A Debate about Campus Rape

Wendy McElroy debates feminist Jessica Valenti at Brown University on the issue of campus rape. Excellent job, Ms. McElroy.

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“My family has been destroyed by family court.”

Originally published at Human Events.

Connecticut gun owner told Guns and Patriots that his civil rights were stripped from him by an anti-gun judicial branch and a soon-to-be ex-wife who is uncomfortable with him owning guns.

“High risk SWAT team rolls in and takes all my guns,” said Edward F. Taupier the respondent in a two-year divorce action that has escalated to an all-out war. “It took two armadillo armored vehicles, 75 officers with weapons drawn, and 45 minutes to raid my house.”

Although he said he posed no risk to the officers, Taupier was thrown to the ground and arrested.

Taupier, who is a former Wall Street chief officer at Citibank, said he has no prior record of arrests or charges – not even a speeding ticket – yet his home was invaded and his guns stolen based on a false allegation made by a person he does not even know, he said.

Linda J. Allard, a West Hartford family law attorney, contacted Superior Court Judge Elizabeth L. Bozzuto, the judge assigned in his divorce proceeding, to discuss a private email she never received directly, he said. “I have never met Linda Allard. I didn’t do anything wrong. I sent an email to seven people that did not include Allard.”

That did not stop the Cromwell police and the judicial marshal, acting outside of a criminal jurisdiction, from having him violently arrested, he said. Allard’s statement to the police, which is missing from evidence, falsely accuses Taupier of threatening Bozzuto in that email, he said. “I never sent any threat to her or anyone.”

After being bailed out of jail, costing his family a total of three-quarters of a million dollars in bond, Taupier said he is assigned to 27 new bail and bond conditions, wears two ankle bracelets, which includes a GPS tracker, and is not permitted to leave the house except for court appearances. This is all despite the fact that the initial risk warrant was determined to be invalid in criminal court, he said.

“I am on 24-7 lockdown. All my freedoms have been denied,” he said. “This happens to people in North Korea or in the Russian Gulag.”

One day after the arrest, his contract with Citigroup as a financial officer was terminated. The job that gave him the opportunity to be at home with his children after school, instead of warehoused in day care, was taken away from him too, he said.

Taupier’s arrest happened just two days after Tanya A. Taupier initiated an ex parteemergency hearing on Aug. 29 in which Bozzuto ordered their two children, aged 9 and 10, be extracted from one elementary school to another elementary school of Mrs. Taupier’s choice, said Taupier.

“I have had 50-50 percent custody of my children for the past nine years,” he said. “I am an active and engaged parent – I love my kids.” Her extreme action is a result of a disagreement concerning the best schooling and after-school environment for their children, he said. “That’s what led to the false arrest.”

In court Taupier’s ex-wife  said she wanted the school transfer to be as unobtrusive to the children as possible, but at the same time she requested a police escort, to extract two children in the middle of a school day, he said. “It not only violated the children’s rights, it terrorized them.”

Mrs. Taupier then filed a full protective order against him, even though there was no family threat, he said. In court, Mrs. Taupier said Taupier’s possession of guns exposes the children to potential, deadly thugs that can hurt them. She makes this claim without any evidence, said Taupier. “In all the 12 years we have lived together there has never been a domestic violence incident.”

Nonetheless, he said his 50-50 percent custody of the children was unilaterally dissolved by Bozzuto. The new judge assigned, because of the long length of this case, Judge Jorge A. Simon, accepted the ex-wife’s demand to cease weekend visitation and limit any visitation to supervised at a court approved location. “My time with my children now consists of two six-minute phone conversations per week.”

All this time, the ex-wife failed to tell the court that out of the 13 guns that were in her possession, eight of them were given to him by her deceased father, he said. “Guns are a hobby for me. I purchase and collect guns to upgrade them,” said Taupier. “I’m an electrical engineer – I have mechanical skills.”

It was the court appointed guardian ad litem, who initiated the gun ban against him without any evidence his hobby was a threat, he said. At the advice of then-counsel, Taupier agreed to temporarily remove the firearms from the home in exchange for time with his children. Time with his children would not be what the GAL proposed and Taupier later retrieved the firearms with the intention of selling his collection to offset legal costs, he said. “I have $50,000 custom made gun work, with enhanced triggers on my own guns.”

Attorneys’ fees, mediation costs and GAL services that are dragging out the divorce, racked up fees in excess of $30,000, he said. “I have no money, no job, and I’m still not divorced.”

The Connecticut Bar Association dismissed a grievance complaint filed by Taupier against the GAL, Margaret Bozek, because he said her actions did not seek the best interest of the children. “The GAL was not doing her job,” he said. Bozek recommended a full summer of revoked parental rights for Taupier. “My children want to see me. I want to see my children. How is separating us in their best interest?”

Family court, a court of equity, is using the children to punish Taupier for his political activism against GAL services, said Taupier. In a criminal jurisdiction Taupier is entitled to a Fernando hearing which would give him the right to be presented with his accuser. Family court circumvented criminal law by issuing a criminal order in a civil court arena, he said. “The risk warrant allowed officials to take custody and employ the SWAT teams.” In the criminal court, the risk warrant was deemed invalid, he said.

For a state known as the “Constitution State” it does not follow the Constitution very well, he said. “There are First, Second, and Fourth Amendment violations – even my right to vote has been taken away.”

Taupier believes his case is not an isolated one, he said.

The entire family court system is embedded with players in a scam designed to soak money from good parents in order to fund a system that is completely broken. “I come from a big Irish, Catholic family. Family is everything to us,” said Taupier. “My family has been destroyed by family court.”

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Woman accused of taking daughter 10 years ago reappears

A woman from Concord, NH, who fled with her 8-year-old daughter a decade ago during a custody dispute, turned herself in Monday to face trial.

Genevieve Kelley of Whitefield disappeared with her daughter, Mary, into Central America in the fall of 2004 after her attempt to prove her ex-husband had harmed the child backfired.

The U.S. Marshals Service investigated numerous tips through the years. Shortly after her daughter turned 18 in February and was no longer subject to the family court, Kelley, 50, made contact. Her lawyer said she wanted to face a jury on her custodial interference charge. She said her daughter is safe.

Police believed Kelley’s ex-husband, Mark Nunes, was unfairly accused. He was never charged with a crime.

Kelley turned herself in Monday in Lancaster, New Hampshire, and was arrested, Deputy U.S. Marshal Jamie Berry said. He said her lawyer and Coos County Attorney John McCormick were arguing bail.

Mark Nunes hasn’t given up hope of being reunited with his daughter and hopes to learn more about her.

“Is she alive? Is she safe?” he said Monday.

It wasn’t immediately known if Mary Nunes was in the courtroom. In an interview last week, Kelley’s lawyer, Alan Rosenfeld, said his client would likely appear on her own first.

“She wants to be vindicated,” Alan Rosenfeld said. “She wants a trial.”

Rosenfeld, a Colorado attorney who specializes in child advocacy and domestic violence cases, had asked prosecutor McCormick twice this year if he would agree to recommend to a judge that Kelley voluntarily return and not be jailed unless she is convicted. He said she would not be a flight risk, but McCormick disagreed, noting she left in the middle of a family court proceeding in 2004.

“She fears there’s a chance she’ll be held, a fear that’s probably well founded,” McCormick had said.

Rosenfeld had said if things didn’t work out, “She’s just going to show up unannounced one day.”

Mary Nunes, presumably, would be a witness at the trial, he said.

“She was old enough to know what was going on,” he said.

Mary was 7 when her father last saw her.

“We are heartbroken that Mary has still not been able to come forward or for Genevieve to tell authorities where she is,” Mary’s father Mark Nunes said in a statement. “We want to say publicly that we as Mary’s family love her, look forward to her coming home and to keep and an open mind as we believe that she has been told falsehoods and misstatements on the events of her youth.”

“I am happy that Genevieve Kelly is in custody and will face justice for these charges, but we will all be the happiest when we know Mary Nunes is safe,” U.S. Marshal David Cargill Jr. said.


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How obsessing about bad men reinforces their behavior

Sabrina Schaeffer of the Independent Women’s Forum writes at The Federalist about all the negative focus on boys and men.

My second-grade daughter’s class recently wrote and read aloud their “autobiographies.” It was an opportunity for them not only to capture some of the highlights from their young lives, but also to forecast their plans for the future. Unsurprising was the number of girls who wanted to be fashion designers and of boys who wanted to be soccer stars. More striking was that almost every boy in the class described how he would eventually get married and have a family.

What prompted so many boys to mention this? It perhaps seems surprising that having a weekly “Friday night movie night” would be as important a goal as winning the Stanley Cup, as one boy announced he wants. But for this group, that was no surprise at all. All of these children come from homes where marriage—and siblings—is seen as a good thing, even as a foundation for a happy life. The room was packed with caring and attentive parents. A family that makes them feel “loved and safe,” as one little boy put it, is (thankfully) the norm for this group of students.

In recent months, there has been a crescendo of anti-male rhetoric that is deeply worrisome. From the hysteria over a “rape culture” on college campuses, to the #YesAllWomen social media campaign that took off after the horrific Elliott Rodgers shooting spree, to the more recent uproar over “street harassment,” the narrative is that men are perpetual abusers of women. They badger, sexually assault, and sometimes even kill.

Expectations Become the Norm

Looking at my three-year old son, I wonder what will happen if he hears this narrative enough. Will he and his peers expect misogyny and violence against women to, in fact, be the norm for boys and men? If people expect boys and men not to be fathers and providers, but instead predators and abusers, will that soon actually become the norm?

If people expect boys and men not to be fathers and providers, but instead predators and abusers, will that soon actually become the norm?

Political psychologists are particularly interested in the question of normative social behavior—or behaving in the “right” way, especially in terms of how it influences voting. In an off-year election, for instance, a campaign doesn’t tell a voter they’re expecting “low voter turnout” so it needs people to turn out and vote. If they did that, no one would show up. If no one else is, why should I bother?

Instead they talk about how people in your neighborhood are turning out to vote. Some groups go even further, asking voters how they would feel if they publicized their voting record to neighbors. In effect, they rely on social pressure and make voting a “normative” social behavior to boost turnout. It has a sizeable impact on political participation.

Similarly, social psychology research has considered how normative social behavior might influence people to be more environmentally conscious about issues like recycling. Researchers have discovered that people don’t want to be an outcast—they want to fit in—so they “will conform to what the others are doing” because it’s “socially acceptable.” Motivating people to follow through with recycling can be improved via billboards or flyers that read, “Your neighbors are already recycling. Are you?” Simply seeing neighbors bring their blue bins to the curb each week creates the impression that this is the social norm, and in time does become customary behavior.

Men Live Up to Others’ Expectations

But when it comes to our attitudes toward boys and men in America, this normative social behavior is just the problem. If boys regularly hear about how college men are predators, or that men walking on the street harass women, there is real reason to believe they will begin to think this is the way they’re supposed to behave. Videos intended to draw our attention to street harassment or violence against women are less likely to make men reconsider how they treat women and strive to be more respectful; instead, they are more likely to reinforce the idea that misogyny is just the way it is.

Let’s spend less time making everyone aware of how bad some men are, and a lot more time talking about how good a lot of men are.

Certainly there are men who prey on vulnerable women. But at a time when gender roles have evolved, women are equal under the law, and crime rates are way down, abuse of women is usually the exception, not the rule. If we want to create a stronger society. one in which men and women have healthier and happier relationships, perhaps we should start by stopping the anti-men rhetoric. It’s time to change the perception of normal social behavior by recognizing all the good men out there: fathers who work hard to provide for their families and help with housework, young men who call a girl up for a date, men who don’t pressure a girl to have sex, boys who behave well and don’t disrupt class.

Let’s spend less time making everyone aware of how bad some men are, and a lot more time talking about how good a lot of men are. If we create expectations about the positive impact men can (and do) have on society, we might just see more men fulfilling those roles.

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Mothers of college guys accused of rape speak out

Mothers of accused college rapists fight back on AlJazeera

“The phone call. The phone call,” sighed Allison Strange. “There’s always that one call that you never expect to get.”

On Sept. 6, 2011, the caller ID showed her son’s cell phone, but the voice on the other end wasn’t Josh. Her son had been arrested for rape.

Josh Strange avoided prosecution, but he did face the justice of Auburn University, where he was a sophomore. Under federal civil rights law, colleges and universities have to conduct their own investigations into sexual assault reports, separate from a criminal one. And after a 99-minute hearing, the discipline committee – chaired by a university librarian  – reached its decision.

“Josh was as white as a piece of notebook paper, and just looked like he had been punched in the stomach,” remembered Allison Strange, who was outside the hearing room. “I walked up and I looked, and Josh said, ‘Mom, I’m gone. They don’t want me here anymore. I can’t stay. They’ve expelled me.’”

In the aftermath, Allison and Josh Strange formed the group Families Advocating for Campus Equality that pushes for universities to get out of the business of adjudicating sexual assault cases. Allison Strange wants those cases to be left to the criminal justice system, and she says you only need to look at her son’s case to understand why.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

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One small shirt for man, one giant leap backward for women

Glenn Harlan Reynolds’ USA Today column:

So how are things going for feminism? Well, last week, some feminists took one of the great achievements of human history — landing a probe from Earth on a comet hundreds of millions of miles away — and made it all about the clothes.

Yes, that’s right. After years of effort, the European Space Agency’s lander Philaelanded on a comet 300 million miles away. At first, people were excited. Then some women noticed that one of the space scientists, Matt Taylor, was wearing a shirt, made for him by a female “close pal,” featuring comic-book depictions of semi-naked women. And suddenly, the triumph of the comet landing was drowned out by shouts of feminist outrage about … what people were wearing. It was one small shirt for a man, one giant leap backward for womankind.

The Atlantic‘s Rose Eveleth tweeted, “No no women are toooootally welcome in our community, just ask the dude in this shirt.” Astrophysicist Katie Mack commented: “I don’t care what scientists wear. But a shirt featuring women in lingerie isn’t appropriate for a broadcast if you care about women in STEM.” And from there, the online feminist lynch mob took off until Taylor was forced to deliver a tearful apology on camera.

It seems to me that if you care about women in STEM, maybe you shouldn’t want to communicate the notion that they’re so delicate that they can’t handle pictures of comic-book women. Will we stock our Mars spacecraft with fainting couches?

Not everyone was so censorious. As one female space professional wrote: “Don’t these women and their male cohorts understand that *they* are doing the damage to what/whom they claim to defend!?”

No, they don’t. Or, if they do, their reservations are overcome by the desire to feel important and powerful at others’ expense. Thus, what should have been the greatest day in a man’s life — accomplishing something never before done in the history of humanity — was instead derailed by people with their own axes to grind. As Chloe Price observed: “Imagine the … storm if the scientist had been a woman and everyone focused solely on her clothes and not her achievements.”

Yes, feminists have been telling us for years that women can wear whatever they want, and for men to comment in any way is sexism. But that’s obviously a double standard, since they evidently feel no compunction whatsoever in criticizing what men wear. News flash: Geeks don’t dress like Don Draper.

Meanwhile, Time magazine last week ran an online poll of words that should be retired from the English language. The winner — by an enormous margin — was “feminist.” That’s fitting. With this sort of behavior in mind, it’s no surprise that so many people feel that feminism has passed its sell-by date.

Only 23% of American women and only 20% of Americans overall identify as feminists, even though most are in favor of gender equality. Feminists, who like to say that feminism isgender equality, are unhappy with this, but I think the poll captures a truth. Whatever feminists say, their true priorities are revealed in what they do, and what they do is, mostly, man-bashing and special pleading.

When you act like what pioneer feminist Betty Friedan once called “female chauvinist boors,” you shouldn’t be surprised to lose popularity.

“Mean girls” online mobbing may be fun for some, but it’s not likely to appeal for long. If self-proclaimed feminists have nothing more to offer than that sort of bullying, then their obsolescence is well deserved.

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The plight of the 21st century woman, according to the Internet

 writes in The Telegraph about male bashers on the Internet.

Sigh. A new current has developed in the polluted ocean of online videos. If you’re a Facebook user, you’ll have noticed it: it involves women, and men, and the former being incessantly harassed by the latter.

I’m talking about those hidden-camera clips in which a female actor records the appalling level of harassment that she was subjected to by men in the street.

The best known was made by Shoshana Roberts, who was filmed walking the streets of New York amid catcalls and sexual comments. Thus far, it has attracted a staggering 36 million views, and has been hailed as a much-needed exposure of the plight of a woman in 21st Century society.

This was followed by a clip made by the “social media entrepreneur” Stephen Zhang, in which a young woman dons a skimpy dress in the middle of the day and pretends to be drunk. An apparently shocking number of men attempted to take advantage of her, some almost forcing her back to their houses before she revealed the trick and escaped.

The trend got a bit silly when a British “dating expert” filmed herself pretending to be lost while wearing different outfits, from a hoodie-and-jeans combination to a leather skirt and boots. How would male Londoners respond? We waited with baited breath.

Funnily enough, although men tended to speak to the woman for longer when she was dressed provocatively, not one of the men even offered his telephone number, let alone sought to take advantage of a damsel in distress. In fact, every man Jack acted like a gentleman. What point was she trying to make, exactly?

(Perhaps she didn’t really have a point. Perhaps she was mainly courting clicks. After all, a viral video can make you big money. And, as the old Silicon Valley adage has it, “first ubiquity, then revenue”.)

Predictably enough, it didn’t take long for commercial companies to jump on the bandwagon. One video produced by Nestlé revealed (no pun intended) that people look at a woman’s breasts a lot when she is wearing a low-cut top. Again, the point was what? The video was promoting breast cancer awareness, but a cynic might argue that this was merely a fig-leaf for moneymaking.

Of course, there is a variety of examples here. On the surface, the more serious videos are attempting a form of social campaigning, drawing attention to – as the hashtag has it – #everydaysexism. This has to be a good thing. But the closer you look, the less straightforward the matter becomes.

Take the video that kicked it all off. For one thing, it was recorded in a rather deprived part of New York, where such harassment is more likely to occur. For another, the perpetrators were exclusively black or Latino. This a) raises questions about the prejudices that underpinned the film-maker’s editorial decisions, and b) highlights the general subjectivity of the editing.

(Rob Bliss, who shot the film, later claimed that white men had harassed Shoshana Roberts too, but by some odd coincidence the sound quality had been compromised on these occasions.)

It goes without saying that the abuse of women in the street is a serious problem. Some may argue that in order to draw attention to it, an element of contrivance, exaggeration and even sensationalism is justified.

If it makes young men think twice before they bully a woman, this has to be a good thing. But at what price? When a one-off becomes a trend, and sensationalist video follows sensationalist video, this constitutes a form of negative campaigning. And negative campaigning has a habit of creating negative consequences.

Depictions of decent men have now become strikingly absent online. The overall suggestion is that men are guilty until proven innocent; this only reinforces gender stereotyping.

Indeed, we have reached a stage where feminist sites like Jezebel run stories like “How to kick men in the balls: an illustrated guide”, confirming the impression that the internet hates men. Misogynist trolling by horrid little men is a huge concern, but the answer is not to alienate the rest of us.

It must be acknowledged – and strongly so – that most of the men watching these videos would never dream of treating women in this way. Call me optimistic, but in my experience, there are at least 10 gentlemen for every abuser. And that’s a conservative estimate.

What message are upstanding men, particularly the younger ones, supposed to take from this cataract of negative campaigning? In the current climate of febrile abusiveness, both online and in “meatspace”, this is something that should concern everyone. The more the anti-men trend gains traction, the more women will be deprived of decent male allies in the battle against abuse.

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Hey Dems: He’s Just Not That Into You

After spending the last few years talking about “war on women” issues like abortion laws, equal pay, and contraception, and with commentators lampooning Republican efforts to appeal to female voters, it was expected that the 2014 midterm elections would come down to the “gender gap,” the difference between how men and women vote in the election.

Well, the pundits were right: the political “gender gap” would decide the fate of candidates in the 2014 midterms. But the decisive point wasn’t that Republicans have a female voter problem. It was that Democrats have a male voter problem.

Contrary to popular belief, women are not always a solidly Democratic voting bloc, though they do tend to break slightly more Democratic than men do. In the 2010 midterms, Republicans actually did slightly better than Democrats among female voters nationwide, winning 49 percent of their votes for Congress. But certainly in the last presidential election, in the wake of awful comments about rape and birth control from a small handful of absolute morons, it wasn’t hard to paint the entire GOP as anti-woman.

“Please, oppressors, bring your male privilege to the polls for us” isn’t exactly a message that wins you hearts and minds. During this election, Democrats doubled-down on the strategy of bludgeoning Republicans with “women’s issues” scare tactics. They were aided by the national controversy around this summer’s Supreme Court ruling that allowed Hobby Lobby, a privately owned company, to opt out of providing employees with insurance coverage for some forms of contraception. They were energized by the emergence of a figure like Wendy Davis in Texas, who rose to national prominence following her filibuster over a law increasing regulations on abortion clinics and prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Candidates like Mark Udall in Colorado made these issues a centerpiece of their campaigns, if not the primary rationale for why the Republican ought not be elected. In the Colorado example, by the time election day rolled around, Udall’s own donors were openly criticizing the campaign’s decision to pound the “women’s issues” theme as the only real message he had. Meanwhile, his Republican opponent Cory Gardner had come out as vocally pro-contraception and was eager to move on to other topics.

On election day, Mark Udall did win female voters by an eight-point margin. But he lost male voters by 17 points.

It was a pattern repeated nationwide. In Iowa, Republican candidate for Senate Joni Ernst—the first woman Iowa has ever sent to Washington as an elected representative—tied her opponent, Democrat Bruce Braley, among female voters. She won men by 18 points. Or take, for instance, the unexpectedly non-competitive race in Georgia, where a Republican man defeated a Democratic woman; the Democratic candidate won female voters by eight percentage points but lost men by a staggering 23 points.

Let’s get this out of the way first: it wasn’t about abortion. In Colorado, where a “personhood” amendment was on the ballot that would have dramatically restricted abortion and certain forms of contraception, it failed with 63 percent of men and 66 percent of women voting “no”—hardly a “gender gap” to be found.

No, instead, it turns out that when your message is very clearly aimed at pandering to or terrifying one slice of voters, the rest of the electorate says “no thanks.” “Please, oppressors, bring your male privilege to the polls for us” isn’t exactly a message that wins you hearts and minds, no matter how many Lena Dunham appeals you make. And with men seeing wages stagnate and economic opportunity drying up, hammering home a message about the “war on women” is tone-deaf at best.

Republicans definitely have work to do at ensuring they can compete with female voters. The prospect of running against a potential first female President of the United States in two years should keep Republicans vigilant about the need to speak to women and win their votes.

There are ways to do it well without being divisive: Democratic policies like the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which was sold with a promise that it would give women “equal pay for equal work,” have done nothing to close the wage gap during Obama’s presidency, and Republicans should call Democrats out on how their policies have failed to deliver.

The best thing for women’s economic standing—as well as men’s—is a growing economy, and the gap closed significantly more during the 1980s and early 1990’s under Reagan and the first President Bush than under any modern Democratic president.

Democrats have, in their attempts to rally one group of voters, failed to win over women in a serious way but have sent men the message that men are the problem or their economic concerns don’t really matter.

There’s a gender gap in politics, for sure. But it backfired on Democrats in the midterms. And in the process, it sent the youngest woman ever to Congress (a Republican) and the first female Senators from Iowa and West Virginia (both Republicans).

Not such a bad night for women after all.

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