On the last day, a PATC crew-week veteran taught me how to weed strategically, how to direct traffic away from sloping ground or switchback shortcuts. In this way, we could heal the damage caused by the impulse of tired hikers. That day I also learned that weeding, whether whacking or lopping, is about maintaining a navigable trail—and protecting travelers from Lyme-carrying ticks. A properly maintained trail doesn’t preserve only a dirt path, it ensures the safety of those who use it, as well as the beauty it bisects. Like most things, it’s a balance. “The delicate task of a trail-builder … [is] to bring order to an experience that is by definition disordered,” Moor explains. “It is akin to catching a butterfly in your hands.” Too much intervention and the trail loses its wild allure, too little and there are consequences—for humans and nature alike. Then it was on to swales, another way to move water off the trail by creating a trench and berm from dirt that’s already there. We worked so that after a few days of wind and water and footfalls, this drainage system would look like it belonged there, allowing whomever might pass a walk seemingly uninterrupted by human activity. According to Moor, the best trail work is “meticulous construction, artfully concealed.” Here’s hoping. Next it was an eight-mile hike along a frothy stream to clear blowdowns, or trees that had fallen across the trail during a recent storm. Working with a crew from the National Park Service, we stopped at each roadblock and took turns with the crosscut saw. They instructed us to pull, never push, to let gravity and the blade do all the work. With the trees out of the way, hikers wouldn’t have to circumnavigate them, creating sloppy detours through sensitive flora. The author (left) with a fellow trail crew member in Shenandoah National Park. Photo courtesy of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club If the tree in question has landed on a hiking trail, the answer is probably a trail maintenance crew. That night, as I stretched out on an old couch in the common room (my roommates were snorers) beneath an old bath towel (I forgot my sleeping bag), I wondered if my time would have been better spent elsewhere, where my labor could make a larger, more lasting impact. There were nine of us on the crew, hailing from every hill and dale and city block of the DC/Baltimore metro. There was a former Navy physicist, an electrical engineer, a retired lawyer, a nurse, and a Southern politician whose endless catalog of jokes filled awkward silences. Some of us were thru-hikers, most of us were not. Some of us were trail slugs (a term of endearment, I was assured), most of us were not. All of us were sharing the three rooms and one shower of an old CCC lodge, as well as the desire to do our part. But by lunch on the first day, I felt unsure about the ROI of this volunteering gig. That morning I had spent three hours trailing two weedwackers, dodging kicked-up debris, and clipping overhanging branches along a mere 1.1 miles of the A.T. At the end of our slow march through the forest, the trail looked tidier to be sure, but what had we really accomplished in the grand scheme of things? In two weeks, the chickweed would reclaim its territory; the saplings would lean over the trail, ready to snag every weary backpacker who passed. “The brilliance of trails stems from the fact that they can preserve the most fruitful of our own wanderings,” says Robert Moor, in his 2016 book “On Trails.” Our own wanderings had brought us together in Shenandoah—not just the winding roads to Skyline Drive, but every walk in the woods we had ever taken. For many of us, hiking is often a solo excursion, but maintaining a trail is a team sport, one that requires a long roster and countless hours of coordination, planning, and sweating, all to ensure the trail’s very existence. Among the oldest trail organizations in the country, the PATC was founded in 1927 by a group that included Myron Avery, one of the masterminds of the A.T. During its early days, the group scouted and constructed hundreds of miles of the trail through the Mid-Atlantic. Ninety-two years later, its volunteers are still walking those same paths, weedwackers and chainsaws in hand. The following day we were up early to build water bars (in layman terms: steps), carrying fresh-hewn logs up the mountain to bury in the earth and prevent erosion caused by unbridled rainwater. I’ve waddled on enough trough-shaped trails that this bit of work tingled with meaning. Stop me if you’ve heard this one. If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, who has to pick it up? To learn more about this work—and to amend the karmic imbalance I’ve created by hiking on many but working on zero trails—I signed up for the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club’s annual summer crew week in Shenandoah National Park. Moor concludes his tome on trails by saying, “We are born to wander through a chaos field. And yet we do not become hopelessly lost because each walker who has come before us leaves a trace for us to follow.” Indeed, as the week wore on, I began to see the work differently. Tiny gestures, yes, but far from insignificant. With each drenched bandanna and stinging muscle and long car ride to another trailhead, it occurred to me what a labor of community a trail is. And I came to realize that working on the trail was more about sustaining an experience than maintaining a path. While I have never thru-hiked the A.T., I have walked on so many trails that delivered me somewhere nearer to the throbbing heartbeat of existence, where I could witness my small but startling place in this dazzlingly complex world. The impetus behind the grueling and tedious work of trail maintenance, I finally understood, is to make certain that others have those same transformative opportunities. The paradox of the trail is the paradox of being alive: we walk alone, on paths others have made for us. There are 31 trail clubs that do similar work along the AT, and countless others on trails around the region. So, the next time you hear about a tree falling in the forest—literally or philosophically—consider joining your fellow trail slugs to help clear the way.
3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Creative types who’ve had their ideas deep-sixed by managers will probably not be surprised by Stanford research indicating managers are not the best judges of good ideas. But neither are creatives good judges of their own proposals.According to Justin Berg, a Stanford Graduate School of Business professor, the best judges are the creator’s peers, because they’ve spent time generating their own ideas about the situation.“Managers Are Not Always the Best Judge of Creative Ideas” talks about a large study Berg conducted on creative forecasting (or predicting the success of new ideas) in the circus arts industry.In the study, he found creators overestimated how well their own videos would do with the audience, but were more accurate judges of their peers’ videos than managers. continue reading »
Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 19, 2017 at 11:03 pm Contact Tomer: [email protected] | @tomer_langer No. 8 seed Syracuse (22-10, 11-5 Atlantic Coast) faces its biggest challenge of the season against No. 1 overall seed and four-time defending national champion Connecticut (33-0, 16-0 American Athletic) on Monday night at the Gampel Pavilion. The Orange will try to avenge last year’s national championship game loss and stop UConn’s 108-game winning streak.Connecticut beat writer Dan Madigan of The Daily Campus, the independent student newspaper of UConn, answered a few questions for The Daily Orange ahead of the matchup.The Daily Orange: How did UConn manage to remain so good even after losing its three best players from last year?Dan Madigan: After losing the three-headed monster of Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck, no one expected the Huskies to be this good this fast—not even head coach Geno Auriemma. This team’s success has been almost single-handedly due to the rapid development of sophomores Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier. Samuelson has evolved from just a knockdown 3-point shooter to a dangerous and well-rounded scorer. She has no problem taking smaller defenders down low and posting them up for easy buckets, and will take taller defenders outside and hit from deep. Collier is an excellent rebounder and talented scorer in her own right. Although Collier primarily does most of her damage down low in the post, she has the ability to step out and hit open 3-pointers to keep defenders off balance. The rapid maturation of these two players combined with a starting five that can constantly switch and guard any position has helped the Huskies stay on top this season.The D.O.: Who is one player on UConn who doesn’t get as much hype, but people should watch out for?AdvertisementThis is placeholder textD.M.: Saniya Chong is without a doubt the most underrated player on the team. After struggling to find a spot in the rotation her first two years and dealing with an injury last season, Chong has been a steady presence in the Huskies’ backcourt in her final season at UConn. After coming to UConn as a prolific scorer, Chong has evolved into a solid defender and an excellent passer. She led all of Division I in assist-to-turnover ratio for much of this season and currently resides in the top five in the statistic. On top of her all-around skills, Chong also has a knack for hitting big shots. She won’t lead the Huskies in scoring or any category, but does a great job of pretty much everything. She’s the glue that holds this team together.The D.O.: How do you think Connecticut will contend with the Orange press? Will it go deeper into the bench than it normally does? What elements do the bench players bring to the game?D.M.: In big games, Auriemma uses a seven-person lineup: starters Samuelson, Collier, Chong, Gabby Williams and Kia Nurse plus freshman guard Crystal Dangerfield and center Natalie Butler. In an up-tempo game like this one will likely be, Butler usually plays noticeably fewer minutes. However, due to the press and Nurse, still just a few games back from an ankle injury, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Auriemma insert Dangerfield a little earlier into the game than usual. Dangerfield is small but shifty point guard that Auriemma uses to change the tempo of the game. She’s a talented passer and scorer, but struggles on defense at times due to her size. Butler is a 6-foot-5 center who is an elite rebounder and a decent shot-blocker. She can do damage in the post and also will step out and hit elbow jumpers. Both players have had their moments with UConn this season, but Dangerfield is much more likely to make an impact due to her speed and offensive skills.The D.O.: What, if any, vulnerabilities do the Huskies have? Has there been a game this year where you’ve seen another team sustain success against Connecticut? If so, how can it be done?D.M.: While this team has a perfect record like last year’s squad, it still has its share of flaws. Due to the lack of significant size other than Butler, rebounding has been an issue at times. While UConn plays great defense, bigger or stronger players usually can have their way down low and come up with more rebounds than last year’s team allowed. Aside from that, the biggest issue is classic UConn problem: depth. As mentioned earlier, the Huskies really only use seven players consistently. If there’s foul trouble—or even worse, an injury—this team runs into problems. When Nurse was out with her ankle injury, Tulane was able to stick around much longer than it probably should have. Collier has a tendency to get in foul trouble at times, and when she is out of the game, UConn really struggles on the boards even with Williams in the game.To build off that, this team is much more beatable than last year’s team. Teams like Maryland, Florida State and Tulane have hung around with the Huskies. The Terrapins hung with UConn by working down low on offense and on the boards and being efficient on offense. Tulane stuck around due to some foul trouble from Collier and from shooting well from the 3-point line. Florida State came the closest to winning by doing both of those things (shooting the 3 and rebounding) really well. If teams can be efficient on offense, exploit UConn’s lack of size on both ends and get Collier and/or Samuelson in foul trouble, an upset is more than likely. 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Jon Toral scores a hat-trick as Brentford crush Blackpool 4-0 at Griffin Park to stay on the cusp on the play-off places.See also:Toral keen to use Brentford experienceFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
There are a pair of intriguing championship games on offer today at the Charlie Lakin Memorial Tournament, albeit each for different reasons.In the softball decider, which gets under way at 3 p.m. at the Arcata Sports Complex, McKinleyville takes on Eureka in a matchup of teams with identical league records and a showdown as tough to call as any this season.While in the baseball championship, scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Arcata Ball Park, Eureka will be looking for a measure of redemption …
8 February 2013South African yachtsman Ralf Dominick has added his name to a prestigious list of only 150 people who have sailed through the Northwest Passage, one of the world’s most severe maritime challenges.The notorious waterway, a sea route through the Arctic Ocean along the northern coast of North America, has historically been considered impassable by many sea explorers.Located 800km north of the Arctic Circle and 1 930km from the North Pole, the route is covered in arctic pack ice for most of the year, which prevents regular shipping in the area.Dominick describes his journey as spectacular, and he has no regret for making it. “I undertook the voyage merely to explore the world on my own terms and had no idea that it would turn out to be of such epic proportions,” he says.“I couldn’t believe that I’d done it. It is a dream come true.”The highlight of his journey was arriving in Nome, Alaska, and realising he got through the passage unscathed.On a boat, built for adventureBefore his odyssey, Dominick was the chief executive of BBD, a software development company he founded with two partners in 1984 in Johannesburg. Today he is the chairman of the board and has a PhD in the management of technology and innovation.His 75 000km voyage of almost three years, circumnavigating the globe, started in February 2010 on board the 53-foot yacht Imvubu (Zulu, meaning hippopotamus). A number of friends accompanied Dominick on various legs of the journey.The skipper describes the yacht as being built for adventure, and with a steel hull and two masts she could easily reach out-of-the-way places. “In car terms she is a comfortable, heavy 4×4 rather than a dainty saloon or a sports car,” he says. “I looked all over the world. I wanted a boat that had no limits in terms of where it could go.”Throughout the journey he wasn’t ever scared, and he says he shares the life philosophy of Captain Joshua Slocum, the first man to sail around the world alone. “His response to people asking him if he was ever scared was no, I feel more alive.”He didn’t plan the trip in too much detail either, except for his crossing through the Northwest Passage. That required good timing and planning the best route as there are numerous ways to get through.“I also met experienced sailors who provided us with a lot of knowledge and we used ice maps from the Canadian Ice Service,” he says.“We took enough provisions to last a year – just in case we got stuck in the ice. You have to be prepared, otherwise you can die.”Adventure of a lifetimeWhat followed in the months leading up to the Northwest Passage crossing, and afterwards, was an adventure of a lifetime to more than 52 of the world’s most spectacular places.These included destinations such as Ascension Island; New York; Grenada; the Tobago Cays, a group of five small uninhabited islands located in the southern Grenadines; Vancouver; the US and Spanish Virgin Islands; Puerto Rico; Southern Bahamas; Washington; Newfoundland; Mexico; French Polynesia; Vanuatu; the Australian Outback and East Timor.“I had a ball,” says Dominick.He has so many memories, but a few stand out as some of his best moments on the voyage.One of them is drifting in front of the Blackstone Glacier in Prince William Sound on a clear and still autumn day. “The incredible fjords, mountains, scenery and hospitable people of Newfoundland and the Alaskan Inside Passage from Cape Spencer to Ketchikan are just spectacular,” he says.“To have been able to witness these scenes for me is just completely humbling.”At Viequez Island on the north eastern Caribbean, he encountered a large bioluminescent bay, considered one of the most spectacular in the world. The luminescence is caused by micro-organisms which glow whenever the water is disturbed, leaving a trail of neon blue.“It looks like fireworks. It was the most amazing thing,” he says.Then between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic he managed to get a permit to go to Mona Island. “It was a special place and I was the only boat there.”Here he had an opportunity to see the Mona ground iguana, the largest native terrestrial lizard in Puerto Rico.Dominick had a desire to sail from childhood, and this expedition was a dream come true for the 53-year-old explorer.“I set a goal for myself that at 50 I would like to sail the world,” he says.He was born in Germany, but when he was a child he came out to South Africa with his family, on a boat. His father built fishing trawlers in Luderitz in Namibia.“We lived across from the boat yard and as a kid boats were my playground,” he remembers. “It gave me an appreciation for the sea.”But his love for the sea and sailing is not accidental, he believes it is genetic. All three of his uncles had careers in the maritime industry, and his grandfather worked on a German submarine in World War Two.Planning his next adventureDominick is back on solid ground, and in between connecting with family, friends and business he’s also had to renew his expired driver’s, pilot and TV license.He is already planning his next maritime adventure. Imvubu is back at the Bluff Yacht Club in KwaZulu-Natal where she is undergoing a refit after the hard use over the past three years.She is being prepared for her next voyage in November 2013. The destinations are the Antarctic, Strait of Magellan, the Chile coast, the Panama Canal and Europe.Dominick was named the Royal Natal Yacht Club’s Sailor of the Year for 2012, and through his trip he is also helping to raise the profile of sailing in South Africa and encourage more young people to take up the sport.He was also awarded the Barton Cup by the Ocean Cruising Club, an international body, for the most meritorious ocean race or passage in 2011.“I feel humbled by the accolades that have been heaped on me and wish to express my deepest appreciation to the Ocean Cruising Club, SA Sailing and the Royal Natal Yacht Club,” he says.He had more than 50 books and 1 000 movies on board to while the time away and even though his boat had many modern conveniences, he still missed a few South African comforts.“What I missed the most was biltong and dry wors,” he says.He says circumnavigating the globe has equipped him well for his next journey.“The one lesson I did learn on this trip was the amount of maintenance required to keep a boat going on an extended voyage,” he says. “I am extremely lucky that I didn’t suffer any mayor mishaps along the way.”First published by MediaClubSouthAfrica.com – get free high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service.
Tension spread in Pilakhuwa town, Hapur district of Uttar Pradesh, on Monday morning after a man allegedly died in police lock-up of torture. Three policemen, including the Station House Officer, have been suspended.Local sources said Pradeep Tomar (30), a resident of Lakhan village, was picked up by police near the Chhajrasi toll plaza on Sunday for questioning in connection with a murder case. They alleged that he was detained when he was travelling with his wife and son. Late in the night, when his condition deteriorated, he was shifted to the GS Medical College in Pilahuwa, where he died in the early hours of Monday. Meanwhile, a video, purportedly showing Tomar’s backside as completely blue and marks of beating on his arms, has gone viral.Yesh Veer Singh, Superintendent of Police, Hapur, told The Hindu, “On August 30, a half-burnt body of a woman was found in the jungle of Lakhan village. Pradeep was a relative of the deceased. She was the wife of his brother-in-law. During surveillance and investigation, he was found to be a suspect. He developed health complications during questioning and was taken to a local hospital. Later, he was referred to the Meerut Medical College, where he died during treatment.”As the officials didn’t follow the standard operating procedure and didn’t inform their seniors before taking Pradeep into custody, Inspector Yogesh Baliyan, chowki in-charge Ajab Singh and constable Manoj have been suspended. “We are waiting for the post-mortem report before taking further action. A departmental inquiry and a magisterial probe have been ordered,” Mr Singh said. He refused to comment on the video that purportedly shows injury marks on the deceased and the son and wife of Tomar alleging that he was beaten in their presence. “Let’s wait for the post-mortem and inquiry reports. The post-mortem is being video recorded,” added Mr. Singh. Family members and farmer leaders protested in the Meerut Collectorate, demanding murders charges against policemen involved in the case. The PAC (Provincial Armed Constabulary) has been deployed in Pilakhuwa and nearby villages.
When Anil Kumble walks out as IPL Royal Challengers Bangalore captain again in April – yes, it’s a possibility, though Vijay Mallya is yet to choose his team – he would be establishing a unique record of playing representative cricket as president of a state association affiliated with the BCCI.Kumble can, anyway, be categorised as an ‘active’ player as he captained India at the Hong Kong International Cricket Sixes this month, even though he has quit Test, ODI and Twenty20 International formats. Probably no player has ever been elected to head an association so soon – just two years and 49 days – after his retirement. So, either ways, Kumble has set a new benchmark.And as the cherry on his KSCA cake, Kumble’s cricketer friends Javagal Srinath (secretary), Venkatesh Prasad and Roger Binny (both vice-presidents), Sujith Somasundar and Vijay Bharadwaj (both managing committee members) have also won, which makes it a virtual clean sweep by the players’ group.In the past, there have been many Test/first-class players who had gone on to hold administrative posts, but all of them achieved that feat well after their retirement. Delhi’s Ram Prakash Mehra (BCCI and DDCA president), Fateshsinh Rao Gaekwad (BCCI and Baroda president), Maharaja Vijaya Ananada ‘Vizzy’ of the United Provinces (BCCI chief), Ghulam Ahmed (BCCI secretary), Syed Mohammad Hadi (Hyderabad secretary), Niranjan Shah (BCCI secretary), M.P. Pandove (Punjab secretary and BCCI treasurer) and the new Andhra Pradesh chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy (ex-Hyderabad Ranji player) are just a few ones to name.advertisementIt’s not just players, but even officials who often hold more than one post, which at times poses a conflict-of-interest situation. BCCI’s chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty is also treasurer of the Mumbai Cricket Association while board joint secretary Sanjay Jagdale is also secretary of the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association.The most curious case is that of board secretary and presidentelect N Srinivasan as he is not just president of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association, but also holds the top post of the All India Chess Federation, besides being the owner of the IPL Chennai Super Kings franchise. M.P. Pandove is BCCI treasurer as well as Punjab secretary.Rajeev Shukla is a BCCI vice president and secretary of the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association. Similarly, Arun Jaitley, Shivlal Yadav, Arindam Ganguly, K Srikkanth (chairman of national selection committee and brand ambassador of IPL Chennai), Lalchand Rajput, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Anurag Thakur are among the many officials holding posts that can be questioned as they may pose conflict of interests at some stage.The other aspect of the current crop of immediately-retired players is that they are into multiple activities, which make them extremely busy and occupied. They are the true ‘allrounders’ of the modern age, and here one doesn’t refer to someone who bats and bowls with distinction.Kumble, for instance, is chairman of the BCCI’s National Cricket Academy (NCA) and is also a member of the athlete commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency. He also writes a newspaper column, and runs a company along with his brother. Srinath is another busy man, being an ICC match referee. Besides, he turns up as television expert every now and then, and also writes a column. Prasad was till recently the bowling coach of the Indian team as well as of the IPL Chennai Super Kings. He appears as an expert on television and thus has his hands full as well.Samosas to jostle with KFC at Kotla during WCKFC and Pizza Hut have secured the official license to sell their products during next year’s cricket World Cup, but fans in Delhi who can’t afford these don’t have to worry. They will have the option of buying cholebhature, samosas and chaat etc. during the four matches at the Ferozeshah Kotla.When officials of the International Cricket Council (ICC) visited Kotla on Monday, DDCA officials asked them if local vendors can put up stalls to cater to the thousands of spectators who usually throng the venue. “They said that until the vendors don’t sell the same stuff as KFC and Pizza Hut, they would be allowed to sell local snacks like samosas and chole-bhature etc. But the ICC officials said that they can’t do branding, implying that they can’t put up boards and sell the same food/snacks as KFC and Pizza Hut,” a DDCA official told MAIL TODAY.However, ICC’s official beverage partner Pepsi, will not be allowed to sell packaged water inside the stands. The Delhi Police officials, who joined the ICC inspection team, said that they won’t allow plastic bottles due to security reasons. The police also told the inspection team that they won’t allow spectators to take any articles inside the stadium without getting them scanned. “They said X-Ray machines will have to be installed at the gates. So, we might either buy X-Ray machines or take them on rent,” the official said.advertisementLike in the Commonwealth Games, volunteers will play a crucial role in the World Cup. “The ICC has said that it will provide attractive volunteer kits – track suits, caps, waist pouch etc. It’s not known how many volunteers will be deputed at each venue, but the officials said that they would be young and in sufficient numbers,” he informed. One only hopes that DDCA officials refrain from deputing their kids and relatives, like they usually do during international matches.The visit of the ICC team, which included a few BCCI officials, ended with the DDCA hosting a dinner at a five-star hotel. “One can understand that we were being good hosts by treating them to drinks and good food. But what surprised many was the DDCA presenting each of the 29 ICC members with expensive gifts. What was the need of giving these gifts? What was the DDCA trying to achieve? Defies logic, really,” he said.BCCI can learn a lot from PatelAnil Kumble and Co’s ascension to the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) throne might not have been as smooth had Brijesh Patel not decided to opt out. Patel, who turned 58 on Wednesday, had served KSCA for 12 years as secretary.”We achieved a lot but could not do much in the last three years due to a fractured mandate,” Patel told MAIL TODAY, referring to the election three years ago when Srikanta Wadiyar was elected president and his group clinched more seats than Patel.”The KSCA is in good hands [of Kumble & Co].By deciding to not to contest, we have set an example for various sports bodies, including the BCCI,” stressed Patel.When asked to point out his achievements, Patel said: “Overall, we made the facilities better. We took the game to mofussil areas and built the infrastructure there. We also contributed to the BCCI’s National Cricket Association.”Another significant step that Patel took was to tweak the KSCA constitution, making it easier for cricketers to get into administration and keep the politicians at bay. “Now, for example, even Vijay Mallya can’t be elected as a KSCA office bearer. Only the 1,300 members and 229 clubs in Bangalore can vote,” he pointed out.
Barcelona coach Valverde worried about feud between Spanish FA and LaLigaby Carlos Volcano3 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveBarcelona coach Ernesto Valverde admits he’s concerned the feud between the Spanish FA and LaLiga will be damaging.No agreement has been reached between the two governing bodies on the new date of El Clasico between the Blaugrana and Real Madrid, which was postponed due to the unrest in the Catalan capital, although it was initially scheduled for October 26.”I would like common sense to prevail,” Valverde told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday evening.”Espanyol’s game against Villarreal was played and that of the following week was suspended.”We must trust that Catalan society is fine and it would be a demonstration of maturity on everyone’s part.”I wouldn’t like the internal wars between the federation and LaLiga to affect us.”I would have liked to play [El Clasico] and give everything a normal feel.” About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say
The Duchess of Cornwall recently hosted a reception in support of survivors of rape and sexual abuse at Clarence House.The Duchess of Cornwall (right) talks to guests during a reception in support of survivors of rape and sexual abuse at Clarence HouseCredit/Copyright: http://www.princeofwales.gov.uk/news-and-diary/supporting-survivors-of-rape-and-sexual-abuseThe Duchess organised the reception, whose guests included Home Secretary Theresa May and Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer, to bring together political figures, rape support groups and rape survivors.The Duchess, who has visited nine rape crisis and sexual assault referral centres in the UK since 2009, spoke to those present of the importance of forming a “united front to help victims of rape and sexual abuse”.She said: “Over the past few years, I have seen for myself some of the remarkable work being undertaken by representatives of rape crisis organisations, the National Health Service and the police across the country.“During my visits to some of these centres I have been so impressed by the professionalism and commitment of the individuals who provide a lifeline to the women, the children and the men, who have been left shamed and traumatised and made to feel so worthless through no fault of their own.”She spoke of the need to end the taboo surrounding rape and sexual abuse, adding: “Perhaps, from this small beginning, we will be able to build a future where society will simply not tolerate rape and sexual abuse any longer.”Survivor Mia James chatted to The Duchess for several minutes following her speech. Ms James, from south-east London, said: “I just thanked her for her support.“We need somebody high profile to raise awareness for the common man, because our juries are made up of each and every one of us – and each and every one of us has misconceptions about rape, misconceptions about the causes of rape.“It’s a case of wanting to get the message out as to what it’s all about, and I’m really happy we’ve got The Duchess doing that.”The Duchess said it was “shocking” that relatively few rapes resulted in a conviction.In her speech, she said: “This challenging and emotive subject has been brought to the fore in recent months with some shocking news stories – although it is by no means a new story.“The findings of the Government’s recent report into sexual offending revealed once again that the number of victims reporting these crimes is still only a tiny proportion of the total and even fewer of those cases end in a conviction.”Ms James agreed that more people need to speak out about rape and sexual assault.She said: “I want people to stop sweeping us under the carpet. I want this to be something that is not associated with the word ‘taboo’.“With someone as high profile as The Duchess, survivors will feel more comfortable coming out with their stories. They can report it and know there is no stigma attached.”Mr Starmer admitted that “hard work” was needed to increase victims’ confidence and lead more of them to report their rape.He said The Duchess’s contribution was “really positive”.“It’s fantastic that she’s shown such a level of commitment to this important area,” he added. “Bringing these people together is a very significant step. We’re working together more than we were – but we need to continue to do so.”Ms May said the meeting highlighted the fact there are many victims of rape and sexual violence, with more needing to be done to support them.She added that the Government had ringfenced funding which would provide funding for rape crisis centres, emphasising their importance.Mumsnet co-founder Justine Roberts also attended the reception.Mumsnet has a campaign called We Believe You, which aims to challenge rape myths and raise awareness of the impact of sexual violence on people’s lives.Ms Roberts said of today’s meeting: “You can really tell she’s spoken to victims. She feels very passionately about the issue.”The meeting was the first time such a wide range of representatives from various UK groups had met to focus solely on issues surrounding rape and sexual abuse, a Clarence House spokeswoman said.Source:PrinceOfWales.gov.uk