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Tilting at Windmills

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October 12, 2010

KEN BUCK'S CALLOUSNESS.... When it comes to women's issues, extremist Senate candidate Ken Buck (R) of Colorado isn't exactly a champion. He is, for example, on record supporting bans on certain forms of birth control and the criminalization of all abortion rights, even in cases of rape or incest. During his GOP Senate primary, Buck even mocked his opponent for wearing high heels.

But revelations about Buck's handling of a 2005 rape case have put the candidate's attitudes towards women in an even more painful light.

Three weeks from Election Day, stories have suddenly emerged about Buck's refusal to follow up on rape allegations involving a University of North Colorado student during his stint as Weld County District Attorney. While other prosecutors have filed criminal charges against alleged rapists in similar cases, Buck declined, claiming insufficient evidence.

Renewed criticism has erupted over Buck's handling of the case in light of some of his newly-resurfaced remarks, including a conversation he had with the victim and his suggestion that a jury would view the rape charges as merely her "buyer's remorse." [...]

The Huffington Post has obtained the audio of the meeting Buck held with the victim as well as the pertinent police report -- both of which, critics say, make him seem callous and even hostile in dismissing her pleas.

At the time, a 21-year-old student had gotten together with a man she used to date. Intoxicated, the young woman invited her alleged attacker to her apartment. She apparently passed out, but woke up to find herself being violated. The attacker conceded to police that the woman had said "no," and the police report added, "he realized he had done something wrong." The same report went on to say he felt "shame and regret" and even tried to "apologize" to the victim.

Despite all of this, Buck concluded the case wasn't worth prosecuting. In his conversation with the victim, in which Buck was recorded without his knowledge, he argued, "It appears to me and it appears to others that you invited him over to have sex with him."

I realize that prosecutors have a variety of factors to consider before filing criminal charges, but in this case, Buck was not only dismissive of an apparent rape victim, he had a police report in which the attacker practically confessed to the violent crime.

I've long questioned Ken Buck's judgment. He does, after all, support repealing the 17th Amendment, privatizing Social Security, eliminating the Department of Education, scrapping the federal student loan program, and has even said liberals are a bigger threat than terrorists.

But these revelations about his record as a county prosecutor seem to make his judgment look even worse.

Steve Benen 10:50 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (16)

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Comments

How come no one ever goes postal on an asshole like this.
The crazy twothers (2nd amendment solution types) always seem to be gunning down the innocents or the good ones.

Posted by: cwolf on October 12, 2010 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, what a prince.

Posted by: neilt on October 12, 2010 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

"It appears to me and it appears to others that you invited him over to have sex with him."

Seriously? SERIOUSLY?!? THAT bullshit?! THAT slut-shaming BULLSHIT AGAIN?!?!?!

:climbs aboard the soapbox; picks up megaphone:
Alright jackasses of the world, morons who just don't get it, rapists and rapist enablers, misogynists from all walks of life and any other people who enjoy victim blaming for whatever fucked up reason who I've missed. I've said this about a bagillion times in conjunction with about a bagillion other people and us bagillion are getting right fucking tired of it. So sit down and listen the goddamn hell up.

If you offer to walk a woman home, at no point in time ever does her accepting your offer mean "fuck me please"

If you invite a woman over and she accepts your invite, at no point does her accepting your invite necessarily translate to "fuck me please"

If a woman invites you into your home, at no point is her invite necessarily to mean "fuck me please"

If a woman is walking alone down a dark alleyway in a short, tight skirt, hell, naked even, at no point is her audacity to walk and exist with boobs and a vagina to be construed as her screaming, "fuck me please"

If you are alone with a woman in an elevator, she is not necessarily there for your penis's pleasure

If you have had consensual sex with a woman previously it does not mean you are entitled to sex with her whenever you want for the entire rest of eternity.

If a woman has had sex with ANYONE previously, hell, even if she's had sex with EVERYONE BUT YOU previously, it does not mean she necessarily must have sex with you or anyone else whenever somebody wants it for the entire fucking rest of eternity.

If you pull over to help a stranded woman having car trouble, she is there because her car is being a shit, she is not there for your penis.

If a woman says "no" it should be respected. It does not mean yes.

And most importantly pertaining to this case, if a woman is unconscious or barely conscious her body is not yours for the taking. I don't care how naked or hot she is. She is not there for your penis.

So enough already with the victim blaming, slut shaming BULLSHIT that comes with nearly every rape case. Sometimes, it just doesn't matter how careful someone is, they're still raped by people they thought they could trust. THIS IS NOT THEIR FAULT. Shame on you for telling them it is.
:sets down megaphone; climbs off soapbox:

Posted by: Layla on October 12, 2010 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Don't forget privatizing the VA to his list of "promises", too.

Posted by: Hmmmm on October 12, 2010 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

This guy may be insensitive to women's issues, but it seems to me that a prosecutor has discretion about filing criminal charges. A pertinent question is whether the woman wanted such charges brought. If she did, and Buck didn't comply that's one thing. If she didn't want charges brought that's quite another, and it's important to know in more detail what happened. While Buck could have ignored whatever her wishes were, suggesting as you do, Steve, that the knee-jerk response should have been criminal charges regardless is more of a political attack than trying to understand if it was a sensible response to a very personal situation between two people. What you describe as a 'violent crime' doesn't cut it. This situation is far more murky that you make it out to be.

Alcohol and sex are often a poisonous combination, as has been demonstrated often enough. So called 'date rape' situations are not cut and dried. Those who think they are deny the complexity of these incidents, which is what you, Steve, have done.

Posted by: rrk1 on October 12, 2010 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

BRAVO Layla! That speech should be posted in every prosecutor's office as a reminder of who they're fighting for and why.

Out of a fear that your time on the soapbox may get censored due to your repeated - and appropriate - use of certain expletives (it's happened before), I'm repeating it below verbatim with a slight alteration.

***

"It appears to me and it appears to others that you invited him over to have sex with him."

Seriously? SERIOUSLY?!? THAT b*llsh*t?! THAT slut-shaming B*LLSH*T AGAIN?!?!?!

:climbs aboard the soapbox; picks up megaphone:
Alright jackasses of the world, morons who just don't get it, rapists and rapist enablers, misogynists from all walks of life and any other people who enjoy victim blaming for whatever f**ked up reason who I've missed. I've said this about a bagillion times in conjunction with about a bagillion other people and us bagillion are getting right f**king tired of it. So sit down and listen the goddamn hell up.

If you offer to walk a woman home, at no point in time ever does her accepting your offer mean "f**k me please"

If you invite a woman over and she accepts your invite, at no point does her accepting your invite necessarily translate to "f**k me please"

If a woman invites you into your home, at no point is her invite necessarily to mean "f**k me please"

If a woman is walking alone down a dark alleyway in a short, tight skirt, hell, naked even, at no point is her audacity to walk and exist with boobs and a vagina to be construed as her screaming, "f**k me please"

If you are alone with a woman in an elevator, she is not necessarily there for your penis's pleasure

If you have had consensual sex with a woman previously it does not mean you are entitled to sex with her whenever you want for the entire rest of eternity.

If a woman has had sex with ANYONE previously, hell, even if she's had sex with EVERYONE BUT YOU previously, it does not mean she necessarily must have sex with you or anyone else whenever somebody wants it for the entire f**king rest of eternity.

If you pull over to help a stranded woman having car trouble, she is there because her car is being a sh*t, she is not there for your penis.

If a woman says "no" it should be respected. It does not mean yes.

And most importantly pertaining to this case, if a woman is unconscious or barely conscious her body is not yours for the taking. I don't care how naked or hot she is. She is not there for your penis.

So enough already with the victim blaming, slut shaming B*LLSH*T that comes with nearly every rape case. Sometimes, it just doesn't matter how careful someone is, they're still raped by people they thought they could trust. THIS IS NOT THEIR FAULT. Shame on you for telling them it is.
:sets down megaphone; climbs off soapbox:

Posted by: Kiweagle on October 12, 2010 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Layla you are my hero.

No woman is "asking for it" unless she truly asks of her own free will--safe, sane, and consensual, to borrow a phrase from a lifestyle community.

Posted by: GreasyJoan on October 12, 2010 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

@rrk1: This victim wanted to press charges, but the prosecutor refused.

Secondly, while intoxication can confuse consent, in this case, the rapist and the victim both agree that the victim did not provide consent. In this case, it in fact should not matter if the victim wants to press charges or not; the state has an interest in punishing rapists. There's a reason this is a criminal charge and not a civil one.

Posted by: dob on October 12, 2010 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

What Layla said

Posted by: Winkandanod on October 12, 2010 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

rrk1, your comment sounds like the pandering to a bullshit closet misogynist in "rationalist's" clothing.

The fact that you use quotes around "date rape" makes me think you yourself might be a closet misogynist but even though I'm feeling particularly impatient and stabby today, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. I'll first tell you why your quotes set off alarm bells.

The fact that you refer to it as "date rape" makes it look like you don't think it ever occurs at all, or that if it does, it cannot ever be construed as rape which subscribes to the idea that women are just making it up or are crying rape because they feel guilty over their supposed "sluttiness". Which, I won't say that never happens, because I'm sure it has been the case every once in a while. But since rape is something that is so commonly tossed aside, thrown out of court and taken as lie or as something the victim "had coming" in the first place in our society, it seems prudent to treat a reported rape as a valid claim, since it takes a lot (obviously) just to get anyone to take you seriously in the first place.

Secondly, your quotes hint that perhaps you don't believe "date rape" occurs because perhaps you believe that if a woman allows a man into her home, that is her also allowing him into her vagina. The wrongness of this assumption should be apparent, but just in case there is any doubt, an invitation inside a home is not an invitation for sex, and even an invitation for sleeping on the same bed is not an invitation necessarily for sex. Furthermore, when someone says "no" that ought to make it crystal clear if there's any confusion that that someone does not want the sexual activity to continue.

Drinking together is also not an invitation for sex. Your statement, "alcohol and sex are often a poisonous combination" is also problematic, as it implies that in the case in question there were two consenting adults, when the reality is it was alcohol and rape, NOT alcohol and sex. Having intercourse with someone who is barely conscious is not consensual sex. Having intercourse with someone who is barely conscious and has said "no" repeatedly is not sex. Furthermore, this statement implies that the victim "asked for it" by drinking, which again, is not an invitation to have sex. By blaming alcohol, instead of the perpetrator, we are blaming the victim and shifting the focus off of the perp and onto slut-shaming and scolding. Getting shitfaced is not the best thing for you. But at no point does anyone ever deserve to have their body used against their will, or without their sane consent because they decided to have a little too much tequila.

Saying that "alcohol and sex are often a dangerous combination" is a little too close to the "that's the way it is" mentality, which is a recipe for mediocrity and continued encouragement of the rape culture of victim-blaming and slut shaming, which, you guessed it, won't bring these kinds of situations to an end as has been demonstrated often enough. Until we hold rapists responsible for their actions, they will continue to rape and victims will continue to be blamed. Furthermore, the idea that "these kinds of things are inevitable" is insulting to men and women alike. It implies that men are dumb, animalistic assholes who are incapable of controlling themselves and that women who make the mistake of being alone with them when they turn into were-rapists are stupid sluts who had it coming. To continue to engage in sexual activity when someone says no, is incapable of saying no, or is otherwise resistant, takes a conscious choice. The moment a rapist decides to continue, regardless of the other person is the moment they decide their own needs are more important than that other persons (which, that kind of mentality wouldn't be so prevalent to begin with if the idea that womens' bodies are public property, and mens' needs most important weren't a mainstay in our society to begin with). The moment the rapist decides to continue is the moment he/she becomes a rapist, it is the moment they decide the other person is not deserving of their own basic human right to decide what goes on with and/or inside their own body. This is not sex, it is not consensual, and most of all, it is NOT inevitable if a woman is too "stupid" to not drink, not wear a revealing outfit, not trust someone she already knows etc, etc, etc. Regardless of whatever the victim could have done to avoid the situation, there is always the most important thing the rapist could have done in order to avoid the situation. NOT RAPE. Regardless of whatever other factors there are, this is the most important. The rapist had a CHOICE. I really don't see how much more cut and dry it could possibly be.

Lastly, it's true that it's important to ask whether the woman wanted to prosecute, but the fact that he TOLD her a jury wouldn't convict makes it sound an awful lot to me like intimidation. If indeed she chose not to file charges, one has to wonder if Buck's indifference and (IMO) blatant assholery had a lot to do with it.

Posted by: Layla on October 12, 2010 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Layla, I love you. I am ripping off your comments and sending it to every person I know. Women's rights were set back at LEAST 10 years under the Bush Administration. Every crazy right wing jerk thought he could screw with women and the courts 'allowed' it. We kept repeating it and 'they' kept patting us on the head. Now before I get blasted, I KNOW there are good men out there. I'm married to one and why he DIDN'T divorce my ass as I railed at the TV night after night speaks volumes to his sensitivity and beliefs.

Posted by: SYSPROG on October 12, 2010 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

SYSPROG:

heh, thanks, quote and send away. *is flattered*

Posted by: Layla on October 12, 2010 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

A pleasure, Layla, a pleasure.

Posted by: SYSPROG on October 12, 2010 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Layla, you tell'em, girl! Beautiful rant.

Posted by: Athena on October 12, 2010 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Layla.

Posted by: Hazy on October 12, 2010 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Has anyone gotten Camille Paglia's insights on this?

Posted by: Chet on October 12, 2010 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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