Is This Rape?

Filed under: Sexual Assault — Jill @ 9:25 pm

Victim’s male acquaintance breaks into her apartment and grabs her. He is in a rage because she had refused to go out with him. He roughs her up a bit, including belting her across the face and throttling her. He then forces her at gunpoint to drive him to his house, where he keeps her overnight. He specifically tells her that he will shoot her if she tries to escape. He is distraught and talks repeatedly about how much he loves her. He talks about wanting to live with her in Mexico. Her survival strategy was to pretend to go along with his plans. She wanted to gain his trust. When he had sex with her that night, she “went along with it” in order to survive.

After finally escaping, she went to the police. She expected that he would prosecuted for kidnapping, assault and threatening. She was, however, shocked when I brought a rape charge against him. She didn’t feel that she had been raped because she had “gone along” with the sex. When I questioned her, however, she said that she had “gone along” with it because she thought (quite reasonably under the circumstances) that he would blow her brains out otherwise. But, to my shock, in her mind, she herself felt that it was not a rape because she had not resisted in any way. (Under the law in my jurisdiction, sex that occurs during the course of a kidnapping is rape, and even if that were not so, I think the physical threat against her was sufficient to make this a rape.)

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Distancing Roe from Griswold

Filed under: Reproductive Rights, Samuel Alito, Blog for Choice — Jill @ 8:44 pm

Jessica is liveblogging the Alito hearings and every major news outlet is covering it. We’ve established, not surprisingly, that Alito is being completely non-committal in his responses about the right to privacy and abortion rights. He says he’ll keep an open mind, but that the Supreme Court does have the right to overturn precedent. Thanks for the info, it’s been very enlightening.

But when I wandered on over to Townhall , I found this interesting tidbit:

He gave similar neutral, noncommittal answers to questions involving other cases supporting an implied “right of privacy” in the Constitution. In fact, what was more important than Judge Alito’s answers on Griswold v. Connecticut (the 1965 case that first announced the implied constitutional “right of privacy”) was what he did not say. He said that Griswold “is now understood” to be based on the liberty clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. But that is not how it was originally understood. Griswold was a “right of privacy” case, and the Supreme Court based Roe v. Wade’s“right to abortion” on Griswold. Judge Alito said the constitutional foundation for Griswold has shifted. If that is true, then how does that affect the foundation of Roe v. Wade? Also, Judge Alito said he supported the result of Eisenstadt v. Baird, but he said nothing about its expansive reasoning extending Griswold’s implied “right of privacy.”

Emphasis mine.

(Background: Griswold is the Supreme Court case that gave married couples legal access to contraception, and was the first case to explicitly deal with the right to privacy in terms of one’s bodily choices and reproductive system. Roe’s right to abortion was based on this right to privacy)

I’m not sure exactly what Alito is trying to do here. It’s my understanding that Griswold isn’t understood as a strictly 14th amendment case; it’s still the foundation for the right to privacy, as it was when it was decided. There are certainly strong 14th Amendment elements in it, but to say that its Constitutional foundation has shifted strikes me as a little dishonest — and I’m wondering why he’s doing it. My first reaction is that he’s making a concerted effort to distance Griswold from Roe. The vast majority of Americans would be none to pleased to find out that a potential Supreme Court justice didn’t feel it was their right to access contraception, even though the broader attack on reproductive rights and personal privacy certainly encompasses contraception; abortion, on the other hand, has been at the forefront of this debate for a long time. A justice opposing the decision in Roe, or refusing to give an opinion on it, is more familiar and a lot more palatable — he doesn’t come across as the extremist that an anti-Griswold judge would, despite the fact that those cases deal with the exact same Constitutional issue.

Alito seems to be searching for a way to get rid of Roe without shaking its popular predecessors. That is not a good sign. If anyone has seen any other articles or posts about this, send ‘em my way.

The Interests of Family, In The Interests of the State

Filed under: Gender, Law — Lauren @ 4:41 pm

My all-time favorite parenting blogger is throwing in the towel for the time being after being taken into court for child support under the shittiest circumstances I can imagine. Jim McQuiggin has been a full-time single dad, amicably sharing custody with his ex-wife, only engaging in the court system in ways that will legally cover both of their asses, for about two years.

Last year, Jim lost his job and was unable to continue his child support payments in full, but paid what he could when he could while sharing equal time with the children. His ex-wife was also unemployed at the time and had to apply for government services to support herself and their children, at which point the state filed a case against Jim in her name on behalf of her children despite her protests.

Jim is currently facing six months of jail time, despite his and his ex-wife’s cooperation, despite his continued payment of support:

The state demands remittance; they’re not giving TANF money without making me pay. And they’ve made their assessment based on my income two months after I got fired (when X made her claim) as opposed to what I make now – less than half of what I used to make. Interesting that the state will research a job I haven’t had for two months (at around $2200 a month) but can’t be bothered to research a job I have now (about $900 a month).

More interesting is that the state won’t do simple math. Even if the 49%/51% split was true, X would have the children 7.3 more days per year. With the state requiring $638.00 per month, I am being asked to pay child support in the amount of $1,048.77 per day.

365 / 51% = 186.15
365 / 49% = 178.85
186.15 – 178.85 = 7.3

$638 x 12 = $7656
$7656 / 7.3 = $1048.77

Even in my most hedonistic drug days, I never spent a fifth of that. I can’t imagine spending a grand a day on anything, frankly. Nor should I expect the state to expect any ordinary citizen to spend that kind of money. Then again, I’m talking about mindless bureaucrats, worthless parasites who would not think twice about spending a grand a day of your tax money.

I’ve read the letter Jim’s ex is submitting on his behalf and it is entirely clear that the state is not interested in serving this family’s best interests. Jim has requested that I and others post about this because he is at a loss for legal assistance. His court-appointed attorney does not seem to feel the gravity of the situation as Jim, his ex, and their three children feel.

His court date is this Thursday.

Trish Wilson has been writing on this phenomenon for years — no matter what we are told about child support and custody laws, ultimately the state’s main concern is itself. In the meantime, a specialized set of lawmakers make a racket off of our greatest fears of forcible separation from our families.

Currently Wondering

Filed under: Pets, Gender — Lauren @ 4:23 pm

So, is it cool for married women to own cats?

Carnival of the Feminists 7

Filed under: General — Lauren @ 3:15 pm

Submissions are rolling in!

Nominate yourself or someone else for CF7 by sending an email with links to web[at]feministe[dot]us with the subject line “Carnival of the Feminists.” Submissions must be in by January 15th for the round-up on January 18th. Posts must have been written in the time since the last carnival.

The suggested topic for this carnival is feminism and pop culture. Several people have emailed asking me to clarify this theme and my answer has been the same: gimme what you got. Give me an essay on feminist represeantations in pop culture or feminist critiques of pop culture, about comic books, music, pop art, television, movies, anything. This theme is vague on purpose.

I’m looking forward to see the next batch of submissions. The first batch has been excellent.

While you’re at it, Jenn has opened submissions for the first Radical Women of Color Carnival.

Fine for Me, But Not For Thee

Filed under: Education — Lauren @ 9:29 am

I’ll have you know that Indiana schools are failing, although Hoosiers report satisfaction regarding Indiana public K-12 schools. Many see room for improvement, of course, but I see room for improvement in many things, particularly the American government, the price of artisan cheese, the lack of windows in my office, and the inability for P&D’s catbox to empty itself.

A real post on school funding, performance, and perception would run pages long, so let me zero in and essentialize on an educational trend that irritates me to no end, as demonstrated by a recent survey completed in my home state.

About 55 percent of respondents said the quality of education in the state is good or excellent, 30 percent said it is fair, and only 7 percent said Indiana public education is poor. Respondents were more positive when it came to their own school districts — 64 percent evaluate their local public schools as good or excellent. About 69 percent of Indiana residents evaluated teachers as good or excellent.

Study after study shows (you’ll have to trust me here, I’m tanked for time, articles welcome) that people from Indianapolis to Sydney believe that public education is suffering… but not in their kids’ schools. Wherever that educational crisis is, it ain’t here in my lap and in my home. My kids are just fine. Real reform is for those Other Schools.

Ironically, a significant proportion of those in this study that believe that Indiana education is improving because of NCLB-related testing and curriculum, even though this belief in the quality of Our School can be charted for decades across the country.

Overwhelmingly, people are satisfied with the performance of their schools (there are always exceptions, see Kozol for your dose of outrage). Support for Bush-style school reform is a largely reactionary support for bringing up those Other Schools to “our” level, wherever that may be. Take into account that K-12 pedagogy and curriculum are completely foreign to most of the voting world and you get, drumroll please, No Child Left Behind.

To disappoint my tax-hatin’ readers, a majority of people report that they are willing to pay higher taxes to improve state education even if those taxes are tied up in the stupidity of property tax law. In Indiana and other middling states, the real issue is how to convince the formally educated to stick around and make good on that expense by getting a job at a salary that will benefit tax income within the state long-term instead of brain-draining out to the coastlines.

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In sort-of-but-not-really related news, many American cities are taking up with collection agencies to collect small debts up to a decade old. As more and more cities find themselves in a financial bind, they have the choice of raising taxes or collecting old debts. Watch out for those past library fines and parking tickets. You may find them on your credit rating.

Top Five: The Year in Review

Filed under: Vanity, Meme — Lauren @ 2:43 am

In pictures, via my Flickr account, a week or two late. This odd collection is what appeals to you crazy people.

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You’re All Going Down!

Filed under: Blogging, Technology, Stupidity — Jill @ 10:36 pm

I’m talking to you, XOXO posters and other anonymous insulters — just wait until your asses are in jail. Who’s laughing now, suckas?

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Women: It is Your Patriotic Duty to Reproduce

Filed under: Parenthood, Reproductive Rights, Religion, Crazy Conservatives — Jill @ 10:13 pm

The Muslims are coming, the Muslims are coming! Career women hate America! Donate your uterus for the good of the country!

Save Me!

Filed under: Vanity — Jill @ 9:32 pm

No, I’m not kidding.

Also, our good friend Vox Day *hearts* me. Times two.

But let’s clear a few things up.

1. It’s a Miss NYU calendar, not Miss NYC. And if you read my post about it, you’ll see that I wasn’t exactly thrown into a big ole tizzy about it.
2. The Miss NYU calendar post didn’t start the Jill F discussions at xoxo. They were talking about me before I knew the site even existed.
3. I never mentioned getting the campus police involved. Or sexual harassment.
4. I didn’t “run to Daddy … the Dean of Students.” I said that I hadn’t gone to the Dean of Students (although who knows, I might).
5. The Dean of Students at NYU Law is a woman. So it would be “running to Mommy,” thank you.
6. Pablo and Doug are Lauren’s cats, not mine.
7. The pictures of me in the About Jill section are real. They are not from 10 years ago. Ten years ago I was 12.
8. No, Chris, I will not marry you.
9. Christ, people, THE CATS AREN’T MINE. And I’m not sure why cat ownership suddenly makes one’s ideas invalid.
10. Wait, am I fat, or am I “from the Heroin-Chic Christina Aguilerra scool of skank-ho, complete with slut-lines, and a blow hole she can remove the diamond from so she can breath while she is groin-snorkeling” who resembles Skeletor and needs to drop the Subway diet? Let’s at least keep the insults consistent. And what are slut lines?

Anyway, this one made my day. Hopefully the vanity posts will subside over the next few weeks.

More Unintended Pregnancies Carried to Term

Filed under: Reproductive Rights, Blog for Choice — Jill @ 7:43 pm

The previous post is loosely choice-related, but here’s my real Blog for Choice post of the week:

This has already been blogged about quite a bit, but I think it’s worth mentioning nonetheless — and it’s worth pointing out the “pro-life” reaction to it. The story, basically, is that more American women are giving birth to babies that were unwanted when they became pregnant. To start, I think this story has been over-simplified on both sides. Many pro-choicers responded with, “This means women lack access to abortion,” while pro-lifers claimed, “This means women’s attitudes have shifted to be more pro-life.” Those both may be true, but I’m willing to bet that, like most social shifts, it’s a lot more complicated than that.
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Say It Ain’t So

Filed under: Crime, Books — Lauren @ 1:40 pm

Remember that guy who always tried to one-up your stories? Or who embellished every stupid story to make himself sound worse or better than he really was? The guy who insisted that he did some blow with a squeaky clean pop band when you know he hasn’t left town in eight years? Et cetera.

James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard, appears to be the kind of liar you love to hate. At the very least, Frey’s definitions of “honesty” and “transparency” are deviant and the difference between fiction and nonfiction is blurred. This is disappointing because I so loved both of his books. His memoirs, billed as patent truth, appear to be laughably embellished, inciting all kids of eyerolling on my part for making James Frey into That Guy. I’m holding out for Frey’s rebuttal, but it don’t look so good.

The Smoking Gun has the details. Filed under “Crime, Or Lack Thereof.”

UPDATE: Salon has more on the Frey unveiling, though it’s becoming clear that this is more about literary schadenfreude than the guy’s talent. And he has talent.

UPDATE II: This is so evil, but Neal Pollack’s take #2 cracked me up. See take #1, from Dada in the comments below.

Is There a Dentist in the House?

Filed under: Vanity — Jill @ 10:29 am

Or an oral surgeon? Or a doctor? Or anyone who has had their wisdom teeth out?

Because I have some questions. I got mine out six days ago (Tuesday January 3rd). I’ve been on painkillers all week, but I started school today and wanted to be able to focus. Plus, the painkillers have ripped up my stomach, and I’m not a big fan of putting unnecessary medication into my body. So today I’m just taking advil. And my jaw hurts like a mother. I’m also sick, so I’m totally congested, I have a headache, and I pretty much feel like I’m going to pass out every time I stand up. Not good.

So the question: Is this normal? Shouldn’t the pain pretty much be gone after six days? It’s not as bad as it was four days ago, but it definitely still hurts a lot, and I’m still relegated to soft foods. I’m extremely paranoid that something is going to go wrong, so I figured I’d pose the question to you guys before I totally freak myself out and go to an oral surgeon in New York, only to have him tell me that I’m an idiot. I don’t feel like something is wrong necessarily — like this seems like an appropriate amount of pain for having huge open holes in my mouth from which big teeth were extracted. But I remember my sister recovering much faster than this, and I feel like most people I talk to who got their wisdom teeth out were fine in two or three days. Am I abnormal? Do I have a problem? Help me out here.

And finally, does anyone know of any over-the-counter drugs (other than advil) that will relieve this pain without killing my stomach or totally knocking me out? (Knocking me out is ok at night, actually…) I would deeply appreciate some feedback.

UPDATE: I called my oral surgeon’s office, and they said that the amount of pain I’m experiencing is normal and I shouldn’t be worried. If it keeps going until Friday, then I should contact an oral surgeon in Manhattan. I’m rinsing with salt water many times a day. I also switched to extra strength Tylenol instead of Advil, which hopefully should give my poor battered stomach some relief. And at the excellent suggestion of one of you, I’m taking Robitussin DM for the cold — and I spoke to a pharmacist, who said it’s safe to take Robitussin and Tylenol at the same time. I also ate a very spicy lunch, since I sincerely believe that spicy food cures everything. Thanks for the feedback and the concern! It looks like I’m going to make it. *knocks on wood*