Friday, March 6, 2009

More on Rihanna and Chris Brown

Well, it's inevitable that this is going to come up in a blog pertaining to partner violence, issues of sexual assault, feminism, etc.

A couple weeks ago, MediaWatch posted a story on the violent incident between Rihanna and Chris Brown. Recently, after the circulation of the photograph (which was very brutal and very real and has since been removed from most mainstream news sites), there are rumours that they are back together as a couple despite canceLinklling their Grammy performance together and Rihanna's reported initial plans to return to native Barbados and lay low for a while.

There's probably few better ways to articulate the complexities and nuances of potential emotions from such a distance as ours than a Jaclyn Friedman's post on the blog Yes Means Yes articulating what their reconcilation doesn't mean.

1. That Rihanna is stupid.
2. That we (the public) should forgive Chris Brown.
3. That the fact that they are back together doesn't mean Rihanna has betrayed any kind of sisterhood.
4. That if he hurts her again, she deserves it.

Obviously not, for many reasons.

And to echo others, it shouldn't take an illegally obtained photo for the world to believe her story and empathize with her ordial.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Rape row sparks excommunications

By Gary Duffy

A Brazilian archbishop says all those who helped a child rape victim secure an abortion are to be excommunicated from the Catholic Church.

The girl, aged nine, who lives in the north-eastern state of Pernambuco, became pregnant with twins.

It is alleged that she had been sexually assaulted over a number of years by her stepfather.

The excommunication applies to the child's mother and the doctors involved in the procedure.

The pregnancy was terminated on Wednesday.

Abortion is only permitted in Brazil in cases of rape and where the mother's life is at risk and doctors say the girl's case met both these conditions.

Police believe that the girl at the centre of the case had been sexually abused by her step-father since she was six years old.

The fact that she was pregnant with twins was only discovered after she was taken to hospital in Pernambuco complaining of stomach pains.

Her stepfather was arrested last week, allegedly as he tried to escape to another region of the country.

He is also suspected of abusing the girl's physically handicapped older sister who is now 14.

Intervention bid

The Catholic Church tried to intervene to prevent the abortion going ahead but the procedure was carried out on Wednesday.

Now a Church spokesman says all those involved, including the child's mother and the doctors, are to be excommunicated.

The Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, told Brazil's TV Globo that the law of God was above any human law.

He said the excommunication would not apply to the child because of her age, but would affect all those who ensured the abortion was carried out.

However, doctors at the hospital said they had to take account of the welfare of the girl, and that she was so small that her uterus did not have the ability to contain one child let alone two.

While the action of the Church in opposing an abortion for a young rape victim is not unprecedented, it has attracted criticism from women's rights groups in Brazil.

Woman who called 911 assaulted by police; police suing TV station that aired story

Hope Steffey called 911 after being assaulted by her cousin and when the police arrived, Hope was mistakenly treated as the perpetrator. She was arrested, taken to jail, and subjected to a humiliating full-body strip search by both male and female officers, violating the sheriff department's own policy that a strip search be conducted only by officers of the same sex. Mrs. Steffey was then left naked in a cell for six hours, wrapping herself in toilet paper to stay warm and prevent others from seeing her naked body.

To watch the video, click on the link below. However, it is disturbing and contains graphic images and horrifying sounds. It might not be for all MediaWatch readers.

Youtube: Hope Steffey Arrest and Body Search

Since the broadcast of the video, obtained legally by Steffey's lawyer, the Stark County sheriff's deputies,who can be seen in the video, are filing a lawsuit against WKYC stating that they are victims of one-sided reporting. The sheriff's office insists that deputies removed Steffey's clothing as a suicide precaution on the orders of a psychologist after she is said to have made a statement to a nurse that indicated she might harm herself. They are claiming defamation and invasion of privacy.

The sheriff's office also contends that Meyer ignored "all the facts that interfere with his sensationalized story and one-sided story." They argue that Mrs. Steffey's previous arrest and conviction - misdemeanor intoxication, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct - is relevant to her treatment by the deputies. Brian Zimmerman, one of the attorneys representing the deputies, said that the reports were "purely for ratings and for advertising and promotion."

Hope Steffey is apparently not the only one who has suffered such treatment. Five more women later came forward with similar allegations. But according to the police, each of the female detainees, like Steffey (they say), threatened suicide, which is what prompted the strip search.