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Police admit falsely arresting teen rape victim: "this is what happens when you lie."

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A 17-year-old rape victim, treated with callous indifference and arrested by UK police who accused her of lying, has been awarded £20,000 in a settlement.

Hampshire Constabulary apologized for refusing to properly investigate the victim's complaint, and admitted liability for false imprisonment and assault.

The girl was attacked in April 2012, reported it immediately, and provided her clothing for forensic analysis. But police decided within two days that she was lying and threatened her, The Guardian reports, with charges of her own should she pursue the matter.

When she did so, she was arrested on suspicion of "perverting the course of justice," and was told by one detective that "this is what happens when you lie."

The police failed to test the evidence and, reportedly, were told by a supervisor to "fucking nick her."

"I was horrified," her mother told the BBC. "A woman comes forward and tells the police authority she has been raped: You expect them to do everything they can to put the rapist away."

The case only proceeded months later after an official complaint was made, prompting prosecutors to ask for thorough tests on the garments.

The attacker, Liam Foard, was subsequently identified. After denying any sexual contact at all with his victim, he was convicted and jailed for five years in 2013. But it's taken another two years—and a lawsuit filed under human rights legislation—for Hampshire Constabulary to say sorry.

In the meantime, one of the officers responsible for the girls treatment was given a written warning, and three others allowed to resign or retire before the investigation into their conduct could be completed. Ten other officers received "management action."

"Given that she had been raped, reported the matter to the police and now found herself under arrest and being accused of lying, this must have been a particularly traumatic experience," an internal review concluded. "Clearly, had the rape investigation been completed to the required standard, she would never have been arrested and interviewed."

Local police have issued statements promising it will not happen again.

"I would like to reassure all victims of sexual assault that we do take you seriously," Chief Superintendent David Powell told reporters. "We do believe you, we appreciate how hard it is to come forward to report these offences, we do not judge you and we are committed to ensuring a professional and supportive response. We are doing everything to ensure we never have an initial response like this again."

"I am appalled by the way the victim and her family have been treated in this case and would like to express my heartfelt sympathy to them," wrote Simon Hayes, Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire. "It is entirely unacceptable for victims of crime not to be listened to and taken seriously. I would like to reassure the public that since I have been in post there have been significant changes to the way sexual assault cases are handled by the Constabulary. These changes in procedure should mean that the series of events that led to this particular victim being re-victimised by the police and not receiving appropriate justice, would not be permitted to happen again in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight."

But the family's lawyer, Debaleena Dasgupta, says that without the Human Rights act, it would have been far more difficult to get justice.

"Many people wrongly assume the police have a legal obligation to investigate crimes," wrote Dasgupta in a press release. "However, the only way victims of crime can seek justice for these sorts of issues is using the Human Rights Act, which imposes a duty on the police to properly investigate very serious offences."

Maggie Gyllenhaal told 37 is "too old" to play love interest of a 55-year-old dude

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Remember that time Russell Crowe blamed the lack of roles for older women in Hollywood on the fact that they refuse to play parts their age? Well in case you needed any more proof that his statement is absolute crap, look no further than the latest example of egregious Hollywood sexism.

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Dueling car ads highlight subtle sexism

Overt sexism runs rampant in advertising, but sometimes gender biases are almost invisible.

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Marvel replaces Black Widow with Captain America for its toy line

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CTO Megan Smith explains how women in tech are erased from history

Chief Technology Officer of the United States, Megan Smith, stopped by the Charlie Rose show recently and revealed a starting fact

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Study: Online teachers get higher ratings when students think they're male

Photo: North Carolina State University


Photo: North Carolina State University

Students who think they're being taught by women give lower evaluation scores for those teachers than students who think they are being taught by men -- no matter who was actually teaching them.

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Chelsea Handler: Instagram's nipple policy is sexist

I agree with Handler's statement. If men's nipples are OK with Instragram, then women's should be, too.

The Dummies' Guide To Cosplay Photography in 2014

Andy Ihnatko's golden rule about photographing cosplayers: You must never do anything that makes the cosplayer wish you hadn't taken that photo.Read the rest

Sarkeesian on sexism in video games, and becoming a hate-target for talking about it

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Mother Jones reporter Nina Liss-Schultz asked Anita Sarkeesian why she thinks she has been targeted by knuckle-dragging assholes on the internet--vicious threats, death, rape, and beatings by haters who happen to be men, and believe that women like Sarkeesian should shut up and stay out of their clubhouse.

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Ms. magazine's most sexist ads

Artist Mitch O'Connell bought issues 1-50 of Ms. on eBay (for $30!) and picked out the best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) items from its "No Comment" section of sexist ads.

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A snapshot of institutional lack of diversity in life sciences, by way of a promotional email

An anonymous Boing Boing reader says, "Here's an email that academic publishing company Elsevier is sending around to advertise to scientists. Notice anything about the pictures of scientists they chose?"

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Men move more than women do inside an MRI machine

There's a new paper out suggesting that ladies' brains are different from mens' (in ways that support Western stereotypes of gender behavior, natch). It's pretty flawed and has been heavily critiqued, but one critique surprised me — turns out, there's evidence that men tend to move more than women do when you put them in an MRI machine, something that could throw off any attempt to compare MRI data between men and women.

1996 Electronic Dream Phone reviewed

At Rock Paper Shotgun, Cara Ellison reviews Milton Bradley's 1996 Electronic Dream Phone, a pink, plastic, teen-exploiting horror from the preironic era.

The idea is that you get three boys in your hand (eyooo!) and then you take turns to call them individually on the Phone, picking up extra boys as you discard the last ones. The boys on the phone give you a clue as to which boys do not fancy you. ... as I pick up the cards now as a fully grown adult, in the sort of tipsy glee that is necessary to even open the box, I glimpse that if I’d played it when I was younger I would have been made aware that girls are supposed to aim for relationships. What boys think of you feels more important than what you think of yourself.

Mom says hang up! Electronic Dream Phone is available at Amazon in both vintage and modern forms.

You Can Do It! Clean the kitchen, that is.

Heather spotted this remarkably sad ad from Swiffer, aping Westinghouse Electric's classic wartime poster, We Can Do It! Adds Jason: "I love the clear tribute to an important historical image done in such a way as to piss on its legacy."

The Damsel in Distress, game edition

Anita Sarkeesian tackles the "damsels in distress" trope as it appears–widely!–in video games. The inevitable sideshow: angry Internet men managed (briefly) to get YouTube to remove the video.

Disney gives Brave princess a body makeover

Gone are the wild tight curls, relaxed now into auburn waves. Her waist is cinched, her bust inflated: skinnier and sexier is the new Merida, star of Brave. And gone, in some of the new art, is that troublesome weapon: no fit thing for a Disney princess, after all. Fans and websites lamenting the changes, chief among them A Mighty Girl, have spearheaded a change.org petition seeking to convince Disney to change its mind.

The redesign of Merida in advance of her official induction to the Disney Princess collection does a tremendous disservice to the millions of children for whom Merida is an empowering role model ... In an interview with Pixar Portal, "Brave" writer and co-director Brenda Chapman stated, "Because of marketing, little girls gravitate toward princess products, so my goal was to offer up a different kind of princess — a stronger princess that both mothers and daughters could relate to, so mothers wouldn't be pulling their hair out when their little girls were trying to dress or act like this princess. Instead they'd be like, ‘Yeah, you go girl!’”

There seems a deliciously vile bait-and-switch element to it all: design a character that will attract parents resistant to the traditional messaging, then recast it in same old mold once they've sold it to their daughters for you.

But you can see the problem in that Chapman quote, which is never really about the character. When "marketing" is the first principle of your art, even something opposing its dictates is doomed to gravitate around it in fast-decaying orbit.

Do readers judge female characters more harshly?

Oh yes, writes Maria Konnikova in The Atlantic: "Work by social psychologists like Susan Fiske and Mina Cikara has repeatedly demonstrated that women are perceived and evaluated on different criteria than men. ... ">Now, even fictional females are feeling the sting."