Sun Ra was a highly productive jazz musician, composer, poet and bandleader best known for his “cosmic” philosophies on life and music, and for leading his musical ensemble, the Arkestra.
Famed jazz musician, composer, poet and bandleader Sun Ra was born on May 22, 1914, in Birmingham, Alabama. He began performing professionally as a teen and, after moving to Chicago in 1945, immersed himself in jazz and the blues. Along the way, Sun Ra was influenced by space, religion and radical social movements—all of which found their way into his music. A prolific composer and record label owner, he took to wearing colorful, outlandish costumes with his band members.
Born Herman Poole Blount on May 22, 1914, in Birmingham, Alabama, Sun Ra had an affinity for the piano at a very young age. Ra, who came from a religious family, began performing with other musicians as a teen. In addition to playing with a wide range of musicians from different genres, he wrote and produced songs. After moving to Chicago in 1945, Ra gained important experience working with a growing number of blues and jazz singers, composers and bandleaders, including Wynonie Harris, Fletcher Henderson and Coleman Hawkins.
Chicago also exposed Ra to an African-American intelligentsia and a hotbed of political activism. These religious, cultural and political influences found their way into his music.
In 1952, Ra officially changed his name to Le Sony’r Ra (he also performed under the names Sonny Lee and Le Sonra) while continuing to compose and work with a wide range of jazz practitioners. He also started a record label, Saturn Records, inspired by his love and respect of astronomy as well as the growing influence of spirituality in his life and music. Also in the ’50s, Ra and his band, widely known as the Arkestra (a riff on “orchestra”) began wearing ornate, outlandish costumes in performance—a further manifestation of Ra’s spiritual and theatrical nature.
Performances often included free expression, drum choirs and dancers, and sometimes even acrobats. In The New York Times’ obituary of Ra, writer Peter Watrous noted that the performer’s “willingness to play almost anywhere, from jazz clubs to Egyptian pyramids, from Lower East Side dives with huge 50-member bands, to Coney Island with John Cage, allied him with early performance artists. His career argues persuasively against limitations.”
Ra’s reputation as an Afro-eccentric charlatan-genius in the tradition of Marcus Garvey or Elijah Muhammad led to him becoming one of the 20th century’s greatest avant-garde musician-composers.
But Ra’s skills as an exceptional pianist and composer, always aligned with the swing jazz and blues traditions, never waivered. He also played the organ, harpsichord, celesta and Moog synthesizer. He remained a great innovator, moving to New York in 1961 and to Philadelphia in 1970, and absorbing the spiritual and creative energies of those cities and distilling them into his music. Ra’s extensive discography of studio and live recordings continues to be a reference point for established and up-and-coming jazz musicians and composers.
If you don’t like long reads or if you want to defend the right to your short attention span, you should stop reading NOW and just admit you are deplorable. Wear those self-loathing T-shirts that boast of your deplorableness and eagerness to remain so.
During the housing discrimination lawsuit against Donald Trump, where he refused black people into his buildings, he had a mentor and lawyer named Roy Cohn.
During the “Red Scare” when the United States government placed Hollywood actors, writers, homosexuals, Jewish people, and United States citizens on trial as “suspected” communists, leading fear-monger Senator Joe McCarthy had a lawyer named Roy Cohn.
Roy Cohn was a closeted gay Jewish man who put homosexuals and Jews in jail to deflect from his own homosexuality, which he failed to stand up for due to deplorable self-hatred.
Deplorable People Here’s Your President Elect Trump:
It was the fall of 1984, Trump Tower was new, and this was unusual territory for the 38-year-old real estate developer. He was three years away from his first semi-serious dalliance with presidential politics, more than 30 years before the beginning of his current campaign—but he had gotten the idea to bring this up, he said, from his attorney, his good friend and his closest adviser, Roy Cohn. That Roy Cohn. Roy Cohn, the lurking legal hit man for red-baiting Sen. Joe McCarthy, whose reign of televised intimidation in the 1950s has become synonymous withdemagoguery, fear-mongering and character assassination. In the formative years of Donald Trump’s career, when he went from a rich kid working for his real estate-developing father to a top-line dealmaker in his own right, Cohn was one of the most powerful influences and helpful contacts in Trump’s life. Over a 13-year-period, ending shortly before Cohn’s death in 1986, Cohn brought his say-anything, win-at-all-costs style to all of Trump’s most notable legal and business deals. Interviews with people who knew both men at the time say the relationship ran deeper than that—that Cohn’s philosophy shaped the real estate mogul’s worldview and the belligerent public persona visible in Trump’s presidential campaign. “Something Cohn had, Donald liked,” Susan Bell, Cohn’s longtime secretary, said this week when I asked her about the relationship between her old boss and Trump. By the 1970s, when Trump was looking to establish his reputation in Manhattan, the elder Cohn had long before remade himself as the ultimate New York power lawyer, whose clientele included politicians, financiers and mob bosses. Cohn engineered the combative response to the Department of Justice’s suit alleging racial discrimination at the Trumps’ many rental properties in Brooklyn and Queens. He brokered the gargantuan tax abatements and the mob-tied concrete work that made the Grand Hyatt hotel and Trump Tower projects. He wrote the cold-hearted prenuptial agreement before the first of his three marriages and filed the headline-generating antitrust suit against the National Football League. To all of these deals, Cohn brought his political connections, his public posturing and a simple credo: Always attack, never apologize. “Cohn just pushed through things—if he wanted something, he got it. I think Donald had a lot of that in him, but he picked up a lot of that from Cohn,” Bell said.
“Roy was a powerful force, recognized as a person with deep and varied contacts, politically as well as legally,” Michael Rosen, who worked as an attorney in Cohn’s firm for 17 years, told me. “The movers and shakers of New York, he was very tight with these people—they admired him, they sought his advice. His persona, going back to McCarthy … and his battles with the government certainly attracted clients.” It was a long, formidable list that included the executives of media empires, the Archbishop of New York and mafia kingpin Fat Tony Salerno, and there, too, near the top, was budding, grasping Donald John Trump. “He considered Cohn a mentor,” Mike Gentile, the lead prosecutor who got Cohn disbarred for fraud and deceit not long before he died, said in a recent interview. People who knew Cohn and know Trump—people who have watched and studied both men—say they see in Trump today unmistakable signs of the enduring influence of Cohn. The frank belligerence. The undisguised disregard for niceties and convention. The media manipulation clotted with an abiding belief in the potent currency of celebrity.
Trump did not respond to a request from Politico to talk about Cohn. In the past, though, when he has talked about Cohn, Trump has been clear about why he collaborated with him, and admired him. “If you need someone to get vicious toward an opponent, you get Roy,” he told Newsweek in 1979.
A year later, pressed by a reporter from New York magazine to justify his association with Cohn, he was characteristically blunt: “All I can tell you is he’s been vicious to others in his protection of me.” He elaborated in an interview in 2005. “Roy was brutal, but he was a very loyal guy,” Trump told author Tim O’Brien. “He brutalized for you.” Trump, in the end, turned some of that cold calculation on his teacher, severing his professional ties to Cohn when he learned his lawyer was dying of AIDS. *** Cohn and Trump, according to Trump, met in 1973 at Le Club, a members-only East Side hangout for social-scene somebodies and those who weren’t but wanted to be. By then Cohn had been in the public eye for 20 years. As chief counsel to McCarthy, he led secretive investigations of people inside and outside the federal government whom he and McCarthy suspected of Communist sympathies, homosexuality or espionage. Over a period of several years, McCarthy’s crusade destroyed dozens of careers before a final 36-day, televised hearing brought his and Cohn’s often unsubstantiated allegations into the open, leading to McCarthy’s censure in the Senate. Cohn, disgraced by association, retreated to his native New York. There, through the ‘60s and into the ‘70s, Cohn embraced an unabashedly conspicuous lifestyle. He had a Rolls-Royce with his initials on a vanity plate and a yacht called Defiance. He was a singular nexus of New York power, trafficking in influence and reveling in gossip. He hung on the walls of the East 68th Street townhouse, that doubled as the office of his law firm, pictures of himself with politicians, entertainers and other bold-face names. He was a tangle of contradictions, a Jewish anti-Semite and a homosexual homophobe, vehemently closeted but insatiably promiscuous. In 1964, ’69 and ’71, he had been tried and acquitted of federal charges of conspiracy, bribery and fraud, giving him—at least in the eyes of a certain sort—an aura of battle-tested toughness, the perception of invincibility. “If you can get Machiavelli as a lawyer,” he would write in The Autobiography of Roy Cohn, “you’re certainly no fool of a client.”
Trump was 27. He had just moved to Manhattan but was still driving back to his father’s company offices in Brooklyn for work. He hadn’t bought anything. He hadn’t built anything. But he had badgered the owners of Le Club to let him join, precisely to get to know older, connected, power-wielding men like Cohn. He knew who he was. And now he wanted to talk.
He and his father had just been slapped with Department of Justice charges that they weren’t renting to blacks because of racial discrimination. Attorneys had urged them to settle. Trump didn’t want to do that. He quizzed Cohn at Le Club. What should they do? He became Donald’s mentor, his constant adviser on every significant aspect of his business and personal life.”
“Tell them to go to hell,” Cohn told Trump, according to Trump’s account in his book The Art of the Deal, “and fight the thing in court.” That December, representing the Trumps in United States v. Fred C. Trump, Donald Trump and Trump Management, Inc., Cohn filed a $100-million countersuit against the federal government, deriding the charges as “irresponsible” and “baseless.”
The judge dismissed it quickly as “wasting time and paper.” The back-and-forth launched more than a year and a half of bluster and stalling and bullying—and ultimately settling. But in affidavits, motions and hearings in court, Cohn accused the DOJ and the assisting FBI of “Gestapo-like tactics.” He labeled their investigators “undercover agents” and “storm troopers.” Cohn called the head of DOJ down in Washington and attempted to get him to censure one of the lead staffers.
The judge called all of it “totally unfounded.”
By June of 1975, the judge had had it with the Trumps’ attorney. “I must say, Mr. Cohn,” he said in a hearing, “that this case seems to be plagued with unnecessary problems, and I think the time has come when we have to bite the bullet.” They hashed out the details of a consent decree. The Trumps were going to have to rent to more blacks and other minorities and they were going to have to put ads in newspapers—including those targeted specifically to minority communities—saying they were an “equal housing opportunity” company. Trump and his father, emboldened by Cohn, bristled at the implication of wrongdoing—even, too, at the cost of the ads. “It is really onerous,” Trump complained. At one point, flouting the formality of the court, Trump addressed one of the opposing attorneys by her first name: “Will you pay for the expense, Donna?” Trump and Cohn seemed most concerned with managing the media. They squabbled with the government attorneys over the press release about the disposition. First they wanted no release. Impossible, said the government. Then they wanted “a joint release.” A what? A public agency, it was explained to them, had a public information office, on account of the public’s right to know. Cohn didn’t want to hear it. “They will say what they want,” he told the judge, and everybody else in the courtroom, “and we will say what we want.” The government called the consent decree “one of the most far reaching ever negotiated.” Cohn and Trump? They called it a victory. Case 73 C 1529 was over. The relationship between Cohn and Trump had just begun. “Though Cohn had ostensibly been retained by Donald to handle a single piece of litigation,” Wayne Barrett, an investigative journalist for New York’s Village Voice, would write in his 1992 book about Trump, “he began in the mid-‘70s to assume a role in Donald’s life far transcending that of a lawyer. He became Donald’s mentor, his constant adviser on every significant aspect of his business and personal life.”
Are you still confused why you are deplorable? Need more reasons than being anti-semitic, anti-islam, anti-immigrant, homophobic, vicious, brutal, racist, white supremacist, tolerant of rape culture, complacent and GREEDY?
OK . . .
PUTIN can flatter and Puppet a weak, pandering United States, mafia-dealing, PIMP like Donald Trump.
Do you recall when former President George W. Bush held up the plastic turkey for a picture with the troops during a Thanksgiving “visit” where he didn’t even stay to dine with them? Laura Bush defended her husband’s shameless selfie as: but that’s what politicians do, they “present.” It’s “acting.”
Well, Donald Trump is in FACT qualified to be Putin’s “Top Dawg.” He’ll be serving Putin his red meat. At best you will be Putin’s meat packers.
So hey you bitches, stop asking why PUTIN would be interested in hacking the democratic elections of the United States.
When Rudy Guilliani says Trump is best for President, he’s just saying to vote for the NRA. He’s an arms dealer.He’s just saying vote for the gun-packing-super-pac. And you know this does not make you safer. You know the “Law and Order” president is just another word for KKK sponsored Police Brutality. Rudy likes to minimize and dismiss rape-culture because he wants to keep using rape as a form of torture. He knows rape is profitable.
What makes YOU part of the Deplorable Category you ask, fearing your own unredeemable glance into the mirror of truth?
YOU are a bigoted, racist, homophobic, sexist, misogynistic, climate-change denying, greedy, bullying, spin-doctoring, hate-speaking, white supremacist, slandering, dumbed-down and proud of it, hater.
Wait, I don’t sound warm and forgiving enough to the racists? Really? Awww… I’m not being inclusive enough to the bigots? You think deplorable people deserve a chance at redemption?
If you don’t believe you fall into this category or if you don’t want to be Deplorable ANY longer or help play a part in sending the world into worse Hell, get the fuck out of the DEPLORABLE basket and demand that the Emoluments Clause prohibit Donald Trump the tyrant from taking office.
It’s not time to make peace with YOU Deplorables. It’s time to let you know you are corrupt.
The Pussy Riot “Make America Great Again” (music video) is being posted here for NO COMMERCIAL PURPOSES. Oct 27, 2016 #PussyGrabsBack #NastyWoman (!) Because YOU decide elections and if we get together, we could blow this shit up, take action and reverse this erosion of rights. Because fuck it.
– – – – Written passionately by Ricky Reed, Nadya, Tom Peyton
– – – – Music video is directed by Jonas Akerlund Style: B Akerlund Make up : Ozzy Salvatierra Hair : Patricia Morales Special effects make up : Jerry Constantine
– – – -LYRICS- – – – What do you want your world to look like? What do you want it to be? Do you know that a wall has two sides? And nobody is free? Did your mama come from Mexico Papa come from Palestine Sneaking all through Syria Crossing all the border lines
Let other people in Listen to your women Stop killing black children Make America Great Again
Could you imagine a politician calling a woman a dog? Do you wanna stay in the kitchen? Is that where you belong? How do you picture the perfect leader Who do you want him to be Has he promoted the use of torture and killing families
Let other people in Listen to your women Stop killing black children Make America Great Again
The Pussy Riot “I Can’t Breathe” (music video) is being posted here for NO COMMERCIAL PURPOSES. (Feb 18, 2015) Pussy Riot’s first song in English is dedicated to Eric Garner and the words he repeated eleven times before his death. This song is for Eric and for all those from Russia to America and around the globe who suffer from state terror – killed, choked, perished because of war and state sponsored violence of all kinds – for political prisoners and those on the streets fighting for change. We stand in solidarity.
Pussy Riot’s Masha and Nadya are being buried alive in the Russian riot police uniforms that are worn during the violent clashes of police and the protesters fighting for change in Russia. A pack of “Russian Spring” brand cigarettes is on the ground at the beginning. “Russian Spring” is a term used by those who are in love with Russia’s aggressive militant actions in Ukraine, and the cigarettes are a real thing.
“I Can’t Breathe” was recorded in New York in December 2014 during the protests against police brutality together with Pussy Riot, Richard Hell, Nick Zinner, Andrew Wyatt, Shahzad Ismaily (The Ceramic Dog) and Russian bands Jack Wood and Scofferlane.
MUSIC VIDEO: Concept, directed and produced: Pussy Riot Video directors – Gogol Wives Director of Photography and editor: Mikhail Vikhrov.
MUSIC: Concept, produced: Pussy Riot Vocals: Sasha Klokova (Jack Wood), Matt Kulakov (Scofferlane), Richard Hell Lyrics: Matt Kulakov (Scofferlane) Monologe of Eric Garner: Richard Hell Bit: Andrew Wyatt Piano, Bass: Nick Zinner Drums: Shahzad Ismaily Engineered and mixed by Philip Weinrobe at Figure Eight Studios in Brooklyn, NY
– – – – LYRICS- – – – He’s become his death The spark of the riots That’s the way he’s blessed To stay alive.
It never leads to an end It’s never getting quiet If it’s unfair, my friend, Make up your mind
It’s getting dark in New York city It’s getting dark in New York city It’s getting tight in New York city I need to catch my breath
You know this world of hate You know this stubborn light They’re in the prayers you pray Late at night
We’re only half way down Who dares to take a breath? Some fairness might be found From ashes of his death. Eric Garner’s last words (read by Richard Hell):
Get away [garbled] for what? Every time you see me, you want to mess with me. I’m tired of it. It stops today. Why would you…? Everyone standing here will tell you I didn’t do nothing. I did not sell nothing. Because everytime you see me, you want to harass me. You want to stop me [garbled] Selling cigarettes. I’m minding my business, officer, I’m minding my business. Please just leave me alone. I told you the last time, please just leave me alone. please please, don’t touch me. Do not touch me. [garbled] I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.
Pussy Riot is a Russian feminist punk rock protest group based in Moscow. Founded in August 2011, it had a variable membership of approximately 11 women ranging in age from about 20 to 33 (as of 2012). The group staged unauthorised provocative guerrilla performances in public places, which were made into music videos and posted on the Internet. The collective’s lyrical themes included feminism, LGBT rights, and opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the dictator. These themes also encompassed Putin’s links to the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church.
On February 21, 2012, five members of the group staged a performance in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The group’s actions were eventually stopped by church security officials. The women said their protest was directed at the Orthodox Church leaders’ support for Putin during his election campaign. On March 3, 2012, two of the group members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, were arrested and charged with hooliganism. A third member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was arrested on March 16. Denied bail, they were held in custody until their trial began in late July. On August 17, 2012, the three members were convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred”, and each was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. On October 10, following an appeal, Samutsevich was freed on probation and her sentence suspended. The sentences of the other two women were upheld.
The trial and sentence attracted considerable criticism, particularly in the West. The case was adopted by human-rights groups, including Amnesty International, which designated the women as prisoners of conscience, and by a number of prominent entertainers. Public opinion in Russia was generally less sympathetic towards the women. Having served 21 months, Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were released on December 23, 2013, after the State Duma approved an amnesty.
In February 2014, a statement was made anonymously on behalf of some Pussy Riot members that both Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were no longer members. However, both were among the group that performed as Pussy Riot during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, where group members were attacked with whips and pepper spray by Cossacks who were employed as security guards. On 6 March 2014, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina were assaulted and sprayed with green paint by local youths in Nizhny Novgorod. (sourced and paraphrased from wikipedia December 2016)
“I am what is known as a “multimedia artist.” I chose that description because it doesn’t mean anything. Who isn’t multimedia these days? But it allows me to work in many different ways—music, writing, performance, film, electronics, and painting—without provoking the art police, who love to tell artists to get back into their category.
“As an artist, I am committed to seeing things the way they are, not the way I think they could be or should be. But faced with the facts of American racism, sexism, law breaking, and violence, I’m having a hard time maintaining my belief in the across-the-board openheartedness of my countrymen. Also, although there are journalistic aspects to this project, I am an artist first, so, if faced with having to choose between something beautiful and something true, I would choose the beautiful, because I trust my senses more than my rational mind.” ~ Laurie Anderson (quotation source: http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/bringing-guantanamo-to-park-avenueregarding theshow Habeas Corpus)
Laurie Anderson (Red Bull Music Academy 2015 Paris Lecture):
On November 16th, 2015, Laurie Anderson joined RBMA on the lecture couch in Paris in the wake of the devastating attacks in the city the previous weekend. She felt it was an important moment to talk about how art and artists respond to tragedy. In this talk, she outlined the circumstances behind her 2015 Park Avenue Armory work, Habeas Corpus, and how its themes relate to what took place in Paris on November 13, 2015.
In life. It’s the way you tell yourself, “I’m a person who has this job and drives this car and has this kind of relationship with people and talks this way.” That’s your story and you stick to it and you design it. Of course we inherit tons of things, but we also design a lot of stuff about who we are. So when you get a glimpse into the design structure, sometimes it’s really exciting. You go, “I put that there, it’s pretty arbitrary. I could change that because I made it up, this version of who I am.” It’s so transparent when politicians are doing it: telling stories about how they see the world, what it could be in the future, what it was like in the past, and people go, “Yeah, he’s right,” or “He’s crazy,” or whatever. But they evaluate it on what basis? As if they’re hearing about a movie? I’m trying to go back and forth between this dream world that we live in, and then this world of politics and so-called reality. It’s still amazing how easy it is to manipulate with misinformation. I think that people go in and out, in terms of being aware of it. ~ Laurie Anderson (quotation source: http://www.walkerart.org/magazine/2012/laurie-anderson-stories-never-ending-war )
Mother Nature never asked,
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
She knew you weren’t planting seeds to be a tree for nothing.
1 Department of Defense Directive 6495.01 defines sexual assault as intentional sexual contact characterized by use of force, threats, intimidation, or abuse of authority or when the victim does not or cannot consent. The crime of sexual assault includes a broad category of sexual offenses consisting of the following specific Uniform Code of Military Justice offenses: rape, sexual assault, aggravated sexual contact, abusive sexual contact, forcible sodomy (forced oral or anal sex), or attempts to commit these offenses.
Many survivors’ groups, support service organizations, and others working on sexual violence strongly prefer the term “survivor” to “victim.” “Survivor” implies greater empowerment, agency, and resilience, and many individuals do not want to be labeled solely as “victims.” This is often important to their healing process and sense of identity. That said, some individuals feel “victim” better conveys their experience of having been the target of violent crime. In recognition of these differing views, this report uses both terms.
“Retaliation” is used in this report to include adverse actions taken both by peers (social retaliation) and by the chain of command (professional retaliation) against persons who have reported a criminal offense (sexual assault). The National Defense Authorization Act defines retaliation as “(a) taking or threatening to take an adverse personnel action, or withholding or threatening to withhold a favorable personnel action, with respect to a member of the Armed Forces because the member reported a criminal offense; (b) ostracism and such act of maltreatment, as designated by the Secretary of Defense, committed by peers of a member of the Armed Forces or by other persons because the member reported a criminal offense.” Professional retaliation is also referred to as a “reprisal” and is typically handled by the Inspector General. It includes a range of actions such as transfer or reassignment, disciplinary action, poor performance evaluations, and change in a work assignment inconsistent with the military member’s grade. In this report, Human Rights Watch uses the term “retaliation” for all such adverse actions, including those referred to as “reprisals.”
Military service regulations further define the terms “ostracism” and “maltreatment” referenced in (b) above as requiring “the intent to discourage someone from reporting a criminal offense or otherwise discourage the due administration of justice.” Ostracism includes insults or bullying, exclusion from social acceptance or friendship because the victim reported a crime. Maltreatment refers to treatment by peers or by others that, when viewed objectively under all the circumstances, is abusive or otherwise unnecessary for any lawful purpose and that results (or reasonably could have resulted) in physical or mental harm or suffering. Human Rights Watch used the term “ostracism” and “maltreatment” in their ordinary senses without inferring the underlying intent of the person doing the retaliation. This report examines forms of retaliation that do not necessarily align with actionable offenses that meet the elements of proof required for a charge of retaliation under military law.
There is a right to a remedy for all victims of sexual assault. Since retaliation often interferes with survivors’ ability to access a remedy, governments should take all appropriate measures to end retaliation. Recognizing the ways that retaliation can interfere with victims’ access to a remedy under human rights law, international best practices on the treatment of victims require that governments “take measures to minimize inconvenience to victims, protect their privacy, when necessary, and ensure their safety, as well as that of their families and witnesses on their behalf, from intimidation and retaliation.”
Survivors recounted suffering a range of negative actions after reporting sexual assault or harassment, both professional and social. Many considered the aftermath of the assault—bullying and isolation from peers or the damage done to their career as a result of reporting—worse than the assault itself.
Human Rights Watch has concluded that these experiences constitute harmful retaliation consistent with the definition provided in the National Defense Authorization Act. Even if some of the acts were not intended as retaliation, many occurred because the service member reported a sexual assault. In addition, the victim’s beliefs about the incident and, more importantly, their beliefs about the military’s response has a long lasting impact.
The Danielson Famile “Southern Paws” (audio)
According to a 2014 Department of Defense survey conducted by RAND Corporation, 62 percent of active service members who reported sexual assault to a military authority in the past year indicated they experienced retaliation as a result of reporting. The survey defined retaliation to include professional retaliation (such as adverse personnel action), social retaliation (ostracism or maltreatment by peers or others) and administrative action or punishments. Because only active service members participate in the survey, service members who left the military—either voluntarily or involuntarily—after reporting a sexual assault are not included, so the actual rate of retaliation may well be higher.
The military conducts workplace and gender relations surveys every two years.The 2014 RAND survey shows that reported rates of retaliation have not changed since the last workplace survey in 2012, despite aggressive efforts by the military to reform its handling of sexual assault cases, including efforts to address retaliation.
In the 2014 survey, more than half the victims who made a report (53 percent) indicated experiencing social retaliation; 32 percent reported professional retaliation; 35 percent indicated experiencing administrative action (such as a reprimand); and 11 percent reported being punished for an infraction (such as underage drinking). In a separate 2014 Defense Department Survivor Experience Survey, 40 percent of victims who made an unrestricted report of sexual assault reported experiencing professional retaliation, 59 percent experienced social retaliation, and one-third experienced both.
Many survivors we interviewed, some of whom did not initially report their assault, said they did not want to report because they had seen what happened to others. As one said, “I know how it works in the military. If you report, you are out [of the military].” One Marine who was ostracized after reporting walked in on her roommate being violently gang-raped. When she asked her roommate if she would report the assault, her roommate said that she would not report because “I don’t want to end up like you.” When a trainee turned her drill sergeant in for sexual misconduct in 2012, she experienced such intense abuse in retaliation that she later discovered his other victims made a pact never to reveal what he had done to them.
The significant strides the military has recently made in improving reporting rates will be erased if victims see that others who report experience retaliation, and that the military does not respond to it effectively.
While most survivors surveyed report experiencing retaliation, few will see their perpetrator tried and punished for a sex offense, as is true generally for these offenses in both the military and civilian contexts. According to the December 2014 Report to the President on Sexual Assault in the Military, in FY 2014, of the 3,261 cases within the Defense Department’s jurisdiction that had outcomes to report, 910 (28 percent) had sex offense charges preferred (initiating the court-martial process); 496 (15 percent) cases proceeded to trial; and 175 (5.4 percent) were convicted of a sex offense.
Thus for a victim deciding whether or not to make an unrestricted report, the risk is 12 times greater that the service member will experience retaliation as a result of their report than that the service member will see the offender (if a service member) convicted for a sex offense after a court martial.
Survivors told Human Rights Watch about the acute trauma caused by having the people who were supposed to defend their lives in battle turn on them at the very moment they most needed support. As Senior Airman Bridges, who reported sexual harassment and assault, said, “They are supposed to be your family. When sexual assault happens, you’re no longer family.”
Survivors also described situations in which the command appeared to encourage the peer alienation of the survivor. Several service members reported that their isolation was a result of instructions by commanders to their peers not to talk to them. One Marine Corps Judge Advocate General suggested that this instruction may be a mistakenly broad interpretation by junior leaders of general guidance requiring people not to talk with a victim about an ongoing investigation. Regardless of the reason why such instructions are given, the resulting isolation for the victim can be devastating.
In some cases to remove victims from a hostile work environment was a positive move for survivors. Others, however, considered the assignments to be deliberately demeaning and intended to punish them for reporting sexual violence or harassment. It may understandably be difficult for the military to find a suitable temporary position for someone in their specialty on short notice and “fill-in” duties may seem demeaning even when they are not intended to be so. However, being put in a position outside of their specialty for an extended period took some survivors off their career paths and was deeply demoralizing.
“Under the current military whistleblower regime, victims must choose between reporting an assault and keeping their career. As a 40-year military law practitioner said, if you make a complaint, even if you can prove it, “You may as well get out. Your career is dead. There is no protection for victims.”
Military Equal Opportunity
Service members do not have access to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and are unable to sue for discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, the Military Equal Opportunity (MEO) program was created to combat discriminatory behavior (including sexual harassment) on the basis that discrimination is at odds with the obligation of men and women in uniform to treat all with dignity and respect; and is contrary to good order and discipline and can jeopardize mission readiness by undermining unit cohesion.
Assessment of Progress
Out of the 6,131 reports of sexual assault in FY 2014, there were 4,768 Service Member victims who made a report for an incident that occurred during military Service16, a 16% increase from FY 2013. As reflected in Figure 2, 25%, or about 1 in 4 of the estimated 18,900 Service member victims who experienced unwanted sexual contact made a Restricted or Unrestricted Report for an incident that occurred during military service. In fiscal year 2012, 11%, or about 1 in 10 of the estimated Service members who experienced the crime reported it. The estimated 25% reporting rate in fiscal year 2014 is the highest ever recorded for the Military Services.
The 2014 RAND Military Workplace Study
– Of the 4.3% of women who indicated experiencing unwanted sexual contact in the past year and who reported the matter to a military authority or organization, 62% perceived some form of professional or social retaliation, administrative action, and/or punishment associated with their report (53% social retaliation, 35% adverse administrative action, 32% professional retaliation, and 11% punishment for infraction19). However, because the data do not provide for the circumstances regarding administrative action or actions, which victims perceive as professional retaliation, we are unable to draw any conclusions regarding these numbers. Data for men were not reportable due to the small number of male respondents in this category.
For the past few years, the Pentagon has launched an extensive, public effort to combat sexual assault. It has set up a special office for victims’ advocates, commissioned reports to study the problem and stepped up training. The efforts have encouraged more victims to speak out. Reports of sexual assaults increased 41 percent from 2012 to 2014, according to Department of Defense data.
Retaliation, however, remains constant. Nearly two-thirds of service members who report sexual assault — 62 percent — say they experienced some form of social or professional retaliation from their fellow service members in 2014, according to a study conducted by military research firm RAND Corp. on behalf of the Defense Department. The number hasn’t changed since at least 2012, the last time the question was asked.
The Department of Defense data only tells part of the story. The above Human Rights Watch report interviewed more than 150 service members who said that they have been sexually assaulted. Many of those interviewed said that they had been harassed, physically attacked or threatened by their peers for reporting. Professionally, some service members said they were stripped of their ranks, assigned to menial tasks and even pushed out of the military — all because they reported an assault. http://sapr.mil/public/docs/reports/FY14_Annual/FY14_DoD_SAPRO_Annual_Report_on_Sexual_Assault.pdf
Video: “Nalestan” Official Video by 143Band (Paradise&Diverse)
“Nalestan, is a song dedicated to all Afghan Women who are suffering in Afghanistan Society. In this song we have tried to shout out all the pains they are having.” (Nalestan is our Second songs dedicated to all women around the globe who are suffering from being a woman.)
My first Rap, which made me the First Afghan Female Rapper, is Faryade Zan “Woman’s Shout” is about all the problems that Afghan Women and they keep silent. I asked all the females to stand up and Say No Violence. Right After this song, my cousins has burnt themselves because they had to marry an old man. Unfortunately one of them died because of more than 70% of burns with her skin but my other cousin is alive yet and their Dad in put in jail because of selling his daughters. I dedicate this song Nalestan to them and all other woman in the globe. We, as women in most countries, are the generation that Man can do whatever they want to us. Why should we keep silence for what they are all doing for us. The music was composed by 143Band. We made the scenario and shoot it in Herat- Afghanistan. Herat is a Western city in Afghanistan which is so religious. I just wanted to show all the men that I am not afraid of anything and I can shout out my voice.
Even some few women were telling bad words while I was shooting that Music Video. But I will continue and make their mind open to what the hell is going on.”
Video: Death’s Gift by “143Band” (Paradise & Diverse)