Rape Culture

What would you do if you needed an abortion in a country where it’s outlawed?

I’m in Brazil right now with the wonderful International Reporting Project, and while here I spoke with a young woman who, like many women around the world, got pregnant when she didn’t want to be. Here in Brazil, abortion is generally illegal. After trying several different methods unsuccessfully and reaching out to a variety of slightly-shady people for help, she decided to go the safest route: To say she had been raped and get a safe, legal abortion in a Brazilian hospital. Her story is here. Women in this country are understandably very afraid to speak with anyone about abortion, and lots of women die or are injured from unsafe procedures. I’m particularly grateful to this young woman, who I’m calling Juliana, for her generosity, her honesty and her courage in sharing an extremely complicated story.

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Bill Cosby, Serial Rapist?

In 2006, Bill Cosby was accused of raping several women in assaults that go back to the 70s. Tom Scocca at Gawker has the story. Weirdly, I have absolutely no recollection of these accusations being published in People magazine and discussed on the Today show.

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Which Woody Allen movie is your favorite?

Dylan Farrow, the daughter of Woody Allen, speaks out about charges that he sexually assaulted her when she was a kid. [TW for, as you might suspect, sexual assault].

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The lasting damage of online harassment

We already posted this fantastic piece on internet harassment by Amanda Hess, and over at TPM I’ve riffed off of it to discuss some of my own experiences, and how being targeted with rape and death threats online shaped my “real world” interactions and relationships. I hunted around but couldn’t find any studies on the real-world impact of internet abuse, other than a few documenting the impact of self-harm forums on the people who seek them out. But years after I was the subject of ongoing abuse by fellow law students, I’m wondering just how much it’s changed me — and coming to terms with the fact that it has, significantly, in ways I don’t like. The internet isn’t just a virtual space; it’s real, for most of us. It’s how many of us spend large chunks of our days. There isn’t a clear dividing line between the online world and the offline. And when so many women face so much abuse online, it has to have an impact on our offline lives. How, and how much, is something I would love to see studied and documented. You can read the whole piece at TPM here [content warning: misogynist abuse].

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The Other Side of the Story

At the Texas Monthly, Jenny Kutner tells the story of her affair at 14 with a married teacher 10 years her senior. She paints a complex portrait of herself as both a victim and a survivor, but also a willing — and unwitting — participant, a young woman believing she has full agency and later an adult coming to terms with the manipulation and abuse. More than anything, the piece is powerful because it gives voice to both the 14-year-old girl who lived the experience, and the adult woman assessing and processing it. She’s not a news story or a silent figure in a larger morality tale; she’s a real girl, with all the complex feelings that come along with infatuation and adolescence and victimization and breaking through. It is a must-read.

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Pigtails and Pedophiles

Yes, that’s the actual name of a party hosted at Drake University by a fraternity there. Because child rape is hilarious, right? Thanks to Feministe reader, Drake student and writer Madeline Cramer for sounding the alarm.

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