Tag Archives: sexual assault

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.

A Little Bit of Hope

The news is often filled with terrible, awful things, which to be fair these things are going on in the world, but it gets a little depressing at times.

So today, I just wanted to share some things with you, some people rather, that have turned some rather horrific and unfortunate situations into opportunities to fight for not only themselves, but for others who may not have found their voices yet.

Hope is a powerful thing:

The Hunting Ground

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.

An Amazingly Busy Week

The Women’s Center has had a busy week, attending some great events for wonderful causes.   First we attended the Clothesline Project, which we hope will be a continuing tradition on our campus.  There were quite a few students, staff, faculty, and whole departments that participated.

Clothesline Project

The library even did a display that provides further information on the topic.

Clothesline Project Display

 

SAS may be doing it again in the Spring, so if you were unable to attend this semester, keep checking back so you can participate next semester.

 

After the Clothesline Project, the Women’s Center held its annual Breast Cancer walk around campus. There were goodies in the Women Center ( cupcakes and other treats) that were awaiting us after our walk.

Breast Cancer Walk 10-21

We want to give a big thanks to everyone who showed support and came out participated!

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.

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.

Sexual Assault and Colleges

There has been a lot of talk about the task force Obama plans to implement in order to combat sexual assault on campuses. It is no secret that sexual assault is horrific problem across college campuses.  We all probably know at least one someone who has been a survivor of an assault, and they probably watched their attacker walk away unscathed. This could be a very powerful initiative that is desperately needed overall, but especially after the many disrespectful and ignorant comments that politicians have been making, essentially victim blaming.

Schools have not been doing their part in supporting survivors of attacks, and while they may not have the systems in place to deal with it, there have not been enough questions of how we can implement a system to effectively deal with sexual assault and rape.  The call to action’s desire to have more definitive standards when dealing with

This initiative is apart of a larger initiative to address sexual violence: Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action, which contains the full report on statistical findings, as well as the amount of work it will take to implement proper safeguards to better help survivors. I strongly encourage folks to at least read the executive that includes some great language that is quite different than much of the rhetoric that has been passed around by politicians as of late.

 There is a lot of work that needs to be done, but this seems like a good place to start, and hopefully this helps prevent people from being assaulted, and helps educate folks on the troubling realities that accompany these attacks.

Thus far 55 colleges are being investigated for how they have handled sexual complaints. Hopefully these investigations bring about better practices in dealing with sexual assaults, and ensuring that survivors are able to name their attackers and bring charges if they so desire, as well as making sure that they get the help that they need.

We Can Do Better

Violence Against Women

This video has been out for a bit, but I still think it is something that is important to discuss, and will continue to be important to discuss for quite sometime.   Jackson Katz brings up a point that I think a lot of people who are close to domestic, sexual, and relationship violence, have muddled with over and over again: Why is this solely on me? Why is the perpetrator not even mentioned? Why are my actions/history being questioned? Notice where all the focus is not being directed?

He helps present some clarity to why this happens, but also addresses steps to fixing it, which seems to be a rarity as of late. He openly states how pervasive victim blaming is in our society.  I know there are so many critics who hate that term, but I would like to ask, what else would you like to call it when someone is attacked, and then they are asked a plethora of questions to figure out what they were doing to attract this negative (violent)  attention.

Katz made my day by using sentence structure to demonstrate how men are often erased from the discussion, and thus placing the responsibility on the victim.   He writes out five sentences:

“John beat Mary”

“Mary was beaten by John”

“Mary was beaten”

“Mary was battered”

“Mary is a battered woman”

This reminds me of a poetry workshop, where a professor said, when you try to convey your message, make sure you are using the words effectively. If you can make a situation active, do so, by making it passive you take away some of the importance or shift the meaning behind what was intended.  What Katz is writing is not poetry, but the same could be said here.  With both our language, and the way we discuss things, we have changed John into an obsolete figure. By the time we get down to the end of the examples, we could ask, “John who?”

He also discusses the role institutions play in the overarching societal issue of sexual violence. I took a class on this, and the anecdotes were chilling and horrifying, especially when you read about the people who knew what was going on, and the pains that were taken to cover up these awful happenings.  Wouldn’t it be easier and better for society as a whole if we held people accountable and changed the way we talk, examine, and deal with these tragedies?

Katz called the role institutions play, a “leadership problem”, which is quite genius.  I am inclined to agree with him. There is a lack of leadership, of strong people in positions of power saying, “This is wrong.” Instead, we often they see them taking care of one another and trying to hide these horrible things that happen. It is apparent that they KNOW something is wrong, otherwise they would not go to the lengths they do in order to cover it up.

I like that he encourages us to work together to bring about change, and how he points out how our actions do indeed play an important role in the youths that witness these actions.

Overall, I think this was a wonderful piece, and hopefully it will inspire some people to lead.

 

Sexual Assault/ Domestic Violence / Stalking Awareness Training

Tomorrow one of our amazing police officers will be leading a training session with a member of SAVE to  help bring awareness and provide safety tips to situations surrounding Sexual Assault, domestic violence, and stalking.  A few weeks ago we had a great round table discussion about this, and this is being extended through this training and awareness program. Everyone is encouraged to attend, and become informed.

Here are some of the topics that will be discussed:

How to avoid sexual assaults, domestic, violence, and stalking

What to do if you are a victim

What to do if someone you know is a victim

Police guidance on relevant topics (i.e. emergency protective orders, police reporting, options, and more)

Resources in your community

I encourage you to come on out to the event it will be held on the Tyler Building in room 112.

Against His Will

Last week CNN featured a surprising article by Sara LeTrent on the little talked about subject of female on male rape. I think the article was a good step for many reasons: it discussed something that is usually ignored and ridiculed; it indeed stated that it is something that happens, not some slanderous myth from jaded men, and once again it was discussed (not discussing is what we as a society have been doing for a very long time, and we have seen where that has gotten us).

The article even featured a male survivor who shared his story, and how he struggled to come to terms with what happened to him, as well as his journey forward, which involves helping others come to terms with their own trauma.

I must say that the article surprised me with how it brought up Chris Brown and his interview where he talked about his own early sexual experiences. Sarah LeTrent highlights how this often seen as a conquest, something men are to be proud of, because it shows their sexual prowess at such a young age.

LeTrent made a lot of pertinent points,  however I do disagree with this statement, “Were you aroused?’  is a question posed to male victims, St. John says. ‘You don’t hear it with female rape victims. It’s an interesting question that men get asked.”   Women face those same questions, and I think it is an irrelevant question.  At the heart of the issue are people who feel like they are entitled to others bodies, regardless of gender, and blatantly ignoring consent.

Here is the article  to read it first hand:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/09/living/chris-brown-female-on-male-rape/index.html?hpt=hp_t3