Things That Matter

Former Kentucky Governor Pardoned A Rapist Because His 9-Year-Old Victim’s Hymen Was Still Intact

Former Kentucky governor Matt Bevin, a devoted conservative who upholds proudly, his “pro-life” credentials, sparked lots of criticism for choosing to pardon hundreds of violent criminals during his last week in office. Lat week, during a radio interview with WHAS in Louisville he said that he pardoned a child rapist partly because the hymen of the 9-year-old victim was still intact.

Former Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin issued hundreds of pardons just a few days ago.

In his final days in office, former Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin issued hundreds of pardons and commutations to people he said he would not hesitate to welcome as neighbors, co-workers or members of his church. The pardons drew shock and outrage, not only because of the sheer number or apparent political motivations, but also because some involved violent criminals, including convicted murderers and rapists.

Bevin issued 428 pardons and commutations of sentences during his last days in office.

 Among those he pardoned was 41-year-old Micah Schoettle. On Sept. 14, 2016, a middle school student reported that she had been repeatedly sexually assaulted by Schoettle beginning when she was 9 years old, according to a news releaseissued by the commonwealth attorney’s office at the time of the verdict. Following an investigation, he was arrested, and on May 29, 2018, Schoettle was convicted of rape, sexual abuse, sodomy, and other sexual offenses. The judge followed the jury’s recommendation and sentenced Schoettle to 23 years in prison.

Bevin, enraged critics when he said during a radio interview that he pardoned a child rapist partly because the hymen of the 9-year-old victim was still intact.

When Louisville WHAS radio host Terry Meiners asked Bevin about the pardon, the former governor focused on the lack of evidence from physical examinations of the victim and her sister. “Both their hymens were intact,” Bevin said. “This is perhaps more specific than people would want, but trust me, if you had been repeatedly sexually violated as a small child by an adult, there are going to be repercussions of that physically and medically.”

In Thursday’s radio interview, host Terry Meiners grilled Bevin about his decision to pardon Schoettle.

“You’re the father of nine,” Meiners asked. Meiners then asked the former governor why he would pardon a convicted child rapist. “Which one though, because there were a couple of people that were accused of that whose sentences I commuted,” he said. When Meiners clarified that he was referring to Schoettle, Bevin said: ”This man was convicted purely on something that there’s no corroboration for,” Bevin said. “You should not be sent to jail based simply on the word and uncorroborated word of a single individual, especially when it is possible to verify that medically and physically.”

Expert studies show that Bevin’s claim is, in fact, incorrect.

His claim was made despite expert studies showing most child victims do not show evidence of physical damage and that examination of the tissue is not a reliable test of sexual activity. In fact, a 2012 study by the peer-reviewed journal Forensic Science International found that 90% of child victims don’t suffer physical damage from sexual abuse.

Retired Kentucky Chief Medical Examiner George Nichols told the Louisville Courier-Journal that Bevin “not only doesn’t know the law, in my humble opinion, he doesn’t know medicine and anatomy.”

“Rape is not proved by hymen penetration,” said Nichols, who started the child abuse evaluation system at Norton Children’s Hospital, formerly Kosair Children’s Hospital, in Louisville. “Rape is proved by phallic penetration…where the vaginal lips meet the outer surface of the vagina.” Nichols also told the Courier-Journal that he had worked for six consecutive governors as chief medical examiner, “and fortunately didn’t have to report to that asshole.”

“Essentially what he’s saying to pedophiles and people who would sexually abuse children is, ‘If you don’t cause an injury, you won’t be prosecuted because the only person that can tell what happened is the child,” Dr. James Crawford-Jakubiak, medical director of the Center for Child Protection at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, said of Bevin.

The FBI is now looking into the pardons issued by former Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin.

The Louisville Courier Journal, citing two sources familiar with the matter, reported late Monday that an FBI agent had spoken with a Kentucky state representative, Rep. Chris Harris, about a criminal investigation into Bevin’s pardons. Bevin has received national criticism for pardoning or commuting the sentences of more than 650 people following his failed reelection bid in November.

A 6-Year-Old Girl Was Raped And Murdered And Her Suspected Attacker Was Burned Alive By Angry Residents

Things That Matter

A 6-Year-Old Girl Was Raped And Murdered And Her Suspected Attacker Was Burned Alive By Angry Residents

@WagingNonViolence / Twitter

Content warning: the following story contains details on two horrific crimes, including sexual abuse and violence against minors. Please reconsider reading this article if these issues are triggers.

A suspect pedophile and murderer was burnt alive by an angry mob in Chiapas, Mexico, after he was accused of ending the life of a 6-year-old girl.

Credit: SPD / Federal File

It is almost too gruesome and cruel to be believed. Alfredo Roblero, a 37-year-old man  from the municipality of Faja de Oro, was accused of sexually abusing and then decapitating Jarid N., a 6-year-old girl who was reported as missing on Thursday night.

Police officers from the neighboring city of Tapachula were called in and arrested Roblero. However, an angry mob pulled him out of the police vehicle. The mob took him to a public park, badly beat him, poured gasoline over his body and set him on fire. Some reports argue that the Tapachula police didn’t try to stop the attack.

As Mexico News Daily reports, the authorities later released a timid statement: “State police officers later arrived on the scene with forensics experts from the Chiapas Attorney General’s Office (FGE) to investigate. The FGE said it would ‘not allow the public to carry out justice by its own hand.” Sounds like too little, too late.

Sexual violence and murders against women is a sad and constant presence in Mexico’s social life, cases like this are a symptom of a much more generalized problem.

Credit: @WagingNonViolence / Twitter

There is no denying that to be a woman in Mexico is to be vulnerable. From archaic practices that see families basically selling their preteen daughters into marriage or prostitution to feminicides in various hotspots in the country including Ciudad Juarez and the State of Mexico, cases like Jarid N’s are scandalous but far from surprising.

There is a clear power imbalance when it comes to gender and physical threats to women are exacerbated by patriarchal discourses that basically shut down any form of political expression from women. In recent months, women have taken on the streets to protest, even painting over monuments that have long been held “sacred” by the State. But isn’t a woman’s life much more sacred than a piece of chiseled stone?

We would never condone such an act as violent and unlawful as lynching, but we gotta get some context on the justice system in Mexico.

Mexico has seen a rise in lynching in the last decade as corruption has seeped into every level of government and people have grown increasingly desperate when it comes to true justice being served. Oftentimes criminals just walk away after giving a juicy mordida (slang for bribe, but literally meaning “bite”) to the authorities, or just due to negligence or mismanagement of files and witness accounts.

Added to this, potential witnesses often feel intimidated by the authorities or the perpetrators and prefer to remain silent even if this means that unspeakable acts will go unpunished. So before you get on your high horse, take this context into account. As we said, we don’t condone this acts but the lawlessness in which vast sectors of Mexican society have survived helps explain why some see this as the only possible way in which justice can be served for someone who raped and severed the head of a little girl. 

There is also an ages-long mistrust of the government in Chiapas

The lynching of this man, as we said, is a crime in itself. It is important, however, to get some context. Chiapas, the southern state in which the lynching occurred, has a long history of mistrust of the Mexican government at one point the state even sought independence. Chiapanecos have been let down by everyone: members of every major political party (PRI, PAN, PRD) have governed the state and they have all come short on their promises. It is no coincidence that the now legendary Zapatista rebellion was born in this state. It would be a gross and big claim to say that all of this is directly related to the lynching, but these factors have certainly lay a fertile ground for citizens taking matters into their own hands. 

Lady Gaga Gave A Very Candid Interview To Oprah In Which She Shares Her Trauma Of Being Raped ‘Repeatedly’ At 19

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Lady Gaga Gave A Very Candid Interview To Oprah In Which She Shares Her Trauma Of Being Raped ‘Repeatedly’ At 19

Oprah Vision Tour / Billboard

Oscar-winner Lady Gaga sat down for an interview with Oprah as part of the talk show host’s 2020 Vision: Your Life In Focus tour. Gaga was not afraid to get real. Although she did not give a detailed summary of the events, the “Shallow” singer discussed being raped repeatedly at 19 years old. She described suffering from PTSD, a psychotic break down, and self-harm. 

However, the Grammy-award winning singer did so with an important message: get help. Throughout the conversation, Gaga was very transparent about how necessary it is to seek treatment and be unafraid of receiving it. This isn’t the first time she has opened up about past traumas, Gaga admitted to being sexually assaulted upon the release of her song “Til It Happens To You” which is an anthem for assault survivors inspired by the documentary The Hunting Ground. She’s been forthcoming about her struggles with past addiction issues, eating disorders, and fibromyalgia. 

Consider this your Trigger Warning, because Gaga gets real here. 

Gaga opened up about being raped at 19 years old.

“I was raped when I was 19 years-old, repeatedly. I have been traumatized in a variety of ways by my career over the years from many different things, but I survived, and I’ve kept going. And when I looked at that Oscar, I saw pain. I don’t know that anyone understood it when I said it in the room, but I understood it,” Gaga told Oprah. 

While she doesn’t go into the specifics, she revealed before that after being raped for months she was dropped off on a street corner. The 33-year-old said she began to suffer from PTSD after the horrific incident. The pain of her rape still appears to haunt her body until this day. 

“The trauma response is much heavier and actually feels the way I felt after I was dropped on a street corner after I’d been raped repeatedly for months. It’s a recurring feeling,” she said. 

The singer recounted having a psychotic break during a difficult period in her life to Elle last year.

“So I had a psychotic break at one point, and it was one of the worst things that’s ever happened to me. I was brought to the ER to urgent care and they brought in the doctor, a psychiatrist. So I’m just screaming, and I said, ‘Could somebody bring me a real doctor?’ And I didn’t understand what was going on, because my whole body went numb; I fully dissociated,” Gaga told Elle in November. 

The physical and psychic trauma she endured caused her brain to disassociate. The pop star needed serious help and hospitalization. 

“My whole body started tingling and I started screaming. I was in a hospital. It’s very difficult to describe what it feels like other than that you first start to tingle from head to toe and then you go numb. The brain goes, ‘That’s enough, I don’t want to think about this anymore. I don’t want to feel this anymore.’ Boom. You break from reality as you know it.” Gaga said, “I know this is controversial in a lot of ways, but medicine really helped me.”

Gaga also shared that she used to self-harm.

“I was a cutter for a long time, and the only way that I was able to stop cutting and self-harming myself was to realize that what I was doing was trying to show people that I was in pain instead of telling them and asking for help,” Gaga told Elle.  

Much of Gaga’s interview is about how her traumas could only be managed by seeking support and professional help. Most importantly, she doesn’t want to glamourize mental illness, she simply wants to help others who are struggling with it. She even suggested that those suffering from self-harm or traumatic pain can put their hands in a bowl of ice water to shock the system and bring them back to reality. 

“I have PTSD. I have chronic pain. Neuropathic pain trauma response is a weekly part of my life. I’m on medication; I have several doctors. This is how I survive. But you know what, Oprah? I kept going, and that kid out there or even that adult out there who’s been through so much, I want them to know that they can keep going, and they can survive, and they can win their Oscar. I would also beckon to anyone to try, when they feel ready, to ask for help,” she told Oprah.

Gaga’s final message to those listening was to accept life’s challenges and be kind in times of extreme cruelty. 

“Accept the challenge of kindness. It’s hard in a world the way that we are; we have a very, very grave history. We’re in trouble, and we have been before. But I think life asks us amid these challenges, this hatred, this tragedy, this famine, this war, this cruelty: Can you be kind and can you survive?”