Women’s Center Board Members: Responding maturely to misogyny
By Women's Center Board
Friday, October 15, 2010
Last night, DKE pledges chanted as they marched on Yale’s campus, including on Old Campus and Cross Campus, as well as in Jonathan Edwards, Pierson and Davenport colleges. Footage of these chants is available online both on the Yale Daily News’s website and on YouTube. This is what they shouted:
My name is Jack
I’m a necrophiliac
I f--- dead women
And fill them with my semen
No means yes
Yes means anal
This incident is not isolated; some of these slogans have been heard before on Yale’s campus, though usually behind closed doors. We recognize that these shouts may have been meant in jest, but the meaning of these phrases — “I f--- dead women,” “f---ing sluts,” and “no means yes; yes means anal” — is not a joke. For survivors of sexual violence and their allies, this chant serves as a jarring reminder that Yale is not always a safe place for women. For everyone on Yale’s campus, this sets a tone for our community’s sexual culture that is at best irreverent, and at worst, violent.
It is particularly egregious that this initiation took place on Old Campus, the center of freshmen life at Yale. Wednesday’s chants sent a clear message to impressionable first-year students: both to the pledges who were told to repeat the chant and to the students who were forced to listen. The verses treat sexual violence as a joke.
But sexual violence is a serious problem: women are raped at Yale. Those rapes take place within a sexual culture that often minimizes, excuses and even enables sexual violence. Wednesday night’s chanting, when taken at face value, is a call to commit rape. We do not think that the fraternity brothers intended to incite violence; more likely, they neglected to consider how their words would impact our community.
These verses are only one part of the way sex is talked about at Yale. Though many students have expressed disappointment, frustration and sadness after Wednesday’s chants, it is important to recognize our potential to utter more positive words, ones of mutual respect. This event should be a starting point for broader conversation committed to making our campus safer.
In calling for change, the Women’s Center is building on momentum from last year’s response to the “preseason scouting report,” which ranked and criticized freshman women’s physical appearances, initiating the Class of 2013 with an act of misogyny. Chants like those on Wednesday may have happened in the past, but our campus’s tolerance for them has diminished. There are positive signs. Student leaders have begun to challenge the social norms that condone these incidents. Pi Phi is bringing self-defense empowerment training for women to campus, and Sig Ep is partnering with the Women’s Center to organize a workshop about sexual violence.
At our event today, students will share their thoughts on this incident, as well as discuss broader issues shaping sexual violence and sexual culture at Yale. Yale College Dean Mary Miller and Dean of Student Affairs Marichal Gentry will open the discussion alongside college deans and masters who share our concerns. Then it is up to us, the students, to answer the question: how can we work together, across our differences, to create a positive and affirming sexual culture at Yale?
Accused of incestuous rape, ‘blueblood’ denies exaggerating how ‘intelligent’ he is
Friday, October 15, 2010
BY JOHN PETRICK
A former Paterson man on trial for allegedly trying to create his own "blue blood" race by impregnating his biological 14-year-old daughter was confronted by a prosecutor on cross-examination Thursday with high school and college transcripts that appear to contradict his claims of excelling in the classroom.
Ayinde, 52, testified previously under direct questioning by his defense lawyer that he was well-read and a combination of bookworm and jock when in high school. He also described himself as of high intelligence and morals as a young student growing up in Paterson.
While Ayinde, now of Atlantic City, testified that his SAT scores were about 1400, Passaic County Senior Assistant Prosecutor Lisa Squitieri, in a concerted attack on his credibility, presented him with transcripts that state that he received a score of 32 in the verbal portion and 38 in math, for a total score of 70. Another transcript, from New Jersey Institute of Technology, that she presented to him on the witness stand states that he was dismissed from the school after one year for poor grades.
Ayinde disputed the authenticity of all the transcripts, which the prosecution entered as evidence in the trial before jurors and state Superior Court Judge Raymond A. Reddin in Paterson. Ayinde said to his knowledge, a score as low as 70 is impossible to get on the SAT and he maintained he was a good student both in high school and beyond.
"It's not my transcript," he said, speaking of the NJIT transcript, when the prosecutor showed it to him.
"So there's some other Aswad Ayinde out there?" Squitieri said, noting that his former name of "Eric McGill" was also on the transcript, reflecting his legal name change in 1977 during mid-semester. "Does it say academic dismissal here?" she said, pointing to the transcript.
"That's what it says. I wasn't dismissed, though. These aren't my records. I think you know that."
"Sir, they are your records. Maybe you don't want them to be, but …"
With that, Newark defense attorney Daryl Pennington objected to Squitieri's commenting instead of questioning.
Squitieri also entered as evidence a letter from a company named GAF; Ayinde had testified he left NJIT to go to work for a year and a half there.
"Would it surprise you that there are no records of you ever working at GAF, the job you said you worked at for a year and a half? The job you said you left school for?" Squitieri asked. She noted that the document had the company's seal and letterhead and was from its human resources department.
"No, that's not what it says," Ayinde responded. "It says no records FOUND."
Ayinde has denied on the witness stand ever beating or raping his daughter, as the prosecution charges. He also denied claims from his wife and daughter during the trial that he claimed he was a prophet, controlled their diet, denied them doctors' care and restricted their contact with the outside world.
He depicted himself on direct questioning as a smart, moral, intelligent, well-read man who was raised on the finer things in life, such as Armani suits and exposure to different cultures. He said he ultimately chose to raise his family in an unconventional way, acknowledging there were two "co-wives" during the marriage, that he delivered his children himself at home, home-schooled them and ran a "holistic household." But he said all of it was for their benefit, and that they were never abused.
Students Not Surprised By Rape On KU Campus
October 14, 2010
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- University of Kansas police said a female student reported being raped in a university parking lot Wednesday morning.
KU police said the rape was reported between 2:30 a.m. and 3:10 a.m. in parking lot 100 near 14th Street and Ohio Avenue.
"She was walking back to her residence from a local bar and she was grabbed from behind and sexually assaulted," said Capt. Schuyler Bailey with KU police.
"I'm not surprised. This isn't a safe part of town," said Rachel Thomas, a KU student.
The area around 14th and Ohio is well-known to KU students. It's an older bar district that gets a lot of attention.
"I've been down here once before with friends and I won't go back," said University of Kansas student Jessica Hall.
Police said the victim didn't know her attacker and right now they have little to go on. The victim described her attacker as a white man with a medium build.
Some students said the recent rape is just another unfortunate incident reminding them anything can happen on or off of campus.
"It's sad. We've had multiple incidents like this and I think it's time to actually try to do something about it," said Thomas.
Voices of Men: Ending violence against women
Ayer Middle High School hosts anti-violence speaker
By Dina Samfield, Correspondent
AYER/SHIRLEY -- With the student Human Rights Squad sitting in the front of an auditorium full of Ayer High School students, Principal Don Parker introduced the school's Oct. 4 special guest, who later also performed at Ayer-Shirley Middle School.
"We are very privileged this morning to have Ben Atherton-Zeman, who will be having a discussion with you," Parker said. "Ben is a spokesperson for the National Organization for Men Against Sexism and is a public speaker on issues of violence prevention.
"He has given presentations in 36 states, Canada, China, and the Czech Republic. He has spoken at colleges, high schools, public theaters, conferences, houses of worship, and juvenile detention facilities. For the past 17 years, Ben has worked as a prevention educator for rape crisis centers, domestic violence programs, and state coalitions. He is a board member of the Sudbury/Wayland/Lincoln Domestic Violence Roundtable and an advisory board member for the White Ribbon Campaign in the United Kingdom."
The production that the students were about to witness is called "Voices of Men." Its originator and presenter has received recognition and praise for his work to end men's violence against women, sexism, homophobia, racism, and other forms of oppression.
Before this presentation for Ayer High School students, Atherton-Zeman had returned to his home in Maynard after performing at a college in Michigan, and offered training and technical assistance for employees in Alabama.
Every 12 seconds...
He began his performance at Ayer High by ringing a chime several times.
"I am ringing this chime every 12 seconds because somewhere in the U.S. a man abuses the woman that he has promised to love. Every 2 minutes in the U.S. a man rapes a woman, and it's usually a woman he knows. Every second a man abuses a woman -- but most of us don't rape and don't abuse," he said.
"Where are the rest of us who do not abuse women? The voices of men should join the women fighting against violence against women," he offered.
Changing the culture one voice at a time
"The victims I have worked with are real and their stories are real," Atherton-Zeman said. "The first time I heard a woman tell me her story about violence I felt angry and sad, but I also wanted to do something about.
"...Most of the victims I have worked with are girls and women, and most of the perpetrators are men. Because of that it is our responsibility in particular, as guys, to try to do something about it.
"When you think of a men's magazine you don't think of men raising their voices against violence, you usually think of magazines with pictures of naked women.
"Some of you may approve of that, but that says that we don't care about the lives and dreams of women. Do you want those things to happen to the girls and women in your lives?" he asked.
During his performance, Atherton-Zeman also expressed his dismay at the kinds of roles that men play on television, in movies and in violent sports.
"We need more roles written for men where part of that guy's character is where a man stands up against violence against women and is accountable to his own use of sexism, racism, and homophobia. That is a guy who supports women's leadership on this issue. I am convinced we can change the culture one man at a time.
"This show is about what could happen if this were to happen," he said.
In different public service announcements throughout his presentation were messages like, "If it's against her will, it's against the law. To get respect you give respect."
'No' does not have to be verbal
In between PSAs, Atherton-Zeman portrayed various characters, the first of which was the character Rocky Balboa from the movie Rocky.
"Hey...Yo...How you guys doing?" he asked, as he sauntered on stage in a robe, parroting Sylvester Stallone's stereotypical machismo.
"A few of you remember my girlfriend Adrienne from the movie. Adrienne, she dumped me... I said, 'How could you break up with this?' "
"She said, 'You never respected me, even when I said 'no' to you.' "
Through the Rocky character, Atherton-Zeman made the point that there are many ways that women say 'no' to sexual advances, and that each one of them really means 'no,' even if the woman is giggling nervously when she says it.
He demonstrated this by using clips from Rocky. In them, Adrienne uses body language that says 'no' by tensing up, making faces, moving away from Rocky, and trying to leave. As the scenes continue, the number of times she says 'no,' either in body language or words, is ticked off on the screen. The number of times that Rocky continues to ignore her wishes also shows up on the screen.
When "Rocky" asked the students in the audience what he did wrong, they pointed out that he ignored her desire to leave, used his larger size, and even physically blocked the exit as ways to intimidate the object of his affection.
"Have you ever seen a date of yours on the big screen? I didn't like it. I really loved her; I didn't mean to mess up like this...so I better do something about this, right? So I did a search on the Internet and found 'Men can stop rape' (http://www.mencanstoprape.org).
"I figured these guys knew what they were talking about so I called them on the phone and told them what happened and they said, 'You messed up.' "
Myth-busting sexual violence
"That is one of the myths about sexual violence --that she can say 'no' and you can keep going. It is a myth that she is playing a game, and even if she is, you have to stop, because if you are wrong you are guilty of sexual violence. Consent has got to be verbal, enthusiastic, unmistakable, that you work out between the two of you," Atherton-Zeman said.
He said that myth No. 2 is if somebody is drunk and they get raped, it is somehow their fault. "It is never the victim's fault for being raped. Actually, if you are drunk or high, then you can't be with somebody because they cannot give consent. If they are drunk or high, you have to wait until they're sober."
Myth No. 3, he said, is that strangers are usually the perpetrators in cases of rape. Most of the time it is somebody you know, trust, and like.
Myth No. 4 is that female victims lie about rape. In reality, this happens only about 2 percent of the time, he said.
Myth No. 5 is what he called the "Point of No Return." The reality, he said, is that men can choose when and why they stop sexual advances toward women.
He then set up an example: "The girlfriend's parents are gone for the night and I go to her house. I want to make this a nice romantic date, so what should I bring?" As the audience made suggestions, he brought out flowers, a condom, chocolate, and a candle. He then put on some romantic music.
"What's the worst thing that could happen?" he asked the audience. "The parents come home!"
In character, Atherton-Zeman ran to answer the door and let the audience help him make excuses for what he was doing there to the girlfriend's imaginary parents.
Finally, he said, "We are at the 'point of no return,' so we can't stop just because you came home. If you would just give us the house for 10 minutes...
"Would I really negotiate with the parents!? I would leave, or hide. But all of your suggestions involve one thing," he said to the audience. "I would stop, wouldn't I? You see why it's a myth, right? We can stop on a dime."
Abuse is not always physical
In his stint as James Bond, Atherton-Zeman demonstrated that abuse is not just about physical violence. "If you tell people what they can wear or who they can see, or call or text when they don't want to be contacted, you have just got to stop," he said. "If you instant message them every time they are online and they have asked you not to, you have to stop. Some of you may think that that's OK, but it's actually a warning sign. If you say 'Don't talk to that guy,' that's a warning sign."
Rather than blaming victims for staying with abusive partners, the question should be why the men are abusive, and what we can do as a community to give safety to women, he said, adding, "abuse doesn't discriminate -- men and women, gay and straight."
White Ribbon Campaign
Another PSA showed men cheering as other men pummeled each other during sporting events. The message of the video was, "Why is it when a man hits another man, it's OK to make a lot of noise, but when a man hits a woman, it's OK to stay silent."
The clip is part of the White Ribbon Campaign (http://www.whiteribbon.ca), the largest effort in the world of men working to end Violence Against Women.
"Feminism is the radical notion that women are people." - Paula Treichler, co-author of For Alma Mater: Theory and Practice in Feminist Scholarship
At the conclusion of his presentation, he said, "Some people feel preached to or don't agree with the message, and if that is the case I want to say I'm sorry. But even if you don't agree, you will still be arrested if you rape or abuse someone.
He asked the men in the audience who would like to take the White Ribbon Campaign pledge to stand. First one, then two, and then all of the men in the audience stood and read together, "I pledge to never commit, condone, or remain silent about men's violence against women. I choose to respect, listen to, and seek equality with every person I date, and every person I know."
At my college there is huge problem with guys coming up behind you and recording your butt with their cell phones as you walk. You have no idea they are even doing it. My butt ended up on a social network page, along with 4 other girls, to be voted on to see who had the nicest ass.
Linda's Women's Issues Blog
By Linda Lowen
The Implications of the Duke 'Mock' Thesis Sex List
Tuesday October 12, 2010
I've been asked this question a lot in the past week: "Why haven't you written about the female student at Duke who rated her sexual partners in a PowerPoint 'mock' thesis?"
I waited because my preference is to focus on the reactions that have popped up in the mainstream media and to look at the deeper issues raised. I'm not so sure this was simply just a light-hearted account of a woman bedding down a long list of Duke jocks and lacrosse players and enjoying herself.
If the story has somehow escaped your notice, the New York Times covered it last Thursday. They also mentioned that on Jezebel, one of the two websites that broke the story, an editor from Harper Collins was interested in contacting Karen Owen, the 22-year-old recent Duke graduate behind the 'thesis.' (Deadspin was the other site, and there a movie producer and an agent from William Morris reached out to her.) They're fascinated by the prurient details and the table-turning theme of a woman having 'no attachment' sex and rating her partners without hesitation or regret...like many men do.
This was allegedly a private joke Owen shared with three friends, never intending it to be seen beyond the group. Jezebel describes it as "a young woman laughing about and celebrating her own sex life."
The media sees it as an irresistible combination of titillation, an in-your-face admission that women can be as casual about sex as men, role reversal, and perceived female empowerment.
Some of those themes were touched upon during a segment on NBC's TODAY show. According to psychologist Judith Sills, "She acted not like the classic victim when guys do this traditionally, but like the aggressor. She had high risk no-attachment sex, she is comfortable with it, then she bragged about it -- a traditional gender-bending behavior."
Co-host Meredith Viera brought up the fact that Owen has become a hero to many women for turning the tables and objectifying the other sex. Sills' response was that it resonates with women because these men got a taste of what women typically experience: "This is what it feels like, and you know what? It doesn't feel so bad to be on the aggressor side."
Dan Abrams, NBC's chief legal analyst, stated, "From a legal perspective, if it had been a man who had written this about a number of women, it's more likely there'd be a number of lawsuits...because of the societal differences."
Sills notes the shock value is what makes the story compelling: "Young women do this? They get drunk and think, 'I wonder if I can have a piece of him,' and then they go home and tell their girlfriends. And they're not embarrassed or shocked. That really takes us aback."
When Vanity Fair covered it in their daily blog, one reader wrote:
Big deal. Crudely bragging about one's sexual exploits is nothing new, especially for Joe and Jane College. A more recent development is the pseudo-intellectual treatment of whoring around: a phenomenon for which we can be grateful to "academic feminism."
The sexual exploits of twentysomething women is the flavor of the month in the publishing and online world; editors can't seem to get enough confessional stories from female writers.
But is this merely another step on the path to liberation and gender equality? Or a smiley face slapped on top of a darker issue -- a tale being spun as a celebration which glosses over several elements of possible violation?
At the Date Safe Project, Mike Domitrz mines this theme:
[A]lmost all of the discussion is missing one important point:
A RAPE appears to be described in her PowerPoint presentation.
One of the sexual encounters she writes about is when she is "blacked out." Because she has no memory, she could have been passed out or blacked out. Either way, she was incapable of giving consent to sexual activity. She is almost positive they had sex based on the her body [sic] (including the many bruises she found from what she assumes was very "aggressive" sex)....
If you read the PowerPoint presentation, you will notice MANY of the encounters appear to be alcohol facilitated.
Why do you think no one is talking about at least one potential sexual assault in this PowerPoint presentation? Do you think people have no compassion for her because she treated sex like a season of "American Idol" (scoring the contestants in various categories)? She is NOT the first. She is simply the first FEMALE to gain public attention from doing so.
As Wendy Murphy has pointed out, the former website JuicyCampus had many, many examples of males doing exactly what the female at Duke was doing. At the time of JuicyCampus, many in society DID NOT seem to feel the women being "scored" or "rated" by the males breached legal privacy rights. When males were doing it, many people defended the behavior as "freedom of speech."
The 'Wendy Murphy' Domitrz refers to is the noted civil rights attorney who filed a ground-breaking complaint involving sexual harassment and enforcement of Title IX. As reported by SecurityOnCampus.org in August 2009:
Schools have the same obligation to respond to sexual harassment in cyberspace that they have when the harassment occurs in the classroom - according to a first of it's kind ruling this month from the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
"This means that sexual harassment, such as the vile behavior we've all heard about that takes place on websites like juicycampus.com, is forbidden under Title IX even though it doesn't technically occur 'on campus'", said noted civil-rights attorney Wendy Murphy. Murphy who brought the complaint earlier this year on behalf of a sexual assault victim attending college in the northeast who had been subjected to literally hundreds of sexually explicit and sexist comments on the now closed gossip site.
Title IX requires gender equity in all educational programs that receive federal funding. Among other things, gender equity means that schools and colleges must take "prompt and equitable" and "effective" steps to eliminate sexual harassment on campus. This standard has long been interpreted to include things like sexually explicit, sexist and offensive comments made in a classroom or physically posted on campus, but OCR told Murphy this is the first instance of these rules being applied to statements and posts made in a public forum in cyberspace.
If one or more of the sexual encounters Owen describes involved rape, it's certainly disturbing but unfortunately not unusual.
Female college students are significantly more likely to be victims of rape or sexual assault than women of the same age group in the general population. It's estimated that 1 in 5 women attending college will be a victim of rape or attempted rape by the time she graduates.
The way Owen has written the piece downplays any suggestion of rape, although Domitrz points out that sexual assault was likely involved. As Jezebel chronicles it:
With one subject, the author blacked out and doesn't remember having sex, but doesn't seem troubled, by her own account....Overall, very little regret and lots of good humor.
What's particularly troublesome are the reactions to the "F*** List" as it's being labeled. For years, men have engaged in this behavior and it's been accepted as 'boys will be boys.' Perhaps it is empowering for women to enjoy casual sex and compare notes -- after all, Sex and the City built a successful TV series and two mediocre films on this premise. But Sex and the City didn't include blackout scenes or "many bruises" from aggressive sex.
There is nothing empowering about sex that may border on rape, that takes place when a woman is too drunk to stand up or push away a man so intent on sex that he doesn't care if his partner is consenting or even conscious. That's nothing to brag about.
'Girls can be girls' and have sex with as many partners as they choose, enjoy themselves and take pleasure in their own expression of sexuality and aggressiveness, and talk about it with as many friends as they're comfortable with.
But I'd sooner celebrate a woman's sexual conquests undertaken stone cold sober and with great deliberation than alcohol-fueled encounters that may thrust her into situations that can get out of hand, endanger her, or result in outright rape.
We aren't so far removed from the old days of "she's asking for it" that we can afford to be casual about it. If we're really going to own our sexuality in as straightforward a manner as men do, and be as unabashed in pursuing sexual conquests and reveling in our exploits, let's do it with clear heads and focused intentionality and no mixed messages.
Whether it's a 'thesis' of Karen Owen's devising or any other 'notch on my belt' style tally of men, there's no room for rape on any woman's list.
At my college there is huge problem with guys coming up behind you and recording your butt with their cell phones as you walk. You have no idea they are even doing it. My butt ended up on a social network page, along with 4 other girls, to be voted on to see who had the nicest ass.
She just doesn't seem to have considered the consequences of anything she was doing--including the consequences of the behavior she was engaging in with her "subjects". She risked an awful lot, including her own reputation on campus, just to engage in a lot of mostly drunken sex with athletes.
Because she has no memory, she could have been passed out or blacked out. Either way, she was incapable of giving consent to sexual activity.
Sheriff's Department cuts backlog in testing rape kits
October 16, 2010 | 9:10 am
Officials at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department have announced that they have completed counting and outsourcing nearly 5,000 backlogged rape kits that sparked controversy in 2008.
The kits still need to be tested and processed, but the Sheriff’s Department is on track to meet that goal in June 2011, spokesman Steve Whitmore said.
“It’s not only a good sign for the Sheriff’s Department, it’s a good sign for the county,” Whitmore said. “Everybody pitched in, and we’re on track. It shows what can be accomplished when everyone says ‘Yes, we’re going to do something.’”
Two years ago, when the number of untested kits was first disclosed, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors urged the Sheriff’s Department to eliminate the backlog, and agreed to help pay for the tests through the county’s general fund.
Since then, 4,763 kits have been sent out for testing at various labs, department officials announced earlier this month. Once tested, authorities can search for matches through a national database.
Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said that the backlog was caused by a poor monitoring system, and that a key objective now is to improve the procedure through which the Sheriff’s Department inventories and tests the kits.
The backlog needed to be cleared before a new system could be implemented, he said.
“This is a huge milestone for us,” Yaroslavsky said. “Some of these will produce hits who are rapists who are still walking the streets of California; it’s a treasure trove of opportunity to take dangerous criminals off the streets.”
Rosa: Globalize Anti-Violence Law
by Melinda Tuhus
Oct 13, 2010 7:59 am
A law that has protected American women from rape should help women around the world, New Haven’s U.S. Congresswoman declared Tuesday.
U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro promised to help make that happen as she spoke at an event at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) held in conjunction with Domestic Violence Awareness Month. She joined SCSU students have been doing their own work to stop date rape. She also joined Democratic attorney general candidate George Jepsen, for whom the press conference was largely a campaign endorsement; Jepsen spoke of his own efforts to combat violence against women.
When DeLauro spoke, she credited the 1994 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) passed by Congress with making improvements in the lives of women who are terrorized by threats or violence from intimate partners.
She said despite statistics that one in three females in the U.S. will experience a sexual assault in her lifetime, “collective action can make a difference. [The law] has made a real difference. It changed the landscape for American women, giving survivors of domestic violence, of dating violence, sexual assault and stalking the ability to protect themselves.” She noted that $225 million in stimulus funding has gone to the Office on Violence Against Women.
DeLauro is one of the sponsors of a bill now in Congress—the International Violence Against Women Act —that would provide some of those same protections to women abroad.
She urged people present to contact other Congressional offices to try to get more cosponsors on board to move the bill forward.
“At least one out of every three women worldwide has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime, with rates of domestic violence reaching 70 percent in some countries,” according to Amnesty International’s website.
DeLauro’s bill would instruct the federal government to increase support for agencies that work with victims of domestic violence and rape around the world; and to respond more quickly to “humanitarian emergencies” and regional conflicts in which women and girls are being abused.
Swinging into Jepsen campaign mode, DeLauro added that when a Virginia college student tried to sue two men who raped her for violating her civil rights, under a provision of VAWA, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that provision unconstitutional, saying it violated states’ rights. She said Jepsen’s opponent in the attorney general race, Martha Dean, in a debate the previous day had said she supports the concept of nullification—of states’ right to nullify, or declare invalid, federal legislation.
She gave another example of an important federal law: the new health care law requires that insurance companies stop considering victims of domestic violence as having a pre-existing condition for the purpose of denying them coverage...
At SCSU, Jepsen was presented as a champion of the issue for the suite of bills he helped usher to passage while a state senator in 1993 that required campuses to report date rapes, added a $20 surcharge on marriage licenses to fund domestic violence shelters, stopped hospitals from charging women for rape kits, and made it easier to get restraining orders against abusive partners. He credited his wife’s involvement with domestic violence services in Stamford with raising his consciousness.
To the students and dignitaries gathered outside the women’s center at the intersection of Fitch and Crescent streets, he said, “Students need to report abuse in any form, because abuse short of violence can very soon escalate to violence.”..
“Red Flag” On Campus
College students are the population most vulnerable to date rape, so activists at SCSU are taking the issue on with a Red Flag Campaign to “flag” the warning signs of looming partner violence and stop it in its tracks.
Southern student Melissa Richardheads up a peer group on campus focused on education about and prevention of sexual assault on campus. All six peer educators are female. Richard said they partner with a “Male Initiative” that meets at the women’s center “trying to take responsibility, getting together as men, trying to end violence against women. We have different programs on campus that the men’s initiative carries out.”