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‘X-Men’ director Bryan Singer accused of raping teen boy in 1999; case mentions sex offender Marc Collins-Rector of DEN


'X-Men' director Bryan Singer. Photo: Reuters


A 2007 mugshot of sex offender Marc Collins-Rector, former chairman of DEN. He is mentioned in the 2014 lawsuit against Singer.

Bryan Singer, the director of the forthcoming film “X-Men: Days of Future Past” is accused in a lawsuit filed today in Hawaii federal court of drugging and raping a teenage boy in 1999. The case is a civil case, not a criminal case, and Singer's attorney says the charges are "without merit." AP reports that the lawsuit was filed in Hawaii "because of a state law that temporarily suspends the statute of limitations in sex abuse cases."

Also mentioned in the lawsuit is Marc Collins-Rector, a sexual predator and founder and chairman of Digital Entertainment Network (aka DEN or <EN), an early internet video startup that made headlines for high capitalization and sex parties involving founders and teen boys. Collins-Rector is a registered sex offender who fled to Spain, and was arrested there in 2002. In 2004, Collins-Rector pled guilty to charges he lured minors across state lines for sexual acts. The allegations of sexual abuse involving Collins-Rector and other DEN executives shocked the web startup world in 1999, and led to the collapse of DEN's IPO.

Variety reports on the charges against Brian Singer filed today:

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How to not get raped (video)

Trigger warning.

A satirical film in which a woman tries to follow all of the completely serious tips offered to women by the likes of Cosmopolitan, WikiHow and University of Colorado on how to avoid being raped. One of them is "fight like a psychotic cat." Another, "don't give a guy blue balls."

Directed by Cat Del Buono. Video Link.

(HT: Syd Garon)

DoJ report on Montana justice: Don't get raped in Missoula, even if you're only five years old

[Trigger warning]

A letter from the Department of Justice to the Missoula County Attorney's Office in Montana concludes that the state's police and prosecutors ignore and downplay rape complaints, intimidate and blame rape victims, and, most damning, that prosecutors decline to bring cases against accused rapists even when there is an abundance of evidence against them -- including confessions.

Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg says they're lying. The DoJ says that Van Valkenburg's stalled and ignored their investigation, and failed to reply to more than half a dozen requests for meetings and details. The DoJ reports says that one of the rape victims they investigated was only five years old, and the adolescent boy who assaulted her was sentenced to two years of community service; the prosecutor allegedly told the victim that "boys will be boys."

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NV court marshal sexually assaults woman, then arrests her for complaining while judge looks on

In this video, Nevada Court Marshal Ron Fox is shown arresting a woman who attended a routine family court proceeding, who claimed that he had sexually assaulted her on the way out of the courtroom, taking her into a private room on the pretense of a drug search and fondling her and making her lift her shirt. The woman cries and begs the hearing master Patricia Doninger to intervene, but Doninger ignored her, playing with the victim's three-year-old daughter, who eventually toddled to the Marshal and told him to leave her mother alone.

Fox was eventually fired for his misconduct, years later, but no one told his victim(s). There is no explanation forthcoming as to why the hearing master did not intervene in a case of gross corruption in her courtroom. Fox's arrest is part of a wider investigation involving a string on incidents involving Nevada Court Marshals, including choking a citizen in a courtroom.

Fox is suing for wrongful termination. Doninger was also fired for misconduct.

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How Anonymous got involved in fighting for justice for rape victims


Mother Jones's Josh Harkinson has an excellent piece on the history of KnightSec, an Anonymous offshoot that publicized the Steubenville and Halifax rape cases, galvanizing both the public and police responses to both. The piece includes an interview with Michelle McKee, who is credited with swaying a critical mass of Anons to participation in KnightSec. The whole story is pretty incredible, especially where it spills over into the real world:

The video went viral, and the next Occupy Steubenville rally drew 2,000 people to the courthouse steps. Because MC brought the sound system, he ended up serving as the de facto master of ceremonies (which is how he ended up with his Twitter handle). As he played excerpts of the Nodianos video over the loudspeakers, he told me, people in the crowd grew so angry that he started to worry that they would riot.

When the Steubenville sheriff showed up, MC invited him up and grilled him about the case. In the end, he diffused the tension by giving the cop a hug. "I'm going to take this negative energy and turn it into a positive thing," he remembers thinking. "You've got to let the crowd vent."

And vent they did. For four hours, there was a catharsis of personal pain and grief that nobody in the small town could have imagined. Women who had been raped stood in front of the crowd, clad in Guy Fawkes masks, to share their stories. Some of them unmasked at the end of their testimonies as they burst into tears. Rapes at parties, date rapes, rapes by friends and relatives—their pent-up secrets came pouring out. "It turned into this women's liberation movement, in a way," MC recalls. "And it just changed everything. There was nothing anybody could do against us at that point because it was so real and so true."

Exclusive: Meet the Woman Who Kicked off Anonymous' Anti-Rape Operations

For Anonymous: an ode to the Delhi rape victim, by Nilanjana Roy

"Let there be an end to this epidemic of violence, this culture where if we can’t kill off our girls before they are born, we ensure that they live these lives of constant fear. Like many women in India, I rely on a layer of privilege, a network of friends, paranoid security measures and a huge dose of amnesia just to get around the city, just to travel in this country. So many more women have neither the privilege, nor the luxury of amnesia, and this week, perhaps we all stood up to say, 'Enough,' no matter how incoherently or angrily we said it." For Anonymous, by Nilanjana Roy. Xeni

Court sets accused rapist free, arguing severely disabled woman who can't talk could still refuse sex

Your daily dose of rage: the state Supreme Court in Connecticut has decided to let a rapist go free in a case involving a severely disabled woman with limited mobility who cannot talk. Why? Because there was no evidence she could not communicate her refusal to have sex with the defendant." She cerebral palsy, cannot verbally communicate, and "is so physically restricted that she is able to make motions only with her right index finger."

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Native American women twice as likely to be raped

"One in three American Indian women have been raped or have experienced an attempted rape," according to a Justice Department statistic cited in the NYT. The rate of sexual assault among indigenous American women "is more than twice the national average," and it's particular grim in "Alaska’s isolated villages, where there are no roads in or out, and where people are further cut off by undependable telephone, electrical and Internet service." Xeni

For Mr. Akin, from a woman who conceived her child through rape

Writes Maureen Herman, at "A is For..." blog—"Rep. Akin, I’d like you to meet my daughter. I’d like to show you how dead wrong you are when you say that women rarely get pregnant from rape. I’m writing this letter to let you know that you definitely can, because it happened to me, and I have a 9 year old to prove it." Xeni

Todd Akin apologizes for "legitimate rape" remark

From The Onion:

You see, what I said was, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” But what I meant to say was, “I am a worthless, moronic sack of shit and an utterly irredeemable human being who needs to shut up and go away forever.”

It is clear to me now that I did not choose my words with care and did not get across the point I was trying to convey. In hindsight, I guess instead of using the words “legitimate rape,” I should have used the words “I am an unforgivable, unrepentant, and unconscionable subhuman dickhead.” Or better yet, “I am an evil, fucked-up man who should never have been elected to the United States Congress, and anyone who would vote for me is probably a pretty big fucking dumbshit, too.” See how much more sense that makes? It’s amazing how a few key word changes can totally alter the meaning of a statement.

There's a lot more.

I Misspoke—What I Meant To Say Is 'I Am Dumb As Dog Shit And I Am A Terrible Human Being'

Going medieval on the female reproductive system

Speaking of Todd Akin, Cory posted yesterday about the history of the bogus idea that women who were raped (excuse me, "legitimately" raped) can't get pregnant from it, citing a medical/legal text from 1785. In a story at The Week, we learn that this particular bit of misinformation is, in fact, even older than that, dating back to 1290. So Akin is propagating a belief that has been spread—despite a complete lack of evidence to support it—since the 13th century. Good times. Maggie

Science, rape, and pregnancy

Kate Clancy is one of my favorite bloggers. An anthropology professor at the University of Illinois, she studies the evolution of female reproductive anatomy. Her blog covers science I don't see anywhere else—the human evolution, cultural anthropology, and behavioral science behind ladybusiness.

So Clancy's blog was one of the first places I looked yesterday after reading about Missouri Rep. Todd Akin thoughtful commentary on female biology. In a long, well-written, and (fair warning) rather graphic post, Clancy talks about what we know about rape—think of it this way, you know way more people who have been raped than who have a gluten intolerance—and the way that emotional trauma affects conception and pregnancy.

First off, there is absolutely no difference in the rate of conception between women who have been raped and those who had consensual sex. Clancy breaks this down nicely in her blog post, and even offers a surprising tidbit from the research literature that all people should consider—at any given day in a woman's cycle (even days when she is supposedly "infertile") there's about a 3% chance of unprotected sex leading to a pregnancy.

The impact of stress on miscarriage is a lot messier. I've mentioned here before that we know very, very little about miscarriage, relative to a lot of other medical issues. To paraphrase my family practice doc, when you start talking about conception and miscarriage you very quickly wander past the small amount of hard evidence and straight into voodoo. And also into the counter-intuitive nature of reality. For instance, from reading Jon Cohen's excellent book on miscarriage science, Coming to Term, I know that one of the very few miscarriage interventions that's ever performed better than placebo in multiple trials is something called "Tender Loving Care". The idea: For whatever reason, women who have had recurrent miscarriages have a greater chance of carrying the next pregnancy to term if they have regular access to mental health services, stress-relieving practices like meditation, and doctors who listen and respond to their fears. But that's not the same thing as saying that stress, or a scare, or a severe mental trauma will, inevitably, cause a miscarriage. Here's Kate Clancy:

Yes, psychosocial stress is associated with fetal loss in some samples. That is not the same thing as saying that stress causes fetal loss. Some women are more reactive to stress than others, and this seems to be based on genes and early childhood experiences. As I pointed out in my post, it certainly isn’t something women have conscious control over. And so it is irrational to link the stress of rape, while awful and severe, to fetal loss, when we understand the mechanism of the stress response and its relationship to pregnancy so poorly, and when we know next to nothing regarding how variation in stress reactivity is produced.

Basically, while stress (and the associated hormones) are correlated with a higher risk of miscarriage in some (but not all) studies, that seems to have more to do with an individual's biological makeup than it does with the source of the stress. And, frankly, we barely know enough to even say that.

Read the rest of Kate Clancy's post on the rape and pregnancy

Read Clancy's earlier (excellent) post on miscarriage

Read Jon Cohen's book, Coming to Term. (I keep recommending this, but, seriously, it's wonderful. And a hugely sane-making force in my life.)

Image: Uterus Embroidery Hoop Art, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from hey__paul's photostream

Douche.0: Daniel Tosh digs rape jokes, proposes a female audience member be raped

The un-bylined author of the Cookies for Breakfast tumblog publishes the story of two female friends attending a standup performance by Daniel Tosh, host of the notably unfunny Comedy Central show Tosh.0, in which the comedian made some stupid rape jokes. Not that there are any other kind of rape jokes.

“Actually, rape jokes are never funny!,” the woman in the published account says she replied from the audience.

Snip from her version of what followed:

I did it because, even though being “disruptive” is against my nature, I felt that sitting there and saying nothing, or leaving quietly, would have been against my values as a person and as a woman. I don’t sit there while someone tells me how I should feel about something as profound and damaging as rape.

After I called out to him, Tosh paused for a moment. Then, he says, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her…” and I, completely stunned and finding it hard to process what was happening but knowing i needed to get out of there, immediately nudged my friend, who was also completely stunned, and we high-tailed it out of there. It was humiliating, of course, especially as the audience guffawed in response to Tosh, their eyes following us as we made our way out of there. I didn’t hear the rest of what he said about me.

Now, proposing that an audience member sitting right in front of you in a crowd of mostly men "get raped by, like, 5 guys right now" is in my opinion a whole lot heavier than letting a few random rape jokes drop in your lame standup act. Not that rape jokes are lulzy. But, Christ, what an asshole.

By way of this non-apology, Tosh appears to confirm the woman's story:

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The invisible genocide of women

Video Link.

The recently-launched Women Under Siege website is a new project of the NYC-based Women’s Media Center, and features a number of powerful essays and features by women, about sexual violence against women. There's an account by CBS News correspondent Lara Logan, who survived a sexual assault while covering uprisings in the Middle East; another about covering sexualized war in Congo by Lynsey Addario, who survived the same.

In this post, I'd like to draw special attention to a feature on the site about a subject with which I have personal familiarity: violence against indigenous women in Guatemala. Though the country's long civil war is over, the femicidio is not. Snip:

More than 100,000 women were raped in the 36 years of the Guatemalan genocide in which at least 200,000 people died. In this video, photojournalists Ofelia de Pablo and Javier Zurita interview survivors and document the ongoing forensic and legal investigation that has just indicted former Guatemalan President Efraín Ríos Montt.

There are so many powerful stories on the Women Under Siege website. Below, a photo by Ms. Addario, from Congo: "Lwange, 51, with her daughter, Florida, who had been raped the week before this photo was taken in 2008. The child had screamed at the time, then bled. With her vagina and her young psyche damaged, Florida would no longer speak."

Project Unbreakable

Grace Brown created "Project Unbreakable" in October, 2011, and the tumblog appears to really be gathering momentum. The idea: "Use photography to help heal those who were sexually abused by asking them to write a quote from their attacker on a poster and photographing them holding the poster."

So many stories from so many different people. Men, too, not only women. I was so moved by this post, which includes both a photograph and an audio narrative by an elderly woman who was sexually abused as a 12-year-old girl during World War II in Germany. Do listen to her story.

"You can never forget it. It is in your brain, marked like a stamp," she says. "I still suffer from it."

(via Jay Rosen)