Fighting with the Sky

Posts Tagged ‘rape myths

Trigger warning.

There have been some great posts lately about sexual assault and rape culture.  Here are some ones that I thought were particularly interesting/well-written.

Ms. Blog: Silence and Sexual Assault on College Campuses

I am compelled to speak up because sexual assault breeds in a Petri dish of silence. Certainly the potential danger in coming forward is critical for rape and sexual assault survivors. Yet even vocal bystanders risk violating a tacit cultural agreement to keep such problems hushed up.

Equality 101: Incorporating Discussions of Violence

One of the things that I’ve been thinking about is that we need to have conversations about violence with our students and not just lecture about statistics and the plight of “those” women. Those women can be us, our students, mothers, sisters, daughters and the boys and men around us. We need to have conversations about this reality, but also empower women and girls, so that the conversation is not merely about the victim.

The SAPAC Voice: CouchSurfing ignores violence against women

In fact, CouchSurfing seems to continuously ignore the various complaints from many women on their own message boards, and only give out the standard response, that members need to look into their potential hosts more closely. The only way it seems to get CouchSurfing’s attention is through proof of legal action, where the responsibility is completely on the survivor to lodge a complaint and seek the authorities.

Gender Across Borders: Dear Jezebel

Just over two weeks ago, Jezebel published an article entitled American Guy in Paris Freed From The Idea Of “Consent”. In said article, an American named Edward Pasteck described a recent trip to Paris and certain revelations that struck him while embarking on his relationship endeavours. As the title of his piece might suggest, curious Edward discovered that, in Paris, it was okay to rape women!

Shakesville: Ugh.

Steve Harvey is back with more of his wisdom about men and women and relationships. (If you’re not familiar with this guy’s shtick, here is Renee’s “Steve Harvey” archive.) And, like all the rest of his gender essentialist, heterocentrist, deeply misogynist claptrap, this “men and women can’t be friends” garbage is about as fresh as pterodactyl droppings. It’s also one of the key narratives of the rape culture.

Advertisements

Trigger warning.

Earlier this semester, the sexual assault organization that I am an intern at was holding volunteer training at the university that I attend.  The volunteer was being held in the law school (it’s not a part of the law school, we were just holding it there for the space).  While setting up, one of the other interns started talking to a law student who had come out of a classroom and inquired about what was going on.  Then this law student asked, “isn’t rape more of an undergrad problem?”

He tried to explain this as undergrad go to parties and get too drunk, which then of course leads to sexual assault and of course this never happens in law school.

But no, sexual assault is not something that only happens in college and only to undergrads.  It has nothing to do with how much someone drinks or if they go to parties.  Sexual assault can happen to anyone.  That’s not meant to scare you, but just to get you to think about what the rape myths are and why they are actually myths.

And the scary part was that this was a future lawyer who was saying this.  These people are supposed to be defending the laws and seeking justice.  How is anything going to change in our culture if the lawyers are the ones that that promote these rape myths.*

So when you hear people talking like this law student or promoting rape myths, stand up to them.  Question their beliefs.  Provide them with the real information.

*I’m not talking about all lawyers.  Just talking generally about what needs to be done in society.

Here are some links to great articles about the sexual assault charges against WikiLinks founder Julian Assange in Sweden.

Feministe: Some thoughts on “sex by surprise”

Well, no, I’m not sure it’s that straightforward. The actual details of what happened are hard to come by, and are largely filtered through tabloid sources that are quick to offer crucial facts like the hair color of the women (blonde) and the clothes they wore (pink, tight), but it sounds like the sex was consensual on the condition that a condom was used.

Salon: The rush to smear Assange’s rape accuser

Public evidence, as the Times noted, is scarce. So, it’s heartening to see that in the absence of same, my fellow liberal bloggers are so eager to abandon any pretense of healthy skepticism and rush to discredit an alleged rape victim based on some tabloid articles and a feverish post by someone who is perhaps not the most trustworthy source. Well done, friends! What a fantastic show of research, critical thinking and, as always, respect for women.

Alas, a blog: Rape Myths and Julian Assange

Most women who have been raped had little public evidence of their experience. By repeating these rape myths in defence of Julian Assanger people are attacking not just the women involved, but other women who have been raped and had their experiences dismissed. They are also contributing to a culture where rape is denied, minimised, and distorted.

Tiger Beatdown: How We Describe Women Who Reports Sexual Assaults Now

You guys, why are these women engaging in the (risky, socially consequential, unlikely-to-succeed) act of charging a socially prominent man with lots of supporters of sexual assault? They’re spies, right? Or they’re feminists who go around tricking men into having sex with them so they can make rape accusations? Whatever the case may be, it sounds like this is totally just about broken condoms, of all things! HOW BIZARRE!

Salon: Broadsheet: U.S. rape laws, explained

The country has the highest reporting rate in the European Union. (Perhaps because “Swedish women, backed by a strong consciousness of women’s rights and a history of a very public discussion of the scourge of sexual violence, may be more willing than most to look to the law for help,” writes the Times’ Katrin Bennhold.) Swedish law also recognizes “withdrawal of consent” as rape, which is what is alleged in the Assange case, and details three types of rape: “severe,” “regular” and “less severe.”

Reading about Sweden’s tough stance on sexual assault, I couldn’t help but wonder how the U.S. measures up. I gave Diane Moyer, legal director of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, a call to find out.