name? He taking her name? Creating something new from scratch? All possible and all with their own complications.

Growing up I always assumed that I would change my last name to match my husbands; however, when it came time to actually do it, I wasn’t sure I would be able to.

I wanted to have the same name as Lee, my future husband, because, it’s easier, and we are going to be a family and I wanted to signify that. I wanted both myself and Lee to change our last names to Bartholomew-Fisher but he wasn’t too excited about that idea (I spent my whole life thinking I was going to change my last name and then decided I wasn’t too keen on the idea, so I don’t blame him for not wanting to change his last name with only a few months notice).

But why had he never thought about changing his name? Male privilege. Number 21. on the Male Privilege Checklist: I will never be expected to change my name or questioned if I don’t change my name. (The Male Privilege Checklist can be found here http://sap.mit.edu/content/pdf/male_privilege.pdf)

Although men do not get questioned for not changing their name, they may be ridiculed as not manly if they do changing their name.

Lucy Gillam has a great blog post about male privilege. It has a lot of good points, but the one that stands out to me is when she talks about the inequality of the name changing system. (Lucy's post can be found at http://www.trickster.org/symposium/symp181.htm)

… true gender equality is actually perceived as inequality. A group that is made up of 50% women is perceived as being mostly women. A situation that is perfectly equal between men and women is perceived as being biased in favor of women.

And if you don't believe me, you've never been a married woman who kept her family name. I have had students hold that up as proof of my "sexism." My own brother told me that he could never marry a woman who kept her name because "everyone would know who ruled that relationship." Perfect equality - my husband keeps his name and I keep mine – is held as a statement of superiority on my part.

How could I change my name, buying into this system that assumes that women will change their names when they get married and not stand up against male privilege?

My next thought was to have us both take Bartholomew as a 2nd middle name (so we would both have 4 names). We both agreed to this name change and the decision was made...but then I freaked out about changing my name...again.

I talked to friends and family about what they thought and to get ideas, but really what it all comes down to was what I wanted to do. I have to live with this name for forever. I think my friend Suzanne said it best “To be honest I think true feminism is about doing what's best/feels right/ making your own choice. Changing my name never seemed fair/right to me. So, I didn’t change it (and oh well!) If you felt that you wanted to change your name because ...it was a choice YOU made- I’d feel that was feminist too. In my class on sexism I try to break down these ideas that something is "feminist" or not. I call it "PRO HAPPY FEMINISM" so, my dearest Sarah- do what makes YOU happy. It's your choice, your decision- that’s the root (in my opinion) of what is feminist”.

So long story only kinda short, I am going to be Sarah Bartholomew-Fisher and Lee is going to take Bartholomew as a second middle name. It will be a super long name and I will need to learn how to make a capital F in script, but it’s the best fit for how I am feeling.

And of course I cannot write a post about getting married and male privilege without also noting that I am clearly taking advantage of straight privilege by getting married in the United States when not all couples in the US are afforded this right.

Have fun at poker while I am gone!!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Life is really simple ...

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. --Confucius

Jay Shafer lives in an 8-by-12 foot house. He built it from scratch. With no prior carpentry knowledge or experience. "I'm sure there are people out there who think I'm crazy for living so small, but living in this little house has allowed me to totally reinvent my life," he says. With a desire to "escape the rat race," the former grocery-store clerk's intentions were simple: focus on the things he really wanted to do, and not on working for money. Now, he runs a company that builds small homes for others. "I never thought I'd be an entrepreneur in anything, but it's my passion to design small houses," he smiles. "It's been really liberating."

Monday, August 2, 2010

Camp Create: a Great Success!

Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, Bellflower Center for Prevention of Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Center presented Camp Create, a children's day camp for girls and boys, ages 7 to 12, who have experienced or witnessed violence. The week-long camp relied on expressive therapies such as art making, movement, writing,... drama and music to provide a safe, supportive and nurturing environment.

Check out more photos at www.facebook.com/clevelandrcc