Sunday, March 30, 2014

Rape as a Weapon of War






Philip Foley

Rape has always been a weapon of war. Angelina Jolie and British Foreign Secretary William Hague are to be commended for their support of Bosnia's anti-rape training.

Ms. Jolie addressed a conference on sexual violence stating that "Warzone rape has been a taboo subject in all countries. You are helping to break down those taboos and redefining soldiering in the 21st century,"  

This is one excerpt from a recent Fox news article.

 Up to 50,000 women were raped during the 1992-95 Bosnian war. Rape is a devastatingly effective way to terrorize and displace a population and is being used currently in Syria, the Central African Republic and South Sudan.

 Please enlighten yourself to this horrific tactic by reading the entire article.  http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/03/28/angelina-jolie-gets-emotional-as-praises-bosnias-anti-rape-training/

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Decades later: Anita Hill and Marie Collins. Has anything really changed?



By Philip Foley

Two recent articles in the New York Times caught my eye.  The first  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/16/movies/anita-hill-is-celebrated-in-the-documentary-anita.html?_r=0 was about Anita Hill the reluctant witness in the explosive Thomas confirmation hearings back in 1991. I remember watching the hearings as Ms. Hill was grilled in excruciatingly graphic detail by an all-white, all-male Senate Committee about her assertion of sexual harassment by Clarence Thomas.  I believed her then and I believe her now. My question is will she fare any better in the public eye two decades later as the movie of her life Anita opens.
It is unlikely when you still have statement by women like Carrie Severino, chief counsel of the Judicial Crisis Network, an advocacy group indicating that “I honestly think she’s just making it up,”.

In the second article about the Catholic Pope naming members to an Anti-Abuse Group http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/23/world/europe/pope-names-members-of-anti-abuse-group.html
The article stated that the committee will include four female members, including Marie Collins, an Irish woman who was abused as a girl in the 1960s and later became a national activist to help other victims.
Since the Catholic Church has been accused of covering up sexual abuse by its Priests for at least five decades what real expectations can one have of the success of this commission. 
I believe it is best summed up in the article by the statement made by The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a group founded in the United States that has now become international, said the panel “perpetuates the self-serving myth that Catholic officials need more information about abuse and cover-ups.” It added: “They don’t. They need courage. They know what’s right” already.
I wish Ms. Hill and Ms. Collins all the best in their fight for justice and I applaud their courage to speak in spite of overwhelming odds. It is my hope that the public as a whole has evolved in the understanding of abuse.  My experience is it has not.

Follow up: President Barack Obama’s initiative to combat sexual assault on college campuses



Follow up: President Barack Obama’s initiative to combat sexual assault on college campuses

By Philip Foley

At the end of my article supporting and requesting a deeper reach for the President's committee to combat sexual assault on college campuses I indicated that perhaps the Criminal Justice system may not be the best approach to the trauma involved in sexual assault.  Sadly both of the following articles are from New Jersey.

I reference these articles not to criticize the Criminal Justice system or any law enforcement agency but only to illustrate the problem inherent in a system required to secure Proof Beyond A Reasonable Doubt. 
  
Perfectly OK for Sex Offender Magician Jeff Carson to Perform for Kids, Says NJ.


Hamilton woman raped, beaten in vacant Trenton house criticizes investigation delays. http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2014/03/hamilton_woman_raped_beaten_in_vacant_trenton_house_alleges_authorities.html

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What NOT To Say To Say a Victim of Sexual Violence



What NOT To Say
To Say a Victim of Sexual Violence

By Kathleen Hoy Foley


Recently I received a communication from someone who shall remain anonymous—okay, it was my brother-in-law.  For some time now brother-in-law has known about my ordeal of abuse, rape, impregnation by rape, rescue by the confidential adoption process, and stalking by a crazed adoptee obsessed with Kumbaya fantasies.  Up to this point, however, brother-in-law has chosen silence.  Many families are good at ignoring the smelly elephant stomping about in the family loop—Phil’s relatives excel.  Over time, the burden of lugging around his family’s cold shoulder became exhausting and oppressive and ultimately Phil and I quietly disengaged from all contact.  

Evidently our silence disrupted the strict order of hierarchy, duty, and obligation that controls the mechanics maintaining the all-is-peachy fa├žade so vital for preserving comfort inside the family circle.  When Mass cards, concerned phone calls about weather conditions in our area of the country, and invitations to this or that event proved ineffective in wrangling us back into the sibling fold, and after a subordinate emissary sent by brother-in-law failed to persuade, brother-in-law broke his silence.  Hence his note.  Lucky me.  Had brother-in-law truly been the wise man he fancies himself, he would’ve kept a lid on his trap, or at least feigned a bit of the humility he preaches before he opened it. 

I simply cannot express how grateful I am to know that, despite what brother-in-law knows about me, his good opinion of me has not changed.  I am glad he actually put this in writing.  When I’m feeling low, I can always reread his magnanimous judgment of me and once again experience the wonder of his generosity.  Especially because of what happened to me, you know, down there.  How very fortunate I am that brother-in-law is willing to forgive me for being repeatedly raped, then impregnated by rape.  Indeed I am honored that he does not hold this messy ordeal against me.  I will think about his charity the next time he goes into the hospital to have the thick, foul smelling mucus drained out of his sinuses.  Maybe after being inspired by his benevolence, I will be inspired to forgive him for having such a disgusting nose.  I will have to consult my oracle cards on this.

I am also thrilled to know that brother-in-law has permanently inked me in on his prayer list.  Nightly, it seems, he petitions Jesus on my behalf!  Using my name no less!  Apparently uttering my name is an extra high blessing to be taken very seriously.  Only, he should’ve asked me first before bothering.  If ever there’s a place I never want to be, it’s stuck inside brother-in-law’s head right next to his stinky, clogged sinuses.  In fact, I do not appreciate being slapped on anyone’s prayer list.  Depending on intentions, prayers can turn abusive.  I won’t go into details, but if you’ve ever been the target of a predator’s obsessive, fanatical prayers, you know what I’m talking about. 

Good works are what I value.  If brother-in-law actually wants to do something truly beneficial, victims of sexual abuse—including girls and women forced to bear catastrophic pregnancies—need many loud, supportive, courageous voices especially in his Church where brother-in-law is a leader.  Lying in bed in his boxers pleading with Jesus doesn’t do much for me or other rape victims, including those hiding in shame inside his own family.

Besides I broke up with Jesus.  This parting of ways was not amicable, but the relationship was unhealthy from the beginning.  Jesus wore out his welcome.  He had to go.  Brother-in-law has no business pestering Jesus and dragging him to my door.  Me and Jesus have a truce, sort of, as long as Jesus respects my boundaries.  We both have work to do.  I go my way.  Jesus goes his.  It works.  Brother-in-law needs to leave it there.

Brother-in-law is blind to this, but I am a loaded shotgun with a hair trigger aimed at the belly of ignorance.  And look who decided to walk right into the crosshairs.  However, because I don’t want to rape brother-in-law’s dignity, I’ll keep it toned down: No “civilian” (defined as someone not engaged in battle with the lifelong consequences of sexual trauma), brother-in-law included, need ever, EVER offer an opinion on the nightmare endured by victims of sexual violence.  “Civilians” have zero entitlement to opinion, judgment, or observations—which always reflects their personal and religious prejudices—about which they know nothing.  It’s this way: Gays are entitled to speak about the gay experience.  They know.  I don’t.  Brother-in-law and all “civilians” need to step away from the moral high ground, stop flapping their gums, and become educated on the realities of sexual abuse and the covert violence culture and religion continues to perpetuate against victims. 

Ask me.  Ask Phil.  Read my books.  Read all our blogs and articles.  Listen to our taped interviews posted on this website.  The information is available.

In his “lovely” note, brother-in-law could have simply stated, “Kathleen, I am so sorry about what happened to you.”  That’s all any “civilian” needs to say to any victim of abuse: I’m so sorry that happened to you.  Say it.  Mean it.  Those few words have the power to warm a wounded soul.  Said often and by many, those few words—I’m so sorry that happened to you—can transform a wounded soul.  Jesus would not argue with that.    

Friday, March 21, 2014

President Barack Obama’s initiative to combat sexual assault on college campuses



 Post by Philip Foley

We celebrate President Barack Obama’s initiative to combat sexual assault on college campuses.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/22/obama-college-sexual-assault_n_4643852.html
Laura Dunn (formerly of PAVE) from SurvJustice.Org, http://www.survjustice.org/ bravely spoke publicly of her sexual assault while a college student.  Ms. Dunn’s courage to speak was instrumental in supporting Kathleen on her journey to continue speaking through her books and articles. Tragically, We also had a niece impregnated by rape in college.
President Obama’s initiative needs to be expanded to include all high school and junior high schools.
In the last several years, the news has covered the tragic story of several high school girls who committed suicide as a result of being raped and the public humiliation and blame that was vested on them.
Kathleen was in high school when she was impregnated by rape. Our goddaughter was raped by a high school teacher. Several of Kathleen’s fellow students were victims of unreported sexual assault by a teacher. This was not a secret to anyone attending the school, however, no one took any action.
We reached out to Kathleen’s former high school, sending a copy of her book to every educator in the school. We wanted to provide information for these educators, hopefully making them more alert to the signs of current students who are being sexually abused.  Our effort was met with total silence.  We even followed up with the Superintendent of Schools who stated he would look into the matter.  Again, total silence.
The Obama administration’s report  "Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to action," http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/sexual_assault_report_1-21-14.pdf says that 1 in 5 women have been sexually assaulted at college but that only 12 percent of student victims report the assault.
The report was compiled by the White House Council on Women and Girls. It says nearly 22 million American women and 1.6 million men have been raped in their lifetimes. The Ms. Foundation for Women, http://forwomen.org/, reported in The Road to Equality that the number one victims of rape are children aged 17 or younger. This supports our call to include all high and junior high schools.
We totally support the President’s senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, chair of the Council on Women and Girls, stating that men must be involved to combat the problem.
The report also declares that the criminal justice response to sexual assault is too often inadequate.  As a former police supervisor I recognize this problem, however, I believe the criminal justice system and it’s requirement to overcome “reasonable doubt” places victims in a very venerable emotional and physical position. Perhaps the criminal justice system is not the best place to attack this epidemic.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The New Book Is Coming Soon

Sorry we have been away so long.  The new book took longer to edit than we thought.  Looks like it will be ready by late April or early May.

We are offering our books for free and will have details on our web site soon.

Should you like to order the new book; Breaking Through Silence, A No Nonsense Love Letter to Women just email us your name and mailing address and we will send you a copy after the printing process is completed.

Phil