Let's Talk Day

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Bell is hosting it's third annual Let's Talk Day.  On February 12, Bell will donate 5¢ more to mental health initiatives across Canada for every:
  • Text message sent
  • Long distance call made
  • Facebook share of our Bell Let's Talk image
Almost makes me wish I was on the Bell network.  However, I will be sharing resources and articles in order to promote mental health awareness over the next few weeks.

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How will you continue your efforts to raise awareness about stalking throughout the year?


I will admit, I am not quite certain how to go about this.  While I try to focus on current events, serious issues deserve more than a cursory treatment before my squirrel moments take me on to something else.  The first step for me is to stop joking about looking up friends on social networking sites as "stalking."
Visit http://bit.ly/srcnsam for more info.

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Stalking: Know it. Name it. Stop it.
Visit stalkingawarenessmonth.org for more info.

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It is important to consider how victims may be harmed by stalkers’ use of technology.
Visit http://bit.ly/srcnsam for more info.

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Victims of stalking are encouraged to keep a log of all stalking behaviors including emails, text & phone messages.

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Stalkers often access information about victims that is available online. Do you know what information about you is online?
This is why I try to be careful and never use my real name online, as well as not posting my address nor phone number.  Even though most victims know their stalker, I prefer not to take any chances.

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Most alarmingly, stalking also can be lethal.
Visit stalkingawarenessmonth.org for more info.

New Mexico Bill Would Imprison Rape Victims Who Receive Abortions

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New Mexico Bill Would Imprison Rape Victims Who Receive Abortions: pShould a recently introduced bill in New Mexico become law, rape victims will be required to carry their pregnancies to term during their sexual assault trials or face charges of “tampering with evidence.” Under HB 206, if a woman ended her pregnancy after being raped, both she and her doctor would be charged with a [...]/p

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Stalking can affect a victim’s emotional, physical, and economic well-being.
Visit stalkingawarenessmonth.org for more info.

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Behaviors that may seem benign to you or me may be terrorizing to a stalking victim.

Nevada Assemblyman Arrested With Loaded Gun After Threatening Speaker

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Nevada Assemblyman Arrested With Loaded Gun After Threatening Speaker: pNevada Assemblyman Steven Brooks (D) was arrested on Sunday after he threatened to assassinate newly elected Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick (D). Brooks was driving with a loaded gun when police took him into custody. The day before, he had told other lawmakers that Kirkpatrick’s “first day as speaker would be her last.” According to his colleagues, [...]/p

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Stalkers often reoffend; recidivism rates are as high as 60%.

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Phones, computers, GPS, and cameras are some of the common forms of technology used by stalkers.

NASA-Led Study Finds Warming-Driven Megadroughts Jeopardizing Amazon Forest

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NASA-Led Study Finds Warming-Driven Megadroughts Jeopardizing Amazon Forest: pAn area of the Amazon rainforest twice the size of California continues to suffer from the effects of a megadrought that began in 2005, finds a new NASA-led study. These results, together with observed recurrences of droughts every few years and associated damage to the forests in southern and western Amazonia in the past decade, [...]/p

Teenager Accidentally Kills Brother While Playing With Mother’s Gun

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Teenager Accidentally Kills Brother While Playing With Mother’s Gun: pA 14-year-old in Henry County, Georgia unintentionally shot and killed his 15-year-old brother early Saturday morning while playing with his mother’s gun, according to police. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that charges may be brought against the teenager and his mother, who have not yet been named. Though the mother left the handgun unloaded, the [...]/p

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Most stalking victims know their stalker.

UPDATED: 5 People Shot At 3 Different Gun Shows On Gun Appreciation Day

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UPDATED: 5 People Shot At 3 Different Gun Shows On Gun Appreciation Day: pIf the gun advocates behind this year’s inaugural Gun Appreciation Day had hoped to use the day’s festivities to build support for their anti-regulation platform, they are going to have to wait another year. Emergency personnel had to be called to the scene of the Dixie Gun and Knife Show in Raleigh, North Carolina after [...]/p

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How young can stalking behavior start? Do you see stalking behaviors among high school students? Middle school students? Younger?

Savita Halappanavar asked for termination, staff confirm

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Staff at Galway University Hospital have backed up claims by the husband of Savita Halappanavar that she had asked for and was refused a termination at the hospital just days before she died last October.
The inquest into the 31-year-old woman’s death opens in Galway this morning, and yesterday it emerged that statements provided to the inquest confirm her husband Praveen’s version of what happened in the days before she died on October 28th.
She had been 17 weeks pregnant when she presented at the hospital a week earlier with severe back pain and was found to be miscarrying.
Her husband said, following her death, that she had been in pain and repeatedly asked for a medical termination over a three-day period but this was refused as a foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told “this is a Catholic country”.
Outrage of the Day

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Rates of stalking among college students are higher than the general public.

On Rudeness and Knitting in Public

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While at a recent local knit night (knight?), the perennial topic of knitting in public came up, specifically in lectures/classes.  Nearly every knitter has come up against the perception that knitting while in the presence of others is rude.  We're going to completely bypass the history of knitting, and how "women's crafts" are believed to be kept in the home.
Knitting's for pussies
People who perceive crafting in public to be rude assume that everyone else processes their experiences the same way that they do.  For example, we all know that everyone has a different learning style (i.e. visual, audial, or tactile).  Most people fall into the former two categories, and when it comes to retaining complex material I have to take written notes.  Written, not typed, in order to properly engage my visual tendencies.  If the topic is less strenuous, then knitting helps to occupy the visual and tactile parts of my brain while leaving my auditory portion to focus on the speaker.  For example, as I write this, I am also listening to The History Channel on the TV.  That is my experience as a knitter, and how my mind works.  Your mileage may vary.
If I am unable to occupy my brain on several levels, it wanders.  If I had music playing instead of America Unearthed, I would be distracted by every other thought that came through my head or jumping up every few minutes to go do some chore that occurred to me.  (While I have never been diagnosed with adult ADD, I am pretty certain that I have at least a mild case of it).  Knitting works in much the same way for me.  As long as it's not too complex a pattern, it occupies the part of my mind that wants to wander away from the task at hand.  When I first began knitting, some of my friends were offended that I brought it to Dungeons and Dragons night.  They were convinced that I wouldn't be able to fully participate and/or would distract the group.  I made the DM a deal: if my knitting became a problem, then I would stop.  Until then, let's give it a try.  The first time I came without a project, since I had just finished one, the group called a break and told me I was to get myself to the nearest craft store and pick one up.  Without my knitting, I was fidgety, drew other players out of the game with side-conversations, daydreamed, and generally unable to sit quietly and wait for my turn.  In other words, I was more distracting without my knitting than I was with it.
Sums up most conversations with me
Most of those who cast such judgment are typically not, themselves, crafters.  They find themselves distracted by the activity.  How many of us have been approached while knitting in public with questions such as "Are you knitting?" "What are you making?" "How are you doing that?" (I get this one a lot because of my tendency to knit socks two at a time on one circular) and other variations that come from a consumerist society.  Instead of possessing the willpower to focus on the speaker/main activity, they allow themselves to be distracted by the crafter.  The resulting frustration is then directed at the crafter, who was minding their own business in the first place, rather than taking responsibility for their themselves.
They forgot "No, I will not knit for you"
Now that doesn't mean you should sit front and centre and knit, as that might be distracting to the speaker/teacher/lecturer.  As long as you aren't likely to drop metal needles down a sloped floor or constantly elbow your neighbours, there is absolutely no reason you should be considered any ruder than the person who smacks their gum, plays video games on their laptop, or texts the entire time.  You know how your mind works better than anyone else.  If you will focus and learn better while keeping your hands busy, then no one else has the right to keep you from doing so.  Unless you're in a courtroom.  They tend to frown on people bringing garrotes into courthouses.
More dangerous than nail clippers, but I don't want blood on my alpaca lace

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Rates of stalking among college students exceed the prevalence rates found in the general population.

National Religious Freedom Day

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January 16 is National Religious Freedom Day, to commemorate the Statute for Religious Freedom.  Evidently, it was thought that this was necessary in addition to National Day of Prayer.  There is even a www.religiousfreedomday.com full of bald eagles, the star-spangled banner, and tips for making "schools a safe place for your children to express your family's religious faith."  Obviously for these evangelical Christians, "religious freedom" means "free to proselytize," but that is nothing new. 
                                     
President Obama's speech included "Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, Sikhs and non-believers;" a rarity for a politician to acknowledge more than the monotheistic triad, let alone atheists.  Yay!  Progress!  "...in the year of our Lord..."  Crap, spoke too soon.  Oh well, baby steps.
Then the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has to jump in and criticize such a warm and inclusive sentiment.  Their problem?  The Affordable Care Act, which will require employers' insurance to cover contraceptives and therefore potentially violate the employers' religious convictions.

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Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.”
         ~Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

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This federal holiday was designed to be a national day of service, in order for us as a community to work towards our ideals and find solutions to our communal problems as a group.  For suggestions on how to become involved in activities in your area, or to create your own project, visit http://mlkday.gov/.
You could say that I'm cheating because I already volunteer two days a week, and the 21st falls on one of those days.

Virginia Waters Down Report On Impacts Of Climate Change After Tea Party Complaints

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Virginia Waters Down Report On Impacts Of Climate Change After Tea Party Complaints: pEarlier this year, Virginia’s legislature commissioned a study to determine the impacts of climate change on the state’s shores. After Tea Party complaints, lawmakers approved the report on condition it strike the words “climate change” and “sea level rise” from the title. This week, Virginia released its analysis, under the title “Recurrent Flooding Study for [...]/p

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Try this: Google “track girlfriend” and see how many sites tell someone how to stalk. 
I did, and it's extremely disturbing.

Visit stalkingawarenessmonth for more information.

Rape 'Prevalent' in Syra Conflict

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One young Syrian girl was gang raped at a roadblock and forced to walk back home naked to reinforce her humiliation. In another case, a father shot dead his daughter as they were approached by an armed group of men rather than have her sexually assaulted.
Rape is a “significant and disturbing feature” of Syria’s civil war and a main reason why families are escaping the country, said a report by the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a New York-based aid agency.

Rapist Re-Offends, Rapes and Murders a 9-year-old

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A 32-year-old man in India who had been acquitted of all charges in the rape and murder of a young girl was allegedly arrested last week for the murder and rape of another child.
Apparently, in India, a rape is reported every 20 minutes.  Think about all the ones that are not reported.

Shakesville's Fatsronauts 101

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Shakesville’s doing a wonderful series on fat-shaming and the myths people have about fat people.
               

They Rule

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A few companies control much of the economy and oligopolies exert control in nearly every sector of the economy. The people who head up these companies swap on and off the boards from one company to another, and in and out of government committees and positions. These people run the most powerful institutions on the planet, and we have almost no say in who they are. This is not a conspiracy, they are proud to rule, yet these connections of power are not always visible to the public eye.

As one friend put it, "It's like Wikipedia had a baby with the 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon Game."  It's no exaggeration when they say "it's not what you know, it's who you know."

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Intimate partner stalking is the most common type of stalking and the most dangerous.
Visit stalkingawarenessmonth.org for more info.

Paul Ryan Sponsors Bill to Make It Possible for Rapists to Sue Their Victims

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They're still trying to make the Sanctity of Human Life Act happen.  Only this time there's an extra bonus!  If the victim became pregnant and sought an abortion, the rapist could theoretically sue to prevent her from doing so.

Resources for stalking victims

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What services are available for stalking victims in your community?

Tactical Response CEO Threatens To 'Start Killing People' Over Possible Obama Gun Measure

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Some nutsos should not be allowed to have guns if their first response to faulty information is to threaten violence rather than educate themselves about the policies being explored. Gun control is only one of many options that are being looked at. It is not the ONLY thing, but it's also not completely off the table. Overreaction much?

Hobby Lobby Manipulating Employees’ Health Care Plans To Deny Them Access To Birth Control

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Hobby Lobby Manipulating Employees’ Health Care Plans To Deny Them Access To Birth Control: pThe craft store Hobby Lobby has been embroiled in a legal fight against Obamacare’s contraception mandate since September, when the chain’s conservative evangelical owners first sued for the right to deny their employees access to affordable contraceptives. Even though a federal judge ruled last month that Hobby Lobby must follow federal law..

The irony is, is that they purchase heavily from China, a country which uses contraception and abortions to control their population explosion.

North Carolina Restaurant Owner Writes Lesbian Customers An Anti-Gay Letter

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North Carolina Restaurant Owner Writes Lesbian Customers An Anti-Gay Letter: pThe owner of The Stingray Café in New Bern, North Carolina apparently has a penchant for informing his gay customers of his anti-gay views. Lesbian couple Ariel and Shawnee McPhail had a meal at the Café on December 4, but did not leave empty handed. As they were exiting, owner Ed McGovern handed them the [...]/p

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The majority of stalking victims report losing time from work as well as income because of the stalking.

Stalking is not a joke

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Stalking is often treated as a joke or “not that big of a deal.” Why do you think that is?
I admit, I was guilty of this very same thing just last night.  I was at my bi-weekly women's game night and added one of the other players on a social site.  When it popped up on her phone, she held it up for everyone to see and made a crack about "some strange person friending" her.  I said, "Could be a stalker."
While I am not a stalker, treating it as a punchline is wrong and perpetuates the problems that many victims receive when they do report their stalkers.
Visit http://bit.ly/srcnsam for more info.

January is Stalking Awareness Month

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  • 6.6 million people are stalked in one year in the United States.
  • 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men have experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.
  • The majority of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know. 66% of female victims and 41% of male victims of stalking are stalked by a current or former intimate partner.
Would you report it if you were being stalked?
Most victims don’t.

Save Lives, Drive Sober

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I completely agree with this sentiment, however the phrase "save lives" annoys the hell outta me. You're not saving lives, instead you're choosing to NOT KILL PEOPLE! "Saving a life" indicates that something is damn near inevitable that you are attempting to prevent. You save a life by performing CPR, rescuing someone from drowning, and/or calling 911.  You avoid killing people by not going into the nearest crowded public space and unloading a firearm.  You avoid killing people by not going out in public with a couple ton vehicle capable of going 200+ kph while drunk.  By not engaging in wreckless behaviour you are instead refraining from potentially killing people. You aren't being noble, instead you are avoiding becoming a killer.  You are exhibiting the behaviours of a responsible, sane, adult instead of a psychopathic degenerate with no regard for the lives of others.

Kansas doctor loses license due to abortion referrals

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There's a petition going around regarding Dr. Ann Neuhas's, a colleague of the late Dr. Tiller, medical license having been revoked.  The only article I can find from an actual news source is Fox, which is notorious for getting a US Court of Appeals to rule that news organizations can lie and falsify.  The revocation order itself states:
"..failing to adhere to the appropriate standard of care in the treatment of patients, and failing to make and maintain adequate patient medical records."
Let's tackle the easy portion first: medical records.  Having worked in health care, charting is rushed through 9 times out of 10.  Providing care comes first and foremost, and detailed record keeping, while important, can take hours at the end of an already long day.  I have known people to develop grudges against nurses, and get them in trouble, if not have their licenses revoked entirely, for charting issues.  (Mind you, my experience was in the States, where this dispute took place).  Now bear in mind that she was heavily watched by anti-choicers. For years.  Now imagine if every paperwork mistake that you've made at work in the past three years was brought before a panel of your peers.  In short, if you want to get someone in the medical field in trouble, go through their records with a finetooth comb and you will inevitably find something that doesn't fly with the Board of Medicine.  Considering the Kansas attorney general's office began to single out abortion providers, including Dr. Tiller, perhaps Neuhaus was correct in maintaining her patients privacy since this is the same state that brought us Operation Rescue.
The deviation from standard of care means that her records and procedures were examined by fellow doctors, who found them to be lacking.  As Fox puts it, "she performed inadequate mental health exams on young patients she then referred to Dr. George Tiller for late-term abortions."  In other words, she used a computer program designed to help diagnose, which the judge found to be an inadequate tool (allegedly being five pages or less) and her judgment to be faulty.  Again drawing on my experiences, short and succinct questionnaires are common-place in the medical field, unless being seen by a specialist for an in-depth psychological evaluation.  It is not unusual for someone diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder to answer five questions by ticking "yes" or "no" boxes followed by a short conversation when being seen for a medication check.  (Ten years ago it wasn't unusual for a person to go to their primary care physician with complaints of depression, only to be handed a prescription for anti-depressants and told to come back in two weeks).
The part of the ruling that does concern me is the alleged lack of aftercare.  While the judge and board (practitioners of law, not medicine) determined hospitalization to be necessary in some cases, remember that all 11 cases reviewed involved patients between the ages of 10 and 18.  Institutionalizing a young girl who recently had an abortion is going to compound the trauma, rather than therapeutic.  That's not to say that hospitalization is the only option, it seems to be the only one under consideration in this hearing.  But there is no way of knowing what methods were used without seeing the case files.  Then again, some of these girls could have been claiming suicidal ideation for any number of reasons that had nothing to do with true mental health problems.
In conclusion, I am inclined to believe that these are trumped up allegations.  There are certainly people who are out to prevent abortions at any cost, even for under-age girls who are victims of incest, that getting one practitioner who provides second opinions out of the medical field is not too petty for them.  After all, murder wasn't.

Captain Worf spinoff series

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                                    Captain material?
                                                        Captain material?
While I am doubtful that the character of Worf can hold an entire series, I am not ashamed to say that I would give this show a try.  My wariness is due in no small part to the fact that all Stark Trek series and movies have never had a central character around whom the entire plot revolved.  Even in the original Kirk was certainly pivotal, but no one in their right minds could say that he carried the show.  Spock, Scotty, and Bones are all equally prominent in our social consciousness.  Naturally, I would love to see Joss Whedon get involved, but then the series would inevitably rock only to be cancelled after one or two seasons.

India Deemed Worst Country in Which to be a Woman

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In a Reuters poll of the situation of women in G20 countries, India came in at 19.  Canada took first place and the US came in at #6.  In another survey of the worst countries for women, India ranked #4.
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These findings give good insight as to why Canada (or at least British Columbia) is so popular with south Asian immigrants.  The factors contributing to India's lowly ranking include "child marriage, foeticide and infanticide, sexual trafficking, domestic slave labour, domestic violence and high maternal mortality," whereas the qualities for which Canada is lauded are "Policies promoting women’s rights and well-enforced laws against violence and exploitation."  I will even go so far as to add the emphasis on education and health care that I have observed in my time living here.  All of these attributes contributed to the decision my husband and I made as to which of our two nations would become our home, and that's only in comparison to #6 on the list.

Gay Marriage in Illinois

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breakingnews:
Illinois Senate committee approves gay marriage bill
Chicago Tribune: The Illinois Senate Executive Committee advanced the measure to legalize gay marriage on an 8-5 vote Thursday, but the sponsor acknowledged she did not have enough votes to win approval on the Senate floor.
Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, dismissed a question on whether she ever had a solid 30 votes lined up to pass the legislation. “Oh, no, no, no,” Steans said. “We really did have the votes. We were just missing members today.”
Photo: Illinois state Rep. Greg Harris congratulates Sen. Heather Steans after advancement of a same-sex marriage bill through the Senate Executive Committee at the State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois. (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune)

Court Declares That Raping An Unmarried Woman Isn’t Rape

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"A panel of California judges overturned the conviction of Julio Morales because the woman he raped thought that he was her boyfriend. The woman had been drinking and she and her boyfriend had gone to sleep after consciously deciding not to have sex for lack of a condom. At some point in the night, the boyfriend left without the woman’s knowledge. Morales sneaked into the room and, pretending to be the boyfriend in the dark room, had sex with the inebriated and half-asleep woman. She realized during the intercourse that she was having sex with someone who was not her boyfriend... due to a law passed in 1872 (yes, Eighteen Seventy Two), an unmarried woman is not protected."

Your Outrage of the Day with a dash of Do Not Trust Your Legal System thrown in.

Majority of rapes are not the "stranger in the bushes" variety

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People mistakenly believe that most rapists hide in the bushes, waiting for a victim wearing the right type of clothing to walk by.  This falsely held belief contributes to victim blaming and other outrageous apologies.

Most rapists know their victims.

I sure as hell knew my rapist.

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January is Stalking Awareness Month

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  • 6.6 million people are stalked in one year in the United States.
  • 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men have experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.
  • The majority of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know. 66% of female victims and 41% of male victims of stalking are stalked by a current or former intimate partner.
Would you report it if you were being stalked?
Most victims don’t.

Happy Tolkienmass!

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Sounds like a good excuse to curl up with a hot drink and a good book.
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Happy National Science Fiction Day!

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In honour of Isaac Asimov's birthday in 1920, National Science Fiction Day was created.  So go read a book, watch a movie, or play a game to celebrate a genre that has benefited us so much.  Don't worry, you don't have to be American to join in the fun.
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Friend Kicked in the Head 30 Times For Being Gay

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A friend of my husband's was attacked last night in Vancouver, BC for being gay.  He was kicked in the head about 30 times, breaking his nose, dislodging a piece of facial bone, and leaving blood in his brain.  Fighting back, he managed to injure three of his attackers.  There is no news article for this one.  This came straight from Facebook.  Names have been omitted to provide as much anonymity as possible.
Hell of a way to start off the New Year.
Update:  An arrest has been made, and the victim is doing well, pending a follow-up.