No better place to put her? Really?

Well, this is fucking horrifying.

There’s a 16-year-old transgender girl of color, Jane Doe, being held in a women’s prison in Connecticut.

No charges have been filed. She’s being held indefinitely. She’s in solitary confinement for 22-23 hours per day.

She does have a history of violent behavior, but that doesn’t make her unusual for a teenager who’s been in state care for years and who’s endured many more years of physical and sexual violence by a wide variety of people she was supposed to trust.

Make no mistake, this girl’s violent behavior is easily explained by her history of victimization. She hasn’t gotten the mental health care she needs to respond non-violently to perceived threats, and she’s certainly not getting that care in the adult women’s prison.

As Adrian Weibgen points out, surely DCF could do better with this girl:

The official story is that Jane endangered other youth in DCF’s custody, and Katz had no option but to send Jane to an adult prison. We do not underestimate the difficulty of managing the competing needs of the youth in DCF’s care, especially since many of these young people, like Jane, have been victims of violence and sexual abuse and exhibit trauma-responsive behaviors as a result. But the fact that the job is a difficult one does not mean that Connecticut should settle for less for Jane or any other child in need. […]

DCF’s job is to care for all children, and many of the children DCF cares for struggle with outbursts of violence. So why is Jane Doe the only child in fourteen years DCF has sought to have transferred to an adult prison? Transphobia may be part of the answer. DCF previously placed Jane in a facility for boys, then petitioned the court to have her transferred to Manson, an adult male prison facility. Jane is now at a women’s prison, but that is the result of a decision by Department of Corrections (DoC), not DCF.

Also this:

Is it possible that Jane is the most dangerous young person DCF has seen in fourteen years? Maybe. Or maybe DCF just needs to believe that she is, because believing otherwise would mean acknowledging that it is the system that has failed Jane, and not the other way around.

There is much to support this latter point of view. Jane has provided many details of her sad and disturbing history of sexual violence, and although Katz alludes to the fact that Jane “suffered horrible abuse before she entered the care of the DCF,” Katz fails to acknowledge that this abuse occurred while Jane was in DCF’s care, too. […]It is difficult to imagine another young woman being repeatedly raped while in DCF’s care, only to be locked in prison for being too “dangerous.”

Weibgen also notes the justice system’s history of treating queer and trans women of color as especially violent and dangerous. Look up CeCe McDonald, for example. Transphobia doesn’t just mean putting a trans woman in a men’s prison, it means prosecuting and imprisoning a trans woman for an act of self-defense. Jane Doe isn’t even an adult, and because she’s still a juvenile, she’s being kept in isolation in compliance with a law that says juvenile prisoners must be kept from any interactions with adult inmates.

I think it would be better if she just weren’t in an adult prison.

Did I mention the state has filed no criminal charges on this girl?

They shunted her off to a secure facility without a trial.

Jane Doe wrote a letter to Gov. Malloy, in which she says she feels “forgotten and thrown away.”

Yeah, I can see how she’d have that feeling.

The system is fucked. Where are the vigilantes?

Dahlia Lithwick writes about two high-profile rape cases in Slate. One of those cases is that of Stacey Rambold’s non-sentence for his rape of Cherice Morales, but she doesn’t have any new info on that. We do have some more details from CBS News on Judge Baugh’s remarks:

In handing down the sentence, Baugh also said the 14-year-old victim was “older than her chronological age” and “as much in control of the situation” as the teacher. The girl’s mother, Auleia Hanlon, stormed out of the courtroom yelling, “You people suck!,” the Billings-Gazette reported.

Baugh told the newspaper Tuesday that he stood by his comments that the victim was a troubled youth who was older than her age when it came to sexual matters. That didn’t make Rambold’s sex with the teen any less of a crime, he said.

“Obviously, a 14-year-old can’t consent. I think that people have in mind that this was some violent, forcible, horrible rape,” Baugh told the paper. “It was horrible enough as it is just given her age, but it wasn’t this forcible beat-up rape.”

and contrast that with this:

“I think what people are seeing is a sentence for rape of 30 days. Obviously on the face of it, if you look at it that way, it’s crazy,” Baugh said. “No wonder people are upset. I’d be upset, too, if that happened.”

Yes, Judge Baugh, that is exactly what happened. You assigned a sentence for rape of 30 days. That is what you did, and we are right to be upset.

Also, was it “horrible enough as it is just given her age,” or was she “older than her chronological age”? Just because you make mea culpa gestures at reporters, your “reasoning” doesn’t become any more coherent or less despicable. You’re all like, “Okay, a 14-year-old can’t consent, but since he didn’t beat her up, I’m not actually sentencing him for rape. And she was actually older than 14 in terms of sexual matters. Because…that’s the way I’ve chosen to think of the case.” Keep on digging that hole, Judge! I’m sure you’ll love it when you reach Afghanistan!

The other case in Lithwick’s article is the one in Massachusetts, in which a judge’s idea of a “sentence” for a rapist is to have him engage with the court system to take responsibility for his victim’s child.

The first story comes from Massachusetts, where a plaintiff known only as H.T. has sued the commonwealth in federal court for forcing her into a long-term relationship with her rapist. In 2009 H.T. became pregnant as the result of a rape that occurred when she was 14—in middle school. Her rapist, Jamie Melendez, was 20. Melendez pleaded guilty to the rape in 2011 and was sentenced to 16 years of probation. But the conditions of his probation also included an order that he “initiate proceedings in family court and comply with that court’s orders until the child reaches adulthood.” In short, according to the new complaint filed by H.T., the man who raped her was ordered to “initiate proceedings in family court, declare paternity as to the child born of his crime (paternity had already been determined in the criminal case, via DNA testing), and comply with the family court’s orders throughout the probationary period.”

This forced relationship between the victim and her assailant was judicially mandated despite the fact that the “plaintiff and her mother were adamantly opposed to participation in family court proceedings and repeatedly expressed this sentiment to state officials.”

In 2011 the court ordered Melendez to pay $110 per week in child support. Never having seen the child, he sought visitation and then allegedly offered to withdraw his request for visitation in exchange for not having to pay child support. H.T. asked the criminal court judge to order Melendez to pay criminal restitution instead of child support, keeping herself and her child out of his life, but the judge refused. The Supreme Judicial Court for Massachusetts found that she lacked standing to challenge the sentencing judge’s order. So H.T. filed suit arguing that she wants nothing to do with the child’s father, and that she “be liberated from a state court order that not only imposes unlawfully on her liberty for 16 years, but also obligates her with the unwanted and inappropriate responsibility for ensuring Melendez’s compliance with the conditions of his probation.”

I have more! From the link in Ms. Lithwick’s article:

 If Melendez pays child support, he has the right to request visitation, involvement in the child’s education, and influence where the child lives, the lawyer noted. If the victim fails to show up at any of the family court dates scheduled over the next 16 years, she risks losing custody of her own child.

[…]

The victim, who just graduated high school, never sought to prosecute Melendez, and is focused only on breaking off legal ties between them.

Not enough pinot noir in the world for this.

The judge’s name isn’t in either of the above linked articles, but a little Googling reveals that the judge in question is Thomas McGuire.

Judge McGuire is apparently under the impression that Jamie Melendez’s crime was fathering a child for whom he didn’t want to take responsibility. Whereas we plebes seem to think that he raped a 14-year-old girl.

H.T. and her family would actually be better off if they hadn’t reported the rape. The courts are basically punishing this young woman for having spoken up about her rape, and for keeping her child. She would also be in a better position if she’d had an abortion. I guess Judge McGuire thinks she had the baby because she wants to keep Melendez on a leash? Obviously she doesn’t. Obviously she wants Melendez to stay as far away from her, and her child, as possible. She and her family are not interested in his $110 per week, but the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts doesn’t give a fuck about the girl who’s been victimized and the family who’ve stood by her and helped care for her baby. Nope, they don’t get a say in any of this.

I understand that modern civilizations tend to take paternity very, very seriously, and that society would look extremely different if we weren’t so gung-ho about making sure that every child is connected to the guy who contributed sperm, but there are times when we need to compartmentalize. The victim and her family do not need the baby’s “father” to be “responsible” in the child’s upbringing, they need to keep him far away from them so they can get on with their lives. It is not in that child’s interest to have hir sperm-contributor present in hir life, it is in the child’s interest to grow up with a mentally healthy mother. Forcing your dick into a girl’s vadge doesn’t make you a parent, it makes you a predator. If the court system fails to recognize that, then they can hardly expect women and girls of childbearing age to report rapes. They can also expect all, not some, pregnant rape victims to seek abortions. If this is what she can expect from the justice system, even the most ardently pro-womb-control woman will make an exception for herself.

Fuck this shit. Fuck all of it. We can’t depend on the justice system to deal with rapists, or even to treat victims with a modicum of decency. If some masked crusaders start popping up and murdering accused rapists, let’s not act all surprised.

Here are some other charming stories, if you have a strong stomach, about how predators operate and how the justice system treats victims who have the temerity to report:

Why I didn’t consent. Why I reported. Why I didn’t. 

We call them pigs for a reason.

I am a false rape allegation statistic.

“You people suck!”

That is what Auleia Hanlon shouted at the courtroom when her now-deceased daughter’s rapist was sentenced to a laughable 30 days in jail.

Chief Deputy County Attorney Rod Souza had asked the judge to order Rambold to serve 20 years in prison, with 10 years suspended.

Souza said Rambold targeted a troubled young girl and violated his position of trust as a teacher by engaging in a sexual relationship with a student.

Rambold pleaded guilty to the single felony charge in April in a case that began in 2008, when school officials and police first learned of the sexual relationship between Rambold and the girl, Cherice Morales.

Rambold was placed on paid leave in April of that year and resigned from his teaching job three months later. He also surrendered his teaching certificate.

In October 2008, prosecutors charged Rambold with three counts of sexual intercourse without consent, alleging that the then-49-year-old man had an ongoing sexual relationship with Morales, who was 14 at the time.

While the case was pending, and a few weeks before her 17th birthday, Morales took her own life.

And, it seems that the prosecution needed her alive, so effectively, her suicide got Rambold out of a lot of prison time. Nice, isn’t it? He was ordered to complete a sex offender treatment program, among other conditions, and if he honored those terms, the charges would be dismissed.

Continue reading

There is such a thing as bad publicity.

Oh, you suck, womb-controllers. You suck, you suck, you suck so incredibly hard.

Some survivors of the actual Holocaust are still alive and will not be amused at your appropriating their suffering for your cause. This goes beyond attention-whoring and into pathology.

As part of its “Do You Know? Do You Care?” campaign, Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust staged a protest Thursday outside of the New Mexico Holocaust and Intolerance Museum. The activists not only held signs reading “ABQ: America’s Auschwitz,” they entered the museum to hand out leaflets and demand it commission an exhibit comparing the Holocaust to abortion. They did not, by their own admission, know much about the laws they came to protest.

[…]

The activists were mostly from California, and some of them paid $250 to attend the “FIRST-EVER ProLife Leadership Camp,” hosted in Albuquerque because the group considers it to be “the Abortion Capital of the Southwest and the Late Term Abortion Capital of the country.” An anti-abortion coalition that includes Operation Rescue claims to have collected over 25,000 signatures from Albuquerque natives in support of an October ballot measure that would ban abortions after 20 weeks.

You compare Albuquerque to Auschwitz, and demand the museum devote space to an exhibit that compares the systematic extermination of numerous minority groups by the ruling majority to legal abortion access?

No. This is not okay. The millions of people who died in the concentration camps were not helpless little proto-humans whose mothers didn’t want them; they were grown, breathing, struggling people with fully realized lives already underway. There were some who escaped. There were some who managed to evade the Nazi authorities who wanted to kill them. They weren’t just lucky, they fought for their lives. They weren’t dependent on the Nazis for their survival; they were slated for extermination because they were defined as inferior due to ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation or disability. The Nazis decided that the “true” Germans were inherently more deserving of existence, and took it upon themselves to free up more space by getting rid of the so-called inferiors.

The only thing aborted fetuses have in common is that their mothers didn’t want to be pregnant. It’s not “genocide” to allow women to terminate their pregnancies. Family planning is not racism. Fucking hell.

I don’t know how many of those teenagers from California actually believe that aborted fetuses are comparable to Holocaust victims, but I do know their behavior is reprehensible. Go to your room and sit in a corner, you self-absorbed, callous little fuzz-nuggets. Think about what you’ve done.

 

Erasure

I woke up this morning and checked Facebook to find dozens of my friends reporting a Not Guilty verdict for George Zimmerman.

This is about erasure. The way this country excuses, diminishes and rationalizes lethal violence against African-Americans based on the flimsiest pretense means that they (particularly men below a certain age) are constantly having to apologize for their existence. Step even slightly off the line we have arbitrarily set just for you, and you may be shot. If we can prove you weren’t a perfect angel in every possible way, your killer will go free.

It’s about telling African-Americans they’re not supposed to be here. In the wrong neighborhood at the wrong time of day, and failing to show the proper deference to self-proclaimed authority, their lives are forfeit.

Never too young for slut-shaming.

Some people will take absolutely any opportunity, no matter how pedophilic, to make girls feel horrible about having been born with female bodies:

The parents of students at Decatur Classical School in Chicago’s West Rogers Park neighborhood voiced their displeasure with principal Susan Josephine Kukielka’s actions Monday at their local school council meeting, according to CBS Chicago.

The parents allege that Kukielka left some of their daughters in tears after they were told they were “not girls of distinction because their shorts are too short” at an assembly on the last day of school.

The girls were given an “award” by Kukielka for their attire and were asked to stand and be recognized for their “achievement” during the assembly, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

This woman brought the girls up on stage, during an assembly, and gave them a snarky “award” for wearing short-shorts.

And, sure enough, some of the commenters on this article are agreeing with the principal. You know, girls with their butts hanging out at school, they need better parenting, how dare those parents allow their daughters to leave the house looking like that, yadda yadda…

Decatur Classical School is K-6. Those girls in short-shorts were just elementary school kids. The mom of one of those girls sent in a picture of her daughter in her too-short shorts. She’s a skinny-legged 10-year-old.

“Oh, but, but, the girls rolled up their shorts to show more skin, and they shouldn’t be at school looking like that!”

No. I don’t give a fuck how far up those girls rolled their shorts. Their bodies aren’t even sufficiently developed for skin-showing to be an issue. I don’t care, either, if “maybe” some of those 7 girls were healthy 12-year-old early bloomers with big hips. That principal showed those girls that if they don’t hit the constantly moving target of “modesty,” they will be humiliated by an authority figure they were supposed to trust. She showed the rest of the kids in that auditorium that it is not only acceptable, but necessary, to march girls out into the town square and put them in the stocks if someone looks too long at their bodies. This, boys and girls, is where rape culture comes from. We must always police women’s appearance, but never challenge the way some men think they can treat women. Girls are never too young to be told their legs are attracting too much attention. No, judge, no I did not rape that 10-year-old girl, she totally wanted it.

Ms. Kukielka should resign, and she should not work in a position of authority over young people again. Those girls are lucky that their parents care enough to stand up for them. Not all kids are so fortunate.

These are bad people.

Press release from the USDOJ in Ohio:

Three Ashland residents held a cognitively disabled woman and her child against her will for more than two years and forced her perform manual labor for them, law enforcement officials said.

The conspiracy included beating the disabled woman and her child, threatening the woman with a firearm, threatening to kill the woman and her child, threatening the woman and her child with large snakes, forcing them to sleep in a padlocked room with a large iguana and other actions, according to charges filed in U.S. District Court.

They kidnapped this cognitively impaired woman and her small daughter, stole her welfare benefits, and made her do their housekeeping while they abused and terrorized the mother and daughter. They made her life so miserable that when she was arrested for shoplifting a candy bar, she asked the cops to take her to jail rather than send her back to her captors’ house.

I usually prefer restorative justice to punitive justice, and I think the justice system should endeavor to rehabilitate offenders rather than just derail their lives. But in this case, the offenders are so thoroughly corrupt, abusive and sadistic that I doubt they will ever make a positive contribution to society. This is what evil looks like.

More Congressdudes who hate women, especially those born in poorer countries.

Tim Murphy at Mother Jones gives us a fresh tally of Congressional GOPers who hate women, this time focusing on undocumented immigrants held in detention facilities where living conditions include high risk of sexual abuse by guards. The issue is that the Obama administration has new rules for ensuring that ICE facilities don’t brutalize their detainees quite so hard, and the House Committee on the Judiciary is now acting like we’re spoiling those lousy furriners like they’re actual people or something.

Lamar “Holiday on ICE” Smith (R-Texas) hates women!

Elton Gallegy (R-California) hates women!

Steve King (R-Iowa) fucking hates ALL those damn illegals!

We wouldn’t want America to be one of those countries that doesn’t suck in how it treats foreigners.

It is illegal to be female in Afghanistan.

That’s basically the message here.

Running away is considered a “moral crime” for women in Afghanistan while some rape victims are also imprisoned, because sex outside marriage – even when the woman is forced – is considered adultery, another “moral crime”.

[…]

The plight of a woman called Nilofar illustrates the problem. She was stabbed repeatedly with a screwdriver in the head, chest, and arms by her husband who accused her of adultery for inviting a man into the house, the rights group said.

But afterwards, she was arrested, he was not.

“The way he beat her wasn’t bad enough to keep him in jail. She wasn’t near death, so he didn’t need to be in prison,” the prosecutor of the case told Human Rights Watch.

[…]

Once leaving prison, women and girls face strong social stigma in the conservative country and may be killed in so-called “honor killings”.

“I just want a divorce. I can’t go back to my father because he will kill me. All my family has left me behind,” 20-year-old Aisha, who was sentenced to three years for fleeing an abusive husband she was forced to marry, told researchers.

You can be forced to marry, and if your husband stabs you with a screwdriver, he will not be prosecuted, but you will be imprisoned for having provoked him. If you run away from your violent and possibly homicidal husband, you can be imprisoned. If you are a victim of rape, you are a criminal and will be treated as such. When you finish your prison term, you may be killed by your family for not having died at the hands of your husband or rapist first. Let’s just call this by its proper name: it is a crime in Afghanistan to have been born with a uterus, and that crime is punishable by death.

If an Afghan woman turns up sans husband in a less-terrible country, she should be allowed to stay regardless of documentation or immigration status. Any country that deports a woman back to Afghanistan is committing a human rights violation.