AN AVOIDABLE RAPE
A Houston woman whose rape kit spent five years waiting to be tested has sued the city on the grounds that rape kit backlogs lead to avoidable rapes, including hers. Like many cities, including Jacksonville (“Don’t Call It a Backlog,” Folio Weekly, July 2015), Houston has in recent years been embroiled in controversy concerning its thousands of untested rape kits.
Houston Press reports that DeJenay Beckwith has been “haunted” by the knowledge that her rapist assaulted multiple women in 2002 and 2009 before assaulting her in 2011. Her attorney told the outlet that Beckwith’s rapist was charged with a 2002 sexual assault, finally, in 2014. Beckwith’s attorney told Houston Press that police first collected her attacker’s DNA in 1991. She intends the lawsuit to become a class action suit.
Worship services provide the opportunity to look up to god. For former Memphis Grizzlies announcer Rick Trotter, church was a chance to look up women’s skirts. Memphis Flyer reports that Trotter was “indicted [on Oct. 12] on four counts of unlawfully photographing women under their skirts at a church where he was a worship leader.” Church officials, who filed the complaint against Trotter in May 2016, said that Trotter used his church-issued phone to video under a woman’s skirt while he knelt behind her during services; police later found up-skirt videos of other women, ages 29-63, on his church-issued laptop. According to Memphis Flyer, Trotter has admitted to the charges and faces up to 47 months in prison and fines of $10,000.
MASQUERADING AS A WHITE SUPREMACIST
David Lewis got the chance to live what simultaneously sounds like every reporter’s dream and nightmare when he went undercover to go to a secret convention … of racists. Lewis shares his experience in a spellbinding tale in The Stranger, “We Snuck into Seattle’s Super-Secret White Nationalist Convention.” You’ll be riveted from the start, when he reveals the clever ruse that got him in—pretend to be a film editor writing an essay called “Tear Down Lee and Put Up Lincoln: Abraham Lincoln, World’s Greatest White Nationalist.”
Some details are less-than-surprising—very, very few women in attendance, and a large number of “fashy” haircuts and white polo shirts—others pathetic—the super-secret code to gain entry was basically a lookout asking honkies, “Are you here for the thing?”—but some observations are astonishing—many young tech industry workers and, ugh, even some children attended. It’s unsettling, yes, and dark, obviously, but also deeply, deeply amusing. Take this line: “For a second, I got a vision of what Seattle would be like with zero ethnic diversity: It would be dull, like being at one of those bougie, middle-aged white person parties minus the talk about which countries their kids are teaching English in.” What white person hasn’t been to that party?
WEINSTEIN SUCKS …
Chief film critic for LA Weekly, April Wolfe penned a gripping editorial acknowledging the asshole elephant in the hotel room who can’t keep his nasty trunk to himself: Harvey Weinstein, the successful film producer whose sexual harassment and assault scandal rocked not only the movie industry, but the entire nation. Wolfe pondered whether our culture is at a turning point “where abusers will finally be exposed,” and, if so, believes “we’re about to have a massive emotional, public breakdown.”
She also opined that the onslaught of allegations puts an enormous emotional burden on women, who in addition to being far and away more frequent victims of all types of sexual violence and harassment, are also often the ones “largely tasked with breaking these delicate stories.” Rather than fold under the pressure, Wolfe resolves to keep her eye on the prize, do her work, and support the work of other women, as she writes in closing, “Because I know it took them double the effort just to get out of bed in the morning and do what they do best.” Our all-female editorial staff salutes all the brave women, like Wolfe, fearlessly shouldering a burden that even honorable, well-intending men just don’t understand.