13-Year-Old Accused of Egging on Her Abuser

This past week Rape Crisis England and Wales reported on the treatment of a 13-year old rape victim who was severely victim blamed in court. The 13-year old was described, by the sentencing judge, as “predatory” and was believed to have been “egging her abuser on.” The rapist, despite pleading guilty to one account of sexual activity with a child and two accounts of producing extreme pornographic imagery, was given a eight month suspended sentence and avoided prison.

Apparently the sentencing judge claimed that despite the fact that the child was “egging on her abuser” (stating that this argument was a “fact” when describing her “predatory behavior”) is no defense in the case of a child. Still, the sentencing judge, in a case where the accused pleaded guilty, felt the need to provide some victim blaming while accusing a child of sexualized and predatory behavior.

According to Court News UK the judge also stated that: “You have come as close to prison as is imaginable. I have taken in to account that even though the girl was 13, the prosecution say she looked and behaved a little bit older”.

This might have been the most disgusting comments I have heard in regards to victim blaming and rape culture. Here a child has been abused and the abuser is receiving a lowered sentence, avoiding prison, despite the serious accounts of sexual assault and despite pleading guilty. What we often hear in regards to cases of sexual assault and rape is that it is extremely difficult to prove that rape was in fact rape. The victims also have to defend themselves while their sexual history and past sexual activity is used against them. But, it seems that a guilty plead by the accused is not enough to stop victim blaming and the sexualization of women and girls (often by stating that she really wanted it, was just playing hard to get, or was egging on the abuser). There appears to be no situation in which women/girls are wholeheartedly believed and trusted and are not further victimized by victim blaming attitudes.

The Creeping Assault on Abortion Rights in the UK

As far as European politics go, the British right wing politicians (“Tories”) are considered to be a reasonable lot and not as socially conservative as a lot of their political chumps in other countries. For example, David Cameron, the Tory prime minister, is in favour of gay marriage (although this is not a view held by all of his party members). When you compare that to your average Republican presence in the media, you almost feel like hugging the guy, right? Well, hold your horses and don’t book that plane to London just yet. The coalition (Conservative Party + Liberal Democrats) government currently in power in the UK is trying to chip away hard won abortion rights. For now, they are having a go at pre-abortion counselling, but we really shouldn’t be fooled.

Gloria Feldt, among others, has shown how time and time again regressive baby steps in reproductive rights are the start of a flood of regressive laws. Believe me, I know what I’m saying – abortion was legal in Poland prior to 1993 and now it can be hard to get one even if you’re potentially going to die without it.

If you live in the UK life is pretty good in terms of access to abortion, for all those insured (the majority in the UK is). It’s not perfect (it’s the only  medical procedure for which two doctors need to give written consent and that can be a problem if you live out in the sticks and there’s no one with medical training in your area) but it’s safe, high-quality and generally accessible.

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right? Wrong – enter Nadine Dorries. [Read more...]

Pro-Choice News Roundup

It’s been a busy week as far as pro-choice news is concerned.  Here’s a roundup in case you missed anything.

Idaho woman challenges the state’s late-term abortion ban – Houston Chronicle
UK is debating mandatory counseling for abortion patients – The Guardian
RU-486 may become available in Australia – The Australian
Kansas told they have to fund Planned Parenthood – Businessweek
What new legal obstacles mean for women in Ohio – RH Reality Check

Birth Control and Pap Smears: Why Do They Go Together?

It is not medically necessary to have a pap and pelvic exam to get a prescription for birth control. The only medically necessary procedure is a blood pressure test. Yet in the US, women are routinely forced to endure a yearly pap and pelvic exam in order to renew the prescription. A recent study shows that 33% of doctors always require the exam and 44% regularly require the exam (from Time article).

In my personal experience, I was literally shouted at over the phone by a nurse practitioner when I requested a month extension on my prescription because I had to change my exam appointment. The woman told me that I had already waited too long to see the doctor and absolutely refused to provide the one month extension (it has been about fourteen months since my previous exam, completely within medical guidelines for the pill). When I shared my experience with the doctor, she sounded surprised and said I should have been given the prescription, but she was not overly concerned about the incident and had no interest in further investigation or remedy.

The proponents of requiring pap and pelvic exams for birth control prescriptions argue that while it may not be medically necessary, these exams are important and women should have them done.  In essence, requiring women to have a pap and pelvic exam in order to get a birth control requires testing that should be optional– it is a way to force women to have exams that they otherwise might elect to forgo. [Read more...]

Thursday News Roundup

mouse_click_270x270UK Debating Allowing Abortion Clinic Ads on TV – The Guardian
Facts About Funding Assistance For Abortion – Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project
What is RU-486? – NARAL Pro-Choice America
Health Care Reform Won’t Include Abortion – LA Times
How to Use a Female Condom – Metacafe