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A woman who was raped by her friend in India, and who is now dealing with a case in the High Court, is telling her story to the Women in the World audience. The lights are out. Her back is to the audience. And we don’t know her name. This is what the livestream looks like at the moment. She is doing this as a precautionary measure fearing backlash from her own people. Such a brave woman.
Dr. Mamphela Ramphele
has announced the creation of a new political party, Agad, and is running to be South Africa’s first female president. God speed.
Last February Landen Gambill decided to take action against her ex-boyfriend, who she says raped and stalked her throughout their long-term relationship. Now the 19-year-old is being threatened with possible expulsion from her college for creating an “intimidating” environment for her alleged abuser—and she’s gearing up to fight back.
Gambill was a freshman at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill when she took her case to the school’s honor court—a judicial body made up of five undergraduates—trying to avoid the emotional toll of a criminal trial. At the time, she says, she hoped to simply get a no-contact order to keep her ex-boyfriend away from her. Instead, she says, she endured a hearing that spanned 28 hours, in which she claims she was grilled about why she didn’t leave her boyfriend sooner and was scolded for “showing emotion on her face.” Gambill says she was asked loaded questions like, “Why didn’t you break up with him?” and “Why didn’t you fight back harder?”
“I had really high expectations of UNC as a liberal university,” Gambill says. “[I thought] they were going to support me as a survivor and as someone who’s in a relationship with sexual abuse. I was totally let down.”
What’s worse, she says, a detailed account of the alleged abuse, which she had submitted as evidence, was given to her parents without her permission by a student representative—because, in Gambill’s words, he “ just thought they should know.”
Anuradha Roy writes about the tragic fatal rape in India, where crimes against women are routinely ignored (if not encouraged) by the ruling class:
Is it any surprise that the men brutalizing a woman with a rusted rod thought they could get away with it? They may not have known there were 300 potential or actual rapists making the laws, nor the precise numbers that show the conviction rate for rape dropping from 46 percent to 26 percent over the last 40 years. But they would have known that it’s a pretty safe bet to rape a woman, scoot, and start the cycle afresh. Fifty percent of India’s population lives with this knowledge: its women.
In such a world, what woman can survive harm? There is not a single female friend of mine who hasn’t been molested. It’s called “eve-teasing” here, conjuring up images of dalliance under apple trees. Even 20 years ago, our journeys to and from college were daily nausea. We were used to having men brush against our breasts, grope, catcall, leer, and press their erections against us when there was no escape in the crush of a crowded bus. Sharp hairpins and elbows came in handy, but otherwise there wasn’t much help. We couldn’t have gone to the police, we’d have been laughed right out of the station. Yet we considered ourselves lucky. There were other women, those that were allowed to be born at all—India comes out tops in the female foeticide ratings—who were being beaten or burned or sold or raped.
She remembers a home that looked fancy on the outside but ominous on the inside, a dark maze of bare chambers. She remembers the parade of men, one after the other, day by day, forcing her to have sex. She remembers contemplating death. She wasn’t yet 10 years old.
Her name is Sreypich Loch, and she was a slave in a Cambodian brothel. If she refused sex, she says, she would be beaten, shocked with an electric cord, denied food and water. “What else could I do?” she asks.
Loch, now around 20 years old, managed to escape that world and works today to rescue other girls. She helps grab them out of brothels, and she hosts a radio show in Phnom Penh, giving the girls a forum for their stories. It’s a groundbreaking effort for a young woman and former sex slave in this male-dominated society.
She hopes that by talking about her past, she will help people understand that slavery is alive and well. When people “hear the voice of the survivor,” she says on a recent visit to New York City, “we can help others.”
A powerful story in this week’s Newsweek. Read the whole thing.
“The [bill’s] language was not at all what I requested,” said Republican Representative RoseMarie Swanger in a voicemail message to The Daily Beast. “After all the concerned contacts I got, I’m pulling that and working on something better next year.”
House Bill 2718 would have cut assistance to low-income families supplied by the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families Program, but created an exemption for rape victims and children conceived during rape. The bill would have required women to prove they had reported their rapes to authorities. Critics said this was unrealistic—slightly more than half of all rapes go unreported—but also assumes only rapes that are reported to authorities count as rape.
Swanger told The Daily Beast she decided to yank the bill after a flood of calls from reporters. She had hoped to model the Pennsylvania Bill after a successful law passed in New Jersey that limited welfare funds to families as they had more children.
This anonymous story about a student—now an adult—who was raped by her teacher at the Bronx’s Horace Mann is heart-wrenching.
I wish I had never gotten into his car. He was a teacher at the Horace Mann School, an elite prep school on a sprawling, leafy campus in an upscale neighborhood of the Bronx in New York City, and he was offering me a ride home. I had come to the school as a seventh-grader, having graduated from a grammar school across town. Other kids had been at Horace Mann since the first grade; they had known each other for years. The environment was intensely competitive, strict. I was trying to find my footing.
I suppose my teacher sensed that.
Andrew Sullivan points to this chart from Razib Khan breaking down public opinion on the right to abortion in cases of rape. As he notes, “no demographic group, not even biblical literalists or the extremely conservative, breaks fifty percent in denying abortion to rape victims.”
Lynn Paltrow, the executive director of the advocacy group National Advocates for Pregnant Women, who dismissed Dr. Willke’s claims as “junk science” in an article on the site today.
Dr. John Willke, the president of a pro-life group the Life Issues Institute, and also a physician, who has been active in the movement for decades.