Search Results for: Kathy-Dobie

How One Artist Publicly Dealt With the Aftermath of Her Rape

Photograph by Isadora Kosofsky for The California Sunday Magazine

An artist named Stephanie Montgomery was raped at the LA strip club where she worked. Montgomery worked at the strip club to help fund her creative pursuits, and during slow times at work, she often sketched customers and coworkers. After, her manager and the rapist denied the assault took place, and the police failed to do more than collect a chillingly detailed account of the assault, so Montgomery used her talents and painted the grizzly story of her assault on a 48-by-14 feet billboard at the entrance of one of LA’s busiest freeways. Journalist Kathy Dobie tells Montgomery’s story at The California Sunday Magazine. Montgomery’s is the story of female talent getting thwarted, of male violence and female credibility, of men betraying their female coworkers, and of how little help there is for women to deal with the aftermath of sexual assault.

Stephanie came to realize she’d reached the dead end of a road she had never wanted to be on in the first place. Nothing was going to happen. No justice, just another rape, the world moved on. The #MeToo movement had opened up the conversation, sure, and it had also spurred men into hyperdefensiveness and aggression, but when the smoke cleared, had anything really changed? Where were the arrests, the convictions? Did a stripper have a bigger voice, a better shot at justice than she would’ve two or five or twenty years ago?

As the months passed, something boiled and wept inside her; she couldn’t live with the silence, couldn’t let the rape go unanswered or pretend it never happened, as she had first hoped to do. An idea began to take hold. She was going to paint something, something huge, something public, and call out the rapist, the strip club, the LAPD.

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Editor’s Roundtable: Shorthand, Looking Away, Getting It Wrong (Podcast)

Trisha Meile
Trisha Meile, the Central Park jogger. (Duane Braley/Star Tribune via Getty Images)

On our June 7, 2019 roundtable episode of the Longreads Podcast, Essays Editor Sari Botton, Contributing Editor Aaron Gilbreath, and Senior Editor Kelly Stout share what they’ve been reading and nominate stories for the Weekly Top 5 Longreads.

This week, the editors discuss stories in The Cut, The New Yorker, and The California Sunday Magazine.


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0:53 Before, and After, the Jogger (Sarah Weinman, June 3, 2019, The Cut

“It’s so important to push through your discomfort and watch these things and read these stories. It’s important for us to have episodes like this where we’re paying attention to heavy stories about other people’s difficulties that we don’t have.” —Sari Botton

The Cut revisits the story of The Central Park Five with a look at the experiences of the nine women who were raped, assaulted, and one, murdered, by Matias Reyes. Reyes only admitted to the crime years after Manhattan District Attorney Linda Fairstein had, in 1989, charged five innocent young boys with the crimes.

The team discusses the complicity of Fairstein, the police, and the press in vilifying the wrong people, and the way that the womens’ stories, central to everything, were never properly told. They also talk about Ava Duvernet’s When They See Us Netflix series and how it humanizes the boys from a similarly overdue angle. They address the responsibility we have to engage with tough stories, and how a story like this, about racism and misogyny, has reach far beyond New York City.

9:57 R. Kelly and the Damage Done. (, June 3, 2019, The New Yorker)

“To read these two pieces side by side disturbed me further, because on the one hand, you have somebody who’s being falsely accused of rape, and on the other hand, you have somebody saying I was raped, and not being believed.”  —Kelly Stout

The editors respond to Jim DeRogatis’s memoir of reporting on R. Kelly’s alleged victims, as well as his acknowledgement of his failures, prejudices, and the perspective that he lacked as a white member of the press.

The team discusses the blind spots of whiteness, and how white people fail to see what is directly in front of us when it comes to realities non-white communities have long dealt with. Additionally, they look at how in this particular case, information about R. Kelly’s actions was available for years and ignored by reporters. They also address the way members of privileged communities create scapegoats to recalibrate a sense of security after horrible incidents, including hanging on to the idea that the justice system provides protection more than it exacerbates harm.

25:28 The Billboard (Kathy Dobie, May 30, 2019, The California Sunday Magazine)

“Shorthand isn’t enough… victims don’t get the privilege of shorthand.” —Aaron Gilbreath

Artist Stephanie Montgomery was working in a club in Los Angeles, dancing and trying to get her career started, when one of the customers raped her. She told management and the police, but no one did anything. This is a story about the aftermath of that rape, and how Montgomery went on to tell her story by painting a billboard on the I-10 Freeway.

The team continues their conversation about the shortcomings of law enforcement and the media, as well as the meaning and weight of the word victim. They touch on the importance of permitting people who have suffered a trauma to forge their own path to healing. They reiterate the need for details and going beyond shorthand terms like ‘sexual assault’ in these stories. Readers may not want to read or hear these details, but they need to learn them if anything is going to change.

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Produced by Longreads and Charts & Leisure.

The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

New Haven. Photo: Wally Gobetz, Flickr

Below, our favorite stories of the week. Kindle users, you can also get them as a Readlist.
Sign up to receive this list free every Friday in your inbox.

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Longreads Best of 2016: Here Are All of Our No. 1 Story Picks from This Year

All through December, we’ll be featuring Longreads’ Best of 2016. To get you ready, here’s a list of every story that was chosen as No. 1 in our weekly Top 5 email.

If you like these, you can sign up to receive our free weekly email every Friday. Read more…

Longreads Best of 2014: Sports Writing

We asked a few writers and editors to choose some of their favorite stories of the year in specific categories. Here, the best in sports writing.

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Eva Holland
Freelance writer based in Canada’s Yukon Territory.

Together We Make Football (Louisa Thomas, Grantland)

It’s been a bad year for football: Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, the lingering Jameis Winston saga. And a bad year for football means a big year for think pieces about violence and football—I couldn’t tell you how many of those I read this year. But one of them stood out. In “Together We Make Football,” Louisa Thomas reflects on the uncomfortable relationship between the NFL, masculinity, violence, and women. She takes her time, building a case slowly and methodically, before driving home her point: that violence is inherent to, and integral to, the NFL. That although the vast majority of football players don’t beat their wives, there may be no way to separate the bad violence—the off-field violence—from the on-field violence that we love. Here’s Thomas: Read more…

Longreads Best of 2014: Here Are All of Our No. 1 Story Picks from This Year

All through December, we’ll be featuring Longreads’ Best of 2014. To get you ready, here’s a list of every story that was chosen as No. 1 in our weekly Top 5 email.

If you like these, you can sign up to receive our free weekly email every Friday. Read more…

The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

Below, our favorite stories of the week. Kindle users, you can also get them as a Readlist.

Sign up to receive this list free every Friday in your inbox.

* * * Read more…

[National Magazine Awards finalist, Public Interest] An investigation of rampant sexual violence that goes unpunished at a Sioux reservation:

Kim reported the rape, and Mike was arrested and jailed. As soon as she returned to the reservation, his family began threatening her, calling her a liar and a bitch. Whenever they saw her on the street, they told her they would beat her up and make sure her son was taken away from her if she didn’t drop the charges. Kim believed they could do it, since some of Mike’s family members worked in the tribal court. ‘I was getting threats right and left, and I wasn’t scared. I was going to go through with it—they had him in jail, and it was all going to work out. But then they let him out,’ Kim said. ‘Nobody would do anything. He just walked around town.’

“Tiny Little Laws.” — Kathy Dobie, Harper’s

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Three siblings—the two brothers, carpenters, and the sister, a stripper—rob a bank and lead police on a 15-state chase. But what motivated them to do it?

PASCO SIBLINGS SOUGHT IN SHOOTING ALSO WANTED IN GEORGIA BANK HEIST. By the evening of August 4, the FBI had issued a press release stating that the three Georgia bank robbers and the three Zephyrhills shooters were one and the same. The image of a gun-toting, bank-robbing trio of siblings hit reporters like a shot of Jack Daniel’s; it was exhilarating; it was old-school. DOUGHERTY GANG ON THE LAM! Lee-Grace made the biggest splash. ‘A gun-toting stripper—what’s not to like?’ asked one commenter. A series of X-rated photographs she had taken for some guys who ran an illegitimate poker club where she gave lap dances later found their way into the public domain, most likely with a price tag.

“The Whole True Story of the Dougherty Gang.” — Kathy Dobie, GQ

See also: ”The Perfect Mark.” — Mitchell Zuckoff, New Yorker, May 15, 2006