Category Archives: Sexual Assualt

The Hunting Ground Revisited

Last semester the film the Hunting Ground was shown and continued a necessary discussion about the reality of sexual assault on campuses. Please join us to continue this very important discussion that has a grave impact on everyone.

hunting ground discussion

THE HUNTING GROUND REVISITED:
An academic discussion about sexual assault

Tuesday, March 15th 12:30-2pm, Bisdorf 196

Please join us in an ongoing conversation about issues raised in last semester’s showing of The Hunting Ground, a film about sexual assault on college campuses.
Professors of Sociology, Psychology, English, and Women’s Studies will lead an open dialogue regarding the topics of gender, power and assault. This is an event for all students, faculty, and staff who would like to continue this discussion.
If you would like to watch the Hunting Ground prior to this conversation, it is being shown in the Women’s Center at the following times 3/1: noon, 3/2: 2pm, 3/3: 4pm, and 3/5: 10am.

Food for Thought

Each week there is at the very least one story that highlights a person that has been sexually violated in some way. Whether it is in another country, or in our own backyard. This week we had the story of two ex football players from Vanderbilt, who were actually tried and convicted. Let’s hope they get a deserving sentence! For more on that check out the story here.

This story and similar ones that I stumble upon each week were echoed on Tumblr (also known as a black hole for me.)

SchoolSexual Assault

It seems like Vanderbilt was fairly proactive, which is great, but that is more of a gem in a sea of crap. The way schools handle sexual assaults has been a big point of contention for me, but seeing this photo just drove it home. If someone cheats on exam or paper, there is usually little leniency for the perpetrator, but if someone is sexually assaulted, the administrations conjure up excuses, move heaven and earth, hell too? in order to justify the actions that took place. Just let this sink in for a bit.

This little gem popped up on my feed too:

Source

There is so much truth here.

Carrying The Weight Together

 

Many of you heard about Emma Sulkowicz, and her art project / protest in regards to how her sexual assault charges were handled at Columbia University.  She walked around campus carrying an XL mattress because her attacker was never removed from the campus, and soon others joined her to help carry the mattress (the burden of being sexual assaulted). If you have not  heard about it, check it out here. It is really amazing what we as people can do when we stand together, and support one another. 

This is why Carrying the Weight Together is so amazing! On Oct. 29th,  those who are apart of college community are encouraged to grab a mattress and stand together in an effort to show support for those who have experienced sexual assault and domestic violence.

Round Table Tuesday – 10/7

We had another great round table this  Tuesday, where we had Sexual Assault Services  (SAS) come and talk with us about the Red Flag Campaign, and the services that are provided throughout the college.

People had some great questions about consent, and raised some great points about how culturally there is a great impact on how we interact with one another sexually. There was a lot of focus on how “no” is not usually the stopping point, but the beginning of a negotiation, and how problematic that becomes, especially when people get worn down, and feel as though there is no other option.

All of these questions and topics were answered and further clarified by the wonderful people who came to visit from SAS. They did a great job of hosting our round table, and I know I walked away with more knowledge under my belt.

SAS  Information Table
SAS Information Table

One of the biggest things I took away from this round table, is how fortunate we all are to have the support network  created by SAS.  Most institutions do not go to the lengths that these folks do in order to ensure that people get the help they need.

So here are some of  things  these amazing people do:

  • Provide support whether you are in a situation yourself, or trying to be there for family or friends who are in abusive relationships, sexual assaults, stalking
  • Anonymous reporting
  • All services are confidential
  • Always on call ( cell #, so you can text as well)
  • College -Wide
  • They can meet off-campus
  • They will go to appointments, court, exams, etc.

They provide support when people need it the most, and are helping to ensure that survivors are aware of all of their options.  We are quite fortunate to have this level of involvement, and people who invest so much time to make sure that survivors get help, and know that they are not alone.

SAS is under the NOVA Cares services here at  NOVA.  Here is there email: nova.sas@nvcc.edu and phone: 703-338-0834

Keep your calendars open for October 21 to join SAS for the  Clothesline Project

Yes Means Yes

The internet is buzzing about California passing the Affirmative Consent Law.   There are high emotions on either side, some feeling as though this is long overdue, while others feel as though the government is overstepping.

In California, the Senator Kevin de Leon introduced the Affirmative Consent Law that was recently passed by Governor Jerry Brown. This law is applicable to any higher education institution that receives state funding.  The law tries to better outline what  kind of protocols that should be in place,  as well as what programs and support need to be in place for survivors of sexual violence.

I am curious to see the effectiveness of this bill, and what, if anything happens to institutions who do not comply with this law.  There is a need for more resources available for survivors, and it is important to have a support network,  hopefully this law provides the push needed to get campuses into action and providing these much needed spaces.

It will be interesting to see how other states react to this, especially states with institutions that have higher rates of sexual violence.

There is a lot of back and forth going on about what the law is and isn’t, here is a link Affirmative Consent , where you  can take a look at the points, and what the campuses will have to do in order to comply.

One thing I have noticed in looking through comments, is that people are complaining that this places too much responsibility on the alleged attacker. In most cases the responsibility is on the victim of an attack, where there is the need to justify what they were doing, how much they were drinking, their sexual history, did they do anything to maybe give the faintest whiff of interest, etc.  I think it is alright if there is more responsibility placed on the person being accused, instead of someone trying justify why it was horrible for them to be attacked.

Victimhood: A Coveted Status

Recently George Will wrote about the stance that Washington has decided to take when it comes colleges/universities in regard to sexual assaults and rapes on campuses.   The proposed changes will hopefully educate colleges on how to handle  sexual violence, and how to better provide prevent and provide support within their institutions. It is also an attempt to keep these institutions from overlooking them, sweeping them under the rug, or outright dissuading victims from reporting to police.  That is quite a general explanation, and this post provides more information and links to what is going on.

To many these changes sound great and long overdue, but Mr. Will feels quite differently. He writes, “They are learning that when they say campus victimizations are ubiquitous (“micro-aggressions,” often not discernible to the untutored eye, are everywhere), and that when they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate. ”   If he sat down and talked with victims, I highly doubt that they feel privileged or as though they are in a coveted status. It is not as though there are unreasonable requests being made, most people who have been victims of sexual of violence would benefit from having safe places, and environment where they are not being shamed for being a victim. 

This kind of mentality just reinforces #yesallwomen, and how it is normalized in our society.  He calls them “micro-aggressions”, and I call them those moments where I would feel the need to say something or just leave because it is not worth it for me to stay in an environment where I feel uncomfortable or potentially unsafe. He can call the whatever he likes,  but that does not make them any less valid, nor does it minimize how it ties into the overarching issue of sexual violence.

#YesAllWomen

The shootings over the weekend have really struck a note, and all over you see commentary on how this violence is not out of the norm, or an isolated incident, rather it speaks to a larger norm that is so pervasive.

The statements made by Elliot Rodger are not uncommon, all anyone needs to do is read the comments section on an article dealing with men and women.  It was disturbing to  once again read, see, hear this young man blame is his issues on women, as if he is owed something by women, or that there is this sense that women are supposed to want to sleep with guys, that it is a given.  If she does not reciprocate a man’s advances it is her fault for not being enlightened enough or smart enough to know that she should be falling down at this man’s feet.

I have heard too many guys say, ” I am a nice guy. I did this or that and when I asked her out she said, ‘no’.”  Statements such as that cancel out being a nice guy; the expectation that you are owed something, furthermore that you have a right or claim to a woman because you did something decent is deplorable. It just speaks to the larger issue of women not being seen as whole or independent people.  Women are often seen as an addition to the man that they are seemingly attached to, and that is where their worth is, not as people with independent thought feelings, and paths of their own. This gets even more complicated when you factor is sexuality, because lesbians are often either categorized as masculine or just needing the “right man” to show her the way.  Transgender women are often punished for not being normal.

So when people claim that this is an isolated incident, no, it is another violent incident that follows a long tradition of violence against women, whether it is physical, emotional, or creating atmosphere that is threatening.