sexual violence

Seven women say they were beaten up by a group of men all dressed in black after they went to Beijing from Gansu Province’s Hui County to allege corruption over earthquake relief funds.

The women published an online post yesterday in a microblog on to tell of their humiliating experience on April 27 by the men who beat them, stripped them down to their underwear in public, and sent them back to Hui County in a van overnight without even allowing them to use the toilet during a journey which was many hours long.

One witness, who described himself as a retired soldier in his 80s, wrote on the microblog: “When I saw them beating the women, I scolded them for acting like bandits. It was the most horrible, shameful, and barbarous scene I have ever seen in my life.”

In a telephone interview, 43-year-old Liu Xiuhua, one of the seven women, told Shanghai Daily they had arrived at the Dunhuang Plaza in Beijing at 3pm on April 27 planning to report a number of county officials for corruption involving relief funds released after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, which also affected Gansu.

After 30 minutes waiting at the entrance of the Gansu provincial government’s Beijing office in the plaza, more than 20 men arrived in two vans and demanded that they get into the vehicles.

“The office said they were policemen, but we saw some of them with tattoos all over their bodies,” said Liu.

The men dragged an 80-year-old women into the van and stripped the clothing off four others in the plaza, in front of several male security guards and office workers, said Liu.

“They kicked and punched us for over 30 seconds before we were all thrown into the van,” Liu said. “Then the engine started, I was sitting beside a woman who was beaten into a coma and the leader of the men kept punching and scolding us.”

She didn’t know how long it took them to arrive at their hometown in Hui County, but when they arrived, it was already nightfall on April 28.

During the long journey, the van made no stops to allow the women to use the toilet, Liu said.

According to the women’s online post, the van dropped the women off at Hui County’s police bureau.

The policemen there took no action against the men but just watched them leave.

Of the local police and county officials, Liu said: “They told us that ‘you deserve this’ and said the case was closed.”

Another woman, Wang Caihong, supported Liu’s account on the microblog.

One of the victims had a broken leg and others suffered bruising to their bodies.

Officials with the Hui County government could not be reached yesterday.


DHAKA (AFP) – A 40-year-old Bangladeshi woman cut off a man’s penis during an alleged attempted rape and took it to a police station as evidence, police in a remote part of Bangladesh said Monday.

The woman, a married mother of three, was attacked while she was sleeping in her shanty in Jhalakathi district, some 200 kilometres (120 miles) south of Dhaka, on Saturday night, officers said.

“As he tried to rape her, the lady cut his penis off with a knife. She then wrapped up the penis in a piece of polythene and brought it to the Jhalakathi police station as evidence of the crime,” police chief Abul Khaer told AFP.

The woman has filed a case accusing the man — who is also 40 and a married father of five — of attempted rape, saying that he had been harassing her for six months.

The severed penis has been kept at the police station and the rape suspect was undergoing treatment in hospital.

“We shall arrest him once his condition gets better,” Khaer added.;_ylt=AlJ6wuh.J.eL9bk_ORdHoZY61sIF;_ylu=X3oDMTNndGQ0ZDRuBGFzc2V0A2FmcC8yMDExMDUzMC9iYW5nbGFkZXNoY3JpbWVyYXBlBGNjb2RlA29mZnB6ZjMwdG9wNTAwcG9vbARjcG9zAzMEcG9zAzMEc2VjA3luX3RvcF9zdG9yaWVzBHNsawNiYW5nbGFkZXNod28-

Dr. Seham Sergewa distributed a questionnaire to 70,000 Libyan families living in refugee camps after being driven from their homes, originally to measure how traumatized children were from the fighting, the AP reports. The 59,000 responses she received begin to quantify the full extent of the horror suffered.

10,000 people suffering post-traumatic stress, 4,000 children with psychological problems. Then came the unexpected: 259 women said they had been raped by militiamen loyal to Muammar Qaddafi.

Sergewa’s survey originally did not ask about rape, but when women began approaching her, she added a question about rape on the survey. Some of the women described the attacks to her in terrifying detail, such as a woman in Misrata who said she was raped in front of her four children after Qaddafi fighters burned down her home. And although 259 women came forward, Sergewa believes the numbers is many times higher as women are afraid to report the attacks.

It’s not unusual for rape to be used as a weapon of war, but this is one of the first indications of the extent it has been used in Libya, since Iman al-Obeidi burst into the hotel housing foreign journalists in Tripoli in March and accused pro-Qaddafi militiamen of gang-raping her. Despite her story and reports of condoms and Viagra found in the pockets of dead Qaddafi solders, some have found the evidence of a concerted rape campaign thin. Doctors in Benghazi said they had heard of women being raped but had not treated any. A consultant for Human Rights Watch reportedly said that the organization has learned of “a few credible cases of gender based violence and rape, but the evidence is not there at this point to suggest it is of a systematic nature, or an official policy. On Viagra and condom distribution we have nothing so far.”

But these new testimonies indicate widespread trauma behind a heavy code of silence. Another doctor reported testing victims for AIDs “who were terrified their families would find out.” Some victims have already been abandoned by their husbands, while others fear seeking treatment will result in retribution from spouses or banishment. Dr. Sergewa said of the 140 rape survivors she personally interviewed, not one could she persuade to prosecute.

After previous denials by military officials, a senior Egyptian general has admitted to CNN that “virginity tests” were conducted on female demonstrators arrested in Tahrir Square.

During a March 9, nearly a month after Hosni Mubarak resigned, the Egyptian military targeted the demonstrators in Tahrir Square, arresting nearly 149 people. An Amnesty International report published weeks later claimed female demonstrators were beaten, given electric shocks, strip-searched, threatened with prostitution charges, and forced to submit to virginity checks.

Maj. Amr Imam said 17 women had been arrested but denied allegations of torture or “virginity tests.” Now, a senior Egyptian general who asked not to be identified admits that “virginity checks” were performed, and his defense of the practice reveals a disturbingly bleak attitude towards women. “The girls who were detained were not like your daughter or mine,” the general said. “These were girls who had camped out in tents with male protesters in Tahrir Square, and we found in the tents Molotov cocktails and (drugs).”

He then offered the bizarre rationale that the virginity checks were done so that the women would not later claim they had been raped by Egyptian authorities. “We didn’t want them to say we had sexually assaulted or raped them, so we wanted to prove that they weren’t virgins in the first place,” the general said. “None of them were (virgins).” He did not further explain this confounding logic.

Salwa Hosseini, a 20-year-old hairdresser and one of the women named in the Amnesty report, described how she and 16 other female prisoners were taken to a military detention center in Heikstep.  They were threatened that “those not found to be virgins” would be charged with prostitution. “The army officers tried to further humiliate the women by allowing men to watch and photograph what was happening, with the implicit threat that the women could be at further risk of harm if the photographs were made public,” Amnesty reported.

A Spanish mother has taken revenge on the man who raped her 13-year-old daughter at knifepoint by dousing him in petrol and setting him alight. He died of his injuries in hospital on Friday.

Antonio Cosme Velasco Soriano, 69, had been sent to jail for nine years in 1998, but was let out on a three-day pass and returned to his home town of Benejúzar, 30 miles south of Alicante, on the Costa Blanca.

While there, he passed his victim’s mother in the street and allegedly taunted her about the attack. He is said to have called out “How’s your daughter?”, before heading into a crowded bar.

Shortly after, the woman walked into the bar, poured a bottle of petrol over Soriano and lit a match. She watched as the flames engulfed him, before walking out.

The woman fled to Alicante, where she was arrested the same evening. When she appeared in court the next day in the town of Orihuela, she was cheered and clapped by a crowd, who shouted “Bravo!” and “Well done!”

A judge ordered her to be held in prison and undergo psychiatric tests, provoking anger from friends and neighbours, who have set up a petition calling for her release.

Soriano suffered 60 per cent burns in the attack on June 13 and was airlifted to a specialist unit. He survived for 11 days before succumbing to his injuries.

It is understood that the woman, who cannot be named because of laws safeguarding the identity of rape victims, claims to have no recollection of the attack which took place in the Bar Mary, just 300 yards from the family home.

As decorators painted over the blackened walls of his bar last week, Antonio Ferrendez Lopez told how Soriano had walked in at lunchtime.

“The place was packed with people eating. I was sitting at a table and Soriano was standing at the bar very close to me when the woman walked in,” he said. “She didn’t acknowledge anyone but walked up to Soriano, who was drinking a coffee, put her hand on his shoulder and turned him round to face her.

“Then she pulled the bottle she was carrying from under her arm and began to tip it over him. At first I didn’t realise what was happening, but then I smelt the petrol. I jumped up and tried to grab her, but when she struck a match I got clear.

“The petrol was in a pool around Soriano, and she threw the match into it. It ignited with a whoosh, and he screamed and staggered about covered in flames. As people rushed outside to escape the flames, she just looked at him, then turned and walked away.”

Customers helped Mr Lopez put out the fire with extinguishers and doused Soriano with water until paramedics arrived.

Soriano’s attack on the woman’s teenage daughter took place in 1998. The girl was going to buy a loaf of bread when Soriano snatched her from the street, threatened her with a knife and raped her. Her mother is said to have suffered mental illness ever since.

Soriano was convicted of the rape and ordered to serve 13 years in jail. The sentence was later reduced to nine years on appeal.

The woman’s lawyer, Joaquín Galant, told The Sunday Telegraph last night: “The family has suffered a double tragedy. First the attack on their daughter and now this. Both the father and his daughter would like to express their sadness at the death of Soriano.”

Earlier, Mr Galant said that the woman did not deserve to be kept in prison. “For seven years she has been deeply affected by what was done to her daughter,” he said. “This man, fresh from prison and asking how her daughter was, might be considered to have provoked her.”

DENVER – The family of missing 19-year-old Kenia Monge has been contacted by six women in the past six weeks, all claiming they were drugged at different lower downtown Denver nightclubs.

Two of those women are convinced they were slipped a drug at the 24K Lounge, the Lodo nightclub where Kenia Monge’s friends last her saw her alive in the early morning hours of April 1, 2011.

“My heart just fell to my feet,” one woman told FOX31 Denver after seeing Kenia’s story on the news.
The women, who are afraid to be identified, say they are speaking publicly for one reason, saying “if our story can help somebody else, it will be worth it.”

The women say the incident happened July 3, when they arrived at 24K Lounge.

They say they hadn’t had anything to drink and were sober, and they claim as soon as they got to the bar a man they didn’t know bought them each one shot of alcohol. A few minutes later, they were both incapacitated.

“My body just started giving out,” one woman said.

The other woman claims she wandered away from the bar and was found by a relative who just happened to be driving by.

“My legs gave out,” she said. “I was laying in the street.”

The women say the man who bought them the shot tried to take one of them home, but their friend intervened.

“I feel like we were lucky,” she said.

The women reached out to Kenia’s father and mother, Tony and Maria Lee.

The Lee’s now believe Kenia had to have been drugged, too.

“This is what we think happened to Kenia,” Tony said, “she staggered out of the bar and was wandering the streets in no particular direction, doing things she would never do. So there’s no question in my mind.”

A spokesperson for 24K Lounge sent FOX31 Denver a statement, which reads in part:

“We pride ourselves on a safe environment at 24K. We provide both a drug free and safe drinking environment…in eight years of operation we have never received any liquor violations, including those with regard to a minor…Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Kenia Monge.”

The Lee’s are living every parent’s nightmare, not knowing where their daughter is and praying for her safe return.

“I wake up every night at 1am and I start praying and I say, Jesus, please, take care of my baby,” Maria said.

That’s why they want to warn all women to be careful, and don’t end up like Kenia.

The two women who spoke to FOX 31 Denver say they wanted to go the police, but because it took them nearly 24 hours to recover, they thought too much time has elapsed.

Police say this type of crime often goes unreported.

They say that if it happens to you, you need to report it right away.

The person who did it could face drug charges, assault or even sexual assault.,0,4675535.story?track=rss

NEW YORK – Two police officers were acquitted Thursday of raping a drunken woman they’d been called to help, with a jury convicting them only of misdemeanor official misconduct charges in a case that pitted a stunning claim of police abuse against the officers’ insistence that it simply didn’t happen.

Looking exhausted but relieved as they left court, Officers Franklin Mata and Kenneth Moreno said they felt vindicated by the verdict, though it could send them to jail and immediately got them fired. Moreno called it both “a lesson and a win.”

“My intentions were, from the beginning, just to help her,” Moreno said. He was accused of raping the woman, with Mata serving as a lookout; the two had returned to her apartment three times after an initial call to help her get home. Moreno, 43, said he did so to check on her, at her request, and to counsel her about drinking.

“I made a judgment call … and I paid for it,” he said.

Mata, 29, said he had “been innocent from day one. I’m glad everybody sees that now.”

Jurors, who left court without speaking to reporters, deliberated for about six days before returning the verdict. They found each officer guilty of three official misconduct charges for returning to the woman’s apartment without telling dispatchers or superiors where they were. They face possible sentences from no jail time to a total of two years behind bars at their sentencing, set for June 28.

The police department dismissed them within hours after the verdict; they had been suspended when indicted in 2009. At the time, Commissioner Raymond Kelly had called the allegations “disgraceful” and “a shocking aberration” in the department’s work. Moreno’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, had said Thursday before their firing that the two didn’t expect to resume police work.

Besides the rape acquittal, they were acquitted of other charges including burglary and falsifying business records.

Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said in a statement that prosecutors “respect the jury’s verdict, which acknowledges that the defendants’ actions that night not only violated the law, they violated the victim’s rights, and the public’s trust.”

The verdict puzzled and outraged some observers, including women’s advocates. Several activists organize a protest outside the courthouse for Friday evening, while members of the City Council Women’s Caucus and the National Organization for Women planned a news conference Friday afternoon on the City Hall steps.

“Never mind professional behavior, and they’re held to higher standard because they’re police officers — to hear some of the facts in this case that they (the officers) put forward” was disturbing, Councilwoman Rosie Mendez said.

During the trial, prosecutors told a stark story of police misconduct and a perverse abuse of power. The officers acknowledged a number of missteps — including Moreno making a bogus 911 call about a sleeping vagrant as an excuse to return to her building — but said that they weren’t crimes and that the rape allegation was a product of the woman’s muddled memory.

“I thought she made the whole thing up,” Moreno said Thursday, adding later that “she was mistaken or confused.”

The officers were called to help the woman get out of a taxi on Dec. 7, 2008. A fashion product developer who’s now 29, the woman had gotten very drunk while out with friends celebrating her impending promotion and move to California.

The woman testified that she passed out and awoke to being raped in her apartment. Moreno told jurors that he lay alongside her in her bed for a while but that they didn’t have sex. Mata said he was napping in the living room while the others were in the bedroom.

While she acknowledged during days of testimony that her memory of the night was spotty, she said that she acutely remembered the rape, and that other vivid snippets — police radio chatter, flashlights, the same man’s voice urging her to drink water in her bathroom and later asking her if she wanted him to stay in her bedroom — made her certain that her attacker was an officer.

“I couldn’t believe that two officers who had been called to help me had, instead, raped me,” said the woman, who has sued the city seeking $57 million over the incident. Her lawyer didn’t immediately return a call Thursday.

After consulting prosecutors, she secretly recorded a conversation with Moreno a few days later. He alternately denied they had sex and seemed to admit it, particularly by saying twice that he’d used a condom when she asked him.

Moreno told jurors he was just “telling her what she wanted to hear” because she had suggested she’d go into the stationhouse where he worked and make a scene. He has been a police officer for about 20 years.

No DNA evidence was collected in the case, and experts debated whether an internal mark found during an examination of the woman could be interpreted as a sign of rape.

Moreno said he was only trying to console and counsel the woman about drinking during his series of visits, as he shared his own struggle with alcoholism some years before, killed a cockroach in her bathroom, made plans to have breakfast with her and sang to her a verse of Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer.”

On the last visit, Moreno said, he suddenly found himself fending off drunken advances from the woman.

“I told her, `There’s another time for this. Not tonight.’ … I kind of had her by the shoulders, and I said, `We’re not doing this,'” he told jurors.

But, he said, he wound up in her bed after she fell and got stuck between her bed and a wall and needed to be freed. He said he stayed there “snuggling” with her for a time, out of sympathy, but kept his uniform on and didn’t have sex with her.

Mata, a police officer for about five years, acknowledged during his testimony that he couldn’t be sure what had happened between the two while he was snoozing on the woman’s sofa. But he said he didn’t believe Moreno had raped the woman because “Ken wouldn’t do something like that.”

He was charged with rape under state legal principles that hold an alleged accessory as responsible for a crime as the main defendant.

Asked whether the official misconduct conviction was a disappointment, Mata lawyer Edward Mandery said, “We’ll deal with it.”