Friday, June 27, 2008

The Future Looks Limp for Louisiana Rapists

A groundbreaking new law created by Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal (R), will hopefully have would be rapists thinking twice before they decide consensual sex isn't for them. This bill, forcing convicted rapists to undergo chemical castration, was signed into law by a frustrated Jindal when the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that executing child rapists would be considered unconstitutional, as the death penalty is reserved for convicted murders.

I am grappling with a few thoughts on this matter. While I cannot hide the automatic giddy feeling that overcomes me when I think of some asshole rapist dealing with a limp dick for the rest of his life, I wonder how effective this law will be. The language used in the law is "convicted rapists," and according to the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), convicting a person of rape is not an easy, or common, task.


So replace "jail" with "chemical castration," and you've got 15 out of every 16 rapists able to still get it up despite their dirty deeds. It makes sense, though, the court is always a tangled mess on these issues. What do we expect, it's the punishment that's changing, not the entire way the justice system works, right? Yeah, but still...consider the outraged governor calling rapists "monsters," and the Supreme Court ruling "atrocious, " and then he signs in this intense and unique law to show how serious Louisiana is about punishing those who rape. Yet, how often is anyone really going to get the wind sucked from their sails? I'm guessing not much. I'm not calling for a reformatting of the justice system, I'd just like to see a little more convicting and a little less boasting.

In addition, is anyone else bothered by the frequency of people focusing on child rape as the issue? Don't misunderstand me, child rape is certainly a serious issue, but I tend to believe all rape is a serious issue and I like to avoid classifying one as better or worse than another. Unlike sex crimes prosecutor Kat Bartholomew who told CNN, "In my opinion, the rape of a child is more heinous and more hideous than a homicide." She went on to explain sexual assault on a child "takes away their innocence. It takes away their childhood. It mutilates their spirit. It kills their soul." Wow, does anyone else think this woman could use a lesson on even handedness from Olivia Benson?

Let me reiterate, I do think raping children, who are vulnerable, is definitely one of the absolute worse things a person can do. However, I have a hard time with making it a more legitimate crime than raping someone of consent age. The constant attention to child rape as the only heinous crime adds to the ease society already has blaming victims over the age of 16 or 17. Once you become legally and emotionally in control of your sexuality it becomes less easy for people to believe you didn't want it.

Lastly, I just want to touch on this whole "mutilates their spirit...kills their soul" thing. Really, Kat Bartholomew? Is that where we're going with this? Nothing like branding someone a tarnished victim for life. Does a rape stay with a survivor for ever? Sure. Can it affect one's future personal and intimate relationships? Of course. Is it horrible? Yes, yes, yes. I never want to minimize anyone's experience, but it is just that, an experience, and it affects everyone differently. There are common symptoms like PTSD, depression, etc., but not everyone who is raped is automatically lost cause. There is certainly no reason to brand victims and survivors with a scarlet "R." Rape is awful, but let's not re-victimize those who have suffered from it by insisting they are soulless now.

So to recap:
  • Louisiana decided to chemically castrate rapists, deflating their chances of raping again
  • This will probably only affect 1 out of 16 rapists
  • Officials make it sound as if rape is only a serious issue when it affects children
  • If you are raped you become soulless
There's a lot of little of things to pick apart here, what are your thoughts on any of this?

(Thanks to John for the link)

Update: Sorry the flow chart got cut off, I don't have photoshop to fix the sizing issue. To get a better idea, please click on the RAINN link.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

They're Like Kangaroos, But They're Reptiles, They Is.

This story is too ridiculously hilarious to ignore for the following reasons:

A. Evidently it's national news when a baby croc drops by the local Aussie Pub (strange for Elyria, Ohio...but somehow seems more likely in the outback)

B. And yucky cane toads?! I'd have called them "chazzwazzers"...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Pleez I Have Nue Hohmz Now?

Similar to what happened during Hurricane Katrina, Iowa pets are finding themselves washed up without a home. Swept unceremoniously away from everything they know, and the companions they love, many animals don't have much of a chance when disaster strikes. Things like malnutrition, electrocution, hypothermia, dehydration, poisoning from polluted flood waters, even stress from being separated from their owners can lead to a sad, unfortunate death.

That's why I was delighted to read that Washington Animal Rescue League was about to relieve the Humane Society of the United States of 28 animals that they would be bringing back here to DC to adopt out. I'm happy about this, yet saddened by two things:
  1. There are still 900 animals being housed at a makeshift shelter set up by the US Humane Society in Iowa- I hope every state is willing to step up like DC and help find these pets new homes...
  2. ...Which takes me to this point...I feel so bad for the owners of these animals, who never get to see their pet again. Never knowing if it lived, or died. That would haunt me forever. Also, the trauma of surviving a flood and being taken away from it's loving family must be awful for the animal as well. Though, better than a waterlogged death I suppose...
Interested in making a difference in the lives of Iowan animals? Donate to the Best Friends Rescue Fund here!

Now here's something to cheer you up (thanks to EmRez for posting this on FB):
more cat pictures

I'm Not Sexist, I Voted for Hillary

Many supporters see Hillary Clinton loosing the democratic nomination as one more injustice to be tallied on that bitch of a glass ceiling that, though now cracked in 18 million places, is still holding women back after all this time. And we finally seemed so close to equality. So close to seeing a strong, capable, outspoken, liberal woman in the spotlight. A talented woman finally getting the respect she deserved. And now, we feminists have no great hope...

Wait, what?!?

Why have all the feminists seemed to have forgotten that other strong, capable, outspoken, liberal woman in the spotlight known as Michelle Obama? She has been in this race as long as Hillary, but once HRC stood aside, all eyes (and what jerky eyes they are) were on Michelle. From being Barack's "Baby Mama" to being labeled time and time again as an "angry black woman," Michelle has been taking it from every side, in much the same way as Hillary. This time, however, it's not only about being a woman, but being (dun dun dun) a woman of color, This allows for a whole new wave of insults, and injustice, the likes of which not even Hillary Clinton has seen.

So, why the silence, ladies?

I'm not the only one who finds the sudden clamming up of America's great feminist voices suspect. Over the weekend Mary C. Curtis had a few thoughts on the matter as well (from The Washington Post):

"What does Gloria Steinem think? She was out front with her support of Clinton, promoting the importance of a female president. She has even endorsed Barack Obama. What's her reaction now that the knives are out for another strong woman?

How about Geraldine Ferraro the former vice presidential nominee whose racially tinged denunciations of Barack Obama sparked a media firestorm?"

She goes onto say how she has long considered herself a feminist and once "cheered" Steinem's words, " I'd like a little of that solidarity back now, not suspicion because someone of my race defeated someone of our sex."

As both a life-long feminist, and Hillary supporter, I have noticed the large gap in our media where the justified howls of sexism against Hillary used to reside. Now feminists far and wide seemed to have stepped down, licking their wounds, discouraged in the trenches. I can only assume, feeling as though they've lost the fight, they are laying low. But why now? The show isn't over . The second act, ripe with the intersectionality of race and gender, is just beginning. Since we first started fighting for suffrage, mainstream feminism has been criticized for ignoring women of color. Criticized for acting as though the problems facing all women were that of the suburban, middle-class, white women. Now, here we are possibly on the verge of the fourth wave, still dealing with the ghosts of our fore mothers. Don't get me wrong, without their triumphs we wouldn't have the rights we do, but because of their missteps we find ourselves still unable to look beyond our own self-interest. Unable to be okay enough with our loss to stand together and make sure to prevent another.

We either care about these issues or we don't. Ignoring Michelle for the next 4 months is not only going to keep that glass ceiling we beat on for the last year and a half whole, it might even mend a few of its cracks.

And while we're at it, let's send a little love Cindy McCain's way.

I Am Jack's Bloated Ego

Due to popular demand (ha) I have now joined the ranks of amateurs far and wide who think their opinions are so very very fascinating that they should be read, and pondered by the hoards of cyberspacers who are bored enough to search the tubes for "Feminism," "Pop Culture," "Politics," and "Edward Norton." Yes, these are the important topics that will be delved into here. So read, comment, and pitch in because, really, what else are you going to do? Work? Bitch, please.