Failed by the justice system – turn to YouTube?
Jess McCabe // 15 May 2008
This is worrying, but not surprising. Think Girl calls attention to a video posted on YouTube – and picked up by CNN – of a sobbing 16-year-old Florida girl saying she has been drugged and raped, and the prosecutor’s office has decided not to pursue the case. She is crying out for help.
According to CNN, the situation in Florida sounds similar to the UK:
Fewer than 5 percent of reported cases in Florida make it to a prosecutor’s office, Dritt said. Whether because of lack of forensic evidence or because many are he said/she said accounts, rape cases can be very difficult to try.
“What you hear from every rape crisis center from Pensacola to Key West is that there are hardly ever any prosecutions,” she said. “Most sexual violence is acquaintance rape, and unfortunately, a lot of juries still think that if a victim had a relationship with their attacker, then they cannot be raped by that person.”
CNN says that young women are increasingly telling their stories online, whether it be on YouTube, or their blogs, or on Facebook and MySpace. The system fails, and when not-so-long-ago there was little other outlet, now that’s changed.
I’m really split here – I can’t help but think that it is unethical for CNN to post a link to this YouTube video, in the same story where they quote various experts caution about the risks of telling these stories online. It feels a bit exploitative, to me – they could have run the story without linking the video, and still got the point across. And linking to the video is also linking to all the vile, disgusting comments underneath (I do not recommend you go and read them).
If they really wanted to distribute the video, in order to help people understand and empathise, not just exploit her suffering for ratings, then they should at least have stripped it out of YouTube and put it on their own site, so they were not directing their readers to those comments. *shudder*
Charcoal Ink points out a horribly cavalier comment made by a woman foreign correspondent about the risk of being raped on the job.
INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence has a new website, Feministe points out. It’s stuffed full of information and tools for getting organised, including this kit on stopping law enforcement violence against women of colour and trans people of colour.
‘And Tango Makes Three – a kids book about a penguin family with two dads – is one of the most challenged books in US schools and libraries. Ms. Anthrope at AfterEllen.com comes up with some kid’s books that really deserve to be challenged.
Reading While Black ponders the lack of critical feminist attention being paid to romance novels.
Uncool posts about Sharon Roberts, who called up to make an appointment at her local GUM clinic (where you go for STI tests, for non-UK readers). So, the receptionist forgot to put the phone down, and she heard them saying shit like this (apparently about her):
Oh yeah, but come on, who else is going to have her, bless her. She smells, she had black teeth. She’s a typical either druggie or alkie because she’s dead skinny.
An update from Southall Black Sisters – they have managed to get an injunction to stop the funding cut, until the High Court hears their case that Ealing Council has failed its duties under the Race Relations Act. Full story at Women’s Grid.
Q-sputnik deconstructs the idea that white middle class women are a monolithic group.
Racialicious posts a guest contribution about way that non-Ashkenazi and multiethnic Jews were sidelined at a Yiddish conference.