Legislation and Advocacy: Changing Tolerance Levels of Sexual Assault



Five minutes… That’s how long the rape scene lasts  in the movie, “The Accused “, and 90 percent of that sequence is focused not on the victim but on the perpetrators — the three men gang-raping Sarah Tobias (Jodie Foster) and the assortment of other men cheering them on in the bar.

The Accused “was based tenuously on the real-life rape of Cheryl Araujo in New Bedford, Massachusetts back in 1983, a case that didn’t, unfortunately, establish a precedent for criminalizing the behavior of whooping onlookers as the film suggests, but did provide the template for the “blaming the victim” strategy that has since been employed by many a unscrupulous defense attorney.

The reality is: We don’t like torture. But we love punishment. And in five minutes at the end of the film, “The Accused “gave us all the reason we needed to want to see those sons of bitches suffer. It’s just too bad all they got was a Class B felony and probably a six-month suspended sentence. [Excerpts from: http://www.pajiba.com/think_pieces/the-double-standard-of-sexual-violence-the-accused-and-our-relationship-with-onscreen-violence.php]

Such is the case…even in 2013.  Where does it end? Or ….more to the point, where SHOULD it begin in shaping the minds and souls of children? We MUST teach that respect; tolerance for all humane cultures, thoughts, words and actions is the ONLY standard. We MUST teach that a person’s body -their CHALICE is sacred and  one that we CANNOT drink from… without their explicit, clear permission!

How do we teach?  By example, by intervention, by a good moral upbringing… and finally by law if we have not internalized… to keep the wretched souls on the straight and narrow…

Ladyjustice and Delilah delved into such topics once again with Anna Doroghazi, Director of Public Policy and Communications at Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services.  Important legislative and programming updates were the focus of discussion.

            Listen to the Podcast

  • The importance of a radio podcast as “an educator….”
  • Introduction to our guest…
  • A discussion of legislative advocacy and public policy,  “an opportunity to improve systems;”
  • The composition of CONNSACS… direct advocacy of sexual assault survivors and their loved ones…
  • 24-7 State Wide  HOT LINES…. 888-999-5545 – English; 888-568-8332- Spanish with potential to accept out of state calls;
  • Hospital advocates – a divide between legislation and public policy….
  • “We don’t know what we don’t know…” How to gauge lack of services….
  • State wide level services – CT Hospital Associations or Legislators or….
  • 14 Victim Advocates placed in Parole & Probation Units at a post conviction phase…
  • Sex Offender Supervision – What’s it about?
  • Legislative Change – Sexual Assault of the Disabled – the Fourtin Case – National Outrage….
  • “Physical Helplessness” –a  1950-1960’s definition-  Biting, Kicking and Scratching;
  • A big difference between knocking over a bowl of cereal and turning down sex….
  • Criminal statues and “Mental defectiveness;”
  • New Definition – More specific – Can you communicate something that is situationally appropriate or are you able to resist?
  • A discussion of “bending over backwards” in favor of the perpetrator in Ladyjustice’s opinion;
  • HB 6702 “An Act Concerning Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault” … Beyond the technical changes…
  • Eligibility for restraining orders offenders- (40%) who have  “No official relationship “a change…;
  • A discussion about the difference between civil and criminal restraining orders – 17 states have civil restraining orders….
  • Prevention Program –  Men Can Stop Rape” -“Where Do You Stand-Connecticut”  http://www.mencanstoprape.org/;
  • Active bystanders…. What can they do?  Techniques-interventions that can be used;
  • A glorified masculine, aggressive sexual culture….
  • Re-imagining Masculinity- ….A culture and cycle of violence starting with the family circle beginning with children…;
  • Sexual Violence in the Military –  At the human and legislative level;
  • The “raw numbers” regarding sexual assault in the military…;
  • What’s the greatest fear for female soldiers?;
  • The way that the Military responds and underreporting of incidents – A SHOCKING NUMBER!
  • Barriers to reporting sexual violence….
  • A discussion re military protocol; Attempts at Federal change:  Senator Kristen  Gillibrand: The Military Justice Improvement Act:  http://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/gillibrand-statement-on-senate-armed-services-committee-dropping-military-justice-improvement-act-from-national-defense-bill-
  • Ladyjustice asks about the trickle down effect regarding the number of suicides among the military…..  PTSD among female veterans;
  • Documentary “The Invisible War” http://www.invisiblewarmovie.com/;
  • Parting Comments by Anna: Primary Preventions – Owning the Issue of Sexual Violence;
  • The differences in advocacy groups to help the cause.


Questions from the Podcast….

  • What does a public policy person do exactly?
  • What are examples of the duties of advocates within the nine programs at CONNSACS?;
  • What are the most effective ways to forge changes to better the experience for victims?
  • What types of trainings are offered through CONNSACS?
  • At what point in the process and what are the duties of the sexual assault victim advocates?
  • What were the circumstances of “State V. Fourtin” case?
  • How is communication and unwillingness defined according to the Connecticut Courts?
  • How to make the term “physical helplessness” more realistic and protect victims who are disabled and want to have sex?
  • Are the Fourtin case and an earlier case precedent setting nationally?
  • What are the significant legal changes this year for sexual assault survivors in Connecticut?
  • Why is a year long task force needed on restraining orders for sexual assault victims?
  • What are the ramifications of the offender being a landlord or property owner in breaking a lease vs. a victim’s safety?
  • What is the concept of “Men Can Stop Rape?”
  • What is percentage of sexual violence are perpetrated by men?
  • Are men willing to get involved in this campaign?
  • How many instances of reported sexual assaults were tracked in 2012?
  • What’s incest got to do with it?
  • What is the military protocol for disclosure?
  • What was the outcome of the efforts to implement the Military Justice Improvement Act?
  • Military sexual trauma…What are the implications?


The comments expressed on this website or on the broadcasts of Shattered Lives do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of the hosts, producers, or other guests.










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