vendredi 26 avril 2013

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month: In Memory of Meredith Kercher

Did you know that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month in the United States? Someone is sexually assaulted in this country every two minutes. Each year, there are 207,754 reported victims of rape and sexual assault. Of course, the number of unreported rapes and sexual assaults remains high.

When people think about sexual violence, they generally imagine that the victim does not know the attacker - that the assault involves a stranger. In fact, the reality is startlingly different: among female rape victims, 51.1% of perpetrators are reported to be intimate partners and 40.8% are acquaintances. In total, more than 90% of all reported rapes are committed by people who know their victim. And in more than half of these case, the perpetrator is more than just an acquaintance.

The photo here is of Meredith Kercher, the British exchange student to Italy who was tortured, threatened, physically assaulted and then killed in the cottage she shared in Perugia with three other women. Three people, all of them known to Meredith, were convicted of these heinous acts, including one of Meredith Kercher's roommates. Another person who was convicted, Rudy Guede, opted for a fast-track trial and is currently serving his sentence. The roommate - Amanda Knox - and her then boyfriend - Raffaele Sollecito - were unanimously convicted by the eight-person panel that heard the case and then released on appeal. Those familiar with the case AND with knowledge of the Italian system of justice were surprised by the acquittal and fairly certain that the Supreme Court would annul it. Those who looked to the US mainstream media for information were fed a pack of inventions fabricated by the multi-million dollar PR campaign on behalf of the American, Amanda Knox, who was convicted along with Guede and with her then-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito.

Knox and Sollecito lost no time signing book deals and working with co-authors to pen their memoirs. Sollecito's book was published months ago and Knox's is scheduled for release along with her exclusive interview with ABC on April 30. Knox was allegedly paid an advance of 4 million dollars for the book, which appears to be a 462 page turkey that HarperCollins hopes will appeal to the tabloid junkie lurking in some human souls.

Remember the old rhyme? Thirty days has September, April, June and November... April 30 is the last day of the month of April, the month designated in the US as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

On Sunday, April 28, a rally will be held at noon in connection with Sexual Assault Awareness Month in New York City. This rally is dedicated to Meredith Kercher. I have read that participants are asked to meet at the Lincoln Center Fountain. I wonder if Diane Sawyer or any of the folks at HarperCollins will attend. You know, in honor of the victim of a hideous sexual assault that left her dead.

Incidentally, Italy's Supreme Court did annul the acquittal, though it upheld the felony conviction of Amanda Knox for having falsely accused Patrick Lumumba of killing her roommate.

Is it just me or is there something surreal about publishing a "memoir" written by someone convicted of a felony charge of lying, about a sexual assault and murder in which the question of her participation remains a pending matter, on the last day of the month of April, sexual assault awareness month?