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DEVOS' ALARMING APPROACH TO SEXUAL ASSAULT ON CAMPUS

Secretary DeVos’s statement made several things clear. She has little intention of challenging campus cultures of sexual assault or supporting prevention efforts. Rather, she will address what she believes to be the more pressing issues of false accusations and the seeming imbalance between the rights of survivors and those of the wrongly accused. The risk of false accusations is statistically negligible when compared the likelihood of experiencing sexual assault, but DeVos is once again ensuring that the reputations of a handful of (predominantly) white, middle class men take precedence over the safety of women, people of color, and sexual/gender minorities.

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5 LETTERS, ONE MESSAGE: #METOO

This week, social media learned just how powerful two small, simple words can be when put together: #MeToo. This hashtag was inspired by Tarana Burke, founder of Just Be Inc., and her idea of “empowerment through empathy.” By simply using these five letters, she has given women a platform to share their experiences with sexual assault harassment and show the world truly how prominent and pervasive these issues are.

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TAYLOR SWIFT'S WIN IN COURT: HERE'S EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW THE CASE

As a woman, I commend Taylor and applaud her for her dedication in standing up for women. Many times, you forget how to respond when it comes to being catcalled on the street or being touched without your consent. By fighting back, Taylor is showing the world that sexual assault is a real problem to be addressed, and that we won’t put up with this nonsense. Taylor Swift, who has a large presence on both social media and in the music industry, is able to use her platform to bring awareness to incidents that not many people think about.

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"I HAD TO LEARN HOW TO FIGHT FOR MYSELF" : TWO SURVIVORS' RESPONSE TO KESHA'S 'PRAYING'

By opening up about a tough experience, Kesha is able to shed light on the importance of recognizing inner strength and putting personal healing before hatred inflicted by others. We wanted to hear about what survivors thought of Kesha’s new music - is the song a good reflection of the strength and resiliency of survivors, or does it attempt to set an unfair standard for what the emotions of a survivor should be? I interviewed 2 survivors who offered unique perspectives about the song.

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"10 KILLS": THE DAMAGING EFFECTS OF BEING SLUT-SHAMED IN HIGH SCHOOL

Young girls are especially susceptible to words, and during their teenage years, self-worth and self-esteem seem to be commodities. With the pressure to fit in and to be ‘popular,’ being slut-shamed can decrease young girls’ self-esteem significantly, to the point where even in their adult years they may wonder if they are ‘worthy’ of being in a relationship because a boy in high school called them a slut or feel isolated by their peers. This doesn’t even touch dress codes, which often perpetuate slut-shaming.

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YOU'RE NOT ON THE INVITE LIST: HOW PUBLIC SEXUAL HARASSMENT VIOLATES BASIC PRINCIPLES OF CONSENT

Worst-case scenario - I feel as though there was something I must have done to deserve an unwanted comment, wink, or touch. Comments from the women in my life such as, “Are you sure you want to be wearing that in public? You don’t want to hurt yourself” or “Don’t forget to bring your mace—don’t want to put yourself in a dangerous situation,” only fuel a fear that a catcall is my fault, or in fact a compliment.

But sexual harassment is neither of these. Sexual harassment in public spaces is a violation of consent and a form of sexual violence. No matter if the harasser physically grabs someone or stares predatorily, they overstep the boundaries of individuals trying to go about their day.

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ACA REPEAL: WHERE DO SURVIVORS STAND?

To our elected representatives: the well-being of millions of survivors is not some damn political football. Our president may not understand the impact that sexual harassment and assault has on communities, or the vital role that health care plays in our recovery. But we ask you not to turn your backs on victims. It might mean reaching across the aisle. It might mean sitting down and spending significant amounts of time crafting new policy. It might even mean listening to the needs of the survivors. Despite those challenges, protecting our pathway to healing, safety, and well-being is worth it. We are worth it.

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5 PEOPLE DISCUSS THEIR EXPERIENCE OF BEING SLUT-SHAMED

Slut-shaming can make a judge sympathize with a rapist and wreak havoc on one’s mental health. As women, our personal lifestyle choices should not be used as ammo against us. Our bodies are not to be sexualized by men to make themselves feel better for their intolerable crimes against us. Our voices are not to be silenced because we had sex, wore a skirt, or any other reason people come up with to guilt us for our own tragedies. With this in mind, I asked five people to share their personal experiences with slut-shaming.

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DOES A SEXUAL DOUBLE STANDARD REALLY EXIST?

Unfortunately, women are often victims of the hookup culture on college campuses. Men are almost encouraged to sleep with a number of people, whether that be from their peers, their fraternity, or the media. Almost every movie that is on a college campus has some scene where the boy hooks up with someone and gets a round of high fives from their friends, while in another scene, a girl is shamed for having hooked up with a boy and she “should have known better” than to think a hook up meant they were exclusive

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OH, SO YOU THINK YOU'RE ENTITLED TO MY BODY?

Wilkerson’s victim stood in court and asked the judge to “have as much mercy for the rapist as he did for me that night.” Caryn Datz, the attorney for the victim, told the judge that Austin Wilkerson felt a sense of entitlement. “He felt entitled to rape her, he felt entitled to get away with it, and he felt entitled to lie on the stand about it,” she said.District Judge Patrick Butler seemed to agree with Datz. However, he “struggled with whether or not to put Wilkerson in prison.”

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