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The V Word

Advocating to end sexual and domestic violence

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carol olson

the V word: Corrective Rape

Welcome to today’s edition of The V Word.

https://soundcloud.com/carol-ann-olson/the-v-word-corrective-rape-aired-june-9-2014

The other day someone was asking me about all the different ways we describe rape and why is it necessary. “Corrective Rape” was one of the terms brought up. What is it and how is it different from “Rape”. Really what the person was asking is that why is some rape considered a hate crime and some is, well, just rape?

As defined by E. Bartle in Lesbians and Hate Crimes – Corrective rape is a hate crime in which people are raped because of their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. It is the use of rape against people who do not conform to perceived social norms of sexuality and gender roles. They goal is to punish perceived abnormal behavior and reinforce the societal norms of heterosexuality and defined gender roles. The common intended consequence of the rape, as seen by the perpetrator, is to turn the person heterosexual or to enforce conformity with rigid gender stereotypes.
While this practice was first identified and termed in South Africa, it can happen and does happen in any community. And while much of the literature talks about corrective rape a happening in other countries, do not kid yourself that it does not happen in the United States, it does. All it takes is an atmosphere supportive of hate crimes against gay men and lesbians to contribute to the practice of corrective rape. A study in 2000,as reported by The Human Rights Watch, suggested this “atmosphere” of acceptance includes the visibility of lesbians within a community, a reaction of indifference to hate crimes by the community, a strong belief in gendered behavior for males and females, and isolated locations.

Corrective rape and other accompanying acts of violence can result in physical and psychological trauma, mutilation, HIV infection, unwanted pregnancy, and may contribute to suicide. Corrective rape is a major contributor to HIV infection in South African lesbians.
Corrective rape is not limited to people under the traditional LGBTQ umbrella. Asexual activist and blogger Julie Decker has observed that corrective rape is common in the asexual community. In a 2013 interview in the Huffington Post, she talks about sexual harassment and assault perpetuated by men who claimed to have the victims interests at heart.

Many believe that corrective rape should be recognized as a hate crime because of the misunderstanding of homosexuality and the animus toward gay people that motivate corrective rape. Perpetrators often think that raping a lesbian, gay, transgender or queer identified person will “correct” their sexual identity, orientation, and gender expression. This type of rape is not always an individual act either, it can have a group mentality to garner support, it can be promoted within a community, and then ignored.

As a survivor, advocate and ally, I have found that rape perpetuated under the guise of “corrective rape” is often minimized by the community. Efforts to serve the victim, to solve the crime, to bring the perpetrator or perpetrators to justice are often pushed aside as less important.

There is a viewpoint that all rape is a hate crime, because it is directed specifically against a gender, an identity, a population. Rape is used to denigrate, control, abuse and force power over another person because they are female, they are transgender, they are gay or lesbian, they display non-conforming gender or sexual identity and expression, they are vulnerable due to disabilities, illness, or immigration status.

For help or information? Here are some options…

If you have been raped, call 911 and go to the nearest emergency room.
For information on how to report in the Richmond, Virginia, USA are, you can call the non-emergency line at 804-646-5100, that is 804-646-5100 or go by a local police station office. The main Richmond office is located at 200 West Grace Street.

To get a forensic exam to collect evidence and receive medical care, the local hospitals in the Richmond area with Forensic Nurse Examiners are at Medical College of Virginia and St. Mary’s Hospital.

For those in Virginia who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, and queer or questioning, you can access a free and confidential telephone service called The LGBTQ Partner Abuse and Sexual Assault Helpline at 1.866.356.6998 Monday through Friday, 8 am to 8 pm for help regarding intimate partner abuse, sexual assault, and stalking. The Virginia Anti-Violence Project at virginiaavp.org stands ready to work with anyone who wants to address anti-LGBTQ violence in Virginia and to help build safe communities. The number again is: 1.866.356.6998.

For listeners from outside of Virginia: GLBT National Hotline @ 1-888-843-4565 or go to GLNH.org/hotline/

For help with counseling and advocacy, local rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters can provide services. To find a center closest to you… you can call the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238. That is the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238.

Want to share a story or ask a question? Email me at thevword.radio@gmail.com or tweet me at my twitter account: @preventviolence. You can read the transcript for this show and past shows on my blog at www.thevword.org

The V Word is recorded in the studios of WRIR-LP 97.3, read and produced by me, Carol Olson.

The V Word: Soliciting Prostitution

Welcome to today’s edition of The V Word.

 

There have been many times I have been out at a club or music venue, out at a diner late, out walking, or sitting in one of the many Fan triangle parks. Someone has approached me to to ask me to come work for them. The first time it happened, I did not understand what the person was asking. Then I realized, the person was asking me to do sex work for them. Sometimes they just asked and walked away when I said “no”.  Other times the person became persistent, not leaving the table or area I was in…..harassing me and requiring me to leave.  Sometimes I was even handed a card with just a phone number on it and asked to call if I changed my mind.

The other way I was often approached was walking down the street or standing around campus and someone would yell: “How much?”

Seems pretty brazen doesn’t it? Yelling at you in public or handing you a card to call them back, asking you to do sex work.

But of course, this only happened when I was either alone or with just one or two other woman. I started realizing that it does not happen when you are in a group or have males with you.

I talked with other women and trans-women. It is not really that uncommon. Both yelling at you on the street or approaching you in public places… and being persistent about it.  In fact, it happens all the time to young girls, women, trans-women, young males and trans-men.

At first, I did not know what to do and neither did many of the women and trans-women I talked to. How do you report someone who is “just offering you a job” or someone who has driven away by the time you can do something?

Is it illegal?  Yes.  This falls under harassment and is a human rights issue.  It places women and other groups marginalized by gender, gender expression and sexual orientation at risk when they are in public.  It limits women and trans-women ability to be in public as easily and safely as men.

There are legal options.

And so, what is this called legally? Soliciting Prostitution. And it is a crime in Virginia.

The law is 18.2-346 = Soliciting for the purposes of prostitution is illegal. If a street harasser solicits sexual activity from you, you can report the person.

You can also make the case that harasers who yell, “How much?!” or offers you money, or offers you anything else in trade for sex, even in jest, are soliciting prostitution.

I am not making a judgement on consensual sex work, but I do think it is inappropriate and harassing for a person to make assumptions about your sexual availability and make you feel uncomfortable. I think it is inappropriate and harassing for a person to be persistent about trying to recruit you into sex work.

There is a penalty for soliciting prostitution. Soliciting an adult for prostitution is a Class 1 misdemeanor and may result in confinement in jail for up to twelve months and a fine of up to $2500 or both.

The penalty is higher if the person is a minor.

Soliciting for the purposes for prostitution and sex work is sex trafficking. The awareness of sex trafficking has become a much larger issue now. Next week, I will talk more about sex trafficking and options to pursue.

To review: Soliciting for the purpose of prostitution or sex work is illegal and can be reported.

Need help or more information? Here are some options…

For information on how to report in the Richmond, Virginia, USA area, you can call the non-emergency line at 804-646-5100, that is 804-646-5100 or go by a local police station office.  The main Richmond office is located at 200 West Grace street.

For help with counseling and advocacy, local rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters can provide services. In Virginia, USA, to find a center closest to you… you can call the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline, hosted by The Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance at 1-800-838-8238.

That is the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238.

Listening from outside of Virginia?  You can call RAINN (rape, abuse, and incest national  network) at 1-800-656-hope.

That is 1-800-656-hope.

Want to share a story or ask a question? Email me at thevword.radio@gmail.com or tweet me at my twitter account: @preventviolence. You can read the transcript for this show and past shows on my blog at http://www.thevword.org

The V Word is recorded in the studios of WRIR-LP 97.3, read and produced by me, Carol Olson.

The V Word: Upskirt Photo

Welcome to today’s edition of the V Word.

 

I was in court one day. I give expert witness testimony on cases of sexual and domestic violence and child abuse. That day I wore a dress. I was sitting there in the lobby waiting for my turn to testify and what do you think I notice? The Sheriff’s deputy trying to take an upskirt photo of me with his camera phone. When I got up to walk toward him, he moved into a part of the courthouse I could not get to. I considered pursuing it but at the time did not know if I could. When I got out of court the deputy was gone. So then I looked up the law.

Do you know what an upskirt or down-blouse photo is? It is when someone tries to photograph up the inside of your skirt or doWwn the front of your top, or otherwise observes, films or photographs you in an inappropriate way without your knowledge or consent.

The law has been in existence since 2005 and so I am pretty sure that deputy knows the law and knew that in fact he was engaging in unlawful filming or photography of a person.

So for you secret filming perpetrators out there with your camera phones, what that means is that it is illegal to hold you phone or camera beneath a person or between a person’s legs to film or to photograph a person’s intimate areas, yes it really is illegal to hide cameras to film someone without their knowledge and when the person expects privacy.

That also means it is illegal to photograph someone in places like public bathrooms, places where people change their clothes, hotels (as in a recent case out at a Richmond mall?

…. So no cameras in the walls and no cameras in toilets (yes that has happened, remember Rockefeller hiding cameras in the toilets of the Rockettes bathroom?).

Now, while some states are doing nothing about upskirt photos,Virginia is and it is illegal. If this has happened to you, you have legal options to pursue.

There is a law (18.2-386.1) that Unlawful Filming, videotaping, or photographing of another is a Class 1 misdemeanor and it is punishable by 1 year in jail and or a fine of up to $2500 or both.

So to review….

It is It is illegal to to place a recording device directly beneath or between a person’s legs to film or photograph the person’s intimate parts or underwear when it it would not otherwise be visible and when the person should reasonably expect privacy.

If a harasser films or photographs you someplace like public restrooms, dressing rooms, locker rooms and hotel rooms, you can report the person.

It is also illegal for anyone to intentionally film or photograph a non-consenting person if the image exposes the private areas of the person’s body.

If a street harasser or perpetrator takes an up-skirt or down-blouse photo of you, or otherwise observes or photographs you in an inappropriate way, you can report the person.

Need help or more information? Here are some options.

For information on how to report in the Richmond area, you can call the non-emergency line at 646-5100, that is 646-5100 or go by a local police department office.

For help with counseling and advocacy, local rape crisis and domestic violence shelters can provide services. To find a center closest to you… you can call the Virginia Family Violence & Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238. That is the Virginia Family Violence & Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238.

Want to share a story or ask a question, email me at thevword.radio@gmail.com or tweet me at my handle @preventviolence You can read the transcript for this show and past shows on my blog at http://www.thevword.org.

The V Word is recorded in the studios of WRIR 97.3, read and produced by me, Carol Olson.

The V Word: Street Harassment

Welcome to today’s edition of The V Word

 

Street Harassment, has this happened to you? It has happened to me.

One day I was walking in the Fan area, heading toward Carytown. A male riding a bike comes up alongside me. He starts making sexually suggestive comments to me. I try to ignore him and keep walking. He asks me for a date. I say no and keep walking. I turn down a street and he follows me. So then, he starts yelling obscenities at me for not agreeing to go on a date with him. He continues following me several blocks until I get to a business and go into one to ask for help. Only then does he ride away.

In case you are wondering where I am going with this, I am going to talk about street harassment.  And I know I will get a resounding “YES”, from every woman and trans-woman to this question: Have you been the subject of street harassment such as forced conversations, cat calls, sexually suggestive comments and obscene gestures? Did the offender keep it up even when you said no or tried to walk away?
Some people have asked me, what exactly counts as street harassment? And is it just on the street? The advocacy movement defines it as any action or comment between strangers in public places that is disrespectful, unwelcome, threatening and/or harassing, and is motivated by gender, gender expression or sexual orientation. And no it does not just happen on the street. It can happen in stores, college campuses, concert venues, etc. Any place where a person is harassing you publicly. And to top off an already bad experience of being harassed in public, women or trans women are either told it’s a compliment and/or are often blamed for its occurrence because of their gender, their gender expression, what they were wearing, where they were walking or the time of night. And, amazingly enough, women and trans-women are often told that males cannot help themselves. Now that argument always shocks me, because if men can not control themselves, there are a lot of things we ought to limiting them from. And another thing happens, many people minimize street harassment thinking that since it doesn’t involve touching, it is therefore less dangerous. Not so. It is just as dangerous as other forms of harassment and interpersonal violence. And it can escalate to stalking and assault.

Remember my story above? The offender did not stop bothering or following me until I got to a business section and went into a store.  Street harassment is a human rights issue because it limits women’s and trans women’s ability to be in public as often or as comfortably as most men.

So to review, street harassment includes:

  • Verbal harassment – like yelling sexually suggestive comments,
  • Up-skirt photos – which is taking photos up women’s clothing or down their shirts.
  • Indecent exposure – and yes you flashers listening – that means your junk specifically,
  • Following people,
  • Groping – which is grabbing, touching, fondling any part of the body.
  • Obstructing paths – which is preventing someone from getting by you so you can harass them in all the ways I just listed.

So listeners, has any of this happened to you? What can you do? Or listeners, any of you doing any of the above?

In Virginia, there are 5 laws that may apply to the various forms of street harassment.
1. Disorderly conduct (this one is rarely used but can apply in some circumstances) – and is a Class 1 misdemeanor with 12 months of jail and/or $2500 fine.
2. Profane swearing and intoxication – and since street harassers are often mixing alcohol with their abuse, this one can apply – and is a class 4 misdemeanor with a fine of $250
3. Slander and libel – This law, interestingly enough, focuses specifically on banning people from falsely and derogatorily speaking about a chaste female’s character. While evaluating women based on their chastity is outdated, this statute can be used when women are called derogatory names.
4. Soliciting Prostitution – soliciting for the purpose of prostitution is illegal. If a street harasser solicits sexual activity from you or yells “how much”, you can report him or her. This is a Class 1 misdemeanor and may result in jail time of up to 12 months and/or a fine of $2500 – the penalty is higher if the person solicited is a minor.
5. Unlawful Assembly – it is illegal for 3 or more people to gather for the purposes of doing something through force or violence that is likely to jeopardize public safety, peace or order and that makes someone else fear for his, her or their safety. So, if at least 3 people are engaging in street harassment together and they make any kind of threat of force against you or make you fear for your safety, you can report the persons. The penalty is a class 1 misdemeanor with up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of $2500

Need help or more information? Local rape crisis and domestic violence shelters can provide services. To find a center closest to you, you can call the Virginia Family Violence & Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238.

The V Word is recorded in the studios of WRIR 97.3 LP, read and produced by me, Carol Olson.

 

Presenting at conference focusing on the impact of sexual violence

I am honored and excited to be presenting next month with the Office of the Attorney General in collaboration with the Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault.  The conference is the first time the OAG’s office is focusing on sexual violence and it’s impact on individuals.   I am honored to be a Plenary Speaker at the event presenting on the Impact of Sexual Violence on Victims.   I will be bringing another therapist, Melanie Gardner, with me to present a case study while I focus on trauma and it’s impact on the brain and the complexities of recovery.  The conference information is below if anyone plans on attending.  There is a bunch of great presentations happening from a variety of professionals and allied agencies over the two days.

November 7-8, 2012 – A Victim Centered Approach to Investigating and Prosecuting Sexual Violence
Presented by The Office of the Attorney General And the Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault
No Registration Fee! For more information contact Melissa McMenemy at mmcmenemy@oag.state.va.us or 804-692-0592. Topics Include:♦How Trauma Impacts Victims ♦Trafficking in Sex♦Sexual Violence and Substances ♦Working with the Elderly ♦SARTs ♦Sex Workers as Victims ♦Sexual Violence in Detention Centers ♦SANE Exams.

Agenda for the conference

A Victim Centered Approach to Investigating and Prosecuting Sexual Violence Cases – Agenda

7:30am-8:00am – Registration
8:00am-8:15am – Welcome: Gallery Room – Welcome/Intros/House Keeping
8:30am-10:15am – Plenary: Gallery Room – Understanding Sexual Violence and Abuse; the Impact on Survivors by Carol Olson, LPC, ATR-BC,  CSAC and Melanie Gardner, MA, ATR-BC, LPC, BAT, LMHP
10:15am-10:30am – Break
10:30am-12:00pm – Plenary: Gallery Room – Intimidation of victims and prosecution by John Wilinson, AEquitas
12:00pm-1:15pm – Lunch (on your own)
1:15pm-2:30pm – Break Out: A1 Gallery Room – Sexual Violence and Substances by John Wilkinson, AEquitas
1:15pm-2:30pm – Break Out: A2 Mtn. Shadows Rm. – Our work with the Latino and Other Immigrant Communities by Giovanna Carney, RCASA
2:30pm-2:45pm – Break
2:45pm-4:00pm – Break Out: B1 Gallery Room – Team Centered Approach; Supporting Special Victims by Denise Lunsford, CA, Det. Sgt. Terry Walls, Susan Painter V/W Adv. Albemarle County
2:45pm-4:00pm – Break Out: B2 Mtn. Shadows Rm. – Sexual Assault Response Teams (SARTS) by Kristina Vadas, DCJS and Kristen Pine, YWCA of South Hampton Roads

Thursday, November 8, 2012

7:45am-8:15am – Registration
8:15am-8:30am – Welcome: Gallery Room – Project Horizon Overview with Judy Casteele, Director
8:30am-10:30am – Plenary: Gallery Room – Human Trafficking: The Virginia Experience – Erin Kulpa, OAG
10:30am-10:45am – Break
10:45am-12:00pm – Break Out: C1 Mtn. Shadows Rm. – Elder Sexual Assault by Lisa Furr, VCU
10:45am-12:00pm – Break Out: C2 Gallery Room – It’s Not All About You; Conducting a Victim Centered Sexual Assault Exam by Betty Fisher, SANE Nurse
12:00pm-1:15pm – Lunch
1:15pm-2:30pm – Break Out: D1 Gallery Room – E-Quaintance Sexual Assault: Sexual Violence and Developmental Differences in the Technotronic Era by Laura Glasscock, ACTS SAVAS
1:00pm-2:30pm – Break Out: D2 Mtn. Shadows Rm. – Addressing Sexual Violence in Detention Settings by Cynthia Totten, Just Detention International
2:30pm-2:40pm – Break
2:40pm-3:40pm – Break Out: E1 Mtn. Shadows Rm. – Protective Orders 2011 Legislative Changes Equal Access; Equal Protection by Hunter Fisher, OAG
2:40pm-3:40pm – Break Out: E2 Gallery Room – Dispelling Myths in Sexual Violence by Jasmine Brock, Charlottesville SARA

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