TIME Crime

Men Who Buy Sex Are More Prone to Sexual Violence, Study Says

Sex buyers share characteristics with men who commit sexual violence

Men who buy sex are more prone to sexual coercion and are more likely to report a history of sexual violence, according to a new study.

The study of 101 men in the Boston area, published Monday in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, found that men who hire prostitutes tend to have less empathy for women and tend to share characteristics with sexually violent men. The researchers screened 1,200 men in order to isolate demographically comparable groups to interview. “Both groups tend to have a preference for impersonal sex, a fear of rejection by women, a history of having committed sexually aggressive acts and a hostile masculine self-identification,” said UCLA professor Neil Malamuth, who co-authored the study, in a statement. “Those who buy sex, on average, have less empathy for women in prostitution and view them as intrinsically different from other women.”

The researchers define “hostile masculinity” as a hostile and narcissistic desire to have power over women. One man told researchers he thought of prostitution like buying a cup of coffee: “When you’re done, you throw it out.”

The study also found that men who buy sex are more likely to rape and commit other sexual offenses. The study comes as more and more jurisdictions are focusing on targeting johns rather than prostitutes in their efforts to curb prostitution and sex trafficking, and on the heels of Amnesty International’s vote in August to recommend the complete decriminalization of prostitution for buyers and sellers. Read about the effort to target sex-buyers in the United States here.

The study was co-authored by Melissa Farley, who runs Prostitution Research & Education, a nonprofit that studies prostitution and sex trafficking. In its mission statement, PRE says it is dedicated to abolishing the prostitution altogether. The study was also funded by Hunt Alternatives.

SPECIAL REPORT: Catching Johns: Inside the National Push to Arrest Men Who Buy Sex


TIME Crime

St. Paul’s School Leaders Respond to Rape Verdict

The entrance to the elite St. Paul’s School is seen Friday Aug. 14, 2015 in Concord, N.H., Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, Owen Labrie, a former student, goes on trial Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, for taking part in a practice at the school known as “Senior Salute” where graduating boys try to take the virginity of younger girls before the school year ends. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Jim Cole—AP The entrance to the elite St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H., is seen on Aug. 14, 2015.

They note the perils of 21st-century dating

The leaders of St. Paul’s School wrote a letter to the school community Friday, denouncing the culture of sexual competition described in the trial of Owen Labrie, who was accused of raping a 15-year-old girl while they were both students at the school.

The letter from Rector Michael G. Hirschfeld and President of the Board of Trustees James M. Waterbury was sent just after a jury issued a mixed verdict in Labrie’s case Friday afternoon. The jury determined Labrie was not guilty of felony sexual assault but found him guilty of three related misdemeanor charges, and a felony charge of luring a minor through a computer. He will have to register as a sex offender and could face up to 11 years in prison.

The girl alleged Labrie raped her in a remote area of the school after sending her an invitation to participate in the “senior salute” ritual, a tradition in which upperclass boys are said to compete to “score” with as many girls as possible before graduation. Labrie said he and the girl never had sex. From the jury’s mixed verdict, it seems that they believe the pair had sex, but were divided on whether it was consensual.

In the letter to the St. Paul’s community, Hirschfeld and Waterbury said the sexual “traditions” discussed during the trial were not actually part of the school’s history. “Many terms, including ‘senior salute’ and ‘score’ that are part of the student vernacular, have been discussed as part of the trial,” the letter said. “There is no place for inappropriate and hurtful behavior that disrespects any member of our School. Conduct that is damaging to the fabric of our community and inconsistent with our values has never been—and will not be—tolerated.

“The Rector first heard about the ‘senior salute’ in the spring of 2013,” the letter continued. “It is not a decades-old ‘tradition’ as some have alleged.”

The St. Paul’s leaders also noted that the incident and subsequent trial could be considered a wake-up-call about the role of social media in romantic relationships, and how teenage sexual activity has changed in the 21st century.

“We have been painfully reminded of the fact that social media can provide an adult-free space for negative student culture to form and perpetuate itself,” Hirschfeld and Waterbury wrote. “We have learned that what was once termed ‘dating’ or ‘courting’ behavior has been inverted in some instances from our traditional sensibilities—sexual contact is now seen as the point of origin of many relationships, not a part of an emotionally developed relationship.”

TIME India

Two Indian Sisters Ordered to Be Raped by Village Council Beg Supreme Court for Help

They are being punished by the unelected council because their brother eloped with a married woman from a higher caste

A petition to save two sisters in India from being raped and publicly humiliated for their brother’s actions, a punishment handed down by an unofficial village council, has gathered considerable support for its demand that authorities intervene and stop the “disgusting ruling” from being enforced.

The petition by human-rights organization Amnesty International has garnered over 16,000 signatures thus far, and calls for law enforcement to stop the council-sanctioned rape of 23-year-old Meenakshi Kumari and her 15-year-old sister in Baghpat village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

The unelected council of elders ordered that Kumari and her sister — both members of the low Dalit caste — be raped and paraded naked with blackened faces, after their brother eloped with a married woman of a higher caste. He and the woman, who belongs to the dominant Jat caste, were in love and eloped after she was forced to marry someone from her own caste, according to reports.

Kumari also approached India’s Supreme Court herself last week, saying that police have been harassing her and her family instead of protecting them.

In a plea to the court Kumari said she and her family “cannot return back to her village and have been rendered homeless.”

The court has asked for a response from the Uttar Pradesh government.

“Nothing could justify this abhorrent punishment,” the Amnesty petition reads. “It’s not fair. It’s not right. And it’s against the law. Demand that the local authorities intervene immediately.”

Village councils in northern India, known as khap panchayats, are generally comprised of senior male members of the community’s high castes. Although the councils have been declared illegal by the courts, their edicts are still observed in many parts of rural India.

Read next: Riots Break Out in India Over a Dominant Caste’s Attempt to Gain ‘Backward’ Status

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TIME isis

ISIS Leader’s Rape of American Woman Sparks Little Outrage

News of Kayla Mueller's rape received muted reaction from a war-weary American public

If a government is looking to go to war, a reason will always be found — if not fabricated outright. Teddy Roosevelt ginned up a separatist movement in the portion of Colombia that’s now called Panama in order to hasten construction of the canal. Just last year, Turkey’s spymaster was recorded offering to create a pretext for invading Syria, if that’s what the politicians wanted: “I’ll send four men from Syria, if that’s what it takes,” Hakan Fidan says on the tape, which prompted Turkey’s Prime Minister to ban YouTube after it was posted there. “I’ll make up a cause of war by ordering a missile attack on Turkey.”

So if any shadow of a doubt remained about the limited American appetite for a new conflict, it was erased by the profoundly muted public response to reports that the head of ISIS had repeatedly raped the U.S. hostage Kayla Mueller before her February death.

The reports, which surfaced in mid-August, are sourced to unnamed U.S. officials and to Mueller’s parents, who confirmed to the Associated Press that American officials told them in June that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had several times taken her into a bedroom at the house where she was held captive along with two Yezidi girls, who shared what they had seen after escaping. “They told us that he married her, and we all understand what that means,” her father Carl Mueller told AP. “Kayla did not marry this man,” said her mother Marsha Mueller. “He took her to his room and he abused her and she came back crying.”

The report was extraordinary on so many levels it’s almost impossible to take in, yet it prompted little action from a war-weary American people.

There was no shortage of evidence about the group’s depravity, sexual or otherwise. ISIS has boasted in its own magazine of kidnapping thousands of Yezidi women and girls as sex slaves to its fighters, promoting a “theology of rape” that the New York Times documented in appalling detail in an Aug. 13 article that quotes several who later escaped. The article’s online version even included a YouTube post of ISIS fighters teasing one another lustily as they prepare for “slave-market day.”

While the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria continues to call itself a religious movement, the evidence suggests it functions chiefly a military organization, organized on the lines of plunder and rapacity that defined conflict for most of human history, but that the modern world agreed to leave behind in consensus agreements like the Geneva Conventions.

Now that evidence takes the form of a black-bearded Iraqi man who calls himself Caliph Ibrahim, self-appointed successor to the Prophet Mohammad, forcing himself onto a young American woman who would have been 27 on Aug 14.

As a wartime atrocity, it crosses a line that would not even have occurred to ordinary mortals, or even the staff of the al-Hayat Media Center, as ISIS calls its public-relations office.

In its videos, ISIS constantly tries to top itself, straining to come up with more graphic and elaborate ways to provoke outrage. It certainly had a record to build on. Decapitating American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff brought a terrific response from the U.S., pushing President Obama toward involvement in a Syrian conflict he had avoided for years. Burning alive a caged Jordanian pilot on camera galvanized the overwhelming Sunni Hashemite Kingdom against the group. That particular spectacle provoked a torrent of vengeful rhetoric followed by a wave of air strikes (one of which may have resulted in Mueller’s February death) but also marked what, in retrospect, appears to have been the high water mark for reaction.

The snuff videos kept coming — in one, victims are executed by detonating ropes of explosives around their neck; in another, their crowded cage is lowered into a swimming pool — but the later efforts brought less reaction, not more. In July, reports emerged that al-Baghdadi had told the ISIS media office to dial things back a bit, out of concern for the sensibilities of observant Muslims and any children who might be watching (if not, as in one video, actually doing the beheading). Perhaps there had been complaints. But the staged executions had begun to recall the elaborate perils James Bond faces in the lair of the criminal mastermind, or Batman and Robin at the close of Part One of ABC’s vintage weekly series. There was a sense that ISIS was trying a little too hard.

If it country wants to go to war, it is perfectly capable of supplying accounts of atrocities, always readier to hand than accounts of weapons of mass destruction. When the blood is up, we are ready to believe what we want to believe — that Osama bin Laden picked up a gun and hid behind a woman as the SEALS stormed into his bedroom, that Iraqi soldiers made off with incubators in a Kuwait hospital, leaving premature babies to die. And now we have the Caliph as rapist, revealed neither by the ISIS media office nor by a White House news conference, but in the roundabout way of intelligence leaks.

It’s a piece of information that helps justify the May Delta Force raid on the house where the assaults reportedly occurred, and the abduction of the occupant’s wife for interrogation. It’s an atrocity, in other words, that appears to be true, even though it’s so marquee, so over the top that it also begs to be read as a provocation. Except that, right now, no one is in the mood to be provoked.

TIME South Africa

Nelson Mandela’s Grandson Appears in Court on Rape Charges

Mbuso Mandela
Themba Hadebe—AP Mbuso Mandela, walks out of the main entrance of the home of his grandfather, former president Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg on Dec. 7, 2013.

Mbuso Mandela is accused of raping a 15-year-old girl at a restaurant

(JOHANNESBURG) — A grandson of Nelson Mandela accused of raping a 15-year-old girl will remain in police custody, while his defense lawyers collect more evidence for a bail hearing, a South African judge ruled on Friday.

Mbuso Mandela’s bail hearing was postponed to Tuesday to give his defense team more time to locate a witness who they say could testify that the incident was consensual, a judge ruled.

The judge in the Johannesburg magistrate’s court also ordered the prosecution to produce the official identity document of the teenager accusing Mbuso Mandela of rape, in order to settle the defense’s dispute that the girl is 16, the age of legal consent in South Africa.

Members of the Mandela family were in the cramped courtroom where Mbuso Mandela, 24, appeared calm as he sat behind his lawyer. He has been in police custody since his arrest last Saturday.

The rape allegedly took place at a restaurant in Greenside, a Johannesburg suburb, on Aug. 7, police said.

TIME Crime

Rape Case Uncovers Sordid Tradition at Elite Prep School

The entrance to the elite St. Paul’s School is seen Friday Aug. 14, 2015 in Concord, N.H., Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, Owen Labrie, a former student, goes on trial Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, for taking part in a practice at the school known as “Senior Salute” where graduating boys try to take the virginity of younger girls before the school year ends. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Jim Cole—AP The entrance to the elite St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H., is seen on Aug. 14, 2015.

St. Paul's School allegedly has a tradition of sexual conquest where graduating boys try to take the virginity of younger girls before getting their diplomas

(CONCORD, N.H.) — St. Paul’s School boasts a glittering roster of alumni that includes senators, congressmen, a Nobel laureate and the current secretary of state. The elite prep school also allegedly has a sordid tradition of sexual conquest where graduating boys try to take the virginity of younger girls before getting their diplomas.

Details of a practice authorities say was called the “Senior Salute” were spelled out in stark terms by a former prefect at the New Hampshire school who is charged with raping a 15-year-old girl on the roof of a campus building in May 2014.

Owen Labrie, now 19, has pleaded not guilty to several felonies. When his trial begins Monday, prosecutors are expected to call current and former students to testify about the sexual culture at one of the country’s most selective boarding schools.

Labrie, of Tunbridge, Vermont, talked openly about the tradition when he was interviewed by Concord police. On a campus where upperclassmen studiously avoid their younger peers in most settings, Labrie told a detective some students “take great pride” in having sex with younger students before they leave school.

Labrie also told the detective of a contest where boys compete to “score” with the most girls, keeping a running tally written in indelible marker on a wall behind washing machines. The school kept painting over the scoreboard so it eventually was moved online. He acknowledged to the detective he was “trying to be number one,” the detective wrote.

A counselor who contacted police after hearing from the alleged victim’s mother also told an investigator about the tradition, the Concord Monitor reported last year, citing a police affidavit. The same affidavit said the school had been trying to educate students against “sexual scoring.”

Prosecutors have not indicated how far back they believe the “Senior Salute” goes.

A student leader honored at graduation —two days after the alleged assault — with the Rector’s Award for “selfless devotion to school activities,” Labrie was accepted to Harvard but the school said in September that he is no longer enrolled. He told the detective that he tried to educate other students not to engage in “Senior Salute” and that the school wasn’t doing enough to curtail the tradition.

“The school has to put its foot down on this culture,” Labrie is quoted in a police affidavit. “It’s not healthy.”

Founded in 1856, St. Paul’s is an Episcopal school nestled on 2,000 pastoral acres on the outskirts of downtown Concord, New Hampshire’s capital. It enrolls about 530 students and admitted girls for the first time in 1971. Tuition, room and board currently clocks in at $53,810.

The school belongs to the Eight Schools Association, a sort of Ivy League for prep schools that includes Choate Rosemary Hall and Hotchkiss in Connecticut, Phillips Academy Andover, Deerfield Academy and Northfield Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts, The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey and Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire.

Secretary of State John Kerry graduated from St. Paul’s in 1962, alongside former FBI Director Robert Mueller. Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau is an alum as are 13 U.S. ambassadors, three Pulitzer Prize winners, two World Series of Poker winners, actor Judd Nelson and sons of the Astor and Kennedy families, according to the school’s website.

The school also has a robust international presence: 17 percent of the 2014-15 class came from 25 countries and notable alums include Bernard Makihara, the former CEO of the Mitsubishi Corporation, and Edmund Maurice Burke Roche, a conservative member of the British Parliament and the maternal grandfather of Diana, Princess of Wales.

The school’s rector, Michael Hirschfeld, told The Associated Press in an emailed statement that “breaches of school policies or the trust upon which they are founded, are addressed swiftly and judiciously.”

Hirschfeld declined to address questions about “Senior Salute.”

“St. Paul’s School has policies in place to ensure that our students are safe, secure, and treated equitably,” Hirschfeld’s statement said.

During a speech at family weekend at St. Paul’s in October 2014, Hirschfeld said the sexual assault allegation “has provided us with an important opportunity to reconsider elements of our shared life that do not appear in our strategic plan.”

“Are we confronting the transmission of unhealthier elements of school culture as effectively as we could?” he asked rhetorically.

Labrie’s lawyer, J.W. Carney Jr., declined to comment, including on whether Labrie will testify or if his defense would raise the issue of the school’s sexual culture. Carney, who recently represented convicted mobster James “Whitey” Bulger, is at least the third lawyer retained by Labrie.

Prosecutors say Labrie took his victim by surprise, before she could resist or flee, and raped her repeatedly. He is charged with three counts of aggravated felony sex assault, endangering the welfare of a child and using a computer to lure the girl to the on-campus meeting.

Labrie denied having intercourse with the girl, telling police that they partially disrobed, kissed and touched. He also acknowledged putting on a condom. Labrie said the freshman girl was eager to have sex, but the aspiring divinity student said he had a “moment of self-restraint” and stopped.

“He stated it was a moment of ‘divine inspiration,'” Det. Julie Curtin wrote in her affidavit.

Asked why the girl would lie about having sex with him, Labrie said it’s a “great source of pride for younger students” to have sex with seniors.

TIME isis

How ISIS Justifies Its Culture of Rape and Sex Slavery

"He said that by raping me, he is drawing closer to God"

Rape has become a central part of the religious beliefs of members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) extremist group, according to a chilling new report in the New York Times.

The report found that men in ISIS believe sexually violating women and girls of the Yazidi religious minority is sanctioned, and even encouraged by the Quran. “He told me that according to Islam he is allowed to rape an unbeliever. He said that by raping me, he is drawing closer to God,” a 12-year-old rape victim told the Times.

These incidents of rape are bound in a larger, formal institution of sex slavery within the group, which can be used as a recruiting tool for young men.

Read more at the New York Times.

TIME sweden

Sweden Drops Sexual Assault Investigation Against WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks during a news conference at the Ecuadorian embassy in central London
John Stillwell—Reuters WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (R) speaks as Ecuador's Foreign Affairs Minister Ricardo Patino listens, during a news conference at the Ecuadorian embassy in central London August 18, 2014

He still faces a more serious rape allegation

Swedish prosecutors have dropped their investigation into two sexual assault allegations — one of sexual molestation and the other of coercion — against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange due to the country’s statute of limitations, AFP reports.

Assange is still facing a more serious rape allegation, which will not expire until 2020, according to the BBC.

Under Swedish law, an individual may not be formally charged with a crime until he or she is questioned. As investigators were not able to question Assange before the two deadlines passed this week, the investigation has been ended.

They were not able to question Assange, who founded the whistleblower organization WikiLeaks, because he has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012. He claimed asylum there in order to avoid extradition to Sweden, saying he fears he will then be further extradited to the U.S. to stand trial for releasing classified documents. He denies all the assault allegations.

Discussions continue between Sweden, Ecuador, and the U.K. regarding the circumstances under which Assange might be questioned about the remaining rape accusation, the BBC says. Assange has said he would be willing to be interviewed by videolink from the embassy, but no agreement has yet been reached.

The U.K. argues that Ecuador must allow Assange to be extradited both to fulfill what they characterize as a legal obligation and to resolve what has become a very expensive situation. The BBC reports that the cost of maintaining police personnel around the Ecuadorian embassy over the past three years stands at nearly $19 million.


TIME Crime

Homicides Are Spiking This Year After Falling for Decades

A study says homicide rates are down. But 2015 rates—especially for gun violence—are very different.

Since 1960, U.S. homicide rates have been falling—that is, until this year. Meanwhile, intimate-partner violence and child abuse affect up to 12 million and 10 million Americans, respectively, according to a survey released Tuesday in JAMA. Taken together, it paints a bleak picture for Americans’ safety, and it has violence prevention scholars trying to figure out what led to the changes—and when.

At the annual meeting of the Major Cities Chiefs Association on Monday, police chiefs grappled with the fact that some cities are seeing a 50% increase in murders compared with last year. Washington Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier pointed to the nation’s capital as an example: This time last year, D.C. had 69 homicides; this year, D.C. has seen at 87 homicides. Nearby Baltimore tallied 42 homicides in May alone, with 45 in July. And in Chicago, there have been 243 homicides this year so far—a 20% spike from last year.

Until 2012, “we saw decreases for homicide and aggravated assault,” says Dr. Debra Houry, a co-author of the JAMA study who works with the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “It’s promising because it shows that violence is preventable.”

Homicide rates in 1980 stood at 10.7 per 100,000; by 2013, they’d been cut in half. Aggravated assault saw a similar halving of incidences between 1992 and 2012.

But Andrew Papachristos, a professor of sociology at Yale and a criminal justice expert who has focused much of his research on Chicago’s gang and gun violence, says that JAMA‘s findings may not offer a nuanced enough picture of what’s going on in the United States, because it looks at general trends across the country. While on average crime might have fallen until to this year, some cities, such as Chicago and Milwaukee, are still facing severe problems with violence, particularly in certain areas of the city. Indeed, within cities, “the rates of violence across neighborhoods can be exponentially higher in certain areas and almost zero in others,” he says.

Policy changes can make a difference, says Papachristos. Programs that aim to decrease unemployment, particularly among African Americans, is a critical policy adjustment, he says, since unemployment is correlated with gun violence. He also cites outdated gun laws as part of the problem.

One policy bright spot was found in a study released by the American Journal of Public Health earlier this summer, which looked at Connecticut’s permit-to-purchase handgun law as a case study. The law dates to 1994 and it requires gunowners to purchase a license prior to acquiring a handgun. The state would only allow people to buy guns if they passed a background check and gun-safety course. The result? Connecticut residents can credit the law for a 40% reduction in gun-related homicides. (Of course, in a dreary statistic that illustrates Papachristos’ point, it’s not down everywhere in the state; Hartford is experiencing a massive surge in gun violence this year.)

But even with some signs of promise, any changes to law or policy might come too late for many victims of American crime this year. Criminal justice expert Rod Wheeler told Fox that America is snowballing into the most violent summer the country has seen in decades.

“I said this back in June, that we’re going to have a long, hot, bloody summer,” he said. “And unfortunately, it’s coming to pass.”

TIME Bill Cosby

Obama Says He Can’t Revoke Bill Cosby’s Presidential Medal Of Freedom

The president also condemned the behavior Cosby has been accused of committing

President Obama said Wednesday that he did not have the ability to revoke Bill Cosby’s Presidential Medal of Freedom in the wake of more than two dozen accusations of sexual misconduct against the comedian.

“There is no precedent for revoking the medal,” he said, during a press conference in the East Room. “We don’t have the mechanism.”

He declined to comment on the specifics of the Cosby allegations, citing the ongoing civil cases against the entertainer and the possibility of criminal charges. But he did take the opportunity to condemn the sort of behavior that Cosby has been accused of perpetrating.

“If you give a woman or a man for that matter, without his or her knowledge, a drug and then have sex with that person without consent—that’s rape,” he said. “Any civilized country should have no tolerance for rape.”

The presidential medal of freedom was given to Cosby in 2002 by President George W. Bush, years before a civil case filed against Cosby for sexual misconduct triggered a wave of allegations.

Since then Cosby has been accused by more than two dozen women of sexual misconduct, including several cases of drugging and raping women over several decades. This summer it was revealed that Cosby had admitted in a once-sealed court deposition that he had obtained quaaludes, a prescription drug, with the intent of giving them to women with whom he hoped to have sex.

Senators Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Claire McCaskill of Missouri have supported a petition effort calling on Obama to revoke the medal. “She supports this group’s effort because we need to set a clear example that sexual assault will not be tolerated in this country, and someone who admitted to using drugs for sex no longer deserves the nation’s highest honor,” said Glen Caplin, a spokesman for Gillibrand, in a statement to Politico.

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