THE STANFORD STRUGGLE: HOW DO WE MOVE ON?

People began to publicly express support for her—even the vice president of the United States. Never in my life had I seen such widespread efforts to help a survivor of rape. I realized, then, that there are groups of people who genuinely want to make things better and do whatever they can to make rape culture a thing of the past. But how do we do this? In a world full of victim-blamers and Brock Turner defenders, it can be hard, but any small action or attempt at education can help. We need to move forward from this horrific situation in a positive, productive way. Can we make things any better for the survivor? Is there anything we can do to prevent things like this from happening again?

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WAS I SEXUALLY ASSAULTED?

Even though the laws regarding sexual assault and rape vary from state to state, it is important for you to know that if you did not want something to happen to you, then it should not have happened. Victims are often not believed, and unfortunately with social media it is very common to see people being blamed for their own sexual assaults. What happened to you is not your fault. It doesn’t matter if you were drinking - even if you are underage. No matter if you were dating that person, or even married to them. You never have to do anything that you are not willing to do.

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MEN, HERE'S HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT THE STANFORD VICTIM AND OTHER SURVIVORS

If you’re a man seeking to be an ally for rape survivors and marginalized populations everywhere, it can feel awkward at first to know what to do. You may have made some errors along the way and are finding out you have been doing some things all wrong. But, if you ask questions and begin to employ consent in your relationships you will be actively co-creating social change, you will become an ally. The women in your life will thank you, marginalized populations will thank you, and you’ll be working to create a world that’s a much better place for everyone.

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HOW LISA SENDROW WAS MISREPRESENTED BY THE MEDIA

“The reporter made me feel weak and that’s not how I felt when I told him my story,” Sendrow explains. “It was hard to read how they depicted me.” When being interviewed for the article, she recounted the day that she went to the campus advisor for Greek Life at Swarthmore. “The guy who assaulted me was in a fraternity,” she says, “so I went to the advisor to tell him what happened.” The advisor was not convinced. More than that, he was shocked at her accusation. He stated that the student who assaulted Sendrow was not capable of such an offense because he was “such a good guy.”

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THE ROYAL CONTROVERSY OVER CHRIS BROWN'S DAUGHTER

Is it too late to reach people like Chris Brown and Sunny Hostin, who believe that young girls should pay the price for men’s lack of education, control, and accountability? Maybe not, but they are already raising kids who may very well internalize those same ideas, which is why it is vital that we continue educating as many people as possible about consent. If you hear your friends or colleagues talking about Royalty’s dance outfit, jump in and tell them she looked cute, innocent, and ready to boogie. Tell them she did not look at all like a 16-year-old and that even 16-year-olds should not be sexualized.

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WHY DADS SHOULD NOT DEFEND THEIR RAPIST SONS

To me, being a competent dad means recognizing there are many things we don't see happening but acknowledging that they do anyway. It's about believing people who our society defaults to not believing. It's about watching another dad talk about 20 minutes of action and thinking “That's not being a dad, that's being an asshole." It’s about realizing that the mistakes started well before your child commits a sexual assault---way back to when we failed to talk to our kids about consent, about respecting others and about believing survivors.

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MY STRUGGLE WITH SLUT SHAMING

When I think back to myself as a sixteen year old girl, I think of what I should have said to the hall monitor who stopped me. What exactly is it that’s wrong with my shorts? Why are there more rules in the dress code for girls than there are for boys?  I think back to sitting in the main office, being deprived of a day of school because my shorts were a “distraction.” I think of seeing a boy coming in late and picking up a hall pass, wearing a shirt that said “Cool story babe, now make me a sandwich.”

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THE REASON I JOINED PROJECT CONSENT

People come to me for help. Maybe it’s because I’m a survivor of rape. Maybe it’s because I have been so vocal about the subject of rape and sexual assault. Maybe it’s because I’m an older Viner who has been around the block. Maybe it’s because I have a big fucking mouth and I’m not afraid to say what I think. Maybe, just maybe, those people are not strong enough to stand up for themselves yet and they need someone who isn’t afraid to do it for them.

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SUMMER, 2016: WHY I CAN WEAR WHAT I WANT

What I do know is that in the summer, I have the right to wear what I want, and so do you. So does everyone. It doesn’t matter if you worked out all winter or if you have a whole new wardrobe. It doesn’t matter if it’s “not even that nice out” yet. What matters is that how you dress is not open to interpretation from anyone who wants to use it to justify threatening or harming you, hell, or even judging you.

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