Category Archives: Gender Equality

“Why were so many predators getting away with it? And what would it take to stop them?”

The New York Times: The Rape Kit’s Secret History. “This is the story of the woman who forced the police to start treating sexual assault like a crime.” By Pagan Kennedy.

“How could a tool as potentially powerful as the rape kit have come into existence in the first place? For nearly two decades, I’d been reporting on inventors, breakthroughs and the ways that new technologies can bring about social change. It seemed to me that the rape-kit system was an invention like no other. Can you think of any other technology designed to hold men accountable for brutalizing women?

As soon as I began to investigate the rape kit’s origins, however, I stumbled across a mystery. Most sources credited a Chicago police sergeant, Louis Vitullo, with developing the kit in the 1970s. But a few described the invention as a collaboration between Mr. Vitullo and an activist, Martha Goddard. Where was the truth? As so often happens in stories about rape, I found myself wondering whom to believe.

[…]

The rape-kit idea was presented to the public as a collaboration between the state attorney’s office and the police department, with men running both sides… and little credit given to the women who had pushed for reform. Ms. Goddard agreed to this […] because she saw that it was the only way to make the rape kit happen.”

“Women have their place in the world, but they do not belong in the Canyon of the Colorado.”

The Atavist Magazine: The Wild Ones. “People said that women had no place in the Grand Canyon and would likely die trying to run the Colorado River. In 1938, two female scientists set out to prove them wrong.”

“Not least among the journey’s many dangers, according to “experienced river men” who refused to give their names to the national newspapers covering the expedition, was the presence of women in the party. Only one woman had ever attempted the trip through the Grand Canyon. Her name was Bessie Hyde, and she’d vanished with her husband, Glen, on their honeymoon in 1928. Their boat was found empty. Their bodies were never recovered.

Unnamed sources told reporters that the two women in the crew were “one of the hazards, as they are ‘so much baggage’ and would probably need help in an emergency.” They were scientists—botanists, to be precise. “So they’re looking for flowers and Indian caves,” a river runner said. “Well, I don’t know about that, but I do know they’ll find a peck of trouble before they get through.”

In fact, Elzada Clover and Lois Jotter had come from Michigan with much hardier plants in mind. Tucked into side canyons, braving what Jotter called “barren and hellish” conditions, were tough, spiny things: species of cactus that no one had ever catalogued before. Clover and Jotter would become the first people to do so—if they survived.”

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