2 PICS ARE DISPLAYED HERE. FIRSTLY A 3D DEPICTION OF THE SHAPE OF THE CLITORIS AND SECONDLY, A DIAGRAM SHOWING ITS NAMED PARTS AND POSITION.
2 PICS ARE DISPLAYED HERE. FIRSTLY A 3D DEPICTION OF THE SHAPE OF THE CLITORIS AND SECONDLY, A DIAGRAM SHOWING ITS NAMED PARTS AND POSITION.
Although the bulk of the information you will read here was discovered in 1998, fifteen years ago, most readers, like me, will not have come across this most amazing revelation of the anatomy of the main sexual organ of one half of the human race. What I find so stunningly appalling is that thanks to the fact that the male sexual organ is external to the body, its major anatomical features have been known for around 150000 years or more……..as long as our species has walked this planet. Perhaps our earlier predecessors had a fair idea too but female sexual anatomy has remained elusive, taboo or of little interest to the male dominated field of human anatomy and Medicine until women asserted themselves in the 20th century and demanded that female health, anatomy and function be researched with equal funding and vigour as that for males. Check out the visual materials being used to spread this vital knowledge. I watched a documentary recently on the G-Spot that now appears to be totally wrong! There is a G-Spot of course but it’s not a “stand alone” mass of nerve endings but is a part of the clitoris that runs close to the anterior vaginal wall and is accessible at that point to stimulation! So it really is true that the clitoris is THE organ responsible for all female orgasm and is so large and so well positioned around and through the vulva that it provides many opportunities for a great variety of stimulatory methods that can produce orgasm.
The article below tells the horrifying story associated with the presence of over 40,000 unidentified John and Jane Does, stored in Coroners’ morgues all over the United States. Many are victims of foul play and their murderer(s) are likely still free to kill again. That funding has been such an obstacle, is a poor excuse, for some would say that surely our society can at least be partially judged by the way it treats its missing and it’s dead.
Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains: The Nation’s Silent Mass Disaster
by Nancy Ritter
If you ask most Americans about a mass disaster, they’re likely to think of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, Hurricane Katrina, or the Southeast Asian tsuna- mi. Very few people, including law enforcement officials, would think of the number of missing persons and unidentified human remains in our Nation as a crisis. It is, however, what experts call “a mass disaster over time.” The facts are sobering. On any given day, there are as many as 100,000 active missing persons cases in the United States. Every year, tens of thousands of people vanish under suspicious circumstances. Viewed over a 20-year period, the number of missing persons can be estimated in the hundreds of thousands.
Due in part to sheer volume, missing persons and unidentified human remains cases are a tremendous challenge to State and local law enforcement agencies. The work- load for these agencies is staggering: More than 40,000 sets of human remains that cannot be identified through conventional means are held in the evidence rooms of medical examiners throughout the country. But only 6,000 of these cases, 15 per- cent, have been entered into the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database.
Efforts to solve missing persons cases are further hindered because many cities and counties continue to bury unidentified remains without attempting to collect DNA samples. And many labs that are willing to make the effort may not be equipped to perform DNA analysis of human remains, especially when the samples are old or degraded.
Compounding this problem is the fact that many of the Nation’s 17,000 law enforcement agencies don’t know about their State’s missing persons clearinghouse or the four Federal databases: NCIC, National Crime Information Center; CODIS(mp), Combined DNA Index System for Missing Persons; IAFIS, Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System; and ViCAP, Violent Criminal Apprehension Program, which can be invaluable tools in a missing person investigation. Even in jurisdictions that are familiar with the State and Federal databases, some officials say they have neither the time nor the resources to enter missing persons and unidentified human remains data into the systems.
Bridging the Gap
To help State and local jurisdictions address the country’s “mass disaster over time,” the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has brought together some of the country’s top criminal justice and forensic science experts. As part of the President’s multiyear ini- tiative to maximize the use of forensic DNA in solving crime, NIJ is making Federal resources available to State and local law enforcement officials to identify human remains and help solve missing persons cases.
NIJ’s plan is multifaceted. It includes programs aimed at:
1. Training medical examiners, law enforcement officers, and victims’ families on forensic DNA evidence.
2. Providing free testing of unidentified human remains and family reference samples.
3. Encouraging States, through proposed model legislation, to collect DNA samples before unidentified remains are disposed of and to analyze degraded and old biological samples.
4. Making DNA reference sample collection kits available, free of charge, to any jurisdiction in the country.
5. Increasing law enforcement’s use of Federal databases to solve missing persons and unidentified human remains cases.
“CSI” Meets the Real World
Many of the people who go missing in the United States are victims of homicide. Although the conventional approach to locating a missing person is to initiate a criminal investigation into the disappearance, in many cases, the investigation begins at a different point, when human remains are found. This is where the Center for Human Identification (CHI) steps in. Located at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, CHI is one of NIJ’s largest and most exciting DNA projects.
At CHI’s laboratory in Ft. Worth, State and local law enforcement agencies can have nuclear and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) testing performed on skeletal remains and on missing persons’ family and direct reference samples. Experts at CHI’s Laboratory for Forensic Anthropology, such as Harrell Gill-King, Ph.D., also perform anthropological examinations on unidentified human remains to determine manner and cause of death. All of this testing is free.
NIJ’s funding of this revolutionary project means that every jurisdiction in the United States has access to one of the few laboratories in the country that can search mtDNA and short tandem repeat (STR) profiles in the CODIS(mp) database.
It also means that Dereck Bachmann can finally stop looking for his sister.
Marci Bachmann was 16 when she ran away from her Vancouver, Washington home in May 1984. Although her remains were found a few months later, discovered in the woods near Deer Creek in Missoula, Montana, no one knew that the remains were hers.
For nearly two decades, Dereck, Marci’s brother, searched newspapers and missing persons files and even hired a private investigator to find Marci. Finally, in 2004, a series of events brought him and his family the closure they were seeking.
It began when a cold case detective in Missoula heard about CHI. The detective sent a femur from the Deer Creek remains to the lab. There, scientists ran DNA tests on the bone fragments and uploaded the profile into the CODIS(mp) database. Meanwhile, in King County, Washington, authorities working on an unrelated murder case came across Marci’s missing persons file. Detectives tracked down Marci’s mother, obtained a DNA sample from her, and sent it to the CHI lab. When a database search indicated a potential match with the remains of the victim in the Deer Creek case, officials sent DNA from Marci’s brother and father to CHI for further tests.
On April 6, 2006, more than 21 years after her body was unearthed from a shallow grave,Marci Bachmann was “found.”
Solving Cold Cases
When George Adams, program manager for CHI, is asked about cold hits like the Marci Bachmann case, where the DNA from unidentified remains matches the DNA from reference samples that have been sent to the lab without any apparent connection, he paraphrases Vernon Geberth from Practical Homicide Investigation: Tactics, Procedures, and Forensic Techniques. “Solving a cold case like Marci’s is not a matter of chance or luck; it is, quite simply, a matter of design and protocol.”
The “design” Adams refers to is the CODIS(mp) database. The “protocol” works like this: A person goes missing; if he or she is not found within 30 days, a family reference sample is obtained. The sample can take either of two forms, a DNA sample from a close relative (obtained by a simple, noninvasive cheek swab), or from a personal item belonging to the missing person (such as hair from a comb or saliva from a toothbrush). The sample is then sent to the lab, and the DNA is analyzed. The results or “profiles” are then loaded into the database.
Simultaneously, human remains found throughout the country are being sent to CHI’s lab for analysis and uploading into the database. DNA profiles from missing persons or their families are compared with unidentified human remains in the CODIS(mp) database. “If we already have the family reference sample, we will get a match,” Adams stated. No longer does solving a missing persons or unidentified human remains case have to depend on a “break in the investigation,” he added, “because we now have the design and protocol of pure science.”
Populating the Database: Sample Collection Kits
But the database will help solve cases only if profiles from DNA samples and recovered human remains are submitted for analysis and uploaded into the system. “We’ve seen a tremendous increase in the number of remains samples, but we really need to work on getting family reference samples,” said Arthur Eisenberg, Ph.D., director of CHI and a member of NIJ’s Missing Persons National Task Force. “If families don’t send reference or biological samples, which at this stage must be collected by a law enforcement official, human remains cannot be identified.” To facilitate this process, NIJ has funded CHI’s development of two DNA sample collection kits, one for family reference samples and the other for collecting and transporting human remains. Both kits are available free of charge to any police deparment, medical examiner, or coroner in the United States. As of July 2006, more than 4,000 family reference sample kits had been disseminated.
Getting the Word Out
Spreading the word about this free resource remains a challenge. Last June, the Washington State’s Office of the Attorney General issued a bulletin encouraging local jurisdictions to send family reference samples to CHI, making Washington the first State to solicit samples on a statewide basis. Eisenberg said he has no doubt that as word of the CHI analysis and database spreads, it will come to be regarded not as a tool of last resort in missing persons and unidentified human remains cases, but rather as a primary investigative tool.
As of July 2006, CHI had received more than 680 unidentified human remains and more than 1,600 family reference samples. Importantly, the lab is in the final stages of being able to use robots, which will allow the number of DNA analyses to skyrocket: one robot, for example, will be able to analyze 17,800 DNA samples per year.
Five States—California, Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas—have laws that focus on locating missing persons and identifying human remains. In 2005, NIJ brought together Federal, State, and local law enforcement officials, forensic scientists, victims advocates, legislators, and families of missing persons to draft model State legislation on the prompt collection, analysis, and dissemination of evidence to help solve these cases. Seven States and the District of Columbia have introduced bills that use the proposed legislation as guidance. Also, legislators in Kansas and New Mexico are seeking to amend their existing laws.
Moving to Solve the Problem
In addition to prohibiting the cremation of unidentified remains, the model legislation would require that:
1. Law enforcement agencies accept every missing person report and share case in- formation with State and regional authorities.
2. DNA samples be taken within 30 days of a missing person report and the individual’s profile be added to national, State, and local databases.
3. Cases involving high-risk missing persons be assessed immediately (high-risk cases might include, for example, a possible stranger abduction or a person who requires medical attention or is mentally impaired).
4. DNA analysis be performed on all unidentified human remains.
Searching the Databases
One of the biggest challenges in missing persons and unidentified human remains cases is searching and correlating case information. The Missing Persons National Task Force is examining ways that Federal databases can share information to help solve these cases. The challenge is significant. For example, NCIC contains more than 100,000 missing persons cases, but the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System contains only 47. NCIC contains just 15 percent of unidentified human remains cases, in part because it is so labor intensive to enter the data into the system.
To encourage State and local law enforcement agencies’ use of NCIC, the FBI published an updated version of the Missing Persons and Unidentified Persons data collection guides, which walk users through the process of comparing new and existing data on missing persons and unidentified human remains investigations. Electronic versions of the guides are available to law enforcement officials through the Law Enforcement Online (LEO) intranet.
ViCAP is another valuable tool available to State and local officials. It is also underused for several reasons. Because data entered into NCIC do not automatically populate the ViCAP database (which is also run by the FBI), many jurisdictions choose not to use it. And until recently, most of the Nation’s medical examiners and coroners did not have access to ViCAP. This situation is changing, however, as the FBI negotiates memoranda of understanding with local jurisdictions that will give medical examiners and coroners access to the database. The FBI is also developing a DVD for law enforcement that explains how ViCAP works. And with help from the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division, ViCAP may soon be Web-enabled. Instead of having to enter case information via a CD-ROM, which is then mailed to CJIS for up- loading, users would need only an Internet connection and an LEO account to enter case data directly into ViCAP.
Law Enforcement Training … and More
In addition to funding CHI’s work, NIJ administers a wide range of projects under the President’s DNA Initiative. One major effort involves the training of police officers, prosecutors, defence counsel and judges, forensic and medical specialists, victim service providers and corrections, probation and parole officers, on the use of forensic DNA evidence. To date, NIJ has held two regional missing persons training conferences, and by the end of 2006, NIJ’s missing persons training reached professionals from all 50 States. NIJ is also developing many types of electronic training tools, one recent release is Principles of Forensic DNA for Officers of the Court, an inter- active, computer-based training program on the use of DNA evidence in the courtroom.
Other NIJ programs seek to eliminate the backlog of biological samples in murder, rape, and kidnapping cases in forensic laboratories across the country. Since 2004, NIJ has provided funding to State and local agencies to reduce casework and convicted offender backlogs. NIJ also supports the development of tools and technology for faster, less costly methods of DNA analysis, including ways to analyze smaller and more degraded biological samples. And NIJ will continue to fund programs that enhance the use of DNA to solve crimes, protect the innocent, and identify missing persons.
ONE FACE BEHIND NIJ’S WORK
Melody Reilly’s brother, Shawn, was murdered in the summer of 2005. His body was dumped in a field in rural Bastrop County, Texas, and was extremely decomposed when found. A year later, the Center for Human Identification (CHI), at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, identified Shawn’s body from his DNA. Here is the letter that Melody wrote to George Adams, of CHI, after the men who killed her brother were convicted.
Dear Mr. Adams,
I just want to tell you how much your office’s work means to me, my sisters, our husbands, children, and extended family. Also on behalf of our parents, who are no longer here but I am sure they appreciate your efforts, as well.
My sister Michelle and I were in court during the trial last week, and it was so comforting to see the people who worked so hard to identify my brother’s remains. My brother, Shawn, was an amazing and special person who ended up in the company of the wrong, and the worst, people. What our family has gone through is almost the worst you can imagine, wondering where Shawn was, hoping the remains were not his. The only thing worse is the terrible thought of not knowing where my brother is now. I wish he was here next to me, laughing and smiling, but unfortunately that is no longer possible.
What your office did to identify my brother and allow us to bring his remains home is something I can never repay or express enough gratitude for. It really scares me to think we could be in a completely different place right now.
We feel badly because we put so much pressure, sometimes daily, on Investigator Yarbrough to give us some answers from August through March and he tried his best to keep us calm. I didn’t realize how much work and time it takes to identify someone and I am now happy that your office took every day and every minute they needed to get it done properly.
Please pass my thoughts on to those involved and let them know their work is important and invaluable. I am attaching a photo of Shawn so maybe you and they can have a nicer image of him.
Victoria Sutherland is a 34-year-old mother of one and a former manager of a McDonalds in Sacramento. She has a drug conviction on her record from an incident in Portland, Oregon 13 years ago, when she lied to police and said her friend’s drugs actually belonged to her. Though she has served her sentence, because of her drug conviction, Sutherland is now banned from accessing food stamps for the rest of her life.
“I’m now living with my five-month-old son in a homeless shelter,” Sutherland told AlterNet.
As a result of welfare reform, enacted 17 years ago this month, Sutherland and other poor Americans in 12 states are banned from accessing food stamps because they have made mistakes with drugs at some point in their past. While Sutherland’s son does qualify for food stamps and welfare, the total comes to $500 per month in assistance, which barely pays for his food and diapers.
The ban on Sutherland’s food stamps as well as her welfare benefits impacts her much more deeply than just accessing food on a daily basis. “Since I don’t qualify for benefits, I do not qualify for welfare to work, which would offer childcare services,” Sutherland said. “So I’m also not able to work at all right now because I have nobody to care for my kid.”
Well before the current, direct attack on federal funding of food stamps—also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—there have been systemic, state-imposed barriers to accessing food stamps that have been in place for nearly two decades. Several states require fingerprinting of recipients and reams of paperwork, or are stalled by outdated technology. The Los Angeles Times recently reported on the onerous barriers food stamp recipients face in California.
But the ban barring drug convicts from accessing food stamps is one of the most problematic state-imposed barriers faced by poor people like Sutherland. Twelve states still ban convicted drug offenders from accessing SNAP benefits. A relic of welfare reform, the food stamp ban is an example of the political interplay between the drug war and the movement to reform welfare which in reality became a double indictment of the poor: People of financial means who made mistakes with drugs would not be rendered vulnerable to hunger for the rest of their lives.
“This penalty on food stamps stretches beyond period of your criminal sentence, beyond probation or parole,” said Jessica Bartholow, Legislative Advocate at the Western Center on Law and Poverty in Sacramento. “It applies even when a person has turned his life around and is now just trying to prevent his family from going hungry.”
California now has a bill under consideration, SB 283, that would repeal the food stamp ban for any convicted drug offender who is now complying with the conditions of his or her parole.
“This bill is different than what has gone before any governor in the states,” Bartholow said. “In years past, we tried to just repeal the ban completely but past governors have opposed this idea. So we worked hard to identify a compromise that would work for everyone.”
During debates over welfare reform in 1996, former Sen. Phil Gramm (R-FL) introduced legislation banning convicted drug felons from accessing food stamps. Sen. Gramm argued “if we are serious about our drug laws, we ought not give people welfare benefits who are violating the nation’s drug laws.”
Gramm’s policy required that any person who is convicted of drug use, possession or sales be banned from accessing food stamps for life; the ban was then added during Senate floor consideration of the bill and was the subject of only limited debate.
Though the food stamp ban is written into federal law, states may opt to waive or modify the requirement. As a Congressional Research Service report published in July explained, “Both TANF and SNAP are subject to the statutory ‘drug felon ban,’ which bars states from providing assistance to persons convicted of a drug-related felony, but also gives states the ability to opt-out of or modify the ban, which most states have done.”
Twenty one states have completely done away with the lifetime ban and an additional 30 have modified it. In California for example, the food stamp ban has been modified only to include people convicted of selling drugs, not those convicted of use or possession.
But the original food stamp ban is still in effect in 12 states, making life that much harder for poor people well after they’ve completed drug-related sentencing. According to the ACLU there are an estimated 575,000 people behind bars in the United States for drug-related offenses. The food stamp ban is even more problematic given how tough drug sentences tend to be. The socioeconomic and racial disparities of drug sentencing are clear as well: the ACLU also tells us that African Americans are incarcerated on drug charges at a rate that is 10 times greater than that of whites.
The lifetime ban on food stamps affects many other people besides the felon, particularly children, like Victoria Sutherland’s son. As the Western Center on Law and Poverty has pointed out in its advocacy for SB 283, “Many households impacted by the ban have other household members who are eligible for benefits but will receive a lower-total household benefit as a result of the lifetime ban on benefits for one of the household members. As a result, the ban results in higher rates of hunger and food insecurity for the entire family, not just those who have been convicted of a crime.”
The ban also makes food access harder for elders and those with health problems. Vaughn Cotton, age 51, began using cocaine in the early 1980s. He started selling cocaine to pay for his addiction. Now out of jail, he has completed programs with the Salvation Army and has been off drugs for two years. Cotton also struggles with diabetes and high blood pressure.
“I’ve been in and out of jail, but I’ve cleaned up my act,” Cotton told AlterNet. “I’ve been clean for two years now, but the food stamp office said I couldn’t have benefits—and they wanted me to pay back the little bit of money they did give me in the past.”
Aside from its impact on the poor, the food stamp ban does not make economic sense. Every dollar spent on SNAP benefits generates $1.72 in the economy. And a study released in June shows that SNAP recipients helped keep grocery stores afloat during the economic crisis. Thus cutting the spending ability of thousands of drug offenders has implications for the economy as well. (Former Sen. Phil Gramm, the architect of the food stamp ban, has been named by CNN as number seven in its list of the 10 individuals most responsible for the 2008 economic crisis.)
If California’s SB 283 passes this year, it will be an important step in alleviating the poverty-prison trap for drug offenders which the Obama administration has also begun slowly to address, at least from the bully pulpit. Bartholow feels confident Gov. Jerry Brown (D-CA) will sign SB 283 into law.
“The governor is a good man, he understands fairness,” she said. “Because of this lifetime ban, people are being denied crucial support to meet their basic needs.”
Sheila Bapat is an attorney and writer covering economic and gender justice. Her work has appeared in Salon, Reuters, Slate, AlterNet, Truthout, and many other publications.