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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WOMENSENEWS)--A heart-wrenching video of New Orleans singer/songwriter Charmaine Neville aired by WAFB-TV in Baton Rouge, La., shows one of the few rape reports coming out of the beleaguered area hit by Hurricane Katrina.
A distraught and disheveled Neville is caught on the video, which aired Sept. 2, telling her story to Archbishop Alfred Hughes of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
Neville, daughter of Charles Neville of the famous Neville Brothers rock and soul band, describes how she and others from New Orleans' Ninth Ward sought shelter on the roof of a school after the waters started rising.
"I found some police officers. I told them that a lot of us women had been raped down there by guys who had come (into) . . . the neighborhood where we were, that were helping us to save people. But other men, and they came and they started raping women and . . . and they started killing them," Neville recounts.
"And I don't know who these people were. I'm not going to tell you I know who they were because I don't. But what I want people to understand is that if we had not been left down there like the animals that they were treating us like, all of those things wouldn't have happened."
WAFB News Director Vicki Zimmerman said the meeting with the archbishop was unplanned, and the video showed what happened when Neville caught sight of the archbishop, who was working with the TV station to help coordinate emergency relief for his archdiocese. As the cameras began shooting, Neville emptied her heart of the horror she had undergone in New Orleans.
Zimmerman said attention to the video is mounting, with bloggers linking to it on their sites. She said a WAFB news crew was in that area of New Orleans the same day and heard similar tales of rapes, violence and anguish. The crew did not witness any rapes firsthand, however.
"Do I believe it happened? You bet I do," Zimmerman said.
With tens of thousands of hurricane survivors moved from the Louisiana Superdome and convention center and scattered to other sites throughout the United States, advocates worry that many of their stories will be lost.
Not only will the attackers likely go unpunished, the victims will have a harder time overcoming their trauma and trying to regain a normal life, said Benitez.
She's sure the repercussions will be felt by these victims for years to come. Rape crisis counselors from her organization have been working with hurricane victims throughout the state, she said.
Rapes are to be expected in the chaos that followed the massive storm, Benitez said, especially assaults on the most vulnerable women and children.
"When you have people so desperate and good people mixed with bad, frankly, there is this level of frustration: 'I don't have power over anything, so I am going to dominate this person' and it's always the most vulnerable," Benitez said in an interview with Women's eNews.
"We're assuming the real fallout from that will happen later. Over time, I think we'll get a better idea, but I don't think we will ever have a full picture."
Your heart jumps as you see a vehicle attached to your bumper. Then your fear turns to rage and you want to do the old "brake check" maneuver. What if you needed to slam your brakes in an emergency? Can the tailgater stop in time? How do you deal with a tailgater?
Don't slam your brakes. If you do that and there is an accident, you will be accused. You can even be arrested if it results in a fatality. There may even be drivers behind the tailgater who can get involved in an accident.
The act of stopping abruptly for no reason can be regarded as road rage. The squirrel running across the road or the bird flying near your windshield story may not hold up in court.
The key to stopping tailgaters is knowing tailgater psychology. Why are they following too closely? Some are rushing to work or late. Some just want to be ahead of the pack.
Some have larger vehicles and enjoy their role as the road bully. Others are furious from an event that just happened. Yet others are intoxicated with alcohol or drugs.
The tailgater has either one of two goals. They are trying to bully you off your lane or trying to get you to drive faster by intimidation. However, driving faster rarely gets rid of them as they speed up along with you.
This creates a dangerous situation and you are more at risk than the tailgater. You can get rear-ended with only your crush-zones and head rests to protect you. The tailgater will be protected with an airbag. Before you pound your brakes, try these following maneuvers to handle a tailgater.
If you have other lanes where the tailgater can go, then your objective is to encourage them to go there. While you may want to do unspeakable things to the driver who is tailing you, your first order of business is to calm down. Take a deep breath.
After you're done with the breathing exercise, note your current speed. You now want to drive somewhat slower than that. Do it without pressing your brakes and gradually decelerate. Ever so gradually let your speedometer needle move counterclockwise( or reduce your number on the digital display).
When they make their lane change to pass you, speed up back to your original speed. A light tap on the gas should do it. The reason for this is so they don't accidentally hit the corner of your rear bumper while trying to pass you so closely. They won't expect you to speed up so you will create a nice rear space gap.
Some tailgaters at this point will try to punish you or scare you by driving close to the side of your vehicle when they pass you. Anticipate this and stay close to the opposite side of the lane away from the tailgater without going into another lane or off the road. If there are obstacles on the road or another vehicle in the opposite lane you may not be able to do this.
This is the final action taken in the maneuver. Right when the tailgater is fully in his passing lane and is abreast of you, tap your brake and slow down a little. The tailgater won't expect this second move and will pass you more quickly than they think.
There is also a second reason for that move. The tailgater may punish you by trying to cut in front of you or drive very close when they change lanes in front of you. This will give you a space gap in the front.
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