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You've got some VAWA on your Obamacare

From Obamacare...
(a) In General- The Secretary, in collaboration and coordination with the Secretary of Education (as appropriate), shall establish a Pregnancy Assistance Fund to be administered by the Secretary, for the purpose of awarding competitive grants to States to assist pregnant and parenting teens and women.
(b) Use of Fund- A State may apply for a grant under subsection (a) to carry out any activities provided for in section 10213.

(d) Improving Services for Pregnant Women Who Are Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking-
(1) IN GENERAL- A State may use amounts received under a grant under section 10212 to make funding available to its State Attorney General to assist Statewide offices in providing--
(A) intervention services, accompaniment, and supportive social services for eligible pregnant women who are victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
(B) technical assistance and training (as described in subsection (c)) relating to violence against eligible pregnant women to be made available to the following:
(i) Federal, State, tribal, territorial, and local governments, law enforcement agencies, and courts.
(ii) Professionals working in legal, social service, and health care settings.
(iii) Nonprofit organizations.
(iv) Faith-based organizations.
(2) ELIGIBILITY- To be eligible for a grant under paragraph (1), a State Attorney General shall submit an application to the designated State agency at such time, in such manner, and containing such information, as specified by the State.
(3) TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND TRAINING DESCRIBED- For purposes of paragraph (1)(B), technical assistance and training is--
(A) the identification of eligible pregnant women experiencing domestic violence, sexual violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
(B) the assessment of the immediate and short-term safety of such a pregnant woman, the evaluation of the impact of the violence or stalking on the pregnant woman's health, and the assistance of the pregnant woman in developing a plan aimed at preventing further domestic violence, sexual violence, sexual assault, or stalking, as appropriate;
(C) the maintenance of complete medical or forensic records that include the documentation of any examination, treatment given, and referrals made, recording the location and nature of the pregnant woman's injuries, and the establishment of mechanisms to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of those medical records; and
(D) the identification and referral of the pregnant woman to appropriate public and private nonprofit entities that provide intervention services, accompaniment, and supportive social services.
(4) ELIGIBLE PREGNANT WOMAN- In this subsection, the term `eligible pregnant woman' means any woman who is pregnant on the date on which such woman becomes a victim of domestic violence, sexual violence, sexual assault, or stalking or who was pregnant during the one-year period before such date.
(e) Public Awareness and Education- A State may use amounts received under a grant under section 10212 to make funding available to increase public awareness and education concerning any services available to pregnant and parenting teens and women under this part, or any other resources available to pregnant and parenting women in keeping with the intent and purposes of this part. The State shall be responsible for setting guidelines or limits as to how much of funding may be utilized for public awareness and education in any funding award.

In other words, finding evidence of abuse in pregnant women, and referring pregnant women to agencies specializing in handling abuse cases, will earn federal dollars for medical facilities.
So what happens when that's applied to the hospital environment?

From Hospitals: The cost of admission, aired Dec. 2, 2012:
Health Management Associates owns 70 hospitals in 15 states. It's thrived buying small, struggling hospitals in non-urban areas, turning them into profit centers by filling empty beds. Generally speaking, the more patients a hospital admits, the more money it can make, a business strategy that HMA has aggressively pursued.
Steve Kroft: Did you feel the hospital was putting pressure on doctors to admit people?
Nancy Alford: Yes.
Steve Kroft: For what reason?
Nancy Alford: Money.
Steve Kroft: You're sure of that?
Nancy Alford: Uh-huh (affirm).
Until she was fired, Nancy Alford was director of case management at the HMA hospital in Mesquite, Texas, where she oversaw the auditing of patient records and signed off on the accuracy of bills sent to Medicare and Medicaid. She'd never met former HMA doctors Jeff Hamby, Cliff Cloonan, and Scott Rankin until we brought them together in New York to discuss their experiences at HMA.
Scott Rankin: What's really remarkable is we're from very different areas of the country. Yet, the pressures placed upon the emergency physicians and the mechanism in place to enforce those procedures and policies, exactly the same.
Cliff Cloonan is a retired colonel who spent 21 years as an Army doctor before joining the Carlisle Regional Medical Center in Pennsylvania as the assistant emergency room director. Dr. Scott Rankin worked in the same department. Both say they were told by HMA and its ER staffing contractor, EmCare, that if they didn't start admitting more patients to the hospital, they would lose their jobs.

We've seen how federal incentives effect the level of honesty in efforts to assign and collect child support at the state level, and we've seen how federal funding incentives have effected law enforcement, court systems, and the domestic violence victim's advocacy industry. Now, there's an incentive for medical facilities to find domestic violence victims to serve that is similar to the incentive offered to law enforcement and the courts to find domestic violence victims to protect. How long will it take before hospital administrators start pressuring doctors to "see" abuse where abuse is not present?

A minor update on my FOIA request

It's been nearly 3 weeks since I sent a request for an update on the decision making process for my Freedom of Information Act request to the CDC for some of the raw numbers from the NISVS. To be sure my letter was received, I sent it delivery confirmation.

I haven't received either confirmation of delivery, or my letter returned as undeliverable. In my experience, this is an unusually slow pace for delivery confirmation mail, but I have never had a delivery failure with that system. I suspect that my letter probably had to sit in the Atlanta, Georgia post office for the duration of the time the addressee is given to pick it up following a failed attempt at delivery, and this will be my first "undeliverable" notice.

Checking on the CDC's FOIA status request page, however, does show that there's been a change. I've been upgraded from "Pending Program Search."

I'm still not holding my breath. This doesn't tell me how much the information is going to cost, or whether the request has even been approved - though there isn't a legal basis for disapproving it - so it's a change, not a promise. Still, it means that there's some kind of forward motion on the case, and when trying to get anything from an agency of the American federal government, that in and of itself is remarkable.

So that's it - not a huge update, just a quick note, and a little hope.

"Privilege" as a cattle prod

The aim of the "privilege" dialogue as employed by ideologues of victim politics is to make perceived disadvantage the norm. There are two intended immediate effects of this. First, to impose upon anyone treated as disadvantaged a sense of disenfranchised resentment against those who are not similarly disadvantaged, and second to impose upon anyone perceived as not disadvantaged a sense of something like survivor's guilt; discomfort at the sense of having it better than anyone else, even though the individual without a disadvantage is not the cause of anyone else's disadvantage. This is done by treating the state of not being disadvantaged as an undeserved benefit to the individual, which therefore constitutes an act of cheating those among the group pushed to become resentful. In this, the state of not being disadvantaged becomes perceived as something the group targeted for control has taken away from the group pushed to become resentful, allowing the ideologues to label the group targeted for control "oppressors."    
The purpose of this is to alter the human response to any existing circumstance of disadvantage by replacing the impulse to assist those perceived as disadvantaged in elevating themselves with the impulse to punish the advantaged ("privileged") by some means of reduction under the assumption that diminishing the advantaged will elevate the disadvantaged. This is to create a perceived justification for the ideologue's group to infringe upon areas normally considered human rights, when dealing with those labeled "privileged," giving the ideologue group the ability to wield some level of social and political control over any group to whom they can apply that label.

This becomes more of a challenge for the ideologue group if the disadvantage attributed to the group pushed to become resentful is not or cannot be treated  as universally present, severe, and impacting, while universally absent in the group targeted for control.

This is why, when conditions which "privilege" counting ideologues label as disadvantages exist across both of the target groups, "privilege" counters attempt to emphasize or exaggerate the suffering of the group pushed to become resentful, and diminish the perception of the presence, severity, and/or impact on the group they're attempting to justify controlling, even when evidence is presented that contradicts the ideologues' claims.

This includes demonstrating offense at discussion of disadvantage suffered by the group targeted for control, especially in circumstances where that disadvantage might place that group at a higher level of perceived victim status than the group pushed to become resentful.

This leads to completely irrational proclamations by members of the ideologue group, such as claims that a given disadvantage is not an adverse condition when experienced by anyone of the group targeted for control, that an attitude identified as hateful isn't hateful when it's directed at the group targeted for control, or that the suffering of those within the group pushed to become resentful cancels out any suffering experienced by the group targeted for control.

This behavior encompasses the steps of a dehumanization campaign. The group targeted for control is named as a group, defamed by painting them as not subject to the disadvantages attributed to the group pushed to become resentful, blamed for benefiting from not being subject to those disadvantages, shamed over the suffering of those who are subject to those disadvantages, tamed by the imposition of guilt over the disparity between their own experiences and the experiences of others, and reigned over by the ideologue group's careful maintenance of public perception of them as wrongfully content, and the imposition of law and policy which places controls on them for the perceived benefit of the group targeted to become resentful.

Update post: The Liars, the Snitch, and the magic red tape

Today, on checking the CDC's Freedom of Information Act Request Service Center, I discovered that the site (previously out of order) is working again. I eagerly typed in my numbers, hoping for an update. Remember, the request is for information that had to be compiled in order to do the calculations needed to arrive at the conclusions stated in their NISVS reports, including the overall report, and the more targeted reports.

The reply I received when I clicked on the submit button: "Pending program search."

The site explains "Pending program search" as meaning that "program staff are still conducting the search" for the requested information.


In 2010 the CDC commissioned that survey. The organization that did the survey interviewed thousands of people and recorded the results, calculated percentages from those results in order to report on both the experience and perpetration of partner and sexual violence by gender and sexuality... but apparently, in 2013, neither the organization nor the CDC has readily available statistics on respondent's answers by gender and sexuality, as my request, received on February 4, has now been in their hands for 4 months, and they're still searching for those stats.


So, I'm sending the following letter via registered mail, addressed to both of the individuals listed on the FOIA request service center's sidebar:

Katherine Norris or Bruno Viana

I've been trying to get information on the status of my FOIA request, reference number #13-00308-FOIA,  for numbers from the CDC's 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. Unfortunately, the site to which the letter I received from the CDC's office for handling FOIA requests referred me did not function at all for several weeks, and I was unable to obtain any update through that page until recently. On entering my numbers, I get a reply that the information is being searched, but that doesn't tell me much. I've tried contacting your agency by phone, but nobody ever answers, and when I leave messages, they don't get returned. I assume that there are folks requesting a lot of other information from the CDC, probably for more conventional health related reasons, and I suspect that, due to the different nature of my request, my messages may be getting lost among more urgent requests. This is why I am contacting you in this manner.

I'm requesting  just a quick note on the status of my FOIA request, with information as to whether the information is available, if there is a time frame yet on delivering it, and at what cost to me, or whether I have qualified for a reduction or waver of fees. Even if that information has not yet been determined, I would appreciate a quick note to let me know that, as well. I can be reached via postal service to my home address;

(my address)

or I can be reached via email at (my email address), or by phone at (my phone number.)

Again, even if the information I have requested has not been gathered, it would still be helpful to me to have an answer on the cost, if that has been decided.

Thanks for your attention to this matter.

(my name)

My hope is that I will shortly receive a reply with an update to at least let me know if receiving the requested numbers will be expensive, and if so, how expensive. Better would be if I could get some kind of estimate as to when I can expect the information, but I'll take what I can get.

On the official and social response to male rape victims

Maybe we should advocate for government authorities to treat a kick to the crotch differently depending on the sex of the victim. After all, it's common knowledge that it hurts much worse for a guy to be kicked there... so kicking a gal in the crotch really isn't that big of a deal, right? I mean, it's not like she's got testicles, so her experience of crotch-kicking-related pain and suffering just cannot compare to the experience of a guy. It should be fine if a kick to a female's nether regions is considered a less criminal act, treated by society with less concern, and taken less seriously when reported. In fact, we really shouldn't be referring to the behavior in the same terms, as it means so much more when it happens to a guy.   
We could label it felonious assault when the victim is male, and simple assault when the victim is female, because we know that the level of injury to a female is not as bad. Knowing how harmful a kick to the crotch can be for a man, it shouldn't bother anyone if female victims of crotch-kicking aren't afforded the same considerations as male victims, either in law or policy. If prosecutors decide to be pickier about which cases of simple assault to the crotch they pursue, that's only because the reduced extent of potential damage in cases of female victims means less potential evidence of the crime. Even though this means people will know they can, in the absence of witnesses, kick females in the crotch with near impunity, nobody should object to the difference in treatment, because simple assault is still a crime, even if it isn't the same as felonious assault.
As long as, you know, we say that nobody deserves to get kicked in the crotch, it's perfectly acceptable to neglect female victims a little, in favor of focusing on male victims, right?

Of course not.

That would be discriminatory.

There would be mass outrage if we argued that a kick to the crotch is a worse crime against men than against women. It would be said that by diminishing the seriousness of it when women are the target, we were tolerating violence against women, even though we would still be calling the assault a crime.

An assault should be treated according to its severity, not labeled and segregated by gender.
The sex of the victim does not define the actions of the perpetrator. 

An intimate sexual attack focusing on the genitals of the victim should not be labeled differently or treated differently in any way based on the victim's sex. Unfortunately, according to some, it is. U.S. government institutions, rape prevention advocacy organizations, victim's advocates, and women's groups, and government agencies and advocacy groups in several other nations discriminate in this way, despite ample evidence of male victimization and female perpetration. An intimate sexual attack focusing on a female's genitals is considered rape. An intimate sexual attack focusing on a male's genitals is considered less than rape.

As a result, advocacy, policy, and law have all been based on treating rape as a crisis faced by women, but not experienced by men. Programs focus on assisting female victims, with few resources left to assist male victims. Male victims have less support from law enforcement, less support from the criminal justice system, and less support from their overall community. In fact, male victims of rape are not only pushed aside, but stigmatized for complaining about being victimized. Myths related to forced envelopment are considered common knowledge.
You can't get an erection unless you're turned on.
There are two problems with this belief.
First, erection can occur in the absence of emotional sexual arousal. Erection is an autonomic reflex initiated by the parasympathetic nervous system. Though emotional arousal can cause an erection, an erection can also occur as an automatic response to physical stimulation, even when emotional arousal is absent.

Second, emotional arousal is not consent, and it doesn't override verbal refusal, or the inability to refuse or consent due to a compromised mental state such as intoxication. Even if he is turned on, if the perpetrator ignores or contravenes the victim's choice in the matter, the perpetrator is committing rape.   
No means no, even when his body looks like it is saying yes.
A woman couldn't overpower a man. If he didn't want to have sex, he could have stopped her.
Again, there are two things wrong with this belief.
First, not every man is big and strong, and not every woman is small and weak. Not every rape involves an adult man, either. There are times when a female rapist can physically overpower a male victim. Female rapists who can't physically overpower a victim on their own sometimes use intoxicants to weaken their victims.

Second, physical force is not the only way to commit rape. Coercion can be used to take away a male victim's ability to refuse just the same as it can with a female victim, including threat of force, or threats to commit another crime against the victim, threat of blackmail, or threat of false accusation. Female rapists also have a method of coercion which male rapists cannot use: The societal taboo against men physically hurting women, even under duress. The threat of fallout from breaking that taboo can keep a male victim from fighting back, even if he is capable of overpowering his attacker.

The power of that taboo cannot be underestimated. It is trained into boys from an early age that while they may be rough and aggressive with each other, girls are an exception, entitled to special consideration, because girls are smaller and weaker. They are taught to enforce this taboo against other boys who violate it. This is told to boys even though during that age, it is often not true that girls are smaller and weaker. They're raised with the knowledge that girls can get away with physical aggression toward them, and they are not permitted to retaliate. Often, they're raised to view females as their responsibility to protect and nurture, even those with whom they are not directly involved, with admonishments like "ladies first," and punishment dealt and stigma attached to any male who doesn't follow the rules. Societal taboos of such gravity are not easily broken by most individuals, even when facing adverse conditions.

To expect them, after all of that, to be prepared to aggressively defend against a female attacker would be ludicrous, especially in a circumstance in which they have no witness to support their claim that the aggression was justified.
If you didn't want it, you must be gay.
The first and foremost wrong in this is the way it often gets used - as a way of shaming male victims into silence. People would rather belittle, marginalize, and mischaracterize the victim than acknowledge female perpetration of sex crimes.

Second, it's based on the assumption that men always want sex, and have no standards or preferences when it comes to where they get it.

There are many reasons why a straight guy might not want sex from a given female. He could be in a relationship, and simply be loyal to his love. He could be maintaining a celibate lifestyle, either temporary (as in, waiting for marriage) or permanently (as some do for religious reasons.) He could have a specific disinterest in the perpetrator; she could have poor hygiene, be someone else's presumed monogamous intimate partner, be someone he considers off-limits (a friend's ex, or a boss's daughter, for instance), be someone he doesn't trust or who he sees as having power over him (any authority), or he could simply not be attracted to her. Or, he could be underage, and not qualified to decide for himself whether or not he should have sex.
At least you don't have to worry about getting pregnant.
In the case of a male victim, this is dodging the truth. The worry of a female victim is that she might become pregnant. The worry of the male victim of a female rapist is that if his rapist becomes pregnant, there is nothing he can do about it. A female victim can have an abortion, or opt for adoption if she chooses to carry the child. A male victim is shit out of luck. Not only will he become a father against his will, but he'll have to live with the knowledge that his child is in the custody of his rapist, and he can be made to pay his rapist child support for the duration of the child's underage years.

That leads to the next myth:
It couldn't have been rape if you ejaculated. You wouldn't have an orgasm during a rape.
Obviously, part of the counter to this myth is the same as the myth about men overpowering their attackers. Sometimes a rapist will drug her victim to ensure that he cannot or will not refuse or defend himself. An incapacitated victim who can still produce an erection can also ejaculate.

Another counter to this is that sometimes the victim is a victim because he is under the age of consent, and not qualified to decide whether or not he should have sex.

However, just like an erection, ejaculation is an autonomic reflex , and can be caused strictly by stimulation, even in the absence of emotional arousal.

And the last, sneakiest myth, the one people believe without thinking about it:
It isn't as traumatic for a male to be raped by a female as for a female to be raped by a male. 
Not only is this wrong, in some cases the truth is the opposite. Female victims, though they may not be universally supported in their recovery, do have community and justice system support. Sparse representation in the justice system and advocacy community can isolate a male victim, leaving him on his own to deal with emotional trauma that can include feelings of anger, powerlessness, shame, disbelief and shock, anxiety, fear, emasculation, and depression.

Just as a female victim does, a male victim may feel made unclean by the experience, especially if anything about the nature of it violated his moral, ethical, or religious code. He may feel dishonored, or duped. A man raped by envelopment is likely to suffer confusion, or cognitive dissonance, as the memory of his body's involuntary reaction and his knowledge of how sex works compete with his knowledge that he did not want what was done to him. His experience of emotional pain related to the rape will likely compete with his understanding of society's attitudes about men and sex. He may question his own sexuality because of social attitudes about men and sex.

He may blame himself for the experience, even if it was violent, even if he protested, even though he was averse to the attack. If he does, his self-blame will be compounded by social attitudes he encounters, reinforced by popular media portrayals of men and heterosexual sex, and of female on male sexual assault.

Because they are trained from early childhood to "tough everything out," men are more likely to internalize their emotional responses to being raped. Having always been told they are not permitted to acknowledge and seek relief from the experience of vulnerability, self-doubt, hurt, anxiety, or fear, they cannot simply flip an emotional switch and begin explaining these responses to others. Having been trained to present themselves as strong, capable, and confident, they cannot simply reverse that effort and vent their pain. Having been raised to be independent, or self-dependent, they're ill-equipped to seek help in assessing and addressing the emotional fallout one experiences following a rape.

However, a review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998 by William C. Holmes, MD, MSCE and Gail B. Slap, MD, MS. “Sexual Abuse of Boys: Definition, Prevalence, Correlates, Sequelae, and Management,” noted that sexually exploited boys, including those who did not consider themselves victims, presented an increased rate of a broad range of issues indicating trauma.

Victims experienced greater difficulty controlling sexual feelings and were hypersexual, were more likely to engage in high-risk sexual behaviors such as unprotected sex, prostitution, and promiscuity, as well as drug and alcohol abuse and had an increased rate of sexually transmitted diseases and partner pregnancy.

The reviewers also found an increased rate of post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, borderline personality disorder, paranoia, dissociation, somatization, anger, aggressive behavior, and poor school performance, gender role confusion, and insecurity about intimate partner relationships, with both men and women.

The researchers reported that sexually abused boys experienced twice the rate of low self-esteem, behavioral problems, and antisocial personality disorder. They are four times as likely  to experience major depression, and could be up to 14 times more likely to attempt suicide, twice as likely to run away from home or have legal problems, and three times more likely to have bulimia, are up to five times as likely to report sexually related problems, including sexual dysfunction. The impact is clear. It is just not as widely acknowledged.

The myths surrounding male rape victims should look familiar to anyone who has had the term "rape culture" explained to them. Here, you have victim blaming, victim shaming, and outright denial of the victim's experience. You have the normalization of a female sense of entitlement to expect sex from men, to presume themselves desired, and to assume that consent is given, even when it's clearly not.

And upon learning that the experience of specifically genital-contact rape, rape committed in the most traditionally intimate way a male experiences sex, is as common among males as it is among females,  American agencies and organizations which present themselves to the public as advocates for victims, and advocates for justice have instead perpetuated that culture of tolerance for rape by excluding or attempting to exclude that experience when defining the term.

For those who have been victimized, that's a real kick to the crotch.

If you call a tail a leg

Feminists frequently use the NAFALT argument (Not All Feminists are Like That) as a counter to criticism of the overt, measurable actions of the feminist movement. This is expected by many who use it to eliminate such criticism, to distance feminism from the actions of mainstream feminist organizations, and to legitimize the use of "feminist" as a label for anything the individual wishes to associate with women as a group.
As I've pointed out recently to some feminist debaters on reddit, the NAFALT argument has been soundly debunked and really, destroyed, and I've presented sources addressing it.

Hunting For Archtypes has a very concise counter.

Girlwriteswhat's video addressing NAFALT explains in greater detail.

Girlwriteswhat's rant "To the nice feminists" further explains why fringe feminism does not characterize or define the movement.

Typhonblue very concisely and clearly explained why the basis for feminist theory precludes a cooperative relationship with the men's rights movement.

I've explained why, given the history and attitudes of feminism, one cannot honestly argue that the movement itself has strictly benevolent intent.

All of these arguments continue to be ignored by feminists who insist that NAFALT is a legitimate argument. Quite frequently, this insistence is made in the context of discussions in which NAFALT is followed by the insinuated (never spoken) assertion that the individual's brand of feminism legitimizes all feminism, and the insinuated conclusion "therefore, Feminism Is Benevolent."

To address that argument, one must look back at a riddle which has been used as an explanatory example in various discussions in my family for generations.

This begins with a simple question.

If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a healthy dog have?

Most people will answer that question the same way. "Five, of course, because before you made the tail a leg, there were four. Four plus one is five."

That most common answer is the wrong answer to the riddle, but allowing the answer to be given is the right way to get across the message that needs to be conveyed.

The point of the riddle is that if you call a tail a leg, a dog still only has 4 legs.

Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg.

The same thing is true with feminism. Associating one's own particular brand of politics with women, and calling it "feminism" does not change what feminism is. It doesn't change the basic nature of core feminist theory. It doesn't go back and erase all of the movement's activism, and it doesn't negate the movement's current initiatives, nor does it change anything about how feminist advocates have responded to men's issues, and to men talking about those issues.

Combining the belief that one's own political point of view is "nice" with calling oneself a feminist does not make feminism nice. Instead of associating the movement with the individual, the individual is associating him-or-herself with the movement and all of its overt, measurable characteristics - not just the ones he or she likes.

This is an important concept to communicate when addressing attempts to use the obfuscating NAFALT argument to rehabilitate the ugly image feminism has developed in the public view, and especially in the view of those who have been damaged or witnessed harm done by the practical application of feminist ideology and advocacy in law and policy. It's necessary to get across to "feminists" using that argument as a cushion between the public and awareness of malicious feminist activism that instead of softening the image of feminism, they're telling people "what you have seen of feminism is true about me."

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