10. Feelings of Frustrations with the Legal System

Part: 
Four
Chapter: 
1

The Commission heard testimony describing feelings of frustration and problems with the legal system. Some of the witnesses described helplessness and frustration which they thought could have been alleviated if they had been provided guidance in seeking legal redress. For example, one woman wrote:

Please, please, use their experience and knowledge and work with them. They have tried to get legislation passed against the evils of pornography, for instance the Minneapolis ordinance....Lastly, there are many women's organizations which have been working hard against the evils of the ever-growing, and increasingly more violent pornography which is making our society even more sick.[889]

Linda Marshiano testified:

... At a grand jury hearing in California after they had watched a porno film, they asked me why I did it. I said, "Because a gun was being pointed at me" and they just said, "Oh, but no charges were ever filed." I also called the Beverly Hills Police Department on my final escape and told them that Mr. Traynor was walking around looking for me with an M-16. When they first told me that they couldn't become involved in domestic affairs, I accepted that and told them that he was illegally possessing these weapons and they simply told me to call back when he was in the room.[890]

A young man who had been forced to participate in the production of pornography testified:

During the trial the only name to come out in the newspaper was my name. I was eleven years old at the time.[891]

A woman whose memories of abuse and forced participation in the production of pornography had remained buried for many years testified:

If we had the civil ordinance passed, if I had access to something like that, I would be able to pull through the part of me that exists today. I have no means of doing so. All of the statutes of limitations have run out. Most of the time the women that have been abused, statutes of limitations have run out before we even remember we have been sexually abused.[892]

Another woman testified:

When I think that police, attorneys, legislators, jurors, judges, school teachers and doctors of our country can be desensitized to the suffering of a child, it angers me. A child's justice has been thwarted by the preconditioning of emotions. Victims of sexual violence don't get a fair trial. The true emotions that should be felt have been replaced by sexual fantasies. Victims are a curiosity. People come to see us talk about our genitals as if we are some form of entertainment. Our trial becomes an extension of pornography. So much that even nude photos of us are passed around.[893]

Another woman who had been forced into prostitution and the production of pornography alleged that policemen and juvenile facility workers had been among her abusers.

I don't think that consent was a possibility for a girl who was delivered into the hands of organized crime figures in New Jersey in the dead of night. Others might wonder why I didn't turn to the police for help. As a matter of fact I didn't have to walk all the way to our local headquarters to speak to the police. They were at our apartment every week for their payoff-me.

* * *

When I was sixteen I was sentenced to juvenile detention by the courts. My incarceration was a nightmare of sexual abuse at the hands of the male employees of the facility. One young girl complained to her parents about this on visiting day. That night, after her parents left, she was made an example of. We heard her cries and pleading all night. The official story the next morning was that she had tried to run away, was caught, and was being held in isolation.

* * *

Soon after I was transferred to a facility upstate. When I saw my opportunity I escaped.[894]

Notes

  1. Letter to the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography.
  2. Public Hearings before Minneapolis City Council, Session I, (Dec. 1983), p. 49.
  3. Washington, D.C., Hearing, Vol. II, pp. 47-48.
  4. Washington, D.C., Hearing, Vol. I, pp. 236-37.
  5. Houston Hearings, Vol. II, p. 291B3.
  6. Washington, D.C., Hearing, Vol. I, p. 182.