Serial Rapist on the playa

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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby ESDchief » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:06 pm

Rachel,

I'm so very sorry to hear about your daughters experience at this year's event. Part of my responsibility as the Operations Chief of the Emergency Services Department at Burning Man includes managing the Mental Health Branch, which includes sexual assault response specialists.

Unfortunately rape kits are not available on playa because there are very specific requirements for collecting evidence that in in the greater Reno can only be done by a few specially trained and designated Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) Nurses at a legally approved facility.

However, our statistics, including sexual assault, are published every year and are available as far back as 2001. Here is the link to last years report: http://afterburn.burningman.com/11/play ... gency.html

More information about ESD can be found here: http://911.burningman.com. I encourage anyone who wants to follow up on this or related issues to contact me at 911@burningman.com.
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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby Bob » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:10 pm

ESDchief wrote:Rachel,

I'm so very sorry to hear about your daughters experience at this year's event. Part of my responsibility as the Operations Chief of the Emergency Services Department at Burning Man includes managing the Mental Health Branch, which includes sexual assault response specialists.

Unfortunately rape kits are not available on playa because there are very specific requirements for collecting evidence that in in the greater Reno can only be done by a few specially trained and designated Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) Nurses at a legally approved facility.

However, our statistics, including sexual assault, are published every year and are available as far back as 2001. Here is the link to last years report: http://afterburn.burningman.com/11/play ... gency.html

More information about ESD can be found here: http://911.burningman.com. I encourage anyone who wants to follow up on this or related issues to contact me at 911@burningman.com.



Welcome to the eplaya. Please introduce yourself in the appropriate forum.

Oh, and thank you for your immense sympathy.
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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby omgrey » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:14 pm

I'm so very sorry this happened to your daughter. Has she been able to identify the accomplice at all? Please email me if you'd like to talk privately. steampunkgrey (at) gmail

The reason I ask is that my rapist was on the playa this year, and I gave BRC911 and the Rangers his description and information. He tried to confront me at B.E.D., of all the nerve, and it took 3 people to get him to leave. He started stalking me later in the week. It was horrifying.

And, yes, I filed reports for both assaults, and I filed a report against him with Pershing County, too. They were very, very helpful with what they could do, which is pretty much nothing. Even with reports filed, there isn't enough evidence to move forward with a criminal investigation. Still, there is a record now for future victims to work from.

First, it's not too late to file charges if she wants to do that. It can be done even months later. If she's up to it, it can be a way to regain some power. It certainly was for me.

Second, and this is harder to write than any of you can imagine, even if she had a rape kit done, even if they could find the guy, even if they had enough evidence to move forward with a criminal investigation and it made it to trial (only 14% of reported cases do), then there is a 3% chance he'd be convicted.

That's right. 97% of rapists walk free.
Every rapist will rape 6 to 10 different women.

I was as naive as some of the comments I see here when it comes to thinking that the police can do anything. They really can't. It comes down to he said, she said, and with "reasonable doubt," the rapists walks free 97% of the time.

All he has to say is "it was consensual." Quick presto, reasonable doubt. Especially at a place like BM.

This is why it's not a private issue. It's a cultural one.
Burning Man is a wonderful place to start addressing this seriously and finding ways to identify and prosecute (if possible), ostracize if not.

I applaud the survivor on here who prosecuted her rapist successfully. I applaud any woman who comes forward and makes a report whether or not a criminal case can be pursued. I applaud any woman who survives such a horrific ordeal.

This is not okay. Not even a little bit.
My rapist was on the playa, and I couldn't do anything about it but warn a handful of camps. And I did. One of them even put up a poster warning others. They told other camps. And they must've told other camps because it seems that there were information sheets at several places I didn't contact.

Good.

That's what our community can do.

And for anyone who even dares to utter "guilty until proven innocent" in the case of an accused rapist, please let me repeat **97% walk free**
Only 1.5% of accusations are false, so there is a 98.5% chance she's telling the truth. Believe the survivor. Question the accused, and if there are more than one survivor making such accusations, ostracize him from the community.

That's what our community can do when the law can do nothing.

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Last edited by omgrey on Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby maladroit » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:19 pm

The strangulation bruises and the other victims seem to lower the possibility of false accusation a hell of a lot, too.

We should probably all be hoping the next time he does this, he doesn't choke his victim a few seconds too long.

Strangulation is attempted murder.
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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby ESDchief » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:22 pm

Dr Tootay wrote:I believe there are efforts through ESD volunteers that can accompany victims to Reno for the rape kit exam and who would then be able to bring the person back to the playa when it was completed. Perhaps more education is needed by ESD to make sure victims are aware of their options and choices so they can make informed decisions. And there are trained rape crisis counselors with ESD.


You're correct, ESD sexual assault specialists do accompany victims when dealing with law enforcement and their initial investigation on playa, as well as coordinating with the Sexual Assault Response Team in Reno for the forensic exam. Since they're sexual assault specialists and not layperson volunteers, a key part of their role with the victim is educate them about their options and support them while they make informed decisions, including how to get support once they return home. Feel free to follow up with us via email at 911@burningman.com
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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby omgrey » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:24 pm

ESDchief wrote:
You're correct, ESD sexual assault specialists do accompany victims when dealing with law enforcement and their initial investigation on playa, as well as coordinating with the Sexual Assault Response Team in Reno for the forensic exam. Since they're sexual assault specialists and not layperson volunteers, a key part of their role with the victim is educate them about their options and support them while they make informed decisions, including how to get support once they return home. Feel free to follow up with us via email at 911@burningman.com


Is there a way I can work to be trained for SART or as an ESD sexual assault specialist for the next burn? I'd gladly volunteer for that.
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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby littlewing » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:30 pm

Oh and BOB
"Welcome to the eplaya. Please introduce yourself in the appropriate forum.

Oh, and thank you for your immense sympathy."

Joseph Pred is head of ESD and one of the Senior Staff of Burning Man, in case you don't know.
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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby gyre » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:32 pm

Omgrey, I commend your persistence.


I do wonder how anyone has statistics about false allegations?
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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby ESDchief » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:32 pm

omgrey wrote:
ESDchief wrote:
You're correct, ESD sexual assault specialists do accompany victims when dealing with law enforcement and their initial investigation on playa, as well as coordinating with the Sexual Assault Response Team in Reno for the forensic exam. Since they're sexual assault specialists and not layperson volunteers, a key part of their role with the victim is educate them about their options and support them while they make informed decisions, including how to get support once they return home. Feel free to follow up with us via email at 911@burningman.com


Is there a way I can work to be trained for SART or as an ESD sexual assault specialist for the next burn? I'd gladly volunteer for that.


Contact us at 911@burningman.com and I'll put you in touch with our Mental Health volunteer coordinator who can answer your questions.
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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby maryanimal » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:33 pm

Dearest rblackraven,

I hope this finds your daughter well. I know she'll be confused, hurting, and wondering why and how this could've happened to her. She'll try to wrap her mind around what actually happened that night, and she'll start questioning herself. I hope she's allowing you to be a sounding board, just to listen, offering no advise. The less people she talks to the better, with the exception of a professional. If I may make a suggestion, if she wants to talk with a therapist, have her talk to a woman, only because she may not open up as much with a man unfortunately.

This is the most horrendous assault that a woman of any age can experience. The shame, the guilt, the fear, can immobilize them.

We need to bring rape kits to the playa. I'll be looking into it. I'll post what I find out. We may have to have a fundraiser if necessary. Can anyone tell me where the Dr's and nurses come from? Local hospitals? I'm going to call around tomorrow to get as much info as I can. This is an issue I can relate to.

Hug your daughters everyday. Teach them how to protect themselves, no matter what age they are. Let them know how much they are love.
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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby Snow » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:34 pm

all these stories are horrible, so sorry for the victims!
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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby ESDchief » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:38 pm

Dr Tootay wrote:I am puzzled why an advocate wasn't called since the rangers were involved and law enforcement. Part of the protocol is when there is a sexual assault or a domestic violence incident reported to the rangers, and ESD advocate is supposed to be paged to the scene as well.


It would be speculation to say that ESD wasn't on scene. Many participants don't differentiate between Rangers and ESD, and often refer to us as Rangers even though we wear different uniforms and perform different functions.
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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby BBadger » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:40 pm

Having rape kits would be a great benefit to the playa. However, they need to be administered and the data collected/stored in a legally certified manner in order to be usable as evidence. That'll probably be the most important part of any on-playa facility. Hopefully something positive like that comes out of this mess.
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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby omgrey » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:41 pm

Rachel,

If you or your daughter needs to talk, I'm right here. Other survivors have been my greatest support through this.

Have her call RAINN. There are wonderful resources (legal too) that can be found through them. There is no such thing as too much support during this time.

Please, please don't hesitate to reach out.
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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby maryanimal » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:46 pm

omgrey wrote:Rachel,

If you or your daughter needs to talk, I'm right here. Other survivors have been my greatest support through this.

Have her call RAINN. There are wonderful resources (legal too) that can be found through them. There is no such thing as too much support during this time.

Please, please don't hesitate to reach out.


Wonderful idea! http://www.rainn.org
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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby ESDchief » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:52 pm

maryanimal wrote:Dearest rblackraven,

We need to bring rape kits to the playa. I'll be looking into it. I'll post what I find out. We may have to have a fundraiser if necessary. Can anyone tell me where the Dr's and nurses come from? Local hospitals? I'm going to call around tomorrow to get as much info as I can. This is an issue I can relate to.


It isn't a matter of funding, it's just not legally feasible to have forensic exams out in the field. If it was we would already have them in place. Medical at Burning Man is managed by Burning Man's Emergency Services Department. More information about ESD is available here: http://911.burningman.com and you can follow up with us via email at 911@burningman.com.
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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby ESDchief » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:11 pm

littlewing wrote:As to rape kits on the playa-- there has been a great resistance to having them on the playa.


It's not a fair representation to say there has been "resistance" to having rape kits on playa since that implies that the Burning Man organization itself is resisting the concept, which is untrue. It isn't about funding, or having trained staff, the crux of the matter is legal and outside the hands of Burning Man and ESD. If it was feasible to do we would already have it in place.
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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby maladroit » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:19 pm

Well, someone needs to get a handle on it somehow. This type of crime is so often a spark in a tinder box. Either there's a way around these rather vaguely defined legal barriers, or someday there will be an angry mob doing what angry mobs do.
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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby thirt33n » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:24 pm

ESDchief wrote:
littlewing wrote:As to rape kits on the playa-- there has been a great resistance to having them on the playa.


It's not a fair representation to say there has been "resistance" to having rape kits on playa since that implies that the Burning Man organization itself is resisting the concept, which is untrue. It isn't about funding, or having trained staff, the crux of the matter is legal and outside the hands of Burning Man and ESD. If it was feasible to do we would already have it in place.



Hmmm...
Respectfully,...with the amount of money that goes into a city of 50,000 or so people, with grants that pay thousands and thousands of dollars and LEO with nightvision and hi tech this and that along with all the other amazing and state of the art shit going on out there in the desert....?

Sure, rape might not be on the top of everyone's list of priorities but bullshit if there can't be a designated state of the art legally certified medical examination room/trailer for everything necessary out there including rape kits and qualified staff. Way too much money being thrown around out there and in your SF headquarters to not get with the program on that.


of course this is my opinion and i could be "wrong". I'm going to guess that there are about to be some BIG changes made to this policy....and your deflecting of responsibility will soon have a solution, and YOU, Joseph, will be glad about it too. :wink:
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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby gyre » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:32 pm

There is already a great deal of forensic "science" with no science behind it.

If no one else is using mobile testing, doing this would open up the evidence to questions in court.
Is that worthwhile?
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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby maladroit » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:41 pm

I would expect we won't hear much more from Joseph on this subject. It's getting a little too pointed, and he's going to need to be careful what he says in official capacity.
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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby Lonesomebri » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:53 pm

littlewing wrote:Oh and BOB
"Welcome to the eplaya. Please introduce yourself in the appropriate forum.

Oh, and thank you for your immense sympathy."

Joseph Pred is head of ESD and one of the Senior Staff of Burning Man, in case you don't know.


Oh, Bob can sometimes be more dead-on aware of things than others........
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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby scott_k » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:55 pm

thirt33n wrote:
ESDchief wrote:
littlewing wrote:As to rape kits on the playa-- there has been a great resistance to having them on the playa.


It's not a fair representation to say there has been "resistance" to having rape kits on playa since that implies that the Burning Man organization itself is resisting the concept, which is untrue. It isn't about funding, or having trained staff, the crux of the matter is legal and outside the hands of Burning Man and ESD. If it was feasible to do we would already have it in place.



Hmmm...
Respectfully,...with the amount of money that goes into a city of 50,000 or so people, with grants that pay thousands and thousands of dollars and LEO with nightvision and hi tech this and that along with all the other amazing and state of the art shit going on out there in the desert....?

Sure, rape might not be on the top of everyone's list of priorities but bullshit if there can't be a designated state of the art legally certified medical examination room/trailer for everything necessary out there including rape kits and qualified staff. Way too much money being thrown around out there and in your SF headquarters to not get with the program on that.




Joseph clearly states that it's not a matter of fundraising or resources. I'm sure BMORG could have the state-of-the-art exam trailer that you speak of, but any test results coming from the facility would not be considered legitimate evidence in a court of law. My intuition is that BMORG takes every possible measure to reduce liability and keep insurance costs down. Does it really make sense to speculate that there is no rape kit facility on the playa because BMORG is unwilling to invest in protecting its citizens? Sounds like a weak conspiracy theory.

IMO, Pershing County is the conspiracy. I agree that there should be no reason why a playa forensic lab would be any less qualified to produce court-recognized evidence. $180,000 law enforcement budget with no means of collecting critical evidence in the event of sexual assault/ rape?

For the record, every Pershing County Sheriff officer that I conversed with at BM 2012 was friendly, polite, professional, and helpful when I asked them where the nearest porta-potties were. I have nothing against the men and women who work for this organization and I have had nothing but positive experiences with individual officers. As someone who drives 5MPH and does not bring drugs onto the playa, I appreciate the service that PCS brings to the playa.

However, it's fairly clear that someone higher in the bureaucracy doesn't really care about making it possible for us to have an authorized facility on the playa.

Perhaps BMORG could assist by offering transportation back to the playa from the hospital in Reno? I would be more than willing to pick up one of our own from the hospital in Reno as part of a volunteer shift. This seems realistic.
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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby thirt33n » Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:13 pm

^
understood, although the legal part i believe to be a cop-out....which is my point. This is possibly the biggest temporary desert money power pit ever created. There are those directly responsible and those indirectly responsible. If they do not get their shit together and make this "feasible" then they are being irresponsible. We(they) have the technology. They have the money. I am not pointing the finger at the BMORG solely, although they are the ones who need to spearhead,...the finger is pointed at all the AGENCIES and the BMORG for overlooking something or at least throwing it conveniently in the "not feasible" category. That's a load of crap. This is Black Rock City. It can be done. ..and should be done. Nothing to lose except someones money...oh yeah, money. Who cares about rape when someone just stepped out with a pocket full...bullshit. (IMO) :roll:

edit P.S. Scott K, I hear your solutions too.
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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby scott_k » Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:25 pm

I agree that it should be made feasible.

addendum: Based on what Joseph has told us, it sounds like this would require revisions to legislation, which can take years. For 2013, BMORG should consider more immediate solutions for facilitating transportation to and from the facility in Reno.
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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby trilobyte » Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:19 am

Here's your chance to prove it's a cop-out, thirt33n - bring out a rape kit camp next year. Show us all how easy it is and expose the cop-out.
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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby omgrey » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:22 am

gyre wrote:Omgrey, I commend your persistence.

I do wonder how anyone has statistics about false allegations?


With what I've experienced over the past several months after speaking out about my assaults and trying to warn others, both with losing friends and an entire community, I'm not sure your kudos are intended as sincere or sarcastic. But I choose to take them as sincere anyway. Thank you.

As far as how anyone has statistics for a crime that is grossly under reported to begin with is a very good question. I suppose it would depend on how one defines "rape" and how one defines "false." Definitions vary, legally, between states, and the definitions certainly vary between what can legally be proven as rape and what is emotionally, psychologically, morally, or socially considered rape.

Unfortunately, "rape" is still considered the stereotypical stranger rape with great, violent force in a park or a dark alley, where upwards of 70% of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows. Perhaps *you* define "rape" differently than the rape victim. Still, believe the victim. It's not *you* who will suffer months of PTSD (if not years) because of the violation. It's not you who has had their very self and sexuality stolen. It's not you who can never trust again. It's not your definition that matters.

Also, if you take the rapists' word for it, the "false" reporting statistics are much higher.

However, 1 in 8 men do self report rape, according to the Yes Means Yes "Meet the Predators" post that discusses a study done at a college, as long as the The R Word isn't used.

Victims' lives are destroyed by rape, whether or not there is enough evidence for a criminal investigation. It can take years and extensive therapy to recover. I've seen men questioning why a woman is making such a big deal over 5 minutes...sometimes, it doesn't even have to take that long. It can take a split second to sexually violate someone in a way that scars them for life. Rape is designed to humiliate and destroy. Period.

The reason I believe the 1.5% as opposed to higher numbers is because since my assaults and coming out as a survivor, every. single. woman. I've spoken with about it has admitted that she, too, was raped. I believe it because 1600+ women are raped every. single. day. in the United States, but those rapes aren't reported by the newspapers because it is so very common. I believe it because whenever someone admits to a false report, it's all over the news, skewing public perception that it happens far more often than it does...ignoring the fact that 1600 other women that day were actually raped.

I believe it because it's just so much fun to lose friends and entire communities, to be publicly humiliated and shamed and called a liar all while watching one's former community rally around the rapist. I'm sure women are just lining up to experience this.

So, yes, I believe the 1.5%. Even by suggesting victims are lying, you are perpetuating rape culture. What is rape culture? This is.

Remember, as a culture, we think that "actual rapists" go to jail. They don't. That's reality. This is not about prosecuting an "innocent" man; this is about protecting women from violence. So, tell me, is it worth someone's reputation to be slightly (and I mean slightly) tarnished to save 1600 women a day from being raped? Give victims a place to speak out and name their attackers, and there will be so far fewer attacks. Where is the accountability for these monsters? To be able to call out rapists by name would truly be a Nightmare Scenario.

You've all read what this man did to Rachel's daughter, and, it seems, to others. Why would anyone, let alone three different women, make that up? This man will likely never be found, although I hope he is, and he will be raping again. This. is. why. you believe the victim.

It's obviously a very emotional topic for all concerned, but it is nothing compared to what the victim endures. We, as a community, must learn how to respond when victims have the courage to speak out. Most everyone on this thread has done a beautiful job responding to the mother of the victim, and when a third party speaks out, they are believed more often than if a victim speaks out alone.

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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby kittyrodriguez » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:33 am

I think too much blame is being thrown around here. First, blame has been directed at the victim and her friends/relatives for not going to Reno for evidence collecting. I sincerely hope the victim does not read this thread. Can you imagine the lifelong guilt she could feel, as well as responsibility, should she hear of other victims of the same perpetrator? She should never be saddled with such feelings.

Second, blame has been directed at Emergency Services and BMORG. Neither of these entities are law enforcement. Forensics is not a part of ESD's services. Mental health is. And many, many mental health professionals are made available 24/7 to assist anyone who needs it.

Blame has also been directed at local law enforcement and even the camp where the incident occurred.

You know whom I have not heard blame directed at? The perpetrator. That is the only sane place to direct blame.

As for the idea that conducting a rape examination on playa is easy, and should be made available, I think many are misunderstanding the major issue here. It is not a matter of the ability to collect the evidence. It is a matter of the viability of such collection in court. Even in the default world, a rape examination cannot be performed at any medical facility by any medical professional. There are specific, licensed centers that use approved labs. Even in major cities with excellent facilities that have spotless records, evidence collected can, and is, disputed and thrown out. It is unreasonable to think that a facility, no matter how state of the art, that is only operational for one or two weeks a year, in a location that is volatile and misunderstood by the general population, would be accepted as an acceptable forensics laboratory.

Conducting an on playa sexual assault examination would be unnecessary trauma for the victim. After suffering through such an examination only to have the evidence discredited would be very difficult for the victim. Any defense attorney would jump on the opportunity to discredit such evidence. "Well, ladies and gentlemen, this examination was conducted in a trailer at Burning Man, you know, that giant rave-orgy in the desert." Victims of assault at Burning Man already are at a disadvantage in court in defaultia because of the location of the crime.

The only immediate suggestion I have is to educate people on the availability of Mental Health assistance through ESD, and have good liaisons to assist those who do wish to travel to Reno to undergo an examination. The OP stated that the girl was possibly unwilling to go to Reno because of uncertainty on how she would return to her friends/relatives and belongings at the event. Perhaps if she had known that a caring mental health liaison would remain with her through the ordeal and would facilitate her easy return to the playa, she would have been more willing.

Finally, as a community, we need protect each other and ourselves. We are a family.

I hope the perp is caught and faces justice, and I hope that the young victim can move on with her life.

*edit- I would like to add that I am commenting solely from my real world experience working with a criminal defense attorney. I am not with ESD's Mental Health Branch. I do know they work very hard, but I do not know any real specifics of their operations. I just camp with the volunteer firefighters.
Last edited by kittyrodriguez on Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby gyre » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:39 am

I was quite sincere.

False allegations are very common with all types of crime.
I'm not sure why they wouldn't happen with rape too.
I have someone on tape threatening to falsely accuse me of rape, and not someone I have any social relationship with at all.
People have all kinds of issues.
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Re: Serial Rapist on the playa

Postby Nipple » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:44 am

Actual false rape allegations are similar to unicorns.

I saw one in at a circus once, but it was just a goat with a defect. Alternatively: A lie.
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