A look at Emma Sulkowicz's (The Columbia University student who carried a mattress around campus as a statement and art project) accused rapist, Jean-Paul Nungesser (who was found innocent by the university, but branded as guilty by the public) and the messy intersection of colleges handling assault cases themselves, instead of police dealing with the reported crimes. The Columbia University student newspaper weighs in.
On Trial for Rape by Ann Brocklehurst [The Walrus Magazine]
"Late last year, in a Toronto courtroom, a young woman faced off against the university student whom she accused of raping her in a school parking lot. The media ignored the story. This is a series about a criminal rape trial that took place in Toronto late last year. The trial lasted eight days; the judge announced his verdict earlier this month." —Ann Brocklehurst[more inside]
Rape on the Campus by Zoë Heller [New York Review of Books]
"Few would disagree that the systems for preventing and prosecuting sexual assault on US campuses are in need of change. But the efficacy and fairness of recent reforms that focus on making college grievance procedures more favorable to complainants and on codifying strict new definitions of sexual consent remain highly questionable."
How nice it would have been if the whole sorry saga of Ched Evans had been left in 2014. Unfortunately, Oldham Athletic are the latest team to suggest that they are considering signing the convicted rapist to play for their side, here on the other side of December 31st. If you - like me – think this is a truly terrible, awful decision, then you will be used to hearing the same arguments put forward in his defence, so here is a handy rebuttal guide.Lucy Hunter Johnson on why convicted rapist Ched Evans shouldn't play football. [more inside]
"Imagine a medical student who is training to be a surgeon but who fears that he’ll become distressed if he sees or handles blood. What should his instructors do?" -"Criminal-law teachers face a similar question with law students who are afraid to study rape law." The author worries about "a growing rape exceptionalism, which allows fears of inflicting or re-inflicting trauma to justify foregoing usual procedures and practices of truth-seeking."
India's New Comic Book Hero Fights Rape, Rides On The Back Of A Tiger
She's a not a superhero in the comic book tradition. Her power is the power of persuasion and the power of an idea. She's riding the tiger all over India and creating a movement [to] deal with sexual violence.
Nudging College Students to Prevent Rape and Sexual Assault: Would serial offenders have a harder time if more men and women felt personally responsible for stopping them?
An unusual feature of residential life at Pomona was the "sponsor program," wherein two sophomores (one male and one female) are assigned to live in every freshmen hall. Sponsors didn't enforce rules like residence advisors. Indeed, sponsors often used their upperclassmen friends to get fake IDs or knowledge of local liquor stores to help their new freshmen friends to obtain alcohol. But part of sponsor training involved being taught how to help or intervene in circumstances as varied as clinical depression, alcohol poisoning, an eating disorder, or a drug addiction. For the most part, you avoided butting into anyone's business on campus, even if that person was breaking rules. But you also did your best to prevent anything catastrophic from happening, being just slightly older and wiser. Even a light touch could accomplish a lot. "Dude, you're drunk. Leave her alone. Eat this pizza.""Don't get raped" education is tired and unhelpful. "Don't rape people" education is (many claim) pie-in-the-sky idealism. What if the education focused on bystanders instead? Conor Friedersdorf writes about his own undergraduate experience and whether something like it might be expanded to other colleges.
My Salami Heart: Reflections on the Convergence of Art, Generosity, Success, Sex, and Law by Nick Kocz.
"Jackie was just starting her freshman year at the University of Virginia when she was brutally assaulted by seven men at a frat party. When she tried to hold them accountable, a whole new kind of abuse began" Many trigger warnings. [more inside]
While working within the Chicago Police Department, Rebecca Campbell (PhD, Professor, Michigan State University) was told by a detective that "most victims lie" about sexual assault. She, on the other hand, was certain that most victims told the truth. Wondering how both she and the detective could be so certain, she began to do the research to find out. Her work examines how the legal and medical and mental health systems respond to the needs of adult, adolescent and pediatric victims of sexual assault. [Warning for graphic descriptions of assaults] [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]
"Sexual assault is alarmingly common in the U.S. military, and more than half of the victims are men. According to the Pentagon, thirty-eight military men are sexually assaulted every single day. These are the stories you never hear—because the culprits almost always go free, the survivors rarely speak, and no one in the military or Congress has done enough to stop it." A tough read from GQ. Could be triggering.
Will Misogyny Bring Down The Atheist Movement? "The continuing debate over a murky sexual encounter at a 2008 convention for cheekily anti-establishment skeptics underscores a broader dilemma: How can a progressive, important intellectual community behave so poorly towards its female peers?"
"Little by little, the time passes, and then... well, it's not that you enjoy working here. It's that the situation meets a need." (TW: sexual assault, rape) [more inside]
Emma Sulkowicz is a student at Columbia University; she was raped by a fellow student during her sophomore year, and is one of 23 Columbia and Barnard students who filed a federal Title IX complaint in April alleging that the university mishandled sexual assault cases. Now a senior, Emma plans on carrying an extra-long, twin-size mattress across the quad and through each New York City building – to every class, every day – until the man she says raped her moves off campus, as her senior art thesis, "Carry That Weight" [more inside]
"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]
i believe you | it's not your fault. The "What are we doing here?" post explains the origin: [more inside]
What may help lower the incidence of rape in Darfur? Stoves. "Collecting firewood for cooking puts women in Sudan's conflict-plagued and impoverished Darfur region at risk of rape. But a simple stove that replaces traditional open fires has cut the time they spend on potentially dangerous missions looking for wood, while also helping the environment and boosting their finances, the United Nations World Food Programme says." However, scholar Samer Abdelnour criticizes "the role advocacy can play in transforming far-away crises into “manageable problems” that can be solved through simple technical solutions. A telling example is the portrayal of efficient cookstoves as a tool for preventing rape and other forms of gender-based violence, first in Darfur and now globally." [more inside]
The New York Times examines the case of a student raped by football players at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. The colleges are under investigation by the Department of Education [Not Alone, previously] [more inside]
A touching sad comic about how one woman dealt with her sexual assault. (slMedium) (TW: recounting of rape)
(tw: rape) Kathleen Hale reflects on her assault, the subsequent trial, and the relationship between predators and prey.
To put it simply, this is why we can't have nice things. If the only thing that gets a serious segment of fandom up in arms about Game of Thrones's use of rape and violence against women is the fear of having tarnished the gleam of a favorite male woobie, then the showrunners have absolutely no reason to change their behavior. If they know that favorite characters can get away, literally, with murder so long as the person they murder is a woman who hurt them and slept with other men, they will simply keep showing us that. I'm not saying that I have the solution here, and god knows that simply by continuing to watch the show I'm part of the problem. But it is enormously frustrating to watch a critical conversation build around this show and its handling of violence against women, only to devour itself when it becomes clear that the real problem is a man.Abigail Nussbaum takes a long hard look at Game of Thrones, its fandom and the way both handle rape.
Marion Zimmer Bradley, award-winning author (The Mists of Avalon, Darkover, amongst others) not only aided and abetted her husband in child abuse (Walter Breen, a man who was first convicted in 1954), she also took part in it, according to an email from her daughter published yesterday.
"Not Alone" is the title of the first report of The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. This report comes after a number of incidents of sexual assault were under-investigated or ignored at numerous college campus' in the US. [more inside]
Someone posted an ad on Craigslist seeking women who for one reason or another had never seen their own vagina and then set them up with a mirror in the Vagina Booth to film their reaction.
Yesterday, twenty three Columbia University students filed a federal lawsuit, alleging that the school "allows accused perpetrators of sexual assault to remain on campus, has too-lenient sanctions for perpetrators, discourages victims from reporting assault and denies accommodations to students with mental health disabilities (which they say result from their attacks)." The complaint is the first of its kind, linking Title IX and Clery complaints with alleged violations of Title II, part of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which provides that schools must provide accommodations based on disability status. [more inside]
The Dangers of the Monster Myth In 2012 Jill Meaghar was murdered. Today, her husband, Tom Meaghar speaks out about the dangers of the "monster myth". "I dreamed for over a year of how I would like to physically hurt this man, and still often relish the inevitable manner of his death, but wouldn’t it be more beneficial for Jill’s memory, and other women affected by violence to focus on the problems that surround our attitudes, our legal system, our silence rather than focusing on what manner we would like to torture and murder this individual? Adrian Bayley murdered a daughter, a sister, a great friend to so many, and my favourite person. I am the first one who wants to see him vilified and long may he be one of Australia’s most hated people, but it only does any good if this example highlights rather than obscures the social issues that surround men’s violence against women
I am not as self-righteous as the way I am talking to you all. Actually I never got the opportunity to express myself. I grew up with my head bent, occupied the lowest place in my family and was surviving under the radar as a member of my family. But later I met a woman who was like a mother to me, and she told me that I was an amazing woman, a hero. I may not have the body of Joan of Arc, but I have sacrificed what is most precious to me – my womanhood, for my country. But you will never see our names engraved in a tower. The reason for this omission is likely their own shame. They could not protect me from the hands of disaster. In what face would they applaud the fact that I am a war heroine? I have been ridiculed and shamed in cruel and heartless ways, but somehow a power greater than me has helped me keep my head high.Rape survivors of the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War were given the title "Birangona": an attempt by the first president of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, to respect the sacrifices of these women that sadly backfired. Ami Birangona Bolchi by Bangladeshi academic and social worker Nilima Ibrahim, published in 1994, chronicles first-hand stories of these women, grappling with the tension between their status and their lived experience. Recently there have been multiple translations of Nilima's work, as well as more interviews and poetry as well as an upcoming British stage production.
Patrick Henry College has been called "God's Harvard." The tiny, elite school is considered a safe haven for fundamentalist evangelical Christians. It teaches a dominionist "Biblical Worldview" and has a uniquely religious campus culture (pdf) that emphasizes evangelical moral values. Which leaves female students in a particular bind: How do you report sexual assault at a place where authorities seem skeptical that such a thing even exists?
Gentlemen, Formerly. "A gentleman in 1720 could read Greek while mounting a running horse. Today’s gentleman reads GQ in the bathroom. From rapists to stylists, a history of the American gentleman." [more inside]
Alaska's rape rate is the highest in the country -- three times the national average. To find out why, I went to Alaska to talk with victims, politicians -- and the rapists. [more inside]
The Nazi Anatomists. "How the corpses of Hitler's victims are still haunting modern science—and American abortion politics."
From the Dallas Morning News, an 8-part profile of Lauren Kavanaugh, who was kept in a closet for six years before being rescued at age 8 weighing 26 lbs, and of the remarkable people and recovery that has followed. [Warning: this story and the accompanying photos and videos are immensely hard to read, watch and listen to, and this piece is a trigger for every possible kind of abuse.]
Nightmare in Maryville - The Kansas City Star investigates the backlash against the victims family after rape charges were brought (and dropped) against local atheletes. The pattern of victim blaming and local indiference have brought comparisons to the Steubenville, Ohio case (previously) and anger on the internet. Meanwhile the Grand Jury investigation into Steubenville has brought it's first charges against an adult involved with the cover-up.
From prison to pro football (~soccer) but hampered by a dark past: how Ilombe Mboyo's rise destroyed the scheme that saved him. Can football help rehabilitate a criminal?
"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
On Tuesday, a court in India convicted four men of "rape, unnatural sex, murder, conspiracy and destruction of evidence" after they brutally gang-raped a woman on a bus in Delhi last December. The woman died two weeks later in a Singapore hospital. When news broke, it sparked protests (previously) and raised awareness worldwide about the plight of many women in India. Now that the verdict is in, the Guardian analyzes the incident to see how "the nation's surge to superpower status has left millions behind struggling on the margins." (Links in this post contain descriptions of rape and assault which some may find disturbing.) [more inside]
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]
A history of CLiNT, Mark Millar’s attempt at launching a newsstand anthology comic, which ended this month despite its Lad Mag sensibility, celebrity creators such as Jonathan Ross and Frankie Boyle, and a recent reboot. The comic magazine joins the likes of Revolver, Deadline, Crisis, Toxic! and Meltdown in the great newsagents in the sky, though like many of those other short lived UK magazines it has spawned many spin off successes, not least the controversial Kick Ass II, which is now a movie minus its rape scene.
"The Ghost Rapes of Bolivia: The perpetrators were caught, but the crimes continue."
[Trigger warning: Extended written descriptions of sexual assault and incest.] [more inside]
[Trigger warning: Extended written descriptions of sexual assault and incest.] [more inside]
A Boston inventor has created a cup and straw that detect the presence of date rape drugs. The cup and straw change color in the presence of the common date rape drug GHB.
[NSFW] "Ask First! was written by J. Mary Burnet & Kaleigh Trace in response to Robin Thicke's gross, unconsensual song and video Blurred Lines... We don't want to have to listen to Robin Thicke tell us he knows we want it over such a damn catchy beat. We wanna dance to music that's sexy and radical." [more inside]
Online pornography to be blocked by default in the UK, announces Prime Minister David Cameron in a speech today. Internet users will have to contact their ISPs to opt out of the filter. Possession of pornography depicting rape will also be illegal. Here is the full text of the speech. Coverage by The Independent, the Telegraph, and a shortened video of the speech at the Guardian. [more inside]
When Nada Al-Ahdal discovered that her parents had sold her she ran away. She is 11 years old, and this is her message. [more inside]