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Monday, December 8, 2014

Violence is Violence in and around colleges, military, homes, city streets, country roads

Sexual Assault on Female Students, Dark Deeds in (not only in) Home of Jefferson
Editing, brief comments by Carolyn Bennett

he University of Virginia was founded by America’s second vice president (1797–1801) and its third president (1801–09), Thomas Jefferson. It received its charter in 1819 with Jefferson as the first rector of its board of visitors (the governing body). US Presidents James Madison and James Monroe also served on UVA’s board of visitors. Aided by Virginia State Senator Joseph C. Cabell (1778–1856), the school’s chief fundraiser, UVA was established as a public, coeducational institution of higher learning in Charlottesville, Virginia, its campus set on 1,000 acres (405 hectares) near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. [Britannica]
Now it is one of many great places and institutions, including the United States of America itself, that have been brought down in shame because of deplorable acts, including the failure to act assertively, of citizens, leaders and not leaders, public officials and not public officials.  

Fairfax City, Va. 2005: 26-year-old woman assaulted while walking home from supermarket

Linked with later assaults

Charlottesville 2009-2010: Morgan Harrington assaulted, murdered

Twenty-year-old Morgan Harrington had traveled with friends to the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, Va., to attend a concert. Police reports said it was the night of October 17, 2009. The young woman went outside the John Paul Jones Arena to use the restroom. She could not get back in and “became separated from her friends.” FBI reports said she was last seen after 8:30 p.m. trying to hitch a ride from passing motorists.

July 2010: DNA evidence links Harrington case to 2005 sexual assault case in Fairfax City, where an assailant grabbed the 26-year-old woman from behind, carried her from Rock Garden Drive to a nearby wooded area, assaults her then flees the scene of the crime. The young woman, according to police, had been walking home from a Giant on Jermantown Road around 10 o'clock on the night of September 24, 2005.

Charlottesville 2014: Hannah Graham, assaulted, murdered

18-year-old University of Virginia student Hannah Graham had reportedly spent Friday evening September 12, 2014, close to campus “drinking and socializing with friends.” She then headed “out on the town around midnight [and] By 1 a.m., she was seen wandering the Downtown Mall, about a mile and a half from her apartment. She sent messages to friends indicating that she was lost.” Witnesses reportedly saw Graham with 32-year-old Jesse L. Matthew Jr. of Charlottesville near Tempo restaurant shortly after 1 a.m. Hannah Graham is reported to have vanished with this man in the early hours of September 13, 2014. 

The body of U-Va. student Hannah Graham “was found about five miles from a hayfield where the remains of slain Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington were discovered in 2010, 101 days after she went missing in October 2009.”

s to recent coverage of the issue of sexual assault, it appears that part of a Rolling Stone story failed due diligence. Its editors apparently rushed to press without sufficiently checking all the facts concerning another UVA case. Tom McKay speaks to the upshot of the story in terms of both journalism practice and the human issue of sexual assault.

The case matters, he says, “since the story received prominent national attention and a highly publicized response from University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan, who promised a full investigation.”

However, “the unfortunate reality is that any collapse of the Rolling Stone story (viz., the telling of ‘Jackie’s’ story) will likely tar the testimony of other rape victims who have stepped forward.” Nonetheless, other stories “should not be written off….”

The University of Virginia, he says, “still has to answer for its wretched record on sexual assault” and “the national media would do well to remember that 1 in 5 college women will be raped during their time in higher education.

“There are countless real victims whose stories need to be told, and their importance has not diminished just because one story has some pretty bad holes in it.”

America's violence is not just in and around and covered up on its campuses.
eported December 3, 2014, in a USA Today was an update on the issue in an article by Tom Vanden Brook. In the US military, “the number of troops reporting sexual assaults jumped 63 percent” – from 2,828 in 2010 to 4,608 in 2014”. And, as in 2010, 2014 found “almost the same number of troops — 19,300 of them — reporting unwanted sexual contact.”
US Drone war on Pakistan

However, “Women who experienced and reported unwanted sexual contact — anything from groping to rape” also reported that personnel retaliated against them. Most of the women reportedly said, “They felt social retaliation from peers or co-workers.”

Victims of
US Drone war on Yemen
Violence is violence is violence wherever it is and whoever commits it. 

It will not stop until it stops – whether in the acts of war and conflict, or by those at war; whether on campus or on streets or country roads. 

When we stop tolerating violence, stop turning a blind eye to it, stop making excuses for it against anyone anywhere, violence will end.  

Sources and notes

Washington Post reports

By Justin Jouvenal September 30, 2014, http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/morgan-harrington-case-gets-major-break/2014/09/30/d796126e-48b5-11e4-891d-713f052086a0_story.html

By T. Rees Shapiro October 18, 2014, “DNA evidence to the investigations of two violent crimes: a sexual assault in Fairfax City in 2005 and the abduction and slaying of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, 20, in October 2009, police have said,” http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/police-to-hold-briefing-in-hannah-graham-case/2014/10/18/9a22d396-570a-11e4-892e-602188e70e9c_story.html

By T. Rees Shapiro October 24, 2014, “Authorities identified remains as those of missing University of Virginia student, Hannah Graham” (Reuters), http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/authorities-confirm-body-is-u-va-student-hannah-graham/2014/10/24/6b71988c-5ac7-11e4-b812-38518ae74c67_story.html

T. Rees Shapiro December 5, 2014: “The Rolling Stone allegations shook the campus at a tumultuous moment, as the university was still mourning the death of U-Va. sophomore Hannah Graham. Her body was found five weeks after she disappeared in Charlottesville. Jackie’s story [in Rolling Stone] empowered many women to speak publicly about attacks on them but it also immediately raised questions about the decisions Jackie made that evening — not going to a hospital or reporting the alleged crime to police or the school — while some expressed doubt about her story altogether.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/u-va-fraternity-to-rebut-claims-of-gang-rape-in-rolling-stone/2014/12/05/5fa5f7d2-7c91-11e4-84d4-7c896b90abdc_story.html

News.Mic, Mic Report

By Tom McKay December 5, 2014: “The problem: In the original story by  Sabrina Rubin Erdely's, which remains on the Rolling Stone website here, Jackie claimed that she had been lured upstairs during a Phi Kappa Psi party and raped by seven men on top of a broken glass table on September 28, 2012. Rolling Stone’s investigation claimed that Jackie’s story was subsequently ignored by college administrators. It further noted that the University of Virginia was among the 12 of 86 schools under federal investigation for their response to sexual assault cases flagged for a total ‘compliance review.’” http://mic.com/articles/105838/rolling-stone-may-have-set-the-fight-against-college-sexual-assault-back-decades?utm_source=Mic+Check&utm_campaign=cf0e40ad8e-Mic_Report_12_5_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_51f2320b33-cf0e40ad8e-285308977

Rolling Stone

By Sabrina Rubin Erdely November 19, 2014

“A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA: Jackie was just starting her freshman year at the University of Virginia when she was brutally assaulted by seven men at a frat party. When she tried to hold them accountable, a whole new kind of abuse began,” Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/a-rape-on-campus-20141119#ixzz3LL3EcGwp

“Last month, Rolling Stone published a story entitled A Rape on Campus which described a brutal gang rape of a woman named Jackie during a party at a University of Virginia fraternity house, the University’s failure to respond to this alleged assault – and the school's troubling history of indifference to many other instances of alleged sexual assaults. The story generated worldwide headlines and much soul-searching at UVA. University president Teresa Sullivan promised a full investigation and also to examine the way the school investigates sexual assault allegations.…

“In the face of new information reported by the Washington Post and other news outlets, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account. ...

“We published the article with the firm belief that it was accurate.

“Given all of these reports, however, we have come to the conclusion that we were mistaken in honoring Jackie’s request to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account. In trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault, we made a judgment – the kind of judgment reporters and editors make every day.

“We should have not made this agreement with Jackie and we should have worked harder to convince her that the truth would have been better served by getting the other side of the story.

“These mistakes are on Rolling Stone, not on Jackie. We apologize to anyone who was affected by the story and we will continue to investigate the events of that evening.” http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/a-rape-on-campus-20141119

USA Today, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/12/03/pentagon-sexual-assault-obama/19836227/

A lifelong American writer and writer/activist (former academic and staffer with the U.S. government in Washington), Dr. Carolyn LaDelle Bennett is credentialed in education and print journalism and public affairs (PhD, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; MA, The American University, Washington, DC). Her work concerns itself with news and current affairs, historical contexts, and ideas particularly related to acts and consequences of U.S. foreign relations, geopolitics, human rights, war and peace, and violence and nonviolence. Dr. Bennett is an internationalist and nonpartisan progressive personally concerned with society and the common good. An educator at heart, her career began with the U.S. Peace Corps, teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Since then, she has authored several books and numerous current-affairs articles; her latest book: UNCONSCIONABLE: How The World Sees Us: World News, Alternative Views, Commentary on U.S. Foreign Relations; most thoughts, articles, edited work are posted at Bennett’s Study: http://todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com/ and on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carolynladelle.bennett. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx Her books are also available at independent bookstores in New York State: Lift Bridge in Brockport; Sundance in Geneseo; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center in Buffalo; Burlingham Books in Perry; The Bookworm in East Aurora


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