Thursday, October 28, 2010

Back to Basics

Eating disorders - most notably anorexia and bulemia - are the most fatal of all mental illnesses. Those who develop anorexia rarely fully recover from the disorder, and many fall prey to the ill effects of heart arrhythmias, hyponatremia (or water intoxication), hypoglycemia, and/or kidney stones. It afflicts millions of Americans, and is rapidly spreading to other countries where food abounds. Only a small percentage of the victims are male. It is mostly our young girls and women who are dying of starvation in a land with the highest obesity rate.

How did this country end up with an epidemic of starving young children when they have more than enough food to eat? Why are children as young as 10 years old dieting? Why are middle schoolers convinced that they are too fat, despite being of perfectly normal weight? And why isn't anyone paying attention?

The greatest irony of it all is that those who suffer from anorexia often disguise their skeletal bodies in too-large sweatshirts. Rather than showing off the body they work so hard to attain and maintain, they are ashamed of it. So why are these young women starving themselves?

Dove recently started a campaign aimed to raise the self esteem of women and girls - showing real women in their campaigns rather than models, and in one commercial showing men agonizing over their bodies they way we so often do. Most notably there is one in which a young girl is staring at an ad on a bus stop, when a barrage of images of women in various forms of the media fly at you.

How can women learn to love themselves, and their bodies, when the world around us is desperately trying to tell us that we're too fat, too ugly, too covered, too pure? Where are the half naked men dancing in rap videos, nameless, faceless, barely covered men advertising women's deodorant?

Eating disorders have become the illness, with the media as the virus. A virus - a rapidly reproducing semi organism that lives off the demise of its host - unable to procreate without the help of a host, a host it inevitably destroys.

Men and women both maintain this society that fosters low self esteem, and through it, eating disorders. Women's magazines try to tell their readers to be strong in their own bodies, yet opposite those articles are ads for makeup and weight loss aids. These ads are imperative for the magazines to continue publication, and money is always more important than morality.

Women, girls, are dying. The virus destroying them is not an unbeatable scourge. It's not an unknown cancer, or a unstoppable invasion. It's a lack of empathy. It's the objectification of females through advertisements, music videos, movies, music...Through strip clubs, pornography, and playboy. Instead of fighting to be like strong women role models, we look to those placed in front of us.

Impossible ideals.

Fatal ideals.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Breaking and Entering

Last Mother's Day weekend, I spent Saturday with my family, but due to the fact I had work on Sunday, I opted to go home that night. My mom wanted me to stay the night, but I got very stressed out about being late and left.

I should have listened to my mother.

I ended up getting home pretty late at night, and had to park in a fairly dark area of my neighborhood. Due to fatigue, I left my ipod out, instead of tucking it into my glove compartment. When I got up the next morning to get breakfast, my driver side window was smashed in, and my ipod was gone.

Thankfully I have full glass coverage through my insurance, and I got the window fixed pretty quickly. Unfortunately they were unable to get all the glass out of the door, and now my window is pretty annoying to operate. In essence, my window will never be the same.

When I walked up to my car that morning, when I saw the glass on the ground, and shards stuck in the door, a flood of emotions took over. I was stunned, angry, upset, confused...I called the police who took a report and then left. They had seen it a thousand times before, and it really meant nothing to them. But to me, I felt entirely violated.

Anyone who has ever seen my car knows it's a mess of pretty much everything. I basically live out of my car. And to have someone not only completely disregard my right to my own car, my privacy, my life, but to go through all my things, to assume the right to everything I own, left me feeling incredibly vulnerable. How could someone do that?

I can only imagine what it would feel like to have ones body violated in the same way. To have someone take control, not of your possession, not of your car, or your house, but of your own body...the feeling of helplessness and vulnerability is unfathomable.

When people found out my car was broken into, nobody asked me any questions about my actions. Yes, I parked in a dark area. Yes, I left my ipod visible. Yet not a single person told me I was asking for it. Nobody told me it was my fault. Nobody accused me of making it up. No one tried to tell me I probably gave it away and then regretted it, so I claimed it was stolen. Those would be absolutely ludicrous questions and accusations to make.

Yet it's the reality for victims of sexual assault. Although those are people who have suffered far greater wrongs, suffered far greater physical and emotional distress than those, like myself, who have had their cars or homes broken into. I had my ipod stolen, they have everything taken away. I had the support of the people around me, they have to keep their secret due to a disbelieving apathetic world.

I made a couple of dumb decisions that night before Mother's Day. But I do not for a second blame myself. Regardless of a person's actions, the victim of a crime is just that. A victim. The only person to blame, regardless of the crime, is the person who committed it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

victim blaming

If I go to a guy's place and get raped it's my fault. What did I think was going to happen anyway??

God forbid I trust men.

But if I opt out of trusting every guy I come across, then I'm a stereotypical man hating feminist.

So how exactly do we women garner support? do we trust everyone, or trust no one? at what point do we blame the men for inflicting pain instead of blaming the women for walking into it?

When is the victim of date rape considered a victim?

guilty pleasure

"Do you know why people make fun of us? They're jealous. Because we still have the guts to go after what we want."
-desperate housewives


New City man accused of raping 13-year-old girl

Suffern man guilty of punching wife, faces prison

Why is it so easy to find stories like this? How can we continue to deny the prevalence of sexual and domestic violence when every glance at a newspaper brings it to our attention? For every story that makes the media, there are dozens more that don't.

For every person who finds a voice to tell authorities of their struggles, there are dozens more still living in fear.

(n.b. in regards to the first link, the man is assumed innocent until proven guilty)

Saturday, October 23, 2010


"Why do foreigners always ask about clothing? [...] Why does it matter so much what we wear? Of all the issues in the world, is that really so important? [...] You think we're victims because we cover our hair and wear modest clothing. But we think it's Western women who are repressed because they have to show their bodies - even go through surgery to change their bodies - to please men."
Afghan women, as quoted in Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's book Half the Sky

Although I believe the Burqaa is oppressive to women, I absolutely agree that the apparent need to show off our bodies is almost equally oppressive.

Whatever happened to showing off our minds?

Friday, October 22, 2010


"Phoenix man accused of sexually assaulting unconscious woman on Internet gets 2.5 years"

While his girlfriend was passed out drunk, this man sexually assaulted her while broadcasting the entire ordeal on the internet. Voyeurs called the police.

We well know the magnitude of emotional distress that such unwilling participation in webcam voyeurism can have. Tyler Clementi, a student at Rutgers University, jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge after his roommate secretly videoed, and broadcast live, a tryst Tyler had with his boyfriend. The roommate and the woman accomplice could receive up to 5 years in prison for this invasion of privacy.

But this man who racked up further charges only gets 2.5 years?

Not to mention the headline. Phoenix man ACCUSED? How about Convicted?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sex Trafficking in America

"The mechanism of violence is what destroys women, controls women, diminishes women and keeps women in their so-called place." ~Eve Ensler

Most people think of sex trafficking - the trade of women for forced prostitution - as a problem in third world countries. It undoubtedly is a major issue for many countries abroad, where, although illegal, many law officials turn a blind eye to brothels due to bribes and free services. But even here in the United States, a country that claims to be one of the most advanced economically and socially, women and children are held against their will and forced into prostitution rings.

While many victims of this trade were children who ran away, or drug addicts who were lured into the practice by promises of a different job (much the same way women abroad are lured way from their homes), today children aren't just fooled by false promises of modeling jobs, but kidnapped right off the street.

According to the FBI, there are about 100,000 women and children, aged 9-19 with an average age of 11, "working" as sex slaves today in America - the supposed land of the free. Their ordeals begin with what many call a "breaking down" period, which includes verbal abuse, beatings, and gang rapes by the captors. Threats of murdering or maiming their loved ones during this early stage keep the captives from attempting to fight back or escape. And then it's time to bring in the customers.

Day in and day out these captives are forced to have sex with men who pay for their services - money the women never see. Younger children and virgins are especially high priced, and especially emotionally and physically detrimental to the exploited.

When these prostitution rings are finally broken up by police (who somehow have trouble finding them despite pimps' use of the internet to advertise these women), those responsible for these heinous crimes are given sentences that do not compare to the sentences inflicted on their victims. While the victims will never be the same because of their ordeal, and many have such severe PTSD that they are constantly in fear of other men and women alike, the convictions of their captors lead to a few years in prison. One man got just 7 years for his conviction of holding a 15 year old girl and her cousin hostage as sex slaves. The punishment inflicted on him by the girls father was worse (a severe beating including bashing a rock on the captors head). Another man who held a prostitution ring of underage girls received 22 years in prison. While a much better sentence than the aforementioned 7, it again is not harsh enough for what these men do to their captives.

We cannot begin to understand sex trafficking abroad (whose victims' have even worse stories) if we turn a blind eye to the trafficking happening in our own country. The media has given front page news attention to Lindsay Lohan's on again off again relationship with cocaine, yet the women who are in desperate need of our attention and aid are ignored.

In Nicholas Kristof (a fantastic op-ed columnist for the NY Times)'s book Half the Sky, he provides 4 ways to help women without joining law enforcement, or hosting rallies - things any of us can do to help those in need.
-sponser a girl or woman through Plan International, Woman for Woman International, World Vision, or American Jewish World Service
-sign up for email updates on and
-Join the CARE Action Network at
The last one is the one I find most important. It provides assistance in speaking up and out against the injustices facing women by talking to policy makers and basic citizen advocacy.

One voice can be heard. A million can't be ignored.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

writing sample from my religion class fall 2009

Today’s world is plagued by a multitude of problems affecting the human race including bullying, access to quality healthcare, the drug war, sexual assault, domestic violence, poverty, famine, and terrorism. To pick one issue that is the most critical in terms of the detriment it is causing to the world at large is almost impossible. To do so would require that one issue to affect at least all the aforementioned crises. It is because of this factor that I believe the most crucial issue facing the planet right now is the mass injustices facing women worldwide. Both here in America as well as abroad, women are suffering on a daily basis from physical and sexual abuse, limited availability of career options, discrimination, objectification, and poor healthcare. While discriminatory practices tend to vary from country to country, women remain at the low end of the totem pole regardless of the nation in which they reside.

Even here in America, although we fortunately do not have sex trafficking, genitalia mutilation, dowries or arranged marriages (at least in American culture) in the same numbers as many other countries, women are degraded via their objectification in the media and through pornography and strip clubs, and this objectification contributes, if not causes such traumas as eating disorders and sexual assault. Each of these in their own right cause such severe emotional distress that it is worthy of being called a crisis. When you incorporate the billions of dollars the United States economy annually loses due to mental illness causing workplace absenteeism, tardiness, and decreased productivity, these problems affecting women also affect the country at large. And they are fairly easy problems to fix, when you realize all it requires is simply respect for your fellow mother, sister, daughter, or friend.

Globally, the problems facing women are much more drastic and pressing issues. Everyday women face discrimination at the hands of their government, and even their loved ones as they are prevented from attending school or having careers. Those who are allowed an education have a higher drop out rate than males because females tend to miss school while they are menstruating in order to avoid other people. In some places women are married off at ages as young as ten or eleven years and used as little more than a means for creating sons. Newborn daughters have a higher rate of death by negligence because they are not cared for as well as the sons. Some countries in Africa practice genital mutilation in order to ensure the women remain virgins until marriage. Any deviation leaves women shunned from their society. In other places, women of all ages, are kidnapped and used as sex slaves in brothels, at times getting them addicted to drugs in order to ensure they remain in the situation, as it is the only way they can be assured of their fix. Combining the egregiousness faced by women in America with that faced in countries around the globe, the 8 originally listed crises facing the planet are all accounted for as a part of the injustices women alone face. By respecting women, and treating them as equals, we would be well on our way to positively affecting all major issues facing the human race.

Why is it that women are the only sect of humanity that is consistently put down, in any culture or country? Throughout history, women have been seen as the weaker sex, both physically and emotionally, but how did this view, which is scientifically sound, create a worldwide culture of female oppression? Humans evolved from animalistic behaviors that saw females in submissive roles. Many species have the males as the dominant sex, being the aggressors and initiators in sexual contact. Although the species Homo sapiens evolved hundreds of thousands of years ago, we have still yet to evolve out of this oppressive behavior, and actually have somehow managed to aggravate it. I believe that our increased ability to rationalize, and to understand the nature of animals and ourselves as actually caused us to exacerbate the problems facing women, as we can now understand the place females hold in animals, and use that as a reason to maintain that subordination in our own species.

While still in the womb, males and females develop differently. The advent of testosterone leads different areas of the brain to grow and mature in the two genders, causing the differences we see in men and women once they mature even into children and then adults. Females, on the whole, talk more and tend to be more emotional, while males tend to be more aggressive and are better at employing spatial reasoning. Some people use this as a basis to keep women in the roles of housewife, while men should dominate the areas of defense and science. I believe these people are misguided. The differences seen among people do not dictate their place in society, regardless of what those variations are. As a woman, my stance on women’s rights should be a given, as I’ve experienced firsthand the injustices we face. However, since unfortunately not all women share the same ideals, my fervor for this issue stems also from my involvement in the Violence Against Women Prevention Program, a peer education group I was a member of during my time at the University of Connecticut. I am all too aware now of how the media and society aim to objectify women and the power these media have over our culture. In every magazine ad, billboard, music video, television show, or movie, women are seen as objects of desire. Scantily clad females are everywhere, regardless of what they are advertising. How can women learn to respect themselves when we are constantly being told, both explicitly and subliminally that in order to fit in, we must cater to an impossible and undignified ideal?

Resolution will only come from a mutual respect between men and women worldwide. Education of the grave injustices and oppression is only the first start towards aiding women in their struggle for equality. The answer seems simple, and it is because of its simplicity that it may never come. The world has become so accustomed to throwing money at problems that it has forgotten the basic human needs of empathy and caring. These emotions, too, are more readily available to the female half of the species, the emotional half, that to garner help from the part of the human race that has come to rely on aggression will be even tougher. It cannot be solved by money, war, legislation, or affirmative action programs. The authoritative figures of the world cannot be relied upon to change the minds of the people they govern. Instead, a worldwide change must come gradually, through changing the minds of each individual person. Women themselves must be called upon to fight the system and respect themselves. Men must be relied upon to love and nurture, instead of beating and neglecting. America has certainly come a long way, but it’s dangerous to put too much stock in how far we’ve come, as there is still a distance to go. Nations overseas, as well, are making progress, but again, it’s important to look ahead in order to avoid stagnation.

The myriad of problems facing the globe today are seemingly insurmountable. How can we solve famine, poverty, terrorism and genocide? To make the world a better place, the answer to every problem is simply to care. If we all can care enough about our fellow human, every manmade problem can right itself, but we need the help of everyone, and so far, we’ve been neglecting half the species, by neglecting women. By eradicating the oppression of women, we can truly begin the crusade to a better world.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Halloween is fast approaching (which, oddly, I've always found to be my most stressful holiday, with New Year's a close second). There's too much involved in finding a costume, or making one, being creative, original, and finding something fun to do. And whenever I have gone out in past years, I find myself inevitably rapidly fluctuating between sadness, disgust, and frustration with what I see around me.

Halloween has become a holiday where it seems its sole purpose once you reach the age of, now 13ish, the goal for women is to wear the minimal amount of clothing. It's an excuse to apparently degrade ourselves, objectify ourselves with seemingly no consequences. It is widely accepted that wearing masks, being online, or even hiding behind the steel cage of a vehicle allows people a certain sense of anonymity, and thus enables them to let go of their usual inhibitions. We can suddenly forget about the consequences of our actions, almost like being drunk. But costumes for females rarely utilize a mask. We wear our own faces, and yet our self respect still manages to go out the window.

Why do we need to walk around in (especially in New York) almost freezing weather with a skirt that barely covers the ass, and a shirt that can barely be considered a bra. My freshman year of college 3 girls on my hall dressed up as "cats." apparently such a costume consists of fishnets, a black bathing suit and cat ears. there may have been a tail involved. Why? Do we feel the need to fit in with other girls? Do we believe that if we don't dress in sexy playboy costumes that men won't give us the time of day? Do we base our self worth, happiness, and our ability to have a good time out with friends on whether or not members of the opposite (or same) sex approach us and are attracted to us?

Admittedly I myself bought into the fad my freshman year, although not nearly to the extent of my hallmates. and I did it for all those reasons. To fit in, to be attractive, to be liked. And I realized it did none of the above. I'd rather be comfortable, and approached for creativity and originality. I'd rather be warm. I'd rather men and women alike not stand for the objectification of either gender.

Keep it classy ladies. And keep it original. What are we saying to the world if the only thing we can dress up as is a sexy nurse or french maid? A school teacher, or an angel? Do we even stop the consider that these costumes perpetuate stereotypes of females, and do nothing to further our status in the eyes of men and women alike? Stand up to the stereotypes, to the objectification, to society's desire to degrade and demean us. Keep your head up, and fight for change.

Women are not sex objects. We have minds, and thoughts, dreams, and hopes, and halloween every year is a step back in our fight to prove that to a disbelieving society.

There is more to us than boobs and legs. Everyone knows we all have those, men and women alike. It's time to start showing the world what we really have to offer.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Call to Action

October is internationally known and recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Everywhere you look there are people donning pink shirts or ribbons, wearing livestrong bracelets with "save the ta-tas", or other (arguably) demeaning logos. According to the CDC, about 40,000 women lose the fight against breast cancer every year. Walks, marathons, and other fundraisers garner thousands upon thousands of dollars towards helping find the cure for this and, through its research, other cancers as well.

Often overlooked in this month is that it is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. While the number of annual fatalities due to partner homicide may not reach the staggering numbers of breast cancer, unlike cancer, domestic abuse is done by what should be rationally thinking teens and adults. It is not an untreatable disease, but a scourge due to lack of public education, awareness, and in truth, due to general apathy.

Over 500,000 women will fall prey to stalkers this year.

Nearly a third of women have reported being abused by a partner at some point in their life.

The US divorce rate is at 50%. almost a quarter of those divorces cite violence as a primary reason.

A third of all women who are victims of homicide are murdered by a current of previous boyfriend.

Abusers are a cancer to society. While we remember all those fighting the battle against the cancer inside them, let us also help to fight the cancer that is destroying families.

While we mourn all those lost to cancer, let us no forget to also mourn those lost needlessly to domestic abuse.

Wear a pink ribbon on your breast. And a purple one on your heart.

Work Cited

Friday, October 8, 2010

Feminst Neurobiology

Dear Feminists: Different Does Not Mean Unequal

I believe it was Ron Burgundy who said, "You're just a woman with a small brain. With a brain a third the size of us. It's science," a quote that garnered laughs from its audience and its apparent incorrect old-school line of thought. Unfortunately for the feminist movement, this has actually been proven true (well, kind of. The volume of the average male brain is 10-15% larger than a female's). What I would like to inform the general American public of is the fact that gender roles, although they have some cultural aspects, are inextricably linked to our neurochemistry as well.

Americans tend to "stereotype" males as aggressive, dominant, more athletically fit, and the main money-maker of a family unit. Females, on the other hand, are seen as passive, caring, talkative, and they should stay at home to care for the children. Men dominate the fields of science, math, technology, while females remain in education and child care. Is this because society has ingrained in our heads that this is where we belong? Or is it, maybe, just maybe, because our brains are created in a way that we end up doing the things we actually enjoy?

At conception, the human brain begins as female. It isn't until 2 months into development that excess testosterone begins affecting those of males, including areas responsible for communication and aggression, and the processing of sound and sex. What effect does this produce after we're born? Exactly what we notice in society – women talk more, act less, listen more intently, and think about sex less. The increased density of the male brain leads them to be more adept at spatial reasoning and problem solving. It is also this difference that explains why boys will play with trucks and blocks, and men will be drawn to areas of science and math, decisions that allow them to exploit these neural areas. There's an anecdote in the book The Female Brain, by Dr. Louann Brizendine, in which the author's friend tries to bombard her daughter with "unisex" toys, steering clear of dolls and stereotypical female playthings, until she enters this 5 year old's room one night to see the toy truck wrapped in a blanket, rocking in her child's arms like a baby.

The increase in women branching into the fields of pharmacy, technology, engineering, does not disprove this theory. We (females) are certainly capable of the same mental abilities, although they may come with more difficulty to us. I'm more interested in baseball than America's Next Top Model, and I'd spend the rest of my life in prison before I ever agree to have kids. But maybe I was exposed to excess testosterone while in the womb. Studies with rhesus monkeys (the species closest to us in terms of genetics, and the one used most often in studies aimed at discovering more about human behavior) have shown that an increased flow of testosterone while in the womb will create an offspring with more male-like behaviors, most notably, more 'rough and tumble play.' When the pregnant mother is given injections of testosterone, even female offspring will end up like "tomboys," fighting (playfully) with their brothers while offspring whose mothers did not receive this will keep more to themselves. This is not to say that all women who enjoy sports were exposed to abnormal amounts of the male hormone, but that exposure to this will cause monkeys, and, presumably people, to act more like a stereotypical male.

The bottom line is I'm a feminist. I think women are equal, and I think anyone who considers us inferior is just ignorant. (I mean that in the literal sense of the word). Furthermore, I believe the biggest threat to the feminist movement is akin to the biggest threat to the conservative movement (and yes, I am both – a feminist and a conservative). Both parties are being overtaken by their radicals, one by the men hating women and the other by the god fearing Christians. Once we can all take a step back and realize that women are inherently equal despite our neurochemical differences, the movement towards true political equality will go much smoother.

The Argument Against Victim Blaming in Sexual Assault

This is a speech I delivered to a class largely composed of young adults in their first semester of college. Obviously, most of them rolled their eyes during much of the speech, and when they did I tried to single them out with my eye contact. The brevity of the speech was due to time constraints, and I would much like to elaborate on many of the points. Counter arguments are more than welcome, to aid me in this process.

My first semester at UConn, a freshman girl was killed by a hit and run driver. She was walking home from a party, presumably drinking, and when she stepped into the road, she was run down by an SUV. Nobody asked whether she had looked both ways, nobody cared that she was underage and drinking, nobody cared if she was wearing dark clothes, or if she was paying attention. People immediately blamed the driver, and he is now spending the next 5 years behind bars. What if, instead of being hit by this man, she had gone home with him? And while at his place, he coerced her into sex. Would we still blame him for this violent crime of rape? Or would we now question her sobriety, and her decisions, do not most Americans all of a sudden change to victim blaming when the crime is rape? Chances are, it wouldn’t be reported, and the rapist would be free to do this again. On the handout "'The Rape' of Mr. Smith," it talks about the insanity of asking a man who had just been robbed what he had been wearing or whether he's giving out money before.

("The Rape" of Mr. Smith
"Mr. Smith, you were held up at gunpoint on the corner of 16th and Locust?"
"Did you struggle with the robber?"
"Why not?"
"He was armed."
"Then you made a conscious decision to comply with his demands rather than to resist?"
"Did you scream? Cry out?"
"No. I was afraid."
"I see. Have you ever been held up before?"
"Have you ever given money away?"
"Yes, of course--"
"And did you do so willingly?"
"What are you getting at?"
"Well, let's put it like this, Mr. Smith. You've given away money in the past--in fact, you have quite a reputation for philanthropy. How can we be sure that you weren't contriving to have your money taken from you by force?"
"Listen, if I wanted--"
"Never mind. What time did this holdup take place, Mr. Smith?"
"About 11 p.m."
"You were out on the streets at 11 p.m.? Doing what?"
"Just walking."
"Just walking? You know it's dangerous being out on the street that late at night. Weren't you aware that you could have been held up?"
"I hadn't thought about it."
"What were you wearing at the time, Mr. Smith?"
"Let's see. A suit. Yes, a suit."
"An expensive suit?"
"In other words, Mr. Smith, you were walking around the streets late at night in a suit that practically advertised the fact that you might be a good target for some easy money, isn't that so? I mean, if we didn't know better, Mr. Smith, we might even think you were asking for this to happen, mightn't we?"
"Look, can't we talkin about the past history of the guy who did this to me?"
"I'm afraid not, Mr. Smith. I don't think you would want to violate his rights, now, would you?")

Why is this such a crazy idea when it is the reality for rape victims? Why do we question a woman's past or her decisions when we should be questioning how any self respecting man could violate that woman in such a way? Today, I hope you will walk away with the belief that rape, like any crime, is NEVER the fault of the victim, and eradicating the system of victim blaming that is currently in place is the start of eradicating the rape society we currently live in.

In 1990, the Senate Judiciary Committee reported that incidences of rape were increasing at four times the overall crime rate. About 5% of college women are sexually victimized in any given calendar year, which amounts to between 20 and 25% of women being victims of rape or attempted rape by the time they graduate college, 80% of which are committed by someone the victim knows. On the opposite side of the handout, you'll find a quote from a college student who was a victim of sexual assault.

(How Sexual Violence Looks on a College Campus

"I was at a party and a friend and I were talking most of the night. We ended up in his room where we started kissing. He wanted to have sex and I didn't. I told him no several times, but he continued to pursue. He kept trying for so long and I felt I couldn't get away. Finally, I just asked him to use a condom. Immediately after sex I left. I somewhat blame myself because I could have tried harder to fend the person off. At the time, I felt the easiest way out was just to let him continue. If I had shouted, someone would have helped but because he was a mutual friend, I wanted to avoid a scene."
-19 year old college woman)

Compare your immediate thoughts of the quote and the situation with the rape of Mr. Smith. Are you questioning whether this is really rape or not? Are you asking the same questions you laughed at when we talked about Mr. Smith's robbery? The form of rape shown through this quote is commonly known as date rape, is probably the only crime that gets blamed on the victim. When a man murders his wife, he gets incarcerated. When a man rapes his wife, she remains silent, scared to tell a disbelieving world what happened. Who would even accept that a woman CAN be raped by her husband? According to research done by psychologist Dr. David Curtis, whether victims of date rape had even acknowledged their experience as rape or not, over a quarter of the victims surveyed had contemplated suicide after the incident. This kind of psychological damage is exacerbated by the idea that men don’t even realize they’re committing rape. 1 in 12 men have committed acts that meet the legal definition of rape and 84% of these men claimed what they did was “definitely not rape”. If men do not hold themselves accountable or responsible for their acts, who is responsible? The blame then falls on the victim. It’s time to stop this injustice. When a woman says no, she means just that. To assume otherwise is rape, and it’s intolerable and it is your fault. Regardless of what a woman is wearing, or how much she is flirting, we own our bodies, and only we have a right to them. I’d like to leave you with a quote from This is Not an Invitation to “The identification of women as ‘prey,’ liable to be attacked on the basis of how they dress or as a result of all kinds of perfectly normal behavior, is a reflection of women’s subordinate situation in society at large. The misogyny behind such depictions may not be apparent…and it is [thus] taken for granted. The right to sexual autonomy to which all of us are entitled means complete control over what we do with our bodies, with whom, when – and for how long. There is nothing ‘inevitable’ about rape.”

Curtis, David G. Perspectives on Acquaintance Rape. 5 November 2008.

Flanders, Laura. Rape Coverage: Shifting the Blame. March/April 1991. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. 5 November 2008.

This is Not an Invitation to Rape Me. 5 November 2008.