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James Levine’s Final Act at the Met Ends in Disgrace
« Reply #11760 on: March 13, 2018, 03:29:40 AM »

James Levine in the pit at a Metropolitan Opera rehearsal in 2009.

The Metropolitan Opera fired the conductor James Levine on Monday evening, ending its association with a man who defined the company for more than four decades after an investigation found what the Met called credible evidence that Mr. Levine had engaged in “sexually abusive and harassing conduct.”

The investigation, which the Met opened in December after a report in The New York Times, found evidence of abuse and harassment “both before and during the period” when Mr. Levine worked at the Met, the company said in a statement.

It was an extraordinary fall from grace for a legendary maestro, whom many consider the greatest American conductor since Leonard Bernstein.

The Met did not release the specific findings of its investigation, which it said had included interviews with 70 people. But the statement said that the investigation had “uncovered credible evidence that Mr. Levine engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct toward vulnerable artists in the early stages of their careers, over whom Mr. Levine had authority.” It said that it was terminating its relationship with Mr. Levine, who is currently the company’s music director emeritus and the artistic director of its young artists program.

“In light of these findings,” the statement continued, “the Met concludes that it would be inappropriate and impossible for Mr. Levine to continue to work at the Met.”

A spokesman for Mr. Levine said that he did not have an immediate comment.

Mr. Levine, 74, has become the highest-profile figure in classical music to have his career upended during the national reckoning over sexual misconduct.
Continue reading the main story
Related Coverage

    Met Opera Suspends James Levine After New Sexual Abuse Accusations DEC. 3, 2017
    Met Opera to Investigate James Levine Over Sexual Abuse Accusation DEC. 2, 2017
    James Levine Will Not Face Criminal Charges in Illinois DEC. 8, 2017
    James Levine Denies ‘Unfounded’ Sexual Abuse Accusations DEC. 7, 2017

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I once saw Levine on a shuttle flight to Boston during his BSO years. He looked to me like a very unhappy human being, engaging with not a...
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"Three decades later — after, Mr. Pai said, therapy had helped him realize how destructive those encounters had been..."Of all the various...
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A reminder of ever present realities. All sorts of people, have all sorts of abilities, skills, and talents which can satisfy daily living...

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He made the Met’s orchestra into one of the finest in the world, led the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Munich Philharmonic and gained worldwide renown through recordings, telecasts and videos. His fame transcended classical music: He shared the screen with Mickey Mouse in Disney’s “Fantasia 2000,” and made the cover of Time magazine in 1983, under a headline proclaiming him “America’s Top Maestro.”

Even before the accusations, the Met had been moving toward a post-Levine era. After years of ill health, he stepped down as music director two seasons ago. The company announced last month that Mr. Levine’s successor, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, would take on his new role next season, two years ahead of schedule.

But his termination has dealt the Met a serious blow at a moment of vulnerability. The company, the largest performing arts organization in the nation, costs close to $300 million a year to run, making it highly reliant on the generosity of donors — a dependence that has only grown as it has faced a box-office slump. Now the Met finds itself forced to court both philanthropists and audiences as it faces difficult questions about what it knew, or should have known, about its star conductor.

The Met suspended Mr. Levine and opened its investigation in December after The Times reported on-the-record accusations of four men who said that Mr. Levine had sexually abused them decades ago, when they were teenagers or his students. Mr. Levine called the accusations “unfounded,” saying in a statement that “I have not lived my life as an oppressor or an aggressor.”

But some questions arose early on about how the company had handled the case, including the fact that it began its investigation more than a year after Peter Gelb, its general manager, was first told that the police in Illinois were investigating an accusation that Mr. Levine had sexually abused a teenage boy there in the 1980s.

Mr. Gelb has said he briefed the leadership of the Met’s board about the police investigation and spoke with Mr. Levine, who denied the accusations. But Mr. Gelb said that the company took no further action, waiting to see what the police found.

The Met said that its investigation, which was led by Robert J. Cleary, a partner at the Proskauer Rose law firm who was previously a United States attorney in New Jersey and Illinois, had determined that “any claims or rumors that members of the Met’s management or its board of directors engaged in a cover-up of information relating to these issues are completely unsubstantiated.”

The accusations against Mr. Levine reported in The Times went back decades, and shared marked similarities.

Chris Brown said that Mr. Levine had abused him in the summer of 1968, when he was a 17-year-old student at the Meadow Brook School of Music in Michigan and Mr. Levine led the school’s orchestral institute. Mr. Brown, who went on to play principal bass in the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, said that one night in the dorms, Mr. Levine had masturbated him and asked him to reciprocate — and then punished Mr. Brown when he declined to do so again, ignoring him for the rest of the summer, even when he was conducting him.

James Lestock, a cellist, said that he, too, was abused that summer when he was a student, and said that the abuse continued in Cleveland, where a tight-knit clique of musicians followed Mr. Levine, who was then an assistant conductor at the Cleveland Orchestra on the cusp of a major career. He said that at one point Mr. Levine had the group don blindfolds and masturbate partners they could not see. (Another participant confirmed this in an interview.)

Mr. Lestock said Monday night that after carrying around the pain of those encounters for so many years, he had been moved to see a public acknowledgment of Mr. Levine’s behavior. “The truth can be very useful,” he said in a telephone interview. “The truth creates good.”

Albin Ifsich, who went on to have a long career as a violinist in the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, said that he had been abused by Mr. Levine for several years, beginning at Meadow Brook and continuing after he joined the group of young musicians who followed Mr. Levine to Cleveland and later New York.

Ashok Pai said he had been abused by Mr. Levine for years, beginning in 1986 near the Ravinia Festival in Illinois, when he was 16. Mr. Pai grew up near the festival, where Mr. Levine was music director, and wanted to become a conductor. Three decades later — after, Mr. Pai said, therapy had helped him realize how destructive those encounters had been — he detailed his accusations in the fall of 2016 to the Lake Forest Police Department in Illinois. Law enforcement officials said last year that they would not bring criminal charges against Mr. Levine, noting that while the state’s age of consent is now 17 — and 18 in some cases — it was still 16 in 1986.

Several performing arts institutions have been confronted with complaints about the behavior of some of their leading artists. A number of orchestras severed ties with the conductor Charles Dutoit after he was accused of sexual misconduct, and the Boston Symphony, where he was a frequent guest conductor, later determined that the accusations of misconduct lodged by several women who worked for the orchestra were credible. Peter Martins retired under pressure this year as ballet master in chief of New York City Ballet after The Times and The Washington Post reported accusations that he had been physically abusive. When the company’s investigation was completed, however, City Ballet announced it had not corroborated the allegations.

Mr. Levine’s focus on and influence over the Met was rare in an era of jet-setting maestros: He conducted more than 2,500 performances with the company, far more than any other conductor. Since suffering a spinal injury in 2011 that caused him to miss two seasons, Mr. Levine has conducted from a wheelchair. It was only with great reluctance — and after a battle erupted behind the scenes when performers complained that it had grown difficult to follow his conducting — that Mr. Levine stepped down as music director in the spring of 2016. That year he acknowledged that he had Parkinson’s disease, which he had previously denied, and said that his difficulties on the podium were related to his medication.

Rumors about Mr. Levine and sexual abuse swirled throughout his career. Johanna Fiedler, a former press representative for the Met, wrote in her 2001 book “Molto Agitato: The Mayhem Behind the Music at the Metropolitan Opera,” that such stories had circulated since at least 1979.

“Each time, the Met press office would tirelessly point out the cyclical nature of the gossip and the complete lack of substance,” she wrote.

In 1987, The Times reported that there were “conflicting rumors about his private life and an imminent resignation” without getting specific. Mr. Levine dismissed the stories in an interview with The Times, saying that he had been told years earlier that there were “reports of a morals charge in Pittsburgh or Hawaii or Dallas.”

“Both my friends and my enemies checked it out, and to this day, I don’t have the faintest idea where those rumors came from or what purpose they served,” he said at the time.

Mr. Gelb said in earlier interviews with The Times that Met records showed two instances when complaints about Mr. Levine’s behavior had reached top company officials. In 1979, he said, Anthony A. Bliss, who was then the Met’s executive director, got a letter from a board member asking about an anonymous letter containing accusations about Mr. Levine. Neither the board member’s letter nor the anonymous one could be obtained, making the exact nature of the accusations unclear. But a copy of Mr. Bliss’s response obtained by The Times shows that he dismissed them.

The second time, Mr. Gelb said, was the 2016 call he got from the Lake Forest Police, who were investigating Mr. Pai’s account. It was a year later, in December, when the company learned from media inquiries that more accusers were coming forward, that the Met suspended Mr. Levine and opened its own investigation.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/12/arts/music/james-levine-metropolitan-opera.html?smid=pl-share
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President Trump halts Broadcom takeover of Qualcomm
« Reply #11761 on: March 13, 2018, 03:32:20 AM »
U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday blocked microchip maker Broadcom Ltd’s(AVGO.O) proposed takeover of Qualcomm Inc(QCOM.O) on national security grounds, ending what would have been the technology industry’s biggest deal ever amid concerns that it would give China the upper hand in mobile communications.

The presidential order reflected a calculation that the United States’ lead in creating technology and setting standards for the next generation of mobile cell phone communications would be lost to China if Singapore-based Broadcom took over San Diego-based Qualcomm, according to a White House official.

Qualcomm has emerged as one of the biggest competitors to China’s Huawei Technologies Co [HWT.UL] in the sector, making Qualcomm a prized asset.

Qualcomm had earlier rebuffed Broadcom’s $117 billion bid, which was under investigation by the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a multi-agency panel led by the Treasury Department that reviews the national security implications of acquisitions of U.S. corporations by foreign companies.

In a letter on March 5, CFIUS said it was investigating whether Broadcom would starve Qualcomm of research dollars that would allow it to compete and also cited the risk of Broadcom’s relationship with“third party foreign entities.”

While it did not identify those entities, the letter repeatedly described Qualcomm as the leading company in so-called 5G technology development and standard setting.

“A shift to Chinese dominance in 5G would have substantial negative national security consequences for the United States,” CFIUS said.“While the United States remains dominant in the standards-setting space currently, China would likely compete robustly to fill any void left by Qualcomm as a result of this hostile takeover.”
NATIONAL SECURITY AND HUAWEI

A White House official on Monday confirmed that the national security concerns related to the risks of Broadcom’s relationship with third party foreign entities.

A source familiar with CFIUS’ thinking had said that, if the deal was completed, the U.S. military was concerned that within 10 years,“there would essentially be a dominant player in all of these technologies and that’s essentially Huawei, and then the American carriers would have no choice. They would just have to buy Huawei (equipment).”

Huawei has been forging closer commercial ties with big telecom operators across Europe and Asia, putting it in prime position to lead the global race for 5G networks despite U.S. concerns.

Huawei has a dominant position in China, which is set to become the world’s biggest 5G market by far, and has also made inroads in the rest of world to compete with rivals such as Ericsson (ERICb.ST) and Nokia (NOKIA.HE) in several lucrative markets, including countries that are longstanding U.S. allies.

Qualcomm is also a major player in 5G, estimated to have 15 percent of 5G-essential patents in the world, compared with 11 percent for Nokia and 10 percent for all of China, according to a Jefferies report citing LexInnova research. Many smartphone makers are counting on Qualcomm to deliver its 5G chipset on time in late 2018 to roll out their 5G phones in 2019.

Shares of Broadcom rose less than 1.0 percent to $264.10 in after-hours trade while Qualcomm fell 4.3 percent to $60.14.

Broadcom said it was reviewing the presidential order.“Broadcom strongly disagrees that its proposed acquisition of Qualcomm raises any national security concerns,” it said in a statement in response to the decision.

Qualcomm, which had delayed its annual shareholder meeting during the CFIUS review, set the new date for March 23.

The move by Trump to kill the deal comes only months after the U.S. president himself stood next to Broadcom Chief Executive Hock Tan at the White House, announcing the company’s decision to move its headquarters to the United States and calling it“one of the really great, great companies.”

This is the fifth time a U.S. president has blocked a deal based on CFIUS objections and the second deal Trump has stopped since assuming office slightly over a year ago.

“The proposed takeover of Qualcomm by the Purchaser (Broadcom) is prohibited, and any substantially equivalent merger, acquisition, or takeover, whether effected directly or indirectly, is also prohibited,” the presidential order released on Monday said.

The order cited“credible evidence” that led Trump to believe that Broadcom’s taking control of Qualcomm“might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States.”
BROADCOM’S NEXT MOVE

Broadcom had struggled to complete its proposed deal to buy Qualcomm, which had cited several concerns including the price offered and potential antitrust hurdles.

The presidential decision to block the deal cannot be appealed. However, it is not clear what rules Broadcom would have to follow if it goes ahead with announced plans to move its headquarters to the United States.

Companies may challenge CFIUS’s jurisdiction in court but may not challenge the inter-agency panel’s national security findings, a CFIUS expert said.

If Broadcom decides to press on with its effort to buy Qualcomm, it would be wise to drop the matter for now while the company quietly wraps up its move to the United States, a second CFIUS expert said. Once the move is done, Broadcom could argue that CFIUS does not have jurisdiction, the second expert said.

Both spoke privately to protect business relationships.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-qualcomm-m-a-broadcom-merger/president-trump-halts-broadcom-takeover-of-qualcomm-idUSKCN1GO1Q4
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Soros-backed university CEU to open satellite campus in Vienna
« Reply #11762 on: March 13, 2018, 03:38:59 AM »

CEU's international student body, as well as the Hungarian public, have protested in support of the university

The Central European University, a Hungarian-American school that has been under fire from Hungary's right-wing government, plans to open a satellite campus in Vienna, Austria.

"The memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Vienna, which will be presented to our Board of Trustees at the end of this week, is an initial step towards expanding our university's operations," said a statement from CEU.

The university is accredited in the United States and Hungary and issues diplomas valid in both countries. It was founded in 1991 and is funded by George Soros, an American billionaire originally from Hungary known for his support of liberal causes.

The Hungarian government, headed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, says the university is in violation of a 2017 amendment to the country's education law - often called "Lex CEU" - that requires universities to offer classes in every country in which they're accredited.

The Hungarian accreditation board re-accredited CEU's Hungarian operations in February, causing many to mistakenly believe the university would continue operations in Budapest.

Also, CEU quietly began offering classes on the Bard University campus in New York State in early 2018, which some thought would fulfill the government's requirements.

A Hungarian government spokesperson told Al Jazeera there was still no agreement in place that would allow for CEU to continue operations in Hungary.
Targeted campaigns

Opponents of the law said it specifically targeted CEU, which is known for its support of refugees, the Roma minority, and the European Union.

Refugees and the Roma minority decry what they say are discriminatory policies from the Orban government, which has ruled Hungary since 2010.

Soros has also been the target of government-funded campaigns that say he wants to settle millions of refugees and "Middle Easterners" in Hungary to change the country's demographics.

"The MOU provides the opportunity, but the CEU community will make decisions together on what university activities are appropriate for our third campus, and determine the timing," the statement said.

It remains unclear whether the university will be welcomed by Austria's government, which is headed by a centre-right party in a coalition with the far-right Freedom Party.

The Freedom Party takes a hardline stance against immigration and is considered a Euro-sceptic group. The Freedom Party controls the ministries of foreign affairs, interior and defence.

However, the city of Vienna says CEU is more than welcome.

"For Vienna as a university city, cooperation with the CEU offers the opportunity of the century," Vienna's Mayor Michael Haupl said.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/03/soros-backed-university-ceu-open-satellite-campus-vienna-180312144256216.html
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Millennials Hit Hard by Opioids
« Reply #11763 on: March 13, 2018, 03:43:49 AM »
The death rate continues to rise sharply among young adults.


Between 2015 and 2016, the death rate for people ages 25 to 34 rose by more than 10 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



To some people seeking their next high, the fact their drug of choice is potentially fatal isn't a deterrent; it could be an attraction, Samuels says. "Millennials feel that they can live forever. They have no concept of dying because they are young," he says. "When I was a kid using heroin, I never thought I would ever die. In fact when there was a brand of heroin on the street that was killing people, we wanted that brand because it meant it was really, really good. Our rationale was, 'Well, the person who overdosed and died just didn’t know what they were doing.' And that's what [some] millennials think today."

Samuels, 65, grew up in New York state and was using drugs and alcohol regularly by the time he was 14. He started using heroin at age 16 and three years later was arrested for possession of cocaine and heroin. A judge gave him the choice of going to a treatment center or prison for four years, and he chose rehabilitation. Samuels kept drinking and using drugs for more than a decade after his first stint in rehab, and finally stopped for good after his father died suddenly of a heart attack in 1984. He eventually started a treatment center and has remained sober.

Helping people struggling with addiction get better is immensely rewarding, Samuels says. But most people with substance abuse disorder never get treatment, research shows. In 2016, an estimated 21 million people age 12 or older in the U.S. needed substance misuse treatment, but only 2.1 million people got it, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. That represents about 11 percent of those who needed treatment. These figures include people who needed treatment for drugs other than opioids as well as people who needed help for misuses of alcohol. The survey also found that 93 percent of young adults ages 18 to 25 who needed substance misuse treatment did not get it.



Many people, including large numbers of millennials, simply don't have access to substance abuse treatment because they don’t have health insurance, says Edward "Eddie" Haaz, a certified addictions specialist and licensed counselor in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He's also a board member with the Livengrin Foundation, a nonprofit substance abuse treatment center in Bensalem, Pennsylvania.

Treatment for substance misuse can be pricey. Haaz notes. Stays in rehab centers typically range from a few thousand dollars per month to more than tens of thousands of dollars for every 30 days. A stay at a "meat and potatoes" facility without "steam rooms, massage therapists or culinary experts" will cost a minimum of about $450 a day, Haaz says. Some high-end programs charge $50,000 to $75,000 a month. "Unless a person is gainfully employed in a job with health benefits, the access to treatment is challenging at best," Haaz says.

Of course, there's no guarantee that treatment will work for everyone, as Clare Amoruso of Cabin John, Maryland, would attest. Amoruso is a member of Surviving Our Ultimate Loss, or SOUL, a support group for mothers who have lost a child to an opiate overdose. In December, 2016, her son, Nicholas, died of a heroin overdose at age 37.

"His problems started in high school, when he started smoking marijuana," she says. Nicholas transferred to a high school for kids with substance misuse disorder, a facility where recovery from drug addiction and alcoholism was a part of the curriculum, with support group meetings and drug testing, she says. Nicholas regularly attended support group meetings and stopped using drugs for a couple of years. But by the time he graduated with honors with a degree in finance from the University of Maryland, he'd stopped going to meetings and had resumed using marijuana, and at about age 27 started using heroin.

Over the years, Nicholas did stints at five or six rehab facilities, but he couldn't stay away from drugs. In 2016, Nicholas moved in with his parents after he had back surgery and took a leave of absence from his job. One morning about two weeks before Christmas his mom found his body. "I think the cravings were just overpowering," Amoruso says.

https://health.usnews.com/wellness/family/articles/2018-03-12/millennials-hit-hard-by-opioids?src=usn_tw
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Stormy Daniels offers to return money to 'tell her story' of Trump affair
« Reply #11764 on: March 13, 2018, 03:51:34 AM »
Letter from actor’s lawyer offers return of $130,000 fee and asks that no action be taken to prevent the airing of an interview on CNN


Stephanie Clifford, who uses the stage name Stormy Daniels, on 9 March 2018 in Pompano Beach, Florida.

Stormy Daniels has offered to give back a $130,000 fee paid to her by Donald Trump’s personal lawyer in return for her silence about her alleged affair with the future US president.

A letter from the pornographic actor’s lawyer Michael Avenatti to Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, on Monday offered to pay the $130,000 (£93,000) into an account of the president’s choosing by Friday.

It gives Trump until noon ET on Tuesday 13 March to accept the offer.

The letter asks that no action be taken to prevent the airing of an interview that the actor – real name Stephanie Clifford – recently recorded with the CNN journalist Anderson Cooper for the CBS news program 60 Minutes, for which Cooper is a regular contributor.

Trump has denied Clifford’s allegations of having had a lengthy affair with him in 2006, the year after he married Melania Trump.

“Ms Clifford wants to be able to tell her story directly to the American people and say what happened with the president, as well as his efforts to silence her,” Avenatti told the Guardian on Monday.

“She wants the people to decide who is shooting straight with them and who is being less than forthcoming. One of the fundamental premises that America was founded on was the right to free speech and that’s very important to her,” he said.

Cohen, a longtime Trump lawyer, has admitted paying Clifford $130,000 in 2016. In February, the celebrity magazine In Touch published a 5,000-word interview detailing Clifford’s story.

In a series of twists and turns last week, the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, was the first to acknowledge from the administration’s side that there had been any contact between Trump and Clifford, claiming that he had won a case “in arbitration” against the actor.

Then on Wednesday night, the New York Times obtained a copy of a temporary restraining order issued by a private arbitrator in Los Angeles on 27 February precluding one Peggy Peterson from disclosing “confidential information” as defined in an earlier secret agreement.

Peggy Peterson is a pseudonym for Stephanie Clifford, according to a separate lawsuit brought by Clifford days later, while Trump, for the purposes of his legal dealings with Clifford, “was referred to by the alias ‘David Dennison’ or ‘DD’”.

Cohen had used a shell company, Essential Consultants LLC, to wire the $130,000 to Clifford.

The New York Times broke the story on Monday of Clifford’s offer to pay back the 2016 fee of $130,000 paid to her by Cohen.

As well as a TV interview with Cooper, the letter also says that if Clifford’s offer to return the fee is accepted, she would then be permitted to: “(a) speak openly and freely about her prior relationship with the President and the attempts to silence her and (b) use and publish any text messages, photos and/or videos relating to the President that she may have in her possession, all without fear of retribution and/or legal liability for damages.”

Cohen admitted last Friday that he had used a line of credit based on the value of his own home to gather the $130,000 to pay Daniels, and had used his email account associated with the Trump Organization – the president’s business empire – to communicate about the payment. He says he paid Clifford in a personal capacity. There is no proof that Trump knew about or approved the payment.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/mar/12/stormy-daniels-trump-affair-allegations-money-return-tell-story
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Restorative justice: putting the needs of rape victims first
« Reply #11765 on: March 13, 2018, 03:57:01 AM »
Restorative justice has been put forward in the US as a new, and in some cases, better approach to dealing with sexual violence

Something had snapped inside Gretchen Casey. Maybe it was the way the doctor propped himself up on the side of the exam table, letting his legs swing nonchalantly over the edge. Maybe it was the casual tone he struck when he said: “So I heard you had a rough night.”

But whatever the reason, Casey had come to a decision. This man was not going to touch her.

What had happened was not just a “rough night”. A rough night was stepping out to find your car had been towed, or that your friend had thrown up in the back seat. It was not waking up in the dead of the night to be threatened at knifepoint. It was not the experience of being blindfolded and raped in your apartment, all the while praying not to die.

The last thing Casey wanted now was to be probed and swabbed by some clueless doctor. So she refused to undergo a rape exam. “And I made that decision in a split second. Who did that hurt? It hurt me.”

Looking back on that moment, Casey, doesn’t blame the doctor for her decision. She had been reluctant to report her rape in the first place, afraid that the man would come back and kill her if she did.

But now she recognizes the fears and pressures she faced while reporting her rape as one reason why there need to be alternatives to the criminal justice system. She is exploring one such approach by using a practice called restorative justice to help other sexual assault survivors.

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, restorative justice has been put forward in the US as a new, and in some cases, better approach to dealing with sexual violence – one that puts the victim’s needs first. The concept has received high profile support in recent months, most notably from the American actors Ashley Judd and Laura Dern.

Restorative justice encompasses a variety of actions designed to repair the harm a crime has caused. Sometimes, that means bringing the accuser and the accused together in a dialogue, to discuss the impact of a crime and settle on a plan to make amends.

These dialogues aren’t about debating facts or sifting through evidence. Rather, the wrongdoer has to admit to his or her actions in order to participate.

But as Casey has seen first-hand, the process doesn’t come without risks. “It’s got to be understood that this is not a solution to every case. It is not. But I think it should be an option.”

Before the attack, Casey, then a 23-year-old urban planning student at the University of Florida, knew little about criminal justice.

But afterwards, Casey was flung headlong into a world of prosecutors and defense attorneys, prisons and plea deals. It would ultimately lead her to pursue a career overseeing victim services at the state attorney’s office in Gainesville, Florida.

Her first time in a prosecutor’s office, though, was filled with anxiety. “I’m overwhelmed. I can’t do this,” she remembers thinking. “I don’t want to be here.”

Overcome with nerves, she was sobbing before her testimony even started. “It was so humiliating to have to recount, ‘OK, so what did he say to you?’” Casey, 57, recalled, getting flushed at the thought of it.

At the time, Casey was unaccustomed to swearing, so she had no choice but to spell out the insults: “C-U-N ...”

The whole experience left Casey feeling hurt, even a bit angry. She arrived at the same conclusion she had at the hospital: that she would never, ever talk about her rape again. “My life is going forward,” she thought. “I am not getting stuck on that day.”
‘They wanted to restore their view of themselves as a good person’

Mary Koss, a leading research psychologist in the field of sexual violence, was studying the rape recovery process when she came across restorative justice. She observed a link between the self-blame that led to post-traumatic stress and the “adversarial” courtroom tactics survivors were subject to.

For all the pressures of the legal system, Koss believes its results are meager. One study found that in English-speaking countries such as the US and the UK, only 12.5% of sexual assault reports result in a conviction. Statistics like that left Koss wondering: “Are we just going to turn these people away and say we have no justice for you?”

To find answers, she led the first peer-reviewed, quantitative evaluation of restorative justice, focused on adult sexual assault.

Arizona prosecutors referred 22 cases to Koss’s program, all of which involved misdemeanor or felony sexual assaults. The offenders, Koss said, were motivated to participate because “they wanted to restore their view of themselves as a good person”.

But before the process could begin, both the offenders and the people they harmed had to meet individually with a case manager. It was a chance to manage expectations, as well as establish some basic rules: any bickering, victim-blaming or swearing would be grounds for terminating the conference.

Each victim-offender meeting was tightly choreographed, right down to who arrived first in the parking lot. Victim impact statements were written in advance, and stand-ins were available to read them, in case the process was too emotional or the victim didn’t want to be there.

Offenders, meanwhile, were instructed not to apologize right off the bat. “We said, ‘No, you have to earn the right to do the right thing,’” Koss explained. Each offender left the conference with a plan to make amends, plus a year’s worth of supervision, to make sure they followed through.

All told, participants reported high rates of satisfaction with the process. But Koss points out that restorative justice is no substitute for post-traumatic stress treatment.

“Restorative justice is justice, not therapy,” she said. “I’m not making claims that it made people better.”

Still, Koss noted that a few survivors were so relieved that they laughed during the proceedings. “One of the prosecutors said to me, ‘Do you know, I have never in my entire career seen a rape victim laugh until now?’”
Why had he done it? ‘There was no one else to ask but him’

That sense of relief was something Gretchen Casey desperately craved, even 23 years after the night of her assault. No matter how determined she was to put the whole incident behind her, questions still dogged her: Had he been watching me? How did he know where I lived? And why would he do this to me?

In the aftermath of the attack, Casey remembers jolting awake each morning around 3am, gripped with an unshakeable need to check the doors and windows and make sure everything was bolted shut.

And then there was that nagging need to understand why the assault happened in the first place. “The prosecutor couldn’t answer that question. The detective couldn’t answer that question. They didn’t think to ask those questions,” Casey said. “So there was no one else to ask but him.”

He, of course, was the man who had broken into Casey’s apartment that summer night in 1984, one stop on a string of sexual assaults that would land him back in prison, where he remains to this day.

For her own safety, Casey makes a point of never using the man’s name publicly. Given that she still lives in the same town and goes by the same name, Casey doesn’t want to risk drawing his attention.

But back in 2006, Casey resolved to meet him face-to-face, just as she had read about in her restorative justice literature.

John Howard, Casey’s then husband – and her boyfriend at the time of the assault – supported her decision but harbored concerns. “I thought definitely it could go very badly,” he said. And he wasn’t alone. Casey said her contact at the Florida department of corrections also cautioned against the meeting.

But Casey pushed forward with her plans. This would finally be her chance to explain to her rapist the impact of his crimes – something she had never done in a courtroom.

At least, that was the idea. Casey says three days after he agreed to the meeting, her rapist called it off.

“I was devastated all over again,” Casey said. “I felt like, once again, he was in control.”

The risk of re-traumatization is one reason why Michael Dolce, a Florida lawyer who represents sex crime survivors, remains skeptical of restorative justice.

“I think restorative justice reflects, in the context of sex crimes, a complete misunderstanding of what sex crime victims go through,” he said. “And I think it provides a very dangerous ‘out’ for sex criminals that leaves others at enormous risk.”

A survivor of sexual abuse himself, Dolce says he’s spent nearly $300,000 on his own recovery – but restorative justice is not an option he’d consider personally.

“To be perfectly blunt, I don’t want to be reconciled with somebody who has the pathology of resorting to a sex crime as a way to exert power and control, which is what sex crimes are about – first, last and always,” he said.

Given that the majority of offenders know their victims beforehand, Dolce worries that survivors might be vulnerable to emotional manipulation and feel forced to forgive.

“It basically says to a survivor that you need to accept a process that is going to restore this perpetrator to the point of reconciliation with the community. Where they’re here as if we’re back to normal,” Dolce said. “When inside, I know for the sex crime victim, they’re not back to normal. It’s never normal for them.”
Grassroots approaches stir tension

Gretchen Casey wasn’t personally ready to give up on the restorative justice system just yet – even though she had experienced its pitfalls.

She was still grappling with the emotional aftershocks of her victim-offender dialogue falling through when a friend handed her a slender paperback: How to Write a Movie in 21 Days. It proved to be just the inspiration she needed.

Casey decided if she couldn’t have the restorative dialogue she wanted, she would script one. “I got to write every question I would have asked. And I got to figure out what I wanted him to say to me,” she said. “And who was in charge of everything that happened? I was.”

But she didn’t stop there. Another friend encouraged her to take her screenplay to a local film-maker, James Babanikos, who was eager to tackle the project.

The resulting film, Somewhere Beyond, premiered in 2009, and when it did, Babanikos noticed a change come over Casey: “I could almost feel her sigh of relief at this chapter of her life finally being over.”

Casey, meanwhile, felt she had finally achieved success. “I got my meeting vicariously through surrogates, you could say. But I got my meeting,” she said.

Other survivors have also been forced to improvise when formal restorative justice processes were not available. Some have confronted their abusers on their own, or in the company of untrained facilitators.

These improvised approaches have spurred tensions, according to David Karp, director of the Project on Restorative Justice at Skidmore College.

While some practitioners embrace grassroots efforts, others want to professionalize restorative justice to ensure its safety, Karp said. “But that might limit access for people who might not otherwise have the privilege to get the training.”

Karp notes that interest in restorative justice has risen in recent years, but its growth is hampered by misperceptions – namely that restorative justice and mediation, which requires no acknowledgement of wrongdoing, are one and the same.

Still, Karp believes an increasing acceptance of mediation has opened the door for restorative justice to be embraced too. Recently, the Trump administration rolled back Obama-era guidance restricting the use of mediation to address campus sexual assault.

But at the same time, federal funding for research “has kind of dried up”, he said. “Maybe because this is still new and controversial.”

Mary Koss, who worked with Karp on a recent research proposal, suspects a different motive.

“We have a tough-on-crime mentality here, as is well known in the world,” she said. “Restorative justice is viewed as soft because it does not involve incarceration. And therefore it is resisted by a certain portion of the public, and currently by our justice department.”
‘We need to be able to demonstrate that repair is possible’

But Gretchen Casey is optimistic that interest in restorative justice will continue to swell, particularly as the #MeToo dialogue shifts from raising awareness to finding solutions.

Late last fall, she decided to apply restorative practices to the sexual assault cases she encounters as the director of outreach and advocacy at the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding, a Gainesville-based not-for-profit group.

One of her first leads came early this year, when a colleague connected her to a thirtysomething named Nick.

Nearly a decade ago, Nick – who asked that his full name be withheld – was convicted of sexual assault, after a fellow college student accused him of forced digital penetration.

When Casey first sat down with Nick, she found a man looking to shed light on events that remain muddled in his memory – “someone,” as she put it, “who is trying to put the pieces of their life back together again”.

As Nick tells it, the night of the assault went by in flashes, brought on by an alcoholic haze. He had already downed two pitchers at a friend’s birthday dinner – “I was pretty much drinking my supper” – before he spotted a woman he knew at a nearby bar.

She was under the legal drinking age, and Nick, being slightly older, bought her a shot. They went back to the dorms together.

“I very much do recall like, being intimate and making advancements toward sex and touching, and then there being a rebuff,” Nick said. Later, after some cuddling on a beanbag chair, Nick claims he blacked out entirely.

The next morning, he woke up alone in his own bed, surrounded by feces, with no recollection of how the night ended. It was only later that he would hear the allegations against him.

“It was just like the floor fell out,” he said. He ultimately spent nearly three years in prison.

But looking back, Nick wonders if that was the fate his victim intended for him. He thinks she might have been trying to initiate a kind of restorative dialogue with him – a dialogue that instead went horribly awry.

A few months after the assault, she had shown up at Nick’s workplace, hoping to talk. But Nick, afraid of violating his restraining order, suggested meeting at the public defender’s office instead.

Once they arrived, however, the lawyer there was determined to keep them apart. Nick claims the lawyer went so far as to berate the victim for stirring up trouble.

As he left, Nick spotted the victim balled up on the sidewalk, crying. It was only later, during his plea hearing, that Nick heard she had been questioning whether to proceed with the case against him. (Due to the sensitive nature of the restorative justice process, the Guardian could not reach out to the victim ahead of publication.)

Nick doesn’t deny that a restorative justice dialogue could help him personally: after a nearly decade on the sex offender registry, he’ll soon be able to petition for review of his status.

But ultimately, Nick hopes a restorative justice conference can help him achieve his “life mission”: He wants to work in education and show others that “your circumstances as a victim or a perpetrator” do not have to “define or limit your life”.

That message resonates with Casey, who struggles with labels like “survivor” and “rape victim”. In a funny way, Casey says she sees herself in Nick’s shoes. She remembers wanting a restorative justice meeting too, not knowing if one would happen.

Eventually, Casey hopes to reach out to the woman Nick sexually assaulted, to see if she’d like to participate in a restorative dialogue. But for now, Nick and Casey are starting slow, meeting once a week to talk through the experiences that changed their lives so many years ago.

Recently, at one of their meet-ups, Casey asked Nick a question: are there any acts too extreme for redemption?

“He only paused for a few seconds,” Casey remembers, sitting pensively on her couch, a pair of tortoise-shell glasses perched on her nose. “And he said: ‘I think that is the opportunity where redeemable behavior occurs.’”

The memory makes her smile. “I really haven’t been able to let that go,” she said. “It’s in some of the most extreme and egregious acts of violence that we need to be able to demonstrate that repair is possible.”

https://www.theguardian.com/global/2018/mar/13/restorative-justice-putting-the-needs-of-victims-first
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Offline knarf

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Building better men: how we can begin to redefine masculinity
« Reply #11766 on: March 13, 2018, 04:01:13 AM »
My friend’s story proves men can change. Now educators are working with young boys to help them escape gender roles at an early age

I have a friend – let’s call him Dave, though that’s not his name – who is active in his church, a loving and supportive husband, and a hilarious dinner companion. He’s also a former rapist.

He confessed this to me in fits and starts, over dinners and phone calls and late-night drinks, after we’d known each other a couple of years.

His story matches much of the research my work relies on, but it still forced me to re-evaluate some of my core assumptions about rapists and about the role of men in ending rape.

Dave’s former MO is familiar to anyone who thinks about sexual violence for a living. He picked victims he knew. He got them alone, encouraged them to have conversations that made them feel vulnerable, and pressed a lot of alcohol on them. And then, when they were too drunk to consent, he “had sex” with them. (That’s how he thought about it at the time, though today he will tell you straight up it was rape.)

The research is very clear: most rapists know they don’t have consent, and they rape an average of six times each. Before Dave told me his story, I thought that meant that most rapists were essentially sociopaths. I worried for a long time that Dave, too, must be a sociopath. But I’ve done a lot of thinking and searching on that idea, and I just don’t think he is. I think he’s a guy who grew up with some very toxic ideas about what it means to be a man.

While Dave’s violence is inexcusable, his story also gives me some hope. It shows that men can change. Even men who’ve already done terrible things.

Better models of masculinity are everywhere, if you know where to look.

When I polled my friends about where they find examples of the kind of masculinities they want to see more of in the world, the crowdsourced list was dazzling in its diversity and included the musician Frank Ocean (for his “openness and vulnerability around sexuality”); the basketball star Steph Curry caring for his daughter at post-game press conferences; all of Barack Obama’s interactions with children; queer men of various stripes subverting the very definitions of manhood; and an array of fictional men of film and TV, including Bob from Bob’s Burgers and modern superheroes like the Flash and Midnighter.

American men may be enjoying more emotional vulnerability in their superhero stories, but they also elected the living embodiment of toxic masculinity as president. Trump has spent his life defining his manliness in opposition to the women he dominates and degrades. He has been accused of sexual assault by over a dozen women, including his first wife, Ivana. The men he’s installed into power share his attitudes.

And when these men talk about making America great again, one of the things they’re yearning for is the re-establishment of “traditional” gender values in which men are dominant, women are subservient, and anyone who questions whether that’s really the natural order of things is punished.

My friend Dave grew up in a household steeped in those very values. It was only in learning that there are other, better ways to “be a man” that he became the friend I know him as today.

That’s not to say that we should let guys who’ve already offended of the hook in order to tempt them into the light. If you hurt someone, whether or not you mean to, you should face consequences. In fact, consequences can sometimes help facilitate learning.

“I think one of the reasons my behavior went unchecked for so long is that I didn’t suffer any consequences,” recalls Dave. It wasn’t until he lost a friendship he valued that he had to think about his behavior in a new light.

Whatever he knows now, he still hurt those women, and if any of them decided to hold him accountable for that, I’d support them. So would Dave, for that matter.

He has hardly become a full-time feminist crusader, but he does small things that make a big difference. He refuses to laugh at rape jokes or slut-shaming or anything that reduces women to commodities, and he goes out of his way to explain to other men why these things aren’t funny.

He doesn’t vote for candidates who want to control women’s access to abortion or birth control.

He’s raising his daughter to know that her body is her own.

These are, of course, small victories, less “revolution” and more “baby steps toward basic human decency”.

The difficulties in divorcing masculinity from misogyny aren’t confined to the tricky business of rape prevention.

Hostile sexism – the kind that involves calling women degrading names, rape and rape threats – is the kind that’s most often linked to toxic masculinity. But it’s not the only kind of masculinity that relies on the dehumanization of women. After all, if men were just hostile to women all of the time, why would any of us enter into relationships with them?

Instead, hostile sexism plays Mr Hyde to benevolent sexism’s Dr Jekyll, the two of them teaming up to keep women subservient to men’s needs. Benevolent sexism says that real men protect “good women”, who are morally superior angels living on uncomfortably narrow pedestals. It’s a kinder, gentler way to force three-dimensional women into two-dimensional boxes and strip us of our humanity.

We have to get a lot more deliberate if we want to transform masculinity into a healthy identity that doesn’t rely on the subjugation of women. It would be a whole lot easier if we started at the beginning, teaching boys that being strong includes being able to embrace their own vulnerable emotions and that girls aren’t teacups or trophies or aliens from Venus but fellow human beings who are pretty dang interesting.

Karen BK Chan, a sex and emotional literacy educator, speaks compellingly of the need to teach boys resiliency in the face of sexual rejection. “How might we empathize with a young guy who is balancing masculinity pressures and the desire to show and receive love?” she encourages us to ask. “How can we help him experience bearable rejection instead of unbearable failure?”

Across the country, dozens of programs work with high school and college-age boys to help them rethink what it means to be a man. These programs need to start younger. We need to shift from an intervention mindset – trying to shift young men’s conceptions of masculinity after they’ve already been formed – to a prevention mindset in which we help boys develop healthier ideas about gender to start with.

Research suggests middle school could be an ideal time to inoculate boys against toxic masculinity. Middle school boys’ ability to resist traditional masculine norms is relatively strong, but weakens when they get to high school.

Maine Boys to Men (MBTM), a program that has long worked with high school boys, is developing a curriculum for middle school boys that teaches them to see and sidestep the rigid gender roles they’re already growing into. That’s only part of its shift from being strictly a training program for high school students to becoming a multifaceted program working to transform masculinity at the community level.

In some ways, this shift is the result of the executive director Matthew Theodores’ very productive midlife crisis. Until 2012, he was general manager for marketing and strategy at a division of Microsoft. Unfulfilled, he started looking for not-for-profit organizations to connect with and stumbled into a board position at Boys to Men.

Since he had three boys of his own, then ages six, eight, and eleven, it’s no surprise the work quickly got under his skin, or that he saw the potential impact of working with younger boys.

MBTM adapted its high school curriculum for a middle school audience and tested it during the 2015-2016 academic year, reaching just over 500 boys in southern Maine. It tuned it up accordingly, adding more periods of physical activity and centering emotional literacy as the heart of the program, and wound up with a four-hour curriculum. The program is usually delivered one hour at a time over the course of four weeks at participating schools.

The course begins with the “gender box” exercise that’s a hallmark of all MBTM programs. The idea is simple: the group leader draws a big box on the chalkboard, and the boys brainstorm stereotypes of masculinity. All of those go inside the box. Then they discuss what happens if a guy tries to behave in a way that’s not described in the box. Those punishments and threats hover around the outside of the box. The completed visual serves as a jumping off point to discuss how confining traditional masculinity can be and how harmful to both boys and girls, both men and women.

Once they are primed to move beyond the gender box, the course gets the boys up and moving through a series of exercises in which they have to decide what they think about topics related to sexism and violence and debate their opinions with peers. Empathy is the glue that holds together all of the ideas in the course.

As an adult woman, my presence would have inhibited the boys in the middle school program. But MBTM let me check out day two of a two-day program for high school students. The high school programs differ from their middle school work in more than age grouping – the high school group is mixed gender, with a hand-selected bunch of students the school has identified as being leaders or showing leadership potential across a range of social circles, teams, and interests. The idea is to use these teens as a schoolwide vaccine, each inoculating those in their particular spheres of influence.

In one exercise, students were asked to respond physically to a series of scenarios by walking toward one side of the room or the other to indicate where on the spectrum of “healthy” to “abusive” the relationship being described sounded to them.

The most contentious scenario involved a girl, Lindsay, and her prom date Ben. The two have left an after party when Ben turns off on to a strange side street and stops the car. Lindsay pretends to sleep. He kisses her neck, gropes her breast. She pushes his hand away; he gropes her some more.

The three students who take a stand in Ben’s defense are all girls: “She didn’t say no.”

One boy says: “It’s not on her to say something. She has indicated that she does not want this to continue.”

A facilitator ends the stalemate, announcing that what Ben did is sexual assault, in no uncertain terms. The girls remain unconvinced. It’s a stark reminder that toxic masculinities aren’t just perpetuated by men.

After completing the program, the students will be assigned an adviser and encouraged to help their fellow students step out of their gender boxes.

It’s all part of a focus on making a community project of shifting gender norms that everyone can take part in. To that end, MBTM is also expanding its adult offerings, including a boot camp for new dads that offers practical parenting prep along with some exercises to help the dads think about how they want gender to play out in their relationship with their co-parent, their parenting style, and the values they pass on to their kids.

Though the high school program has proved effective through years of evaluation, it’s too soon to say what impact the new offerings will have. But the signs are encouraging.

Feedback from the middle school boys is almost universally positive, with most of them saying they’re going to change the way they talk to people or adjust their judgments about how others do gender. “Kids have come up after we’re done,” facilitator Sam Eley tells me, “and said, ‘Man, I’m really not going to try and be in a box!’”

The staff at MBTM hopes that the project will transform the kind of measurement they can do on the effectiveness of their interventions, by following the students as they grow into high schoolers and beyond. That kind of longitudinal data on transforming masculinities is nearly nonexistent and could light a way forward for many other programs to follow.

And not a moment too soon, because the boys are already being influenced by our fragile masculinist-in-chief.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/12/masculinity-gender-men-sexual-assault-rape
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Offline Eddie

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Re: Stormy Daniels offers to return money to 'tell her story' of Trump affair
« Reply #11767 on: March 13, 2018, 05:23:33 AM »
Letter from actor’s lawyer offers return of $130,000 fee and asks that no action be taken to prevent the airing of an interview on CNN


Stephanie Clifford, who uses the stage name Stormy Daniels, on 9 March 2018 in Pompano Beach, Florida.

Stormy Daniels has offered to give back a $130,000 fee paid to her by Donald Trump’s personal lawyer in return for her silence about her alleged affair with the future US president.

A letter from the pornographic actor’s lawyer Michael Avenatti to Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, on Monday offered to pay the $130,000 (£93,000) into an account of the president’s choosing by Friday.

It gives Trump until noon ET on Tuesday 13 March to accept the offer.

The letter asks that no action be taken to prevent the airing of an interview that the actor – real name Stephanie Clifford – recently recorded with the CNN journalist Anderson Cooper for the CBS news program 60 Minutes, for which Cooper is a regular contributor.

Trump has denied Clifford’s allegations of having had a lengthy affair with him in 2006, the year after he married Melania Trump.

“Ms Clifford wants to be able to tell her story directly to the American people and say what happened with the president, as well as his efforts to silence her,” Avenatti told the Guardian on Monday.

“She wants the people to decide who is shooting straight with them and who is being less than forthcoming. One of the fundamental premises that America was founded on was the right to free speech and that’s very important to her,” he said.

Cohen, a longtime Trump lawyer, has admitted paying Clifford $130,000 in 2016. In February, the celebrity magazine In Touch published a 5,000-word interview detailing Clifford’s story.

In a series of twists and turns last week, the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, was the first to acknowledge from the administration’s side that there had been any contact between Trump and Clifford, claiming that he had won a case “in arbitration” against the actor.

Then on Wednesday night, the New York Times obtained a copy of a temporary restraining order issued by a private arbitrator in Los Angeles on 27 February precluding one Peggy Peterson from disclosing “confidential information” as defined in an earlier secret agreement.

Peggy Peterson is a pseudonym for Stephanie Clifford, according to a separate lawsuit brought by Clifford days later, while Trump, for the purposes of his legal dealings with Clifford, “was referred to by the alias ‘David Dennison’ or ‘DD’”.

Cohen had used a shell company, Essential Consultants LLC, to wire the $130,000 to Clifford.

The New York Times broke the story on Monday of Clifford’s offer to pay back the 2016 fee of $130,000 paid to her by Cohen.

As well as a TV interview with Cooper, the letter also says that if Clifford’s offer to return the fee is accepted, she would then be permitted to: “(a) speak openly and freely about her prior relationship with the President and the attempts to silence her and (b) use and publish any text messages, photos and/or videos relating to the President that she may have in her possession, all without fear of retribution and/or legal liability for damages.”

Cohen admitted last Friday that he had used a line of credit based on the value of his own home to gather the $130,000 to pay Daniels, and had used his email account associated with the Trump Organization – the president’s business empire – to communicate about the payment. He says he paid Clifford in a personal capacity. There is no proof that Trump knew about or approved the payment.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/mar/12/stormy-daniels-trump-affair-allegations-money-return-tell-story

Who needs 130K when the tabloids are offering millions.
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Offline Eddie

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Re: Building better men: how we can begin to redefine masculinity
« Reply #11768 on: March 13, 2018, 05:29:04 AM »
My friend’s story proves men can change. Now educators are working with young boys to help them escape gender roles at an early age

I have a friend – let’s call him Dave, though that’s not his name – who is active in his church, a loving and supportive husband, and a hilarious dinner companion. He’s also a former rapist.

He confessed this to me in fits and starts, over dinners and phone calls and late-night drinks, after we’d known each other a couple of years.

His story matches much of the research my work relies on, but it still forced me to re-evaluate some of my core assumptions about rapists and about the role of men in ending rape.

Dave’s former MO is familiar to anyone who thinks about sexual violence for a living. He picked victims he knew. He got them alone, encouraged them to have conversations that made them feel vulnerable, and pressed a lot of alcohol on them. And then, when they were too drunk to consent, he “had sex” with them. (That’s how he thought about it at the time, though today he will tell you straight up it was rape.)

The research is very clear: most rapists know they don’t have consent, and they rape an average of six times each. Before Dave told me his story, I thought that meant that most rapists were essentially sociopaths. I worried for a long time that Dave, too, must be a sociopath. But I’ve done a lot of thinking and searching on that idea, and I just don’t think he is. I think he’s a guy who grew up with some very toxic ideas about what it means to be a man.

While Dave’s violence is inexcusable, his story also gives me some hope. It shows that men can change. Even men who’ve already done terrible things.

Better models of masculinity are everywhere, if you know where to look.

When I polled my friends about where they find examples of the kind of masculinities they want to see more of in the world, the crowdsourced list was dazzling in its diversity and included the musician Frank Ocean (for his “openness and vulnerability around sexuality”); the basketball star Steph Curry caring for his daughter at post-game press conferences; all of Barack Obama’s interactions with children; queer men of various stripes subverting the very definitions of manhood; and an array of fictional men of film and TV, including Bob from Bob’s Burgers and modern superheroes like the Flash and Midnighter.

American men may be enjoying more emotional vulnerability in their superhero stories, but they also elected the living embodiment of toxic masculinity as president. Trump has spent his life defining his manliness in opposition to the women he dominates and degrades. He has been accused of sexual assault by over a dozen women, including his first wife, Ivana. The men he’s installed into power share his attitudes.

And when these men talk about making America great again, one of the things they’re yearning for is the re-establishment of “traditional” gender values in which men are dominant, women are subservient, and anyone who questions whether that’s really the natural order of things is punished.

My friend Dave grew up in a household steeped in those very values. It was only in learning that there are other, better ways to “be a man” that he became the friend I know him as today.

That’s not to say that we should let guys who’ve already offended of the hook in order to tempt them into the light. If you hurt someone, whether or not you mean to, you should face consequences. In fact, consequences can sometimes help facilitate learning.

“I think one of the reasons my behavior went unchecked for so long is that I didn’t suffer any consequences,” recalls Dave. It wasn’t until he lost a friendship he valued that he had to think about his behavior in a new light.

Whatever he knows now, he still hurt those women, and if any of them decided to hold him accountable for that, I’d support them. So would Dave, for that matter.

He has hardly become a full-time feminist crusader, but he does small things that make a big difference. He refuses to laugh at rape jokes or slut-shaming or anything that reduces women to commodities, and he goes out of his way to explain to other men why these things aren’t funny.

He doesn’t vote for candidates who want to control women’s access to abortion or birth control.

He’s raising his daughter to know that her body is her own.

These are, of course, small victories, less “revolution” and more “baby steps toward basic human decency”.

The difficulties in divorcing masculinity from misogyny aren’t confined to the tricky business of rape prevention.

Hostile sexism – the kind that involves calling women degrading names, rape and rape threats – is the kind that’s most often linked to toxic masculinity. But it’s not the only kind of masculinity that relies on the dehumanization of women. After all, if men were just hostile to women all of the time, why would any of us enter into relationships with them?

Instead, hostile sexism plays Mr Hyde to benevolent sexism’s Dr Jekyll, the two of them teaming up to keep women subservient to men’s needs. Benevolent sexism says that real men protect “good women”, who are morally superior angels living on uncomfortably narrow pedestals. It’s a kinder, gentler way to force three-dimensional women into two-dimensional boxes and strip us of our humanity.

We have to get a lot more deliberate if we want to transform masculinity into a healthy identity that doesn’t rely on the subjugation of women. It would be a whole lot easier if we started at the beginning, teaching boys that being strong includes being able to embrace their own vulnerable emotions and that girls aren’t teacups or trophies or aliens from Venus but fellow human beings who are pretty dang interesting.

Karen BK Chan, a sex and emotional literacy educator, speaks compellingly of the need to teach boys resiliency in the face of sexual rejection. “How might we empathize with a young guy who is balancing masculinity pressures and the desire to show and receive love?” she encourages us to ask. “How can we help him experience bearable rejection instead of unbearable failure?”

Across the country, dozens of programs work with high school and college-age boys to help them rethink what it means to be a man. These programs need to start younger. We need to shift from an intervention mindset – trying to shift young men’s conceptions of masculinity after they’ve already been formed – to a prevention mindset in which we help boys develop healthier ideas about gender to start with.

Research suggests middle school could be an ideal time to inoculate boys against toxic masculinity. Middle school boys’ ability to resist traditional masculine norms is relatively strong, but weakens when they get to high school.

Maine Boys to Men (MBTM), a program that has long worked with high school boys, is developing a curriculum for middle school boys that teaches them to see and sidestep the rigid gender roles they’re already growing into. That’s only part of its shift from being strictly a training program for high school students to becoming a multifaceted program working to transform masculinity at the community level.

In some ways, this shift is the result of the executive director Matthew Theodores’ very productive midlife crisis. Until 2012, he was general manager for marketing and strategy at a division of Microsoft. Unfulfilled, he started looking for not-for-profit organizations to connect with and stumbled into a board position at Boys to Men.

Since he had three boys of his own, then ages six, eight, and eleven, it’s no surprise the work quickly got under his skin, or that he saw the potential impact of working with younger boys.

MBTM adapted its high school curriculum for a middle school audience and tested it during the 2015-2016 academic year, reaching just over 500 boys in southern Maine. It tuned it up accordingly, adding more periods of physical activity and centering emotional literacy as the heart of the program, and wound up with a four-hour curriculum. The program is usually delivered one hour at a time over the course of four weeks at participating schools.

The course begins with the “gender box” exercise that’s a hallmark of all MBTM programs. The idea is simple: the group leader draws a big box on the chalkboard, and the boys brainstorm stereotypes of masculinity. All of those go inside the box. Then they discuss what happens if a guy tries to behave in a way that’s not described in the box. Those punishments and threats hover around the outside of the box. The completed visual serves as a jumping off point to discuss how confining traditional masculinity can be and how harmful to both boys and girls, both men and women.

Once they are primed to move beyond the gender box, the course gets the boys up and moving through a series of exercises in which they have to decide what they think about topics related to sexism and violence and debate their opinions with peers. Empathy is the glue that holds together all of the ideas in the course.

As an adult woman, my presence would have inhibited the boys in the middle school program. But MBTM let me check out day two of a two-day program for high school students. The high school programs differ from their middle school work in more than age grouping – the high school group is mixed gender, with a hand-selected bunch of students the school has identified as being leaders or showing leadership potential across a range of social circles, teams, and interests. The idea is to use these teens as a schoolwide vaccine, each inoculating those in their particular spheres of influence.

In one exercise, students were asked to respond physically to a series of scenarios by walking toward one side of the room or the other to indicate where on the spectrum of “healthy” to “abusive” the relationship being described sounded to them.

The most contentious scenario involved a girl, Lindsay, and her prom date Ben. The two have left an after party when Ben turns off on to a strange side street and stops the car. Lindsay pretends to sleep. He kisses her neck, gropes her breast. She pushes his hand away; he gropes her some more.

The three students who take a stand in Ben’s defense are all girls: “She didn’t say no.”

One boy says: “It’s not on her to say something. She has indicated that she does not want this to continue.”

A facilitator ends the stalemate, announcing that what Ben did is sexual assault, in no uncertain terms. The girls remain unconvinced. It’s a stark reminder that toxic masculinities aren’t just perpetuated by men.

After completing the program, the students will be assigned an adviser and encouraged to help their fellow students step out of their gender boxes.

It’s all part of a focus on making a community project of shifting gender norms that everyone can take part in. To that end, MBTM is also expanding its adult offerings, including a boot camp for new dads that offers practical parenting prep along with some exercises to help the dads think about how they want gender to play out in their relationship with their co-parent, their parenting style, and the values they pass on to their kids.

Though the high school program has proved effective through years of evaluation, it’s too soon to say what impact the new offerings will have. But the signs are encouraging.

Feedback from the middle school boys is almost universally positive, with most of them saying they’re going to change the way they talk to people or adjust their judgments about how others do gender. “Kids have come up after we’re done,” facilitator Sam Eley tells me, “and said, ‘Man, I’m really not going to try and be in a box!’”

The staff at MBTM hopes that the project will transform the kind of measurement they can do on the effectiveness of their interventions, by following the students as they grow into high schoolers and beyond. That kind of longitudinal data on transforming masculinities is nearly nonexistent and could light a way forward for many other programs to follow.

And not a moment too soon, because the boys are already being influenced by our fragile masculinist-in-chief.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/12/masculinity-gender-men-sexual-assault-rape

And now let the tearful confessions begin.

Articles like this one are just more fuel to pour on the #MeToo fire. All women have been raped. All men are serial rapists. Send all the men to be sex rehab, so that they can confess their sins and be forgiven. We must re-indoctrinate the entire male population. At once!

What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline Eddie

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Re: James Levine’s Final Act at the Met Ends in Disgrace
« Reply #11769 on: March 13, 2018, 05:32:25 AM »

James Levine in the pit at a Metropolitan Opera rehearsal in 2009.

The Metropolitan Opera fired the conductor James Levine on Monday evening, ending its association with a man who defined the company for more than four decades after an investigation found what the Met called credible evidence that Mr. Levine had engaged in “sexually abusive and harassing conduct.”

The investigation, which the Met opened in December after a report in The New York Times, found evidence of abuse and harassment “both before and during the period” when Mr. Levine worked at the Met, the company said in a statement.

It was an extraordinary fall from grace for a legendary maestro, whom many consider the greatest American conductor since Leonard Bernstein.

The Met did not release the specific findings of its investigation, which it said had included interviews with 70 people. But the statement said that the investigation had “uncovered credible evidence that Mr. Levine engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct toward vulnerable artists in the early stages of their careers, over whom Mr. Levine had authority.” It said that it was terminating its relationship with Mr. Levine, who is currently the company’s music director emeritus and the artistic director of its young artists program.

“In light of these findings,” the statement continued, “the Met concludes that it would be inappropriate and impossible for Mr. Levine to continue to work at the Met.”

A spokesman for Mr. Levine said that he did not have an immediate comment.

Mr. Levine, 74, has become the highest-profile figure in classical music to have his career upended during the national reckoning over sexual misconduct.
Continue reading the main story
Related Coverage

    Met Opera Suspends James Levine After New Sexual Abuse Accusations DEC. 3, 2017
    Met Opera to Investigate James Levine Over Sexual Abuse Accusation DEC. 2, 2017
    James Levine Will Not Face Criminal Charges in Illinois DEC. 8, 2017
    James Levine Denies ‘Unfounded’ Sexual Abuse Accusations DEC. 7, 2017

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He made the Met’s orchestra into one of the finest in the world, led the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Munich Philharmonic and gained worldwide renown through recordings, telecasts and videos. His fame transcended classical music: He shared the screen with Mickey Mouse in Disney’s “Fantasia 2000,” and made the cover of Time magazine in 1983, under a headline proclaiming him “America’s Top Maestro.”

Even before the accusations, the Met had been moving toward a post-Levine era. After years of ill health, he stepped down as music director two seasons ago. The company announced last month that Mr. Levine’s successor, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, would take on his new role next season, two years ahead of schedule.

But his termination has dealt the Met a serious blow at a moment of vulnerability. The company, the largest performing arts organization in the nation, costs close to $300 million a year to run, making it highly reliant on the generosity of donors — a dependence that has only grown as it has faced a box-office slump. Now the Met finds itself forced to court both philanthropists and audiences as it faces difficult questions about what it knew, or should have known, about its star conductor.

The Met suspended Mr. Levine and opened its investigation in December after The Times reported on-the-record accusations of four men who said that Mr. Levine had sexually abused them decades ago, when they were teenagers or his students. Mr. Levine called the accusations “unfounded,” saying in a statement that “I have not lived my life as an oppressor or an aggressor.”

But some questions arose early on about how the company had handled the case, including the fact that it began its investigation more than a year after Peter Gelb, its general manager, was first told that the police in Illinois were investigating an accusation that Mr. Levine had sexually abused a teenage boy there in the 1980s.

Mr. Gelb has said he briefed the leadership of the Met’s board about the police investigation and spoke with Mr. Levine, who denied the accusations. But Mr. Gelb said that the company took no further action, waiting to see what the police found.

The Met said that its investigation, which was led by Robert J. Cleary, a partner at the Proskauer Rose law firm who was previously a United States attorney in New Jersey and Illinois, had determined that “any claims or rumors that members of the Met’s management or its board of directors engaged in a cover-up of information relating to these issues are completely unsubstantiated.”

The accusations against Mr. Levine reported in The Times went back decades, and shared marked similarities.

Chris Brown said that Mr. Levine had abused him in the summer of 1968, when he was a 17-year-old student at the Meadow Brook School of Music in Michigan and Mr. Levine led the school’s orchestral institute. Mr. Brown, who went on to play principal bass in the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, said that one night in the dorms, Mr. Levine had masturbated him and asked him to reciprocate — and then punished Mr. Brown when he declined to do so again, ignoring him for the rest of the summer, even when he was conducting him.

James Lestock, a cellist, said that he, too, was abused that summer when he was a student, and said that the abuse continued in Cleveland, where a tight-knit clique of musicians followed Mr. Levine, who was then an assistant conductor at the Cleveland Orchestra on the cusp of a major career. He said that at one point Mr. Levine had the group don blindfolds and masturbate partners they could not see. (Another participant confirmed this in an interview.)

Mr. Lestock said Monday night that after carrying around the pain of those encounters for so many years, he had been moved to see a public acknowledgment of Mr. Levine’s behavior. “The truth can be very useful,” he said in a telephone interview. “The truth creates good.”

Albin Ifsich, who went on to have a long career as a violinist in the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, said that he had been abused by Mr. Levine for several years, beginning at Meadow Brook and continuing after he joined the group of young musicians who followed Mr. Levine to Cleveland and later New York.

Ashok Pai said he had been abused by Mr. Levine for years, beginning in 1986 near the Ravinia Festival in Illinois, when he was 16. Mr. Pai grew up near the festival, where Mr. Levine was music director, and wanted to become a conductor. Three decades later — after, Mr. Pai said, therapy had helped him realize how destructive those encounters had been — he detailed his accusations in the fall of 2016 to the Lake Forest Police Department in Illinois. Law enforcement officials said last year that they would not bring criminal charges against Mr. Levine, noting that while the state’s age of consent is now 17 — and 18 in some cases — it was still 16 in 1986.

Several performing arts institutions have been confronted with complaints about the behavior of some of their leading artists. A number of orchestras severed ties with the conductor Charles Dutoit after he was accused of sexual misconduct, and the Boston Symphony, where he was a frequent guest conductor, later determined that the accusations of misconduct lodged by several women who worked for the orchestra were credible. Peter Martins retired under pressure this year as ballet master in chief of New York City Ballet after The Times and The Washington Post reported accusations that he had been physically abusive. When the company’s investigation was completed, however, City Ballet announced it had not corroborated the allegations.

Mr. Levine’s focus on and influence over the Met was rare in an era of jet-setting maestros: He conducted more than 2,500 performances with the company, far more than any other conductor. Since suffering a spinal injury in 2011 that caused him to miss two seasons, Mr. Levine has conducted from a wheelchair. It was only with great reluctance — and after a battle erupted behind the scenes when performers complained that it had grown difficult to follow his conducting — that Mr. Levine stepped down as music director in the spring of 2016. That year he acknowledged that he had Parkinson’s disease, which he had previously denied, and said that his difficulties on the podium were related to his medication.

Rumors about Mr. Levine and sexual abuse swirled throughout his career. Johanna Fiedler, a former press representative for the Met, wrote in her 2001 book “Molto Agitato: The Mayhem Behind the Music at the Metropolitan Opera,” that such stories had circulated since at least 1979.

“Each time, the Met press office would tirelessly point out the cyclical nature of the gossip and the complete lack of substance,” she wrote.

In 1987, The Times reported that there were “conflicting rumors about his private life and an imminent resignation” without getting specific. Mr. Levine dismissed the stories in an interview with The Times, saying that he had been told years earlier that there were “reports of a morals charge in Pittsburgh or Hawaii or Dallas.”

“Both my friends and my enemies checked it out, and to this day, I don’t have the faintest idea where those rumors came from or what purpose they served,” he said at the time.

Mr. Gelb said in earlier interviews with The Times that Met records showed two instances when complaints about Mr. Levine’s behavior had reached top company officials. In 1979, he said, Anthony A. Bliss, who was then the Met’s executive director, got a letter from a board member asking about an anonymous letter containing accusations about Mr. Levine. Neither the board member’s letter nor the anonymous one could be obtained, making the exact nature of the accusations unclear. But a copy of Mr. Bliss’s response obtained by The Times shows that he dismissed them.

The second time, Mr. Gelb said, was the 2016 call he got from the Lake Forest Police, who were investigating Mr. Pai’s account. It was a year later, in December, when the company learned from media inquiries that more accusers were coming forward, that the Met suspended Mr. Levine and opened its own investigation.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/12/arts/music/james-levine-metropolitan-opera.html?smid=pl-share

And now, the gay sexual predators must be punished! Looks like they're a little late on this one.
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Re: Stormy Daniels offers to return money to 'tell her story' of Trump affair
« Reply #11770 on: March 13, 2018, 05:32:53 AM »
Who needs 130K when the tabloids are offering millions.

Not to mention the Hollywood movie.

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Re: Building better men: how we can begin to redefine masculinity
« Reply #11771 on: March 13, 2018, 05:34:27 AM »
And now let the tearful confessions begin.

Articles like this one are just more fuel to pour on the #MeToo fire. All women have been raped. All men are serial rapists. Send all the men to be sex rehab, so that they can confess their sins and be forgiven. We must re-indoctrinate the entire male population. At once!

I get a bye for being a Monk.  :icon_sunny:

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Offline Eddie

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Re: Restorative justice: putting the needs of rape victims first
« Reply #11772 on: March 13, 2018, 05:40:38 AM »
Restorative justice has been put forward in the US as a new, and in some cases, better approach to dealing with sexual violence

Something had snapped inside Gretchen Casey. Maybe it was the way the doctor propped himself up on the side of the exam table, letting his legs swing nonchalantly over the edge. Maybe it was the casual tone he struck when he said: “So I heard you had a rough night.”

But whatever the reason, Casey had come to a decision. This man was not going to touch her.

What had happened was not just a “rough night”. A rough night was stepping out to find your car had been towed, or that your friend had thrown up in the back seat. It was not waking up in the dead of the night to be threatened at knifepoint. It was not the experience of being blindfolded and raped in your apartment, all the while praying not to die.

The last thing Casey wanted now was to be probed and swabbed by some clueless doctor. So she refused to undergo a rape exam. “And I made that decision in a split second. Who did that hurt? It hurt me.”

Looking back on that moment, Casey, doesn’t blame the doctor for her decision. She had been reluctant to report her rape in the first place, afraid that the man would come back and kill her if she did.

But now she recognizes the fears and pressures she faced while reporting her rape as one reason why there need to be alternatives to the criminal justice system. She is exploring one such approach by using a practice called restorative justice to help other sexual assault survivors.

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, restorative justice has been put forward in the US as a new, and in some cases, better approach to dealing with sexual violence – one that puts the victim’s needs first. The concept has received high profile support in recent months, most notably from the American actors Ashley Judd and Laura Dern.

Restorative justice encompasses a variety of actions designed to repair the harm a crime has caused. Sometimes, that means bringing the accuser and the accused together in a dialogue, to discuss the impact of a crime and settle on a plan to make amends.

These dialogues aren’t about debating facts or sifting through evidence. Rather, the wrongdoer has to admit to his or her actions in order to participate.

But as Casey has seen first-hand, the process doesn’t come without risks. “It’s got to be understood that this is not a solution to every case. It is not. But I think it should be an option.”

Before the attack, Casey, then a 23-year-old urban planning student at the University of Florida, knew little about criminal justice.

But afterwards, Casey was flung headlong into a world of prosecutors and defense attorneys, prisons and plea deals. It would ultimately lead her to pursue a career overseeing victim services at the state attorney’s office in Gainesville, Florida.

Her first time in a prosecutor’s office, though, was filled with anxiety. “I’m overwhelmed. I can’t do this,” she remembers thinking. “I don’t want to be here.”

Overcome with nerves, she was sobbing before her testimony even started. “It was so humiliating to have to recount, ‘OK, so what did he say to you?’” Casey, 57, recalled, getting flushed at the thought of it.

At the time, Casey was unaccustomed to swearing, so she had no choice but to spell out the insults: “C-U-N ...”

The whole experience left Casey feeling hurt, even a bit angry. She arrived at the same conclusion she had at the hospital: that she would never, ever talk about her rape again. “My life is going forward,” she thought. “I am not getting stuck on that day.”
‘They wanted to restore their view of themselves as a good person’

Mary Koss, a leading research psychologist in the field of sexual violence, was studying the rape recovery process when she came across restorative justice. She observed a link between the self-blame that led to post-traumatic stress and the “adversarial” courtroom tactics survivors were subject to.

For all the pressures of the legal system, Koss believes its results are meager. One study found that in English-speaking countries such as the US and the UK, only 12.5% of sexual assault reports result in a conviction. Statistics like that left Koss wondering: “Are we just going to turn these people away and say we have no justice for you?”

To find answers, she led the first peer-reviewed, quantitative evaluation of restorative justice, focused on adult sexual assault.

Arizona prosecutors referred 22 cases to Koss’s program, all of which involved misdemeanor or felony sexual assaults. The offenders, Koss said, were motivated to participate because “they wanted to restore their view of themselves as a good person”.

But before the process could begin, both the offenders and the people they harmed had to meet individually with a case manager. It was a chance to manage expectations, as well as establish some basic rules: any bickering, victim-blaming or swearing would be grounds for terminating the conference.

Each victim-offender meeting was tightly choreographed, right down to who arrived first in the parking lot. Victim impact statements were written in advance, and stand-ins were available to read them, in case the process was too emotional or the victim didn’t want to be there.

Offenders, meanwhile, were instructed not to apologize right off the bat. “We said, ‘No, you have to earn the right to do the right thing,’” Koss explained. Each offender left the conference with a plan to make amends, plus a year’s worth of supervision, to make sure they followed through.

All told, participants reported high rates of satisfaction with the process. But Koss points out that restorative justice is no substitute for post-traumatic stress treatment.

“Restorative justice is justice, not therapy,” she said. “I’m not making claims that it made people better.”

Still, Koss noted that a few survivors were so relieved that they laughed during the proceedings. “One of the prosecutors said to me, ‘Do you know, I have never in my entire career seen a rape victim laugh until now?’”
Why had he done it? ‘There was no one else to ask but him’

That sense of relief was something Gretchen Casey desperately craved, even 23 years after the night of her assault. No matter how determined she was to put the whole incident behind her, questions still dogged her: Had he been watching me? How did he know where I lived? And why would he do this to me?

In the aftermath of the attack, Casey remembers jolting awake each morning around 3am, gripped with an unshakeable need to check the doors and windows and make sure everything was bolted shut.

And then there was that nagging need to understand why the assault happened in the first place. “The prosecutor couldn’t answer that question. The detective couldn’t answer that question. They didn’t think to ask those questions,” Casey said. “So there was no one else to ask but him.”

He, of course, was the man who had broken into Casey’s apartment that summer night in 1984, one stop on a string of sexual assaults that would land him back in prison, where he remains to this day.

For her own safety, Casey makes a point of never using the man’s name publicly. Given that she still lives in the same town and goes by the same name, Casey doesn’t want to risk drawing his attention.

But back in 2006, Casey resolved to meet him face-to-face, just as she had read about in her restorative justice literature.

John Howard, Casey’s then husband – and her boyfriend at the time of the assault – supported her decision but harbored concerns. “I thought definitely it could go very badly,” he said. And he wasn’t alone. Casey said her contact at the Florida department of corrections also cautioned against the meeting.

But Casey pushed forward with her plans. This would finally be her chance to explain to her rapist the impact of his crimes – something she had never done in a courtroom.

At least, that was the idea. Casey says three days after he agreed to the meeting, her rapist called it off.

“I was devastated all over again,” Casey said. “I felt like, once again, he was in control.”

The risk of re-traumatization is one reason why Michael Dolce, a Florida lawyer who represents sex crime survivors, remains skeptical of restorative justice.

“I think restorative justice reflects, in the context of sex crimes, a complete misunderstanding of what sex crime victims go through,” he said. “And I think it provides a very dangerous ‘out’ for sex criminals that leaves others at enormous risk.”

A survivor of sexual abuse himself, Dolce says he’s spent nearly $300,000 on his own recovery – but restorative justice is not an option he’d consider personally.

“To be perfectly blunt, I don’t want to be reconciled with somebody who has the pathology of resorting to a sex crime as a way to exert power and control, which is what sex crimes are about – first, last and always,” he said.

Given that the majority of offenders know their victims beforehand, Dolce worries that survivors might be vulnerable to emotional manipulation and feel forced to forgive.

“It basically says to a survivor that you need to accept a process that is going to restore this perpetrator to the point of reconciliation with the community. Where they’re here as if we’re back to normal,” Dolce said. “When inside, I know for the sex crime victim, they’re not back to normal. It’s never normal for them.”
Grassroots approaches stir tension

Gretchen Casey wasn’t personally ready to give up on the restorative justice system just yet – even though she had experienced its pitfalls.

She was still grappling with the emotional aftershocks of her victim-offender dialogue falling through when a friend handed her a slender paperback: How to Write a Movie in 21 Days. It proved to be just the inspiration she needed.

Casey decided if she couldn’t have the restorative dialogue she wanted, she would script one. “I got to write every question I would have asked. And I got to figure out what I wanted him to say to me,” she said. “And who was in charge of everything that happened? I was.”

But she didn’t stop there. Another friend encouraged her to take her screenplay to a local film-maker, James Babanikos, who was eager to tackle the project.

The resulting film, Somewhere Beyond, premiered in 2009, and when it did, Babanikos noticed a change come over Casey: “I could almost feel her sigh of relief at this chapter of her life finally being over.”

Casey, meanwhile, felt she had finally achieved success. “I got my meeting vicariously through surrogates, you could say. But I got my meeting,” she said.

Other survivors have also been forced to improvise when formal restorative justice processes were not available. Some have confronted their abusers on their own, or in the company of untrained facilitators.

These improvised approaches have spurred tensions, according to David Karp, director of the Project on Restorative Justice at Skidmore College.

While some practitioners embrace grassroots efforts, others want to professionalize restorative justice to ensure its safety, Karp said. “But that might limit access for people who might not otherwise have the privilege to get the training.”

Karp notes that interest in restorative justice has risen in recent years, but its growth is hampered by misperceptions – namely that restorative justice and mediation, which requires no acknowledgement of wrongdoing, are one and the same.

Still, Karp believes an increasing acceptance of mediation has opened the door for restorative justice to be embraced too. Recently, the Trump administration rolled back Obama-era guidance restricting the use of mediation to address campus sexual assault.

But at the same time, federal funding for research “has kind of dried up”, he said. “Maybe because this is still new and controversial.”

Mary Koss, who worked with Karp on a recent research proposal, suspects a different motive.

“We have a tough-on-crime mentality here, as is well known in the world,” she said. “Restorative justice is viewed as soft because it does not involve incarceration. And therefore it is resisted by a certain portion of the public, and currently by our justice department.”
‘We need to be able to demonstrate that repair is possible’

But Gretchen Casey is optimistic that interest in restorative justice will continue to swell, particularly as the #MeToo dialogue shifts from raising awareness to finding solutions.

Late last fall, she decided to apply restorative practices to the sexual assault cases she encounters as the director of outreach and advocacy at the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding, a Gainesville-based not-for-profit group.

One of her first leads came early this year, when a colleague connected her to a thirtysomething named Nick.

Nearly a decade ago, Nick – who asked that his full name be withheld – was convicted of sexual assault, after a fellow college student accused him of forced digital penetration.

When Casey first sat down with Nick, she found a man looking to shed light on events that remain muddled in his memory – “someone,” as she put it, “who is trying to put the pieces of their life back together again”.

As Nick tells it, the night of the assault went by in flashes, brought on by an alcoholic haze. He had already downed two pitchers at a friend’s birthday dinner – “I was pretty much drinking my supper” – before he spotted a woman he knew at a nearby bar.

She was under the legal drinking age, and Nick, being slightly older, bought her a shot. They went back to the dorms together.

“I very much do recall like, being intimate and making advancements toward sex and touching, and then there being a rebuff,” Nick said. Later, after some cuddling on a beanbag chair, Nick claims he blacked out entirely.

The next morning, he woke up alone in his own bed, surrounded by feces, with no recollection of how the night ended. It was only later that he would hear the allegations against him.

“It was just like the floor fell out,” he said. He ultimately spent nearly three years in prison.

But looking back, Nick wonders if that was the fate his victim intended for him. He thinks she might have been trying to initiate a kind of restorative dialogue with him – a dialogue that instead went horribly awry.

A few months after the assault, she had shown up at Nick’s workplace, hoping to talk. But Nick, afraid of violating his restraining order, suggested meeting at the public defender’s office instead.

Once they arrived, however, the lawyer there was determined to keep them apart. Nick claims the lawyer went so far as to berate the victim for stirring up trouble.

As he left, Nick spotted the victim balled up on the sidewalk, crying. It was only later, during his plea hearing, that Nick heard she had been questioning whether to proceed with the case against him. (Due to the sensitive nature of the restorative justice process, the Guardian could not reach out to the victim ahead of publication.)

Nick doesn’t deny that a restorative justice dialogue could help him personally: after a nearly decade on the sex offender registry, he’ll soon be able to petition for review of his status.

But ultimately, Nick hopes a restorative justice conference can help him achieve his “life mission”: He wants to work in education and show others that “your circumstances as a victim or a perpetrator” do not have to “define or limit your life”.

That message resonates with Casey, who struggles with labels like “survivor” and “rape victim”. In a funny way, Casey says she sees herself in Nick’s shoes. She remembers wanting a restorative justice meeting too, not knowing if one would happen.

Eventually, Casey hopes to reach out to the woman Nick sexually assaulted, to see if she’d like to participate in a restorative dialogue. But for now, Nick and Casey are starting slow, meeting once a week to talk through the experiences that changed their lives so many years ago.

Recently, at one of their meet-ups, Casey asked Nick a question: are there any acts too extreme for redemption?

“He only paused for a few seconds,” Casey remembers, sitting pensively on her couch, a pair of tortoise-shell glasses perched on her nose. “And he said: ‘I think that is the opportunity where redeemable behavior occurs.’”

The memory makes her smile. “I really haven’t been able to let that go,” she said. “It’s in some of the most extreme and egregious acts of violence that we need to be able to demonstrate that repair is possible.”

https://www.theguardian.com/global/2018/mar/13/restorative-justice-putting-the-needs-of-victims-first

Rape-arations!
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Offline Eddie

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Re: Knarf's Knewz Channel
« Reply #11773 on: March 13, 2018, 05:55:06 AM »
For example, in a 1916 article about Australia, the caption on a photo of two Aboriginal people read: “South Australian Blackfellows: These savages rank lowest in intelligence of all human beings.”

In 1916 we lived in a world where only rich white people even read magazines like National Geographic. And yes, they were extremely racist, sexist, and, generally speaking, attitudes were quite different. Women didn't get the vote until 1920.


National Geographic circa 1916


National Geographic circa 2016

Brave new world.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2018, 05:57:46 AM by Eddie »
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Re: Millennials Hit Hard by Opioids
« Reply #11774 on: March 13, 2018, 06:08:02 AM »
The death rate continues to rise sharply among young adults.


Between 2015 and 2016, the death rate for people ages 25 to 34 rose by more than 10 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



To some people seeking their next high, the fact their drug of choice is potentially fatal isn't a deterrent; it could be an attraction, Samuels says. "Millennials feel that they can live forever. They have no concept of dying because they are young," he says. "When I was a kid using heroin, I never thought I would ever die. In fact when there was a brand of heroin on the street that was killing people, we wanted that brand because it meant it was really, really good. Our rationale was, 'Well, the person who overdosed and died just didn’t know what they were doing.' And that's what [some] millennials think today."

Samuels, 65, grew up in New York state and was using drugs and alcohol regularly by the time he was 14. He started using heroin at age 16 and three years later was arrested for possession of cocaine and heroin. A judge gave him the choice of going to a treatment center or prison for four years, and he chose rehabilitation. Samuels kept drinking and using drugs for more than a decade after his first stint in rehab, and finally stopped for good after his father died suddenly of a heart attack in 1984. He eventually started a treatment center and has remained sober.

Helping people struggling with addiction get better is immensely rewarding, Samuels says. But most people with substance abuse disorder never get treatment, research shows. In 2016, an estimated 21 million people age 12 or older in the U.S. needed substance misuse treatment, but only 2.1 million people got it, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. That represents about 11 percent of those who needed treatment. These figures include people who needed treatment for drugs other than opioids as well as people who needed help for misuses of alcohol. The survey also found that 93 percent of young adults ages 18 to 25 who needed substance misuse treatment did not get it.



Many people, including large numbers of millennials, simply don't have access to substance abuse treatment because they don’t have health insurance, says Edward "Eddie" Haaz, a certified addictions specialist and licensed counselor in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He's also a board member with the Livengrin Foundation, a nonprofit substance abuse treatment center in Bensalem, Pennsylvania.

Treatment for substance misuse can be pricey. Haaz notes. Stays in rehab centers typically range from a few thousand dollars per month to more than tens of thousands of dollars for every 30 days. A stay at a "meat and potatoes" facility without "steam rooms, massage therapists or culinary experts" will cost a minimum of about $450 a day, Haaz says. Some high-end programs charge $50,000 to $75,000 a month. "Unless a person is gainfully employed in a job with health benefits, the access to treatment is challenging at best," Haaz says.

Of course, there's no guarantee that treatment will work for everyone, as Clare Amoruso of Cabin John, Maryland, would attest. Amoruso is a member of Surviving Our Ultimate Loss, or SOUL, a support group for mothers who have lost a child to an opiate overdose. In December, 2016, her son, Nicholas, died of a heroin overdose at age 37.

"His problems started in high school, when he started smoking marijuana," she says. Nicholas transferred to a high school for kids with substance misuse disorder, a facility where recovery from drug addiction and alcoholism was a part of the curriculum, with support group meetings and drug testing, she says. Nicholas regularly attended support group meetings and stopped using drugs for a couple of years. But by the time he graduated with honors with a degree in finance from the University of Maryland, he'd stopped going to meetings and had resumed using marijuana, and at about age 27 started using heroin.

Over the years, Nicholas did stints at five or six rehab facilities, but he couldn't stay away from drugs. In 2016, Nicholas moved in with his parents after he had back surgery and took a leave of absence from his job. One morning about two weeks before Christmas his mom found his body. "I think the cravings were just overpowering," Amoruso says.

https://health.usnews.com/wellness/family/articles/2018-03-12/millennials-hit-hard-by-opioids?src=usn_tw

"His problems started in high school, when he started smoking marijuana," she says. Nicholas transferred to a high school for kids with substance misuse disorder, a facility where recovery from drug addiction and alcoholism was a part of the curriculum, with support group meetings and drug testing, she says.

So...was it pot? Or was it being busted for pot by his parents ?  Or was it the "tough love"  and being dumped into rehab and alterna-school.

I happened to know two very privileged kids who OD'ed and died.

 I'll always think that it was the push into AA and rehab and "special schools" that had as much to do with their eventual early deaths as it was pot, or even alcohol, which is always a factor but almost never mentioned. This is how rich parents deal with their kid's minor experimentation. They throw the big guns at it, which is stupid and doesn't work.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.