Leaders of agencies who assist domestic abuse and sexual assault victims in the Fox Valley say the guilty verdicts in the emotionally charged trial of attorney David Dudas will have a long-lasting impact.
“It lets people who are being abused know that there is a criminal justice system in place that will support them,” said Caroline Lasecki, executive director of the Sexual Assault Crisis Center in the Fox Cities.
She is convinced that the verdicts will resonate for years and will prompt more victims of abuse to trust the criminal justice system.
Lasecki praised police, prosecutors and the jury after Dudas was convicted Wednesday of 30 of 31 criminal charges. He was accused of beating and sexually assaulting his wife from March 2012 to July 2013 in a series of increasingly violent episodes, culminating in an incident July 21 that led to his arrest and her hospitalization.
Dudas, 49, of Dale, was found guilty of first-degree sexual assault, second-degree reckless injury, substantial battery, 14 counts of second-degree sexual assault and 11 counts of strangulation and suffocation. He also was convicted of misdemeanor counts of battery and intimidation of a witness acting on behalf of a victim. He was found not guilty of one count of strangulation.
“It’s a huge statement for him to be found guilty of 30 of 31 counts,” Lasecki said. “I think that this not only helps one family, it’s going to help an entire community for years to come.”
Lasecki is convinced that the high-profile nature of the case — which was covered extensively by Post-Crescent Media and postcrescent.com — will convince some victims who have suffered abuse in silence and isolation to come forward.
“This should open up people’s eyes,” she said.
“We hope that this case will serve to empower victims to come forward,” said Beth Schnorr, executive director at Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs. “Abusers can seem like nice, normal guys — even respected community members. This case reminds us that anyone can be an abuser, and holding them accountable gives hope to the survivors.”
Schnorr said victims often don’t report abuse because they don’t think they will be believed, or they fear retaliation.
“On so many levels, this case helps to break down so many of those things,” she said. “It shows victims that the system is on their side, and we will work together and work diligently to make sure (offenders) are held accountable.”
If Dudas had been acquitted on all charges, it would have been a major blow to victims of abuse and agencies that work with abuse victims, said Julie Fevola, executive director of Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services.
“If the verdicts would have gone the other way, it would have been a real negative,” Fevola said. “I think it’s a very, very positive message that the victim’s message was heard. It speaks to victims that it pays off to come forward.”
Getting beyond marital status
The Dudas trial lasted eight days and featured graphic testimony and videos of sexual relations. It also raised the thorny issue of consent in sexual relations between a husband and wife.
Schnorr — and others who deal with sexual assault and abuse victims on a regular basis — say it’s a crime to forcibly have sex with a woman, regardless of their marital status.
“Society has long held onto the notion that a woman’s sexuality is a commodity that can be owned by her husband and the belief that what happens between husband and wife in the bedroom is a private matter,” Schnorr said. ...
David G. Dudas was convicted this morning of brutally sexually assaulting and strangling his wife after a trial that stretched for eight days in Outagamie County.
Dudas’ wife had expressed concerns to a friend that the increasingly rough sexual assaults had her scared “something serious might happen.”
After watching graphic videos of the extreme sex Dudas forced his wife to submit to for over a year, the jury validated her story, convicting him of 30 out of 31 charges. The lone charge in which jurors returned a not guilty verdict was on a count of strangulation relating to an incident that took place during the period of April to June 2013.
Dudas’ convictions included a count of first-degree sexual assault, 14 counts of second-degree sexual assault and 11 counts of strangulation.
The trial featured graphic, distressing evidence and difficult questions concerning consent between a husband and wife. The jury heard testimony from friends and family members, hospital personnel and police officers.
Dr. Dennis Sugrue, a psychologist and human sexuality expert, explained a category of sex called BDSM, which includes bondage, domination, submission and the enjoyment of pain. He said that consent and communication were vital to a healthy BDSM relationship, and that any gray area on that matter was problematic.
Dudas said he and his wife enjoyed a healthy, albeit “extreme” sex life, and it wasn’t until he told her she was a useless baby on July 21 that she decided to leave him and claim she was sexually assaulted.
The courtroom was full as jurors emerged from deliberations about 11:30 a.m. Dudas showed little emotion as Judge Tammy Jo Hock read through the lengthy verdict.
Hock made note of the graphic nature of the case when thanking jurors for their service.
“I really appreciate all you’ve done and all you’ve tolerated during this case,” she said. ...
The final day of the prosecutors’ case against David Dudas was difficult for jurors, some of whom got sick while watching graphic videos of him and his wife having sex.
Prosecutors say those videos — showing, among other things, choking, vomiting and violent sex — help prove he repeatedly battered and sexually assaulted his wife. Dudas’ attorneys say that although the couple’s relationship was “extreme,” the sex was consensual.
Police arrested Dudas, 49, after a July 21 incident and 26 charges of 31 total charges were filed arising from incidents shown in the videos.
Beginning Thursday night and continuing into Friday, jurors watched about two hours of 17 videos police said Dudas filmed between March 2012 and July 2013 at the couple’s home in Dale. Prosecutors opted to show parts of six videos.
Judge Tammy Jo Hock ordered that only she, jurors, attorneys and Dudas be able to see the videos in the courtroom, while members of the public, including news media, be limited to hearing audio from the recordings.
Dudas’ attorneys argued that all of the videos should be played so jurors might see portions supporting his side of the case. Hock allowed the defense to show a portion where they said Dudas’ wife was taking the lead and was more actively participating in the sexual activity.
In several videos, Dudas’ wife is heard complaining of pain in an injured shoulder, which she previously testified about. She told the court earlier this week that when she complained of pain, Dudas would ignore her or inflict greater pain by pressing on the shoulder to “teach her a lesson.”
Twice, jurors were allowed to take a break from watching the videos. The majority of the 16 jurors did not appear severely affected. One of the female jurors cried and two men became nauseous, including one who requested a waste basket. Other jurors grimaced or closed their eyes.?
At the beginning of the last video played, Dudas and his wife are heard arguing about finances, and he expresses frustration with her for not providing their records to him.
“Where are our financials? Why do I have to wait a few years to get them?” he says. “ I can’t even look at what I have because of you. Why do you do this to me?”
In the video, his wife apologizes. They then engage in sexual activities, but the wife is heard complaining of pain in her shoulder and asking for a pillow. Dudas tells her the shoulder isn’t sensitive to the touch and tells her to put her arm down.
The state’s two final witnesses were Outagamie County Sgt. Michael Fitzpatrick, the lead investigator, and Jane Graham Jennings, executive director of a domestic violence shelter and a sexual assault agency that offers counseling and emergency shelter for victims of abuse. ...
The role-play scenario is increasingly popular—and fraught with peril. From a wife's recent Portland-area mishap to an unwitting attack in Wyoming, the fantasies, when poorly executed, have shattered lives, ended careers and put people behind bars
In the end, Elizabeth Renee Martinez will fork over a $5,000 fine, perform 100 hours of community service and spend the next two years on probation for getting raped by a stranger.
The Happy Valley, Oregon, woman was being violated by the attacker when her husband, Ricardo, walked into the couple’s bedroom—and unwittingly into his wife’s elaborate sexual fantasy.
Martinez and the stranger had met online through a rape fantasy ad she had placed on Craigslist, according to officials. But when her husband stumbled into the act and caught her cheating, she claimed the rape was real and called 911.
The cops came, an investigation ensued, and detectives ultimately determined that Martinez was lying. A Clackamas County judge delivered her sentence this month.
After lying to the police and falsely accusing a stranger, Martinez got off relatively easy. And as the prosecutor noted, it could have been a lot worse. “Imagine if her husband had a firearm,” he remarked.
As it turns out, rape fantasies go awry all the time. The potent brand of sexual play is fraught with pitfalls. Jobs are lost. Lives are shattered, and years are spent behind bars.
“There’s a real risk any time you play with the outward appearance of non-consent,” said Janet Hardy, a writer and sex educator who admits to indulging in her own rape fantasies. “These fantasies are not something to carry out casually. Or with complete strangers.”
Students and faculty at North Dakota State University were forced to deal with a rape fantasy run amok last year when authorities began hunting a masked man who snatched a female student from a campus parking lot. The student, Mary Gullickson, told cops she had been abducted and sexually assaulted, prompting the entire school to go on high alert.
Police later discovered that the 20-year-old psychology major had posted on Craigslist that she wanted to be kidnapped, bound with duct tape, raped and then dropped off where she had been abducted. The ordeal ended with Gullickson charged with a misdemeanor and her mug shot plastered across the Internet.
Others have fared worse. David Leatham and Kristie Gitnes both lost their jobs after they were busted for allegedly carrying out an extramarital rape fantasy in a wooded area outside of Milwaukie, Oregon, which is just south of Portland. A nearby homeless woman had called the police and reported a rape in progress.
The pair, both of whom were married to other people at the time and had met on Craigslist, later tried to sue Clackamas County and a local sheriff’s deputy, claiming they had been falsely arrested. They lost in court.
“Humans do a lot of strange things, but these are particularly bizarre cases,” says Lt. Robert Wurpes, a spokesman for the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, which also handled the case involving Elizabeth Martinez. ...
Indeed, at this point the clinic cannot possibly be sustained completely by offering transgender services. The IHC’s model will instead be to reach out to other groups facing healthcare disparities. In addition to alcohol and drug treatment services, particularly for those with associated mental health disorders, the clinic’s other major focus is the kink community.
A general lack of understanding of the kink community and their culture creates a lack of access in subtle ways. Billy described a common situation that illustrates this: “people in the kink culture tell us that people don’t take them or their nontraditional relationships seriously. For instance, I’ve had people tell me about being treated coldly, or even laughed at, by their doctors when they asked for a reference to counseling when they get uncollared by their partner.”
IHC’s focus on varied, and sometimes non-overlapping, marginalized communities requires maintaining the comfort and sense of security of, and a safe and welcoming environment for, each group. Billy explains, “We’ll be dividing up days so that our days of providing drug and alcohol treatment services won’t overlap with our services to transgender or kink services. It is essential that we create a place for individuals who experience healthcare disparities to come and feel accepted, not just tolerated.”
Given the centrality of the transgender community to their mission though, IHC will provide a broader range of services to the transgender community than one might normally consider basic healthcare. For instance, as soon as salon chairs can be secured, volunteers are ready to provide salon services to transgender individuals. Billy explains that this sort of care is, however, part of whole health: “transgender individuals encounter what some people call transwhisperers, people at supposedly transaware places where people are pointing you out and outing you, intentionally or not.” Psychologically this creates a resistance in transgender people from seeking services that enhance their feeling of well-being, while also stoking psychological issues which are already difficult for the individuals.
The goal of IHC is to expand such services and create a place that supports whole health, physical and mental while building the IHC into an LGBTQI health center focused on whole health and wellness.
The next major step in the work of IHC is establishing a non-profit to undertake the healthcare policy aspect of the transgender community by increasing awareness, organizing advocacy, and legislative initiatives. As the clinic builds and the non-profit develops, they will also support the development of education outreach initiatives, such as offering sensitivity training for clinics and doctors, as well as other providers, to help them become more aware of and receptive to the needs of diverse communities. ...
In high school, I probably wouldn’t have predicted that polyamory would have any part in my time as a Stanford student.
I figured that maybe I’d find someone I’d like, we’d date and then we’d presumably either break up or marry — only two options, and both of them daunting. Could I even date people if I had to choose between falling out with them or marriage? Marriage?
And then I actually came to campus and added the word “hookup” to my vocabulary, and for a few short months I thought everything made sense. It was so convenient to have that sort of no-strings-attached intimacy, so nice to not have to date so I didn’t have to think about the future. For that one night I’d have a hell of a time, and then we’d perhaps smile at each other for a week as we biked past in opposite directions. Then we’d forget about each other, rinse, repeat. Welcome to Stanford, right? We’ve all grown to accept that.
But when I started falling in love with multiple people instead of just hooking up, I had to ask myself if I was ready for polyamory. Well, the first question I asked was: Was poly even okay?
When it happened, it wasn’t as if it was nonconsensual — we were all from campus, we all talked about it, agreed on it, had the consent of everyone involved. We went on cute dinner dates, bickered over completely pointless things, flirted over Skype, cuddled — how was that different from “normal”? My friends had similar relationships and were some of the happiest, most content people I knew. But for some reason, poly didn’t make sense to people around me.
Some people told me that my love wasn’t genuine since it was “spread out,” or something — how could I be so cruel to my partners as to only love them half as much as I should, or a third as much as I should? I was honestly puzzled by the question; what about people with two kids? Is each only loved half as much as they should be? Sorry, economists, but love is an infinite resource — it’s not like love takes up space, and we tend to have large hearts in the first place. Why restrict yourself to one?
Polyamory is hardly perfect — we deal with the same things that all relationships go through. Jealousy, miscommunication, loneliness; we work through the same issues as people in monogamous relationships, except that for polyamorous relationships, communicating about these things is not a choice but a necessity. Communication is the only difference between a healthy poly relationship and cheating on your monoamorous partner. And so we tell each other when we’re feeling jealous, when we develop feelings for new people, about how we feel towards each other multiple times a week. ...
Psychology Today advocates multiple partners and open marriages and offers “evidence” that monogamy isn’t possible. Comparing man to animals is weird to me—we’re supposed to be separated out by reason and morality, right? —The Good Wife, Austin, Texas
Psychology Today, ever on the cutting edge, has had monogamy in its crosshairs lately. A casual search turned up at least nine articles on the subject in the last year. Here’s a representative quote, from “The Truth About Polyamory” by Deborah Taj Anapol:
“Our cultural obsession with monogamy is going the same way as prohibition, slavery, the gold standard, and mandatory military service. In other words, while serial monogamy is more popular than ever, lifelong monogamy is pretty much obsolete, and for better or worse, polyamory is catching on.”
Let’s break this down:
Monogamy is on a par with prohibition, slavery, etc. Spare me. Polyamory is catching on. Depends how we define the term. If strictly, show me your cites, lady. If more liberally, we can talk. More below. Serial monogamy is in, lifelong monogamy is out. True beyond dispute. However, we need to clarify what we mean. Time for the straight dope.
Let’s start with those investigations of animal mating habits you take issue with. It’s often said 9 percent or some other low proportion of mammals is monogamous. So? A puppy reaches maturity in a year; a human newborn needs 11 to 12 years. There’s an explanation for monogamy right there.
Except it doesn’t hold up. Among chimpanzees, the species most closely related to us, the young reach maturity in 8 to 15 years, comparable to humans. But chimps mate promiscuously and never pair off. Although the young remain with their mothers, there’s otherwise minimal family structure. Alpha males dominate and have sex more often than males farther back in the alphabet, but they don’t have harems to organize and defend.
My point is, there’s nothing in our biology that demands monogamy. Sure, it has practical advantages. For humans, rearing the young is a more labor- and resource-intensive process than for chimps, who don’t have college tuition to contend with. But I’ll bet we could come up with some free-love it-takes-a-village kibbutz thing if we put our minds to it.
A lot of Psychology Today contributors think that we’ve arrived at an advanced state of civilization, and we’d be happier if we abandoned the impossible dream of happy lifetime pairing and tried something else. The question is whether we’re actually doing so in significant numbers. Answer: Of course we are. It’s just not called polyamory, or some other trendy term. It’s called divorce.
Let’s look at monogamy alternatives, from least to most common (I’ll ignore celibacy):
Open marriage—that is, a married couple who expressly allow each other to have other sex partners. I don’t doubt there are secure, stable individuals who can handle this long-term without tears. But not a lot. PT contributor Michael Castleman cites unnamed “sexologists” as saying 1 percent of married couples are “committed to occasional non-monogamy,” with “another percent or two ‘curious’ enough to visit sex or swing clubs.” Self-report of sexual activity is notoriously unreliable, but never mind. We’ll say 1 to 3 percent. ...
Floggers, whips, canes and cuffs are certainly fun to read about, but how exactly does it all work in the real world? This year marks the third annual BDSM Writers Con in New York City, August 21-24 — an event that connects readers, writers, BDSM lifestyle professionals and curious parties for a weekend of books, demos, workshops and more. If you're a writer in the area looking for a safe, judgement-free space to get expert advice from lifestyle practitioners, or a fan looking to connect with some fantastic BDSM erotica writers, this event is for you. This year the con's keynote speaker is Joey W. Hill. The attending authors list includes several USA Today/NY Times bestselling authors, including Marla Monroe and Kallypso Masters, and some other erotica up-and-comers, including Cris Anson, Miranda Baker, Gray Dixon, Laci Paige and more.
The con is divided into two tracks: "writers" and "everyone." The writers track is pretty self-explanatory and focuses on the craft, while the everyone track is for readers and fans, in addition to writers, and includes live demos and lifestyle workshops.
The BDSM Writers Con is also offering a BDSM book contest in collaboration with Decadent Publishing, The Wild Rose Press and Totally Bound. The top three submissions in each category (Dom women/submissive men, Dom men/submissive women and LGBTQ D/s) will win a book contract with one of the aforementioned publishers. Did we mention you don't need to be at the conference to win? What are you waiting for!? Submission guidelines are on the contest page.
We know, this is a lot to take in at once. And conferences can be daunting to begin with. Throw in all the BDSM aspects and this event could seem downright nervewracking. But if you're a new writer, the conference is offering a free Author Buddy Program, which pairs new writers with veterans who provide one-on-one advice regarding the industry, how to submit a manuscript, query letter writing and more.
The weekend is capped off with a night out at an actual BDSM club on Saturday night, followed by a public book signing on Sunday. ...