Monday, October 29, 2007
(SPREAD THE WORD!) PHILADELPHIA VOTERS WE MUST VOTE JUDGE TERESA CARR DENI OUT OF THE COURTS ONCE AND FOR ALL!
THE DENY JUDGE DENI CAMPAIGN HAS BEGUN!
Monday October 29, 2007
To the Editor:
We were appalled to learn that on Oct 4 Municipal Judge Teresa Carr Deni dropped all rape and assault charges in the case of a woman gang-raped at gunpoint. Because the woman was working as a prostitute, Judge Deni decided that she could not have been raped and changed the charge to "theft of services." Deni later said that this case "minimizes true rape cases and demeans women who are really raped."
As groups organizing against rape and in support of victims, we could not disagree more. All women have the right to protection from violence. The idea that any woman is "asking for it" is a lie that we fought for decades to destroy. It is especially offensive to see it revived by a female judge, who reached her position as a result of the women’s movement and is now using her power to deny justice to the most vulnerable women.
Deni told Daily News columnist Jill Porter that the victim met another client before reporting the rape. We have learned that this is completely untrue; the transcript of the hearing proves it. For a judge to make a false (and self-serving) accusation against a victim in the press, in addition to her prejudiced and reckless contempt for women’s safety, confirms that she is unfit to serve. The outcry following Deni’s decision shows how out of step with public opinion she is and that most people believe that prostitute women deserve the same protection from violence that we all have a right to expect.
No woman is safe when prostitute women aren't safe. Serial rapists and murderers often target prostitute women knowing that they are more likely to get away with it. Labeled criminals by the prostitution laws, women are less likely to report violence for fear of arrest themselves. When sex workers do report, the violence is often dismissed. Here, the same man and his friends gang-raped another woman four days later. Decisions like Deni’s are a green light for further attacks.
The victim in this case was a Black single mother with a young child. In Philadelphia, where one in four people lives in poverty and welfare has been almost completely dismantled, many women have been forced into prostitution to survive. This should not make them fair game for rapists.
We are glad that the District Attorney is pursuing the original rape charges. The public can make our voices heard in the November 6 election: vote "No" on the retention of Teresa Carr Deni as Judge of the Municipal Court of Philadelphia.
On behalf of
Global Women's Strike
Women Against Rape
US PROStitutes Collective
Black Women's Rape Action Project (BWRAP)
Legal Action for Women
Every Mother is a Working Mother Network
Wages Due Lesbians
Payday Men’s Network
Go to this link to see a Sample Ballot for the November 6 election. The vote for Judicial Retention (Judge of the Municipal Court) is near the bottom.
THERE WILL BE A PRESS CONFERENCE AND RALLY THIS THURSDAY 11/1 FROM 1 TO 2 PM OUTSIDE THE MUNICIPAL COURT (CRIMINAL JUSTICE CENTER), 1301 FILBERT ST., AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE TO SHOW JUDGE DENI WHAT SHE'S UP AGAINST!