"When do women in Ireland get to say 'no'? Today we find out that the answer is 'never', not really – not if a man has other ideas and the state decides to enforce his use of a woman's body." [Warning: may be triggering.] New Statesman, "Violation after violation: why did Ireland force a woman on hunger strike to bear her rapist's child?" [more inside]
The internet and Metafilter are abuzz over Maddie & Tae, the teenage country duo whose first single strikes back against the pervasive and much-maligned trend of "bro country" sweeping the country charts. But Maddie & Tae are hardly the first female country singers to bring a decidedly feminist message to the genre. Here are some highlights, in chronological order, for your listening pleasure. [more inside]
Zine-publishing 13-year old girls from 1996, outcast as "Dirty Girls", talk about their experience. [more inside]
'I'm sick of being ashamed." Three days ago, an anti-harassment activist said those words to me in a flat above Cairo's Tahrir square, as she pulled on her makeshift uniform ready to protect women on the protest lines from being raped in the street. Only days before, I'd heard exactly the same words from pro-choice organisers in Dublin, where I travelled to report on the feminist fight to legalise abortion in Ireland. I had thought that I was covering two separate stories – so why were two women from different countries and backgrounds repeating the same mantra against fear, and against shame?[more inside]
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.
The Hairpin's Jia Tolentino holds three interviews with virgins. (Trigger warnings on the second and third stories.)
In July 2007, NPR published a two part series (direct links: 1, 2) about a four year old uninvestigated rape case at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Sparked in part by a 2006 report (pdf) from Amnesty International that included a startling statistic: "One in three Native American women will be raped in her lifetime," NPR's investigation led to the reopening of the case and Congressional hearings. In February 2011, Harper's published an update of sorts: Tiny Little Laws: A Plague of Sexual Violence in Indian Country (Via)
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.
The crime against women that no one understands "They would be 10 educated, professional women versus a demonstrated liar—a man who had pretended to be a doctor, a CIA employee, even an astronaut—whom a court-appointed psychologist would decide met the legal definition of a "sexually violent predator." And yet the most remarkable thing about both trials wasn't the way they exposed the alleged tactics of a serial date rapist. It was that despite the outrageousness of the accusations against Marsalis, the testimony of 10 women wasn't enough to get a single rape conviction against him. The verdicts in these cases would be far lighter than his accusers sought—and victims' advocates say the outcome reveals a disturbing truth about the justice system. Nationwide, despite all the legal advances of the past three decades, little has changed for women who report a date rape. Because in far too many instances, juries don't believe date rape exists."
"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."
As de Waal says, couldn't the full range of human nature encompass both those who want to rape and those who are powerfully averse to it? Put another way, just because some men commit rape doesn't mean all other men are only restrained from it by the artificial strictures of society. In fact, the fantasy of a hyper-willing female partner, one who is both exceedingly desirous of sex and exceedingly satisfied by a man's skills, is common in both porn and pop culture. A few current videos on XTube, for instance, include Climax2000, Cuming [sic] For You, Debbs Dark Desires, and Wanting Some Big Dick, all of which appear to depict women in various states of hunger-for-your-cock. Of course, Debbs Dark Desires may depict more what dudes want Debb to want than what she actually craves, but the point is that even quite male-centric depictions of female sexuality often include not just consent but enthusiastic desire and orgasm. The idea that men's natural instincts are rape-centric isn't supported even by media that serve their most private predilections.
It's Only Rape if They Say So House Republicans decide to fight abortion access by redefining rape.
Schrödinger’s Rapist: or a guy’s guide to approaching strange women without being maced.
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]
Men Can Stop Rape is part of a growing movement to stop rape, sexual assault, and sexual violence by focusing on educating men. There are efforts to change the climate on college campuses and curriculum at Haverford, Tulane, Kansas State, Idaho State, University of Wisconsin, University of Texas, University of Minnesota, University of Maine, Portland State, Harvard, University of Rochester, University of Delaware, Franklin and Marshall, and Colorado State, to name a few. Want to start your own? Here's how. Not in college? There's [more inside]
Men face jail for rape if women are 'too drunk' to consent in bed to boost convictions. Men who have sex with drunken women will be at risk of being convicted of rape under new laws to be considered by ministers. The legal shake-up would mean a woman would be considered incapable of giving consent to sex if she had been drinking heavily.