Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Judge drops rape charges in gang rape

This was forwarded to me and I just laid my head in my arms for awhile to revel in my disbelief and heartbreak.


Even if you aren't able to attend, please do spread the word and equally as importantly voice your opinion to Judge Teresa Carr Deni at the polls on Tuesday, November 6, 2007.
***************************************************************************­***************** PRESS CONFERENCE Thursday November 1, 2007 1pm Outside Municipal Court (Criminal Justice Center) 1301 Filbert St, Philadelphia
Monday October 29, 2007 To the Editor:
We were appalled to learn that on Oct 4 Municipal Judge Teresa Carr Deni dropped all rape and assault charges in the case of a woman gang-raped at gunpoint. Because the woman was working as a prostitute, Judge Deni decided that she could not have been raped and changed the charge to "theft of services." Deni later said that this case "minimizes true rape cases and demeans women who are really raped."
As groups organizing against rape and in support of victims, we could not disagree more. *All* women have the right to protection from violence. The idea that any woman is "asking for it" is a lie that we fought for decades to destroy. It is especially offensive to see it revived by a female judge, who reached her position as a result of the women's movement and is now using her power to deny justice to the most vulnerable women.
Deni told Daily News columnist Jill Porter that the victim met another client before reporting the rape. We have learned that this is completely untrue; the transcript of the hearing proves it. For a judge to make a false (and self-serving) accusation against a victim in the press, in addition to her prejudiced and reckless contempt for women's safety, confirms that she is unfit to serve. The outcry following Deni's decision shows how out of step with public opinion she is and that most people believe that prostitute women deserve the same protection from violence that we all have a right to expect.
No woman is safe when prostitute women aren't safe. Serial rapists and murderers often target prostitute women knowing that they are more likely to get away with it. Labeled criminals by the prostitution laws, women are less likely to report violence for fear of arrest themselves. When sex workers do report, the violence is often dismissed. Here, the same man and his friends gang-raped another woman four days later. Decisions like Deni's are a green light for further attacks.
The victim in this case was a Black single mother with a young child. In Philadelphia, where one in four people lives in poverty and welfare has been almost completely dismantled, many women have been forced into prostitution to survive. This should not make them fair game for rapists.
We are glad that the District Attorney is pursuing the original rape charges. The public can make *our* voices heard in the November 6 election: vote "No" on the retention of Teresa Carr Deni as Judge of the Municipal Court of Philadelphia.
*Mary Kalyna* On behalf of Global Women's Strike Philadelphia, PA
and Women Against Rape US PROStitutes Collective Black Women's Rape Action Project (BWRAP) Legal Action for Women Every Mother is a Working Mother Network Wages Due Lesbians Payday Men's Network
-- STOP THE VIOLENCE WEAR RED ON OCTOBER 31, 2007 http://documentthesilence.wordpress.com/

2 comments:

  1. Rape is NOT an Occupational Hazard!

    Sex Workers Join Women's Groups and Sexual Assault Survivors' Groups to Urge PA Voters to Vote 'No' on the Retention of Judge Teresa Carr Deni



    Judge Teresa Carr Deni spawned outrage from all directions after ruling on October 4th that a sex worker that was raped at gunpoint by multiple men was NOT sexually assaulted, rather she was just robbed. Deni commented in an Oct. 12th interview that this case "minimizes true rape cases and demeans women who are really raped."



    Grassroots activists around the country, including nationwide sex worker-led organizations such as the Desiree Alliance and regional advocacy groups from coast to coast responded with anger and disgust for Deni's disregard of the basic human rights of the rape victim in this case. "Deni's decision in this case sends a message that sex workers can be targeted for violence with impunity. Rape of sex workers is common, alarmingly under-reported, and rarely taken seriously by authorities," Kitten Infinite of Sex Workers' Outreach Project said. "Violence against sex workers is perpetuated by the state through discriminatory laws and judicial rulings such as this."



    Sex workers in the US and abroad are organizing and becoming more vocal about the violence and discrimination that they face. "Because prostitution is criminalized, our human rights and our boundaries are clearly not respected," Mariko Passion, a board member from the Desiree Alliance commented, she continues, "…forcing or manipulating sexual intercourse by fraud, fear or coercion is rape." On Oct 30th, after considerable pressure from sex workers and feminists around the country, the PA Bar Association issued a statement condemning Deni's action, stating that, "The victim has been brutalized twice in this case: first by the assailants, and now by the court."



    The Desiree Alliance applauds Association Chancellor Jane Dalton's review of the matter and we find some satisfaction in the fact that the District Attorney's office has re-filed rape charges against the perpetrator of this despicable crime. However, we still call on voters to vote 'No' on retaining Deni in the election on November 6th. The Desiree Alliance will hold a virtual press conference and rally on Monday, November 5th at 5pm Eastern for sex workers and allies to comment publicly about this case and how to prevent further discrimination against sex workers.



    Who: Desiree Alliance and Affiliates

    What: "Rape is NOT an Occupational Hazard!" Virtual rally

    Why: Judge Teresa Carr Deni should not be retained as a Municipal Court Judge in Philadelphia

    When: Monday, November 5, 2007 5pm Eastern, 2pm Pacific

    Where: http://www.BoundNotGagged.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. The part of this story you don’t know is that this was a manipulation of the press by political operatives, who purposely fabricated a twisted version of the facts right before an election, to smear Judge Deni’s reputation for political reasons that have nothing to do with the case they used to launch the campaign against her.

    Once they got one paper to print their twisted version of the facts, the other papers piled on, repeating the false facts from the first story.

    What you think happened is not what happened, and her political opponents knew they had her over a barrel, because the rules of judicial conduct prevent her from arguing the facts of a pending case in the press.

    The operatives accomplished their goal, which was to create a public outrage to fan the flames of a public drum beat to remove Judge Deni from office.

    Some people will not find it easy to accept that they were played.

    Others who know how politics are played in Philly will acknowledge that what I am saying has a certain familiar ring of truth to it.

    I have known Judge Deni for better than 30 years. I am telling you that what you read in the papers, and the firestorm that was created out of it, was a calculated political manipulation that had nothing to do with the truth.

    ReplyDelete

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