Submitted by robert shetterly on 7 February 2017 - 12:00am
This was not a protest. It was a clarification. A realignment.
It was not an aggrieved victim struggling to have her lonely voice heard as she implores power to hear truth.
It was power speaking to power. Legitimate power speaking to illegitimate power.
It was a global, universal tweet speaking to an arrogant twit.
The phoenix shaking off the ashes.
It was liberation speaking to domination. Diversity speaking to white patriarchy.
The heart of freedom speaking to the heel of oppression. Right to wrong.
When I watched footage of the hundreds of marches in cities and towns all across America and then discovered that there were masses of people in the streets in other countries, it was clear something significant was happening. The deadly gloom of despair was lifted by the joy of millions of colorful, exuberant, powerful people. The point was tipping. This was not like the massive protests against the lies of the Bush administration in 2003 which propelled us into the Iraq invasion. Consciousness wasn’t raised then in enough people. People now realize an arrogant demagogue surrounded by a covey of ego-bloated generals, billionaire bankers and smug CEOs full of fear-mongering and racism, sexism and war-profiteering, science denial and nature destruction is not the way forward. This was a clarification. A re-set. Howard Zinn said our problem is not civil disobedience, it’s civil obedience. This was the exhilarating freedom of disobedience.
Obedience is uniformity; disobedience is a declaration of new identity. This was the people of the world speaking not so much to power as to each other. We’re in charge. We can shape the future we want, not be prey to what they want. Let’s practice respect. Let’s try love. Let’s embrace peace. Let’s insist on justice. Let’s honor the reality of our place in nature. Let’s build an economy of decency rather than disaster. Let’s base diplomacy on the common good.
As Trump was pathetically obsessed with the size of his inauguration crowd, the world passed him by. On his first day in office, the world passed him by! He’s already an anachronism. Dangerous, but an anachronism. The power has shifted.
Trump is the rock in the river from which we can leap to the other side.
Thank you, women.
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ANNAPOLIS — For several hours on Tuesday, state legislators in the House Judiciary Committee listened to sometimes excruciating testimony on various pieces of proposed legislation dealing with sexual assault. Then on Thursday, the committee heard more.
In fact, Maryland lawmakers have filed more than 40 bills this year that deal in some way with sexual offenses — ranging from processing evidence in child pornography cases to requiring local governments to audit the number of reportedly unfounded sexual assault cases.
But three bills in particular would fundamentally reshape the way Maryland deals with these crimes, meaning Washington County law enforcement and prosecutors might have to alter their me
Proof of resistance
On Thursday, the Maryland Senate unanimously approved legislation to remove a requirement that prosecutors show evidence that a victim physically resisted a sexual assault in order to prove a crime was committed. A companion bill was one of the 12 heard in the House Judiciary Committee last week.
The House bill's lead sponsor, Del. Kathleen Dumais, D-Montgomery, noted that "one of the things we often talk about when we're talking to young women, particularly at colleges or high school, is that if you are in one of these situations, we actually tell them not to resist if they are concerned about further physical injury or death. We tell them not to resist. … But if it is even a question in a law enforcement officer's mind, that in fact if you didn't resist it's not rape or it's not a sexual assault, we need to make it clear on our statute."
Lisae C. Jordan, executive director of the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, was blunt.
"Victims of sexual assault should never be required to physically resist the attack," she said.
During a recent review of 124 Baltimore County rape cases that were ruled "unfounded," Jordan said, there was "case after case after case of women saying, 'No, please stop,' crying, saying, 'Don't do that,' saying, 'Stop.' One woman who had vomited and then felt a little bit better, so the perpetrator started to sexually assault her, and she cried and said, 'Stop.' And the officer said to that victim — to all of these victims — 'Did ya hit him? Did ya kick him? What did you do to fight back?'
"And when she said, 'No, I didn't hit him or kick him,' or fight back physically, the officer said, 'Well, ma'am, Maryland's rape law doesn't cover this situation. You were not raped.'
A third of these cases involved this type of scenario, Jordan said.
"We don’t ask a robbery victim if they they resisted — 'Did you push the gun away? Did you tell him that he couldn't rob you?'" added Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger. "We never ask that of any other victim in the state of Maryland … except in the area of sexual assault."
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