What’s Current: UNAids ‘grossly mishandled’ sexual assault investigation

What’s Current is Feminist Current’s daily news roundup.

UNAids crest (Image: Geneva Peacebuilding Platform)
  • Last week, UNAids concluded that allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Luiz Loures, a high-ranking official, were not substantiated. Code Blue, a group that campaigns against sexual abuse and exploitation by UN peacekeeping forces, is calling the in-house investigation a “gross miscarriage of justice.” In an open letter to UNAids the group states:

“Every other institution called to account through the movement sparked by #MeToo is rushing to give survivors the benefit of the doubt; only in the United Nations are the victims hounded into resignation and despair.”

  • The mother of a sexual assault victim in Kamloops, B.C. alleges that her daughter’s elementary school tried to sweep the issue under the rug.
  • NYPD officers claim the “sex” was “consensual” after raping a teen in the back of their police car while she was in custody.
  • Journalist at The Atlantic documents the lessons he learned by striving for gender parity in expert quotes and sources.
  • Former Ontario conservative party leader Patrick Brown finally addresses sexual harassment claims. He tweeted: “#Metoo can be a tool to lift society and I applaud that effort. False allegations however undermine that good work. The truth will come out. Thank you to all.”
Jess Martin
Jess Martin

Jess Martin is a public relations professional, an aspiring writer, and an assistant editor at Feminist Current. She prefers to write about feminist topics, disability, or environmental issues, but could be persuaded to broaden her horizons in exchange for payment and/or food. In her spare time Jess can be found knitting, gardening, or lying in the fetal position, mulling over political theory that no one in their right mind cares about.

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  • therealcie

    Even if the sex was consensual (it wasn’t), having sex with a prisoner in the back of a police car is gross misconduct. Sometimes the excuses given by these perpetrators beggar belief.

    • Bleeps3

      There is no way this was the first time those cops had done this.

  • Elara

    Exactly. It’s unbelievable that there needs to be laws like that in place. You’d think this was something anyone, and especially a police officer, would know is something you just don’t do.

    Black people spoke up and they spoke the truth about police brutality. The reaction from the powerful can only be seen as a classic, predictable one. They’ll do anything to defend themselves and protect each other.

  • Christine

    Police are among the worst for “circling the wagons”. We all know there are officers who do good work, but the force as a whole has a lot to answer for. The culture is sick. And honestly, I don’t believe anyone is attracted to that kind of work who doesn’t have a thirst for power.

    Perhaps you’ve heard this one: I’ve had a number of people tell me BLM and feminism are “distractions” and the rich are thrilled that we talk about those issues when what we should really be doing is dismantling capitalism. (Guess the colour and sex of the people explaining this to me.)

    • Mexican American Lesbian

      > Perhaps you’ve heard this one: I’ve had a number of people tell me BLM and feminism are “distractions”
      and the rich are thrilled that we talk about those issues when what we
      should really be doing is dismantling capitalism. (Guess the colour and
      sex of the people explaining this to me.)

      This isn’t an unfair point. The rich are very thrilled we are. Rich white female plutocrats are thrilled that feminism has had its radical far-left element removed from it. They’ve been thrilled since Gloria Steinem basically admitted to taking money from the CIA to do this.

      Of course white male brocialists will make this point, but it’s not unfair.

    • lk

      I always find it odd that people (often white males) think fighting the abuse of people of color and of women as unimportant. Or that even by acknowledging the existence of racism or sexism that we are distracting ourselves from more important things.

      Especially when we take into account just how much capitalism heavily relies on the bodies, free/cheap labor of POC’s and women.

      I see ending racism and sexism as important parts of dismantling capitalism.

  • Re both rapist cops and UN

    Goes to show just how men use power, how they close ranks and protect and enable each other. The stats on police officers having to resign over sexual assault are staggering. And they are just the ones caught out.

    There needs to be a sexual assault investigative institution in every city in the world and it should be run by women and it should have some teeth.

    • Mexican American Lesbian

      Capitalist women will do the same thing as capitalist men did. Close ranks on one another when they get accused of sexual assault.

      Women can rape too. Inverting the poles of an oppressive system does nothing to abolish it.

      • Meghan Murphy

        “Women ca rape too.”

        What does this mean? I mean, the truth is that they don’t… Men do not experience rape at the hands of women — rather, it is other males who rape them. I don’t understand the purpose of saying “women can rape too” when we know full well what is happening in reality.

  • oneclickboedicea

    I had this happen to my daughter aged six who was sexually assaulted, beaten up, called misogynistic hate speech, had her clothing ripped and glasses broken by six boys in her class acting as a gang. The teaching staff closed ranks, put her in a special needs class, sought legal advice for banning me from school property and in the first stage of my official complaint admitted to the behaviour but called it rough play, and by the end of the complaint were denying any violence had taken place at all. I took it all the way up to the Secretary of State for Education. All the officials wanted to know was had the school done a complaints procedure, no one actually cared if the complaints procedure – that of having the school investigate itself over sexual assault – was robust and honest. It took two years and I got nowhere. The only good thing was I used it as a teachable moment to show my daughter how to stand up for herself, how I had her back all day long, and when to give up on trying to get people to do the right thing when you’re not in a position to enforce anything. She has a good and thorough grounding in radical feminism due to this episode.

    • Hanakai

      If this happened in a school in the USA, it would be worthwhile to sue the school and school district, as schools are under a legal obligation to protect their minor students.

    • lk

      I am sorry to hear this happened to your daughter, but I second what Hanakai said:did you try suing the school? or did you not want to do that?

      and your daughter is sooo lucky to have you!

  • Meghan Murphy

    Please stop responding in such manipulative ways to my comments. I did not say it was impossible for women to rape. But this is not what is going on in reality/in general. Men are not living in fear of being attacked by women. The exception does not make the rule.

    I also don’t believe I’ve ever said I want more men to join radical feminism, as in, I want to recruit them or something… I have said that I welcome men as allies if they are true allies.

  • Meghan Murphy

    lol I know what I wrote, I know what I argued then and what I argue today. I also re-read the piece *I* wrote before responding to you. Don’t lecture me about my own work, beliefs, and arguments, thanks. I do think ‘female on male rape’ is insignificant compared to male violence against women (and men), yes.

  • Meghan Murphy

    This person’s first comment here (as well as some of their other comments) led me to suspect they were in fact male, not a lesbian. I can’t confirm this, of course.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Whatever dude.

  • FierceMild

    You aren’t arguing in good faith at all. Perhaps you never were. Ms. Murphy didn’t say that women are incapable of rape, she said women as a class do not systematically rape men as a class. There are women who perpetrate forcible sex on men but that is a vanishingly rare occurrence.

  • FierceMild

    But female-on-male rape is insignificant compare to male-on-male rape and both of them fade in comparison to male-on-female rape.

  • FierceMild

    I read your article and you appear to be seriously skewing the studies you quote. The CDC statistics report that “An estimated 6.8 million men were made to penetrate another person in their lifetime.” They do not report on the sex of the perpetrators.

    The same study also says, “Nearly 23 million women and 1.7 million men have been the victims of completed or attempted rape at some point in their life.” In my estimation 23 million women is a great deal more significant than 1.7 million men. Unless of course you’re counting the rapes of men as more significant than the rapes of women. Even if we assume all male victims are victimized by women, a bogus claim I don’t think you’d make, you would still be saying that the 8.5 million men victimized in that scenario is somehow equivalent to the 23 million women victimized. Not true.

    Another of your citations is to your own conclusions posted separately as if they are an additional piece of information and not in fact your thesis in another location. In fact, you really appear to be pushing a strange narrative based on your un-reviewed and un-explained interpretation of data that does not support your thesis and leads to a further obscuring of the facts surrounding sexual violence.

    • lk

      To suggest that the rate of female perpetrators of rape is close to the number of male perpetrators of rape is completely contradictory to reality and facts.

      “leads to a further obscuring of the facts surrounding sexual violence”
      This need to act as though females commit acts of sexual violence at similar rates of males just bring us back into the trap of talking about “violent people” instead of allowing us to discuss the reality: sexually violent men.

      While I think our goal should be to eliminate all violence, I think its a bit ridiculous to act as though the bulk of violent acts (especially sexually violent acts) are not committed by males.

  • Mexican American Lesbian

    You’ll notice through my post history that I support feminism. Just because I disagree with Meghan Murphy’s interpretation of male rape doesn’t mean I disagree about it.

    • Carole

      There is a distressing pattern in the comments section of this site, promulgated by Ms. Murphy herself, of accusing a woman of having a Y chromosome if she doesn’t subscribe to all of the philosophies articulated here. It’s unproductive, divisive, and sophomoric.

      Having said that, I read the Scientific American article, and I think it’s mostly crap. Particularly the statement, “attention to sexual victimization perpetrated by women should be understood as a necessary next step in continuing and expanding upon this important legacy.” The necessary next step is to fully criminalize male-on-female rape, instead of letting men off the hook for it. The reason that people are skeptical about female-on-male rape is that consuming enough alcohol to render consent invalid typically results in flaccidity. You didn’t specify what happened in your cases, and maybe you can’t, for confidentiality reasons. I suspect that they involved other fact patterns.

      • Meghan Murphy

        The assumption of male commenters is not due to disagreement, but behaviour/style of engagement. Commenters here are usually able to suss out trolls pretty quickly, as well as males putting forth male-centered arguments under the guise of being ‘feminists’ or ‘lesbians’. Sure, we are wrong sometimes, but most often we are right.

    • Carole

      P.S. thank you for the link. Although I didn’t find the Scientific American article particularly helpful, the Am. J. Public Health article was much more informative.