Not So Fun Facts about Rape

• Rape is not solely or even mostly about sex. There can be several reasons for rape, including sexual gratification, revenge, recreation, power/control, and attempting to prove masculinity. Men don’t rape 80 year-old women because they are horny. If rape were only about sex, then only attractive young women (or men) would be raped (although women under 30 are by far the largest group of victims and that includes children). Anyone of any age, gender, or sexual orientation can, and have, been raped.

• Women can also commit rape. While most of the attention is on male sexual violence, and rightly so, because females are ninety-one percent of rape victims, some of those rapes are perpetrated by women, and women perpetrate some of the nine percent of rapes that happen to men. We can’t truly understand and hopefully end, sexual assault without understanding all aspects of the problem.

• It does not matter if a woman who is raped is a virgin or has slept with every man that moves. A woman who enjoys her sexuality is A) NOT a slut (that particular bit of male shaming of women’s sexuality is especially egregious) and B) if raped, was not raped because she enjoys her sexuality or in any way deserved it. See first comment if the reason why still eludes you.

• False accusations of rape are rare. There are actually two types, a false allegation, meaning a woman claims she was raped, but does not name a perpetrator, and a false accusation meaning the woman claims she was raped and names a perpetrator. The distinction is important because false allegations (no one is named) are more common than false accusations (a perpetrator is named), and many news reports that claim that false allegations of rape are around 40%, are not making the distinction that the majority of those never named a perpetrator, meaning no one suffered from the allegation. False accusations are no joke and can cause much harm to the accused including loss of job, expensive court proceedings, and loss of reputation, and very rarely jail time. What is troubling however, is that because a vanishingly small number of men face very real issues from false accusations, a very large number of women are automatically assumed to be lying about their sexual assault. The vast majority of rapists walk free among us. Any accusation of rape or sexual assault must be take seriously, and investigated thoroughly, to make sure that women get justice and that falsely accused men get the same.

• Worry over falsely accused men is not the only reason women are not believed. Two of the most common questions rape survivors are asked are, “Why didn’t you fight back?” and “Why can’t you remember certain things about the assault?” How our brains and therefore our bodies and minds react to trauma hold the answers. When a sexual assault is occurring the victim can literally be paralyzed. This is called tonic immobility. Several different hormones are released that inhibit thought processes, that help deal with potential pain, and to help the victim remain calm. Other hormone levels fall, leaving the victim with less energy available to fight or flee. These same hormones affect the hippocampus, which turns sensory information into memories, and the amygdala, which then processes the emotions related to the memory. So the same hormones that work to keep our bodies safe during an attack, also make it difficult to remember in great detail that same attack. In spite of the hard facts of science, the myth persists that unless a woman fights back or remembers every specific detail of her assault, she is likely a false accuser.

• Why don’t more women report rape? The last two paragraphs offer a big clue. One study indicates that 90% of survivors who report, face secondary victimization, including being told by police that they shouldn’t file a report, questioned about what they were wearing, questioned about their prior sexual history, and even if they had an orgasm during the attack, although that particularly nasty question usually only happened if the victim did not have an advocate present. The idea that a woman must have a pristine reputation, must have behaved as expected during her assault (fighting back), must remember every single detail of the assault, had to have been primly dressed, stone cold sober, have physical injuries, and most ludicrous of all, witnesses to the assault, persist and women know they aren’t likely to be believed. The U.S. media is also to blame for perpetuating the rape culture that is so entrenched in society. And people wonder why rape is the most underreported crime, with 63% of victims never reporting.

• Let’s talk a bit about consent. This really shouldn’t be that hard folks. Someone who is so drunk, that you’re positive they couldn’t make it home safely by themselves, also cannot give consent for sex. Just because someone has said yes before, that’s not a blanket yes for all sexual encounters. If someone uses coercion to force the issue, they do not have consent. Consent is an active act by both parties and it should be totally obvious that both parties are totally into it, whether that consent is verbal, or through body language.

• There are many myths surrounding rape that just won’t die including a few discussed above. One of the most common is that most rapes are perpetrated by strangers who yank unsuspecting women into dark alleys and rape them at knife point. While that kind of rape does happen, the majority are perpetrated by someone the victim knows. Another myth is that it wasn’t really rape unless the victim is physically injured. The rapist may use a weapon to control the situation, the victim may succumb to tonic immobility, they could be drunk, or they could have been drugged by the rapist. Another persistent myth is that victims who withdraw a rape allegation were never raped in the first place. There are many reasons why women decide not to pursue a rape claim including pressure from family, fear of reprisal from the perpetrator and more. Another enduring myth is that sex workers cannot be raped. This goes back to consent. If there is no consent it is rape, no matter what a person does for a living. These and other longstanding myths must be combated and counteracted at every opportunity if we are to ever get a handle on the issue of sexual assault.

• As rare as they are, there are false allegations of sexual assault and rape made. Why do women do this? This article does a deep dive into allegations, accusations, the reasons they are made and the mind-set of the accuser. It is well worth the read.

• Finally, let’s talk a bit about how credible women are seen to be when they accuse someone of rape. If you’ve been paying any attention at all, you would answer, they are rarely seen as credible and you would be right. Let’s suppose Suzy Smith came home from work and her apartment had been burglarized. Would she be afraid to call the police? Would she be afraid that they wouldn’t believe her, that they would find any number of reasons to find her report of a burglary not credible? Of course not. What about if she reported her car stolen? Her purse? What about if she called and said she had seen a child kidnapped off of the street? Or that she had seen a suspicious looking person leave a suspicious looking package somewhere? No to all of the above. Do lawyers see women as so non-credible that they never call them as witnesses in court or seat them on juries? Yet again no. So then why do women have little credibility when reporting a sexual assault? Rape culture. It is up to each and every one of us to educate ourselves on what rape culture is, and what we need to accept that we’ve been doing or believing to perpetuate it, and then making it a priority to change.


Gary Johnson is Worse than Donald Trump

I’ve seen lots of former Sander’s supporters say they would support Gary Johnson. Here’s why that is a terrible idea.

Benjamin Studebaker

Since Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton, I’ve heard a number of Sanders supporters indicate that they’re considering supporting Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s nominee. We need to nip this in the bud right now. Gary Johnson is by far the most reactionary and right wing candidate in the race, especially on economic issues. I didn’t write him a candidate evaluation because in 2012 he received less than 1% of the vote, but a recent poll says 10% of Sanders supporters are now willing to support Johnson. If you are a Johnson supporter or you know someone who is, there’s some important information about Johnson and the Libertarians that everyone needs to know.

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Bernie Sanders vs. The Powers That Be



I’ve had a couple of days to digest the primaries on June 7th. My stomach is still upset. I knew things were bad in this country. I knew wealth inequality was at levels not seen since the Gilded Age. I knew that our government had been bought and paid for by the oligarchy and I knew that it would be a long term struggle to reclaim it on behalf of the people. What I didn’t quite realize yet was how deeply, in the media, and in local, state and national government the rot had penetrated.

I’m going to talk about how the media completely ignored Bernie Sanders until it was obvious he was building a movement and how they then saturated the airwaves with he has no chance of winning despite his winning state after state. I’m going to talk about the media ignoring the massive and ongoing voter fraud that has been perpetuated in this primary. So let’s start with exit polling.

Exit polling is done extremely well. Exit polling is used by our own State Department and the UN to monitor elections for fraud in third world countries. If exit polls are off by more than two to four percent, the election is considered invalid due to fraud. That’s 2% to 4%. Got that? Take a look at this graphic and the election polling results for the democratic primary in several states:


Look at the differences in election polls and actual vote counts, and how off they are in favor of Clinton. And by the way, this is hardly the only graphic that shows this, but you do have to dig a bit because the mainstream media is ignoring this. How could they ignore this you might wonder? Well, when it became increasingly obvious that in the United States of America, one of the two major parties was running an election that would be thrown out as fraudulent by our own State Department, the mainstream media just up and declared they would not longer be using exit polling because they were “unreliable”. So what’s good enough to call into question elections in other countries is too unreliable for our stand up democracy. Huh.

But here’s the kicker. They decided to quit exit polling before California. Before the state with so many delegates up for grabs it could change the trajectory of the race, in spite of the clear voter fraud happening in previous races. Because if the exit polling was off by large margins in California more people would sit up and take notice. So we got no exit polling in California. And even though pre-election polling showed Sanders and Clinton in a statistical tie, she “won” handily. And we have no exit polling to compare with vote totals.

[Edited to add] Just found this. An exit poll of CA early primary voting (with a statistical margin of error of 3.52%) was off by 16% in favor of Hillary. That is a statistical impossibility. This same exit poll was spot on for all other races in CA on Tuesday. Combine this with the fact that in the 24 states where the exit polls were off by more than the statistical margin of error, 22 of those states exceeded that margin of error in favor of Hillary Clinton. The odds of that scenario occurring are approximately 1 in 78 billion.

Now lets talk voter suppression. From the constant barrage of Bernie will never win, Clinton is inevitable, coming from every single pundit on every single media platform including those same pundits calling a Clinton win the second polls closed, but waiting until 70, 80, 90% of the vote was in to call for Bernie even when he was winning a state by landslide margin; to adding super delegate totals to the pledged delegate total to make it look like Clinton had an insurmountable lead, even though super delegates do not vote until the convention and only if needed; to massive poll closures in important states that restricted where people could vote and causing hours long lines that many people just couldn’t wait in due to work and other commitments; to thousands and thousands of lifelong Democrats as well as newly registered Democrats getting to the polls and being told they either weren’t registered or weren’t registered as a Democrats so they could only vote provisionally, meaning their votes ended up in the dumpster; the suppression is obvious and would be called out in any truly functioning democracy.

But the  overripe cherry on this putrid primary season was the AP announcing the night before California and 5 other states voted that Clinton had clinched the nomination and was the Democratic Party nominee. Clinton did not have the pledged delegates needed when this announcement was made. The AP called the race based on phone calls they made to super delegates who confirmed their commitment to Clinton. So they outright lied to the electorate in order to suppress turnout. So now the entire media narrative is Clinton is the nominee, Bernie needs to exit gracefully and all the party bigwigs including President Obama and Elizabeth Warren have endorsed her.

There is only one major player who has not announced Hillary Clinton as the nominee and that is the DNC. In spite of claiming neutrality during the primary Debbie Wasserman-Schulz, the chairman of the DNC, has been doing everything in her power to stack the deck in favor of Clinton. Why would she not jump on that bandwagon now? Because according to the party’s own rules, unless a candidate has 2,383 pledged delegates (Clinton does not) they are not the nominee. Super delegates do not count until they vote at the convention. Their loyalties can and do switch for any number of reasons. That is why Bernie is taking this all the way to the convention. Clinton is not yet the nominee according to the DNC’s own rules. Bernie supporters, by the way, aren’t sitting around wishing for “unicorns and rainbows” in the form of the super delegates moving over to him en masse. They are establishment and will stay with Clinton, that much has been made clear. But Bernie’s movement deserves time and attention at the convention and we are grateful he’s still willing to fight for us.

But for me, the most disheartening thing about this whole business is how many Americans are willing to ignore and overlook the subjugation of our democracy because it benefits their candidate. These are the same people who act all appalled at the Republican’s voter suppression tactics through highly restrictive Voter ID laws that impact the poor, elderly, minorities and young people disproportionately and who just happen to vote Democrat by wide margins. But the very real, verifiable and egregious voter fraud and suppression happening in their own primary and it’s crickets. Do they not understand that if this kind of corruption is allowed to stand, it could very well be their candidate who is screwed next time around? Do they not understand that they are no better than the Republicans they vilify? Do they not understand? Or do they only care about democracy when it works in their favor?

Bernie Sander’s movement will continue well beyond this election in spite of the powers that be working diligently to make sure he doesn’t have a platform to return this country to one that works for all Americans. In point of fact, their fraud has made sure of that.



Clinton Supporters are Scaremongering about Donald Trump to Silence the Concerns of the Young and the Poor

Benjamin Studebaker

I started seeing it a few weeks ago, when Daily Kos told its contributors that after March 15th, they were no longer allowed to robustly criticize Hillary Clinton from the left. As Donald Trump continues to win, win, and win some more, it has only intensified. First they asked Bernie Sanders supporters to unite behind Clinton. Now they’re accusing Sanders supporters of being privileged if they resist. And from there, it’s just a small step to calling Sanders’ people enablers of racism, sexism, or even fascism. If you haven’t seen these arguments yet, you will soon. The arguments being peddled are very poorly constructed. They rely on a mix of fear and bias toward the near.

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I Love People Who Love Bernie Sanders

Love this!


bernie-sanders-portlandorI love people who love Bernie Sanders.

They are intelligent.

They see through bullshit.

They seek truth.

They strive to be fair.

Each one of them is a daily reminder to me that the world is okay.

Before this happened, I wasn’t so sure some days.

From the time I was a kid I knew that the fix was in and I just wanted to Rage Against the Machine…

But no one would rage with me.

Everyone was watching football.

I was the only one protesting.

Why couldn’t I just relax and watch American Idol?

Why was I angry about what was happening to others?

The world was going to hell and no one noticed…or cared.

When I found out Bernie was running I knew it would change my life.

I ran to my girlfriend’s house and said

“You know the Senator from Vermont that I like? He’s running for…

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Being A Girl: A Brief Personal History of Violence

Most women I know, including me, have gone through at least some of these things, some even worse things. This blogger has a lot of guts for speaking out.

The Belle Jar


I am six. My babysitter’s son, who is five but a whole head taller than me, likes to show me his penis. He does it when his mother isn’t looking. One time when I tell him not to, he holds me down and puts penis on my arm. I bite his shoulder, hard. He starts crying, pulls up his pants and runs upstairs to tell his mother that I bit him. I’m too embarrassed to tell anyone about the penis part, so they all just think I bit him for no reason.

I get in trouble first at the babysitter’s house, then later at home.

The next time the babysitter’s son tries to show me his penis, I don’t fight back because I don’t want to get in trouble.

One day I tell the babysitter what her son does, she tells me that he’s just a little boy, he doesn’t know…

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Love on the 4th


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So, I haven’t posted a lot lately. Partly because I’ve been busy and partly because pretty much everything I wanted to post was a negative reaction to negative incidents going on in this country and I just didn’t want to go there constantly with this blog. Sometimes is fine, all the time, not so much. I’ve been having a hard time being optimistic and did not want to go all curmudgeon, all the time. Then came the weekend of the 4th of July. I took a couple of extra days off from work and spent the long holiday weekend with my family. On the day of the 4th we went to a place for lunch here in Dallas, off of lower Greenville, called the Truckyard. It is an outdoor seating area with a bar on one side and several food trucks to choose from on the other. We had lunch and a couple of drinks sitting outside in the shade enjoying a warm but beautiful day. Next we made our way to Northpark Mall to watch dinosaurs snack on unlucky humans in Jurassic World. It’s amazing how a couple of mojitos make that more funny than scary, lol. It was the perfect way to beat the heat of a Texas afternoon in July. After the movie we jumped on DART and went down to Fair Park to watch the fireworks in the Cotton Bowl. We got there well before dark and had a chance to sit and do a bit of people watching. It was fun and as the crowd got larger as it started getting dark the “wave” made it’s way around the stadium a few times. The fireworks were good although they played some really cheesy music with them. Someone seriously needs to work on that. One of the issues with riding DART to an event like that is that while it may be a bit crowded going, it’s not too bad because people arrive at varying times, but everyone leaves at the same time. So there was a huge crowd waiting for the DART trains. And here finally, I come to the point of this post. The first is that it was a very mixed crowd of people. There were lots of white people, lots of black people and lots of hispanic people. All enjoying a community event together with no issues whatsoever. Brings a bit of perspective. Because even though there is institutional and systemic racism rampant in this country, when it comes right down to it, most people are happy to live and let live and that is encouraging for the prospect of changing the course of things in this country. But this is what really struck me. I was standing a bit behind the others in my group and was looking around people watching again while waiting for the train. And I’m not exaggerating when I say there were hundreds of people waiting. Off to my left were two old gentlemen. I’d say in their late seventies or early eighties, both white haired and clearly elderly. They were both wearing the ubiquitous old man summer outfit of short-sleeved button down shirts, with knee-length shorts and white socks with sneakers. And they were holding hands. They were clearly solicitous of each other in the crowd of people, hanging on tight, making sure the other was ok. I focused on their large, gnarled hands intertwined and it brought me to tears. Not because they were holding hands, but because they COULD hold hands. These were two men who not only felt it was safe to do so, but were completely ignored doing so as if it were the most natural thing in the world. This is not something that has been so for very long. I don’t know if it was the SCOTUS same-sex marriage decision that made them feel safe or if they had felt so before that, but I know that while I have seen some young gay and lesbian couples showing affection in public I had never seen two older men doing so. It was unsafe to do so for so very long. Men holding hands in public not so long ago would have been at the very least verbally attacked and more likely physically attacked. And I stood there in that crowd, waiting for the train, watching those old guys just be a couple and do so without harassment or disgust or whispering and pointing or any other negative reaction and I was proud of my country. Proud that it is finally realizing that love, no matter it’s form is a good thing and everyone deserves it and deserves respect and dignity no matter who they love.

#LoveWins #MarriageEquality


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Congratulations to all LGBT folks in here in Texas and across the United States on this historic day! I’ve had tears in my eyes all day watching elderly same sex couples who’ve spent their lives together finally being married in the eyes of the law. And seeing young same sex couples take that leap of faith with their partner that they will be together for life. Thank you to them all for sharing their joy with us. There is still much to do, for example, in many states you can still be fired from your job for being gay. But this was a HUGE step in the right direction! Below are the amazing words of Justice Anthony Kennedy in the 5-4 decision:

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”