The Mennonite mass rapes

I hate to follow one horrifyingly depressing rape story with another, but this needs to be shared. File this one away in “Proof Religion Doesn’t Automatically Make You a Good Person.” If you can find room, that is (emphasis mine):

Wall is among 130 women and girls of the Mennonite colony in Manitoba Colony, who claim that from 2005 to ’09, the same cloudy horror visited them. They’re the victims of what is allegedly one of the ugliest sex scandals in the history of the Mennonites, a pacifist Christian Anabaptist denomination founded in Europe in the 1500s, if not Bolivia and South America. In a criminal trial now under way in nearby Santa Cruz, Peter Weiber, 48, a Mennonite veterinarian, is accused of transforming a chemical meant to anesthetize cows into a spray to be used on humans. For four years, Weiber and eight other Mennonite men allegedly sprayed the chemical through bedroom windows in Manitoba at night, sedating entire families and raping the females. One of the men is a fugitive, the others have pleaded not guilty. If convicted, each faces a maximum 30-year prison sentence.

The criminal charges detail depraved acts few would expect inside a supposedly upright sect like the Mennonites. “When there were no grown women” in the houses that the men allegedly targeted, says Wilfredo Mariscal, an attorney for the victims, “they did what they wanted with the kids.” Court-ordered medical exams reveal a 3-year-old girl with a broken hymen (most likely, doctors note, from finger and not penis penetration). The formal indictments list victims ages 8 to 60 years old, including one who is mentally retarded and another who was pregnant and sent into premature labor after allegedly being raped by one of the men — her brother.

If you can stomach it, the whole article is worth the read. It goes more in depth with how the women in the Mennonite community are completely isolated from the world through various patriarchal rules, and how the men on trial for the rapes have been spending the trial goofing off, laughing, and falling asleep.

…Can I ragequit humanity yet?

Girl expelled for being raped, then raped again

Disgusting (emphasis mine):

According to the Springfield News-Leader, the 7th grade special ed student at Republic Middle School in Springfield, MO reported her rape in the spring of 2009. The lawsuit alleges that school officials told her they didn’t believe her, and after “multiple intimidating interrogations,” she recanted. The lawsuit also notes that a school psychological report said the girl “would forego her own needs and wishes to satisfy the request of others around so that she can be accepted,” meaning she might have been especially susceptible to pressure to change her story. But the pressure allegedly didn’t end there. The girl says she was made to write an apology note to her attacker and hand-deliver it to him. She was also expelled for the remainder of the school year.

When she came back the following year, the school allegedly refused her mother’s request for extra monitoring and did not separate her from her alleged attacker. In February 2010, the lawsuit says he “was able to hunt [her] down, drag her to the back of the school library, and again forcibly rape her.” She and her mother reported this rape to the police, and a rape kit tested positive for her attacker’s semen — he plead guilty to charges in juvenile court. But instead of taking her seriously at long last, the school suspended her, this time for “Disrespectful Conduct” and “Public Display of Affection.” Her lawsuit requests damages for medical expenses, emotional distress, and attorneys’ fees, as well as “punitive damages to deter School Officials and others from similar conduct in the future.”

…I have nothing to add. This atrocity speaks for itself.

Suspect arrested in Mabus case

Says a tweet from the Montreal Police. Who knew an internet petition could actually do something.

I’m going to assume it’s Mabus, since he’s been particularly quiet lately. Unless there’s a surprise twist, and Mabus’s mom was the one sending all of the threats. Or if the internet was directed by M. Night Shyamalan, Mabus is PZ Myers.

I hope this man gets the help he needs.

Atheists no longer the most unpopular group in America!

We’re now ahead of… the Tea Party.

Oh gee. A bunch of selfish illiterate racist godbothering wackadoodles who aren’t smart enough to google “teabagging” before they start national campaigns. Good to know we barely have more support from the general public than those guys.

I’m not sure whether I should be hopeful or full of despair.

Fighting religion in public schools

Jessica Ahlquist‘s talk from the Secular Student Alliance annual conference is online. I can confidently say it was my favorite talk of the whole conference – and that’s competing with excellent talks by Greta Christina, PZ Myers, Jamila Bey, and David Silverman.

In other words, I order you to watch the whole thing right now. You won’t be disappointed.

I wish I had been as strong as Jessica when I was a sophomore in high school.

Indiana hits new low of homophobic bigotry

UPDATE: From the original source: “Alfarena Ballew from the Marion County Coroner’s office called to offer this statement, “Her friend and her aunt are working together with the life partner to take care of the remains. We have nothing in writing from the partner asking to claim the body. Our records show that the next of kin is her aunt. Our understanding now is that they’re all working together to release the body and take care of the services.” Ms. Ballew described the incident as a “misunderstanding” and says the office is on track to release the body shortly.
This weekend the main performance stage at the Indiana State Fair collapsed during unusually high winds, killing five and injuring 40. You probably already heard about this, since terrifying videos of the stage crushing concert goers quickly went viral. Due to the quick emergency response and bravery of people in the audience, many lives were saved. And thankfully none of my friends or family were harmed in the incident.

But for those who lost their loved ones, you’d hope they can eventually move on from this tragedy through mourning and memorial services. Unless you’re a lesbian, in which case Indiana says Fuck You:

When a stage collapsed during the Indiana State Fair over the weekend, Christina Santiago, manager of programming for the Lesbian Community Care Project at Chicago’s Howard Brown Health Center, was one of the casualties. Santiago’s partner, Alisha Brennon, was also injured in the tragedy.

The Marion County coroner’s office is refusing to release Santiago’s body to her partner; the office cited the Defense of Marriage Act as the reason why they’ve turned down Brennon’s request to pick up her loved one’s remains. DOMA allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

Indiana has its own version of DOMA that outlaws same-sex marriage. Since Indiana law requires the next-of-kin to pick up Santiago’s body, but the state won’t recognize Brennon as the surviving spouse, Santiago’s body is still laying in the morgue awaiting a solution. Brennon, who is still hospitalized, is now working with Santiago’s aunt to pick up the body and make funeral arrangements.

Nausiating. It shames me to be associated with this state at all. Dan Savage already put it best:

This is what DOMA is designed to do. DOMA does nothing to strengthen traditional marriages. It doesn’t prevent straight couples from divorcing or make straight couples any more likely to take responsibility for their children. The federal DOMA and all the mini-DOMAs enacted by the states only serve to torment and persecute gay people at the most trying moments of their lives: when a partner is ill, when a child is sick, when a partner dies. And people who claim to be Christians will howl the loudest if DOMA is repealed.

When are we going to move out of these dark ages?

I think he takes landLORD a little too literally

It’s no secret that I hate my apartment. tl;dr I have no privacy, I’m getting ripped off on my electric bills (which he once refused to pay), I don’t have control over the heat or internet, and the place is infested with spiders. Seriously, I’ve killed about one a day since I moved in. Last night a hairy one CRAWLED ACROSS MY CHEST WHILE I WAS LAYING IN BED.

Sorry, my terror deserves all caps.

The upside to all of this is that I’m finally moving in two weeks. Hurray! I found a wonderful new place in Capitol Hill (not Washington DC, the Seattle neighborhood that’s filled with gays and hipsters and awesome food and bars). But that also means other people are checking out my apartment. I missed most of the viewings this weekend since I was in Omaha, but today one couple from out of state called me to ask how it was.

Thanks for giving my phone number out to random strangers, landlord.

Anyway, they were really nice, and I told them the truth about the place. I was in the same situation last year – moving from out of state and unable to find anything – and I wish I would have had someone to ask about the place (the current tenant had already moved out). When they asked if I felt comfortable here, I relayed the story about the time my landlord found out I was an evolutionary biologist and proceeded to debate me for twenty five minutes about how creationism was correct.

She paused. She said it wasn’t surprising, since he had made some anti-Catholic remarks at the end of their phone call, and that her husband was Catholic. And he had also asked them if they were church goers – they weren’t (like many Catholics?).

I shouldn’t be surprised that he was dumb enough to say anti-Catholic stuff on the phone, since he’s had no problem ranting to me about creationism or how horrible unions are. But the latter makes me wonder. Is it because of me? Is my landlord running around fretting that he has a Dirty Atheist living in his basement? It’s obvious if you look at my bookshelf or glance at my mail that arrives in our shared mailbox – lots of letters from the Secular Student Alliance, Secular Coalition for America, and Planned Parenthood.

I better not see a fee for exorcisms or blessings come out of my security deposit.

The reason why you’re single

No, it’s not because you have reasonable standards of attraction and Seattle is just filled with ugly bitches who are deluded into thinking they’re prettier than they are.

It’s because you’re a self absorbed douchebag.

This seems like a brand of Nice Guy Syndrome, but slightly different. “Nice Guys” focus on how women don’t appreciate all of their nice acts, despite said nice acts being shallow manipulative ploys so Nice Guy can stick his dick in you, rather than genuine kindness, empathy, or respect. No, this seems like “Not Ugly Guy,” where he has reasonable standards of who he’s attracted to, but a city of over 500,000 people happens to be full of nothing but ugly women. Ugly, “dumpy” women who spend their free time sitting in (metaphorical) circle jerks talking about how pretty they are and concocting plans for tricking attractive men to stay in miserable relationships with them.

Slightly different, but there is a common denominator: Passive aggressiveness and pure delusion to avoid the possibility that you, Oh Perfect Penis Bearer, could have any sort of flaw.

It really boggles my mind how so many men can’t comprehend that the way to get a date is to treat women like human beings, rather than some monolithic hivemind or dungeon level that can be easily solved with a strategy guide. Or worse, an item they quite obviously deserve, despite being raging dickbags who can’t take a hint when their friends are saying they have too high of standards.

Translation: That’s the nice way of saying you don’t deserve the women you’re aiming for. Probably because you’re a raging dickbag whose justification for 13 years of singledom is blogging not-so-thinly-veiled misogyny.

Oh wait. I just disagree because I’m not pretty enough. Right. I always forget that.

EDIT: The author says he received a death threat because of his post. If this is true, that’s despicable. I hope it wasn’t any of my readers who did that, since we just got done talking about how that’s not okay. Shred someone’s arguments to pieces and point out their idiocy, but never threaten them.

Off to Omaha!

I’m about to hop on a plane to the Midwest Humanist and Freethought conference! I’ll be yet again ranting about how religion treats women (Hint: not well).

I’m not going to lie. I know nothing about Omaha. I drove past it once on my way to an Ecology conference in Lincoln. I’m sure the locals will prove it’s awesomeness to me. Though we’re starting off with dinner at Herman Cain’s Godfather Pizza, so I’m a little wary… Is this like SSA’s field trip to the Creation Museum or something? Does every slice come with a free side of bigotry?

I know I have at least one reader in Omaha who can’t make stuff during the day. I’m not sure if I’ll have time for other meetups, but watch my Twitter feed for any announcements about bars we happen to be in. Knowing atheist conferences, it’ll probably happen.