"This case, which has been picked up by the media, does not fit neatly into the narratives that have fueled an ongoing national conversation about sexual assault of students on campus. But it exposes the risks of Stanford’s open door to Silicon Valley and the pressure that universities are under to do more for students who say they’ve been raped. It also reveals the complexity of trying to determine the truth in a high-stakes case like this one."
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.
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]
i believe you | it's not your fault. The "What are we doing here?" post explains the origin: [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.
"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]
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?
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]
"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]
Rape in the Fields is a Frontline documentary that explores the persistent allegations that female agricultural workers in the U.S. are frequently sexually assaulted and harassed by supervisors who exploit their (often undocumented) immigrant status. Victims typically do not seek help from US law enforcement, either out of fear that they will be fired, deported or worse, or from a lack of understanding of U.S. law. Reviews: Popmatters. NY Times [more inside]
The University of Southern California, Dartmouth College, Swarthmore College, and the University of California, Berkeley are among higher education institutions facing recent scrutiny for their alleged failure to comply with Clery Act reporting requirements. [more inside]
Last June, the New York Times published an exposé of New York's exclusive Horace Mann School, detailing decades of sexual abuse of students by their teachers. The revelations prompted additional accusations and lawsuits from former students, an all-but-useless investigation, an admission by one of the school's former teachers, and a response by the school to parents (pdf). But one person who escaped the Times' notice was former English teacher Robert Berman.
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]
The Hairpin's Jia Tolentino holds three interviews with virgins. (Trigger warnings on the second and third stories.)
In other positive criminal justice news, the US Department of Justice has issued long overdue rules for combating sexual assault of prisoners in federal, state, and local penitentiaries. [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)
"Under Title IX, a woman is entitled to equal access to everything on a college campus. That includes being safe."
In response to campus advocates and new directives from the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, Stanford University has lowered the evidence standard for cases of sexual misconduct from "beyond a reasonable doubt" to a "preponderance of the evidence". This move, which applied immediately and took effect during then on-going proceedings, was met with praise from students("If the new Standard of Proof bothers you, there’s an easy solution: don’t sexually assault people"), but has proved controversial among civil liberties organizations ("a shocking disregard for fair procedures on campus"), academic scholars ("a declaration of martial law against men...and a betrayal of the Title IX equity law"), and alumni ("The President’s recent decision is all the proof I need to know that the University shows little respect for the rights of students"). [more inside]
When men in the military rape other men in the ranks, no one wants to talk about it. Why the sexual assault of males in the service is finally being confronted. [more inside]
Society teaches 'Don’t get raped' rather than 'Don’t rape' "When Stevens reads articles about drunk driving, the police are quoted telling people to stop drinking and driving. But when she reads articles about sexual assault, there is no warning telling would-be attackers not to rape. Instead, the authorities tell potential victims to take precautions." [more inside]
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) are registered nurses who have special training and experience in forensic evidence collection (conducting “rape kits”) and survivor-centered care. They also increasingly conduct forensic examinations on suspects accused of sexual assault(PDF). There is evidence that, through this work, SANE programs increase the prosecution rates of sexual assault cases. However, as a result of a recent Supreme Court Case, Crawford v. Washington, the role of SANEs is being increasingly curtailed(behind a pay wall). [more inside]
James Stipe, a Marine, allegedly posed as his ex-girlfriend to post an ad on Craigslist seeking an “aggressive man with no concern for women.” The woman was later raped in her home. [more inside]
"When the day's activities include the likelihood of getting your brains shot out, maybe a little slap and tickle - while not desirable - is not the end of the world."
The New York Times examines several reports of sexual harassments and assaults on women in the US Military. In the article's comments, current and former troops chime in to suggest that this is an inevitable result of including women in combat zones. [more inside]
A nine-month investigation by the Center for Public Integrity reveals that student victims of sexual assaults "face a depressing litany of barriers that often either assure their silence or leave them feeling victimized a second time." [more inside]
My friends and I confided in each other, swapping stories, sharing out pain, while keeping it all hidden from the adults in our lives. After all, who could we tell? This wasn’t rape - it didn’t fit the definitions. This was Not rape. We should have known better. We were the ones who would take the blame. We would be punished, and no one wanted that. So, these actions went on, aided by a cloak of silence. From Racialicious.
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]
Ubuntu is organizing a 'National Day of Truthtelling' in Durham, NC, on April 28, 2007. They argue that poor judgment does not justify rape, and are gathering women to tell their stories. Their motto: "It is better to speak."
"The Associated Press, which usually does not report names of sexual assault victims, stopped identifying the girls by name after authorities said they had been raped. The AP resumed reporting Marris' name Friday after she came forward and used Brooks' name after she appeared on national television Monday." Richard Roeper and the Los Angeles Times cover the media decision to cover rape differently than other crimes.