Rape in the wake of Katrina (guest post by Mousehounde)

This truly bothers me.

Imagine it: you live though the most traumatic thing that could happen, you lose your family, your home, your job in one fell swoop. You make your way to someplace that should be where you can be safe, only to find you need to worry about being raped .

I found this:

Charity Hospital, the primary trauma hospital in New Orleans, has been fired upon by snipers. Coast Guard rescue helicopters have also been shot at, as have boats deployed to save the stranded now going on their 5th day without clean water or food. A relief truck was intercepted by armed gunmen on the West Bank. Women have been raped at the New Orleans Convention Center by their fellow evacuees.

And this:

“I walked out of my home because I feared for my child’s life,” said Dartrick Washington, 26, holding his 4-month-old listless baby boy, Jahieem, in the shade of a building near the overpass.

He was also responsible for his sister, his mother, and a female neighbor, and fearful of taking them anywhere near the Superdome because of rumors that women had been raped in the stadium-turned-shelter.

There are other, similar stories.

Refugees are raping fellow survivors. I boggled reading this. How could any person do this? What mind set is there that allows that type of thinking?

It’s bad enough in day to day life, where you can’t tell the predators from the nice guys. But to be in a survival situation, where everyone is suffering the same and still find men preying on women is just beyond me. What is the thinking? I might die but at least I got me a piece first?

How could any person amidst such suffering inflict more?

This entry posted in Katrina, Rape, intimate violence, & related issues. Bookmark the permalink. 

97 Responses to Rape in the wake of Katrina (guest post by Mousehounde)

  1. 1
    Jenny K says:

    I don’t know.

    The only semi-rational pop-psycholgy explanation I can think of is that they are angry and desperate, and like many angry people before them in desperate situations they are responding by lashing out at others. Since the ones responsible aren’t there to hurt, picking on the most vulnerable gives them some sense of power and control. In a patriarchy, harming women and children especially gives them this feeling since it “confirms” that they are not really at the (very) bottom of the pile.

    Either way, it’s insanely horrendous.

  2. 2
    Samantha says:

    I know many examples of men raping women in crises. Jewish men raping Jewish women on the trains to conentration camps sticks out as does the story of a boat that went down in SE Asian waters several decades ago.

    There were Western women on the boat who could swim and as they tried to help keep alfloat Asian men who couldn’t swim the men were molesting them and trying to shove their fingers inside their vaginas. The story was recounted recently by some of the now-elderly women who still feel wracked emotionally over having to let the men they tried to help drown.

    I think it’s not too dissimilar from the general phenomena that happens whenever men are threatened; they lash out and try to reassert their flagging dominance and sense of security by attacking others. Wars, poverty and natural disasters bring out similar rapist responses in men trying to control something, anything, in an environment increasingly out of control.

  3. 3
    Katie Dismukes says:

    Isn’t it possible that some of these stories of rape are vicious rumors? I mean, it seems like the media is teetering on the edge of going into full “heart of darkness” mode in reporting about what’s happening in New Orleans — all those desperate black people, they must be unleashing their animal natures! It seems possible that these are racist rumors. I wonder the same thing about all the reports of “snipers” in New Orleans. My guess is that if these things are happening they are happening super rarely. The major suffering (people without food and water, people without showers, people without a clean place to sleep or any sense of life getting better anytime soon) seems like the real story, right?

  4. 4
    Glaivester says:

    It’s bad enough in day to day life, where you can’t tell the predators from the nice guys. But to be in a survival situation, where everyone is suffering the same and still find men preying on women is just beyond me.

    I don’t see why it is so surprising. Think of it this way: if the rapist had enough empathy to care about other people’s suffering, he wouldn’t be a rapist in the first place. Someone who is willing to force someone else to have sex with him is hardly likely to be the type of person to be horrified at how badl;y other people are suffering.

    Moreover, I don’t think that these rapes are about “men trying to control something,” or trying to reassert the patriarchy. Rather, I think that there are a lot of people who don’t commit rape not because of moral concerns or empathy for their potential victims, but because they fear the consequences (e.g., prison). In a situation like this, there appears to be a much better chance that they will get away with it; or else because the risk that they will die in any case is so much greater, the risk of prison seems like a lot less.

  5. 5
    Vache Folle says:

    At any given moment in any population, there will be a small number of men who are disposed to rape. They are evil and will rape opportunistically. The present disaster presents many opportunities with little chance of punishment.

  6. 6
    Jesurgislac says:

    Refugees are raping fellow survivors. I boggled reading this. How could any person do this? What mind set is there that allows that type of thinking?

    You will find, if you google for it, that in any refugee camp there are some men who take the opportunity to commit rape. This situation in the US is no different: some men are taking the opportunity to commit rape because they can, because to them a refugee camp is a source of vulnerable people who can be raped pretty much with impunity, given the lack of law enforcement.

    Naturally, “pro-lifers” are taking the opportunity to protest women getting to use emergency contraception.

  7. 7
    Sheelzebub says:

    Any place where people are vulnerable, one pedator can rape. Same thing happened after the Asian tsunami.

    I do have to second the idea that while the rape story is horrible, I think it’s being played up to its fullest hype potential, and I’m loath to say things like that. Rape and violence are my hot button issues. But with the outrage over looting and gunshots (hello, these people are dehydrated, hungry, and scared–I’d snap too) it’s fitting in nicely with the media’s “OH MY GOD, LOOK AT ALL OF THOSE VIOLENT CRAZY BLACK PEOPLE!!” paranoia.

  8. 8
    Samantha says:

    At any given moment in any population, there will be a small number of men who are disposed to rape.

    I guess that depends on what you mean by small number, but said small number of men must really be getting around if estimates for the numbers of rape victims are remotely accurate, because that’s no small number.

  9. 9
    Piter says:

    Many of them do “get around.” Doesn’t it make sense that the victims outnumber the perps? It is always that way in predator-prey systems.

  10. 10
    dispassionate reader says:

    I live in Louisianand have access to inside information. There are all kinds of exaggerated and unsubstantiated rumors about violence and antisocial behavior flying around. The media seems to be focusing on the MINORITY of people who are engaged in antisocial behavior.

    Is there a criminal element looting and hampering rescue in NOLA. Yes, but every society has its 10%element of those who have no iota of social responsibility. The vast majority of the stressed, tired, frustrated, miserable and, in some cases sick, people coming out of NOLA are holding up like troopers considering the living hell they have been through.

    One of my co-oworkers sons is a guardsman s inside the Superdome. Hecalled and told his mother that given the size of the crowd and how few guardsmen there are, that the crowd could easily riot and not be containabl,e but that the crowd is amazingly cooperative considering the frustration and stress level of the people. Conditions are bad, as they will be when you have thousands of , miserable, frightened, and sick people concentrated in one spot. But people are behaving much better than we might even expect given their circumstances .He thinks that the new medi Ias usual)will dwell on the negative and sensationalize it too much.

    The Louisiana shelters in Baton Rouge and other cities not affected by storm damage are running like clock work. People are well-behaved, clean, dry, well fed, and are receiving medical and mental health care.

    Our school district has dispatched 200 more buses to bring out evacuees and take them to other parts of Louisiana and to Texas. This has been done by school districts all over the state. Buses are lined up for 20 miles above New Orleans loading and moving out as fast they can with guard assistance

    Loading is slower than anyone would like. Every effort is made to assimilate and keep families and relatives together (people mill in the crowds).

    People must be searched for contraband (due to the behavior of that sorry 10% again) and deemed resonably medically capable of making a 10-20 hour bus ride. There are rest stops along the evacuation routes, set up with food, water, medical personnel and rest facilities.

    The massivness of the volunteer effor here is incredible.

    We have well run shelters operating all over our city. Evacuee children started school yesterday with donated clothing and supplies. They are delighted with the secure atmosphere. All but a very, very few are coping very well

    I suspect that any rapes have been isolated incidents.

  11. 11
    Samantha says:

    Another thing about predator-prey systems is the downplaying of how widespread the problem is. This results in making the staggeringly high 1 out of 4 raped women the targets of just a few bad apples instead of evidence of a rotted orchard.

    I wish the problem were just a few bad men, but like the problem of women’s reproductive rights doesn’t begin and end with abortion provider murderers, neither does the problem of sexual violation begin and end with a few rapists.

    I also don’t think the problems in New Orleans are about a few bad people doing bad things as much as they’re about the materialism and narcisssism that dominates American culture as discussed in this Common Dreams article.

    “Every-man-for-himself ethos serves Americans poorly in times of crisis when people must pull together”

  12. 12
    Amanda says:

    Why do people do this? Well, I imagine people on the edge of a knife do more easily give into their worst instincts.

  13. 13
    Mikko says:

    The men need to get their sex, but women aren’t easily romanced in crisis. Also, the rapist facing consequences is probably much lower in this kind of situations. So certainly some guys can’t resist the temptation.

    harming women and children especially gives them this feeling since it “confirms” that they are not really at the (very) bottom of the pile.

    Sorry, but I believe rape in this situation is more about sex hunger than about power hunger.

  14. 14
    Jenny K says:

    Yes, Mikko, because everyone knows rape is about sex.

    And yeah, I’d imagine children especially “aren’t easily romanced in a crisis.”

  15. 15
    Radfem says:

    “sex hunger?”……yeah, right Mikko, got any other racist and sexist stereotypes to pull out of your bag and enthrall us with??

    It’s about power, in a situation where you have little to none and about enforcing control over people who are more vulnerable in order to feel like you’re in control. And it’s not like anyone’s going to stop you. Police officers allegedly watched women getting raped but did nothing because they feared a riot breaking out, and these were just mostly poor Black women after all. But, NOPD had its share of serious problems, even during drier times with racism, corruption and the like. That, and the remaining police officers were essentially abandoned by their agency, to just…maintain control.

    (there was some buses that the media asked about several days ago and they were told it was for police officers to leave the city, probably higher ranking.)

    It’s probably going on, because like people have said, it’s not an uncommon thing in similar situations. There’s also probably rumors being spread, which always is going to happen when you have groups of people and ZERO ways to communicate except person to person. People pass each other, and exchange information, some of it first-hand, some varying degrees of heresay. So the degree of what happened might not be known, until later, and victims may not want to talk about it, or may have to put it on hold(even if they didn’t want to) because of other injuries, having children or relatives to look after, etc. Or they might just feel numb all around from all the aspects of their horrific experiences.

    The media also loves to depict Black men as dangerous animals and Black woman as “loose” and “promiscuous” when they consider them women at all, though when the racist mythology really gets hyped up, they add White women and their stereotyped “purity” and “damsel in distress” into the situation, whether White women were raped or not. Black female rape victims just are not treated as if they matter at all, in the best circumstances(where there is actually a city infrastructure still in place, let alone among the worst.

    Which makes it harder for the women who are victimized. It’s a tragic situation for them, and what they need is medical care and emotional support. Not all this crap. They need what every rape victim should be entitled to.

  16. 16
    Radfem says:

    That said, I think that the violent criminal behavior was committed by a relatively smaller group of individuals. FTMP, I think people were really courageous, in some of the most deplorable situations ever seen. In a lot of ways, it’s been a testament to the human spirit. People helping other people, and advocating for the elderly and babies, in a situation where the city’s leaders through ignorance, lack of understanding put them in a situation where they could have died. Giving up insulin to help someone in diabetic shock. Delivering babies on a highway with no training or proper equipment, b/c in some sense life goes on…

    I just think though that spirits broke and why wouldn’t they? You think you’re going to be rescued and wait, wait, wait while people die around you, and are hungry, thirsty and have no sanitation. I’d be ticked off too, even when the National Guard showed up, in part maybe because if I wasn’t pissed off, they would just go away as if it weren’t a big enough deal. Like the squeaky wagon getting fixed.

    What a horrific situation.

  17. 17
    Mikko says:

    Yes, Mikko, because everyone knows rape is about sex.

    Well, it seems like the “usual” controversy when considering rape is wether rape is caused by hunger for power or by hunger for sex. Personally I feel its caused by both, with the ratio depending on the case.

    For example, in this child rape case you linked, I don’t think the motive of the rapist was “woah man, I just feel this strange urge to degrade a kid!” but rather “ah, finally a chance to rape kids without facing consequences” (I’m implying that the rapist had paedophilic tendencies long before the hurricane stroke).

    As a conclusion, whatever the reason is that some sicko is carrying out a rape, the fact that this is a crisis situation only makes it easier for the rapist to face no consequences. Same with looting.

  18. 18
    Radfem says:

    Hmmm, there’s no controversy for many women. We know it’s a power thing. They just say it’s about sex, so they can take the blame off the man’s uncontrollable biological sex drive(or failing that, the biological certainy that men can die from engorged sex organs, i.e “blue balls”) and put it on us loose women and girls from newborns to 105 years old, and choice of loose clothing from nothing, to winter clothes complete with coats. Our decision to move about during the “wrong times” between eight in the morning and well, eight the next morning and the “wrong places”, which range from anywhere outdoors to anywhere indoors.

    also, when they mention rapes, the media focus on the Convention Center, and the mostly Black population there, especially accounts of women getting raped by men when trying to go to use the bathrooms there. But, anywhere in the city, men of any race could have been raping women of any race because men and women were holed up all over the city. How do we know that wasn’t going on in some of the roof top locations, or inside buildings? Yet, it’s the Convention Center population that has been criminalized, when FTMP, they have been left to fend for themselves, the best they can. Many of them, male and female, told reporters they feared the nighttime because they felt preyed upon by other people because of the lack of security. They were actually asking police for help, in part because of that as opposed to not wanting them there so they could commit crimes.

    I’m not even sure it woul d occur to many media outlets that White men would commit such crimes themselves. After all, remember they weren’t looting, but “finding” food from a grocery store.

  19. 19
    Tuomas says:

    Mikko wrote:

    The men need to get their sex, but women aren’t easily romanced in crisis. Also, the rapist facing consequences is probably much lower in this kind of situations. So certainly some guys can’t resist the temptation.

    and

    As a conclusion, whatever the reason is that some sicko is carrying out a rape, the fact that this is a crisis situation only makes it easier for the rapist to face no consequences. Same with looting.

    You can’t have it both ways. Pick one of your pet theories: Either rape is a temptation caused by the natural (for men and women) need for sex, or it is done by mentally unstable persons (=sickos), or bad apples among men who suddenly find an opportunity to do what they will.

    Personally I don’t think “need to sex” and “need to rape” are linked. Raping involves complete disregard for your sexual partner (if I may use that term), a certain pathological lack of empathy and excess selfishness. N0n-rapist men need to stop making excuses for rapists (“men need their sex”). For most men it’s not just a self-control thing, maybe there are men who actually would like to rape but restrain themselves from doing so, but I don’t think that’s very common.

    The infamous Nicholas Groth study of rapists motivations concluded that 55& percent of rapes are a power thing, 40& is a rapist using rape as a weapon to degrade and hurt the victim, and a grand total of 5% are actual (pathological, BDSM not included in this) sexual sadists who “get off” sexually from hurting the victim (these are the most dangerous rapists who sometimes turn into serial killers).

  20. 20
    Glaivester says:

    My thoughts on rape:

    The infamous Nicholas Groth study of rapists motivations concluded that 55& percent of rapes are a power thing, 40& is a rapist using rape as a weapon to degrade and hurt the victim, and a grand total of 5% are actual (pathological, BDSM not included in this) sexual sadists who “get off” sexually from hurting the victim (these are the most dangerous rapists who sometimes turn into serial killers).

    I’m sorry, but I don’t buy the idea that rape “isn’t about sex,” or at least with what that implies to me. Definitely in some cases, the rapist is using rape as a means to degrade someone or to assert their power over them, but I think that in a lot of cases, the rapist desires to have sex with someone and decides that their consent is irrelevant.

    Put another way, in some cases the rapist is using sex as a means to violate their victim, and in other cases is using violation as a means to get sex from their victim. Obviously, even in the latter case, it is the power and violation issues, and not the sex, that makes the rape a crime, but to argue that it is “not about the sex” seems ludicrous to me. The sex is certainly not incidental to the act.

    I think I have had this discussion before, and it turns out that the latter cases are the ones that are referred to as the rapes that “are a power thing.” While in some level this is true, in that the man rapes because he has power over the women to do so, it seems ridiculous to me to say that sex is not the motivation.

    Raping involves complete disregard for your sexual partner (if I may use that term), a certain pathological lack of empathy and excess selfishness.

    None of which means that the rape isn’t about sex. That the rape involves disregarding the other person, that the rapist is selfish and wihtout empathy, none of that means that getting sex is not the motivating factor. Rather, it means that he is unwilling to let the natural inhibitions (empathy, regard for others, a desire not to hurt someone) get in the way of getting sex.

    Of course, none of this changes the fact that rape is a terrible crime and that rapists are evil and should be punished. If I shoot a man dead while mugging him, the fact that I was motivated to shoot me by a desire to get my wallet rather than by a desire to kill me doesn’t make him any less a murderer.

    Here’s how I see the increase in rapes in New Orleans:

    There are a lot of men who have no moral compunction about using rape in order to get sex from someone. However, they don’t usually rape people because they are afraid of getting caught. In this chaos, the chances of getting caught are less, so for someone for whom getting caught is the only reason they would not rape, sudddenly he sees no reason not to rape. Put another way, I think that in many cases rape is a crime of opportunity. The hurricane didn’t give the rapists a motivation to rape, it gave them an opportunity. (And no, I’m no saying that they “needed sex,” and “couldn’t resist,” I’m saying that they were wanted sex, were willing to force someone to give it to them, and evilly and immorally decided to take this as an opportunity).

  21. 21
    Mikko says:

    Either rape is a temptation caused by the natural (for men and women) need for sex, or it is done by mentally unstable persons (=sickos)

    Certainly you can have it both ways: sex is a natural temptation, while rape requires (IMHO) the “sicko factor”: the empathy-less sociopathism you talked about.

    Personally I don’t think “need to sex” and “need to rape” are linked.

    After thinking of it a bit more through, I think they have a little link: you can’t be in a rapy mood without first being in a horny mood.

    A concrete example: suppose that men rape women 100% because they want to show their place in the power hierarchy. This rises a question: why do these power-struggling men show their power by raping women, and not by, for example, beating women, or beating men, or – the most extreme example – raping men?

    Sorry, I just find it hard to believe that a rapist would think “gosh, I’m really not in the mood for sex right now, but I just have to show her her place by raping her”.

  22. 22
    Tuomas says:

    Good response, Glaivester and Mikko.
    There’s the link about the study, btw.
    http://www.interactivetheatre.org/resc/menwhorape.html

    Sorry, I just find it hard to believe that a rapist would think “gosh, I’m really not in the mood for sex right now, but I just have to show her her place by raping her”.

    But, in fact the aforementioned 40 % (socalled “hate rapists”) sometimes need to use something else than a penis to rape, or find orgasming/ejaculation difficult, and have described their feelings about rape exactly like that (she hurt me [emotionally or otherwise] now I will really hurt her). Such rapists usually believe that the worst offense a man can commit to a woman or another man is rape. No need to be in horny mood, but need to be angry and vengeful, see?

    But (I’ll need to rephrase a bit), in fact the 55& usually don’t believe what they had done is rape (usually not much violence involved), but normal sex, and there is a sexual link. All in all, I do agree with you and Glaivester about the inaccuracy about “All rape is about power” -meme. Better explanation would be (IMHO): Some rapes are about power, some about sex, some about hate. Usually the combination of all three is required (you have to be in position of power to be capable of raping, you need [at least] minimize in your mind the suffering of the victim and lose your capability for empathy [in a sense, hate], and usually need to physically and/or psychologically to desire sexual contact.) Cultural values, both how we view human sexuality and human rights, and the capability to enforce those values contribute in prevalence of rape (does the rapist think he can get away with raping).

    I think the ability to get away with rape has lot to do with the increase of rapes in wake of Katrina. Also, mob mentality (in cases of gang rapes), and general sense of breakdown of civilization has brought the worst out of some people. Perhaps some people had not even realized their darker desires before the opportunity.

    However Mikko, I see no evidence that the ability to get (consensual) sex has been greatly reduced by the catastrophe, as during times of crisis people seek closeness with other people. Including romance/sex.

  23. 23
    Tuomas says:

    This rises a question: why do these power-struggling men show their power by raping women, and not by, for example, beating women, or beating men, or – the most extreme example – raping men?

    Sometimes they do. Why do you think raping men is most extreme, not equal to raping women?

  24. 24
    Jenny K says:

    Mikko, either way, your argument of “guys need sex, but these guys don’t have the option of romancing women, so they are resorting to rape” is insulting all around.

    People in NO now are under extreme stress and duress and there is very little law enforcement. Most are dehydrated and hungry, some are also suffering from drug withdrawl. Somehow I doubt “god, I want me some sex” is really foremost on their minds.

    Maybe there’s just a whole lot of people who are turned on by the smell of rotting sewage and sweating masses of people, the stench of feces and decomposing bodies, and the sight of death and dying.

    More likely, anyone who is sick enough to rape in this situation is sick enough to do so whenever the opportunity is there, not just when their “options” are limited. More likely, they are unhinged enough enough to act out their frustrations by waving guns around, shooting at cops, and raping women. More likely, they are simply doing so because now they feel they can.

    Somehow I doubt “not being able to romance women” has anything at all to do with the fucking situation. Not being able to jack off, perhaps. But anyone who is raping now was most likely raping beforehand, or at least capable of doing so.

    What Radfem said about women (usually) not finding the whole “sex vs. power” thing controversial. Rapists don’t need to be able to get it up, but they do always need to be able to see their victim as less than them, and almost always as someting worthy of disdain. No one rapes just beceause they need sex that badly. Even if the something else is simply because they have larger mental problems, are completely lacking in empathy, or have been brought up in a society that tends to value women less than men, and women’s sexual desire much less than men’s sexual desire.

  25. 25
    Jenny K says:

    “This rises a question: why do these power-struggling men show their power by raping women, and not by, for example, beating women, or beating men….?”

    You mean like this:

    “When the first dozen buses finally arrived Thursday at the Superdome to start transporting about 23,000 refugees to Houston, shoving and fights broke out and trash cans were set ablaze as people jockeyed to get out of the fetid, stinking stadium in which they had been captive since entering the city’s shelter of last resort four days earlier.”

    or this:

    “Rumors of murder, rape and deplorable conditions were circulating.”

    which also includes this quote: “After all we had been through, those damn guards at the Dome treated us like criminals,” Phillips said. “We went to that zoo and they gave us no respect.””

    Then there is also the fact that for poor black men (which make up a vast majority of the current male population stranded in NO) the only people lower then them in the established heirarchy are poor black women and children. Beating up on other men is not only more dangerous, it doesn’t confirm their natural place as not on the very bottom rung, no matter what.

    Calling desperate people who look for scapegoats or less powerful people to bully with little power they have isn’t calling them “power-hungry.” It also isn’t something unique to men. (And certainly not black men, who have often been victims of this themselves.) It’s a part of human nature and history. To what extent is it playing a part in what has been happening in NO? Who knows. No one will, certainly, until we can determine what is rumor and what is not. Likely not for certain even after that. But the conditions in NO are certainly ripe for it, especially with lack of law enforcement thrown in as well.

  26. 26
    Nick Kiddle says:

    I remember in the days after September 11, I was working in an all-male workplace, and conversation naturally centred around the events in the WTC. Someone brought up the topic of “What would you do if you were trapped in one of the rooms with no way out and no hope of survival.” Among the responses, “I’d fuck that hot co-worker I’ve been lusting over for years” got a laugh and general agreement.

    Jokes like that make things like this thinkable. These weren’t sickos, they were ordinary, working-class family men, and they approved of the idea that when the pressure of consequences was lifted, fucking would be one thing to attend to.

  27. 27
    ginmar says:

    Um…what would hte hot coworker think about that? That’s just amazing to me.

    Problem is, survival situations are on a continuum. It amounts to excuses. Once they start thinking up excuses for extreme circumstances, they can work their way down.

    JennyK, I don’t care how old it is or how longstanding. It gets eliminated. It gets fought. It’s sexism in its purest forms and I don’t care for excuses. Its practitioners get labelled and nailed.

  28. 28
    Don't You Weep says:

    Rape is always about causing intentional suffering to another person.

    If a rape does not include force, including the lack of consent or of ability to consent, we don’t call it rape. Older men who have affairs with teenage girls are users, but it is rape only statutorily by the governmental decision to classify it as such, though it is a genuinely vile behavior on the part of such older men and should be discouraged by the law to the fullest possible extent. Consent is what matters, and not what society thinks is one’s meaningful ability to consent. Actual children, as opposed to young men or women, have no ability to consent because without an adult’s body they cannot know what a sexual relationship means exactly. Adult-child sexual contact is rape, thusly unforgivable. Rape is nonconsensual sex and is on a level with murder and torture. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who commits any of those three is going to hell. Potential rapists are people who are going to hell, the entire population of ‘em. They do get around, enormously. Taking advantage of someone who gives consent while half-unconscious from drugs and alcohol, especially when the perpetrator is also half-unconscious from drugs and alcohol, is a criminal offense within the category of indecent assaults, it is obscene, but it happens every day and many women (and men) who’ve been through it don’t consider it anything out of the ordinary. A person who has been forced into sex, the definition of rape, always knows it if he or she was conscious at all.

    I myself am a male survivor of sexual abuse by an adolescent male peer. When I returned from the location of the abuse, my story was entirely disbelieved by my own family. Taking advantage of power relationships is lewd, but it is not rape because it isn’t total. Rape requires actual force. If you consented (excluding actual assault, threats of murder and similar crimes against another, and the like), you’ve been through something near hell, but you haven’t been raped – you’ve been played. That said, I expect that what’s going on in Louisiana is rape, without a doubt. It happens not only because the fear of punishment is gone (and the vengeance of vigilantes, including partisans of the victim, probably makes the likelihood of punishment much higher), and not only because the social order has broken down, but because people who are expecting to be killed take the opportunity to settle scores, especially avenging imagined slights. Rape is a real slight that vengeance does nothing to prevent.

  29. 29
    Radfem says:

    This rises a question: why do these power-struggling men show their power by raping women, and not by, for example, beating women, or beating men, or – the most extreme example – raping men?

    Sometimes they do. Why do you think raping men is most extreme, not equal to raping women?

    Good question, though I suspect the answer, whether said, or unsaid, is that any violent crime against men is worse than that crime against women. Remember, men are people. Women are property. Basically, men getting raped is worse than women getting raped, is worse than men getting beaten(which may or may not be worse than women getting raped, but is certainly worse than women getting beaten).

  30. 30
    Anndifidood says:

    A couple times this conversation lurched toward what I’m thinking about:

    How did it become a consequence free environment? In analogy, what is the differenc between the airliner crashed in to the Pentagon in Sept 2001 and the airliner that went down in Pennsylvania?

    In one Reuters report, and evacuee form one of the downtown shelter nightmares alleged that a young man was shot to death by guardsmen or police when he was sickened by the screams of a young woman being raped and stabbed and so jumped in front of their vehicle. I don’t know if that’s true or not, of course. Another anecdote came from a shelter security guard who said they had discovered a young woman raped and killed, and the perpetrator who had been beaten to death by the crowd. I don’t know if that is true either.
    I would like to think that decent people could form community and take action to protect weak members in a time of stress when apparently predatory behavior, whatever it’s underlying motivation, that has been suppressed is now being expressed.

    I don’t need radical feminism to understand simple moral principles, nor how to treat humans like equal beings. I assume i am more like to others than different, so I expect that we could manage to be decent, and create conditions where predatory behavior is suppressed by community action.

    Apparently that didn’t happen. Let’s prepare ourselves and our children to manifest it when we are similarly tried.

  31. 31
    Zap says:

    I stumbled onto this blog/conversation while looking for news about the situation in NO.

    In my opinion, the people doing the raping in NO right now are people that would be out raping even if there was no tragedy.

    I found this article as well:

    http://www.rednova.com/news/display/?id=229097&source=r_general

    “Other survivors recounted horrific cases of sexual assault and murder.

    Sitting with her daughter and other relatives, Trolkyn Joseph, 37, said men had wandered the cavernous convention center in recent nights raping and murdering children.

    She said she found a dead 14-year old girl at 5 a.m. on Friday morning, four hours after the young girl went missing from her parents inside the convention center.

    “She was raped for four hours until she was dead,” Joseph said through tears. “Another child, a seven-year old boy was found raped and murdered in the kitchen freezer last night.”

    Several others interviewed by Reuters told similar stories of the abuse and murder of children, but they could not be independently verified.”

    Sorry, but I don’t buy all that about the rapes being isolated incidents. if you have a thousand people and ten of those people are men that band together to rape and abuse, the rest of the population is very vulnerable to getting preyed upon. throw guns into the mix, along with horrible sanitation, rationed food, a closed environment, and up until recently, little structure in terms of “someone being in command”, and you have a situation teeming with opportunity for crimes like rape.

    Race has nothing to do with it. if the place was filled up with white people, the same crap would happen. rape and pedophilia cover the entire spectrum in terms of race.

  32. 32
    Troy says:

    My heart breaks for all of those that have been hurt by this. Yet, I am furious at those who looked on at what was happening. Yes at any “camp” there will be men that rape and commit violence but there were 15,000 to 25,000 people at the convention center. Many saw that it was happening yet they did nothing to prevent the , maybe, 50 to 100 men that were involved in this from doing the things that they did. I am sick! I am sick at this ” some one else has to come and solve the attitude “!!!! You see some men dragging a girl into a bathroom, you get a few guys and you stop it. You do not wait for it all to be over and look down at a dead, raped girl and blame it on the mayor or the city counsil or on the FEMA or on Bush. You were there!!!! You were twenty feet from the bathroom door!!!! You need to look at yourself and your community.

  33. 33
    Glaivester says:

    I think Troy makes a good point. What is so shocking about these rapes is not necessarily that rape is occurring at a higher rate than normal (although I wouldn’t be surprised if it is).

    What is shocking is that it is occurring in a shelter that (1) one should suppose has guards or someone keeping control and (2) has a large number of people in it, none of whom tried to stop it (or at least none of whom tried hard enough).

  34. 34
    Reality says:

    Hey,

    I don’t hear anything about widespread raping, or looting in Mississippi. I wonder what the difference is. I know Biloxi, and Gulfport together are as large as New Orleans yet there doesn’t seem to be the lawlessness there. No mention of any of the shelters they were sent to.

    The problem is the culture of New Orleans. There is almost a murder there every day without a Hurricane, or flood. Wake up, this is normal for New Orleans – it’s just getting attention now because of the tragedy.

    If you want to see what New Orleans is really about, go to Algiers district not the French Quarter.

  35. 35
    Portia says:

    I am backtracking to this comment from September 2.

    Mikko wrote

    The men need to get their sex, but women aren’t easily romanced in crisis. Also, the rapist facing consequences is probably much lower in this kind of situations. So certainly some guys can’t resist the temptation.
    Sorry, but I believe rape in this situation is more about sex hunger than about power hunger.

    Are you kidding? Rape is about power and control in any situation. Quite ironic that the initials for New Orleans are NO. If it was about sex hunger, I’m sure that there are many women who also looking for the comfort, closeness, and relief of sex.

    If you are reading this and are a survivor of one of these horrendous rapes, please read this message. If you know any of these survivors, please share this message with them. Help them get the help they will need. Visit RAINN for more information about healing and helping sexual assault victims.

  36. 36
    Isa-Brazil says:

    Unfortunately, it seems the rape stories are true and not just an attempt to demonize black men. Today I read- sorry I missed the link: – “Women and young girls could not go to the bathroom without a male escort for there were men in the bathrooms ready to rape them and slit their throats.”
    That goes way beyond “Men need to have their sex”. That’s human nature for you when the veneer of civilization falls off. Or rather, male nature.
    Isa

  37. 37
    Mikko says:

    Rape is about power and control in any situation.

    I admit it most probably is – partially, that is. I believe there is always a bit of sex factor in, though. Society is a complex process: Tuomas already gave good statistics on the subject, drawing one-eyed catch phrases uncredible.

    “Women and young girls could not go to the bathroom without a male escort for there were men in the bathrooms ready to rape them and slit their throats.”

    That goes way beyond “Men need to have their sex”

    Are you’re horrified at the way a rapist kills his victim in the end? It’s really quite simple: the rapist does not want to leave an eyewitness. That’s rational, although immoral by most standards.

    In detail, in this case, you can partion rapists into three groups: 1) rapists who enjoy killing their victim in the end, 2) rapists who don’t really enjoy killing their victim in the end, but do it anyway to leave no eyewitnesses, 3) rapists who don’t kill their victim in the end for whatever reason.

    I’m sorry if all this sounds cold-hearted. I’m just a European not affected in any way by the catastrophe (not only because I don’t drive a car, but that’s another subject).

    That’s human nature for you when the veneer of civilization falls off. Or rather, male nature.

    Actually, I agree with your point: male rape women much, much more often than the other way around. It’s only the reasons that are under debate.

    Notice another case of assymetricity between sexes: I was called not only a sexist, but also a racist (for reasons that my imagination simply doesn’t stretch to) for expressing similar thoughts.

    But anyone who is raping now was most likely raping beforehand, or at least capable of doing so.

    See, we agree after all.

  38. 38
    Crystal says:

    There is a feminist anthropologist, Peggy Reeves Sanday, who has done a lot of work on rape, specifically why some societies are “rape free” and others “rape prone.” In Sanday’s “rape free” societies, it doesn’t mean that rape NEVER occurs, just that it is rare, and condemned and severely punished when it does happen. Conversely, in “rape prone” societies rape is frequent and condoned, or even acknowledged to be an act whereby men can punish women.

    Sanday concludes that “rape free” societies are gender-egalitarian and discourage interpersonal violence. (That doesn’t mean such societies don’t make war on outsiders – just that they discourage violence against their own.) By contrast, in “rape prone” societies women are thought of as lesser beings, are supposed to submit to male authority, and interpersonal violence (male-on-male as well as male-on-female) is encouraged or at least condoned.

    I will leave you to draw your own conclusions about American society.

    Here is a page on Sanday’s website that discusses rape. Sanday’s work on rape-prone and rape-free cultures can also be found in “Evolution, Gender and Rape” edited by Cheryl Brown Travis.

  39. 39
    Martina says:

    I have to say that I am horrified by the reports as to what is occuring in the Superdome in the wake of Katrina. I read a story from the bbc news website that a young woman was raped and killed – and that the crowd then found the perpetrator and beat him to death. I think that desperate times can cause the degredation of normal social mores and constraints – one could look to Premo Levi’s accounts of what happened in Auswitch. I think that it’s understandable that people are desperate and looking to survive – but acts of violence which are sexual, regardless of motiviation are occuring because the individuals committing them have the capacity to DO it. I find it terrifying as a woman that in a moment of crisis and desperation there are people alive who willl use this as a catalyst to take from them what they cannot get normally. I also have to say that I found Mikko’s original statement about ‘sex hunger’ romancing women and the man’s need to be utterly tasteless and ill conceived. Women have the same sexual urges as men, we crave sex and can enter into casual encounters as each person deems suitable. Physically forcing your self onto another will not sate a ‘hunger’ for it is not born of a need – it comes from a lack of empathy and a CHOICE to commit the act.

  40. 40
    Jennifer says:

    I am heartbroken for those women/girls/whoever was raped in the midst of such a devastating tragedy. One concern I do have, that I have not seen mentioned anywhere, is that people all over the country are opening their homes to the people who have been evacuated.

    So are the rapists going to end up in someone’s home, raping their children or wives? Will the threat of that happening keep someone from opening their home who might otherwise have done so? Is there any attempt being made to locate those responsible for the rapes?

  41. 41
    Jenny K says:

    “I don’t care how old it is or how longstanding. It gets eliminated. It gets fought. It’s sexism in its purest forms and I don’t care for excuses. Its practitioners get labelled and nailed. ”

    Well, no shit.

    But to fight it you need to understand it.

    I never meant to suggest that such acts were excusable. (did anything I wrote really come across as doing so?) I do, however, think its helpful to remember that people who are treated like shit themselves tend to treat other people like shit and that people who are taught to treat other people like shit will often do so. Combine the two and you get a pretty combustive combination.

    Many of my fave feminist bloggers, in the NARAL/kos/indentify politcs debates have rightly pointed out that fighting for women’s rights means fighting for everyone’s rights, and that compromising on women’s rights means compromising on everyone’s rights. It goes the other way as well. The institutionalized and overt racism and classism of the current situation not only rips away the dignity of the victims, it encourages them to do the same to others.

  42. 42
    Mikko says:

    Women have the same sexual urges as men, we crave sex and can enter into casual encounters as each person deems suitable.

    I find symmetricity assumptions moralistic (unless they’re based on proven facts, which you didn’t supply). One can truly introspect only his/her own mindset, after all, and guesses about the mindsets of the opposite sex are, well, guesses. Perhaps asking post-op transsexuals (I’m not kidding) would shed some light about the true implications of hormonal changes.

    Meanwhile, we have to rely on mind games, such as: if 100 men and 100 women ask a number of random (i.e. average, not supermodels or rockstars) members of the opposite sex simpy “wanna fuck?”, which group is more likely to succeed, and why do the non-succesful ones get rejected?

  43. 43
    Tuomas says:

    Meanwhile, we have to rely on mind games, such as: if 100 men and 100 women ask a number of random (i.e. average, not supermodels or rockstars) members of the opposite sex simpy “wanna fuck?”, which group is more likely to succeed, and why do the non-succesful ones get rejected?

    Gut feeling would say women are going to be more succesful, by far. However, the question isn’t indicative of men’s greater sexual urge, as the question “in an average relationship, which partner wants more sex?” Gives all sort of responses.

    The reasons for “women” could be:
    1)sexual urge as you said, men want to fuck more
    2) Sociobiological explanation, women being more picky of partners (sperm cheap, eggs expensive), thus being more prone to reject a potential partner
    3) Cultural values (sexually promiscous women aren’t valued ["slut", "whore" etc.], while men are valued for being “players”, women don’t want to become “sluts”)
    4) Distrust toward askers (men probably don’t fear being kidnapped, beaten or raped by women, while a woman probably would mistrust an average guy asking “wanna fuck” as being some sort of creep)
    5) What generally constitutes as “sex” (penetration and male ejaculation, possibly the whole thing over in seconds) isn’t necessarily very pleasurable for women, women generally require a bit more to enjoy and orgasm. Not just masturbated into, in a sense.

    I think the number 1 explanation is actually the worst… More like combination of 2, 3, 4 and 5.

    But let’s not turn this into a discussion of “which gender wants more sex”. That would be a shameful thing to do in a “rape in the wake of a horrible catastrophe” -thread…

  44. 44
    Mikko says:

    Tuomas, thanks for the diligent post. I also consider all points 1,2,3,4,5 to be part of the answer. However, I don’t find them very orthogonal (i.e. independent), but rather hugely intertwined (e.g. 3 and 4 would easily follow from 1 and 2).

  45. 45
    foreighner says:

    I express my sympathy towards people of New Orleans.America had misconceptions about its security ,as rest of the world.People are scribling theories and conspiracies .Natural reaction. Excuse me when i say America is relatively violent society.Murder/r_pe is higher to rest of the world . In this case things are a bit more out of hand . Some people have thrown responsibility on others like Mr Bush. Is it not true that every American has some part of Bush in him.They elected him , he tries to decide faith of the world and they feel proud and American.

  46. 46
    Radfem says:

    Not everyone elected Bush in this country. Yes, he won the majority of the electorate votes, but a lot of people didn’t vote for him.

    I think he carries blame for the lack of early response to Katrina. He didn’t respond right away, in fact he was in my corner of the country making speeches when all hell was breaking loose. Like 9-11, he didn’t seem to know how to react at first. His handlers probably told him.

    Still, it’s an interesting topic here, how Bush has decided to act this week as if he likes Black people. People are amused but not in a happy, light and funny way.

    As far as rape is concerned, it’s a sad commentary that men on this thread do not understand that it is about anger, power and hate of an entire gender through action against one or more members of it, and not about sex, or “wanna fuck” or any other varient of the theory that men are biologically programmed to be so sex-crazed that it’s not their fault that they rape women. And since it has to be someone’s fault, it’s the women’s. God, we have much further to go in addressing misogyny than I even thought.

  47. 47
    Radfem says:

    and it’s not all men here btw, one or two, but that’s depressing enough. :(

  48. 48
    Glaivester says:

    As far as rape is concerned, it’s a sad commentary that men on this thread do not understand that it is about anger, power and hate of an entire gender through action against one or more members of it, and not about sex, or “wanna fuck” or any other varient of the theory that men are biologically programmed to be so sex-crazed that it’s not their fault that they rape women.

    Radfem, you are conflating two separate issues. To say that rape (in some cases) is motivated by a desire for sex is not to say that “men are biologically programmed to be so sex-crazed that it’s not their fault that they rape women.”

    To say “desire for sex” or “desire for sex with a particular person” is the motive is not to say that it is an excuse. Just because I want something does not mean I have the right to take it from someone else. Nor does it mean I unable to control my desires.

    What I am sayoing is that in some cases, a rapist may decide that he wants to have sex, and decides that rape is the shortest, cheapest path to get there (no trying to seduce someone or paying a prostitute).* In such a case, the rape is not motivated by anger or hatred toward women, but by the desire for sex. Granted, the man is being totally unempathetic to the woman and treating her as an object, but that’s not hatred so mych as indifference. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT IT IS NOT THE MAN’S FAULT. A man may also decide that the quickest way to get a new car is to carjack someone along the highway, kill them, and take their car. To say that the man killed the previous driver because he wanted the car, not out of hatred for the previous driver, does not make him any less a murderer or any less responsible for his own actions.

    *Alternately, the rapist may decide he wants to have sex with a particular person, and that while other sex may be available, rape is the easiest way to get sex with that particular person.

    I must say that the idea that rape is never about sex seems rather like saying that shoplifting is never about the merchandise, muggings are never about getting the money, and carjackings are not about getting the car.

  49. 49
    Samatha Young says:

    Remember the story about Thanks Giving Day ? After the first group of settlers were help by the indian. the white people re gain their strength then they came back to the indian camp and gang raped all the women. They also force the men to watch the white men shoving big stick up Native American womens vagina. It was so horrible that no body tell about it when asking about the original of Thanks Giving Day. Various Native American Tribes keep the story alive by words of mouth from generation to generation. It just like a curse for this nation. Everytime something bad happen, there will be rape among the people.

  50. 50
    Dei says:

    Now that New Orleans has finally been largely evacuated, just thought you might want to take a more sober look at what’s actually been *seen* as opposed to rumoured: http://www.guardian.co.uk/katrina/story/0,16441,1563532,00.html

    So far, there has not been a single (not one) substantiated rape. So far, there have been no actual armed gangs roving the streets. There might have been but so far, it’s not proved true.

    The damage done by reporting these things as real has led to the demonisation of desperate people and skewed relief efforts. So far, the rumours of such reported as fact have led to the police killing five people as looters — who it looks have actually turned out to be army contractors.

    I’m not in the slightest bit interested in defending or justifying rape and I think the thread thus far has been an interesting one. But I’m just going to suggest that perhaps you’re talking about a situation that hasn’t actually happened. And for the media reporting rumour as fact, perhaps our outrage needs to be somewhere else for the moment.

    Just a suggestion.

  51. 51
    Tuomas says:

    I must say that the idea that rape is never about sex seems rather like saying that shoplifting is never about the merchandise, muggings are never about getting the money, and carjackings are not about getting the car.

    Your analogies only make sense if one views rape as a crime of Men Immorally and Evilly Stealing The Pussy.
    Apples and oranges. You’ll need to make comparison to assault or homicide if you are to have any success in convincing people. The aforementioned crimes are violent crimes, but are they about violence, is violence the motive? Similarly, rape is a crime sexual vilence, but is it about sex or violence?

    Btw, I realize you’re not trying to excuse rape, but to use your analogy, if one really, really needs money doesn’t it lessen the generally evil and immoral crime of stealing? Perhaps it shouldn’t, but it does in the eyes of many people.

    I think the cultural value of viewing women as possessors of sex is a problem in rape, as some juries/people do indeed find an accused rapist not guilty if he is perceived as “really desperate for sex”, out of pity, I suppose. Similarly an accused rapist who is of high status/good looks is found not guilty because “he doesn’t need to rape” (because people view rape being about sex.)

  52. 52
    Ampersand says:

    Tuomas, that is all true. Nonetheless, I think Glaivister is correct – for some rapists, wanting to have sex is a motivation for rape. That it’s an unfortunate truth, one that causes many people to think in jackass ways as you described, doesn’t logically effect whether or not it is true.

    If we’re ever to have much less rape, we’ll have to eliminate the kind of thought that sees “women as possessors of sex.” But we’re not there yet, and in the current world, some men see women that way, and some of them rape women to get sex.

  53. 53
    Tuomas says:

    Fair enough, Ampersand, for some rapists, that is. Agreed on the cultural change too.

  54. 54
    XNicoleX says:

    As for the rapping, Im sure most people rapping there were on crack or other drugs. Due to Katrina, there are no drugs. Those crack addicts have now become demons. Most of them that I believe are attacking are not even in a sane mind set. They are fiending, that’s why they are shooting the EMT. Trying to get any medications that they assume they have.

  55. 55
    Glaivester says:

    Btw, I realize you’re not trying to excuse rape, but to use your analogy, if one really, really needs money doesn’t it lessen the generally evil and immoral crime of stealing? Perhaps it shouldn’t, but it does in the eyes of many people.

    Well, except that no one really, really needs (as opposed to really, really wants) sex in quite the same way as people need money to live, and so there are no truly analogous situations. Also, to be less than delicate, if someone is desperate for sexual release, there is always “the hand.” I suppose if someone had some sort of condition where they would die unless they had sex with another person (like the Vulcan Pon Farr in Star Trek), and rape was the only way to do it, it might be viewed as a mitigating circumstance. In reality though, no such condition exists, and “I had to do it, my desire was too strong” is just a wa y of trying to justify a total disregard for the rights and feelings of another person.

    Also, I should point out that I am not denying that many rapes are motivated by about power and hatred and violence, and not by the sex itself.

    Your analogies only make sense if one views rape as a crime of Men Immorally and Evilly Stealing The Pussy.

    Well, my analogy was based on the idea that one is violating another’s rights to satisfy a desire. Was the violation the goal, or satisfying the desire? I realize that rape is a greater violation than theft (although carjacking can be a very serious violation, too, beyond the mere property crime, if the carjacker leaves the driver stranded or keeps them in the car as a hostage).

    If we’re ever to have much less rape, we’ll have to eliminate the kind of thought that sees “women as possessors of sex.”

    Hmmmm… I have some thoughts on that issue, but I’ll have to come back to it later, I don’t have time to analyze it out right now.

  56. 56
    RonF says:

    Actually, Samantha, I’ve never heard that story. Perhaps you could give me some kind of source for it?

  57. 57
    Radfem says:

    Dei, do you have any links which explain that the people shot by police were army contractors? I haven’t been able to find any and actually was wondering what had happened since I’ve read or heard different stories., which isn’t unique to this situation, but is typical for officer-involved shootings in general, I’ve found.

    One version in this case is that contractors were being escorted by police on a bridge and a group of people opened fire on them. Another version said that police responded when EMTs called about shots being fired. Of course, that’s the police’s story, both of them, and so may or may not be reliable. NOPD, after all, is not an agency known for honest, ethical operations in the best of times.

    excerpt from your link:

    New Orleans police have been unable to confirm the tale of the raped child, or indeed any of the reports of rapes, in the Superdome and convention centre.

    New Orleans PD will probably never produce an actual reported rape. For all practical purposes, that LE is as off the map now as the city is. If there are any reported, the sources will likely be from Women’s Resources Centers and organizations which provide services to women post-Katrina.

    Whether they happened or not, it’s really too early to tell. People are traumatized from so many different things at once, trying to sort out their bearings, find family members, come to grips with losing everything they had including their homes, so that if rapes occurred to women, it’s not surprising they wouldn’t be reported. The environment is not exactly conducive to doing so.

    I’m hoping it didn’t happen. And the media loves to sensationalize everything.

  58. 58
    Radfem says:

    Here’s a link about what went on with the NOPD.

    NOPD officer kills himself

    I was sitting in a U.S. Attorney’s office once for a meeting, on whether or not the office was going to prosecute the four officers who shot and killed a woman who was unconscious inside her vehicle in 1998.

    Of course, they weren’t. They flew in a DOJ CR rep. all the way from Philedelphia to sit in, because people locally were more familiar with him than his replacement. He wouldn’t have come if the news was good and the woman’s family told us the bad news when they left their earlier meeting with the U.S. Attorneys.

    One woman in our meeting asked the feds if they ever prosecuted an officer for a shooting and won. They said, yes, there is a former cop from NOPD sitting on death row, abeit for killing another cop, to prevent that cop from testifying against her involvement in a robbery ring. Both were Black, which led to a separate discussion with the feds, after that.

    NOPD was also under federal consent decree for reform, one of about half a dozen or so LE agencies in the country. Its number of Black officers was somewhat higher than in most agencies, but less than the city’s population percentage of Black residents and far less than the percentage of Black officers in the higher ranks(about 15%). It was an agency dealing with racism, and corruption for a long time, which is what brought the feds in and there were quite a few active police watch organizations in NO.

  59. 59
    Dei says:

    Radfem,

    I’ll grant you freely that chances are, there have been some assaults — disaster doesn’t make people angels after all. BUT that’s not what started this discussion. It’s that it was reported as fact that rape and murder was widespread that started this discussion thread. And that just doesn’t jibe with reality thus far.

    Besides The Guardian article, I’m also looking at the witness statements from our returning British tourists caught up in the Superdome (unfortunately doing a video capture of BBC News is a bit beyond me), where they talk about what they’ve heard was going on but didn’t actually see any themselves. I’ve listened to Democracy Now, which had a reporter in the same Superdome and I do have to give him credit for reporting as rumours, not fact (go to http://www.democracynow.org and listen to their September 2 broadcast, IIRC).

    On the shootings of army workers, see http://www.lunaville.com/blogging/default.aspx?hndRef=1635 I’d love to trace it up further myself, but please note that it’s the Army Corps of Engineers which is reporting its contractors shot, not the police. If you can think of a good reason as to why they should lie, I’d love to hear it.

    It might also be of interest to you to read on what the National Guard sent in to secure the Superdome actually experienced: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-troops3sep03,0,7512924.story?page=1&coll=la-home-headlines Perhaps the journalist reporting on it is lying too.

    At this juncture, I might as well say that I’m not writing this because I don’t think that rape is a problem. I do. Over the months I’ve been visiting this site, Ampersand has deservedly and correctly put up several thoughtful posts on rape and if I’ve lurked and read rather than posted it’s more out of admiration for the eloquence than he and others have shown in cutting through the nonsense and false assumptions underpinning it than out of a lack of desire to contribute, but this *particular* thread really is a discussion started on an erroneous report and that bothers me. The manner in which the media has treated this issue to me goes beyond mere media hype and into irresponsible journalism and vile mischaracterisation of the people who so desperately needed and continue to need help.

    Not-terribly eloquently yours,

    Dei.

  60. 60
    Katie Dismukes says:

    The always-excellent Gary Younge, reporting for the Guardian, puts the “rampant rape” stories in serious doubt:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/katrina/story/0,16441,1563532,00.html

    seriously — don’t underestimate the power of racist rumours. I’m also not hearing the sniper stories substantiated anywhere.

  61. 61
    Katie Dismukes says:

    oops — Dei already posted this! still, bears repeating…

  62. 62
    Tuomas says:

    Glaivester:

    Also, to be less than delicate, if someone is desperate for sexual release, there is always “the hand.” I suppose if someone had some sort of condition where they would die unless they had sex with another person (like the Vulcan Pon Farr in Star Trek),

    Exactly. But… Being tricked of thinking that you have killed your best friend and captain works wonders in Pon Farr, so even then there is an alternative.

    Hmm. I suppose all crimes are about violating others (body, mind, property…) for a desire, so the analogies might make sense in that way. I suppose people do have a desire for simplification, either “rape is about sex” or “rape is about power”. I think both have more than a bit of truth, but neither are the whole truth.

    I think I agree with you on the subject after all, but that’s not to say the conversation should be over.

  63. 63
    elaine says:

    Samantha says: Remember the story about Thanks Giving Day ? After the first group of settlers were help by the indian. the white people re gain their strength then they came back to the indian camp and gang raped all the women.”
    Where on earth did you get that information? I have never heard anything so ridiculous.Perhaps you are referring to some latter event? In ancy case There are certainly atrocity stories galore in the white/Indian interaction (committed by both sides I might add) but that’s a new one to me The early Pilgrims were religious and their wives would never have allowed such activity. New Egnlianders also developed, many of them, into ardent abolitionts and had the reputation for being perhaps the only people in the history of the world to fight for the freedom of a people other than themselves. Half a milino men died in the Union army duringthe civilwar.
    Are you American? you need to study history in a serious way if you are going to mak,e comments on important matters and stop sounding like some pc-drunk idiot.

  64. 64
    Lee says:

    The Guardian article was written about what was happening at the Convention Center on Friday. The son of a friend was holed up in an office building across the street all last week and called his mother on his satellite phone on Thursday night to say good-bye because he and his coworkers in there with him could hear a lot of gunfire nearby and they were afraid their building was next on the list for the gangs of looters. Obviously, I got this third-hand, but I don’t think my friend’s son would lie to his mother (although his assessment of the situation might have been exaggerated due to fear), and I don’t think my friend’s ex-wife would call him up in the middle of the night with a gross exaggeration of the phone call, either (they’re both former MPs). So I think the truth must be somewhere between the rampant lawlessness depicted through some media outlets and the calm portrayed through others. Also, I seem to remember reading an article in a newsmagazine years ago about how even small groups of demonstrators can look really big on TV, so maybe there is some of that going on, too. I don’t doubt there have been a large number of rapes since the storm blew through, and I don’t believe we’ll ever know the true number, and I think it really stinks that when a situation like this brings out the worst in people, rape is one of the top bad things that happens.

  65. 65
    Samantha says:

    The opening post didn’t report as fact that rape was widespread, just that it has been widely reported that some rapes have happened.

    Once we get four men to corroborate the alleged rape of the girl in the Superdome women’s bathroom we’ll know for sure.

  66. 66
    Katie Dismukes says:

    There seems to be a funny crossing of wires here — anyone who doubts the rape stories is immediately accused of anti-feminism (e.g. the “four male witnessses” comment by Samantha, above) when we have gone out of our way to say we are not doubting rape is possible, but just think that in THIS CONTEXT, some of the stories of rape seem tinged with racism. It’s like the whole divide within feminism around women’s issues and their intersection with race issues (to which too many feminists are too often BLIND) all over again.

  67. 67
    Samantha says:

    Funny, I don’t remember accusing anyone of anti-feminism. I remember writing a short comment to the effect that “proving” rape is nigh impossible in the best of circumstances and these are the worst of circumstances.

    Everything is tinged with racism. Sexism too. If you want to talk about racism and sexism in the context of New Orleans you can begin by pointing me to an article that reminds readers our nation’s poorest and most vulnerable are not only minorities but disproportionately women and children. The mainstream media is abuzz with racial analysis, as it should be, but I haven’t seen anything yet pointing out the truth that the people on the bottom rungs of society are more often female than male, more often mothers with kids than other kinds of family units.

    True story: I began my political career lobbying with Results and went to their 2000 annual conference to hear Marian Wright Edelman speak. During her speach she kept hammering in that poverty and hunger are racial issues and at one point she mentioned woman as leaders in black communities but hastily added, “Not that this is a woman’s issue.” It was like she accidently stepped in something smelly and quickly pulled her foot up to avoid further smelliness.

    I took a turn at the microphone to say I was hurt by her distancing poverty from gender when it’s clear gender is a major factor in how the world’s poorest and most hungry people got to be that way. I didn’t like seeing how reflexively she poo-pooed that truth as if stumbling over “woman’s issues” when discussing extreme poverty isn’t entirely natural and to be expected. Fine lady that she is, she apologized and invited me to speak with her further on the matter, but cooler still were the people, men and women, who came to me afterwards and thanked me for what I said.

  68. 68
    Radfem says:

    So I think the truth must be somewhere between the rampant lawlessness depicted through some media outlets and the calm portrayed through others.

    That’s usually how it goes. Crime happens in many different situations anyway across the board. I don’t believe that it was close to the majority of what happened, in NO and other places but yeah, it probably wasn’t totally calm either because it never is. And nobody knows that better than the residents of neighborhoods where there’s more poverty, civic neglect and crime. Combine that with dealing with a city that wants to gentrify you so that Whites can benefit from the neighborhoods that once were yours, plus a police force that resents you, doesn’t understand(or want to) you and is more of an occupying force that swoops in, then leaves like the changing tides. That doesn’t go away with earthquakes, disasters like hurricanes. Any more than the crimes committed in affluent areas populated by Whites(which are underemphasized by LE agencies unless they are committed by someone outside those neighborhoods who looks like they don’t “belong” there). We’ll never hear what goes on in those neighborhoods or populatons for obvious reasons.

    Sometimes, I think the best thing you can do in the wake of Katrina is address the racism and classism in our society which has shown itself for the world to see(and some to comment on, like Cuba, f.e.). Do the work there, in every city, town and nationwide, and that’ll go a long way of preventing another Katrina crisis.

    Address issues of family violence in our country because in all populations, if DV and abuse were issues in them before, they will be now, with added stress. Address housing issues. Resource issues.

    I work largely in police reform, but I’ve been to enough funerals where my friends, and co-workers friends have buried young children shot down, casualties of poverty, racism(including gang violence directed by the racially segregated prison gangs so that it’s not about turf but skin color) and can’t walk the streets, for fear of being targetted b/c last week, a Latino gang member shot a Black person and now it’s payback. Who benefits? Not the gang members because they wind up serving long prison sentences, although at least the prison gang who’s color matches theirs will protect them. Not kids who join up at eight, and are hardened at 12, b/c there’s no real investment in their futures. Not people who are afraid. I participate in a weekly discussion group of sorts with a friend of mine with teens trying to get OUT of gangs who are enrolled in our city’s only gang intervention program, and with several parolees. Even when they’ve got one foot out, there’s still a pull back in, that and there is no support system to help parolees who face a system that is against them. It’s a waste too, because there’s a lot of smart kids out there, who need someone in their corner.

    The power structure that wants their numbers reduced, highly benefits. Also, the local government that keeps the crime afloat in poor neighborhoods, so that property values drop and the city’s redevelopment agency can pick them up at bargain prices for the development companies which line their pockets come election time.

    New Orleans will arise again, but it won’t be the same. The poor probably, as has been said, won’t come back, and unless they attract more affluent Black families, the racial makeup will change markedly. Gentrification of sorts.

    There’s been a lot of discussion here about why should things be different, when this city was filled with corruption and indiffernce towards its poor population before a hurricane ever swept through it. That’s, I think, going to be a wake up call for other cities facing similar conditions. I hope we heed it.

    The scope of any crimes will likely not be known at least any time soon, particularly involving rapes. Lots of speculation either way, and most of the focus on the Dome and Convention Center when the vast majority of the folks there were just waiting for the promised assistance days before. I think the armed response was overboard, but hardly surprising as when the government sees or thinks of angry Black people, they assume a riot is going on first and foremost.

    And I think racism plays a role in emphasizing what’s going on there, with what’s going on elsewhere that’s not being focused on. Some media outlets went unusually out of their way to explain that there was not a lot of crime going on, even some from FOXNews, and other media outlets went the other route.

    The NO police isn’t the best source on crime stats, least of all for rape, DV and other crimes and they weren’t before all this happened, so why would they be now? The relationship btwn that agency and the communities it served was among the worst in the nation(if not the worst) before Katrina, and probably isn’t any better now. In communities with bad relationships btwn LE agencies and the people, crimes are always underreported by the populace and overestimated by the police, if that makes sense.
    I just hope for crime victims especially those in populations traditionally overlooked, they get the emotional support they need.

    The PD collapsed as expected. In the best of times, it was undergoing mandated reforms for corruption and racism in its practices.

    My favorite line, is the police chief saying, I’m not a bureaucrat, I’m a street cop. Bull shit. For ONE week, you were a street cop again. A failure at the top, in large part, led to failures at the bottom.

    (though I was having a discussion with a LE expert yesterday, and he said that Katrina’s long-term impact on the NOPD may be to improve it, since I guess the hurricane was a weeding process, of sorts. That needs to start with departmental brass.)

    At the Super Dome, there were also two affirmed accounts of officer-involved shootings, one involving a Black male teenager shot by NOPD in the head and another man allegedly trying to get assistance for a woman who was shot either by NOPD or a National Guardsman. That’s the other side of the coin when it comes to discussions about the “crime wave”. I read articles on the bus station “jail” and thought of the Guantanimo bay situation, more of a roundup with people in a state of limbo as to what happens next. How do you instill a system of due process in situations like this?

    (according to the L.A. Times, most of the people in the jail are young Black men arrested for looting(their word, not mine without much elaboration, naturally) outside the city. One man was allegedly involved in an attempted rape of a woman downtown. Another for shooting at a helicopter, though the only one I read about was an Apache helicopter which may have been hit by a pellet gun.

    I don’t know if what our police chief said about the crime rate being 197% of what it usually is in NO that week, is true either(he was trying to sell the idea of sending some of our cops down there for security). I had pissed him off on so many other issues earlier in the meeting that I never was able to ask him for clarification on what he had said.

    Substinance “looting” is not a crime imo. Yet most of the people who were arrested were arrested for looting, and most of those outside New Orleans. Most who were arrested for non-substinance looting, it was petty theft. So they are in jail for crimes they probably wouldn’t get jail for, and they will be locked up for a long time(unable to pay bail, they lost everything too) and b/c the non-existant justice system will be hopelessly backlogged. So they could wind up serving more time awaiting trial or even seeing a lawyer than they would if they were convicted of the crimes involved.

    I think one of the people arrested was alleged to have attempted to rape a woman in downtown NO, but few others were arrested for alleged violent crimes.

  69. 69
    Radfem says:

    As someone who struggles with whether or not I define myself as a feminist on a regular basis, I’m not going to call anyone an anti-feminist. Well, except for Robert and the SYG crowd. So he’s out of luck and except as an inside way to pick another fight, I don’t think they’ll mind. ;-)

    It was ironic, because we had an emergency resolution to send people and money to the Gulf region during the city council meeting, the same evening, there was an item on the agenda to discuss and vote on a strategic plan for one of our city’s poorest neighborhoods, which has seen 18 shootings(involving about 25-30 people hit)in about six weeks. People killed on their front porches including a man who shared the same name as a MASH character, in their chairs. Little girls shot while playing on their front yards. Three men shot at while walking home from a fiesta. They were shot in retaliation for a shooting of a Black man who took a wrong turn in the city, pulled up to a gas station for directions and was shot in the head, while inspecting his tires(the first shot was mistaken for a blown tire). This man was in Oklahoma when the little girl was shot, in which his own shooting would be the retaliation for, and his family had just arrived when the three men were shot. All faceless people on a scoreboard held by two different feuding factions, hiding inside cars and trucks cruising by, except when they were walking out in plain sight like anyone else.

    It was the lost tourist who had been born in Nigeria and was on his way to a local youth violence conference, whose shooting galvanized the city, mostly b/c the city was embarassed that a tourist could get nearly killed(though currently, he’s in that limbo of being brain dead, and barely functioning, I believe it’s called “grave”). The little girl’s didn’t generate much attention, as she had escaped death, abeit with nerve damage in one of her arms, while three young teens including a friend’s grandnephew had died in 2002. So civic leaders who always get riled up when violence in that community(or one of the two others) threatens to spill either near the downtown businesses, or the University zone called an emergency meeting several weeks ago.

    We were already meeting in the community, almost nightly. Though instead of men walking women to their cars after the meeting, it was Whites walking Latino and Black people to their cars. They were the targets, female or male. My girlfriends in particular were very scared to go out sometimes, just to walk down the street to the store. I couldn’t really understand, because it wasn’t like being a woman and being scared, even though women are often targets of violence and feel fear because of it. It was being targetted on the basis of race.

    A neighboring town had 25 shootings recently in one month including a young man killed in a video store. Like the neighborhood in my city, it’s undergoing tremendous development, of the gentrifying sort so people with lower incomes are getting squeezed closer and closer together.

    But this neighborhood has no street cleaners. I didn’t know the city had any until I moved out, about a year ago. No regular garbage collection. A police force that can’t tell one Black or Latino man or woman or kid apart from another, and treat them all accordingly. No afterschool programs.

    The gang intervention program that I participate in with a friend of mine who runs a workshop is being transferred to another division to be eventually farmed out to non-profits. Before the most recent round of violence, this program was nearly cut, except for 50 people speaking out to protect it, against six cops who hated it.

    Last night, the city council passed a pretty good plan, for being a bunch of little racist, sexist fascists(though the worst of the lot stayed a hell of a lot more quiet, than when they wanted to throw half the police department at the neighborhood several weeks ago) probably b/c it is an election year after all. But the plans are always good on paper, until they sit and gather dust, until the next time.

    There were mentions of New Orleans, and post-Katrina(but not enough comments about Pre-Katrina) and their perceptions of what they believed happened. I wonder what the impact will be on other cities and towns. What will be learned? What will be done? When our tragedies are cast on a mirror for the rest of the world to see, what will they see?

  70. 70
    Daniel says:

    Murder and rape – fact or fiction?

    (He then goes on to quote the entire Guardian article that we’ve already linked and discussed extensively. Apparently reading the thread they’re posting too is just too hard for some people – not unlike knowing that quoting entire articles is kinda poor netiquette. –Amp)

    New Orleans police have been unable to confirm the tale of the raped child, or indeed any of the reports of rapes, in the Superdome and convention centre.

    New Orleans police chief Eddie Compass said last night: “We don’t have any substantiated rapes. We will investigate if the individuals come forward.”

  71. 71
    Q Grrl says:

    Yeah, because people just make up stories about rape when they’ve been sitting in a dark building for 5+ days without adequate food, water, or shelter. Because, you know, when you’re that tired, when you are surrounded by fecal waste and dead bodies, when you have no idea when your hell is going to end, well… you just make up stories about rape to grab sensationalist headlines. Whatever.

    Mikko: I find your postings disturbingly exhibitionist in their presentation. Perhaps you’re speaking from first hand knowledge?

  72. 72
    Morph says:

    Groaning

    Yeah! How dare they kill and rape,
    when katrina came to the New Orlean’s landscape – yeah
    They were the walking dead,
    The deamons of the streets, nightmares from your head – say
    Causing suicide – freedom a thing of the past,
    Looting and breaking glass – yeah
    Tearing families apart,
    and breaking many hearts,
    Don’t let them do it again

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah-
    More vermin than human
    More vermin than human
    More vermin than human
    More vermin than human
    More vermin than human
    More vermin than human

    Yeah, time to help your fellow man
    Lets turn the world around and give them a hand – say
    You elected fools,
    But we got the tools,
    As the television said – yeah
    Do not disrespect the dead
    Read the leader’s silly lie – yeah
    But at least help or try
    It tears our souls apart when we let others die

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah-
    More vermin than human
    More vermin than human
    More vermin than human
    More vermin than human
    More vermin than human
    More vermin than human

    Yeah, read up on karma man,
    we reap what we sow,
    with american style -yeah
    Those who caused abuse,
    are of little use,
    Sucker we aint done – yeah

    More vermin than human
    More vermin than human
    More vermin than human
    More vermin than human
    More vermin than human
    More vermin than human
    More vermin than human
    More vermin than human

    –Morph “White Zombie’s More Human than Human”

  73. 73
    Radfem says:

    Here’s a link I found on Martial Law and suspension of habeas corpus. There was an interesting discussion about it, in the records room of the conference room, which tempered the tracking of a dirty narco through criminal and civil case records, not much.

    Martial Law

    When was N.O. placed under martial law?

  74. 74
    Troy, too says:

    Troy Writes:

    “You see some men dragging a girl into a bathroom, you get a few guys and you stop it. You do not wait for it all to be over and look down at a dead, raped girl and blame it on the mayor or the city counsil or on the FEMA or on Bush.”

    Troy’s statement about the prevention of rape, along with those of you who agree, demonstrates that many of us miss an important part of this discussion. Why should only a bunch of, “guys” need to band together to prevent a rape.
    Where were all the women when this was going on? I’m sorry, but many of us typically have the attitude that “the guys” need to protect women from such abuse and that women themselves have no role in their protection or the protection of others.
    Why hasn’t one of the women posters in this forum hit on this point? Is it such an alien concept to you all that women share equally in the responsibility to protect other human being from violence? I find the complete lack of discourse in this regard to be pathetic.
    Alright, women, if faced with a similar set of circumstances, you can either wait around for some strong, brave guys to come to the rescue or you can do something that is arguably very unchararistic for most American women: engage in physical confrontation, at the risk of injury or death, to prevent such crimes from happening. Should men take a similar stand, they face similar risks themselves. How could your sacrifice, or lack of sacrifice, be viewed in any way differently from that of men.

  75. 75
    Radfem says:

    Why hasn’t one of the women posters in this forum hit on this point?

    Because Troy(#1) put out a “what if” situation, which was one of many probabilities that could have happened in the SuperDome. Most of the discussion at the time was whether or not the crimes had occurred and to what degree they occurred. If so, when and where, and who responded to help, if anyone did. If anyone did, how many, were they male, female. There’s a lot of situations and scenerios one can throw out there.

    In what accounts I’ve read(the news) and heard(the news, phone calls here), the accounts of rape that arose mostly detailed incidents where women or girls went into the restrooms which had no lightning to go to the bathroom and were victims of rape or attempted rape. If that’s what went down, then these women and girls might for a variety of reasons might not talk.

    It’s still too early to know what really happened, and this goes for the entire gulf region, not just N.O, which several areas got the most focus and hyperbole, because that’s where mostly poor Black people were congregated.

    There was one account of a young girl that was raped, and the man was killed by a group of people pushing him off a balcony at the SuperDome, but the versions I heard of that account were second, third hand.

    Another woman, who is related to Aaron Neville, talked about her rape in this week’s edition of People magazine. She was alone at the time, took shelter at a high school on the roof, woke up with a knife to her throat and she told the man to do what he wanted, but don’t kill her. She survived with her life, and also made it to safety. If you are alone and isolated, who are you going to call for help?

    Charmaine Neville’s experience

    Counterpunch article on Neville

    In first or second hand accounts received by our office here, I don’t think any of the reports were of rapes, but there were several homicides and assaults. Although most of the people who called, called to try to find missing love ones, some folks or relatives of folks who were found, also called in. One man came in late yesterday and the mother of a cousin was pushed off of a rescue boat and drowned. Despite it being intentional, there’s not much more information than that, whether it was desparation or malice. HIs daughter, a student at Xavier Unv. of Louisana did evacutate ahead of time to Houston, but missed her plane b/c the traffic was so bad, so they wound up in a flooded town in Louisana and pretty quickly there, the water’s receded which showed that the loss of life was fairly high.

    Is it such an alien concept to you all that women share equally in the responsibility to protect other human being from violence?

    Nope. In fact, my Strawman Alert detector just went beeping…

    If men commit violence against women, then they face a higher responsibility to protect women by coming down on men who engage in acts of violence, just as they would against men who commit acts of violence towards other men. It’s nice if a nice, brave, strong man can save me from the violence of others of his kind, personally, but what would accomplish more towards addressing violence towards men in the long run, is to deal with the men who commit the violence, and the patriarchal sexism and misogyny and male entitlement that causes many men to believe in even the best of times, let alone the very worst, that they can rape and beat women, with impunity.

    I would love to see women band together and protect women against violence by men all the time. I think a lot of women share that at least at times in their lives. There are times, I wouldn’t mind handing each girl at birth a cattle prod. That of course, is at my lowest moments of being treated like property or a slab of meat by strangers, about a dozen times earlier in the day. But what will make the difference in addressing male violence against women(and also against men) in many cases is for men to address their roles as perpetrators of that violence. FTMP, they can’t do that. So they hand off that job to the women in the guise of calling it equal responsibility, goes with equal rights….Nice one…doesn’t work when you pick it apart though.

    I find the complete lack of discourse in this regard to be pathetic.

    You would. Blaming men for their own behavior against women instead of blaming women probably would ruin your day.

    Alright, women, if faced with a similar set of circumstances, you can either wait around for some strong, brave guys to come to the rescue or you can do something that is arguably very unchararistic for most American women: engage in physical confrontation, at the risk of injury or death, to prevent such crimes from happening.

    You watch way too many movies. I’ve so been here, so done that, and other women have too. Women were told for YEARS the ONLY way to deal with being raped is lying back and thinking of the Queen basically, because we were told not to fight back. You will get killed, if you fight back, which could be true, but not always. To me, that advice kept women stuck, infantalized and was agenda-ridden by men. I almost think it was more about preserving an image of feminity than our souls. After all, there’s more than one type of murder. I don’t blame the women at all, in fact I feel badly that they were born into that system which handled a serious crime and victims with disrespect.

    Of course, back then, there was only one type of rape, and whether that type existed was a subject of debate. **roll eyes**

    Women have to do what they have to do, and it’s not fair to judge them, and it’s not fair to let them empower themselves through learning how to deal with situations of violence against them. And there are still classifications of proper victims, which are disgusting. Some classes and races of women who get raped are entirely disregarded.

    More recently, information and training, there are more options that women can look to to try to do what they need to do to survive in that situation, what is needed still is not making women feel guilty or complicit in the violence against them by faulting their actions whatever they were.

  76. 76
    Radfem says:

    Correction:

    (not with the blockquotes. Not sure what happened there. :0 )

    “Women have to do what they have to do, and it’s not fair to judge them, and it’s not fair to let them empower themselves through learning how to deal with situations of violence against them. ”

    I meant to say, it’s not fair to not let them, instead of let them, empower themselves.

  77. 77
    Radfem says:

    thanks, for fixing those! Sorry….I’ll get it one of these days. I should know better, b/c my blog uses the same codes, but I was pretty amazed with myself when I figured out how to do quotes! and Bold! LOL.

    Oh dear, it’s going to be another Thelma and Louise movie night… :/

    I was thinking of the strategies women were taught against rapists, then(when my mom was in college, f.e.) , when I was, and now. What I meant about “thinking of the queen” was that I read magazines about how women were just supposed to let it happen, to NOT used violence against a rapist, lest you anger him further and so forth. Girls in many instances were and still are often discouraged from kicking or hitting a man’s testicles even to protect themselves. I remember one particularly antifeminist man who considered hitting a man there sexual assault…

    Hmmm, men socialized to view women as property that they can “conquer” and women socialized to not be angry at them and to try to stop them, or protect themselves. Others are taught, and do, and still were scolded by the authorities and experts on how “you could have been killed.”

    So men are always tsking, tsking us and telling us how to handle the propensity for violence that men excercise against women. Saves them a lot of work, I guess.

    The experiences that women face, the things they are taught differ in terms of class, race, culture, generation, so it’s not the same experience for everyone. I think it’s difficult to generalize experiences and responses to them. But somehow I think some of the ways we are told to respond(especially when the one option presented, is not to respond at all) fulfill an agenda to keep women subservient to men.

    I just looked through the gallery of pictures at CNN from the convention center, which included two men with head injuries who were dead and very deplorable conditions. It also restated that the city officials had told people to go there for help, yet FEMA later claimed they knew nothing about the thousands of people there.

  78. 78
    Al says:

    Rape is a horrific crime, and in my opinion should be punishable by death. I would definitely take the law into my own hands if my loved ones, God forbid were raped. At any rate, rapes have occured since the beginning of time, think about the classic picture of a cave man dragging the cave women by the hair. Rapes being used by tribes to dominate and wipe out the opposing force by spreading there genes by means of rape. We live in a some what civilized society where law and order prevail, and puts some of our most primal urges at check. To the people in NO, this law and order did not exsist. Rapes occur in every segment of society. I do not defend those that raped, in fact if I were armed and saw a group of men committing this vial act in some alley where no one could wittness I would put a bullet into each of there heads. Hence the primal instinct of murder, if no one were looking I would Kill. See. When no one was looking they raped. I only hope and pray for the women who were assaulted.

  79. 79
    Andrew Dibert says:

    I don’t understand why in a time of crisis that people must tend to turn to hurt eachother! It sickens me to think that in stead of trying to help eachother we as a people just cause more problems, instead of trying to solve the ones we are currently facing. I live in Ohio so I only know what I hear from the news, so I really can’t say much as to judge people and no one should be. All I am saying is that whoever is causing more problems or hurting other people need to stop and focus on trying to get through this and make the best of life. Life is to short and can end for anyone at any moment, Katrina has taught us that. We need to get over the petty arguing as to whos to blame and move on. Later in time if you want to argue as who to blame, be my guest. All I know is that what happened can not be changed and arguing about what could have been done we need to focus on what can be done. So please my fellow Americans I beg anyone who hears this message to not let bitterness get in the way of moving forward and trying to save and rebuild as many peoples lives as we can. Thank you for your time!!!

    Sincerely,
    Andrew C. Dibert

  80. 80
    Kevin C says:

    I have to interject my .02 regarding the minoritization of every class in America who is not white and male. The divisive bias inherant in statements like:

    ” It’s nice if a nice, brave, strong man can save me from the violence of others of his kind,”

    …is what seperates all of us into two classes; “Us” and “Them”. Male or female, black or white, gay or straight, etc etc ad naseum. I’m sorry if your dirty uncle touched you when you were 12 and made you a Nazi feminist, but that doesn’t excuse a lifetime of expecting every male to repent for his sins by kow-towing to your preconcieved notion that they are responsible for your well being because they happen to share the same gender as most perps. Instead of feminism, (which is SOOOO hypocritical in its more extremist variants) can we instead revert to old fashioned humanism? Is it too much to attempt to overlook gender, race, sexuality, and other physical characteristics when the well-being of other HUMANS is in question? When we do call race or gender (or whatever) into question, why can we not start with our OWN homeroom and raise questions that can be answered from an insiders view? African Americans can start by questioning thier communities and families failures:

    1. economic disparity
    2. lack of solid leadership
    3. educational disparity
    4. reliance on the state goverment for welfare and aid

    Women can likewise ask themselves about:

    1. inability to intervene to help victims of rape, even near-by
    2. reliance on men, even abusive ones
    3. expectation of equality, refusal to be responsible for said equality, and in some cases out-right denial of equality when convienient.

    White men can ponder:

    1. disparate percentages of minorities being convicted and punished more harshly for similar crimes.
    2. Widespread stereotypes about women and minorities that more and more have less basis in reality.
    3. Lack of empathy for disasters involving anyone OTHER than caucasions.

    ….the minute we can start questioning ourselves and coming up with answers is the minute we can begin to do away with prequalifying adjectives such as “white, black, female, male, straight, or gay”. No more finger pointing, more SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY. No more hyphen-americanism, more HUMANISM. NO MORE EXCUSES ABOUT HOW YOU ARE POOR, WEAK, OR DOWNTRODDEN. Racism sucks, feminism sucks, mysogenistic machismo sucks…lets try being human for a while and see what happens.

  81. 81
    Radfem says:

    So often Human is really the default for white, male, straight person. And it’s raised to deflect or prevent dialogue on racism, misogyny, etc.

    But then your rants and raving about Nazi feminist, so closely mirrored the rantings of other White male card-carrying members of the White straight male pity party, that there’s no need to dissect even the least agendized of your comments. Which is too bad, because behind your bigotry, lay some interesting points to consider.

    Is it too much to attempt to overlook gender, race, sexuality, and other physical characteristics when the well-being of other HUMANS is in question?

    You can’t do this, which is clear in your comments, but you expect those of us who are “others” in your neat little equation, to do so?? Why don’t YOU try it? Racism, Classism, Sexism is based on the unwillingness of people to overlook these classifications in others and the willingness to overlook their own classifications(when it comes to addressing privilage associated with such).

  82. 82
    Kevin C says:

    Your reply is assuming that I consider females, blacks, and those not WASPM as “others” (which I assume is a half-hearted attempt on your part to paint me with the broad brush of “white, male, straight person”). No, I consider “others” to encompass extreme feminists, hate mongerers like Al and Jesse, members of NAMBLA, space aliens, and anyone who really thinks OJ/Michael J/Robert Blake are innocent. Now, I can concede the point of classism…guilty, having come from nothing and done modestly well for myself. I think most people content to remain at the bottom of the socio-economic food chain, despite not having any major impediment towards upward mobility, tend to suffer more in catastrophes such as Katrina. I do not believe that they deserve this plight any more than thier richer counterparts, however some degree of preperation and thought on thier part should be expected and lacking that…well, maybe Darwin’s Theory applies (that goes for rich/poor, black/white, etc etc). Frankly, I think the “it’s a white man’s world” excuse is really a way to placate self-loathing for being unsuccessful, unhappy, or unlucky.

    …Women have reached a place in America where they have the opportunity to do anything and everything a man can do. I hardly see the need for radical feminism when you can vote, work, drive, and do anything a man can. Poor people in America have the same basic opportunites as anyone. Millions and Millions of poor people WHO DIDN’T EVEN SPEAK THE LANGUAGE have come here and prospered. Limited resources, education, and finances are a result of poor personal choices, lack of motivation, and ( in very few circumstances) bad fortune or health. It is NOT the result of me or some secret society of white guys who pull all the socio-economic strings. Frankly, I can’t even see the sense in wearing the brand of a political action group whose usefulness died about 20 years ago when you might be doing something to better the future of ALL people. What do feminists today lobby for? Longer maternity leave? What is left? Pretty sad when even former RIOTGRRLS (like my girlfriend, who happens to be waiting for me to get home to make breakfast) don’t really have anything left to say that isn’t already being taken up by the democratic party (ie. reproductive rights). If you are going to dedicate yourself so hardily to a cause in order to promote some needed sense of self, why not find a road that isn’t already so paved? Being a feminist in America today is like saying you are a revolutionary seperatist against the return of British rule.

  83. 83
    Ann says:

    A policeman pointed out to me that New Orleans emptied their underwater jails.
    On the news, they showed about fifty prisoners in leg irons, but there were MANY MANY MANY more who just went lose. What went on at the superdome was a prison break. What happened was not what MEN DO, when they are threatened, but what ESCAPED PRISONERS DO when they are facing death for prison escape and have been imprisoned for some kind of violence already.
    If I was a man from New Orleans, or anyone from New Orleans, I would be very angry at the media that implies all stressed men from New Orleans rape and kill. The women were raped. The stories are not just hear say.

  84. 84
    Bernardo Carvalho says:

    The reports of rape were GREATLY exaggerated. And in the middle of all histerya, used by the liberals in a political maneuver against Dubya. Ridiculous.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/katrina/story/0,16441,1563532,00.html

  85. 85
    ginmar says:

    Oh, give me a fuckin’ break, Bernardo. The fucking cons were using rumors of rape to cast aspersions on the black people of NOLA and you think it’s a liberal conspiracy? Your tactics come straight from the KKK playbook of the 30s.

    What’s rediculous are conservative trolls.

  86. 86
    Bella says:

    Hi Samantha,
    I am wondering if you can let me know where you read the story of Western women being attacked by Asian men as their ship was going down. I am writing a paper on rape and found the story fascinating (and sad) months ago when I read it.
    Can you post it for me?
    Thanks,
    Bella

  87. 87
    Glaivester says:

    It may be that rapes were initially exaggerrated, but now it look like they may be being underreported; either because New Orleans wants to look better, or because they want to escape the racial-political implications if there was a lot of rape in New Orleans.

    Steve Sailer mentions this on his blog (I will put up a permanlink when it becomes available).

  88. 88
    survivor says:

    Hi there,

    I am a Katrina refugee myself. I have relocated to another state since then. I can tell you that I have heard numerous stories from people who were still in New Orleans as medical staff – who witnessed sexual assaults themselves. It does make me a little upset to hear people saying it never happened. It did. I’m surprised at the level of carnage but denying it doesn’t solve the problem.

    here is a quote that helps explain that:
    “Secondary wounding occurs because people who have never been hurt sometimes have difficulty understanding and being patient with people who have been hurt. It also occurs because people who have never confronted human tragedy are sometimes unable to comprehend the lives of those in occupations that involve dealing with human suffering or mass casualties on a daily basis.

    Some people simply are not strong enough to accept the negatives in life. When such individuals confront a trauma survivor, they may reject or disparage the survivor because that individual represents the parts of life they have chosen to deny.

    Trauma survivors may also be rejected or disparaged by other survivors-those who have chosen to deny or repress their own trauma(s) and have not yet dealt with their losses and anger. When trauma survivors who are not dealing with their traumatic pasts see someone who is obviously suffering emotionally or physically, they may need to block out that person in order to leave their own denial system intact.” Three Levels of Victimization- http://omi.unm.edu/Victimization.html

    “Avoidance behaviors (a general tendency to avoid any thoughts, feelings, or cues which could bring up the catastrophic and most traumatizing elements of the rape)” are a part of rape trauma syndrome itself. http://www.ncvc.org/ncvc/main.aspx?dbName=DocumentViewer&DocumentID=32366

    I can also tell you that noble tho crisis center staff are- New Orleans had ONE rape crisis center and it was the offshoot of a ywca that also functioned as a dozen other things. Their website (no offense- i’m sure they were doing as much as they were staffed to do) said “coming soon” for over two years. For one of the most dangerous cities in the world that is not really enough coverage. I think it’s amazing that they were doing what they could – it’s hard. People don’t WANT to hear about it. That makes people not want to tell.

    I was assaulted in Louisiana outside of New Orleans. It changed my life for the worse forever. I didn’t want to tell anyone either. I don’t blame them for not reporting. Secondary victimization and secondary wounding even by police and medical staff is a huge problem.

    Secondary victimization is the re-traumatization of the sexual assault, abuse or rape victim. It is an indirect result of assault which occurs through the responses of individuals and institutions to the victim. The types of secondary victimization include victim blaming, inappropriate behavior or language by medical personel and by other organizations with access to the victim post assault. (Campbell et. al., 1999)

    Information about secondary victimization

    Secondary Victimization from the Criminal Justice System and Society

    http://www.victimology.nl/onlpub/hb/node9.html

    Secondary victimization of rape victims: insights from mental health professionals who treat survivors of violence

    Secondary Victimization

    http://www.gmu.edu/facstaff/sexual/Helping_SV.htm

    I also found an article addressing violence in crisis situations:

    Gender-based violence in disaster

    http://w3.whosea.org/EN/Section13/Section390_8280.htm

    Here is a link to other articles on this:

    Hurricane Katrina press releases from the National Center for domestic violence

    http://www.ncdsv.org/publications_hurricankatrina.html

    take care, survivor

  89. 89
    survivor says:

    I also have information on male sexual assault. Rape is not a crime of sex or really gender but of power and control.

    Male rape victims – an overview

    http://www.ncvc.org/ncvc/main.aspx?dbName=

    DocumentViewer&DocumentID=32361

    Society is becoming increasingly aware of male rape. However, experts believe that current male rape statistics vastly under-represent the actual number of males age 12 and over who are raped each year. Rape crisis counselors estimate that while only one in 50 raped women report the crime to the police, the rates of under-reporting among men are even higher (Brochman, 1991).

  90. 90
    Ampersand says:

    Survivor, thanks for the link. However, I have to disagree with this:

    Rape is not a crime of sex or really gender but of power and control.

    Although it’s true that the victims of rape are not exclusively male or female, I think it’s still true that rape is a “crime of gender,” in the sense that the overwhelming majority of rapists are male.

  91. 91
    survivor says:

    True Ampersand- The numbers do show that more victims are female and I’m sure more perps are male than female. I just wanted to show consideration for all groups of survivors (like lgbtq, minorities and the disabled).

    There are some articles on gender based bias/hate crimes in the NJCRS database. http://www.ncjrs.gov/abstractdb/search.asp

    “In addition to the other categories of hate crime, gender is increasingly being included as a status category in State and Federal hate crime laws. The current study explored how prosecutors view gender as a status category in hate crime law, specifically in terms of their knowledge of gender-bias violence and their willingness to charge violence against women as a hate crime… The authors recommend adopting an advocacy approach that supports the notion of violence against women as an issue of power and control while at the same time educates and encourages prosecutors and the public to adopt a hate crime perspective on violence against women. ” (McPhail & DiNitto 2005) Violence Against Women: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal

    Engendering Hate Crime Policy: Gender, the “Dilemma of Difference,” and the Creation of Legal Subjects by Valerie Jenness “discusses what feminist legal scholars refer to as “the dilemma of difference” that is inherent in hate-crime policy in the United States…

    The author addresses how the dilemma of difference has been managed in the formulation of hate-crime policy in the United States, as it simultaneously addresses the ways in which gender is both distinct from and similar to other status provisions recognized in hate-crime law, i.e., race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc.” (Jenness 2003) Journal of Hate Studies

    I’m interested in definitions of bias and or hate crimes- especially against people with disabilities.

    take care, survivor

  92. 92
    survivor says:

    40 Rapes Reported In Hurricane Katrina, Rita Aftermath

    http://www.wdsu.com/news/5627087/detail.html

    NEW ORLEANS — Despite widespread efforts to downplay reports of an outbreak of heinous crimes in the chaos after the storm, there’s new information about what really happened.

    WDSU Newschannel 6 Reporter Alec Gifford has uncovered 40 reported cases of rape.

    One high-profile victim has gone public to urge others to come forward

    “Hi. My name is Charmaine Neville. I was in New Orleans at a school after Hurricane Katrina and I was raped. I know many more women were raped and are afraid to talk about it,” Neville said in a public service announcement.

  93. 93
    survivor says:

    More Stories Emerge of Rapes in Post-Katrina Chaos

    by John Burnett

    ” Law-enforcement authorities dismissed early reports of widespread rapes in New Orleans during the lawless days following Hurricane Katrina. But a growing body of evidence suggests there were more storm-related sexual assaults than previously known…..

    A Victim’s Story

    One of the victims is Ms. Lewis, a 46-year-old home health-care worker from New Orleans East, who asked that her first name not be used. She sits on the edge of a bed in a dingy, dimly lit room in a motel in Baton Rouge.

    Lewis says she was raped on Monday, Aug. 29, the day of the storm. The account of her rape was verified by a trained forensic nurse at Earl K. Long Hospital in Baton Rouge, where Lewis sought treatment.

    Lewis and others had taken refuge in the Redemption Elderly Apartments, in the Irish Channel section of New Orleans. On that first night after the storm, the city had lost power, and she was sleeping in a dark hallway, trying to catch a breeze. It was there, she says, that an unknown man with a handgun sexually assaulted her. She insists other women were raped in the same apartment building over the next four nights, but her claim could not be checked out.

    “Some bad things happened, you know. There was nobody there to protect you,” Lewis says.

    Recalling her attack, she sobs, “They just left us to die. Nobody cared.”…

    Days of Lawlessness

    Anastasia is a petite, 25-year-old hairdresser who asked that her last name be omitted. She contacted the New Orleans police in October and filed a report that she was beaten with a bat and raped on Sept. 6th in broad daylight next to a flooded McDonald’s at Gentilly Boulevard and Elysian Fields, near her father’s house.

    Anastasia says thugs were still wandering the streets of her neighborhood more than a week after the flood. “I didn’t see any police officers — I could have gotten away with murder,” she says. “It was that terrible. So I can assume what the criminals were thinking, and that’s exactly what happened.”

    Urging Victims to Come Forward

    In an effort to get victims to come forward, the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault asked Charmaine Neville, a popular New Orleans jazz singer, to tape a public service announcement for national airplay. The spot urges victims to report their assault by calling 1-800-656-HOPE.

    Neville says she was sexually assaulted early the morning of Aug. 31st, while she was sleeping on the roof of Drew Elementary School in the Bywater Neighborhood, where she and others had taken refuge. She made a report to a local sheriff’s office; it has not yet passed the report on to the New Orleans police.

    Meanwhile, Lewis, the 46-year-old home health-care worker, has still not reported her assault to the police, and she has no plans to. Believing the authorities abandoned her after the storm, she wonders why they would care about her now.”

  94. 94
    survivor says:

    please fwd this link to any katrina survivors you know of:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rskatrina/

    This is a community space for sexual assault survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Please feel free to tell your story, ask for advice or just vent your feelings.

  95. 95
    survivor says:

    The Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault is looking for survivors of Hurricane Katrina who were sexually assaulted in the aftermath. If you experienced sexual assault or witnessed someone being sexually assaulted, please call Misty at 1-888-995-7273 or email resource@lafasa.org to be anonymously and confidentially counted. You deserve to be heard.

  96. 96
    spammer says:

    [Deleted by Amp]

  97. 97
    Jimmy Ho says:

    Posting Kah-zee-noh spasm on this particular thread is at least tasteless.