Chariot for Women is a new woman-only rideshare service launched by a former Uber driver who had a bad run-in with a hulking drunk dude that made him realize how scary things must be for woman riders and drivers both. Read the rest
Owen Labrie received a light one-year jail sentence after sexually assaulting an underage girl at his New England prep school. While his victim was subjected to scorn and disbelief from peers and the media, Labrie was coddled every step of the way, turning down a plea deal that would have seen him out in weeks and being mythologized in a pretentious Vanity Fair profile. But now he's going to serve his sentence early, because he just can't follow the rules while he appeals his verdict.
A judge in Merrimack County Superior Court said Owen Labrie would begin his one-year jail sentence immediately.
"You are unlikely to abide by any conditions," Judge Larry Smukler said. "I don't relax conditions because you can't comply with them."…
Smukler, in sentencing him in October and permitting him to remain free on bail pending appeal, told Labrie he would be "exceedingly foolish" to violate his bail conditions.
Labrie's light sentence hinged, as Vice put it, on the fact his underage victim didn't "clearly express her lack of consent." Jurors failed to convict him of felony rape, instead applying a 90s-era computer grooming law in what was described as a "bizarre" verdict.
Those sympathetic to Labrie point to the felony computer charge, arguing it was never meant to be applied to texting teenagers. Had Labrie reached out to the girl via phone, he would have been spared a lifetime on the sexual offender registry. Then again, these were no ordinary messages: Labrie and his peers shared email templates and strategies for scoring with younger girls; Labrie even had a list of potential targets, with the girl at the top, in capital letters.Read the rest
A sexual predator in the UK who raped five women and attacked two more after meeting them on Match.com has received a sentence of life in prison.
An all-male council in India has ordered that two sisters, ages 15 and 23, be raped and paraded in public with blackened faces because their brother eloped with a married woman.
Amnesty International has launched a petition but they've been told that the "decision is final."
“Nothing could justify this abhorrent punishment,” the Amnesty petition reads. “It’s not fair. It’s not right. And it’s against the law. Demand that the local authorities intervene immediately.”
Village councils in northern India, known as khap panchayats, are generally comprised of senior male members of the community’s high castes. Although the councils have been declared illegal by the courts, their edicts are still observed in many parts of rural India.
Rape is the fourth most common crime against women in India. Married women, living alone, face a greater risk of being attacked when they go to collect remittances from their husbands who work abroad. In an effort to protect these women—and thereby further its business—Vodafone will send "self-defense umbrellas" to recipients of money sent with their M-Pesa mobile money transfer service.
There isn't a hidden sword or taser, unfortunately. Instead it comes with pictorial references of self-defense techniques and how they can be used to fight off an attacker.
He was allegedly drunk, and had at least two victims before SFO's crackerjack private aviation security outfit, Covenant, noticed (they're the same ones who smashed my brand new camera some years ago and refused to take responsibility for it). Read the rest
Robert H. Richards IV, a wealthy heir to the du Pont fortune, has been spared prison after being convicted of raping his three year old daughter. Delaware Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden sentenced the admitted serial child-rapist to probation on the ground that he "would not fare well" in prison. The case echoes the affluenza scandal in which a judge spared a rich child a prison sentence after he had killed four people on the grounds that he was so rich that he couldn't distinguish right from wrong.
As the long, excellent article in the News Journal notes, it's nice to hear judges focusing on the rehabilitative dimension of the justice system, but it's enraging and offensive to see that this kind of mercy is disproportionately dispensed to the wealthiest members of society, especially as America sinks further into its decades-old scandal of mass-incarceration, becoming one of history's most prolific imprisoners of poor people and people of color.
The prosecutor bears some responsibility here too, having agreed to a plea bargain for a lesser charge without a mandatory minimum sentence -- the kind of prosecutorial discretion that we'd have loved to have seen in the Aaron Swartz case and many other cases involving people who are not trust-fund multi-millionaires.
Richards is a healthy, imposing man in early middle age. Many others who would "not fare well" in prison, including trans* people and people with disabilities are routinely sentenced to long, brutal incarceration. It would be nice to see the American judicial system extend this mercy to them. Read the rest
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." Read the rest
Toru Hashimoto is mayor of Osaka and co-founder of the Japanese Restoration Party. He's previously called for Japan to be run as a dictatorship; now he's made public comments defending the WWII Japanese military policy of enslaving women and giving them to soldiers to rape. He says that it was a necessary expedient to support hard-working soldiers.
He said last year that Japan needed "a dictatorship".
In his latest controversial comments, quoted by Japanese media, he said: "In the circumstances in which bullets are flying like rain and wind, the soldiers are running around at the risk of losing their lives,"
"If you want them to have a rest in such a situation, a comfort women system is necessary. Anyone can understand that."
He also claimed that Japan was not the only country to use the system, though it was responsible for its actions.
Japan WWII 'comfort women' were 'necessary' - Hashimoto (Thanks, Jack!)