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Posted 06/22/2016 by  & filed under Ending Sex Discrimination, Ending Violence Against Women, Stopping Violence Against WomenBy Angela Myers, Communications Intern
The juvenile justice system is criminalizing sexual assault victims. In our juvenile justice system, many, if not most, of the young women placed in the juvenile justice system are victims of sexual abuse.
Although in the last 20 years the amount of youths placed in the juvenile system has gone down, the proportion of young girls placed into the system has increased.  As stated in an Education Week article,“Sexual abuse is a “primary predictor” for involvement with the juvenile-justice system, and that girls of color—particularly African-Americans, Native Americans, and Latinas—are disproportionately affected.” By putting young women into the juvenile system, the root problems of bad behavior and delinquency aren’t being solved. Sexual abuse history is also strongly linked to the likelihood that a young woman will be charged again after release.
What is the issue?
The sexual abuse to Prison pipeline is an issue that focuses specifically on young women who have experienced sexual assault. These girls are pushed into the juvenile justice system for displaying understandable reactions to trauma, which usually meet the criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). By being placed into the juvenile system, girls don’t have access to proper mental health treatment. As data and reports show, girls are 4.4 times more likely to experience sexual assault than boys. By placing these girls in the juvenile justice system we are taking them out of their communities, not giving them the help that they need to psychologically recover from trauma. The juvenile justice system is also known for having an ineffective education system. This inhibits those in the system to easily transfer out and back to school. So in the end, by placing victims in the juvenile justice system girls are taken out of their communities and everything they know.
Sexual assault is a traumatic experience that leads many young women to act out.  But the research so far shows that an overwhelming majority of girls in the juvenile justice system have experienced sexual abuse. In a 2006 study in Oregon, 96 percent of the girls in the juvenile justice system had a history of sexual abuse, and 76 percent had experienced one incident of sexual or physical abuse before age thirteen. Additionally, in a 2009 study in South Carolina of “delinquent girls”, 84 percent reported a history of sexual violence. In Angela Davis’s book, Are Prisons Obsolete?, Davis writes extensively, in the chapter  “How Gender Structures the Prison system,” on the sexual abuse that is experienced by women in the prison system in California, before and after they enter the system. A major problem and factor in our juvenile justice system and our prison system is that women and girls are being sexually abused in prisons, and if they aren’t, the standard practices of those systems have the potential to retraumatize victims. Strip searching, for example, is standard practice for adult prisons but on a case-by-case basis in the juvenile justice system. Being stripped searched can be retraumatizing for victims of sexual assault.
The most common crimes for which girls are arrested—running away, substance abuse, and truancy—are also the most common reactions to abuse. Putting these girls into the juvenile justice system is generally a harsher conviction than needed if we want to punish these girls for their crimes. These crimes are also often painted as ones that need to be punished early and quickly, rather than treated. These girls are not criminals, but victims. Once we see that these victims need treatment not punishment, hopefully then we will be able to curb the sheer amount of girls in the juvenile justice system.

Why is this important?
It has become obvious lately that the juvenile justice system and the prison system in general is flawed. A disproportionate amount of the women in these systems are women of color. By criminalizing young girls who have experienced sexual assault we are further traumatizing those girls and not fixing the root of the problem that caused their delinquent behavior. Girls who are put into the juvenile justice system also face the stigma of being labeled a “delinquent child” and that can follow them once they leave the system. Then after they re-integrate back into school the change in structure may retrigger problematic behavior. These girls and all young women deserve respect and also the proper care for their needs. This can change if we give therapy to girls who are exhibiting bad behavior in the classroom and signs of trauma. Also we can work toward ending sexual abuse toward young girls by giving therapy and rehabilitation to rapists and child molesters. As a society we need to stop sexual assault at all ages. Until then we can’t criminalize the behaviors of young women who are acting out because of their trauma due to sexual assault.
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE    
 

AZ NOW PAC just turned up the heat as

women’s votes will decide the future.

Phoenix, Arizona, June 3, 2016 - Today, Kathryn Baumgardner, AZ NOW PAC Coordinator, released the first set of endorsements for the upcoming election.
Based on answers to our survey, AZ NOW PAC endorses: Lela Alston - PUHSD Governing School Board & LD 24 House Representative * Ken Clark LD 24 House Representative * Jeanee Casteen - Creighton Governing School Board  * Amy McSheffrey - Creighton Governing School Board * Jana Lynn Granillo - Board of Directors, Maricopa County Special Healthcare District, District 1 * Maritza Miranda Saenz - LD 27 State Senate, Referendum: Stop Corruption Now AZ.
The heat is on and AZ NOW’s membership vows to fight fire with the hottest weapons – their social media prowess and their vote. The campaign e-trail will begin aflame with worthy feminist’s freedom fighters, up-and-comers and one fierce campaign worthy of the Arizona NOW PAC Endorsement that are listed here (and more to come). AZ NOW PAC is determined to elect a majority of public officials who are committed to the advancement of women’s rights in all levels of political office.  The AZ NOW PAC bases their endorsement questions on a broad feminist agenda that includes: Reproductive rights and justice, Economic justice, Ending violence against women, Racial justice, LBGT rights, and Constitutional Equality.
National NOW endorses Ann Kirkpatrick for US Senate. This endorsement is based on the AZ NOW PAC federal candidate endorsement survey and resulting recommendation.
Contact: Kathryn Baumgardner, AZ NOW PAC Coordinator, nowpac.az@gmail.com

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I'm sure you've seen that a second video showing Baltimore Raven's player Ray Rice committing an act of domestic violence has been released. Every media outlet has been showing it, making it hard to ignore.
Sign the petition and tell Goodell that he must go. Only when millions of NFL fans saw that video did Commissioner Roger Goodell take a stand. It's pretty clear thatGoodell thinks he has an image problem, but in fact the NFL has a violence against women problem.
The arrest rate of NFL players for domestic violence and sexual assault is significantly higher than the general population. Since Goodell started as commissioner in 2006, there have been fifty-six instances of domestic violence, but players were suspended for a combined total of 13 games and only 10 players were released from their team.
The NFL sets the example for college, high school, middle school and even elementary school football programs - the example currently being set by the NFL is simply unacceptable. The organization must have new leadership. Sign our petition and demand Goodell resign!
We are demanding that Goodell resign from his position and that his successor appoint an independent investigator with full authority to gather factual data about domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking within the NFL community, and to recommend real and lasting reforms.
New leadership must come in with a specific charge to transform the culture of violence against women that pervades the NFL. Sign our petition and demand thatGoodell resign!