August 28, 2009

This Week in the News (August 28, 2009)

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:07 pm by sacetalks

RCMP warn of suspect in sexual assault

Gold River man gets three years in jail for taking nude photographs of child

Tippett testifies he was carjacked

Kidnapping 11-year-old ‘turned my life around’: California rapist

Police make arrest in Oshawa sex assault

Boy, 12, charged in luring

Ex-policeman faces more sex charges

Doctor facing sex charges out on bail

BC man who sexually assaulted hitchhiker declared dangerous offender

N.L. police investigate sex assault after woman approached by man at park

Kap OPP officer faces charges

Tennis instructor charged with sexual assault

Air Cadet volunteer facing sex assault charges

Officer Faces Charges

Bail hearing set in sex charge

RNC investigating sexual assault

Ottawa woman testifies of alleged abduction horror

Firefighter charged with sex attack

Brutal sexual assault remains unsolved (warning: has photo of scene from Crime Stoppers re-enactment)

Toronto police urge public for help to ID six sexual assault and robbery suspects

Six Suspects At Large After Sexual Assault In Liberty Village

RCMP still on lookout for escaped prisoner

Yukon Mounties’ sexual assault trial set for March 2010

Teen claims sexual assault

Brothers to be sentenced for sexual offences Nov. 10

Child rapist sentenced to seven years

Suspects sought in Steinbach sexual assault

Walker case adjourned

Online sex assaults of toddler son net jail time for dad

OPP deal with alleged sexual assault

Questions about looks lead to sex assault retrial

Defence denied access to alleged sexual assault victim’s medical records

High risk offender back on Calgary streets

Jailed Ont. priest dismissed by Roman Catholic Church

Assault victim seeks inquiry

Chief on hand for ex-cop’s sentence

Judge finds girls’ testimony unreliable

Saturday Special: Flight from justice

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August 25, 2009

The Invisibility of Jasmine Fiore

Posted in Current Events, Intimate Partner Violence, Popular Culture, Victim Blaming at 10:32 pm by sacetalks

Jasmine Fiore’s death (allegedly) at the hands of her husband, Ryan Jenkins, has been one of the top news stories for days. Or has it? Most media reports have focussed not on Fiore herself, but on Jenkins, the man who appears to have killed her. We know little about her other than her career as a swimsuit model, her “Las Vegas lifestyle” and the fact that she had breast implants—revealed because that’s how police identified her body. However, we know all about Jenkins: where he went to high school, what he did in college, his reality TV show appearance, and his history of violence against women (although that last one doesn’t show up in most stories).

Jenkins has become the focus, even though Fiore is the victim, her body mutilated so badly that she had to be identified using the serial numbers on her breast implants. That’s become a joke for some, a joke that forgets what it means when police say that her fingers and teeth were destroyed, that her body fit into a suitcase. Instead, those implants are one more sensational detail that dehumanizes Fiore, turning her into the object on which Jenkins enacted his hate.

When it comes to Jenkins, stories are full of details about his life. They’re also full of people denying that he could ever hurt anyone. His father, architect Dan Jenkins, stated, “The boy we knew was not capable of anything remotely close to this act. You talk to everyone here who knew him before he went down there and they’ll talk about a wonderful young man, a thoughtful man.” Friends commenting on the Calgary Herald’s website describe him as happy, goofy, a good man, not someone who would kill another person. In one story, Herald reporter Robert Remington claims that “Around the world, reality TV has caused humiliated contestants to either kill others or kill or injure themselves.”

But Jenkin’s past shows a different pattern. Well before he moved to California and appeared on Megan Wants a Millionaire (his first reality TV appearance), Jenkins was violent towards women in his life. In 2007, Jenkins pled guilty to assaulting a girlfriend and served 15 months probation as well as being required to participate in a domestic violence counseling and anger management program. Ex-girlfriends have said that he was sexually controlling, becoming angry when he could not get what he wanted, as well as being physically violent.

In June 2009, Jenkins was charged with hitting Jasmine Fiore at a Las Vegas hotel. He was scheduled to appear in court this December. It’s unclear whether the production company, 51 Minds (which made both shows) knew about this charge, but Jenkins competed on I Love Money 3 (which was due to air later this year).

One questions how a man with a history of violence against women ends up as a contestant on a reality dating show. 51 Minds states that they screen their participants, using a company called Collective Intelligence for Canadian competitors. That company claims a court clerk’s error led to Jenkins’ history slipping through their screening. However, reality shows have had a history of missing out on violent histories. Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire? featured Rick Rockwell, who was later revealed to have a restraining order against him. Big Brother contestant Justin Sebik had an assault conviction well before he held a knife to fellow contestant Krista Stegall’s throat.

The question is not so much “why do reality show contestants do such violent things?” as “why are reality show producers not requiring criminal records checks or vigorously screening their contestants?”  Violent participants seem to have a history of criminal behaviour well before they ever make it into casting, let alone onto the screen. The race for ratings and dollars seems to supersede concerns over participants’ safety. While blaming reality TV for participants’ violence ignores those participants’ histories, there is a need for production companies to make sure that violent offenders aren’t getting a starring role on their shows.

While news reports place blame for Jenkins’ actions on reality television and his friends and family deny his violent past, media coverage has also minimized the violence in Fiore and Jenkins’ relationship and sensationalized Fiore’s life. Headlines call their relationship “rocky” or “volatile” when the reality is that things were flat-out abusive. There are reports of physical abuse, screaming arguments, and controlling behaviours. Fiore left the relationship and applied to have their marriage annulled over “trust and boundary issues” (including infidelity, according to her mother) but the couple got back together later. Lisa Lepore, her mother, says she was a young woman in love.

Most reports show Fiore as nothing more than a swimsuit model who had worked for Playboy and loved to party. Photos of her accompany every article. Her looks and lifestyle are tacitly blamed for what happened to her—the wild, sexy girl who drinks and parties and dates dangerous men. Few stories talk about her financial savvy (she opened a retirement account at age 16 and had worked in banking and real estate) or her dream of opening a gym and selling her own body-care and clothing line.

In one rare story that talks about Fiore’s life, her mother describes her: “She was kind-hearted, she was thoughtful, she was adventurous, she was strong. She went out of her way to look after her friends and her family. She was a delight. … She was a shining light. She just had this exuberance and this vibrancy around her. She was a very powerful and beautiful woman.”

But most people don’t know about that girl. They just know about the “tragedy” of Ryan Jenkins. Abusers aren’t tragic. The tragedy here is that a young woman is dead, and those dreams she had will never be fulfilled.

Strip away the glamour, the Hollywood connection and Vegas decadence, and the story becomes one that’s all too common. A man gets into a relationship with a woman, moving far too fast (one major sign of an abuser). She tries to leave, is drawn back in. He controls her, manipulates her. Eventually, he becomes enraged and kills her. Every day, men like Jenkins abuse and even murder women, but most of the time, nobody notices. Men’s violence against women becomes invisible, and the women who are victims of that violence vanish, much as Jasmine Fiore has in the story of her own death.

Bridget Stirling, SACE Public Educator

Some of the news articles used in preparing this post:

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-model-murder22-2009aug22,0,7935682.story

http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/guilty+crazy/1926784/story.html

http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/Ryan+Jenkins+reality+culture/1928295/story.html

http://www.cbc.ca/arts/media/story/2009/08/22/jenkins-killing-realitytv-casting.html

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Story?id=8397405&page=1

http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/Story?id=8404538&page=1

August 21, 2009

This week in the News

Posted in Current Events at 8:27 pm by sacetalks

‘Sex addict’ threw tantrums, court told

New twist in Roethlisberger suit

Veteran officer charged with incest, sex assault

Man accused in abduction expected to plead guilty

Toronto man charged with sexual assault on girl, 14

Pub owner avoids jail time for sex assault

Can’t remember night of assault, Ont. girl testifies

Girl, 12, found after high speed chase, court hears

Paramedical examiner charged with sex assault

Sex assault charge follows subway attack

Assault traumatized girl, 13, mother says

Man charged with 60 sex offences against boys

man charged with sexual assault after meeting girl on vampire website

Man pleads guilty to sexual assault

Copperfield denies sexual assault

Rally planned in support of girl victimized in sexual assault near …

Harper Woods man held in sexual assault case

Taxi driver gets house arrest in sex assault

August 17, 2009

Winnipeg Police Service News Release

Posted in News Release at 7:50 pm by sacetalks

On August 12, 2009, the Winnipeg Police Service released additional information on the parental abduction of Abby and Dominic Maryk that occurred in August 2008.

As detectives believe that the children are no longer in Winnipeg and may have been taken out of the country, investigators recognized a need to have the abduction highlighted globally.

In keeping with current internet trends, the Winnipeg Police Service has made the decision to use a popular video sharing website to assist with the investigation.  A video portraying children’s mother and her message to the suspects regarding the safe return of the children has been published.

The publication of this video is the first time that the Winnipeg Police Service has gone beyond the regular channels of information distribution in an attempt to appeal to the public for assistance.

Investigators are confident that the publication of the video will lead to information being shared with police that will lead to the safe return of the children.

Anyone with information regarding the children’s whereabouts may contact authorities by contacting the Winnipeg Police Service Missing Persons Unit at 986-6250, the non-emergency line at 986-6222 or CrimeStoppers at 786-TIPS (8477).  Information can also be provided to Child Find at 1-800-532-9135.

August 14, 2009

Girls Gone Wild?

Posted in Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault (Rape Drugs), Men's role in sexual assault, Rape Culture, Victim Blaming at 9:55 pm by sacetalks

Some months ago, CBC’s The National aired a segment called, “Girls Gone Wild.” The feature explores the dangers associated with the surge of binge-drinking amongst college-aged women.  It features 3 women talking about how much they drink on a typical night out and interviews “experts,” such as bartenders and a women who has conducted research on drug-facilitated sexual assault, to reveal how women are putting themselves in a “risky situation” by drinking heavily.

The segment is nothing that’s new to us at SACE, nor is it anything that’s shocking.  Unfortunately, victim-blaming programs such as this, even from the most well-intentioned reporters and researchers, is pretty common.

When I talk about why this irritates with me with friends and family, they don’t seem to get it.  “But, don’t you think it’s good that they’re talking about this kind of stuff?  Don’t you think it’s important to talk about how dangerous it is for women to drink so much?”

What irks me is who is portrayed as responsible for sexual assault.  In “Girls Gone Wild,” the message is that women need to protect themselves from assault; women need to drink less; women need to watch themselves; women need to control their own behaviour.  What I would like to see is someone telling perpetrators to stop sexually assaulting other people. Sexual assault doesn’t happen because of what a woman wears, or how much she drinks, or whether or not she’s in a group with other people; it happens because an offender decides to sexually assault her.

Arguing that women need to curtail their drinking to avoid being assaulted is not only ridiculous for its victim-blaming implications, but because of how normalized drinking is in North American college culture.  I remember being in university and it was not only normal to drink, but we were encouraged to drink.  The people who chose to not participate in alcohol-related activities in residence, for example, were not only mocked but excluded from most social activities.  If drug facilitated sexual assault is something that people are concerned about, why not encourage a change in the culture that encourages people to drink when they’re not comfortable with it?

Or!  Better yet!  Why not encourage people to NOT sexually assault each other?!  What a novel concept!  It’d be really great if once, just once, an expose such as this didn’t focus on what survivors were doing wrong, but focused instead on what offenders are doing.  For example, one of last week’s articles states, “the woman admitted she had drunk between 10 and 12 pints of beer.”  SO WHAT?  The only way that is relevant is in proving that what happened was an assault.  It’s written in our criminal code that consent cannot be given when one is incapacitated.  This means that the sentence shouldn’t read, “the victim admitted…” but instead, “the offender admitted that the victim had 10-12 pints before the assault.”  This is the offender’s responsibility, not the victim’s.

‘Cause let me tell you something: sexual assault doesn’t happen because of what the survivor drank, wore, did, or didn’t do; it happens because an offender chooses to sexually assault someone.  Drinking is not the motivating factor.  The offender offending is.

This Week In the News (August 14, 2009)

Posted in Current Events at 9:12 pm by sacetalks

Children’s hospital doctor charged with sex assault (Edmonton)

Police hunting sex-attack suspect (Edmonton)

Shocking kiss costs electrician $750 (Edmonton)

Man faces numerous charges for sexual assault (Edmonton)

Sole black man in police lineup acquitted of assault (Edmonton)

Edmonton police arrest sex-assault suspect (Edmonton)

Woman attacked after accepting ride (Edmonton)

Guilty plea expected in Alberta teen kidnapping

Alberta woman assaulted after anwering online ad (Calgary)

Doctor charged with sex assault misses court, warrant issued (Manitoba)

Sex assault suspect sought by Whitehorse RCMP

RCMP release sketch of sexual assault suspect (Saskatchewan)

Vancouver cop facing sex assault, incest charges

Surrey man charged with sex assault on 12-year-old Coquitlam girl

Red Deer man accused of assaulting teen, posing as police officer …

Whitehorse RCMP warn of sex offender’s release

Man charged with sexual assault after woman groped on SkyTrain

12 years for child rapist Man’s conduct described as abhorrent, depraved (Australia)

Sexual assualt victim will not testify; charges dropped (California)

Carleton University, sex assault victim settle lawsuit

Man charged with sexual assault of 12-year-old Coquitlam girl

Accused Sexting Teacher Had Prior Suspension (Conneticut)

RIGHTS-AFRICA: Elusive Justice for Victims of Gender-Based Violence

Little safe haven for sexually assaulted LGBTQ victims

Only option for poor women in India; sell their bodies

Online ad leads to rape, drugging charges (Calgary)

Don’t think of her as ‘just another dead DTES hooker’ (Vancouver)

Cabbie charged with sex assault fights to regain licence (Ottawa)

Charges laid in violent sexual assault

Online personals ad respondent drugged, raped: RCMP

19-year-old who sexually assaulted four-year-old admits to ‘urges’

Kelowna Man Charged with Sexual Assault of a child

Doctor accused of assaulting teen boy disappears (Winnipeg)

HIV man with 11 aggravated sexual assault charges reserves plea (Red Deer)

Canada warn citizens travelling to India around Independence Day

Pitino admits to enounter, payment

Young girl rescued from alleged pornographer

Tips coming in regarding Nanaimo sex assault

Fear is wrong response to attacks on women

Saskatoon policework leads to child porn arrest in Kelowna

Saskatchewan Child Porn Investigation Leads to BC Arrest

Australian rugby player Greg Inglis charged with assaulting girlfriend

Brother fulfills promise with sexual abuse class action suit (Halifax)

Carleton defence in sex-assault c ase stirs outrage

Carleton Students Urge University to Stop Blaming Victim

Kelowna man alleged to be one of BC’s most prolific child porn distributors

University was right to fire instructor

Diocese to pay $13 million to abuse victims

Church makes $13-million sex abuse settlement

NS diocese reaches $13-million settlement in abuse case

Carleton lawsuit raises issues of responsibility

Police seek witnesses to English Bay sexual assault

VPD asking couple who stopped sex assault to come forward

Possible witness to Guelph sex assault

Convicted priest to be sentenced November 9th

Boy, 14, charged with 2 Vancouver-area sex assaults

BC man who sexually assaulted hitchhiker declared dangerous offender


August 7, 2009

This Week In the News (August 7, 2009)

Posted in Current Events at 7:31 pm by sacetalks

RCMP seek sexual assault suspect for attack at the Craven Country Jamboree

Surrey 14-year-old facing sexual assault charges

Vet charged in sexual assaults

Man faces numerous charges for sexual assault

Police failed to warn women about sex assaults: professor

Yukon Mounties to stand trial for sexual assault

Montreal men arrested for sexual assault, indecent exposure

Settlement reached in lawsuit against N.S. diocese

2 sexual assaults may be linked: police

Police Look for Suspect in Sexual Assault

HIV-positive man charged with sexual assault

HIV-positive man charged in sex assault on child

Man charged in pair of sexual assaults

Sexual assault in Nanaimo similar to earlier case: RCMP

Calgary police seek public help after violent sexual assault

Men charged with Banff sex assaults

Vancouver police seek sexual assault witness

Three suspects sought in alleged sexual assault of woman

Farm worker charged with sex assault

‘Betrayed and violated’: Red Deer single mom in shock after cops say ex-lover was HIV positive

Former sex assault convict arrested in Calgary after peeping

High-risk offender released in Calgary, police warn

B.C. man who sexually assaulted hitchhiker declared dangerous offender

New sex charges laid against N.B. man

Suspect in sex assault sought

‘Predator’ taxi driver deserves jail term, Crown says

Man who raped Winnipeg girl deported

Sex offender nearly set free

August 6, 2009

The socialization of men and women

Posted in Men's role in sexual assault, Victim Blaming at 9:12 pm by sacetalks

Harriet Jacobs at Fugitivus recently posted something pretty amazing.  (Please note there is a picture of someone extending their middle fingers and the post also contains some strong language.  The link may not be safe for work.)  She writes about how the socialization of women contributes to their responses when experiencing violence.  She also writes about the way we socialize men:

If men have been raised to behave aggressively, to discount what women and weaker men want and feel and say, to obtain power and social standing through force, to deny emotions exist, to feel that women are fundamentally a different species, to set a boundary and keep it NO MATTER WHAT, to make a decision and stick to it NO MATTER WHAT, to feel entitled to sex, to feel they will be ostracized and possibly physically attacked if they don’t acquire sex with women, to feel under threat of harassment and attack if they don’t constantly maintain a hyper-masculine exterior, to prove their manhood through dangerous and degrading physical activities…

if you have seen men behave in this way, and encouraged it, and thought it was normal, so normal you didn’t even see it…

then you never have the right to say “He couldn’t possibly have done that” when you hear that your brother raped somebody.

Pretty fantastic.  Check it out.

August 4, 2009

The Last Two Weeks in the News

Posted in Child Sexual Abuse, Current Events, Rape Culture at 8:05 pm by sacetalks

Apologies for no post over the past 2 weeks.  Here is a selection sexual assaulted-related news articles over the past two weeks:

Man targeting women in Mill Woods  (Edmonton)

Montreal police nab man suspected of 20 sexual assaults

Three suspects sought in alleged sexual assault of woman (Toronto)

HIV-positive Alberta man charged with sexual assault.

HIV-positive man faces sex assault charges

Vancouver Police warn public of sexual predator

RCMP delayed inquiry: band

Hamilton man charged in sex assaults after boys answer online ad …

Admired NL priest found dead after sexual assault charges laid

Man charged with sexual assault of boy

Ex-jailer assaulted youth, rights panel told

High-risk offender released (Calgary)

High risk sex offender will remain in jail (Calgary)

Brave women who endured incest to speak out against cop killer

Vancouver police seek sexual assault witness

Unsolved sexual assault leaves Banff on edge

Bogus ‘minister’ faces sexual assault charge (Toronto)

Two arrested for sexually assaulting teens in Banff

Late warning a mistake: RCMP (Banff)

Wrong suspect arrested in Banff sexual assault

Calgary police investigate sexual assault

Man, 19, arrested in sexual assault of woman (Kitchener, ON)

Girl, 8, disowned by family after sexual assault (Arizona)

Liberian leaders in US worried about stereotypes following alleged …

Boy, 14, indicted in rape of 8-year-old girl in Phoenix

Daycare worker charged with sexual assault (Burlington, ON)

Andrea McNulty Accusing QB Ben Roethlisberger of Sexual Assault

Teammates say Roethlisberger apology not necessary

Pakistan moves to outlaw domestic violence

Victims of sex assault don’t get to ‘move on’

Calgary men arrested for sex with teens

MC Hammer kin arrested

Too early to link sex assault of 13-year-old to previous incidents …

Teacher Pleads Guilty to Having Sex With Student

Montreal sex offender charged again

13-year-old Vancouver girl ordered off bus, sexually assaulted

1600 kids removed from homes

Sex attack in 2nd heist (Winnipeg)

Queer survivor’s program wraps (Ottawa)

Criminologist says predator likely to strike again

Police warn of released Soda Creek sex offender (Williams Lake, BC)

Man jailed for 1990s sex assaults (Moncton)

Regina man facing sexual exploitation and sexual assault charges …

GBHS nurse charged in sex assault case (Owen Sound)

Big Ben’s accuser predicted to fail (Winnipeg)

Sex crime victim knew assailant (London, ON)

Toronto cops not charged with sex assault after strip search

Suspect in sexual assault of 6-year-old girl could have struck … (Vancouver)

Sex offender living in Edmonton

‘Father figure’ faces multiple teen sex raps

Vicious rapist gets 5 years

Bike-riding sexual molestor on the loose

Father of accused murderer faces child pornography charges

Alberta man accused of posing as policeman in teen abduction goes to trial

Sex offender released; former partner issues warning (Kamloops)

Man targeting women working alone: Winnipeg police

Long-term offender status ordered for child predator

Canadian faces Thai sex charges in US

Women bring rapists to justice