Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 7.23

Today in history: “On July 23, 1904, according to some accounts, Charles E. Menches conceived the idea of filling a pastry cone with two scoops of ice-cream and thereby invented the ice-cream cone.” But he was only one of a few other vendors at the St. Louis World’s Fair to claim the invention. Enjoy an ice cream cone today in honor of their invention! Pro tip: If you put a mini marshmallow in the bottom of the cone, that prevents the ice cream from leaking out before you’re done.

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Mary

Mary Brock works as an Immunology scientist by day and takes care of a pink-loving princess child by night. She likes cloudy days, crafting, cooking, and Fall weather in New England.

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  1. Per Savannah:

    I am 100% mentally unprepared to deal with things like this. How do all of you do it? How can you read these stories and not freak out and want to do… bad things?

    Years ago – like the late 90’s – the networks decided to start airing what essentially amounts to snuff films as entertainment. Terrible videos of terrible things happening to real people as entertainment. Some horrible scene appeared during a commercial and I realized that you couldn’t just “not watch it” because they show it to you during otherwise innocuos shows. These things disturbed me so much – my inability to reconcile this world with the reality that people actually desire to watch the pain and humiliation of others for their own entertainment – that I got rid of the television.

    As I get older I still can’t reconcile the general lack of empathy people have and the casual way in which people are discarded as nothing more than objects for their temporary entertainment. When I read about Savannah or the harassment of Anita or any of these literally THOUSANDS of terrible things… I just don’t know what to do.

    I mean, I can turn off the television and not participate in the tragedy as entertainment. But you can’t hide from the world. And while you can do your best to live your own life and educate yourself and behave in a manner in line with a progressive attitude, you read these things and just feel so impotent and frustrated.

    Sorry for the rambling.

    1. That story is a bit unclear. It says she “faces charges,” but never actually says that charges have been filed, only that the other attorney asked for them. It appears to be a press release (reported with near-identical language on other news sites), so I suspect her lawyer wrote it as a savvy attempt to pressure the judge into not subjecting her to contempt charges. After all the media attention, she (the judge is a woman, btw) would be wise not to.

      Anyway, from what I understand of the First Amendment, I would expect contempt charges for speaking about your own experiences on a matter of public concern would be unconstitutional.

      Meanwhile, I would be skeptical of an account apparently coming from one party’s lawyer. If accurate, it is obviously terrible, but lawyers are specifically trained to frame stories in ways that make them compelling. We don’t actually know what happened or what the judge ordered.

      1. Meanwhile, I would be skeptical of an account apparently coming from one party’s lawyer. If accurate, it is obviously terrible, but lawyers are specifically trained to frame stories in ways that make them compelling. We don’t actually know what happened or what the judge ordered.

        Yeah but is that WRONG? Kudos to the lawyer to bringing this up and causing outrage. The lawyer is helping to empower her/his client.

        1. No, strategically I’d say the attorney’s move (assuming it was the attorney who issued the press release) was actually a very smart and creative way of protecting his/her client. Like I said, the judge will find herself in hot water if she sanctions Ms. Dietrich.

  2. I am usually a lurker and content to eave the commenting to others, but I feel like a couple of important points were left out of that last story. Yes, the victim of sexual assault has a first amendment right to speak out about her experience, but the problem is that juveniles have a constitutional right to privacy and are, by law, considered to have a diminished capacity. The age varies from state to state, and in most states these guys would have no such protection after age 16. Most states also have victim’s rights statutes that prevent a prosecutor from agreeing to any plea or bond reduction without talking to the victim first. I don’t know much about Ohio criminal or juvenile law but it seems to me that there is a lot about her case that we do not know and cannot know because the proceeding is closed.

    What she could have done is either approached the court to modify the gag order or hired her own attorney to privately prosecute the matter and/or speak out about the deficiencies of the victim’s rights protections in Ohio. If she chooses to ignore a court order she really cannot be shocked that she ends up in legal trouble – however *morally* justified her outrage may be. As an evil defense attorney myself I think it is important to understand the context of what happened to her and how the system can be improved rather than just knee-jerk blaming the judges and attorneys involved.

    1. What she could have done is either approached the court to modify the gag order or hired her own attorney to privately prosecute the matter and/or speak out about the deficiencies of the victim’s rights protections in Ohio. I

      Bah, this attorney-think you have is sometimes what makes getting justice hard. I mean why would you think that she would think of the approaches above? Does she have a law degree? Or is she some 16 year old who’s severely hurting from a sexual assault?

      You law folk need a little context outside your own world sometimes.

      As an evil defense attorney myself I think it is important to understand the context of what happened to her and how the system can be improved rather than just knee-jerk blaming the judges and attorneys involved.

      What you said == silence the girl and let the issue die in bureaucratic debate. Again, your law tunnel vision is speaking there.

      No, if anything, “demonizing” the boy and his attorney’s publicly was the right thing to do because now the judge (if she wants to be elected again) would be unwise to ask for a contempt order and she probably will come out unscathed. So yeah, no offense, but I think that the civil disobedience from the victim here was a good thing because she’s now publicly shown that the system needs to be improved.

      1. So the question you’re avoiding is are underage people fully responsible for their actions? Should society have a second set of milder punishments for minors?

        I would say yes. Children do no have the rational capacity that adults do, and it seems to me (I don’t have research to back this up) that it is significantly more likely that children can be rehabilitated from whatever caused their criminal activity in the first place.

        The act of sexual assault is no less heinous for having been performed by a minor. That young woman’s physical and emotional turmoil are real and profound, and hopefully someday those boys come to understand what they inflicted on her. However the perpetrators themselves are less heinous for being underage and therefore not as responsible for their actions as adults, and having a greater potential to rejoin society.

        That’s why there are separate juvenile punishments with a greater degree of privacy for the convicted. If this is not well-founded, then these laws should be replealed.

        If those laws are well-founded, then she has done society a disservice to further her own sense of justice: She has reduced the chances that those boys will be able to be fully-participating members of society. Doing so does not undo the fact that they sexually assaulted her, and I am skeptical (though I do not rule out) that this will significantly improve her well-being.

        I may grudgingle agree that if the judiciary is so corrupt and biased that the judge does not deserve the benefit of the doubt in enshrining the plea bargain, that such vigilanteism would be appropriate, but as a case taken in isolation, I don’t think there is a basis for that.

        All that said, I think any prosecution against her should be undertaken with great sensitivity and consideration for the incredible trauma she has experienced. I think she should understand why what she did was wrong, but she should not be punished significantly for feelings which I’m sure anyone would find very difficult to control.

        1. Wow, 7 paragraphs of victim blaming and rapist defending. This paragraph is especially vile.

          she has done society a disservice to further her own sense of justice: She has reduced the chances that those boys will be able to be fully-participating members of society. Doing so does not undo the fact that they sexually assaulted her, and I am skeptical (though I do not rule out) that this will significantly improve her well-being.

          So there’s the statement that
          1. These poor boys will have the trauma and stigma of being rapists for the rest of their lives now despite the fact that the girl will have the same.
          2. Speaking out against it doesn’t help her heal.

          If you don’t see what’s wrong with that, then you really need some education.

          1. Sure there should be, but not allowing the victim to speak their real names should not be one of them. Underage girls who get raped should not be denied the right to speak up just because their attackers were underage.

    2. Also, note your approach of picking apart what the victim did wrong. It’s what society does, pick-apart the little details of what the victim did and it’s what makes being a victim so hard.

      Nobody here really said anything about focusing on how wrong the boys were to fucking RAPE her and post the pictures online. And that maybe they don’t deserve those protections even if they’re minors.

      1. With respect to the victim, I’m not picking anything apart. I just think that there are so much she could have done without using the vic.’s names, which she was explicitly ordered not to do. You don’t need a law degree to know that if a judge orders you not to do something, you aren’t allowed to do it. I’m not blaming her for her speech, and personally I doubt she will actually be held in contempt because she is in such a sympathetic position. As banyan pointed out, though, the story is very one-sided and there are HUGE questions that can’t be answered because EVERYONE is under a gag order. I just think it is a bad idea to take someone’s word for what happened in a proceeding that we cannot verify.

        1. I just think it is a bad idea to take someone’s word for what happened in a proceeding that we cannot verify.

          This very quote is why you need to think outside of your legal-ese way of thinking.

          Because this exact quote puts the full burden on the victim to prove their abuse and it’s why victims don’t speak out. So if you have anything to do with assault or sexual assault cases in your defense career, you personally might want to think hard about whether or not you’re harming society.

          I just think that there are so much she could have done without using the vic.’s names, which she was explicitly ordered not to do.

          Translation: “Keep your mouth SHUT like you were told to girl”

        2. Sometimes change in unjust laws or proceedures have to come from people standing up and say, “No, this is not right,” in defiance of the existing statutes.

          Fortunately, the motion to censure her has been withdrawn.

          1. Sometimes change in unjust laws or proceedures have to come from people standing up and say, “No, this is not right,” in defiance of the existing statutes.

            Exactly, sometimes you have to tell the law to FUCK OFF and practice civil disobedience before you get justice.

            Congrats to Ms. Dietrich for speaking out against her rapists and for telling the court to go fuck themselves.

        3. Why do people like you always think utilizing lawyers and the legal system is both the best AND easiest thing to do?? Good lord. She’s a 16 year old girl who was raped and this shit is not free.

          dr. dr. professor is right: You really need a fucking reality check. Step out of your office for a moment and interact with people outside of the legal system. Jesus.

      2. See, this is why I think the press release was written by a lawyer. Nowhere does it actually say that she was raped or that the pictures were posted online, but it’s written to give that impression.

        We have too little information to really know, but if I were to guess, I would say that probably the boys were young teenagers (the fact that their ages are omitted suggests to me that it would result in sympathy for them), and that they may have been intoxicated, and that the judge and prosecutors felt that they could impose a suitable punishment that would effectively communicate to them the gravity of what they had done without ruining their futures by publicizing everything. We don’t know what punishment they were actually going to be subject to.

        All that said, I do think the victim has every right to publicize this if she wants to. I don’t have enough information to say whether it’s right for her to do so, but if she felt it was right I’m not going to condemn her for it, and she should absolutely not be subject to a legal penalty for it.

        1. “without ruining their futures by publicizing everything.”

          Although, the victim’s future has already been ruined to the extent that she has already been avoiding people because of what happened and to the extent that she has or develops any symptoms of trauma.

          1. So when a young person ruins someone’s future, then their future must be ruined in return? If a young person kills someone, should they be put to death? Even our conservative Supreme Court agrees that such a sentence would be cruel and unusual.

            Sometimes we have to recognize that people do horrible things, but we must learn to do justice rather than seek revenge, especially when the perpetrator is underage.

    3. It appears clear to me that the fault rests with the prosecutor who was likely the one who wrote the agreed guilty plea and disposition that contained the gag order the judge signed. Judges rarely sign what they have written, as you know it’s usually what the defense or prosecutor has written and the parties have agreed to. The problem here is that the prosecutor appears to have failed to consult with the victim and her family; and even if not required it was a failure. And shame on the judge who signed the order unless she was compelled by state law to accept the whole deal in one big choking chunk.

  3. “You don’t need a law degree to know that if a judge orders you not to do something, you aren’t allowed to do it.”

    You also don’t need a law degree to know that a judge is a fallible human and their opinion may be 100% in conflict with morality. I sure hope she has enough money to be able to afford “justice.”

    1. I sure hope she has enough money to be able to afford “justice.”

      Exactly, I don’t think lawyers realize that when you “hire your attorney” you bleed out THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS

      I mean listen to how casually Margaret says: She could’ve hired her own attorney to privately prosecute the matter and/or speak out about the deficiencies of the victim’s rights protections in Ohio. as if people just have thousands to throw at something like that. I mean what if the victim came from a really poor family. Whoops, as Ezekiel said, no justice for them!

      1. This situation reminds me of something a district attorney of my acquaintance said: The law isn’t about what’s right. The law is about who’s in charge.

        Admittedly that’s a bit facile and an oversimplification, but it does point to a larger truth.

  4. Something I have never really understood about plea bargins: The whole point of a plea bargin is to plead guilty to something less than what you actually did–otherwise it isn’t a bargin. But how does this affect the legal standing of the facts of the case? In particular, rapists will try to swing a deal where they can plead guilty to a crime that doesn’t have the word “rape” in it, or lesser sex offenders will try for a plea that keeps them off of the sex offender registry. But supposed the actions of these perpetrators become relevant to a later case? If someone who squirmed out of a rape charge thanks to a plea bargin rapes again, can the first victim testify as to the rapist’s MO or pattern of behavior, or will the court disallow that testimony because according to the plea bargin, those events did not occur?

  5. It’s impossible for a victim to ruin a rapist’s reputation. The rapist does that well enough on their own by raping someone. It is never the responsibility of the victim to keep silent to protect a rapist from the consequences of their own bad actions. If a rapist’s reputation does get ruined, it is because they raped somebody.

    Nobody ever makes such a ridiculous appeal for other crimes. Oh, that man mugged me? Well, I don’t think I should go to the police because it would ruin the poor boy’s reputation. Murder? Better keep it quiet so you don’t ruin someone’s whole life.

  6. You know what’s disturbing to me here? It’s that I’ve read this article on many sites including sites where ignorance and bigotry often runs wild like Fox News and I’ve seen more support for the rape victim’s decision there than I’ve seen here on Skepchick, the skeptical feminist ground zero.

    Thus, is it any question that sexism is alive and thriving in skeptic/atheist community? I think it’s clear cut that it is.

    1. I don’t even know what people’s problem is anymore. Fuck the victim. Protect the rapists.
      It’s despicable to be so blindly loyal to the law that you’re willing to defend something so obviously unethical and harmful.
      I guess now that a judge has decided it’s okay, it’s okay? Before, it was not okay? What’s logic at work here? The sort of logic that needs to find a way to hurt women while protecting men, I guess.

      Those poor, poor boys! One little rape, and people treat you like a dangerous criminal! So unfair! They might never get over the trauma of raping someone! Really, they’re the true victims in all this.

  7. Is it actually a possibility that she might go to jail? I couldn’t in good conscience send anybody to jail or prison in my state. I’m not sure what to make of Kentucky; On the one hand they moved 400 female inmates out of a prison because of guard on inmate sexual assault, but on the other hand, at least they did that.

  8. I find some of the responses here frustrating. A couple people suggested that maybe we shouldn’t hatefuck a judge because maybe she just tried to find a compassionate solution to a horrible problem, and accusations flow of defending rape.

    Is it absolutely unthinkable that a person could do something horrible when they’re very young and maybe destroying their lives forever would not be the best solution? Is compassion so disgusting when compared to the intoxication of revenge?

    No one has suggested for a second that the two boys who assaulted Ms. Dietrich should get away without a very severe punishment. Some have merely suggested that maybe destroying their lives forever may be a bit extreme, and they are treated like they want all victims to just shut up and not report their crimes. Isn’t there something between the extremes of letting people off free and committing them to being eaten by a Sarlacc?

    The lack of any nuance is a bit frustrating. That’s all.

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