On the eve of the 2016 NFL Draft, as one of its most talked-about players faces domestic assault charges, Detroit Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy pens a heartfelt essay on masculinity, power, and sexual violence: "It’s important for men, especially in a hyper-masculine culture that breeds so many assholes, to stand up and challenge the values that have been passed down to us. This is not just a woman’s problem."
Most American rapes go unreported and unpunished. In part because ideas about what constitutes a ‘‘real rape’’ still hinder investigations and prosecutions, and many police officers continue to read vulnerability as complicity. But there is another unacknowledged side to the investigation of sexual assault: the huge numbers of victims who are children or teenagers. New Haven, CT detectives estimate that more than 80 percent of their cases involve minors — a number only slightly higher than national statistics. Such cases are rarely reported immediately, which means that there is rarely any physical evidence to investigate. "To Catch a Rapist:" How New Haven's special-victims unit fights a hidden epidemic of sexual assault that is disturbingly difficult to investigate. (Some may find the descriptions and topics in this article disturbing or triggering.)
It's not about justice, it's about witch hunts, argues Alex Sharpe "Today, a young transgender man, Kyran Lee, received a two year suspended sentence after being convicted in 2014 of one count of sexual assault by penetration on the basis of “gender fraud.” He is the fifth young LGBT person to be prosecuted for and convicted of so-called “gender fraud” in the UK since 2012. The reason for this recent spate of criminal prosecutions of LGBT youth is unclear and calls for rigorous analysis in its own right. What is clear, is that while these prosecutions have some support, they do not accord with general community sentiment concerning the meaning of consent and the proper reach of criminal law."
What is actually going on with men, right now? What are they afraid of and unwilling to talk about? How do the inner lives of men affect women, other men, our culture? We see men struggling to define themselves at a time when gender definitions are expanding. We see men dealing, sometimes gracefully and sometimes not, with the weight of their power. And we learn that what it means to be a modern man is just like everything else: complex, messy, and always changing. Medium presents: The Men Issue [more inside]
What If Bears Killed One In Five People? You wouldn't put up with that. So don't put up with this. 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted by the time they finish college. [more inside]
We demand that women live in fear and behave impeccably to avoid 'asking for it.' "In an extract from her book, Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture — and What We Can Do About It, author Kate Harding explains how women order their lives around the fear of rape – and of being blamed for not preventing it." [more inside]
In the United States, only 22 states require that sex education should be taught in their schools. Of those, only 13 insist upon medical accuracy. There is no federal standard. As a result, classroom lessons that teach purity culture – the idea that virginity is a state of moral accomplishment – are pervasive. John Oliver's Last Week Tonight covers Sex Education in America. (NSFW) The end of the segment features a modern sex education video created by LWT, narrated by several celebrities (including Laverne Cox, Nick Offerman, Jonathan Banks, Kristen Schaal and Aisha Tyler) that touches on topics outdated lessons may be ignoring. [more inside]
Most debates around sex and disabled people in the mainstream press mirror those of medical ethicists, by focusing on whether disabled people have the ‘right’ to pay for sex. But this is just one small part of the overall picture. Disabled academics and activists paint on a much larger canvas, writing about issues such as consent around mental capacity, the forced sterilisation of disabled people, the rights of disabled people in institutions to have sex and be free from sexual abuse, and the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) disabled people."Sex, Lives, and Disability", from Mosaic Science, covers a lot of ground on many issues relating to including history of disability rights movements, what role sex workers may play in the lives of some people with disabilities, barriers often faced by LGBT people with disabilities, rethinking definitions of sex, and consent when verbal consent may not be possible. In sidebar videos, journalist and disability activist Mik Scarlet tackles Ten Myths about Sex and Disability and Alternate Erogenous Zones. Mik also co-authors The Love Lounge, an advice column focusing on love, sex, and relationship advice for people with disabilities. (Links contain possibly nsfw images and video, depending on your workplace. Clicker beware.)
"We need to deal with the fact that our kids are starting to go through puberty much younger than they used to," said Sandals, Education Minister. [more inside]
In light of Dries Verhoeven's public art of his Grindr interactions (since cancelled), Arne Svenson's show, "The Neighbors" (previously) and Future Femme's piece, Show Me More: A collection of DickPix, and amid questions of legality and ethics, the Guardian examines art, consent and privacy.
After a New Yorker piece (previously) on one of Cairo's trash collectors went viral in Cairo, several issues regarding consent of the illiterate Sayyid, as well as possible threats against him, have come up. The author, Peter Hessler, responded in a Facebook post to some of these issues, but it seems that the story is more complicated with accusations that Hessler did not adequately inform Sayyid of what had been written, resulting in retaliation by the people he works for.
"In my experience, the reminder that the sexual fantasy isn’t real, that the women who perform availability aren’t ACTUALLY available, that we aren’t ACTUALLY clamouring to be sexualized by men, that we control when the fantasy starts and stops, and that our performance is just that, a performance that requires compensation… well, some men find that hard to swallow." [more inside]
I do not believe that most women — that most victims of sexual assault — freeze or shut down when faced with the prospect of coercive sex because they don’t really care what happens next, or because they're excited to push through the moment for the sheer joy of accusing the aggressor of rape after the fact. I believe that these women, these people, have a finely tuned sense for their safety, that when a woman reports having "a feeling that it would turn into an ordeal if I rejected him," she is not crazy and she knows what she is talking about.Mallory Ortberg explores the ongoing debate surrounding passive versus active consent as its effects echo through the Alt Lit community: On Deciding What Counts: Elizabeth Ellen and What Makes A Victim.
[TW: rape, sexual assault, child abuse]
Last Saturday, Tory cabinet minister for civil society Brooks Newmark resigned on the eve of the publication about his sexting habits. Allegedly he had sent unsolicited dirty pictures to a woman he thought was a Conservative Party activist, but was in fact an undercover reporter for the Sunday Mirror. Good, you may think, another scumbag who doesn't know the meaning of consent uncovered, but was this really the case, or was this actually a borderline criminal sting operation on the Mirror's part? [more inside]
Two prominent kink bloggers propose that we change how we think about consent to combat rape culture and to create positive, meaningfully consensual experiences for all. [more inside]
This week, of course, provided a glorious example of how technology companies have normalized being indifferent to consent: Apple ‘gifting’ each user with a U2 album downloaded into iTunes. At least one of my friends reported that he had wireless synching of his phone disabled; Apple overrode his express preferences in order to add the album to his music collection. The expected 'surprise and delight' was really more like 'surprise and delete'. I suspect that the strong negative response (in some quarters, at least) had less to do with a dislike of U2 and everything to do with the album as a metonym for this widespread culture of nonconsensual behaviour in technology.Deb Chachra talks about the age of non-consensual technology. [more inside]
Whether it's the constant fretting over Miley Cyrus' influence on school girls or the growing (and troubling) tradition of Purity Balls, it's clear that society has a fascination with young women's sexuality — especially when it comes to controlling it. But what are we actually teaching today's girls about sex? Fueled by outdated ideals of gender roles and the sense that female sexuality is somehow shameful, there seem to be certain pernicious myths about girls and sex that just won't die. That sex education in America has gaping holes in its curriculum hasn't helped much, either; in a recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report just 6 out of 10 girls said that their schools' sex ed program included information on how to say no to sex. This lack of personal agency was reflected in a forthcoming study by sociologist Heather Hlavka at Marquette University as well, which found that many young girls think of sex simply as something that is "done to them." Knowledge is power, and we can promote a healthier relationship with sex by encouraging a more open dialogue, teaching girls to feel comfortable with their sexuality and, most importantly, emphasizing that their bodies are theirs and theirs alone. [more inside]
Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing Between Democracy And Doom is a new book by Elaine Scarry, author of The Body In Pain (NYRB, LRB), in which she contends that the existence of nuclear weapons creates an unaccountable monarchy. [more inside]
"In August 2013, a bunch of performers in adult entertainment got together to talk about our industry and said: "Shit's fucked up. The shit in question is more fucked up than it was a few years ago. Someone ought to do something." Rather than wait for someone to become an actual person who will fix things, we collectively pulled on our grown-up pants and decided to do something ourselves. Thus began the organisation called the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee." Porn actor Stoya writes about APAC and her personal guidelines for sexual consent in New Statesman; APAC has also filmed a video wherein working porn professionals explain the need-to-knows for people interested in entering the industry.
The Nazi Anatomists. "How the corpses of Hitler's victims are still haunting modern science—and American abortion politics."
"Every year Playboy releases the ultimate guide to campus life: our infamous party school list. Over the years, it has been brought to our attention that some of our long-standing party picks have a not-so-toast-worthy, rape-ridden side to their campus life. Somewhere in the countless hours we spent tallying up co-eds and scoring beer pong, we lost track of the most essential element of the Playboy lifestyle: sexual pleasure. Rape is kryptonite to sexual pleasure. The two cannot co-exist. For our revised party guide to live up to our founder’s vision, we had to put a new criterion on top. Namely, consent. In other words… A good college party is all about everyone having a good time. Consent is all about everyone having a good time. Rape is only a good time if you’re a rapist. And fuck those people. In our new found light, we proudly present to you Playboy’s 2013 Top Ten Party Commandments, the ultimate guide for a consensual good time." Or did they,
College students across the country conspired to promote consent: the story behind yesterday’s Playboy hoax.[more inside]
The Inside Story Of The Feminists Who Fooled Us Into Thinking Playboy Cared About Consent
How often does a great story dominate the headlines, only to be dropped from the news cycle? How often do journalists tell us of a looming danger or important discovery – only to move quickly to the next new thing? What really happened? How did these events change us? And what are the lingering consequences that may affect our society to this day? These are the questions we are answering at Retro Report, an innovative documentary news organization launched in 2013 as a timely online counterweight to today’s 24/7 news cycle. Combining documentary techniques with shoe-leather reporting, we peel back the layers of some of the most perplexing news stories of our past with the goal of encouraging the public to think more critically about current events and the media in ~10 minute segments. [more inside]
You know how it is, right, ladies? You know a guy for a while. You hang out with him. You do fun things with him—play video games, watch movies, go hiking, go to concerts. You invite him to your parties. You listen to his problems. You do all this because you think he wants to be your friend. But then, then comes the fateful moment where you find out that all this time, he’s only seen you as a potential girlfriend. And then if you turn him down, he may never speak to you again. This has happened to me time after time: I hit it off with a guy, and, for all that I’ve been burned in the past, I start to think that this one might actually care about me as a person. And then he asks me on a date. [more inside]
I had my students fill out mid-semester evaluations last fall. No big deal, just answer these four questions: 1) What am I doing to help you learn? 2) What could I be doing better to help you learn? 3) What are you doing to help yourself learn? and 4) What could you be doing better to help yourself learn? I had them turn the evaluations in anonymously to allow more genuine feedback. Later that afternoon, I started going through the responses. It was encouraging to see that, in general, responses to the first two questions indicated I was getting better, which was gratifying given the amount of time and energy I spent re-developing the class. For the most part, students were surprisingly honest when responding to questions 3 and 4, showing they understood their responsibility in their progress, or lack thereof. Somewhere towards the end of the ~160 evaluations, I came across one that answered question #2 with: “Teach naked.” [more inside]
"So, here's the thing. If someone forces you to do something sexual, then it's not your fault. You don't have to feel guilty or ashamed for doing something "dirty" or taboo, or for being with someone villainous or forbidden, or for being a sexual creature or having sex in the first place. This is one reason people (including me) write noncon-themed stories—to overcome or bypass or interrogate that guilt or shame through a fictional character we may or may not identify with." -- Force Me, Please talks about non-consensual sex scenes and their appeal (or not) in erotic and fan fiction. (nsfw)
A Life-Or-Death Situation. "As a bioethicist, Margaret "Peggy" Pabst Battin fought for the right of people to end their own lives. After her husband’s cycling accident, her field of study turned unbearably personal." Via.
The panda gangbang took place deep in the basement of the Kink armory, where rivulets of the long-suffocated Mission Creek still trace a path between moisture-eaten columns, and the air hangs heavy with a stony dampness. Emily Witt explores the experiences and motivations of participants in acts of extreme pornography. Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic considers "Is some sex wrong even among consenting adults?" [Language NSFW, possible trigger warnings, as descriptions and language are graphic]
"Oh, the indignities of pregnancy! They told me it would be beautiful and glowing. They did not tell me about farting loudly at bus stops." -- Sophia Collins writes about the horrible truth of being pregnant and why consent matters.
Rachel Coleman Finch concurs and explains why it made her more pro-choice: One of my mantras for getting through the hideousness that was my last pregnancy was "I consented to this".
Rachel Coleman Finch concurs and explains why it made her more pro-choice: One of my mantras for getting through the hideousness that was my last pregnancy was "I consented to this".
Keep an eye on your mates when you're out – You look after them, they look after you. It's all about having fun and making it home safely. It's not about being a hero – it's about doing something small. (7:58) A New Zealand PSA about sexual assault prevention focusing on bystanders [WARNING sexual assault triggers abound] [more inside]
If You Want a More Thoughtful Boyfriend, Try Pegging Him. Want to make straight men better in bed — and better feminist allies? The path may be simple: fuck them up the ass. According to one brand new book, the path to making men more compassionate, appreciative and playful may be straight through their butts.
Victoria's Secret has a new line of feminist-friendly underwear: PINK ♥s Consent. Except not really -- it's a hoax site created by FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture. The internet's response has been tremendous.
You are likely already familiar with many of the arguments for and against marriage equality but here are cogent arguments for precisely why it is needed, unthreatening, and beneficial; patiently explained by a gay philosopher who recently spent quite a bit of time hanging out with NOM’s co-founder, Maggie Gallagher. [more inside]
"The business of recycling dead humans into medical implants is a little-known yet lucrative trade. But its practices have roused concerns about how tissues are obtained and how well grieving families and transplant patients are informed about the realities and the risks." After an eight month international investigation, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has published an extensive four-part exposé into the black market for cadavers and human tissue: Skin and Bone: The Shadowy Trade in Human Body Parts (Via) [more inside]
Women in the bondage and kink scene are speaking out about sexual assaults in the community, and calling for change. Kitty Stryker, KinkyLittleGirl, Perverted Negress, and Maggie Mayhem share their experiences
A Field Guide to Creepy Dom (All links as likely as not to be NSFW)
Having heard way to many similar stories, Dr. Kate Clancy, author of the popular Scientific American blog Context and Variation, has recently run two accounts written by graduate students about their experiences with sexual harassment in the hopes that they will spark a wider discussion. The comments in the second article are uncharacteristically amazing and include several more women sharing their experiences. [more inside]
"One of the deep, dark secrets of America's past has finally come to light. Starting in the early 1900s, hundreds of thousands of American children were warehoused in institutions by state governments." An early part of the American experiment with Eugenics, the Walter E. Fernald State School inspired scores of similar institutions across the country, and more recently, one of the definitive histories of the era. [more inside]
A relatively new twist in the sad saga of Little Albert is challenging the traditional understanding of the already troublingly unethical classical experiment. [more inside]
Almost one year after Congressional Republicans tried to limit the definition of rape to only include "force" (previously), the Department of Justice is redefining the term--but this time to to expand it dramatically:
The outdated definition that has been governing national rape statistics since 1929, “the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will,” has been updated to "penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” According to Susan D. Carbon, director of the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, the previous definition “excluded an untold number of victims.” For the first time, men will be included in national rape statistics, as well as those raped while unable to give consent due to intoxication or other mental and physical incapacity.
"In almost all cases it is not possible to bring a civil action against" a website that hosts your nude images posted without your consent.
This past July, Forbes blogger Kashmir Hill posted a three-part series about "online defamation and involuntary nudity." The first entry focused on an offender: Hunter Moore, owner of IsAnyoneUp.com (Link is NSFW.) The second entry focused on a victim: Paul Syiek, whose company was defamed by a disgruntled ex-employee on the consumer website Rip-off Report. The third profiled a Senior Copyright attorney at Microsoft, Colette Vogele, who co-founded a side project this year to help victims: WithoutMyConsent.org. [more inside]
"As someone who [...] advocates against violence against women and for rape survivors' rights, I never really felt I was allowed to participate in the fantasy of my own violation."
The Pervocracy is a kinky, feminist sexblog. Holly writes about her experiences as an active member of the BDSM community, a partner in a polyamorous relationship, and an all-around completely horny slut. She also writes editorials from a sex-positive feminist perspective, advice on sexuality and kink, and humorous critiques of sexism online and in the media. [more inside]
“What About The Men” is a term of occasional derision and dismissal in feminist circles, used by those who either don’t want conversations about women’s issues constantly derailed, or perhaps sometimes don’t want to provide space for men’s issues. They’re hijacking and reclaiming the phrase with a little tongue-in-cheek mockery at those who use it, since they think that men and men’s issues should have a bigger role in feminism, and that, additionally, men need spaces dedicated to their issues as well. So it’s not “What About The Men” to chase the guys out; it’s “No, Seriously, ‘What About Teh Menz?’” to bring them back in to the feminist fold. (FAQ) For a 10 second minute introduction to what inspired this blog’s creation, read our seminal piece, Who Cares About Men’s Rights?. [more inside]
As reported by Agence France Presse, the Guardian and the New York Times, last week four families in Kano, Nigeria received $175,000 each as compensation for the deaths of their children, who participated in a drug trial conducted by Pfizer Inc. (Wikileaks links inside) [more inside]
How violent sex helped ease a reporter's PTSD Female reporter Mac McClelland deals with the trauma of reportage. May include triggers.
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled today, in a 6-3 decision, that a person cannot give advance consent to sexual activity while unconscious. [more inside]
A St. Louis woman lost her lawsuit yesterday against Girls Gone Wild. She was dancing in a bar while the crew was filming, and repeatedly refused to flash her breasts, saying "No, no" to the camera. Her top was then pulled down by another woman, and the footage was used without any signed release or the woman's consent. After deliberating for 90 minutes, the jury decided that "Through her actions, she gave implied consent... She knew what she was doing." (Previously.) (Previously.)
Moving beyond no means no. The anthology Yes Means Yes brings together writers, male and female, to explore the power of enthusiastic consent and to promote female desire free of coercion. The book has spawned a series of readings, live chats, and some interesting blog responses. [more inside]
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