Category Archives: Domestic terrorism

Blaming the Victims, Yet Again

The most recently convicted gang of torturers


In England, this time in the golden academic city of Oxford, the site of so many triumphs at its renowned university and by the fictional detective Endeavor Morse, where the gentle Isis winds its watery way among overhanging trees, a fourth gang of adult men has been convicted for running a torture ring that targeted girls as young as 11. This time, the men numbered seven.


All the men, in all the convicted gangs, were Muslim, and most were of Pakistani ancestry.


All the girls were white.


Of course, organized rape and torture (besides being raped by multiple men, the girls were beaten, bitten, and burned, as well as forced to ingest drugs that could have killed them) is not limited to Muslim men, even in the UK. Yet this targeting of victims by their racial characteristics is too startling to ignore.


The criminals did not simply brutalize their victims by themselves. They also offered them – for a fee – to other Muslim men across the UK. Using cellphones and computers, they drew in male customers from many miles distant, men who were happy to pay a fee that allowed them to torture girls younger than their own children, girls too young to give willing consent, who were kept drugged and drunk.


The gang members had, of course, groomed the girls beforehand. They made themselves seem fun, hip. They used nicknames, so the girls never knew their real names.


The girls’ parents, mad with worry, pleaded for help from social services, which rarely, weakly, responded. Something about the girls being “tearaways”. Something about cultural sensitivity. Something that was not help, that made the continuing torture officially unnoticed.


Now, if my daughter left the house at night and returned bruised and bitten, I would not simply wash her up and send her to school. I would assume that animals had brutalized her, and we would be off to the police instantly (before washing, so they could check for DNA samples, even if at the time I had no idea she’d been raped).


That’s what these parents should have done, and social services should have been on high alert at the repeated victimization they were told of. Plus, the police should have notified all parents of the gang of men targeting little English girls. Because part of the attraction, what drew the gangs’ attention, was the girls’ appearance.


These girls were under sixteen. Their bodies were still immature, their brains were still forming. What we know of brain development is that, from about age 10 to at least age 21 (and possibly four years beyond that), the human brain undergoes enormous change. It literally re-forms itself. While that process goes on, the brain is wholly different from an adult brain, and functions differently, as anyone who has raised adolescents knows.


Children in adolescence can make good choices – sometimes. They can reason through problems – sometimes. Given enough guidance, they can decide between black and white, good and evil. However, their brains are hijacked by stress, pain, drugs, alcohol . . . all of which were present in these cases. Adolescents, like adults, can also be victimized by Stockholm syndrome, identifying with their captors and tormentors.


That’s why every reasonable nation has laws protecting underage children, who are rightly regarded as too young – too unformed-brain – to give consent to sexual activity. That is why sexual activity with them is rightly regarded as rape.


So they cannot be blamed for being victimized.


Yet that is what some of the irresponsible, unprofessional people in social services and the police are doing.


It’s reprehensible.


We all need to get this out in the open, so it can be tackled. In Britain, the Muslim and specifically Pakistani communities must fight rape and torture. Finally, imams in Britain will be preaching against the sexual grooming of children (the executive director of the Islamic Society of Britain recently stated, “I’m not sure the Muslim community’s response has been good enough.” Gee. Ya think?). It’s also time for men to tackle this issue head-on. Bleating about cultural differences is ridiculous. Rapists know what they’re doing. They just don’t want good men to know. Men of goodness, who would never rape, need to realize that they know rapists: they’re their colleagues, neighbors, friends, brothers. Just because you’ve never heard them mention rape doesn’t mean they haven’t done it. (In this recent musing, a writer believes he has no adulterers amongst his acquaintance because he himself has stayed faithful. Like they would tell him. He simply hasn’t investigated enough.)


Finally, we need to get real about evil/mental illness/emotional immaturity. Whatever you call it, unchecked, it creates a huge pain footprint. The girls who suffered through this agony which was not their fault (they’re supposed to be protected, remember?) will never be able to retrieve their lost years, their lost innocence. They will never be able to remove the scars, physical and emotional, and if they create any kind of healthy life for themselves, it will be only with the help and empathy of others.


Prevent this horror from happening again. Imprison the criminals, forever. Sack the incompetent, uncaring police officers and social service workers on every level of their hierarchies.


And stop blaming the victims.


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Filed under Abuse, Assault, Cruelty, Domestic terrorism, England, Gang, Harassment, Law, Misogyny, Pain, Pain footprint, Pakistan, Rape, Rape is torture, Sexual assault, Torture, Trafficking, Violence

First, Domestic Violence, Followed By . . .

The Castro brothers, Ariel in the center


On April 28, right on this blog, I posted an essay on the clues the FBI missed with regard to Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the two Boston Marathon bomber brothers. Tamerlan was the elder brother, the one who died when his younger brother, driving a carjacked vehicle, ran over him.


What I said at that time – less than two weeks ago – was this:


“Life is not a waffle, every square separate and walled-off from every other square. Instead, life is linguini. Each strand touches other strands. People who abuse their spouses are likely to be doing other nasty things that require the same arrogance and rules-breaking. They cheat on income tax, perhaps, or force sex on children or trafficked people. They speed through red lights or embezzle from work or drink too much before getting behind the wheel. Or they decide to make homemade bombs and set them off by remote control behind crowds at the Boston Marathon.”


Or, they kidnap teenagers and young women, imprison them, torture and rape and beat them, withhold food and medical care, dehumanize them, threaten them with death, for a period of years.


Yes, I’m talking about Ariel Castro (perhaps his brothers, as well – so far, they have not been charged), who has been arrested for perpetrating crimes against at least three people in a dungeon in his Cleveland house, while pretending he was a stand-up guy to neighbors, friends and family members.


Instead, he was a torturer, and a self-pitying one who once penned a suicide note indicating it was all his victims’ fault.


The connection between Castro (Cleveland) and Tsarnaev (Boston)?


They were both abusive to women who loved them. They were both guilty of relationship violence – in fact, Castro had even kidnapped his own daughters.


Now, relationship violence by itself is not murder, torture, rape.


Yet it’s a clue. It is an indicator that the people who commit violence against those in relationship with them today are more likely to commit violence against strangers in the future.


That makes sense. They practice violence with spouses and significant others. They’re slapped on the wrist. Told to attend anger management classes. Maybe they spend a minor amount of time incarcerated – less than a year in jail, it turns out, results in more recidivism, more crimes once they get out.


Then, because they enjoy the feeling of power and control, they decide to take it further. They decide they will exert power and control over people they don’t know, sometimes have never seen before.


On April 28, I wrote this:


“Where the FBI and police forces need to look is at the strands they do know, in order to get clues as to strands they have not yet seen. Pay attention to behavior that hurts individuals (in this case, Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s wife) in order to stop it and prevent future harm to groups. It’s the difference between a small pain footprint and one that’s huge, smashing scores of people.


“This is no futuristic, Tom Cruise-ish, ‘Minority Report’ suggestion. This is reliable policing and investigation. It’s paying attention to broken windows in order to prevent bigger crime. Anyone who abuses family members ought to be regarded as a person who might be hiding other crimes and misdemeanors, and is likely to accelerate that behavior much as a runaway car picks up speed downhill.”


Ariel Castro is that kind of person. He accelerated his abusive behavior from assault on his ex-wife (leaving her with wounds and broken bones) to kidnap, rape, torture, abuse that lasted for years.


We don’t need to know the specifics of what someone will do later when we deal with current relationship violence. We just need to look at that violence as a huge red flag indicating the abuser’s system of ethics is broken, and that sooner or later, he will commit more and greater violence.


As I wrote:


“This may be hard for the FBI and police groups to get used to. Officers who abuse their own family members or romantic interests may not want to arrest or investigate someone who ‘just’ hurls insults and furniture, someone who is a domestic terrorist ‘just’ at home. Yet this is exactly what they must do. The same principle governs vaccinations: Impose a little pain now (the MMR jab) in order to prevent more harm later (measles, mumps and rubella, with their host of potential offshoot harms). It’s preventive medicine for the community health as well as that of the abused family members and friends.”


Relationship violence — which is really a form of domestic terrorism — is a red flag to future, larger violence. Police and prosecutors, pay attention!

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Filed under Assault, Castro, Cleveland, Cruelty, Domestic terrorism, Domestic violence, Kidnap, Misogyny, Pain, Pain footprint, Rape, Rape is torture, Relationship violence, Sexual assault, Terrorism, Torture, Tsarnaev, Violence

Making It Harder


For children of a single mother – divorced, widowed, single by choice – who is the most dangerous person in their lives? That’s right, the mother’s boyfriend, partner or new husband.


For women parting from an abusive boyfriend or husband, often for the sake of their children’s safety, who is the most dangerous person?


The same guy. Particularly when he has a firearm. Even when there’s a protective order against him.


A commonsense approach to protective orders would suggest that police would disarm a person who presented a threat severe enough for a court to recognize it. That is what police would naturally do if threats were directed toward serving officers. At them.


Apparently, though, the lives of people who don’t wear a badge are less valuable.


Every month in the US, women are killed by an angry man wielding a gun. He’s not some deranged stranger they’ve never met. He’s the man they used to accept into their body, into their life and the lives of their children. Before, that is, he began his abuse.


Maybe he slapped, molested, raped her children. Perhaps he beat her, strangled her, put poisonous liquids into her coffee. She may have tried several times to leave, but fell into the “oh, baby, I’m sorry” trap. It might be that her religion encouraged her to stay with him, or her extended family. Maybe, deep down, she just didn’t believe she deserved better.


Now she does. She’s no longer willing to protect this maniac, no longer willing to subject her children and herself to the chamber of horrors that is domestic terrorism.


So she applies for a protective order. Sometimes, courts refuse to believe that a man is so abusive to people who are smaller and weaker than he. Shame on them!


Increasingly, courts are willing to believe that a man who seems like an upstanding citizen, a pillar of the community, can in private life turn into a monstrous Mr. Hyde. So they issue the protective order for a term of weeks or months. Distance is spelled out, times are detailed.


Yet they fail to take away from him the means to murder. They let him keep his guns.


He then uses them against his former partner. Often, rather than face prison, he kills himself after he murders. Result: two adults dead, orphaned children in shock and needing love, care, and therapy.


Voice after voice has been raised against this deadly loophole. Yet it remains. Too many angry men, too many with guns.


Consider this: if you were being stalked by a man with murder in mind, who might approach you anywhere – your work, children’s school, mall, church – would you want him to have a gun in his hand?

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Filed under Divorce, Domestic terrorism, Gun control, Mental health, Mental illness, Pain, Pain footprint, Protective order, Relationships, Risk analysis, Violence

The Protection Racket


No one’s claiming they got paid.


It might make more sense if they had taken money under the table. At least then we’d know why, time after time, they allowed a criminal to stay free to commit more offenses against children.


I’m talking about the police officers – dozens? hundreds? – who over decades protected Jimmy Savile, the UK’s most prolific rapist, predator and abuser of children.


The Independent reveals that as early as 1963, police received reports of Savile’s abuse.


“But in each case officers failed to mount competent investigations or to ‘join the dots’ of the evidence held by different forces, allowing him to continue raping and sexually assaulting hundreds of victims.”


In addition, they failed to tell potential witnesses that they were not alone, that others like them existed, which might have given them the strength to testify against Savile. Instead, many felt that as a sole complainant, they would not be able to counter Savile, who was not only adult, but a famous UK entertainer.


In addition, since few rape victims are believed, they knew that Savile’s well-paid lawyers would try to shred them in court.


So Savile was allowed to go on his way to molest and rape even in a children’s hospital.


Now, how many Saviles exist around the world?


How many men are being protected by police officers who have sworn to protect the innocent, not the guilty? Whether they subvert their oath for pay or pride or “there but for the grace of God go I”, the fact is they are allowing pain to continue and multiply. They’re allowing children to be hurt, tortured, and terrorized. They are permitting men to violate the bodily integrity and the mental balance of children.


Abuse doesn’t happen once, then go away. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been demonstrated to reach levels as high in rape survivors as in combat troops at war, and sometimes greater.


Whoever the men in the protection racket are, they are not innocent. It’s not a question of looking the other way or sliding over a slippery slope. What they’re doing is permitting domestic terrorism to flourish. That’s a very large pain footprint.


They’re as guilty as the perpetrator.

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Filed under Abuse, Britain, Cruelty, Domestic terrorism, England, Jimmy Savile, Pain, Pain footprint, Rape, Rape is torture, Sexual assault, Torture

That Fly on the Wall May Save a Child

The current size of micro-drones


We’ve all heard of drones. Not the bee kind, but the type that, remotely controlled like your little brother’s plane, flies over long distances and attacks buildings and people.


There’s even a line of clothing that claims to disguise the wearer from drones. Stealth wear, it’s called.


Drones (and killer robots) are big these days. They’re visible. But drones are getting smaller. And smaller. Soon, very soon, several nations will have micro-drone capabilities, and attacks from the sky will be less obvious. Controlled from hundreds, thousands of miles away, a mass of new drones the size of pigeons will be able to suss out a city or building and sneak up on targets who won’t know what hit them. From the Guardian: “The only thing currently holding this stuff back is battery technology, although they’re reportedly already working on ways to let the flying deathbots leach power from electricity cables to recharge themselves mid-mission.”


You don’t think it will stop there, do you?


Miniaturization indicates that in a few years, micro-drones will be the size of cockroaches, perhaps flies.


At that point, they’ll be used for constant surveillance. For predicting where a suspect is heading, and why, for preventing attacks and crime.


Not solely overseas, silly. Here, too.


You don’t think so? Why not? Why not use technology to uncover and prevent crime?


Convicted sex offenders — who should never have been let out of prison — are currently disarming and removing the tracking devices that were to have prevented them from attacking innocent people. They’re making life hell for their new victims. One may argue whether their crimes deserve lifelong incarceration, but we cannot argue that the system of tracking devices is succeeding. It’s a horrible failure.


Suppose, though, that instead of a device attached to the ankle, each released offender knew he would be followed at all times by devices he would not be able to identify? Everywhere he went, every person he called or saw, everything he did would be filmed and taped. If he went to forbidden places, that would be seen, and he would be re-arrested. If he did anything to warrant re-arrest, it would happen. One can even imagine the tiny mechanical spies armed with spray sedatives to spritz in the offender’s face. Instant incapacity, making arrest much easier.


Think what this would do to parolees who re-offend. They would be stopped.


Parolees who kidnap and terrorize children, who rape and murder? No more.


Wait. It could get better.


If you’re a teacher, you know quite well that some of the children in your classroom are being abused by parents or other adults. Yet making a case is difficult, especially in areas with poorly trained child protection staff. If you could mention your concern, however, if micro-drones could be sent to the child’s house – they would pick up on abuse, and the child would be rescued from torture. Inflicting pain simply out of cruelty is torture.


Police vice squads could assign drones to follow people they suspect are being forced to prostitute themselves, essentially enslaved. Once they see the john or pimp, boom, sedative spray and arrest. Of the men controlling someone else’s body, not the person who has been grossly abused.


The anti-crime possibilities of the new technology are legion. People might even purchase them to protect against crime on the street. Rapes would be fewer if men knew they would be watched by drones somewhere near the person they intended to violate.


Will there be micro-drone abuse? Of course. The ACLU ought to be ratcheting up right now, insisting that law-abiding citizens be protected from intrusion.


Yet many people look law-abiding, who are not. Pillars of the community, supposedly. Quite a bit of crime, of terror, is hidden. Just look at the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal in the UK. Decades of sexual abuse and rape of children, all hidden – except that some people knew, and some suspected, and even more felt a twinge of “ewww” when they were around Savile.


How many children could have been saved from Savile and his friends, if only those adults’ crimes had come to general light? If children in pain could back up their stories of sexual abuse? If the police had photographic evidence? How many people with that pain in their past would still be alive, not dead due to suicide?


Like television, like the internet, like any new technology (even automobiles, originally considered enablers of sin because they gave courting couples license to stray off the front porch and away from chaperoning eyes), micro-drones may lead to wrongdoing.


They could also lead to putting things right, and preventing crime against innocents. They could make it impossible for a jackal to hide himself in sheep’s clothing, to masquerade as pillar of the community or caring parent or ethical human being.


Surely those are worthy aims?

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Filed under Abuse, ACLU, Britain, Cruelty, Domestic terrorism, Guardian, Health, Jimmy Savile, Law, Micro-drone, Misogyny, Pain, Prostitution, Rape, Rape is torture, Spycraft, Stealth, Surveillance

When “Having Sex” Belittles Torture



Let’s be perfectly clear. Children don’t “have sex”.


I’m not talking teenagers. Teenagers have sex, though, when they’re underage, there’s no consent. That’s what makes it statutory rape. When a person through immaturity – via age or disability – has no right to consent to sex, and the law protects that right, the person sexually engaging them is committing rape by legal statute. But if adolescents are both over the age of consent, and there is no force or coercion or drugs or alcohol used to elicit or ignore consent, then, yes, have sex they do.


Nor am I talking adults. Grown-ups sometimes have sex. Sometimes it’s mutually consensual. Sometimes it’s not. When it’s not, as with teens, then it’s rape.


But children cannot have sex, meaning intercourse of any kind. Their bodies are immature. Their brains are immature.


If someone is “having sex” with a child, they’re not having sex. They’re raping and committing torture.


Newspaper and magazine writers (print and internet) haven’t caught on to this. You still read, shamefully, of a man “having sex” with a neighbor’s daughter.


No. He forced sex on her. He raped her. He used his penis as a weapon to torture her.


To “have sex” in those circumstances is to ignore the horrors of what really happened. It’s a mealy-mouth word, a euphemism to avoid calling it what it is.


The Indian woman who was captured and attacked over hours by a group of men on a Mumbai bus was, of course, raped. Since she died, she was also murdered. But in addition, she was tortured. How else explain the agony she must have endured as one man after another forced himself into her? As they bit her all over her skin? As they shoved an iron rod into her, tearing her inner organs and causing the severest infection?


That, people, is torture.


So is the insertion of a penis into a body too immature and unwilling to accommodate it.


We’re used to regarding torture as associated with war or the Spanish Inquisition, or Guantanamo. It’s a method used to extract information – not very efficiently, according to research. That’s not its only use. Many people have through the centuries inflicted repeated pain on their captured enemies, not to acquire information, but just for . . . I suppose they called it fun.


The noun torture, however, exists as a description of behavior, not of purpose. Here are dictionary definitions:


–The act of inflicting excruciating pain, as punishment or revenge, as a means of getting a confession or information, or for sheer cruelty.

–A method of inflicting such pain.

–The pain or suffering caused or undergone.

–Extreme anguish of body or mind; agony.

–A cause of severe pain or anguish.


Where someone is subjected to pain through non-permitted insertion of anything (including an erect penis), that is torture. It doesn’t matter that information is not sought, or that they’re not at war. The purpose is not important. The behavior is criminal.


“Well, I didn’t mean to cause pain.”


You didn’t stop when the person you were hurting screamed, did you? You didn’t stop when they begged you to, you didn’t stop when you saw blood, you didn’t stop when they fainted from the agonies.


You knew they were in pain, and you went ahead.


“The act of inflicting excruciating pain, as punishment or revenge, as a means of getting a confession or information, or for sheer cruelty.” Ignoring others’ pain and going ahead? That is sheer cruelty.


Which leaves a huge pain footprint.


Call it by its true name. It’s not having sex.


It’s torture.

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Filed under Abuse, Cruelty, Domestic terrorism, Feminism, Harassment, Health, India, Law, Misogyny, Morality, Pain, Pain footprint, Rape, Rape is torture, Rapist as parasite, Sexual assault, Torture, Violence, War against women

Is It A Good Time To Be A Girl In India?

Fewer every year


Is 2012 a good time to be young and female in India?


It depends.


This New York Times article says this: “The number of girls in schools has increased. The maternal mortality ratio has dropped. The government has carved out more money for women’s welfare measures in the budget. And for the first time, women outnumbered men in the number of literates added to the country in the last decade.”


Yet the same piece also points out that rape is high, child marriage is on the upswing – with its concomitant surge in domestic violence (in Hinduism, a husband is supposed to be a god, and gods are allowed to beat humans) – and compared to Western nations, as a democracy, India is far behind. This article on the thoughts of male elders in the state of Haryana is alarming. Their idea is to marry girls off early, so that they won’t be raped as single teenagers. Which is rather like saying that to prevent lambs being attacked by groups of jackals, each lamb ought to be housed individually with a sole jackal. The fact that a lamb is just as much at risk from assault by an individual jackal (especially one larger and older than the lamb) is ignored.


So, it depends. Are Indian girls better off than their grandmothers at the same age? Definitely. More of them are being schooled, more are out in public where other people can assure their health and success. The eyes of the world, via the internet and Twitter, have made it possible for Indians of good faith to ensure girls’ nutrition, vaccination, and education.


On the other hand, there are reactionaries who – not unlike their Taliban contemporaries in Afghanistan – deplore the improvement in girls’ lives. It’s no accident that village elders are male. That such a skewed power structure (as the saying goes, women hold up half the sky) can be neither effective nor impartial is swept under the tribal carpet.


And the girls of tomorrow’s India? Will they have it even better than current schoolgirls?


I’m sorry to say, probably not. Not unless India stops the abortion of female fetuses. Not prohibits, but stops.


All over Asia, but particularly in India and China, the number of girls has dropped. Where there is scarcity, often there is value. Supply and demand, yes?


Only, not so with girls and women. Instead of being valued for their rareness, they will be trampled and hidden in order to “protect” them.


Where women and girls are hidden, they are subject to abuse. After all, who will know? If a man’s society affirms that he has the power and the right to inflict pain on people in his family, unless he has very good mental health indeed, he is likely to be the pain-inflictor.


Where there is a huge overpopulation of young males regarded as more deserving of schooling, college, jobs – even food – what happens to their sisters? They lose out. It is not that many years since Indians failed to feed unwanted girls, and in some rural areas that practice of slow infanticide continues. In the future, if sex-selective abortion continues its expanding course, the female child will become a rarity. The few who are born will not find themselves among others like them. Instead, they will be valued for one thing: reproduction. Their lives will be shadowed, isolated, and filled with fear. They are likely to be married off as infants, promised to families of boys, and they may well be subject – due to scarcity – to two or more husbands who will all too often demand their “rights”. That’s already happening in India.


So, are Indian girls today at a good place? Compared to their grandmothers, yes. Compared to their granddaughters, most certainly.


But it should be better than that. India should be looking ahead and planning how to empower these girls, how to assure their continued health, and how to stop sex-selective abortion so that the girls alive today have a chance to right the balance of daughters in a nation with too many young men.

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Filed under Domestic terrorism, Haryana, Health, India, Misogyny, Rape, Rape is torture, Rapist as parasite, Sex-selective abortion, Sexual assault, Yang