Somehow, Someday, Somewhere

… a reporter or editor will realize that they aren’t explaining anything with this:

In Piedmont, Quebec a rich and reputable cardiac physician appears to have murdered his children on Sunday.  He was pretty well off – he had shared a $275,000 home with his wife.  So we know he didn’t kill his children because he was “frustrated” by unemployment or underemployment.  We also know his new house in Piedmont is “just minutes from the Saint-Saveur ski hill”.  Hmm.  I don’t think that was the problem.  What else do we know?

Well, he’d just broken up with his wife, also a successful doctor, and she’d gone off on a ski trip leaving him with his five-year old son and three-year old daughter.  Dr. Turcotte was “apparently distraught”.  So he killed his children?  Hmm.  What else do we know?

Some people are concerned that doctors are “too reluctant to seek help for psychological distress”.  Now if Dr. Turcotte had only sought psychological help.  I’m sure he’d have told a counsellor that he was contemplating killing his children and then he could have been helped and then … Hmm.  What else do we know?

Dr. Turcotte and his children were supposed to meet family members for breakfast with his children but he never showed up.  Relatives immediately called police via 911 (emergency!) who broke into the doctor’s home and found him unconscious and his children dead.  His relatives were instantly freaked out when the doc didn’t show before breakfast because they knew he was suicidal?  Oh for fricking Christ-on-a-cracker sakes!  They were so worried about his suicidality that they panicked when he didn’t show up and they left a five-year old and a three-year old in his care?  Don’t they read the newspapers?  Don’t they have any imaginations?  Haven’t they heard this pathetic story before?  Hasn’t somebody?  The doctor’s family must feel just terrible and finding fault will likely do no good.  Still, if we don’t realize that this was a critical missed cue, we will continue to see this kind of result.  We will continue to see this kind of result.

Before this dreadful occurence, Dr. Turcotte was “a much-appreciated cardiologist” who  “was extremely dedicated and had a very good reputation”.  Because only under-appreciated men with bad reputations kill their children so what a surprise?

You know, people like Dr. Turcotte,  “like other figures in position[s] of authority, can develop a sense of omnipotence. ‘They almost feel they have divine power, as if you are not allowed to question them. They do anything to hold onto that power…’

Throngs and throngs of men in positions of power kill their children.  So that explains it.  No?  Not yet?

Try this.  Psychologist Pierre Faubert says:

Some fathers in breakups target children to seek revenge on the mother… ‘The children become an extension of the mother. The father attacks her through them. The children become missiles aimed at the mother, who will be stricken by pain, guilt and shame.’

Now that sounds closer to an explanation that makes some sense, even though it’s virtually a throw-away line at the end of the article.  It’s not the father’s power at work and in society that precedes these terrible events, it’s the father’s power within his family.  Try this:

‘The profile of a family annihilator is a middle-aged man, a good provider who would appear to neighbours to be a dedicated husband and a devoted father,’  [Professor Jack] Levin said. ‘He quite often tends to be quite isolated. He is often profoundly dedicated to his family, but has few friends of his own or a support system out with [sic] the family. He will have suffered some prolonged frustration and feelings of inadequacy, but then suffers some catastrophic loss. It is usually financial or the loss of a relationship. He doesn’t hate his children, but he often hates his wife and blames her for his miserable life. He feels an overwhelming sense of his own powerlessness. He wants to execute revenge and the motive is almost always to “get even”.’  [emphasis mine]

Research from the States shows that family annihilators rarely have a prior criminal record. However, many experts believe there is often a prior pattern of domestic abuse. A report published two years ago in Britain by Women’s Aid, called Twenty-nine child homicides, found that, out of 13 families studied, domestic violence was a feature in 11. In one of the other two cases, the mother spoke of her ex-partner’s obsessively controlling behaviour.  [emphasis mine]

Control, you see.  Power.  Wife-hating [or woman-hating] abusive and obsessively controlling behaviour – it doesn’t need to be physical abuse.  When a woman leaves, she asserts a power that some men feel they have to take back by any means possible.  He feels emasculated, de-manned, he’s a loser, as M. Gary Neuman pointed out in his book about why men cheat.  Men have to feel like heroes, they have to feel like winners and if not, look out for the destruction they will cause.  And yes, it is men and not women who are by far more likely to perpetrate these crimes – 95% of the time.

Why must men feel in control of their women and children?  Why must they hold power over them?  The answer is simple and complex.  The answer is patriarchy.  Read about it on the web.  Google “feminism fathers who kill children” and you’ll find a kit-load of shit from the men’s rights and father’s rights “side” of this issue and you may wish you hadn’t.  Here’s a taste from Angry Harry.  His website came up first in my search.

Research from the States shows that family annihilators rarely have a prior criminal record. However, many experts believe there is often a prior pattern of domestic abuse.

Hardly surprising, eh? After all, these killings usually occur when relationships are breaking down. And so they do not come out of the blue. As such, one might well expect the amount of interpersonal abuse to escalate during such insecure times.

In fact, only a fool or a feminist would suggest otherwise.

I certainly cannot really imagine how I would feel if it looked as if my wife was going to leave me; taking away the home and the children – especially if these were my ‘everything’.

But I reckon that ‘murderous’ would very likely be a good description of how I would feel.

Notice, however, how Ms Lorna Martin tries to fob off the very idea that men have any justification for becoming enraged over the prospect of losing their homes and their children.

I suppose she reckons that they should just shrug it off! …

‘To the outside world, these crimes seem to come out of nowhere,’ continued Levin. ‘The perpetrators have not previously been involved in criminal behaviour. Nor do they tend to be on drugs or drinking heavily when they commit the crime. However, if psychologists had seen them in advance, they would have spotted the warning signs. They would have noticed how the person reacted to things not going his way – the irrational rage and the blaming of others. These people often also regard their partner and children as their own possessions.’

These men are ‘irrational’!

These men treat their partners and children and, presumably, their homes as their ‘possessions’!

How outrageous, eh? How strange! What kind of insanity possesses these men?

And women, of course, would never do or feel such things, eh? 

No Sir. When women fight tooth and nail to keep hold of their homes and their children – through fair means or foul – they are not treating them as ‘possessions’. No Sirree. They are victims

But here we have Ms Lorna Martin and the Guardian newspaper trying to demonise men for reacting badly when they are undergoing almost unbelievable torment.

Men “reacting badly”?  Be still my heart.  These stories are unbearable.  The Guardian article cited here tells stories so very similar that you could change the names and not know the difference.  The stories are all the more unbearable when they are reported as though there is no critical work that leads to an understanding of what’s happening in this patriarchal frickin’ world.  It’s fucktaballooned.

I’m as mad as Angry Harry but I wouldn’t dream of trying to rationalize murder just because I’m pissed!  And you know what?  If I did, I wouldn’t feel free to hang my rationalizations up on the web.

Hoping Obama Will Help

My dreams have been full of the women of the Democratic Republic of Congo for months and months and my heart cracks a little more each time I think of them.  The Bush administration, the U.N., my country and the powerful countries of the world have been unsuccessful in ameliorating he conditions for women in Congo, to the extent that anyone has tried.  These days, I often push thoughts of those women aside out of feelings of despair.

Thus, it was with a sense of relief and great hope that I read the following open letter to President-Elect Obama at The Huffington Post:

On December 5, 2008, a few days before the 60th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a group of global and domestic women’s organizations gathered in New York to frame a shared agenda for advancing global women’s rights. Determined to use their collective strength and expertise to work together to advance a global agenda for women’s freedom, safety and agency, they crafted the following open letter to President-elect Obama and committed to working together to see their vision come true in this century.
Dear President-Elect Obama,

As a group of women leaders who have given our lives to the transformation, protection and empowerment of women in the United States and globally, we want to begin by congratulating you. We are honored and proud to have you lead the nation during this historic time. We also welcome your call to action, reminding us of what we have always known — that as global citizens we cannot solely rely on any one administration’s ability to bring about change, but must be steadfast in pushing forward our own vision and agendas.

We represent a historic movement for change: millions of women across the globe with innovative ideas, influential constituencies and collaborative solutions. We are calling on you to ensure that women are equally represented in everything, from your administration’s infrastructure to its decision-making and solution building. We are calling on you to exercise leadership in dismantling the structures that perpetuate gender inequality, impede women’s full participation in society and thwart real progress for people around the world.

As war rages in Gaza, it is clear that the time has come to dismantle militarism as the dominant ideology in world politics. We must ensure that women take the lead in building lasting peace in the Middle East, ending genocide in Darfur, stopping femicide in the Democratic Republic of Congo, fighting the War on Terror in Afghanistan, and ending the war in Iraq.

Though the select-few women who hold leadership positions in this country’s political system inspire us; women represent more than 50% of the population and deserve more than marginal representation. We believe that in order for your vision of change to succeed, women must be in positions of power. While US women gained the right to vote 100 years ago, to date only 14% of the US Congress are women. This must change.

The major economic, security, governance and environmental challenges of our times cannot be solved without the equal participation of women at all levels of society — from the home to institutions of national and global governance. Women’s voices must be central in all major discussions including the economic crisis, overhauling our education system. Long-term investments in women’s education, health and leadership development are equally critical. Economic structures continue to marginalize women. Consider this: women represent two-thirds of the world’s labor yet we own less than 1% of the world’s assets.

In addition, more than 500,000 women die each year because of inadequate medical and reproductive care. Violence against women is a pandemic that determines women’s realities, impeding their access to education and economic self-sufficiency. This global epidemic is undermining the future of the world, as women are at the heart of all communities and families; we literally carry the future in our bodies.

Yet these are not “women’s issues.” In fact, such investments are vital to economic growth and the well-being of all individuals, communities, societies and nations. Consider India’s economic transformation of the past 15 years: The World Bank finds that states with the highest percentage of women in the labor force grew the fastest and had the largest reductions in poverty.

As policy makers, activists, researchers, and grant-makers we have spent our lives investing in women and know that these kinds of investments have immeasurable and fundamental impact for the better. Worldwide, women are uniquely positioned to bring innovative insights and creative solutions to global leadership forums. If we hope to improve existing economic, peace and security, and human development frameworks women must not only be included, but must be at the heart of the discussion.

We are calling on you to be the President who ushers in the time of women. Our vision of the future is one in which women and men are equal partners, standing shoulder to shoulder in confronting the world’s challenges. We welcome, with hope and anticipation, your shared commitment to this vision.  [emphasis mine]

We represent more than half of the world’s human potential. And our time has come.

Sincerely,

Linda Basch, PhD
President, National Council for Research on Women

Mallika Dutt
Executive Director, Breakthrough: Building Human Rights Culture

Eve Ensler
Founder, V-Day

Adrienne Germain
President, International Women’s Health Coalition

Sara Gould
CEO, Ms. Foundation

Christine Grumm
CEO, Women’s Funding Network

Geeta Rao Gupta
President, International Center for Research on Women

Carolyn Makinson
Executive Director, Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children

Kavita Ramdas
CEO, Global Fund for Women

Zainab Salbi
President, Women for Women International

In February, V-Day will be in  five American cities with its “Turning Pain to Power” tour – New York, Washington D.C., Atlanta, San Francisco and Los Angeles.  Dr. Dennis Mukwege will be on the tour with Eve Ensler.  Dr. Mukwege runs the Panzi Hospital in the DRC, offering services to women and girls who have been raped and won the 2008 UN Human Rights Prize.

Check out the V-Day site for more information on the tour and for tickets.  Please!

OH NOOoo, Helen!

Actress Helen Mirren:

“I’m more careful when I’m being interviewed by a woman because, from experience as well as reading articles about other women, I know there is a little stiletto knife hidden behind the back.”

She continued: “In a rape case, the courts – in defence of a man – would select as many women as they could for the jury, because women go against women.

“Whether in a deep-seated animalistic way, going back billions of years, or from a sense of tribal jealousy or just antagonism, I don’t know, but other women on a rape case would say she was asking for it. The only reason I can think of is that they’re sexually jealous.”

Mirren said date rape was a “tricky area” and something men and women had to work out between themselves.

It grieves me to say it, but Mirren has a serious case of internalised misogyny.

via Fuck Politeness

VAW Across Cultures

From the Canberra Times:

A new report suggests one in five ACT teenagers has witnessed an act of domestic violence against their mother or stepmother.

The report, which looks at the issue of family violence and the perceptions of young people, shows Canberra teenagers are among the 500,000 young people around the country to witness violence at home.

The An Assault on our Future report will be issued by the White Ribbon Foundation today .

It shows nearly a third of teenage boys nationally believe that violence against women is “not a big deal” with a similar number believing “most physical violence occurs because a partner provoked it”.

Report co-author and researcher Michael Flood said the findings echoed the experience of many people working in the field.

He said the attitudes of some young men were being negatively influenced by parents, peers, the media and pornography and the study the results showed a need for more targeted campaigns against family violence.

“It is remarkable that a substantial minority of young males thinks violence against women is OK in some circumstances when she’s led you on or she’s flirting,” he said.

The report showed a large number of girls had experienced sexual assault or attempted rape, and nearly a third of Year 10 girls reported having experienced unwanted sex.

“I was surprised just how common it is for girls and young women in particular for girls or young women to be pressured or forced into sex,” Dr Flood said.

What kind of a researcher is Dr. Michael Flood that he hasn’t heard how common it is “for girls or young women to be pressured or forced into sex”?  WTF?!  And “unwanted sex”?  Hmmmmmm.

And from The Daily Star (Bangladesh):

The UNFPA report on the state of the world population this year finds that the concept of gender-based violence, particularly domestic violence, often does not resonate within the Bangladeshi society and is not readily identified, even among many victims themselves.

The report also mentioned that those who do recognise themselves as survivors of violence often remain silent because of the dishonor associated with this taboo.

This must be due to the fact that 80% of Bangladesh’s population is Muslim.  They just have no respect for women in Islamic countries. 

Female Genital Mutilation

Patricia A. Broussard at Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy:

A student related to me that she had a conversation with a Nigerian, male friend in which she told him that she was very excited that her professor was writing an article on female genital mutilation. She reported that the he became enraged and shouted, “How dare this American woman characterize a custom of my culture as mutilation, and further, what right did she have to stick her nose into something that had nothing to do with her or her country.” Since I knew that I would probably never have the opportunity to personally meet this “gentleman,” I asked her to tell him the following: “No matter how many terms one conjures to lessen the impact of the horror visited upon women in the name of culture, mutilation is mutilation; it cannot be diminished by semantics. In addition, I am1 my sisters’ keeper; their pain is my pain. I have an obligation to use my words to speak truth to power in their name.”

Patricia A. Broussard, “Female Genital Mutilation: Exploring Strategies for Ending Ritualized Torture; Shaming, Blaming and Utilizing the Convention Against Torture

The Female Body

From Pashmina Murthy at Invisible Culture:

An examination of female infanticide across nearly two centuries can only locate and fix the infant in her absence. It is that disembodiment that is being archived, not the infant herself. To read the archive in relation to female infanticide is also to read the female body as archive. The body now documents for its readers signs of violence, apathy, misogyny, and greed. But it also denies full disclosure by locating its own “truth” elsewhere except in its own invisible body. Because the bodies of these infants were rarely, if ever, recovered, the kind of violence that was wreaked upon them might never be known. An infant that dies from being neglected embodies proof that it was never wanted, but the mutilated body of a new-born that was strangled or beaten reveals marks of a different cruelty . How might we account for these varying forms of violence? By structuring the death of the infant as a non-birth, the very conception of loss resists signification. Each death enacts the mythic origin of infanticide; it becomes a representation and a re-presentation of that originary loss, thereby entering the ritual performance of a scripted play and distancing itself from the violence and horror of the act. The ‘nothingness’ of the female infant, echoed in the absence of her body and the absence of affect surrounding her murder, can only be undone in the archives through an insistence on her displacement from a colonial accounting. A fantasy of detection and containment is operational here, which counters her tripartite absence on the physical, affective, and discursive plane. The absent female infant is written into presence as she gets signified through rumour, suspicion, and statistics, her textuality preserved and contained with the archival records and, indeed, in the archive itself – buried in the arkheia.

Read the whole thing here

Witchey Women

From Jessa Crispin at The Smart Set:

Part of the development of a socially maladjusted teenage girl — right around the same time she starts carrying Sylvia Plath’s Ariel with her everywhere she goes, scribbling in the margins; hacks at her own hair with dull kitchen shears; and discovers a copy of Hole’s Pretty on the Inside — is an obsession with the Salem Witch Trials. The more she learns about the 19 women and men who were executed in a little over a year, the more it reinforces her cynical theories about society — specifically that, as a woman, if you refuse to conform you will be left vulnerable.

The targets of these trials were not just those women who were unable to fulfill their womanly duties — the postmenopausal, the barren, the spinsters and widows. Women who stood up for their rights — along with women who were perceived as being too brash, too forceful, or too flirty — might just as well have put on a pointy hat and started riding a broom. And of course it was not just Salem, Massachusetts, involved in the prosecution. All across Europe and the colonies, women were brought up on charges of witchcraft, tortured for confessions, and then executed over a span of 300 years.

Read the whole thing here

The Burning Times [documentary from the National Film Board of Canada]:

This beautifully crafted film is an in-depth look at the witch-hunts that swept through Europe just a few hundred years ago. False accusations and trials led to massive torture and burnings at the stake, and ultimately to the destruction of an organic way of life. The film advances the theory that widespread violence against women and the neglect of our environment today can be traced back to those times. Part two of a series of three films on women and spirituality, which includes Goddess Remembered and Full Circle.

1990, 56 min 10 s

Directed by
Donna Read
Produced by
Mary Armstrong
Margaret Pettigrew
Signe Johansson
Production Agency
National Film Board of Canada

 

 Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

My Last Words On US Election: Ambivalence

I feel such a mixture of happy and sad in the face of what I’m convinced will be the result of tomorrow’s election in the US.

I’m happy that a man whose skin is not white will be the President of the United States of America.  I wish that he was more willing to claim the disaster of racism as his own and it makes me sad that he doesn’t seem to really “get it”.  Scared too.  For instance, scared for the black American men who represent 65% of America’s prison population and scared for the fastest growing part of that population: African American women.  And for lots of other African Americans, for lots of other reasons.

I’m happy that a man who voted against the Iraq War will be President of the United States of America.  I wish I was sure that he wouldn’t take the world into further disasters in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Gaza and it makes me sad that he doesn’t seem to really “get it”.  Scared too.  For instance, scared for the American soldiers and Afghan, Pakistani, and Gazan women and children who will grow up in poverty or die senselessly because he doesn’t.

I’m happy that a man who is a member of a racialized minority will be the President of the United States and I share in the joy of African Americans.  I wish that he and his campaign and his party hadn’t found it necessary to flagellate Hillary Clinton, the women of America and the women of the world to gain the prize and it makes me sad that he doesn’t “get it”.  Scared too.  For instance, scared for the women who will continue to be the butts of sexist and misogynist jokes, for the women who will be the subjects of  pornography, the forced prostitution and death at the hands of rapists or the men who are supposed to love them; for all of us who wait for a woman leader who is respected as much as Obama is respected – even taking account of the racism the campaign has generated, or exposed.

I’m happy that a man who has some respect for the US Constitution will be President of the United States of America.  I’m sad that he thought that the FISA compromise was ok.  Scared too.  For instance, scared of the United States of America and the weakening of democracy in the country that still stands for the best blossoming of that principle in the world, and that we will lose it – that is, lose the USA and lose democracy.

I’m just plain sad that the next President of the United States of America will not stand up, unequivocally, for same-sex marriage and for the obvious principle that women, and women alone, not women, their families and their pastors, are responsible for their own bodies.

I’ll be just plain happy to see the end of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.  But I wish Obama would go after them for their crimes. 

I’ll be just plain happy to hear the words “I,  Barack Hussein Obama …”

I’m neither sad nor scared, but damned angry, that the Republican are going to paint Obama’s election as the unhappy result of media bias and voter fraud:

… the Republican base already seems to be gearing up to regard defeat not as a verdict on conservative policies, but as the result of an evil conspiracy. A recent Democracy Corps poll found that Republicans, by a margin of more than two to one, believe that Mr. McCain is losing “because the mainstream media is biased” rather than “because Americans are tired of George Bush.”

And Mr. McCain has laid the groundwork for feverish claims that the election was stolen, declaring that the community activist group Acorn — which, as Factcheck.org points out, has never “been found guilty of, or even charged with” causing fraudulent votes to be cast — “is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.”

These far right nutbars are a danger to everywhere.  I’ll be happy if they all fall into the sea.  And have a nice relaxing swim.

“Justice” in Canada Night

It’s been quite a long time since I’ve been as upset as I am tonight about the case of David Frost.  I find it difficult to get myself together enough to write about it, but I’m going to try.

In a post on Tuesday, I commented on this story at The Star, reporting on the trial of Frost, who is charged with four counts of sexual exploitation with respect to two young men who were on a Quebec hockey team he coached.  Let’s do just a little background on David Frost.

In 2004, NHL hockey player Mike Danton was arrested by FBI agents in the US on charges of conspiring to have Frost killed.  Danton pled guilty to the charges.  The reasons behind Danton’s attempt to have his former hockey coach killed were never revealed.

The CBC’s Fifth Estate later obtained tapes of conversations [listen to the tapes or read transcripts here]between Mike Danton, serving a jail sentence, and David Frost which indicated the control that Frost continued to have over the hockey player.  A Fifth Estate documentary told the tale of their relationship, beginning when Danton was ten-years old and  playing hockey in Brampton, Ontario:

It was there that Frost first began to exert his control over the young hockey player; control that continued throughout Mike’s hockey career, from the minor leagues in Toronto, through teams in the Ontario Hockey League and eventually to the National Hockey League. Frost’s influence was continual and unrelenting.  

In the fifth estate documentary “Frost Bite”, Bob McKeown delves deeper into the jailhouse conversations between Mike Danton and David Frost. The program reveals new details of the intricate and troubling relationship between the St. Louis Blues player and his agent, especially the importance of Danton’s sex life as a possible influence in the murder plot.

Since Danton’s incarceration, Frost has been his media representative and his chief defender – he controls access to Danton, who has had no contact with his family for years. 

In 2006, Frost was arrested by the Ontario Provincial Police on twelve charges of sexual exploitation involving four boys and three girls.  The charges with respect to the girls were eventually dropped because s. 153(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada allows for such charges only when the person charged is in a position of trust with respect to the victims – that is, a teacher, coach etc.  The young women were sixteen at the time of the behaviour in question and thus were able to consent to sexual contact.  They were girlfriends of several of the young men, hockey players on Frost’s team, and had been involved in “threesomes” with their boyfriends and Frost.  Charges were also dropped with respect to two of the boys.

That left four charges pending with respect to two young men.  First problem.  It seems absurd on the face of it to acknowledge the possibility of exploitation between the coach and his players and not between the coach and these young women.  But that’s what the Code says.  The law needs to be changed to take account of situations like this, where an adult uses his power and authority, even “second-hand”, to obtain access to young women for the purposes of sexual exploitation.  That was the subject of my post, as far as it went, on Tuesday.

For the last several days, two young women have testified as witnesses in the case.  On Monday, “Kristy” testified that she had been involved in “three-way” sex with her boyfriend and Frost when she was sixteen.  On Tuesday, the second woman, “Jennifer”, testified:

The woman, now 28, speaking today at Frost’s ongoing trial for sexual exploitation, said that Frost had a threesome with her and her teenage hockey player boyfriend while Frost was coaching the Quinte Hawks in Deseronto in 1996.

[…]

The woman told court the three-way sexual encounters involving her boyfriend and Frost happened many times.

During the woman’s emotional testimony, she said she and her boyfriend often fought because she didn’t want to have sex with Frost anymore.

She testified that even years later, when her boyfriend was playing hockey in the U.S., Frost would be there when she visited and told them he didn’t want them to have sex if he wasn’t involved.

Here’s where it all gets even more lovely.  There is a publication ban in place with respect to the young men involved both because of the nature of the charges and because they were minors at the time of the alleged offenses.  The Crown applied for a ban with respect to the young woman, but The Globe and Mail argued that the ban ought not to apply to the young women because they are not “victims”.  Subsequently, the judge decided not to grant the ban where they are concerned.

The Globe in its wisdom has decided not to print the last names of these women.  Not so with other media.  Thank you Globe and Mail.  Freedom of the press is safe because of you, even if these young women are not.  What’s more important anyway?  [oh I’m so mad I can only snark]

I’m sorry to say, this story goes on.  And on.  And only gets worse.

Frost’s lawyer is Marie Heinen.  Frost is creepy, pervy slimy and it’s always great for a guy like him to have a woman lawyer.  How does she sleep?  I’ll never understand.  It’s the position of the defense that none of this “three-way sex party” stuff ever happened.  With anyone.  At all.  So of course, the cross examination involves the proposition that these young women have fabricated the whole thing.  That, in itself, is not unusual.  To agree that it happened at all is to admit guilt to the offense, by definition.  The question is, or was, how does it make sense to argue this if you have two young men, the complainants” in the case, saying that it did and their position is corroborated by two female witnesses?

And the worm turns.  Today, the two ostensible male victims, former Ontario Junior hockey players, came to court and said none of it ever happened, the charges are ridiculous and the coach did nothing wrong at all, ever, never mind committing these criminal offenses.

Now I have to pause to, literally, weep.  Here we have two young women literally hung out to dry, their reputations smashed, all in the cause of seeing David Frost put to rights by the court for what he did to these two young men and the alleged victims wouldn’t even say he did anything wrong.  Not only that, they took some nasty, macho, misgynist swipes at their former girlfriends while they were doing it.

The testimony from the two young men yesterday was alternately galling and heartless.
For instance, the first to take the witness box seriously described his forays into two-on-one sex as “like a bonding thing, with friends and teammates.” He appeared oblivious to the fact that in the stereotypical male fantasy, threesomes traditionally involve not two men and a woman, but two women and a man.
He later attended a Canadian university on a hockey scholarship and said that after leaving the junior game, he had had threesomes and foursomes. “I had up to five and six guys with one woman,” he said quietly.

The second young man was asked by Mr. Tse if he had not once upon a time, as the judge has heard, pronounced his girl Jennifer as gorgeous. “I wouldn’t say that,” the young man replied coolly. “I was 16. It worked.”

“What worked?” Mr. Tse asked.

She worked,” the young man smirked. “Ever heard the expression ‘Beggars can’t be choosers’?” He said she was pointed out to him as a likely sexual plaything by a player who “had been with her” previously.   [here]

 

 

 

Given that one player disputed an incident that several other people witnessed and that resulted in assault charges against Mr. Frost, to which he pled guilty, the credibility of these players is, uh, questionable to say the least:

Arguably, the most revealing moment may have come when Mr. Tse was questioning the second player about an incident in which Mr. Frost physically assaulted one of his teammates, this in a game before an arena full of fans. No fewer than four other witnesses, including other former players and the team’s former trainer, have testified they saw the assault, and Mr. Frost in fact later pleaded guilty to it.

But this player said he never saw such a thing, and furiously told Mr. Tse [the Crown], “I also recall our whole team rallying around that and marching into the police station in Deseronto … everyone rallied around and not one player saw that assault. And no one spoke about it, if they did.” [here]

In the article I’ve been quoting here, Christie Blatchford points out the harm done to the young women who were witnesses in this case and to the game of hockey in Canada:

In the process, they inflicted incalculable damage to the national game – painting it at the junior and college levels as an amoral sexual playground – and casually, in one instance rather cheerfully, tried to obliterate the reputations of their former girlfriends.

Apart from the obvious, wtf is wrong here?  I am left wondering why the Crown proceeded with this case.  There are no complainants.  These young men refused to meet with the Crown before coming to court, they refused to come to court until Frost’s lawyer had ensured that their identity would be protected by a publication ban and they testified for the defense.  It’s not as if the Crown wasn’t aware of those facts.

If this was a case where the alleged victims were young women, this case would have gone absolutely nowhere.  There’s been a lot of pressure on the O.P.P. and the Attorney General’s Office to do something about Frost for four years, since Mike Danton’s arrest.  After all, he appeared to be endangering the morals of our stalwart heroes, our young male warriors, our hockey players for gawd sakes – human beings who are inestimably more valuable than any young woman could ever be.  The Crown Attorney’s Office wanted Frost and they wanted him badly enough to attempt to get a conviction in a case where there just wasn’t ever much hope.  Perhaps they were willing to risk it simply to prove to the people of Ontario that they tried, or perhaps they knew it would be clear enough to observers just what’s going on here that the success of the case didn’t/doesn’t really matter.

But look who paid.  There’s not a Crown Attorney in this godforsaken country that wouldn’t know what was going to happen to these young women.  It’s difficult enough to protect female complainants in cases such as these, never mind witnesses.  Jennifer and Kristy never had a prayer.  As for the publication ban, that one was a toss-up, but it certainly couldn’t or ought not to have been promised to them.  And I hope to gawd it wasn’t.

I can’t help but feel that I know what they’re feeling.  I can’t help but feel revulsion for the puling, cowardly ex-boyfriends, princes of our national game.  And tonight, I can’t help but feel hatred toward that game and the machismo saturated system it has engendered.  It has to be said that the underlying motive for these young men’s lie is not just misogyny, but also homophobia.  The alleged threesomes, after all, involved two men and one woman.  In the past, there has been speculation at a level much greater than a whisper that David Frost and Mike Danton were lovers.  And that, as Christie Blatchford notes, is speculation that the macho boys will never admit:

… any young male in hockey who was sexually taken advantage of by, or involved with, another male would be too ashamed and alarmed at the prospect of the dread spectre of gayness that he would deny it with his dying breath.  [here]

This is wrong at so many levels that I just can’t leave it alone.  I’m not sure what can be done, but I’m going to mobilize my little feminist army to find out.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  In the meantime, if any of you have ideas, please let me know in comments or by e-mail.  You’ll find my address on the “About” page of this blog.

Sleep the sleep of righteous warriors.

David Frost

UPDATE:  Great article on this case by Laura Robinson on Saturday in the Winnipeg Free Press.  Robinson, a former member of Canada’s national cycling team, wrote Crossing the Line: Violence and Sexual Assault in Canada’s National Game in 1998.

If there was a huge hue and cry from men on this issue, from hockey fans, from hockey DADS, from male players, something might happen that would change the face of the sport and make it into something I can respect.  Hockey was a central part of my childhood, even though they wouldn’t let me play – my sisters would both have made GREAT hockey players.  I did idolize – and idealize – those guys.  I can tell you lots of good stories about them and what they do off the ice.  But I’m angry with the sport, with many of those who run it and coach in it, and with players like those described in this story, who are adults now – 28 or 29 years old – and who don’t have the courage to stand up for women.  And ultimately, for themselves.

Write letters to the Winnipeg Free Press and to Laura Robinson.  I’m going to gather some other addresses were you can direct your letters.

UPDATE:  Christie Blatchford on the acquittal (surprise!) of David Frost – note that some commenters blame the judge for the acquittal.  You can’t find someone guilty if the complainants won’t testify for the Crown!

Palin Porn

From Cara at AlterNet:

Via Sociological Images — a truly great blog I discovered recently — comes this story about a Sarah Palin lookalike contest held at Vegas strip club (oh, sorry, “gentleman’s club”). Lots of bikinis, sexualized use of guns and sexism abound. You can view more photographs of the event here.

The saddest thing is that it’s not the most offensive display of sexualized misogyny that has been directed a Palin. The sex doll came close, but I’d say that award goes Naylin’ Paylin,” the Larry Flint pornographic film starring yet another Palin lookalike, the existence of which all of us should have seen coming. 

There are two problems with both the porn film and this strip club contest, and neither one of them is about porn and stripping in general. The first issue is consent. Sarah Palin did not consent to having her image used in this way. Portraying her sexually like this without her consent is a violation — and contrary to what many people apparently think, existing as a woman in public is not the same as consenting to use of your body as public property. This isn’t satire or parody; it’s just sexist and degrading. 

Which brings us to the next issue. The entire reason that anyone gets to hide behind the parody and “all in good fun” arguments is precisely because portraying Sarah Palin sexually is intended to be mocking towards her. It’s taking a powerful woman and working to make her non-threatening by turning her into a sexual object. And it’s the very opposite side of the coin as calling Hillary Clinton ugly and denying her sexuality. Both reinforce the ideas that women exist to sexually pleasure men, and that sexuality is the only power we have (or should be allowed). Whether revoking or affirming that “power,” the result is an attempt to render the woman inferior and powerless.

We still live in a world where women seemingly cannot be seen as sexual and at the same time be taken seriously. We still live in a world where sexuality itself is seen as degrading to women. That is the purpose of these types of exercises — to debase Palin by reminding everyone that she (presumably) has a vagina and is therefore only good for fucking. I truly believe that if sex was not still viewed as inherently degrading to women, we wouldn’t be seeing these sorts of displays at all.

Read the whole thing here

Edited to repair a link