Olga Wolstenholme's picture

The Reason I Hate Psychics

My Mom used to be a fan of psychics, I remember her dragging me along to a couple of readings where I invariably spend most of my time bored as hell waiting in an adjacent room. Sometimes, she would bring along my white and red Fisher Price tape recorder so she could painstakingly analyze every detail with one of her friends at a later date. She wasn’t what I would call a true believer, but she did enjoy her own little slice of the mystery.

I never partook in the fun, perhaps the uncertainty (of life) I faced as a kid wasn’t as frightening as the uncertainty of adulthood, but when I was sixteen my mother brought me to have my cards read. Now, the strange part was that the psychic in question also happened the be the janitor of the elementary school I went to from grade 5 to 6. He was a tall skinny man with long black hair, come to think of it he kind of looked like Alice Cooper, but the most striking feature of his whole persona was the van he drove to school. It was one of those vans, popular in the eighties, not meant for a family, but for fun times. Pitch black, it had one tear drop shaped window on the side near the rear and it also featured some kind of purple airbrushed design. Now, the reason it was so remarkable was the fact that he washed and buffed that piece of metal every single day during lunch hour. It shone like black ice.

It was a odd feeling to be standing in his house, years later, waiting to have my fortune told. I can’t tell you if any of the things he told me came true, because I can’t recall any of them, but what I do remember, vividly, is that he began his reading by looking into my past and told me I had been raped. You would think that a 16 year old girl would remember such an event and when I told him he was wrong, he plainly assured me that no matter what I had to say on the matter I had indeed been raped.

arvan's picture

Prison Guards Make Money Selling Rape in DRC

Former inmate describes how corrupt jail staff collude in sexual exploitation of female convicts.

By Heritier Maila in Lubumbashi (AR No 235, 5-Nov-09)

A former inmate of Kasapa central prison in Lubumbashi has claimed that rape and sexual abuse of female prisoners is widespread, leading to many women becoming pregnant and giving birth while in jail.

Masudi Sangwa, who spent nearly five years in Kasapa for embezzlement and assault, said that male inmates often pay prison guards to provide them a female prisoner with whom they can have sex. The women frequently do not have a say in the matter, he said.

Towards the end of his time there, Masudi was made head of his prison unit, a role that entailed taking care of other inmates and their belongings, and helping the guards to maintain discipline.

Sangwa says that this gave him a perspective on prison life not usually available to other inmates, and allowed him to see how corruption and poor prison management play a role in the sexual exploitation of female prisoners.

As a unit head, Sangwa explained that he was able to stay outside the prison buildings later than the other prisoners, who had to be returned to their cells by 5.30 pm.

“It is during these night hours that many things happen outside,” he said. “Unit heads meet with guards from 7 pm in the waiting room of the prison hospital, which is turned into a nightclub.  Lutuku (traditional alcohol) is widely served.”

arvan's picture

The Reverend Raped Me

By Ngala Killian Chimtom

YAOUNDE, Nov 4 (IPS) - A countrywide survey of the incidence of rape in Cameroon has returned disturbing statistics: 20 percent of the nearly 38,000 women surveyed reported having been raped; another 14 percent said they had escaped a rape attempt.

Echoing findings elsewhere in the world, the survey, carried out in all ten of Cameroon's regions by the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and Cameroon's National Association of Aunties - RENATA, as it's known, is an organisation of more than 10,000 teenaged mothers working against sexual violence - found most rapes were committed by people known to the victims.

"The rapists are family members, including fathers, or school teachers, pastors and priests, classmates, colleagues, friends and neighbours," Dr Flavien Tiokou Ndonko, one of the researchers, told IPS. Family members were reported to be the assailants in 18 percent of cases. Nearly a quarter of those raped became pregnant as a result.

"These statistics cannot in any way show the full extent of rape in the country, because most victims never tell anyone they have been raped," he added.

LaPrincipessa's picture

From Corporations to the Street: How Political Rhetoric on Rape Fuels Sexual Violence on The Street

CBS News with the disturbing report: 15 year old girl gang raped by up to 20 people after homecoming dance.

Let that sink in for a moment. Gang Raped by 20 People.

Earlier this year, Senator Al Franken from Minnesota introduced an amendment, that prohibits companies to contract with the US government if they barr their employees from obtaining legal justice in the event they are raped.   The amendment passed, however  30 Republican men decided this wasn't a government issues, and voted no.  From this bitter sweet development, came a deluge of commentary from inside the beltway that used some of the most explicit and hurtful rhetoric, often times blaming the victim of rape and attempting to remove blame from the Senators who voted no by rationalizing some sort of corporate structure which allows rape, because the government should stay out of the personal lives of said corporation's employees.

LaPrincipessa's picture

Insurance Company to Woman: You Were Raped? DENIED


There are some things that I can’t describe; so upsetting no words can convey how I feel. Now is one of those times.  A story on Huffingtonpost.com highlights the practice of insurance companies that deny coverage for rape victims who are prescribed anti-HIV medication to prevent contracting the disease.  According to the health insurance provider, using anti-HIV medication indicates an unhealthy patient, a patient with too many health risks, a patient with a risk laden lifestyle.  Even after the assault was documented within the appeal process, the insurance company still felt the patient was too risky, and she was denied.  Now with a documented appeal and subsequent denial, for lack of better words, this woman is totally fucked.

arvan's picture

Sexual Violence as Weapon of War

By Helda Martínez

BOGOTA, Oct 21 (IPS) - Sexual violence is used as a weapon of war in Colombia by all parties in the country’s longstanding armed conflict, and its main victims are women and girls, states a report recently released by Intermón Oxfam, backing up claims made repeatedly by national and international human rights groups.

At the launch of the report, released simultaneously in Bogota and Madrid, Paula San Pedro of Intermón Oxfam – the Spanish branch of the relief and development organisation Oxfam International - stressed that all of the armed groups in Colombia, including government security forces, far-right paramilitary forces and leftist guerrilla rebels, use sexual violence as a weapon of war, "to the extent that it has become an integral part of the conflict."

The report, "Sexual Violence in Colombia: A Weapon of War", has served to shine light on an issue that has been repeatedly raised over the past two decades by women’s, human rights, Afro-Colombian and peasant farmers' organisations, as well as some female legislators, yet has been largely ignored by both the government and the general public.

arvan's picture

In the aftermath of rape

DAKAR, 9 October 2009 (IRIN) - At an 8 October gathering of Guinean women beaten or raped during the recent military attack on demonstrators, all wept as one young woman presented torn clothes soldiers had ripped off of her.

“We all collapsed in tears. It is unspeakably painful what happened here in Guinea,” Aïssata Daffe of the Union des Forces Républicaines political party told IRIN.

The gathering was part of an ongoing effort by local NGOs and civil society organizations to collect information about the sexual violence during the 28 September military crackdown in order to appeal for assistance and justice.

NGOs are still trying to determine how many women and girls were raped. For now 33 cases have been documented, according to local and international aid agencies.

arvan's picture

Canada's Anti-Prostitution Laws Being Challenged

Criminalization of prostitution in Canada has pushed sex workers into the status of 'unknown'.  In that place, they are unprotected by police from murder, rape, torture, beatings and more.  They are unable to access health care whether routine or to treat the violence they endure. 

"Whatever your moral principles, whatever you think of prostitution, whatever you think an “ideal” sex trade would look like or whether there would be one at all, we cannot possibly do worse at protecting vulnerable women than we are now." (National Post)

Robert Pickton has admitted to killing 49 sex workers.  How many more - we don't know.  He was neither the first nor the last person to prey violently on sex workers in Canada under the benefit of the laws which so drastically criminalize sex workers - and probably not even the worst.

arvan's picture

Girl gets a year in jail, 100 lashes for adultery

JEDDAH – A 23-year-old unmarried woman was awarded one-year prison term and 100 lashes for committing adultery and trying to abort the resultant fetus.

The District Court in Jeddah pronounced the verdict on Saturday after the girl confessed that she had a forced sexual intercourse with a man who had offered her a ride. The man, the girl confessed, took her to a rest house, east of Jeddah, where he and four of friends assaulted her all night long.

The girl claimed that she became pregnant soon after and went to King Fahd Hospital for Armed Forces in an attempt to carry out an abortion. She was eight weeks’ pregnant then, the hospital confirmed.

According to the ruling, the woman will be sent to a jail outside Jeddah to spend her time and will be lashed after delivery of her baby who will take the mother’s last name.

arvan's picture

War, Tradition Feeds Sexual Violence Against Women

Tribal customs and the legacy of conflict put women at risk of violence and abuse.

By Heritier Maila in Lubumbashi (IPR)

Simone Maganga still feels deep shame when she recalls how, after her husband died, she was obliged to have sex with his younger brother in order to lay the spirit of the deceased to rest.

“In order to remove your husband's dead body from your body, you must sleep with his little brother,” said Maganga, a member of the Hemba tribe in the south-east of the country.  “Otherwise, you are told, you will start to see your husband wherever you go. Out of fear, we accept, but it is a humiliation that is difficult to forget.”

Maganga found the ordeal particularly difficult to cope with because her husband's brother is roughly the same age as her own son. She also suffered other hardships, such as not washing for 40 days and having very little to eat.

“The food you get depends on the goodwill of your husband’s family,” she explained. “Sometimes, I had to spend two or three days without food.”

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