Wasilla victims are charged for kits. Click photo to find out more.
According to statistics, most sexual assaults go unreported for a bevy of reasons (including feelings of shame, fear and intimidation). For victims who indeed report the crimes against them, many experience what is often described in media and research articles as “re-victimization” by their social world (ex. judgment, disrespect) and the legal system (ex. police mistreatment, perpetrators being given short sentences, defense lawyers using sexual history to imply consensual sex); as if the physical and emotional trauma of the event weren’t enough. Adding on to the offenses and failures of the legal system is the mishandling of “rape kits.” A routine part of assault investigation, a rape kit is an intrusive, but necessary, physical examination of the victim to collect DNA. 1 examination can take up to 6 hours to complete. Analyzation of the rape kit can help identify the perpetrator; identification is particularly easy if the assailant has other documented crimes. Across the country, however, many kits go untested. The city of Detroit made news for its high-rate of backlogs
when prosecutor Kym Worthy launched the 400 Project to help raise testing funds. Testing costs can range from $1200-$1500; many crime labs and law enforcement entities purport that they don’t have the resources or access to advanced technology to run the tests in a timely, efficient manner. Some sociological studies imply that gender politics and a nonchalant attitude about sexual violence influence law enforcement’s passive response.
There are complicated consequences when kits are neglected. If a kit is analyzed beyond the “statute of limitations” (the time frame in which you can prosecute someone for a crime) the assailant cannot be charged, regardless of the fact that the victim had nothing to do with the testing delay. In some cases, perpetrators go on to rape countless other victims undetected. According to EndTheBacklog.org, rape has the low arrest rate of just 24%. Visit EndTheBacklog.org
to learn more about this issue and what you can do as a citizen to combat it. Also available on the site is resource information for victims. To read more about Detroit’s fight and other advocacy/fund programs, click here.
When opposing homosexuality, some in the Christian faith use rather extreme and contemptuous tactics. Use of these tactics have resulted in a deep, ferocious social divide, violence, a negative stigmatization of Christians and the spread of stereotypes about the LGBT community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender). For some of those who believe that homosexuality is a sin denounced by God, they think they’re supposed to angrily attack the concept, when the bible teaches of no such approach. The following article was written by Lasheena Allgood, contributing writer.
There are a lot of opinions and beliefs that are colliding in today’s society. As a true Christian, you want to be able to stand up for what you believe the Bible says in order to please God and show His love to the world. Some have success at living this out, while others display a self-righteous judgment, often accompanied by ignorance. Jesus gave us two things to live by: love God and love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:30-32). In Paul’s 2nd letter to Timothy, he instructs us to “Keep reminding God’s people of these things…Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly (2 Timothy 2:14-16)”.
We find ourselves “boldly” standing for what we “heard” is right, when we haven’t studied what the Bible has to say on a topic, nor have we studied how to approach people. We waste a lot of time arguing. 2 Timothy 2:23-25 reads, “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome, but must be kind to everyone and able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth…”
A lot of people think that showing love and compassion towards someone with another sexual preference would mean that they’re compromising their own personal beliefs on the issue and agreeing with the person. There is a big difference between compromise and peaceful tolerance. As the passage in 2 Timothy illustrated, you can let a person know in a loving manner when you believe something is wrong without saying you agree with them. Before you confront someone on ANY issue, check your motives. Check your heart. Are you talking to them with the proverbial “picket sign” of judgment waving at their heads, or are you taking time to understand their plight? You should always try to gain understanding of a person’s heart and seek to confront them with God’s love and compassion in mind. If this is an issue you believe will truly put their lives in danger, it would be wrong not to tell them about it. However, confronting them in any sort of judgmental tone without truly seeking that person’s benefit makes your words and actions fruitless and those of a bigot. What is the purpose of standing in opposition to another’s actions or life without your desire to truly help them? It’s a necessary thing to take a stand for what you believe is right. However, the next time you wish to take that stand and confront someone, remember what God has told us about how to approach people with the correct words and motives. God will do the rest.-L.A.
Compromising or correctly following the Bible?
J.Says on the topic: I think part of the reason why some respond so aggressively, and sometimes violently, to homosexuals or homosexuality is because of their own personal disgust, fear or misunderstanding of the concept, NOT because of their faith. In some cases, faith is a tool used to justify behavior versus being the cause of it. Some could be atheists tomorrow and they would STILL behave the same way. Underneath all that doctrine and preaching is a deep hatred for homosexuals that is completely independent of faith and God. What angers me is that they won’t own up to that; spewing their hatred in the name of God and using Him as a scapegoat. Even if you believe it to be true that God does not condone homosexuality, it doesn’t require spiteful comments, harassment, humiliation and violence.
Nowhere in the Bible does God or Jesus designate violence and abhorrence as the proper way to handle those believed to be “sinful.” If it’s really about faith, the focus would be on the religion as a whole and what God can offer an individual. A picket sign would read “Here’s what this faith can do for you” versus “God hates you and doesn’t want you here.” Isn’t the goal to bring people to the faith? Those who act in hatred are defeating their own so-called “purpose.” I was once told that I shouldn’t be friends with those who are LGBT because I am a Christian. How am I supposed to bring others to the faith and show my “Christ-like example” if I’m not acquainted with them? I don’t know where some in the religion get the idea that we can profoundly reach people at an arms-length distance. Besides, Christian or not, I’m going to be friends with ANYONE I find things in common with that will treat me well and deliver as a peer.
On the subject of gay marriage & Christianity, I’m a firm believer in separation of church and state. This country is religiously diverse and to design laws based on ANY faith would alienate, disregard and disrespect those outside of said religion. Additionally, I think we have to be careful about what socially we allow the government to deem illegal. Not long ago, interracial marriage was illegal. If we give our legislators that kind of power, anyone they consider socially inappropriate, for any reason, could be at their feet. *drops the mic*
There are two kinds of evil people in the world... those who do evil stuff, and those who see evil stuff being done and don't do anything about it.-Janis (Mean Girls, 2004)
Opening an article with a quote from the teen film “Mean Girls” might imply shallowness or juvenileness, but it illustrated my point, so read on before you click away. I had long dinner with a friend in which we discussed a little bit of everything: race relations, politics, gender roles, music and life events in general. I couldn’t help but notice that after every topic, she said something to the effect of “I don’t know why you care so much.” Towards the end of the dinner she said “I think you stress out too much about things that don’t affect you directly.” To give a more specific instance, when were discussing gender roles she said “Who cares if there are couple of super-traditional men with sexist views? You just don’t marry that guy and you’ll be fine.” Considering sexism can affect how women are viewed & treated personally and institutionally, yeah, I should care. Even if sexism doesn’t blatantly damage my life specifically, I should care about how other women are treated simply because I too am a woman.
I’ve come across a lot of people with a similar approach as my friend to societal issues, and I just don’t get it. Maybe it’s because I’m very touchy about human suffering or that I came out of a counseling program that encouraged social awareness, sensitivity and advocacy, but it’s not in me to have a “not in my backyard” attitude. Just because something isn’t overtly impacting me, doesn’t mean it’s unimportant or that it will never get around to impacting me. Many young people have that attitude when it comes to politics. Even though they’re old enough to vote, they don’t participate in the process because the political issues don’t seem to affect them currently. They’re not thinking about it, but one president’s decisions can affect the country’s well-being for years to come, eventually affecting their livelihood as they get older. In my opinion, a selfish “not in my backyard” attitude is part of the reason why our society is so jacked up and social injustice continues to exist. When you advocate for someone else, you advocate for yourself because it could easily be you that’s getting the short end of the stick. Furthermore, if you ever do hit an obstacle, you’re going to wish someone gave a darn to stand up for or help you. Anytime you turn a blind-eye to injustice or inequality, you ARE potentially responsible for human suffering. It IS your problem. We are all humans. What goes around comes around. Realize and embrace the power of the energy you put out (or don’t put out) into the world. It’s the ripple effect at its best. Below is a video about a social issue that many turn a blind-eye to. Watch the effect of blindness. What if YOU or someone you loved were the young man in this clip?