January 31, 2008
Farewell to John Edwards and Rudy Giuliani. Guess which one is planning to devote his life to helping the poor? No fair looking it up.
The presidential campaign is kind of lonely — we’d gotten used to having a big crowd. The parents of extremely large families must feel this way when their children start going off to college.
Mike Huckabee is still in the Republican race, possibly due to a belief in miracles or a lack of any other specific occupation. Ron Paul pops up for the Republican debates, and Mike Gravel is rumored to have been seen wandering down a Florida highway recently. But we’re really down to four, and tonight the Democrats have a debate involving only two people. Has anybody ever tried this before?
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been extremely testy toward one another, but so far the rancor at the top has not trickled down. The Democratic voters haven’t seemed angry at all. In fact, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen such a chipper group. Racing to the polls in droves. Not a single reference to holding one’s nose or the lesser of two evils. “I want the Republicans to feel the way I did in 2004,” said Mike Sherzan, an Iowan who was for Edwards in the caucus while his wife was for Clinton and his son was with Obama. (Basically, everybody’s son is with Obama.)
It would be nice if the two survivors could work a little harder on encouraging that mood. Anger is out. So 2006. So … Tom DeLay.
Hillary could start by purging her campaign of the lingering sense that the presidency is her due and anyone who stands in her way is a particularly mean chauvinist. You cannot run a campaign with the slogan: “Vote for Hillary — Think of All She’s Been Through.”
And while it seems unlikely, Barack might consider admitting once in a while that it’s possible for a person to reach for a greater tomorrow while voting for somebody else.
“It’s about the past versus the future,” he said yesterday, railing at some people (no names were mentioned, but we’re really running out of alternatives) who are willing to settle for small change, who “look backwards and try to build a bridge back to the 20th century.”
See, that is the sort of thing that makes Hillary voters depressed. Everybody wants to be a change agent. But Barack is making Clintonites feel like an elderly aunt who won’t let the kids play their newfangled music in the talent show.
In Colorado yesterday, Caroline Kennedy once again passed the torch to a new generation at an Obama rally that drew an estimated 18,000 people to the University of Denver arena, an overflow room and an overflow overflow room. “Let’s give a shout-out to all the folks who are still outside on the lacrosse field,” Barack urged the early birds who made it into the actual event.
The Kennedy-Obama connection is central to the campaign’s message, which is that the American people have been wandering in the desert for more than a generation, waiting for another leader who could show them how to reach for the stars. But J.F.K.’s grand achievement was the raising of expectations, not the follow-through. His administration was a decidedly mixed bag, during which people spent a great deal of time building nuclear fallout shelters.
Some of the Democratic resistance to Obama’s magic comes from people who are wary of politicians who want to win their hearts. Every great candidate has golden moments when the campaign merges perfectly into the zeitgeist of the people. But sooner or later it passes, and you’re left with a tired, flawed human being making a pitch to crowds of slightly deflated citizens. One of Hillary’s selling points is that we’re pre-deflated. We’ve known her so well for so long.
The Obama let-down would be way harder to handle. Earlier this week, his campaign visited Barack’s sort-of ancestral home in El Dorado, Kan., a small town outside Wichita where the community college gym was rocking.
“An hour-and-a-half wait. It was well worth it,” said Hardy Stegall of nearby Pretty Prairie.
It was Obama’s first visit. His grandparents, the Dunhams, kept chasing the American dream west until they wound up in Hawaii. Stanley Dunham started out in El Dorado, where he managed a furniture store and, family legend has it, once decked the high school principal. At the rally, Obama told the story of how Stanley married a young woman from the right side of the tracks and how their daughter married a man from Kenya, who left her a young single mother whose son is running for president.
“Their journey, like so many others, speaks to a simple truth … the future is what we decide it is going to be,” he said.
“I never thought he’d come here,” said Stegall, almost beside himself with pleasure.
And to tell the truth, I never imagined sitting in a gym in small-town Kansas, watching people whoop for a black, Hawaii-born, grandson-of-a-son of the Kansas soil who promised to bring their hometown values with him to the White House.
We may remember this as a great campaign, people. Presuming they don’t screw it up.
By GAIL COLLINS (New York Times)
January 31, 2008
January 31, 2008
January 26, 2008
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January 26, 2008
Meet Jorge Fernandez Gates
At only 18 years of age, Jorge Fernandez Gates can speak, read and write in 11 foreign languages. They are not all related languages either. Some already under his belt include Mandarin Chinese, Catalan, Galician, English, French, German, Swedish, Romanian, Italian, Portuguese, and Dutch.
Not only that, but Jorge only started learning foreign languages a little over 5 years ago, which means he’s been “picking up” a foreign lingo at the rate of two foreign languages per year. His goal is to get into the Guinness Book of Records by mastering at least 25 foreign languages.
Already recognized as the “youngest polyglot in Peru”, in several interviews given primarily in his native Spanish, he discusses some techniques he (and you) can use to develop fluency in whatever foreign language you’re striving to acquire.
He says, “For me, foreign language learning is a hobby, I can’t control it, at any moment I could open a dictionary to look up a new word for my vocabulary.”
His principal ally in the quest to master enough foreign languages to make the Guinness Book of Records is the internet which he credits with up to 70% of his foreign language learning success.
He cites in particular Radio Bucharest online at: (http://www.multilingualbooks.com/online-radio.html) that features both live and pre-recorded radio programming in 38 European and Asian languages as well as 18 African continental languages, and online language courses as aids in helping him to familiarize himself with foreign languages.
Other tactics he has frequently employed include:
- Talking with the staff in ethnic restaurants
- Watching television programs in or about target languages
- Using the radio as a key listening and comprehension development resource “to help accustom your ear to the pronunciation of the language”
- Using the internet to listen and study foreign languages
A major concern he has had was that “one day his brain would explode” from the constant linguistic input or that he would linguistically get “his wires crossed” and become totally confused. A neurologist he consulted assured him that “there are no limits” to the brain’s capacity to take in and store knowledge.
Jorge Fernandez gives these “keys” as essential to his linguistic accomplishments:
- Learn the foreign language grammar “forwards and backwards”
- Acquire a basis vocabulary of high-frequency words and phrases
- Never stop augmenting new vocabulary in your new language – He tries to learn at least two new words each day
- Practice your new language with friends, language teachers or whomever you can regularly
And just what started it all?
“I’m not a good student and as punishment my Mother decided to take away my cell phone and prohibited me from chatting online. I couldn’t go out, so to keep from spending the entire day sleeping I enrolled in a French course.” Then things began to change for him. “I liked it and decided to take Italian too.” He later discovered a course in Romanian on the internet and “loved it”.
To “prove” his language abilities, family members have gone with him to Chinese restaurants to have him converse with the cook and contacted TV programs and foreign language professors to verify his linguistic skills in other languages.
So began the linguistic journey of Jorge Fernandez Gates. So as not to create a “Babel” in his brain, he restricts himself to “calmly learning only two languages” at a time per year. You can listen to journalist Rosa Maria Palacios do a 26 minute video interview with him (in Spanish) on his language-learning adventures at: http://www.youtube.com/
Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on entering or advancing in the fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign or Second Language send for his no-cost pdf Ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know”, by sending an e-mail with “free ELT Ebook” in the subject line. For comments, questions, requests, to receive more information or to be added to his free TESOL articles and teaching materials mailing list, e-mail: email@example.com
January 19, 2008
REYKJAVIK (Reuters) – Bobby Fischer, the eccentric genius who became America’s only world chess champion by humbling the Soviet Union’s best but who spent his last years as a fugitive from U.S. authorities, has died at 64.
A spokesman for Fischer said he died after an unspecified illness at midday on Thursday in Reykjavik, the site of his 1972 victory over Boris Spassky at the height of the Cold War.
Once feted as a national hero and seen by some as the greatest chess talent ever, the Chicago-born former child prodigy seemed unable to resist perplexing his public with angry gestures, decade-long sulks and outrageous opinions.
Having won the world title, he gave it away again to the Soviet champion Anatoly Karpov three years later by refusing to defend it.
After years of obscurity, he defied U.S. sanctions to play and beat Spassky again in former Yugoslavia during the Balkan wars. This was the match that got him into trouble and forced him to become a fugitive wanted by U.S. authorities.
Of Jewish ancestry himself, Fischer claimed to be the victim of a Jewish conspiracy.
After the September 11, 2001 attacks he said he wanted to see the United States wiped out. He spent months in a Japanese jail cell, and his last years as a wild-haired, shambling recluse after Iceland gave him refuge.
Fischer’s triumph over Spassky ended the dominance of the seemingly invincible Soviet chess system. From the late 1920s to 1972, Soviets had held the world title for all but two years.
Fischer’s style of play was often hyper-aggressive. Unlike many grandmasters, he always strived to win each game rather than settle for a draw — even when he was playing with the black pieces, which are at a disadvantage as white moves first.
He acquired a reputation for relying on pure mathematical logic, calculating as many positions as humanly possible, rather than on intuition.
FIGHTING THE WHOLE SYSTEM
Spassky, who now lives in Paris, had little to say on Friday about his one-time nemesis. Asked by Reuters for his reaction to the news, he said: “It’s bad luck for you. Bobby Fischer is dead,” then hung up.
Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov hailed Fischer as a pioneer of chess. “We have lost a great individual,” Kasparov told reporters in Moscow.
“He was always alone .. . but while alone he demonstrated that a human being is capable of reaching new heights.”
Reigning champion Viswanathan Anand called Fischer the ultimate romantic: “He fought the whole system,” he said. “He was someone who could not deal with being a world champion.”
Karpov called him a “a chess giant and a unique personality”.
But he said Fischer had avoided challenging him. “I don’t want to say he was afraid, but he must have been vaguely sensing he could lose. And this thought gnawed him.”
Russian chess grandmaster Mark Taimanov, who lost to Fischer in 1971, said: “His whole life was dominated by the chess board, by chess and this is perhaps why he was so great.”
“It is symbolic that he died at 64 as 64 is the number that symbolizes the chess board,” he told Reuters Television.
The events that had led the American to spend his final years in the city of his 1972 triumph were typically bizarre.
By the 1990s, he was said to be living under assumed names in cheap hotels in Pasadena on the outskirts of Los Angeles, surviving on occasional royalties from his books.
After victory in the Yugoslav game, which earned him $3 million, he spent years globetrotting, a wanted man in the United States. He resurfaced in public to praise the September 11 attacks in an interview with a Philippine radio station.
In 2004, he was detained in Japan for trying to travel on a revoked U.S. passport. After eight months in detention, during which the United States sought to have him extradited, Iceland granted him citizenship in March 2005.
Debate has always raged in chess circles about who was the greatest, but Fischer himself was in no doubt. He once said: “It’s nice to be modest, but it would be stupid if I did not tell the truth. It is Fischer.”
“SEE ‘EM SQUIRM”
Fischer told interviewers his favorite moment was when opponents began to feel they would lose. “I like to see ‘em squirm,” he once said.
He was U.S. junior champion at 13 and U.S. Open champion at 14, retaining the title whenever he chose to defend it.
He became an international grandmaster at 15, gaining the rating at his first international tournament in Yugoslavia. He once defeated 21 grandmasters in succession — no other U.S. player had beaten more than seven in a row.
As Fischer’s fame grew, he became more unpredictable. He walked out of tournaments because of what he considered to be bad lighting or bad air conditioning.
In the mid-1960s, he opted out of two world championship qualifying series because he thought the tournament system favored the Russians. In 1967, when officials would not meet his demands for better conditions, Fischer angrily withdrew from international competition “for a period of introspection”.
He took his collection of chess books to California, where he later said he had “plotted my revenge if I ever came back”.
When the rules were changed in 1972 to include an eight-player eliminator to find the challenger to world champion Spassky, Fischer had the chance to prove he was as good as he always said he was.
A friend of the chess master told Reuters Fischer had been taken to hospital in October last year. Not trusting doctors, he returned home and was looked after by friends until his deat.
Einar Einarsson, president of a group that fought to bring Fischer to Iceland from Japan, said Fischer had liked living in Iceland but at times felt trapped because he could not travel.
One commentator said there was one constant through his life — his “running battle with the rest of the human race”.
(Additional reporting from Paris, Moscow and Amsterdam bureaus, and Oskar von Bahr in Stockholm; editing by Andrew Roche and Giles Elgood)
January 19, 2008
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January 19, 2008
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President George W. Bush called on Congress on Friday to give the U.S. economy a “shot in the arm” with an election-year package of temporary tax cuts and other measures worth up to $150 billion.
Bush said the United States, where share markets have slumped and unemployment is rising, faced the risk of an economic downturn but that his advisers still expected continued growth, albeit at a slower pace.
He said he wanted Congress to move quickly on a stimulus package that would focus on tax rebates for families and incentives to encourage business investment. The White House said the package could create about 500,000 new jobs.
“This growth package must be built on broad-based tax relief that will directly affect economic growth and not the kind of spending projects that would have little immediate impact on our economy,” Bush said at the White House.
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the administration hoped for a package worth about $140 billion to $150 billion, which is a little more than 1 percent of the economy’s size.
Financial markets are reeling amid bleak reports of declining retail sales and rising unemployment on top of soaring oil prices and a credit crunch brought on by a crisis in subprime mortgages.
Bush’s plan failed to reassure investors on Friday as world stock prices fell again, with U.S. stocks tumbling to close out the worst week for the benchmark S&P 500 index in 5 years on fears the White House effort will not be enough to avoid recession.
Economists are talking of a possible recession taking hold before presidential and congressional elections in November and the debate over an economic stimulus has been taken up by candidates campaigning to succeed Bush in the White House.
Bush and the Democratic-led Congress are in rare agreement that a stimulus is needed. But they are still hammering out the details of a plan that is likely to include tax rebates of several hundred dollars each to help spur consumers as well as temporary tax breaks for businesses.
Under discussion are proposals to trim the lowest income tax rate and give the money back in a rebate. Lawmakers are also considering allowing businesses to immediately write off 50 percent of their new investments.
Democrats are looking to provide states with some financial aid, extend unemployment benefits beyond the 26 weeks offered by most states and to get some more money for food stamps.
For now, lawmakers are putting aside the bitter partisanship that dominated last year’s session and which resulted in near-gridlock over spending, taxes, health care and the Iraq war.
“I am encouraged and share the president’s view that we need prompt bipartisan action to strengthen our economy,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Only a day earlier, the Nevada Democrat had expressed some disappointment with the results of a telephone conference between Bush and congressional leaders.
Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, said after Bush’s remarks on Friday that the president needed to accept some spending as part of the package.
“We want a balanced package of tax rebates for the middle class and spending stimulus that jump-starts the economy quickly,” Schumer said at a news conference.
Bush predicted that an agreement could be worked out soon. The administration and lawmakers say the outlines of plan could be clear by Bush’s State of the Union address to Congress on January 28.
“I believe we can come together on a growth package very quickly,” Bush told reporters as he visited a lawn mower factory in Maryland on Friday.
Most of the major White House contenders have unveiled proposals for the economy but they differ widely on specifics, highlighting the challenges in getting a bipartisan agreement.
Sen. Hillary Clinton, who has proposed a $110 billion plan that would target poor and middle-class people, said Bush’s approach would shortchange struggling families.
“I don’t think it does enough,” she said in Las Vegas.
Meanwhile, Republican Sen. John McCain, campaigning in South Carolina, expressed wariness about some Democratic ideas for a stimulus, especially those focusing on spending.
“I want to see where that money is going to come from,” said McCain, who laid out a proposal on Thursday for cuts in corporate tax rates and incentives for companies to invest in new equipment and research.
(Reporting by Caren Bohan and Donna Smith, additional reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky, Steve Holland and Jeff Mason; editing by Kristin Roberts and Stuart Grudgings)
January 15, 2008
An Investigation of Feminist Claims about Rape. As a crime against the person, rape is uniquely horrible in its long-term effects. The anguish it brings is often followed by an abiding sense of fear and shame. Discussions of the data on rape inevitably seem callous. How can one quantify the sense of deep violation behind the statistics? Terms like incidence and prevalence are statistical jargon; once we use them, we necessarily abstract ourselves from the misery. Yet, it remains clear that to arrive at intelligent policies and strategies to decrease the occurrence of rape, we have no alternative but to gather and analyze data, and to do so does not make us callous. Truth is no enemy to compassion, and falsehood is no friend.
Some feminists routinely refer to American society as a “rape culture.” Yet estimates on the prevalence of rape vary wildly. According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, there were 102,560 reported rapes or attempted rapes in 1990. The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that 130,000 women were victims of rape in 1990. A Harris poll sets the figure at 380,000 rapes or sexual assaults for 1993. According to a study by the National Victims Center, there were 683,000 completed forcible rapes in 1990. The Justice Department says that 8 percent of all American women will be victims of rape or attempted rape in their lifetime. The radical feminist legal scholar Catharine MacKinnon, however, claims that “by conservative definition [rape] happens to almost half of all women at least once in their lives.”
Who is right? Feminist activists and others have plausibly argued that the relatively low figures of the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics are not trustworthy. The FBI survey is based on the number of cases reported to the police, but rape is among the most underreported of crimes. The Bureau of Justice Statistics National Crime Survey is based on interviews with 100,000 randomly selected women. It, too, is said to be flawed because the women were never directly questioned about rape. Rape was discussed only if the woman happened to bring it up in the course of answering more general questions about criminal victimization. The Justice Department has changed its method of questioning to meet this criticism, so we will know in a year or two whether this has a significant effect on its numbers. Clearly, independent studies on the incidence and prevalence of rape are badly needed. Unfortunately, research groups investigating in this area have no common definition of rape, and the results so far have led to confusion and acrimony.
Rape: “Normal Male Behavior”
Of the rape studies by nongovernment groups, the two most frequently cited are the 1985 Ms. magazine report by Mary Koss and the 1992 National Women’s Study by Dr. Dean Kilpatrick of the Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center at the Medical School of South Carolina. In 1982, Mary Koss, then a professor of psychology at Kent State University in Ohio, published an article on rape in which she expressed the orthodox gender feminist view that “rape represents an extreme behavior but one that is on a continuum with normal male behavior within the culture” (my emphasis). Some well-placed feminist activists were impressed by her. As Koss tells it, she received a phone call out of the blue inviting her to lunch with Gloria Steinem. For Koss, the lunch was a turning point. Ms. magazine had decided to do a national rape survey on college campuses, and Koss was chosen to direct it. Koss’s findings would become the most frequently cited research on women’s victimization, not so much by established scholars in the field of rape research as by journalists, politicians, and activists.
Koss and her associates interviewed slightly more than three thousand college women, randomly selected nationwide. The young women were asked ten questions about sexual violation. These were followed by several questions about the precise nature of the violation. Had they been drinking? What were their emotions during and after the event? What forms of resistance did they use? How would they label the event? Koss counted anyone who answered affirmatively to any of the last three questions as having been raped:
8. Have you had sexual intercourse when you didn’t want to because a man gave you alcohol or drugs?
9. Have you had sexual intercourse when you didn’t want to because a man threatened or used some degree of physical force (twisting your arm, holding you down, etc.) to make you?
10. Have you had sexual acts (anal or oral intercourse or penetration by objects other than the penis) when you didn’t want to because a man threatened or used some degree of physical force (twisting your arm, holding you down, etc.) to make you?
Koss and her colleagues concluded that 15.4 percent of respondents had been raped, and that 12.1 percent had been victims of attempted rape. Thus, a total of 27.5 percent of the respondents were determined to have been victims of rape or attempted rape because they gave answers that fit Koss’s criteria for rape (penetration by penis, finger, or other object under coercive influence such as physical force, alcohol, or threats). However, that is not how the so-called rape victims saw it.
Only about a quarter of the women Koss calls rape victims labeled what happened to them as rape. According to Koss, the answers to the follow-up questions revealed that “only 27 percent” of the women she counted as having been raped labeled themselves as rape victims. Of the remainder, 49 percent said it was “miscommunication,” 14 percent said it was a “crime but not rape,” and 11 percent said they “don’t feel victimized.”
In line with her view of rape as existing on a continuum of male sexual aggression, Koss also asked: “Have you given in to sex play (fondling, kissing, or petting, but not intercourse) when you didn’t want to because you were overwhelmed by a man’s continual arguments and pressure?” To this question, 53.7 percent responded affirmatively, and they were counted as having been sexually victimized.
The Koss study, released in 1988, became known as the Ms. Report. Here is how the Ms. Foundation characterizes the results: “The Ms. project-the largest scientific investigation ever undertaken on the subject-revealed some disquieting statistics, including this astonishing fact: one in four female respondents had an experience that met the legal definition of rape or attempted rape.”
The Official “One in Four” Figure
“One in four” has since become the official figure on women’s rape victimization cited in women’s studies departments, rape crisis centers, women’s magazines, and on protest buttons and posters. Susan Faludi defended it in a Newsweek story on sexual correctness. Naomi Wolf refers to it in The Beauty Myth, calculating that acquaintance rape is “more common than lefthandedness, alcoholism, and heart attacks.” “One in four” is chanted in “Take Back the Night” processions, and it is the number given in the date rape brochures handed out at freshman orientation at colleges and universities around the country. Politicians, from Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware, a Democrat, to Republican Congressman Jim Ramstad of Minnesota, cite it regularly, and it is the primary reason for the Title IV, “Safe Campuses for Women” provision of the Violence Against Women Act of 1993, which provides twenty million dollars to combat rape on college campuses.
When Neil Gilbert, a professor at Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare, first read the “one in four” figure in the school newspaper, he was convinced it could not be accurate. The results did not tally with the findings of almost all previous research on rape. When he read the study he was able to see where the high figures came from and why Koss’s approach was unsound.
He noticed, for example, that Koss and her colleagues counted as victims of rape any respondent who answered “yes” to the question “Have you had sexual intercourse when you didn’t want to because a man gave you alcohol or drugs?” That opened the door wide to regarding as a rape victim anyone who regretted her liaison of the previous night. If your date mixes a pitcher of margaritas and encourages you to drink with him and you accept a drink, have you been “administered” an intoxicant, and has your judgment been impaired? Certainly, if you pass out and are molested, one would call it rape. But if you drink and, while intoxicated, engage in sex that you later come to regret, have you been raped? Koss does not address these questions specifically, she merely counts your date as a rapist and you as a rape statistic if you drank with your date and regret having had sex with him. As Gilbert points out, the question, as Koss posed it, is far too ambiguous:
What does having sex “because” a man gives you drugs or alcohol signify? A positive response does not indicate whether duress, intoxication, force, or the threat of force were present; whether the woman’s judgment or control were substantially impaired; or whether the man purposefully got the woman drunk in order to prevent her resistance to sexual advances…. While the item could have been clearly worded to denote “intentional incapacitation of the victim,” as the question stands it would require a mind reader to detect whether any affirmative response corresponds to this legal definition of rape.
Koss, however, insisted that her criteria conformed with the legal definitions of rape used in some states, and she cited in particular the statute on rape of her own state, Ohio: “No person shall engage in sexual conduct with another person . . . when . . . for the purpose of preventing resistance the offender substantially impairs the other person’s judgment or control by administering any drug or intoxicant to the other person” (Ohio revised code 1980, 2907.01A, 2907.02).
The Blade Cuts Deep
Two reporters from the Blade a small, progressive Toledo, Ohio, newspaper that has won awards for the excellence of its investigative articles-were also not convinced that the “one in four” figure was accurate. They took a close look at Koss’s study and at several others that were being cited to support the alarming tidings of widespread sexual abuse on college campuses. In a special three-part series on rape called “The Making of an Epidemic,” published in October 1992, the reporters, Nara Shoenberg and Sam Roe, revealed that Koss was quoting the Ohio statute in a very misleading way: she had stopped short of mentioning the qualifying clause of the statute, which specifically excludes “the situations where a person plies his intended partner with drink or drugs in hopes that lowered inhibition might lead to a liaison.” Koss now concedes that question eight was badly worded. Indeed, she told the Blade reporters, “At the time I viewed the question as legal; I now concede that it’s ambiguous.” That concession should have been followed by the admission that her survey may be inaccurate by a factor of two: for, as Koss herself told the Blade, once you remove the positive responses to question eight, the finding that one in four college women is a victim of rape or attempted rape drops to one in nine. But as we shall see, this figure too is unacceptably high.
For Gilbert, the most serious indication that something was basically awry in the Ms./Koss study was that the majority of women she classified as having been raped did not believe they had been raped. Of those Koss counts as having been raped, only 27 percent thought they had been; 73 percent did not say that what happened to them was rape. In effect, Koss and her followers present us with a picture of confused young women overwhelmed by threatening males who force their attentions on them during the course of a date but are unable or unwilling to classify their experience as rape. Does that picture fit the average female undergraduate? For that matter, does it plausibly apply to the larger community? As the journalist Cathy Young observes, “Women have sex after initial reluctance for a number of reasons . . . fear of being beaten up by their dates is rarely reported as one of them.”
Katie Roiphe, a graduate student in English at Princeton and author of The Morning After: Sex, Fear, and Feminism on Campus, argues along similar lines when she claims that Koss had no right to reject the judgment of the college women who didn’t think they were raped. But Katha Pollitt of The Nation defends Koss, pointing out that in many cases people are wronged without knowing it. Thus we do not say that “victims of other injustices-fraud, malpractice, job discrimination-have suffered no wrong as long as they are unaware of the law.”
Pollitt’s analogy is faulty, however. If Jane has ugly financial dealings with Tom and an expert explains to Jane that Tom has defrauded her, then Jane usually thanks the expert for having enlightened her about the legal facts. To make her case, Pollitt would have to show that the rape victims who were unaware that they were raped would accept Koss’s judgment that they really were. But that has not been shown; Koss did not enlighten the women she counts as rape victims, and they did not say “now that you explain it, we can see we were.”
Koss and Pollitt make a technical (and in fact dubious) legal point: women are ignorant about what counts as rape. Roiphe makes a straightforward human point: the women were there, and they know best how to judge what happened to them. Since when do feminists consider “law” to override women’s experience?
Koss also found that 42 percent of those she counted as rape victims went on to have sex with their attackers on a later occasion. For victims of attempted rape, the figure for subsequent sex with reported assailants was 35 percent. Koss is quick to point out that “it is not known if [the subsequent sex] was forced or voluntary” and that most of the relationships “did eventually break up subsequent to the victimization.” But of course, most college relationships break up eventually for one reason or another. Yet, instead of taking these young women at their word, Koss casts about for explanations of why so many “raped” women would return to their assailants, implying that they may have been coerced. She ends by treating her subjects’ rejection of her findings as evidence that they were confused and sexually naive.
There is a more respectful explanation. Since most of those Koss counts as rape victims did not regard themselves as having been raped, why not take this fact and the fact that so many went back to their partners as reasonable indications that they had not been raped to begin with?
The Toledo reporters calculated that if you eliminate the affirmative responses to the alcohol or drugs question, and also subtract from Koss’s results the women who did not think they were raped, her one in four figure for rape and attempted rape “drops to between one in twenty-two and one in thirty-three.”
The “One in Eight” Study
The other frequently cited nongovernment rape study, the National Women’s Study, was conducted by Dean Kilpatrick. From an interview sample of 4,008 women, the study projected that there were 683,000 rapes in 1990. As to prevalence, it concluded that “in America, one out of every eight adult women, or at least 12.1 million American women, has been the victim of forcible rape sometime in her lifetime.”
Unlike the Koss report, which tallied rape attempts as well as rapes, the Kilpatrick study focused exclusively on rape. Interviews were conducted by phone, by female interviewers. A woman who agreed to become part of the study heard the following from the interviewer: “Women do not always report such experiences to police or discuss them with family or friends.
The person making the advances isn’t always a stranger, but can be a friend, boyfriend, or even a family member. Such experiences can occur anytime in a woman’s life-even as a child.” Pointing out that she wants to hear about any such experiences “regardless of how long ago it happened or who made the advances,” the interviewer proceeds to ask four questions:
1. Has a man or boy ever made you have sex by using force or threatening to harm you or someone close to you? Just so there is no mistake, by sex we mean putting a penis in your vagina.
2. Has anyone ever made you have oral sex by force or threat of harm? Just so there is no mistake, by oral sex we mean that a man or boy put his penis in your mouth or somebody penetrated your vagina or anus with his mouth or tongue.
3. Has anyone ever made you have anal sex by force or threat of harm?
4. Has anyone ever put fingers or objects in your vagina or anus against your will by using force or threat?
Any woman who answered yes to any one of the four questions was classified as a victim of rape.
This seems to be a fairly straightforward and well-designed survey that provides a window into the private horror that many women, especially very young women, experience. One of the more disturbing findings of the survey was that 61 percent of the victims said they were seventeen or younger when the rape occurred.
There is, however, one flaw that affects the significance of Kilpatrick’s findings. An affirmative answer to any one of the first three questions does reasonably put one in the category of rape victim. The fourth is problematic, for it includes cases in which a boy penetrated a girl with his finger, against her will, in a heavy petting situation. Certainly the boy behaved badly. But is he a rapist? Probably neither he nor his date would say so. Yet, the survey classifies him as a rapist and her as a rape victim.
I called Dr. Kilpatrick and asked him about the fourth question. “Well,” he said, “if a woman is forcibly penetrated by an object such as a broomstick, we would call that rape.”
“So would I,” I said. “But isn’t there a big difference between being violated by a broomstick and being violated by a finger?” Dr. Kilpatrick acknowledged this: “We should have split out fingers versus objects,” he said. Still, he assured me that the question did not significantly affect the outcome. But I wondered. The study had found an epidemic of rape among teenagers-just the age group most likely to get into situations like the one I have described.
A Serious Discrepancy
The more serious worry is that Kilpatrick’s findings, and many other findings on rape, vary wildly unless the respondents are explicitly asked whether they have been raped. In 1993, Louis Harris and Associates did a telephone survey and came up with quite different results. Harris was commissioned by the Commonwealth Fund to do a study of women’s health. As we shall see, their high figures on women’s depression and psychological abuse by men caused a stir. But their finding on rape went altogether unnoticed. Among the questions asked of its random sample population of 2,500 women was, “In the last five years, have you been a victim of a rape or sexual assault?” Two percent of the respondents said yes; 98 percent said no. Since attempted rape counts as sexual assault, the combined figures for rape and attempted rape would be 1.9 million over five years or 380,000 for a single year. Since there are approximately twice as many attempted rapes as completed rapes, the Commonwealth/ Harris figure for completed rapes would come to approximately 190,000. That is dramatically lower than Kilpatrick’s finding of 683,000 completed forcible rapes.
The Harris interviewer also asked a question about acquaintance and marital rape that is worded very much like Kilpatrick’s and Koss’s: “In the past year, did your partner ever try to, or force you to, have sexual relations by using physical force, such as holding you down, or hitting you, or threatening to hit you, or not?” Not a single respondent of the Harris poll’s sample answered yes.
How to explain the discrepancy? True, women are often extremely reluctant to talk about sexual violence that they have experienced. But the Harris pollsters had asked a lot of other awkward personal questions to which the women responded with candor: six percent said they had considered suicide, five percent admitted to using hard drugs, 10 percent said they had been sexually abused when they were growing up. I don’t have the answer, though it seems obvious to me that such wide variances should make us appreciate the difficulty of getting reliable figures on the risk of rape from the research. That the real risk should be known is obvious. The Blade reporters interviewed students on their fears and found them anxious and bewildered. “It makes a big difference if it’s one in three or one in 50,” said April Groff of the University of Michigan, who says she is “very scared.” “I’d have to say, honestly, I’d think about rape a lot less if I knew the number was one in 50.”
When the Blade reporters asked Kilpatrick why he had not asked women whether they had been raped, he told them there had been no time in the thirty-five-minute interview. “That was probably something that ended up on the cutting-room floor.” But Kilpatrick’s exclusion of such a question resulted in very much higher figures. When pressed about why he omitted it from a study for which he had received a million- dollar federal grant, he replied, “If people think that is a key question, let them get their own grant and do their own study.”
Kilpatrick had done an earlier study in which respondents were explicitly asked whether they had been raped. That study showed a relatively low prevalence of five percent-one in twenty-and it got very little publicity. Kilpatrick subsequently abandoned his former methodology in favor of the Ms./Koss method, which allows the surveyor to decide whether a rape occurred. Like Koss, he used an expanded definition of rape (both include penetration by a finger). Kilpatrick’s new approach yielded him high numbers (one in eight), and citations in major newspapers around the country. His graphs were reproduced in Time magazine under the heading, “Unsettling Report on an Epidemic of Rape.” Now he shares with Koss the honor of being a principal expert cited by media, politicians, and activists.
There are many researchers who study rape victimization, but their relatively low figures generate no headlines. The reporters from the Blade interviewed several scholars whose findings on rape were not sensational but whose research methods were sound and were not based on controversial definitions. Eugene Kanin, a retired professor of sociology from Purdue University and a pioneer in the field of acquaintance rape, is upset by the intrusion of politics into the field of inquiry: “This is highly convoluted activism rather than social science research.” Professor Margaret Gordon of the University of Washington did a study in 1981 that came with relatively low figures for rape (one in fifty). She tells of the negative reaction to her findings: “There was some pressure-at least I felt pressure-to have rape be as prevalent as possible . . .. I’m a pretty strong feminist, but one of the things I was fighting was that the really avid feminists were trying to get me to say that things were worse than they really are.”
Dr. Linda George of Duke University also found relatively low rates of rape (one in seventeen), even though she asked questions very close to Kilpatrick’s. She told the Blade she is concerned that many of her colleagues treat the high numbers as if they are “cast in stone.” Dr. Naomi Breslau, director of research in the psychiatry department at the Henry Ford Health Science Center in Detroit, who also found low numbers, feels that it is important to challenge the popular view that higher numbers are necessarily more accurate. Dr. Breslau sees the need for a new and more objective program of research: “It’s really an open question. . . . We really don’t know a whole lot about it.”
“Rape Crisis” Hysteria: “Potential Survivors” and “Potential Rapists”
An intrepid few in the academy have publicly criticized those who have proclaimed a “rape crisis” for irresponsibly exaggerating the problem and causing needless anxiety. Camille Paglia claims that they have been especially hysterical about date rape: “Date rape has swelled into a catastrophic cosmic event, like an asteroid threatening the earth in a 50′s science fiction film.” She bluntly rejects the contention that “‘No’ always means no . . ..’No’ has always been, and always will be, part of the dangerous, alluring courtship ritual of sex and seduction, observable even in the animal kingdom.”
Paglia’s dismissal of date rape hype infuriates campus feminists, for whom the rape crisis is very real. On most campuses, date-rape groups hold meetings, marches, rallies. Victims are “survivors,” and their friends are “co-survivors” who also suffer and need counseling. At some rape awareness meetings, women who have not yet been date raped are referred to as “potential survivors.” Their male classmates are “potential rapists.”
Has date rape in fact reached critical proportions on the college campus? Having heard about an outbreak of rape at Columbia University, Peter Hellman of New York magazine decided to do a story about it. To his surprise, he found that campus police logs showed no evidence of it whatsoever. Only two rapes were reported to the Columbia campus police in 1990, and in both cases, charges were dropped for lack of evidence. Hellman checked the figures at other campuses and found that in 1990 fewer than one thousand rapes were reported to campus security on college campuses in the entire country. That works out to fewer than one-half of one rape per campus. Yet despite the existence of a rape crisis center at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital two blocks from Columbia University, campus feminists pressured the administration into installing an expensive rape crisis center inside the university. Peter Hellman describes a typical night at the center in February 1992: “On a recent Saturday night, a shift of three peer counselors sat in the Rape Crisis Center-one a backup to the other two. . . . Nobody called; nobody came. As if in a firehouse, the three women sat alertly and waited for disaster to strike. It was easy to forget these were the fading hours of the eve of Valentine’s Day.”
In The Morning After, Katie Roiphe describes the elaborate measures taken to prevent sexual assaults at Princeton. Blue lights have been installed around the campus, freshman women are issued whistles at orientation. There are marches, rape counseling sessions, emergency telephones. But as Roiphe tells it, Princeton is a very safe town, and whenever she walked across a deserted golf course to get to classes, she was more afraid of the wild geese than of a rapist. Roiphe reports that between 1982 and 1993 only two rapes were reported to the campus police. And, when it comes to violent attacks in general, male students are actually more likely to be the victims. Roiphe sees the campus rape crisis movement as a phenomenon of privilege: these young women have had it all, and when they find out that the world can be dangerous and unpredictable, they are outraged:
Many of these girls [in rape marches] came to Princeton from Milton and Exeter. Many of their lives have been full of summers in Nantucket and horseback-riding lessons. These are women who have grown up expecting fairness, consideration, and politeness.
Serious Misallocation of Funds
The Blade story on rape is unique in contemporary journalism because the authors dared to question the popular feminist statistics on this terribly sensitive problem. But to my mind, the important and intriguing story they tell about unreliable advocacy statistics is overshadowed by the even more important discoveries they made about the morally indefensible way that public funds for combatting rape are being allocated. Schoenberg and Roe studied Toledo neighborhoods and calculated that women in the poorer areas were nearly thirty times more likely to be raped than those in the wealthy areas. They also found that campus rape rates were 30 times lower than the rape rates for the general population of 18-to 24-year-olds in Toledo. The attention and the money are disproportionately going to those least at risk. According to the Blade reporters:
Across the nation, public universities are spending millions of dollars a year on rapidly growing programs to combat rape. Videos, self-defense classes, and full-time rape educators are commonplace. . . . But the new spending comes at a time when community rape programs-also dependent on tax dollars-are desperately scrambling for money to help populations at much higher risk than college students.
One obvious reason for this inequity is that feminist advocates come largely from the middle class and so exert great pressure to protect their own. To render their claims plausible, they dramatize themselves as victims-survivors or “potential survivors.” Another device is to expand the definition of rape (as Koss and Kilpatrick do). Dr. Andrea Parrot, chair of the Cornell University Coalition Advocating Rape Education and author of Sexual Assault on Campus, begins her date rape prevention manual with the words, “Any sexual intercourse without mutual desire is a form of rape. Anyone who is psychologically or physically pressured into sexual contact on any occasion is as much a victim as the person who is attacked in the streets” (my emphasis). By such a definition, privileged young women in our nation’s colleges gain moral parity with the real victims in the community at large. Parrot’s novel conception of rape also justifies the salaries being paid to all the new personnel in the burgeoning college date rape industry. After all, it is much more pleasant to deal with rape from an office in Princeton than on the streets of downtown Trenton.
Another reason that college women are getting a lion’s share of public resources for combatting rape is that collegiate money, though originally public, is allocated by college officials. As the Blade points out:
Public universities have multi-million dollar budgets heavily subsidized by state dollars. School officials decide how the money is spent, and are eager to address the high-profile issues like rape on campus. In contrast, rape crisis centers-nonprofit agencies that provide free services in the community-must appeal directly to federal and state governments for money.
Schoenberg and Roe describe typical cases of women in communities around the country-in Madison, Wisconsin, in Columbus, Ohio, in Austin, Texas, and in Newport, Kentucky-who have been raped and have to wait months for rape counseling services.
There were three rapes reported to police at the University of Minnesota in 1992; in New York City there were close to three thousand. Minnesota students have a 24-hour rape crisis hot line of their own. In New York City, the “hot line” leads to detectives in the sex crimes unit. The Blade reports that the sponsors of the Violence Against Women Act of 1993 reflect the same bizarre priorities: “If Senator Biden has his way, campuses will get at least twenty million more dollars for rape education and prevention.” In the meantime, Gail Rawlings of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape complains that the bill guarantees nothing for basic services, counseling, and support groups for women in the larger community: “It’s ridiculous. This bill is supposed to encourage prosecution of violence against women, land] one of the main keys is to have support for the victim. . . . I just don’t understand why [the money] isn’t there.”
Because rape is the most underreported of crimes, the campus activists tell us we cannot learn the true dimensions of campus rape from police logs or hospital reports. But as an explanation of why there are so few known and proven incidents of rape on campus, that won’t do. Underreporting of sexual crimes is not confined to the campus, and wherever there is a high level of reported rape-say in poor urban communities where the funds for combatting rape are almost nonexistent-the level of underreported rape will be greater still.
No matter how you look at it, women on campus do not face anywhere near the same risk of rape as women elsewhere. The fact that college women continue to get a disproportionate and ever-growing share of the very scarce public resources allocated for rape prevention and for aid to rape victims underscores how disproportionately powerful and self-preoccupied the campus feminists are despite all their vaunted concern for “women” writ large.
Once again we see what a long way the New Feminism has come from Seneca Falls. The privileged and protected women who launched the women’s movement, as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony took pains to point out, did not regard themselves as the primary victims of gender inequity: “They had souls large enough to feel the wrongs of others without being scarified in their own flesh.” They did not act as if they had “in their own experience endured the coarser forms of tyranny resulting from unjust laws, or association with immoral and unscrupulous men.” Ms. Stanton and Ms. Anthony concentrated their efforts on the Hester Vaughns and the other defenseless women whose need for gender equity was urgent and unquestionable.
Much of the unattractive self-preoccupation and victimology that we find on today’s campuses have been irresponsibly engendered by the inflated and scarifying “one in four” statistic on campus rape. In some cases the campaign of alarmism arouses exasperation of another kind. In an article in the New York Times Magazine, Katie Roiphe questioned Koss’s figures: “If 25 percent of my women friends were really being raped, wouldn’t I know it?” She also questioned the feminist perspective on male/female relations: “These feminists are endorsing their own utopian vision of sexual relations: sex without struggle, sex without power, sex without persuasion, sex without pursuit. If verbal coercion constitutes rape, then the word rape itself expands to include any kind of sex a woman experiences as negative.”
The publication of Ms. Roiphe’s piece incensed the campus feminists. “The New York Times should be shot,” railed Laurie Fink, a professor at Kenyon College. “Don’t invite [Katie Roiphe] to your school if you can prevent it,” counseled Pauline Bart of the University of Illinois. Gail Dines, a women’s studies professor and date rape activist from Wheelock College, called Roiphe a traitor who has sold out to the “white male patriarchy.”
Other critics, such as Camille Paglia and Berkeley professor of social welfare Neil Gilbert, have been targeted for demonstrations, boycotts, and denunciations. Gilbert began to publish his critical analyses of the Ms./ Koss study in 1990. Many feminist activists did not look kindly on Gilbert’s challenge to their “one in four” figure. A date rape clearinghouse in San Francisco devotes itself to “refuting” Gilbert; it sends out masses of literature attacking him. It advertises at feminist conferences with green and orange fliers bearing the headline STOP IT, BITCH! The words are not Gilbert’s, but the tactic is an effective way of drawing attention to his work. At one demonstration against Gilbert on the Berkeley campus, students chanted, “Cut it out or cut it off,” and carried signs that read, KILL NEIL GILBERT! Sheila Kuehl, the director of the California Women’s Law Center, confided to readers of the Los Angeles Daily Journal, “I found myself wishing that Gilbert, himself, might be raped and . . . be told, to his face, it had never happened.”
The findings being cited in support of an “epidemic” of campus rape are the products of advocacy research. Those promoting the research are bitterly opposed to seeing it exposed as inaccurate. On the other hand, rape is indeed the most underreported of crimes. We need the truth for policy to be fair and effective. If the feminist advocates would stop muddying the waters we could probably get at it.
High rape numbers serve the gender feminists by promoting the belief that American culture is sexist and misogynist. But the common assumption that rape is a manifestation of misogyny is open to question. Assume for the sake of argument that Koss and Kilpatrick are right and that the lower numbers of the FBI, the Justice Department, the Harris poll, of Kilpatrick’s earlier study, and the many other studies mentioned earlier are wrong. Would it then follow that we are a “patriarchal rape culture”? Not necessarily. American society is exceptionally violent, and the violence is not specifically patriarchal or misogynist. According to International Crime Rates, a report from the United States Department of Justice “Crimes of violence (homicide, rape, and robbery) are four to nine times more frequent in the United States than they are in Europe. The U.S. crime rate for rape was . . . roughly seven times higher than the average for Europe.” The incidence of rape is many times lower in such countries as Greece, Portugal, or Japan-countries far more overtly patriarchal than ours.
It might be said that places like Greece, Portugal, and Japan do not keep good records on rape. But the fact is that Greece, Portugal, and Japan are significantly less violent than we are. I have walked through the equivalent of Central Park in Kyoto at night. I felt safe, and I was safe, not because Japan is a feminist society (it is the opposite), but because crime is relatively rare. The international studies on violence suggest that patriarchy is not the primary cause of rape but that rape, along with other crimes against the person, is caused by whatever it is that makes our society among the most violent of the so-called advanced nations.
But the suggestion that criminal violence, not patriarchal misogyny, is the primary reason for our relatively high rate of rape is unwelcome to gender feminists like Susan Faludi, who insist, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, that “the highest rate of rapes appears in cultures that have the highest degree of gender inequality, where sexes are segregated at work, that have patriarchal religions, that celebrate all-male sporting and hunting rituals, i.e., a society such as us.”
In the spring of 1992, Peter Jennings hosted an ABC special on the subject of rape. Catharine MacKinnon, Susan Faludi, Naomi Wolf, and Mary Koss were among the panelists, along with John Leo of U.S. News & World Report. When MacKinnon trotted out the claim that 25 percent of women are victims of rape, Mr. Leo replied, “I don’t believe those statistics. . . . That’s totally false.” MacKinnon countered, “That means you don’t believe women. It’s not cooked, it’s interviews with women by people who believed them when they said it. That’s the methodology.”
The accusation that Leo did not believe “women” silenced him, as it was meant to. But as we have seen, believing what women actually say is precisely not the methodology by which some feminist advocates get their incendiary statistics.
MacKinnon’s next volley was certainly on target. She pointed out that the statistics she had cited “are starting to become nationally accepted by the government.” That claim could not be gainsaid, and MacKinnon may be pardoned for crowing about it. The government, like the media, is accepting the gender feminist claims and is introducing legislation whose “whole purpose . . . is to raise the consciousness of the American public.”
The words are Joseph Biden’s, and the bill to which he referred-the Violence Against Women Act-introduces the principle that violence against women is much like racial violence, calling for civil as well as criminal remedies.
Like a lynching or a cross burning, an act of violence by a man against a woman would be prosecuted as a crime of gender bias, under title three of the bill: “State and Federal criminal laws do not adequately protect against the bias element of gender-motivated crimes, which separates these crimes from acts of random violence, nor do those laws adequately provide victims of gender-motivated crimes the opportunity to vindicate their interests.” Whereas ordinary violence is “random,” “violence against women” may be discriminatory in the literal sense in which we speak of a bigot as discriminating against someone because of race or religion.
Mary Koss and Sarah Buel were invited to give testimony on the subject of violence against women before the House Judiciary Committee. Dean Kilpatrick’s findings were cited. Neil Gilbert was not there; nor were any of the other scholars interviewed by the Toledo Blade.
The litigation that the bill invites gladdens the hearts of gender feminists. If we consider that a boy getting fresh in the back seat of a car may be prosecuted both as an attempted rapist and as a gender bigot who has violated his date’s civil rights, we can see why the title three provision is being hailed by radical feminists like Catharine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin. Dworkin, who was surprised and delighted at the support the bill was getting, candidly observed that the senators “don’t understand the meaning of the legislation they pass.”
Senator Biden invites us to see the bill’s potential as an instrument of moral education on a national scale. “I have become convinced . . . that violence against women reflects as much a failure of our nation’s collective moral imagination as it does the failure of our nation’s laws and regulations.” Fair enough, but then why not include crimes against the elderly or children? What constitutional or moral ground is there for singling out female crime victims for special treatment under civil rights laws? Can it be that Biden and the others are buying into the gender feminist ontology of a society divided against itself along the fault line of gender?
Equity feminists are as upset as anyone else about the prevalence of violence against women, but they are not possessed of the worldview that licenses their overzealous sisters to present inflammatory but inaccurate data on male abuse.
They want social scientists to tell them the objective truth about the prevalence of rape. And because they are not committed to the view that men are arrayed against women, they are able to see violence against women in the context of what, in our country, appears to be a general crisis of violence against persons.
By distinguishing between acts of random violence and acts of violence against women, the sponsors of the Violence Against Women Act believe that they are showing sensitivity to feminist concerns. In fact, they may be doing social harm by accepting a divisive, gender-specific approach to a problem that is not caused by gender bias, misogyny, or “patriarchy”-an approach that can obscure real and urgent problems such as lesbian battering or male-on-male sexual violence.
According to Stephen Donaldson, president of Stop Prison Rape, more than 290,000 male prisoners are assaulted each year. Prison rape, says Donaldson in a New York Times opinion piece, “is an entrenched tradition.” Donaldson, who was himself a victim of prison rape twenty years ago when he was incarcerated for antiwar activities, has calculated that there may be as many as 45,000 rapes every day in our prison population of 1.2 million men.
The number of rapes is vastly higher than the number of victims because the same men are often attacked repeatedly. Many of the rapes are “gang bangs” repeated day after day. To report such a rape is a terribly dangerous thing to do, so these rapes may be the most underreported of all.
No one knows how accurate Donaldson’s figures are. They seem incredible to me. But the tragic and neglected atrocities he is concerned about are not the kind whose study attracts grants from the Ford or Ms. foundations. If he is anywhere near right the incidence of male rape would be as high or higher than that of female rape.
Look to the Root Causes
Equity feminists find it reasonable to approach the problem of violence against women by addressing the root causes of the general rise in violence and the decline in civility. To view rape as a crime of gender bias (encouraged by a patriarchy that looks with tolerance on the victimization of women) is perversely to miss its true nature. Rape is perpetrated by criminals, which is to say, it is perpetrated by people who are wont to gratify themselves in criminal ways and who care very little about the suffering they inflict on others.
That most violence is male isn’t news. But very little of it appears to be misogynist. This country has more than its share of violent males, statistically we must expect them to gratify themselves at the expense of people weaker than themselves, male or female; and so they do. Gender feminist ideologues bemuse and alarm the public with inflated statistics. And they have made no case for the claim that violence against women is symptomatic of a deeply misogynist culture.
Rape is just one variety of crime against the person, and rape of women is just one subvariety. The real challenge we face in our society is how to reverse the tide of violence. How to achieve this is a true challenge to our moral imagination. It is clear that we must learn more about why so many of our male children are so violent. And it is clear we must find ways to educate all of our children to regard violence with abhorrence and contempt.
We must once again teach decency and considerateness. And this, too, must become clear: in any constructive agenda for the future, the gender feminist’s divisive social philosophy has no place.
[Researching the Rape Culture of America, reprinted with permission, was excerpted from Who Stole Feminism? (Simon & Schuster Inc., New York, 1994) by Christina Hoff Sommers, chapter 10, pp. 209-226.]
1. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime in the United States: Uniform Crime Reports (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, 1990).
2. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States 1990, (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, l992), p. 184. See also Caroline Wolf Harlow, Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Female Victims of Violent Crime” (Washington, D.C., U.S. Department of Justice, 1991), p. 7.
3. Louis Harris and Associates, “Commonwealth Fund Survey of Women’s Health” (New York: Commonwealth Fund, 1993), p. 9. What the report says is that “within the last five years, 2 percent of women 1.9 million) were raped.”
4. “Rape in America: A Report to the Nation” (Charleston, S.C.: Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, 1992).
5. Catharine MacKinnon, “Sexuality, Pornography, and Method,” Ethics 99 January 1989): 331.
6. Mary Koss and Cheryl Oros, “Sexual Experiences Survey: A Research Instrument Investigating Sexual Aggression and Victimization,” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 50, no. 3 (1982): 455.
7. Nara Schoenberg and Sam Roe, “The Making of an Epidemic,” Blade, October 10, 1993, special report, p. 4.
8. The total sample was 6,159, or whom 3,187 were females. See Mary Koss, “Hidden Rape: Sexual Aggression and Victimization in a National Sample of Students in Higher Education,” in Ann Wolbert Burgess, ed., Rape and Sexual Assault, vol. 2 (New York: Garland Publishing, 1988), p. 8.
9. Ibid., p. 10.
10. Ibid., p. 16.
11. Mary Koss, Thomas Dinero, and Cynthia Seibel, “Stranger and Acquaintance Rape,” Psychology of Women Quarterly 12 (1988): 12. See also Neil Gilbert, “Examining the Facts: Advocacy Research Overstates the Incidence of Date and Acquaintance Rape,” in Current Controversies in Family Violence, ed. Richard Gelles and Donileen Loseke (Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1993), pp. 120-32.
12. The passage is from Robin Warshaw, in her book I Never Called It Rape (New York: HarperPerennial, 1988), p. 2, published by the Ms. Foundation and with an afterword by Mary Koss. The book summarizes the findings of the rape study.
13. Newsweek October 25, 1993.
14. Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women (New York: Doubleday, 1992), p. 166.
15. At the University of Minnesota, for example, new students receive a booklet called “Sexual Exploitation on Campus.” The booklet informs them that according to “one study [left unnamed] 20 to 25 percent of all college women have experienced rape or attempted rape.”
16. The Violence Against Women Act of 1993 was introduced to the Senate by Joseph Biden on January 21, 1993. It is sometimes referred to as the “Biden Bill.” It is now making its way through the various congressional committees. Congressman Ramstad told the Minneapolis Star Tribune (June 19, 1991), “Studies show that as many as one in four women will be the victim of rape or attempted rape during her college career.” Ramstad adds, “This may only be the tip of the iceberg, for 90 percent of all rapes are believed to go unreported.”
17. Gilbert, “Examining the Facts,” pp. 120-32.
18. Cited in Koss, “Hidden Rape,” p. 9.
19. Blade, special report, p. 5.
21. Koss herself calculated the new “one in nine” figure for the Blade, p. 5.
22. Cathy Young, Washington Post (National Weekly Edition), July 29, 1992, p. 25.
23. Katha Pollitt, “Not Just Bad Sex,” New Yorker, October 4, 1993, p. 222.
24. Koss, “Hidden Rape,” p. 16.
25. Blade, p. 5. The Blade reporters explain that the number vanes between one and twenty-two and one in thirty-three depending on the amount of overlap between groups.
26. “Rape in America,” p. 2.
27. Ibid., p. 15.
28. The secretary of health and human services, Donna Shalala, praised the poll for avoiding a “white male” approach that has “for too long” been the norm in research about women. My own view is that the interpretation of the poll is flawed. See the discussions in chapters 9 and 11.
29. Louis Harris and Associates, “The Commonwealth Fund Survey of Women’s Health,” p. 20.
30. Blade, p. 3.
31. Ibid., p. 6.
33. Dean Kilpatrick, et al., “Mental Health Correlates of Criminal Victimization: A Random Community Survey,” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 53, 6 (1985).
34. Time, May 4, 1992, p. 15.
35. Blade, special report, p. 3.
36. Ibid., p. 3.
37. Ibid., p. 5.
38. Ibid., p. 3.
39. Camille Paglia, “The Return of Carry Nation,” Playboy, October 1992, p. 36.
40. Camille Paglia, “Madonna 1: Anomility and Artifice,” New York Times, December 14, 1990.
41. Reported in Peter Hellman, “Crying Rape: The Politics of Date Rape on Campus,” New York, March 8, 1993, pp. 32-37.
42. Washington Times, May 7, 1993.
43. Hellman, “Crying Rape,” pp. 32-37.
44 Ibid., p. 34.
45. Ibid., p. 37.
46. Katie Roiphe, The Morning After: Sex, Fear, and Feminism (Boston: Little, Brown, 1993), p. 45.
47. Blade, p. 13.
48. Andrea Parrot, Acquaintance Rape and Sexual Assault Prevention Training Manual (Ithaca, N.Y.: College of Human Ecology, Cornell University, 1990), p. 1.
49. Blade, p. 13.
50. Ibid., p. 14.
51. Alice Rossi, ed., The Feminist Papers: From Adams to de Beauvoir (New York: Columbia University Press, 1973), p. 414.
52. Katie Roiphe, “Date Rape’s Other Victim,” New York Times Magazine, June 13, 1993, p. 26.
53. Ibid., p. 40.
54. Women’s Studies Network (Internet: LISTSERV @UMDD.UMD.EDU), June 14, 1993.
55. Ibid., June 13, 1993.
56. See Sarah Crichton, “Sexual Correctness: Has It Gone Too Far?” Newsweek, October 25, 1993, p. 55.
57. See Neil Gilbert, “The Phantom Epidemic of Sexual Assault,” The Public Interest, Spring 1991, pp. 54-65; Gilbert, “The Campus Rape Scare,” Wall Street Journal, June 27, 1991, p. 10; and Gilbert, “Examining the Facts,” pp. 120-32.
58. “Stop It Bitch,” distributed by the National Clearinghouse on Marital and Date Rape, Berkeley, California. (For thirty dollars they will send you “thirty-four years of research to help refute him [Gilbert].”) See also the Blade, p. 5.
59. Sheila Kuehl, “Skeptic Needs Taste of Reality Along with Lessons About Law,” Los Angeles Daily Journal, September 5, 1991. Ms. Kuehl, it will be remembered, was a key figure in disseminating the tidings that men’s brutality to women goes up 40 percent on Super Bowl Sunday. Some readers may remember Ms. Kuehl as the adolescent girl who played the amiable Zelda on the 1960s “Dobie Gillis Show.”
60. International Crime Rates (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1988), p. 1. The figures for 1983: England and Wales, 2.7 per 100,000; United States, 33.7 per 100,000 (p. 8). Consider these figures comparing Japan to other countries (rates of tape per 100,000 inhabitants):
U.K. (England and Wales only) 12.1
(West) Germany 8.0
Source: Japan 1992: An International Comparison (Tokyo: Japan Institute for Social and Economic Affairs, 1992), p. 93.
61. “Men, Sex, and Rape,” ABC News Forum with Peter Jennings, May 5, 1992, Transcript no. ABC-34, p. 21.
62. Ibid., p. 11.
64. Senator Biden, cited by Carolyn Skomeck, Associated Press, May 27, 1993.
65. “The Violence Against Women Act of 1993,” title 3, p. 87.
66. Ruth Shalit, “On the Hill: Caught in the Act,” New Republic, July 12, 1993, p. 15.
67. See ibid., p. 14.
68. Stephen Donaldson, “The Rape Crisis Behind Bars,” New York Times, December 29, 1993, p. A11. See also Donaldson, “Letter to the Editor” New York Times, August 24, 1993. See, too, Wayne Wooden and Jay Parker, Men Behind Bars: Sexual Exploitation in Prison (New York: Plenum Press, 1982); Anthony Sacco, ed., Male Rape: A Casebook of Sexual Aggressions (New York: AMS Press, 1982); and Daniel Lockwood, Prison Sexual Violence (New York: Elsevier, 1980).
* Researching the “Rape Culture” of America
By Dr. Christina Hoff Sommers
As an associate professor of philosophy at Clark University, Dr. Christina Hoff Sommers specializes in contemporary moral theory. She has written articles for The New Republic, The Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and The New England Journal of Medicine.
January 15, 2008
Rape Trauma Syndrome or RTS is a devastating form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD, familiar to many military combat veterans) which has been recognized and described only in the past two decades. In some form and degree it affects virtually all victims of sexual assault, including ones who avoided a completed rape.
Even verbal sexual aggression without physical coercion a common experience for prisoners can leave the target psychologically damaged.
For male survivors of an actual rape the disorder is likely to be severe and even life-threatening. Institutions should brook no delays in getting new rape victims into counseling within hours of the victimization; this is a true psychiatric emergency.
RTS was first discerned and described in connection with female victims. Males experience the same problems, but in addition must deal with a number of serious issues specific to their gender which add greatly to the traumatization. Male victims who remain incarcerated and are thus unable to withdraw from the setting of their victimization are seriously handicapped in attempting to recover from the trauma.
Those who are exposed to repeated victimization and must even adapt on a daily basis to being a perpetual and continual victim of unwanted sexual penetration, and who must undertake numerous daily compromises in order to avoid the most catastrophic situations (a description which unfortunately comes to characterize most incarcerated rape survivors), must endure the most extreme form of the syndrome.
The literature on therapy, written for male survivors in the community, does not yet take these sharply intensifying factors affecting prisoners into account.
Anyone likely to be in a therapeutic or counseling relationship with a rape survivor should become familiar with the psychological and medical literature.
Other staff members, however, also have to deal with rape survivors and should have at least a basic familiarity with RTS in order to avoid unwittingly contributing to the further victimization of the survivor.
This begins with an understanding of the nature of the worst psychological injuries suffered, since it is in these hypersensitive areas that the survivor is most vulnerable to additional, albeit unintentional, traumatization caused by others who deal with him after the physical assault.
First there is the total loss of control over even the insides of one’s own body, resulting in feelings of utter vulnerability and powerlessness. This makes control and power key psychological issues for all rape survivors. In the case of men, who are brought up to expect internal inviolability, are expected to be able to defend themselves against attack, and are socialized to consider total helplessness incompatible with masculinity and thus intolerable, these issues are heightened. In the setting of imprisonment, the very environment, with its all-pervasive theme of control by the state, continually exacerbates this wound.
Whenever decisions are made for the survivor, rather than by him, this has the effect of rubbing more salt into the open wound. Therefore persons in positions of authority should wherever possible allow the survivor to make his own choices, even if the alternative options presented are unacceptable, in order to help him combat the feeling of total helplessness which will, if left intact, defeat all attempts to improve his condition.
Often this is a question of style rather than substance, but in psychological matters it is the impression which counts.
However, when conflicts arise over confidentiality, participation in prosecution or informing, housing placement, etc., staff members should keep in mind that every action taken which the victim perceives as one of peremptory control will in fact aggravate the trauma and thus, from the survivor’s perspective, further victimizes him.
Second, there is the perception that the victim’s sexual identity as a male has been compromised or even demolished and reversed. All but those homosexuals who identify themselves as feminine are gravely affected by this perception. It results from very widespread attitudes relating to sexual penetration and defeat in personal combat (sexuality and aggression being the two primary remaining sources of male identity to most prisoners), and it is exacerbated by the daily behavior of other prisoners who are aware of the victimization and lose no opportunity to remind the survivor of his supposed “loss of manhood.”
If allowed to go unaddressed, this belief will frequently lead to suicide attempts, other self-damaging behavior, or violently aggressive compensatory behavior. It is absolutely imperative, therefore, that staff persons refrain from implying any slight to the victim’s masculinity.
To the contrary, all persons in contact with the survivor should go out of their way to emphasize his male status verbally and through body language at every opportunity.
The third major injury, for heterosexual survivors, is often related to manhood issues, and results from peers who spread the unfounded belief that the victim’s sexual orientation is compromised or even transformed by his involuntary experience.
This perception, if not countered, can also produce suicidal behavior. Unfortunately, staff people frequently contribute to this belief by failing to distinguish between homosexuals and heterosexuals who have been pressured into passive sexual activity or roles. Only careful staff training with regard to the realities of prisoner sexuality can work to counter this deplorable tendency.
Even in cases where prisoners label themselves as “homosexual,” staff should be careful to ascertain that this identity existed prior to confinement before reinforcing it by repeating the label; an unsophisticated prisoner may simply be repeating what others, seeking to justify his sexual subordination, have told him, or may be using it as a temporary condition rather than a basic trait.
Ultimately one must question whether there is any rationale for making official distinctions of sexual orientation in the environment of same-sex confinement, where sexual behavior both active and passive so commonly involves those who behave heterosexually both before and after confinement. Most specifically, staff members should avoid any implication that a rape survivor would have any less interest in the opposite sex.
Suicidal impulses are so common among males who have recently experienced their first or second rape that any such victim should be presumed suicidal until a mental health professional determines that this is not the case.
RTS has been observed to proceed in most victims in a series of stages, though they are not universal. The description which follows applies to the untreated survivor; those victims who are given effective psychotherapy or counseling, or even merely exposed to Tape II, may avoid the worst aspects of RTS or be better able to control their actions and feelings.
At first the new victim, especially when removed from the site of the attack, tends to be numb, withdrawn, talks slowly or inaudibly if at all, and denies or disbelieves the experience. Some victims however, are visibly upset and highly emotional, sometimes palpably terrified. These two states may even alternate.
Feelings of helplessness and extreme vulnerability (which may appear as indifference to one’s fate) are endemic; they may together with the re-experiencing of the original terror induce a kind of paralysis in the face of new sexual aggression; staff members must avoid interpreting such paralysis as consent.
Nightmares and sleep disturbances are common. Shame, humiliation, and embarrassment are characteristic. The ability to concentrate may be lost and dissociation (“spacing out”) become frequent. Memory may be impaired. Victims should be encouraged but not forced to express themselves. This stage can last up to a week, but many of its features remain.
The second stage displays some or all of the following features: self-worthlessness or self-contempt, self-blame for the victimization (reinforced by those around him both staff and prisoners who “blame the victim” in various ways), sense of being a failure, various forms of shame, severe depression, homophobic panic, anxiety, extreme insecurity, obsession with body areas involved in the rape, restlessness, urge to escape, compulsive movement, other compulsive behaviors, inability to trust (including those who are trying to help), disturbances in sexual functioning, resistance to intimacy of any kind, ambivalence towards females, fear of males, fear of being or going “crazy”, fear of persecution, cynicism, social isolation, loss of motivation, anger, and rage, often with body and mind at odds (one agitated, the other calm; later switched).
Personal boundaries are confused, and relationships chaotic and conflicted. Again, some of these symptoms may persist into later stages.
This stage, when outside confinement, commonly develops a marked suppression of feelings combined with an attempt to “carry on like normal.” For a prisoner who may be involved in perpetual if less violent sexual exploitation and who must continually compromise to avoid further gang-rape, this may show itself in mechanical compliance with sexual demands while remaining basically numb to the experience, and strong dependency with regard to his new master and protector.
Feelings of security and protection, desperately needed, are associated with sexual performance and submission to more powerful men. Survival needs to comply with demands for a submissive role frequently overrule urges to rebel and reclaim autonomy, suppressing these but causing deep conflicts which appear as disturbances in other psychological areas.
In the third stage, which may be postponed until after release, the suppressed rage resurfaces and may be accompanied by violent behavior, obsession with vengeance or with the rape experience itself, belligerence towards all holders of power (including institutional staff), disturbing sexual fantasies, phobias, substance abuse, disruption of social life, self-destructive behavior and revictimization,lifestyle disorganization, antisocial and criminal activity, and aggressive assertion of masculinity, including the commission of rape on others.
The suppression period can last for many years, even decades. It is important that survivors be steered towards opportunities for continued treatment after release (with therapists knowledgeable about RTS), when their progress, once outside of the traumatic environment, is likely to dramatically improve.
The final stage involves a partial or complete resolution of these issues and a reintegration of the self which allows the past victimization to recede in importance, though traces will remain for the rest of his life.
* By Stephen Donaldson President, Stop Prisoner Rape, Inc.
January 12, 2008
Tributes have been paid to Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to reach the top of the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest, after he died aged 88.
New Zealand PM Helen Clark said a state funeral would be held for Sir Edmund, while Queen Elizabeth II said she was “very saddened” by his death.
Nepali Sherpas lit lamps and offered special Buddhist prayers in monasteries for his reincarnation.
Sir Edmund conquered the peak with Tenzing Norgay on 29 May 1953.
The first living New Zealander to appear on a banknote, his health had reportedly been failing since April, when he suffered a fall during a visit to Nepal.
Flags at the New Zealand parliament in Wellington and at the Scott Base in Antarctica were at half mast as a mark of respect to the climber, who died of a heart attack at Auckland Hospital at 0900 local time Friday (2000 GMT Thursday).
All New Zealanders will deeply mourn his passing
New Zealand PM
New Zealand’s prime minister described him as a “colossus”.
“The legendary mountaineer, adventurer, and philanthropist is the best-known New Zealander ever to have lived,” Ms Clark said in a statement.
“But most of all he was a quintessential Kiwi.
“He was ours – from his craggy appearance to laconic style, to his directness and honesty. All New Zealanders will deeply mourn his passing.”
Buckingham Palace in London said the Queen was sending a personal message of sympathy to Sir Edmund’s widow and family.
The climber was 33 years old when he and Tenzing Norgay become the first men to climb the 8,850m (29,035ft) peak, just days before the monarch’s coronation.
Before reaching base camp, ascent team walked 175 miles (282km) from Kathmandu and spent three weeks acclimatising
On May 26 initial attempt came within 300ft (91m) of summit, with final bid two days later
Five man team helped Hillary and Norgay to precarious point high up mountain where pair spent night in tent
Next morning they set out at 0630, reaching summit 1130
Source: Royal Geographical Society
Returning to Everest’s South Col camp, he famously greeted another member of the British expedition group with the words: “Well, George, we’ve knocked the bastard off.”
Sir Edmund was knighted that year by the Queen for his achievement, and 42 years later was awarded her highest award for chivalry – the Order of the Garter.
His climbing partner died in 1986 but his son, Jamling Tenzing Norgay, said Sir Edmund was “a great explorer”.
“The most important of all is that he was humble man, a simple man,” he added.
The Sherpa community in Nepal said they were planning a memorial to the man they considered a second father.
“I lit butter lamps and offered prayers for his reincarnation as a human being,” said Ang Rita Sherpa, 60.
After scaling Everest, Sir Edmund led a number of expeditions to the South Pole and devoted his life to helping the ethnic Sherpas of Nepal’s Khumbu region.
His Himalayan Trust has helped build hospitals, clinics, bridges, airstrips and nearly 30 schools. He was made an honorary Nepalese citizen in 2003.
To my great delight I realised we were on top of Mount Everest and that the whole world spread out below us
Sir Edmund Hillary
Born in Auckland on 19 July 1919, Sir Edmund began climbing mountains in his native country as a teenager and soon earned renown as an ice climber.
By the time he attempted his ascent of Everest in 1953 as part of an expedition led by the British climber, Sir John Hunt, seven previous expeditions to the top of the mountain had failed.
After a gruelling climb up the southern face, battling the effects of high altitude and bad weather, Sir Edmund and Tenzing Norgay managed to reach the peak at 1130 local time on 29 May.
“I continued hacking steps along the ridge and then up a few more to the right… to my great delight I realised we were on top of Mount Everest and that the whole world spread out below us,” Sir Edmund said.
The two men only stayed on the summit for 15 minutes because they were low on oxygen.
* Story from BBC NEWS
January 12, 2008
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has called on the US and European governments to stop treating Colombian left-wing rebel groups as terrorists.
Mr Chavez said the Farc and ELN guerrilla movements were armies with a political project and should be recognised as such.
He was speaking a day after helping manage the Farc’s release of two hostages held for more than five years.
The Colombian president swiftly rejected Mr Chavez’s idea.
Just a day after helping to broker the liberation of two high-profile hostages, Clara Rojas and Consuelo Gonzalez, Mr Chavez used his annual state of the nation speech to make the appeal, addressing himself to Colombia’s conservative President Alvaro Uribe.
“I ask you (Uribe) that we start recognising the Farc and the ELN as insurgent forces in Colombia and not terrorist groups, and I ask the same of the governments of this continent and the world,” Mr Chavez said.
‘Pain and poverty’
But Mr Uribe quickly rejected the idea.
He said the insurgents were terrorists who funded their operations with cocaine smuggling, recruited children and planted land mines in their effort to topple a democratically elected government.
“The only thing they have produced is displacement, pain, unemployment and poverty,” Mr Uribe said.
The Colombian and Venezuelan presidents have been squabbling for months over Mr Chavez’s role in trying to mediate swap of hostages for guerrilla prisoners held by Colombia’s government.
The release of Ms Rojas and Ms Gonzalez was the most important handover in the Colombian conflict since 2001.
The Farc said the unilateral move showed its willingness to negotiate over remaining hostages.
Correspondents say it was a triumph for Mr Chavez, who greeted the women in Caracas on Thursday following their release.
The Venezuelan president has said he wants to repeat the success with dozens of other captives.
But Mr Uribe has been wary of his Venezuelan counterpart’s involvement.
The Farc and the smaller ELN say they are fighting for a fairer distribution of wealth.
In 2002 the EU joined the US in classifying the Farc as a terrorist group.
* BBC NEWS:
January 12, 2008
WHITE PLAINS, New York (Reuters) – Disgraced U.S. sprinter Marion Jones was sentenced to six months in prison on Friday for lying to federal prosecutors about her steroid use, a stunning downfall for the five-time Olympic medalist.
U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth Karas imposed the sentence after Jones, 32, pleaded guilty to two charges last October, when she retired from athletics and tearfully confessed to betraying the trust of her fans after years of denying she used performance-enhancing drugs.
“Your honor, I absolutely realize the gravity of these offenses and I am deeply sorry,” Jones told the judge, crying as she begged not to be separated from her two young sons.
“I pray that you be as merciful as a human being can be.”
Karas gave Jones six months for lying about steroid use and two months — to run concurrently — for misleading federal investigators about a check fraud case involving her ex-boyfriend, former 100-metres world record holder Tim Montgomery.
After hearing her punishment, Jones sobbed into the shoulder of her husband, Olympic sprinter Obadele Thompson. She has until March to turn herself over to authorities.
“I truly hope that people will learn from my mistakes,” she said later in a brief statement to reporters.
Jones has been stripped of the five athletics medals she won in the Sydney Olympics, three of them gold. All her performances as of September 2000 have been erased from the record books.
She confessed to lying to investigators in 2003 when she denied knowing that she swallowed the banned substance tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), known as “the clear,” before the 2000 Olympics.
Karas noted the elevated status of athletes in society and said using drugs sent the wrong message. He said he did not believe Jones’ statement in October when she said she did not realize she was taking steroids until after the 2000 Games.
Jones had told the judge she believed she was ingesting flaxseed oil until July 2001, and suspected it had been a performance enhancer only when she was unable to train as intensively and did not recover as quickly after she stopped taking the substance.
“That is very difficult to believe, that a top-notch athlete, knowing that a razor-thin margin makes the difference, would not be keenly aware of what he or she put in her body,” Karas said. “It was a troubling statement.”
Jones, whose image from a triumphant Sydney Games was enhanced by a winning smile and joyous celebrations, now has become the biggest name in world sport to admit using steroids.
“Today’s sentencing concludes a sad series of events,” USA Track & Field Federation said in a statement. “It is a vivid morality play that graphically illustrates the wages of cheating in any facet of life, on or off the track.”
Prosecutors had agreed to a light sentence because Jones was prepared to cooperate in a separate fraud investigation of her former coach and one-time Olympic relay gold medalist, Steve Riddick.
Riddick was convicted in May 2007 of bank fraud, bank fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. On Friday Karas sentenced him to five years and three months in prison.
Montgomery, Jones’ ex-boyfriend, has pleaded guilty to bank fraud. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
Defense lawyers asked for mercy saying Jones had suffered public humiliation.
Jones once pulled in millions of dollars in product endorsements but is now in financial ruin.
The case comes amid other steroid scandals in U.S. sport, including a special report by former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell last month that named nearly 90 baseball players as suspected steroid users.
Major League Baseball home-run king Barry Bonds is under indictment for a similar offense, accused of lying to federal investigators about his steroid use. He has pleaded innocent and denies he ever used performance-enhancing drugs.
Like Bonds, Jones was ensnared in a federal probe into California’s now-defunct BALCO lab that disgraced elite athletes in several sports.
(Reporting by Christine Kearney and Edith Honan; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Xavier Briand)
January 12, 2008
KOLKATA, India (Reuters) – Authorities in eastern India have teamed up with prostitutes as the officials accelerate a drive against the trafficking of girls into the trade.
It is a rare display of official approval for the efforts of prostitutes in West Bengal’s Sonagachhi area, one of Asia’s largest red-light districts.
In the past year alone a prostitutes’ organization has rescued more than 550 women and girls from brothels and from traffickers, the state’s social welfare department officials said.
“The state government had no choice but to join hands with the sex workers as they seem to be doing a better job in tackling trafficking,” said Samarajit Jana, an official from India’s AIDS control program, which helps run the project.
Younger girls are usually helped to get back to their home village. Adults are usually given housing and job training.
“I was kidnapped and forced to entertain old men, but now all that is past as I am trying to make a new beginning in life,” said Anjali, a 16-year-old girl who was rescued last month by prostitutes from one of the brothels crammed into Sonagacchi’s crowded maze of alleyways.
Anjali is among hundreds of poor girls shifted to one of six new government-sponsored rescue centers across the state. They learn embroidery and sewing among other crafts.
This has been possible after the government formed an alliance last month with the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya (DMSC), an organization founded in 1995 that now represents 65,000 sex workers in West Bengal.
DMSC focuses its rescue efforts on minors entering the trade and those who were deceived into joining it.
“We have realized that we are the most effective weapon against this social evil that forces minor girls into sex trade,” said Bharati Dey, a former prostitute, who leads the campaign.
At least 20,000 women and girls are kidnapped and forced into prostitution in India every year, the government said.
Many pass through West Bengal on their way to Mumbai, Delhi and other cities in India, as well as the United Arab Emirates, police said.
Most of these girls are from India’s northeast and neighboring Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, they said.
In India, trafficking and profiting by selling a person for sex is illegal, but paying for sex with an adult prostitute is not.
India’s Ministry of Women and Child Development wants to change the laws to allow police take stern action against clients, but critics have stalled the plan.
Prostitutes and groups working with them fear such a move would force the trade deeper into the shadows.
The DMSC now plans to spread its campaign across the state and elsewhere in India.
(Editing by Jonathan Allen and Jerry Norton)
January 4, 2008
Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama have won the Iowa caucuses – the first nominating contest of the 2008 US presidential election.
Mr Huckabee won for the Republicans, defeating Mitt Romney.
At the Democratic caucuses, Mr Obama won by a clear margin, defeating John Edwards, who edged Hillary Clinton into third place.
The Iowa caucuses can give big boosts to candidates’ campaigns. The next contest is on Tuesday in New Hampshire.
Barack Obama – 37.6%
John Edwards – 29.7%
Hillary Clinton – 29.5%
Bill Richardson – 2.1%
REPUBLICANS (96% complete)
Mike Huckabee – 34.3%
Mitt Romney – 25.3%
Fred Thomson – 13.4%
John McCain – 13.1%
Ron Paul – 10.0%
Rudy Giuliani – 3.5%
Turnout in Thursday’s caucuses rose markedly, particularly for the Democrats, with more than 220,000 Democrats taking part – up from 124,000 in 2004.
With nearly all of the results from more than 1,780 caucuses (or public meetings) counted, Mr Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor and Baptist minister, polled 34% of the vote.
Mr Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, secured 25% support.
“Tonight what we have seen is a new day in American politics. Tonight we proved that American politics is still in the hands of people like you,” Mr Huckabee told his cheering supporters.
The victory for Mr Huckabee is seen as a blow for Mr Romney, who has spent tens of millions of dollars more on his campaign.
However, Mr Romney said the battle for the nomination was far from being lost. “This is obviously a bit like a baseball game, first inning. Well, it’s a 50-inning ball game. I’m going to keep on battling all the way and anticipate I get the nomination when it’s all said and done,” he told Fox News.
In the Democratic race, Mr Obama won 38% of the vote.
Mr Edwards and Mrs Clinton were almost level on around 30% with Mr Edwards just ahead.
“We are choosing hope over fear, we are choosing unity over division and sending a powerful message that change is coming to America,” Mr Obama, who is vying to become the first black US president, told his supporters.
Mr Obama, a senator from Illinois, will now be hoping to build momentum for the rest of the race, the BBC’s Kevin Connolly in Iowa says.
However, both Mr Edwards and Mrs Clinton vowed to continue the fight for the Democratic nomination.
“We have always planned to run a national campaign all the way through the early contests,” said Mrs Clinton, flanked by her husband – former President Bill Clinton.
Jubilant crowds celebrated Mr Huckabee’s victory at a party in a Des Moines hotel.
Among them was Mary Duggar, a volunteer who had travelled from Mr Huckabee’s home state of Arkansas to help his campaign.
3 Jan: Iowa caucuses
8 Jan: New Hampshire primary
15 Jan: Michigan primary
19 Jan: Nevada caucuses; South Carolina primary (Rep)
26 Jan: South Carolina primary (Dem)
29 Jan: Florida primary
5 Feb: some 20 states including California, New York, New Jersey
“He’s a fantastic candidate. I thought he would win but I didn’t know it was going to be quite this good,”
A few blocks away, Obama supporters held their own party at Des Moines’s Hyvee Hall.
“We are ecstatic,” said 16-year-old Jenny Ajluni, who was too young to take part in a caucus but joined the victory rally.
Eighteen-year-old brother Chris said: “He really made history tonight.”
While the Democrats’ participation rose most substantially, turnout was also up on the Republican side, with more than 110,000 people taking part – up from fewer than 90,000 in the last contested Republican caucuses in 2000.
Similar caucuses or primaries will take place across all American states before each party backs a single candidate to contest the November election for the White House.
The Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary on 8 January are regarded as key for building momentum in the state-by-state process of winning the presidential nomination.
Candidates who do poorly tend to drop out of the race. Democratic veterans Chris Dodd and Joe Biden said late on Thursday they were bowing out after poor showings in Iowa.
Polls from New Hampshire have indicated that the Republican contest is between Mr Romney and Senator John McCain, while for the Democrats Mrs Clinton and Mr Obama lead the field.
Story from BBC NEWS
January 1, 2008
For me the Blogs are a modern and personal tool of very important human communication.
Our Blogs permit us to know us among diverse people that we are in this world of Internet.
Likewise it permits us to observe the enormous variety of points of view, criteria of design or personal opinions on diverse themes.
That is it more valuable of the Blogs; therefore any common person has the opportunity to be expressed, on a worldwide basis, in any theme that we like or we want to emphasize.
Finally greeting everybody or friends “blogueros” around the world.
I wish that you have a Happy and prosper year 2008.
See You Later.
CARLOS Tiger without Time