Posts tagged Rape

Men in Office: Tony Abbott

Tony Abbott Makes Rape Joke, MSM frames it as “sexist gaffe”. Guest Post by Napalmnacey. Hoyden About Town (2010-08-08):

So, Tony Abbott is *totally* going after the women’s vote! Check this out! The Australian: Tony trips at paid parental leave launch with ‘no’ gaffe. On a day that the Coalition was devoting to winning the women’s vote, Mr Abbott questioned whether when Julia Gillard says no, she really means...

The State is male in the political sense. So are States-men.

Men in Uniform #2

(Via Austro-Athenian Empire 2009-03-21.)

The office at the Adiv fabric-printing shop in south Tel Aviv handles a constant stream of customers, many of them soldiers in uniform, who come to order custom clothing featuring their unit’s insignia, usually accompanied by a slogan and drawing of their choosing. Elsewhere on the premises, the sketches are turned into plates used for imprinting the ordered items, mainly T-shirts and baseball caps, but also hoodies, fleece jackets and pants. A young Arab man from Jaffa supervises the workers who imprint the words and pictures, and afterward hands over the finished product.

Dead babies, mothers weeping on their children’s graves, a gun aimed at a child and bombed-out mosques — these are a few examples of the images Israel Defense Forces soldiers design these days to print on shirts they order to mark the end of training, or of field duty. The slogans accompanying the drawings are not exactly anemic either: A T-shirt for infantry snipers bears the inscription Better use Durex, next to a picture of a dead Palestinian baby, with his weeping mother and a teddy bear beside him. A sharpshooter’s T-shirt from the Givati Brigade’s Shaked battalion shows a pregnant Palestinian woman with a bull’s-eye superimposed on her belly, with the slogan, in English, 1 shot, 2 kills. A graduation shirt for those who have completed another snipers course depicts a Palestinian baby, who grows into a combative boy and then an armed adult, with the inscription, No matter how it begins, we’ll put an end to it.

. . . A few of the images underscore actions whose existence the army officially denies - such as confirming the kill (shooting a bullet into an enemy victim’s head from close range, to ensure he is dead), or harming religious sites, or female or child non-combatants. In many cases, the content is submitted for approval to one of the unit’s commanders. The latter, however, do not always have control over what gets printed, because the artwork is a private initiative of soldiers that they never hear about. Drawings or slogans previously banned in certain units have been approved for distribution elsewhere. For example, shirts declaring, We won’t chill ’til we confirm the kill were banned in the past (the IDF claims that the practice doesn’t exist), yet the Haruv battalion printed some last year.

The slogan Let every Arab mother know that her son’s fate is in my hands! had previously been banned for use on another infantry unit’s shirt. A Givati soldier said this week, however, that at the end of last year, his platoon printed up dozens of shirts, fleece jackets and pants bearing this slogan.

It has a drawing depicting a soldier as the Angel of Death, next to a gun and an Arab town, he explains. The text was very powerful. The funniest part was that when our soldier came to get the shirts, the man who printed them was an Arab, and the soldier felt so bad that he told the girl at the counter to bring them to him.

— Uri Blau, Ha’aretz (2009-03-20): Dead Palestinian babies and bombed mosques - IDF fashion 2009

One of the most consistent themes running through the designs for these t-shirts is the use of sexualized violence — in particular, cartoons of rape and verbal threats of rape against women and men identified with the enemy — as the punchline and the basis for bonding among the men in uniform.

There are also plenty of shirts with blatant sexual messages [sic —R.G.]. For example, the Lavi battalion produced a shirt featuring a drawing of a soldier next to a young woman with bruises, and the slogan, Bet you got raped!

. . . After Operation Cast Lead [the Israeli government’s invasion of Gaza from December 2008 – January 2009], soldiers from that battalion printed a T-shirt depicting a vulture sexually penetrating Hamas’ prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, accompanied by a particularly graphic slogan. S., a soldier in the platoon that ordered the shirt, said the idea came from a similar shirt, printed after the Second Lebanon War, that featured Hassan Nasrallah instead of Haniyeh. . . .

[Ha’aretz:] What’s the problem with this shirt?

S.: It bothers some people to see these things, from a religious standpoint …

. . .

[IDF veteran Yossi] Kaufman has also been exposed to T-shirts of the sort described here. I know there are shirts like these, he says. I’ve heard and also seen a little. These are not shirts that soldiers can wear in civilian life, because they would get stoned, nor at a battalion get-together, because the battalion commander would be pissed off. They wear them on very rare occasions. There’s all sorts of black humor stuff, mainly from snipers . . . . There’s a Golani or Givati shirt of a soldier raping a girl, and underneath it says, No virgins, no terror attacks. I laughed, but it was pretty awful. When I was asked once to draw things like that, I said it wasn’t appropriate.

. . .

Sociologist Dr. Orna Sasson-Levy, of Bar-Ilan University, author of Identities in Uniform: Masculinities and Femininities in the Israeli Military, said that the phenomenon is part of a radicalization process the entire country is undergoing, and the soldiers are at its forefront. I think that ever since the second intifada there has been a continual shift to the right. The pullout from Gaza and its outcome — the calm that never arrived — led to a further shift rightward.

This tendency is most strikingly evident among soldiers who encounter various situations in the territories on a daily basis. There is less meticulousness than in the past, and increasing callousness. There is a perception that the Palestinian is not a person, a human being entitled to basic rights, and therefore anything may be done to him. [sic —R.G.]

Could the printing of clothing be viewed also as a means of venting aggression?

Sasson-Levy: No. I think it strengthens and stimulates aggression and legitimizes it. What disturbs me is that a shirt is something that has permanence. The soldiers later wear it in civilian life; their girlfriends wear it afterward. It is not a statement, but rather something physical that remains, that is out there in the world. Beyond that, I think the link made between sexist views and nationalist views, as in the Screw Haniyeh shirt, is interesting. National chauvinism and gender chauvinism combine and strengthen one another. It establishes a masculinity shaped by violent aggression toward women and Arabs; a masculinity that considers it legitimate to speak in a crude and violent manner toward women and Arabs.

Col. (res.) Ron Levy began his military service in the Sayeret Matkal elite commando force before the Six-Day War. He was the IDF’s chief psychologist, and headed the army’s mental health department in the 1980s.

Levy: I’m familiar with things of this sort going back 40, 50 years, and each time they take a different form. Psychologically speaking, this is one of the ways in which soldiers project their anger, frustration and violence. It is a certain expression of things, which I call below the belt. [sic —R.G.]

— Uri Blau, Ha’aretz (2009-03-20): Dead Palestinian babies and bombed mosques - IDF fashion 2009

See also:

Rapists in uniform

Trigger warning. The following videos of two local news stories may be triggering for experiences of sexual assault.

(Via J.H. Huebert @ LewRockwell.com Blog 2008-02-03 and Balloon Juice 2008-02-03.)

Hope Steffey, 47, of Salem, Ohio, is suing for compensation from a gang of men and women who raped her.

In October 2006, in Salem, Ohio, Steffey, 47, was assaulted by one of her cousins in a domestic dispute and knocked unconscious. The family called 911 for help; a sheriff’s deputy named Officer Richard T. Gurlea came out to the house to do some serving and protecting. He asked Hope Steffey for ID, and she mistakenly gave him the wrong driver’s license — one of her late sister’s old licenses, which she kept in her wallet as a memento after her sister died. The cop noticed that it was the wrong license, and, after he got the right one, he refused to give Steffey back her sister’s old license. When she became distraught and pleaded with him to give back the license, Officer Richard T. Gurlea, sanctimoniously instructed her to calm down, ran a criminal check on her real license (which came back completely clean), demanded to search her car, still refused to give her back her keepsake, and finally, public servant that he is, snapped back Shut up about your dead sister. Now treating Steffey, the victim of a violent crime who had called for his help and protection, as if she were herself a criminal, he escalated the confrontation, and, when Hope Steffey dared to point at the pocket where he was holding her keepsake and to shout at him about how important it was to her, Officer Richard T. Gurlea courageously defended himself by grabbing the assault victim he had been dispatched to help, slamming her face-down on the hood of his car, and shouting are you going to stop? Then he threw her down, pinned her to the ground, and handcuffed her. Then he arrested her for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, and took her to the Stark County jail. This is what happened after she was locked up in the jail:

While they were booking her, one of the guards asked her Have you thought about harming yourself? The purpose of this question is in order to give the jailers an opportunity to label you as crazy for legal purposes, which, in their minds, is reason enough to inflict on you absolutely any kind of cruelty, violence, or invasion of your privacy, and then, to crown all, to turn around and call your torture and humiliation a precaution taken For Your Own Safety. Bewildered and brutalized, Hope Steffey asked for clarification: Now or ever? In this case, apparently the jailers figured that that was close enough for government work, so what they did was get a gang of male and female guards to surround Hope Steffey and drag her to a cell, then have least two male officers pin her down and hold her arms (she was still handcuffed throughout the ordeal) while female officers stripped her naked and searched her over her screams of protest. After this sadistic sexual assault, they left her locked in her cell, totally naked, without even a blanket to cover herself. She eventually wrapped herself in toilet paper from her cell’s commode, in a desperate effort to keep herself warm and regain a little bit of privacy.

Hope Steffey has filed suit in federal court against the Gurlea, sheriff Tim Swanson, and fifteen unnamed jail guards. Here’s how the sheriff’s office has responded:

In a written response to the lawsuit, Swanson and his deputies deny wrongdoing and maintain the arresting deputy, Richard T. Gurlea Jr., and others at the jail are allowed to use reasonable force to make an arrest and protect prisoners in their custody.

The department does not deny that Steffey was stripped of her clothes and left naked in a cell for six hours.

The defense has asked a judge to dismiss the claims.

— Canton Repository (2008-02-02): Sheriff responds to strip-search video

Tim Swanson’s idea of reasonable force and protecting prisoners may be different from yours. If so, you can share your thoughts with him at his office phone number, (330) 430-3800.

There’s a lot more that I might say about this, if I were able to keep on typing. But honestly I can’t. I first learned about this case yesterday, but to write this post I watched the videos over again and I now am shaking so badly with anger and despair that I just can’t keep banging on with the usual stuff. If you want analysis, it’d be about what I said in Rapists on patrol, Law and Orders #6: Pigs at the trough, and Corrections officers; if you imagine this is Yet Another Isolated Incident, then compare it with the more or less identical treatment of Beryl Wilson, Michael Moran, and Ricardo Montalvo by the Kalamazoo City Police, or, Christ, just google around for a few minutes until you’re satisfied. But I’m not about to dignify the fucking pigs in Stark County, or their hordes of freelance sado-fascist police enablers — fouling any Internet or media outlet they can find with putrefying excuses like She gave him a fake ID! She went psycho! They did what they had to to carry out their policies! She’s just poisoning the well so she can shake them down in court! etc. — by pretending as if there were any need, or any room, for debating this. It’s obvious, and it’s caught on tape, and there is no possible excuse. Those who are willing to stand up, in the name of Law and Order and Official Procedures, for officially-sanctioned gang rape, have already done much more to reveal the absolute depravity of their position than anything I could ever say.

Further reading:

Update 2008-02-06: I made some minor revisions to one sentence for grammar and clarity.

Men in Uniform

Somewhere in Alabama, an all-male gang of elite cops from New Jersey spent some down-time from protecting and serving by getting off on sexy drunken displays of power and violence.

HOBOKEN, N.J. — The Hoboken Police Department’s SWAT team has been disbanded, just days after officials learned of racy photos showing the unit’s commander and other officers cavorting with waitresses from a Hooters restaurant in Alabama.

Judging from the selection from the photo slide show, it seems that these photos involve more than just a trip to Hooters, and include some that are more explicit than just racy.

On the same day Hoboken’s new public safety director was sworn in, he gave the city’s police chief orders to disband the SWAT team and to order the lieutenant at the center of the controversy to desk duty.

After seeing the photos of Lt. Angelo Andriani and other members of the Hoboken police SWAT, newly appointed Public Safety Director Bill Bergin said he had to act decisively.

Bergin listed his reasons for disbanding the SWAT team in a phone interview with Newschannel 4’s Pei-Sze Cheng: The brazenness of the whole situation, because everything in the photographs, which I was shocked at, had Hoboken all over it, from the uniforms, to the police car, the bus that was involved.

Bergin ordered the police chief to disband the SWAT team and to have Andriani return from his extended vacation and assign him to desk duty immediately.

The photos were taken last year on a return trip from Louisiana, where the Hoboken officers helped with the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

They show the waitresses holding shotguns and other weapons belonging to officers under Andriani’s command.

— WNBC (2007-11-16): N.J. SWAT Team Disbanded After Racy Hooters Photos Emerge

Elsewhere in New Jersey, another man in uniform, Anthony Senatore, used his power as a professional narc to extort sexual favors from a woman he’d pressured into becoming a drug informant. Then, after she tried to put a stop to it, he stalked her, forced his way into her house, and raped her. After his victim filed a lawsuit, Senatore was reassigned to a desk job. Although the boss cops and everybody else do concede that Senatore repeatedly exploited his position to coerce sex from the woman, the state A.G. has decided to sweep it under the rug and declined to prosecute on the rape charge. This, apparently, is what passes for having found no wrongdoing on the officer’s part in the eyes of the (male) mayor and the (male) police chief.

JACKSON — The state Attorney General has decided not to prosecute a police detective who is accused, in a civil lawsuit, of raping a drug informant in 2005 and impregnating her with a son who was born eight months later, township officials confirmed Wednesday. Advertisement

The lawsuit filed last year by the informant, identified only as Jane Doe, still is pending in federal court. However, Mayor Mark A. Seda said Wednesday that the attorney general’s decision exonerates Officer Anthony Senatore.

Apparently they found no wrongdoing on the officer’s part, Seda said, adding that Senatore remains on the Jackson force but is no longer a detective.

According to the lawsuit, Senatore enlisted Jane Doe in April 2005 as a drug informant, in exchange for money and prosecutorial considerations for her children and estranged husband, all of whom have been investigated by the Jackson police.

But soon after Jane Doe became an informant, the detective’s behavior changed, according to the suit.

By means of intimidation, threat, harassment, coercion and/or promises of judicial and prosecutorial consideration for plaintiff and her family, Senatore repeatedly propositioned and solicited plaintiff for sexual relations from late April through July 2005, the suit alleges.

During that time, he had sex with her in her home, in police vehicles and in wooded locations in and around Jackson, according to the suit.

When Jane Doe tried to break off the relationship, Senatore’s deviant, predatory behavior intensified, culminating in a savagely brutal rape in her home on July 25, 2005, according to the suit. As a result of that rape, the plaintiff became pregnant and gave birth to a son March 26, 2006, according to the suit.

The suit accuses the township, the police department and then-Public Safety Director Samuel DiPasquale of permitting and encouraging police officers, including Senatore, to sexually harass and have sex with female informants, female defendants and other women they encountered while on duty.

In case you were curious, this is how seriously the boys in blue take their job of protecting you and me from all the weirdoes and creeps running around out there:

Shortly after the suit was filed, Senatore was removed from the detective bureau and placed on administrative duty where his only responsibilities included paperwork, the mayor said.

Senatore is now back in circulation as a patrolman, though, because the police department is short staffed, Seda said. He did not know whether the officer will be reinstated to the detective bureau.

But don’t worry. They are seriously concerned about how this predator’s pattern of bullying, sexual harassment, sexual coercion, and rape against a woman substantially under his legally-backed power — which they dignify as a relationship with an informant — will adversely affect their P.R., and maybe a court case. Senatore may be back patrolling the streets, but hey, they might consider adding a couple of clauses to their internal policies.

When an officer’s character is in question, it puts us at risk, Seda said. We didn’t want to give any criminal a loophole to get out of charges.

… With the Attorney General’s investigation complete, the town and the police department are looking into how Senatore was able to take advantage of his job and engage in a relationship with an informant [sic], Seda said.

That’s certainly something we wouldn’t want to see happen again, the mayor said. We’re looking at our policy internally to see what we can do to prevent that.

— Fraidy Reiss, Asbury Park Press (2007-11-08): Detective won’t be prosecuted; Detective won’t be prosecuted

(Stories via Lindsay Beyerstein 2007-11-17 and ACLU Blog 2007-11-17.)