Sunday, April 15, 2012

Teen rape victim jailed


Lisa Carey

And the War on Women continues apace.  

A few days ago I read this article about an “alleged” rape victim who was jailed.  Yes, you read that right, she was jailed while her “alleged” rapist goes free.  My anger over this issue has not abated since I read the article.  No need to read it – here is the video for you.

She is a 17 year old victim, who at the age of 16 was kidnapped, raped, sexually assaulted and actually came forward and reported the crime.  What courage that takes!  However for her efforts she is in jail (they are calling it custody in a juvenile hall) in order to make sure she appears to testify in his case.   So, while he goes free and prepares his case, she is in jail. Does anyone else see the problem with this? 

What is this Afghanistan?  Because in Afghanistan a woman that was cruelly raped by her husband’s cousin, was sentenced to jail.  He was sentenced to serve 7 years in prison and she was sentenced to serve 24 months but was released.   Her first appeal for release actually required that she marry her attacker, since she was pregnant from the rape.  That requirement has been dropped.

The young girl in question is represented by counsel who says, "I think it's outrageous that the DA's Office wants to put a rape victim – a juvenile rape victim – in custody, as if she were the criminal, in a case where she is the victim," attorney Lisa M. Franco told the Sacramento Bee. "You can't stomp all over her rights and put her in jail, when she's a victim, revictimize (sic) her and treat her like she's a criminal." 

"I can't tell you how terribly sorry I am that you're in the circumstance that you're in," the judge told the victim.

But the argument is that we have to “look at the big picture,”  "It's something that we have to look at the big picture on, there's a very dangerous man out there, we believe him to be a serial rapist, and we're doing what we have to do," said prosecutor Van Stalen.

The victim has missed prior court dates and cannot be forced to testify, however it was determined that her presence alone would win the case. She has run away from foster care three times, one time of which she used the opportunity to return to her mother’s house.  Honestly, I think I would too!

In the Sacramento Bee Assistant District Attorney Albert Locher said "It's the last thing we ever want to do. You never want to have a victim or a witness in custody. But you have to balance protecting the community. When you look at (Rackley's) background – multiple victims already – it's important that we try to prevent another victim from being harmed."

This girl has been in custody since March 27.  She goes before the court again on April 16th.  Her attorney says the girl is ready to appear and to testify.   Of course she is, she would do anything to get out of detention. Wouldn’t you?

What is this was your daughter, niece, or sister?   

Lisa Carey is a Yahoo Shine parenting contributor, Top 1000 Yahoo Voices Contributor as well as Houston Family Examiner and owner/author of Money Saving

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

"Private parts" and politics don't mix

by Lisa Carey 

Many states have started making decisions about women and their "private parts."  These decisions are wrong in so many ways and affect our families, our faith, and our future.

According to St. Louis Today: “The Senate passed a bill that would let employers deny health insurance coverage for birth control for employees who cannot prove a medical need for it.” On the same day, the House “passed a bill that would shield health care workers from participating in anything that conflicts with their conscience.

In Arizona,  House Bill 2625allows any employer to refuse to cover contraception that will be used "for contraceptive, abortifacient, abortion or sterilization purposes." If a woman wants the cost of her contraception covered, she has to "submit a claim" to her employer providing evidence of a medical condition, such as endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome, that can be treated with birth control Arizona state Rep. Debbie Lesko (R) says: "My bill does one thing and one thing alone. It allows an employer with religious objections to opt out."  

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney: "Vote for the other guy" if you want birth control covered. 

Thanks to insurance "gender rating," women pay more for health insurance than men, even among plans that don't include female-specific services like maternity coverage.
Maine state Rep. Lance Harvell questions why pap smears are covered by insurance.
Rick Santorum declares that states should be allowed to outlaw birth control.

Be sure to see these 10 Reasons the Rest of the World Thinks the U.S. is Nuts and these 101 Assaults in the "War on Women" for even more myths and misconceptions about women's bodies and our health. 

These laws are a long time coming.  I just didn't see them.  Let's look at my family.  We have four children.  We lost two children during pregnancies. 

I'm over the age of 40 but still able to have children, though in my case it could, though it sounds dramatic, kill me.   After the birth of my youngest I went on birth control, because it's the only way to keep me safe and a mother to the children I do have.   My insurance company quit paying for it, citing some law in the state that they were incorporated having to do with "birth control is not a medically necessary prescription" therefore it's not going to be paid. "

Yep, I heard it first, a little over a year ago, before the rampage against women's rights and health in 2011 began and I didn't listen.  So, I started paying my $85.00 a month for birth control on top of my $500+ insurance plan, even though I do have a medically mandated reason for needing it.  The insurance company didn't agree.   Now I continue to pay, in more ways than one if these practices are not stopped.

Thanks to Gov. Rick Perry, my young teenage daughter was going to be given a vaccine (which of course my insurance didn't want to pay for since she was only 14) because he decided it medically necessary to vaccinate against HPV.  At least some people were smart enough to overturn that decision and my daughter was spared having to explain her sex life (and lack thereof) to a doctor she didn't even have a relationship with. . . oh wait, maybe the doctor's wouldn't give the vaccine now because according to these politicians and mouthpieces, medical providers don't have to do anything that goes against their morals and doesn't this just give girls the idea that it's okay to have sex? After all they are now protected from a serious form of cancer.  They can still get pregnant though, because they can't get birth control. 

My younger daughters may find that their physical well-being in the future is compromised as medical providers, instead of  abiding by the Hippocratic oath to "first do no harm," doctors or other medical providers who are "morally against" a treatment, medicine or type of care and may withhold that  treatment, from you, me and our daughters, based on laws like these. 

Now your personal opinion may agree with those that say so and so shouldn't be on birth control.  But that's your personal opinion.  Personal being the operative word.  It's not politics.  It's not a law. It's my health and yours that we are talking about here.  It's your daughter's, your niece, your mother, and your sister and no one, but no one should be treating my private parts as public property.

So to all of you who are reaching into my womb, I say, "Hands Off!"  I won't tell you what to do with your body, don't you tell me what to do with mine. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The War on Women, A Progressive Man’s View

A (self-admitted) conservative male acquaintance recently asked me what the War on Women means. Herein I will attempt to answer him. 

First let me provide a shortened definition of War: War is an organized, armed, and often a prolonged conflict that is carried on between states, nations, or other parties typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality…” For the past 10 or so years there has been a nationwide assault by right-wing Conservatives in this nation on women’s reproductive health (birth control, abortion and access those services, etc.) that could certainly fit the definition of War.  The political, social, and moral assault by all strata of conservatism at the federal, state, and local levels of government across the U.S. has been unrelenting in nature and socially disruptive. 

This Republican/Conservative sponsored War on Women has reached a fulcrum in the last two years as state after state has introduced legislation designed to limit women’s access to abortion and or contraceptives and the health clinics set up to administer them.  The nations’ most visible women’s health organization, Planned Parenthood has come under withering, sustained and unrelenting attack by the denizens of the right for its support of abortion services to mostly low-income women across the nation.

The morality-based attack (most recently dressed up in the guise of religious freedom and thereby a question of Constitutional freedom) on women’s reproductive health issues across the nation certainly seems coordinated and calculated by the right-wing and carried out by the Republican Party and their minions (Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Fox News, etc.) to disrupt and or upset established societal norms that were hard fought for and codified in establish law since the mid-1960’s.

Below are links to some of the actions taking place on the battle-front:

For me War on Women being waged by the Conservatives/Republican Party is not a moral, or ethical issue, but one of the Fundamental, Civil, and Human rights of women.  The moral argument fails if the rights of women as full citizens in this nation are to be respected and upheld and they are to be afforded equal protection under law! This is a War with abortion and religion at its corrupted core.

Like it or not, detest it or not, support it or not, abortion is legal in the United States as settled by Roe vs. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973). A woman has a right to choose if, when, how and where she will carry a child; her womb, her choice!  A woman’s womb does not belong to the state, nor to society, it is her, inside her body, it is a part of her, like a kidney, a bladder, a heart, a lung.  Women’s wombs are not public property, nor do they belong to the Catholic Church, or any religion for that matter; and they should not be the subject of public debate or public laws designed to govern their use and disposition. 

The current onslaught of proposed and enacted laws is stunning in their seeming hatred and disrespect of women at a fundamental level, as they not only seek to make it next to impossible to obtain an abortion (Alabama is seeking to close the lone abortion clinic in the state), but to separate pregnant women from all other citizens there by creating a class of citizens whose every activity is scrutinized by the state and subject to criminal prosecution as in the case of (then 15-year old) Rennie Gibbs who faces life in prison in Mississippi over the death of her unborn child. 

These onerous and despicable laws not only seek State control over what a woman does with her body, her vagina, her womb, but would give that power to almost anyone else who seeks it as well (employers, insurance companies, clergy, husbands, boyfriends, rapist) anyone that is except the woman; she is but a child, a scatterbrained, emotionally driven female who must be guided through life by level-headed White men who know best.  These laws are debasing, demeaning, mean-spirited, misogynistic, and hateful; they are an affront to everything this nation is supposed to stand for and they must not stand

Noted feminist, Satirist and Media Critic, Soraya Chemaly encapsulated the War on Women best in a recent article entitled: 10 Reasons the Rest of the World Thinks the U.S. Is Nuts in the Huffington Post when she wrote: "Mr. England unlike the calves and pigs for which you expressed so much empathy, I am not a beast of burden. I am a woman and I have these human rights:

The right to life.
The right to privacy.
The right to freedom.
The right to bodily integrity.
The right to decide when and how I reproduce."

She went on to state: My human rights outweigh any you or the state corruptly and cynically seek to assign to a mass of dividing cells that will eventually turn into a 'natural' person. Personhood-for-zygote based bills and related legislation, like Georgia's and hundreds of others, bills and laws that criminalize pregnancy and abortion and penalize women for being women, violate my human rights.”  

Both she and I are pissed!! I am tired of having to fight for rights that are already guaranteed under the Federal and all fifty state constitutions.  Are these laws, these stains on the intellect and common decency of any rational human being—the mark of an “Exceptional” nation Mr. Santorum?  I say no, far, far, from it!  I want America to be Exceptional, to live out the lofty principles of her founding, but how can we as a nation of over 300 million diverse people move ahead when Conservative Republicans seek to drag us back to 1900 with their archaic, openly misogynist laws?    

This is not the nation I want to bequeath my (4) daughters, and my (8) nieces; a country wherein they are branded “sluts” and “prostitutes” for daring to have sex outside of marriage like so many men habitually do.  This is not the nation I want to live in now where such hatred towards my wife, my daughters, my nieces, my friends is tolerated and held up as sane when in fact it denigrating and degrading to ALL Americans. 

At the end of her article Soraya Chemaly said this: In a 1851 speech in which she argued for equal rights for women, Sojourner Truth said the following: ‘The poor men seems to be all in confusion, and don't know what to do. Why children, if you have woman's rights, give it to her and you will feel better. You will have your own rights, and they won't be so much trouble.’"

And so, I have joined the battle on the side of the Angels because I truly believe in equal rights for all Americans, not just some. Human rights are universal they are not set aside especially for those who wield a penis and wear fair skin; we all deserve to live our lives with dignity, respect, and a modicum of happiness no matter where we choose to seek it.

Men: women are sexual beings, they want and enjoy sex every bit as much as we do, deal with it! Abortion is legal and contraception is a medical necessity for a modern American woman’s reproductive health; deal with it.  Women are not our playthings, they are not our property; they are human beings who deserve our respect, our understanding, and our support!

And so, I fight, with women on this issue, I stand shoulder-to-shoulder with my beautiful wife, daughters, nieces, friends, and citizens to let them know THIS man has their backs!  Like them, I will see these laws and these men—and in some sad cases women—turned out of office, and struck from the airwave and this hateful, destructive War on Women brought to a swift close with the victory flag waving high on the side of the Progressive, the rational, the sane!  Enough is enough.  

Have you had enough? Join us on April 28, 2012 for the National March Against The War on Women being held in all 50 states simultaneously. 

E-mail me at:      

I'm Back!!

Wow, I’ve been away for a while, busy with life.  I decided to giving political writing a rest after the 2008 election cycle, my mind and spirit needed the rest.  But as we cruise in to the 2012 election cycle, i am feeling the urge again the unburden my heart and mind.  

You see we are in a crazy political and social season in America.  Ever since Barak Obama became President of the nation the Conservative wing of the Republican Party has simply lost its collective mind! The result: we have been living through a 3-year long episode of the fucking Twilight Zone!  As the months drag by the Grand Old Party has been getting nuttier and nuttier; I have to admit that most of what they are advocating across a brad spectrum of issues is just plain nuts! 

So, I am back!  I have to have a release valve for my thoughts, more meaningful than Twitter and more unguarded than Facebook.  This is my private/public space, my canvas of of ideas that dare not shout their frustration elsewhere.  So look out from now until the end of this election cycle I will be posting here; it will be raw, emotional, terse, inspired, angry, and Progressive, but of course it will make sense!!