Caperton covered the Elizabeth Smart speech about abstinence already, and my Guardian column this week is on a similar topic: How an emphasis on purity is bad for women, bad for men and bad for rape survivors:...read more
The horrific stories of the abuse inflicted by Ariel Castro upon his victims Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina de Jesus for a decade of imprisonment have been this week’s big news story, and I know some of you will want to discuss it. Because of the potential for triggering, I’m giving it a thread of its own so those readers who want to avoid potential PTSD triggers can do so....read more
Elizabeth Smart, kidnapped at knifepoint from her bedroom at age 14 and subject to horrible abuses for the next nine months, says she didn’t run from her captors because her abstinence-only education had taught her to feel like a worthless, chewed-up piece of gum....read more
Content note: Rape threats.
Dean Saxton, a student at the University of Arizona, is hanging out on campus with a “You Deserve Rape” sign. Because you’re dressed like a whore, of course, so you’re asking for it. The University says there’s nothing they can do, because he hasn’t violated the student code of conduct. I would suggest that maybe it’s time to rewrite the student code of conduct?...read more
Over at Al Jazeera, I’m writing about the evolution of American laws on rape and sexual assault. Over the decades, sexual assault law and jurisprudence have changed along with the status of women; the law has both reflected the culture and helped to move it forward. In light of that, perhaps it’s time for another shift in the law, to a model of affirmative consent:...read more
Over at the Guardian, I’m writing about Adria Richards, and how victim-blaming for cyber harassment parallels victim-blaming in rape cases:
Of course it’s possible to disagree with Richards’ actions while still focusing on the real problem: misogyny online and in tech spaces. But it’s really not possible to pontificate at length on what Richards should have done without obscuring the fact that when women speak out, we’re met with rape threats.
Zerlina Maxwell received sexualized, racist death threats for daring to publicly say that women should not hold responsibility for preventing their own rapes when men should be trained not to be rapists. She refused to be bullied into silence....read more
A whole lot of people, as it turns out. This week at the Guardian I’m writing about the Commission on the Status of Women, a two-week-long UN conference that wrapped up on Friday and, thankfully, resulted in a signed document pledging action on women’s rights. But in the lead-up to the signing, we saw a variety of actors from all around the world try to impede anti-violence efforts. Who? Russia, Iran, the Vatican, the Muslim Brotherhood and American pro-life groups, among others. They had a variety of objections, but the chief ones were that the proposed CSW document would treat husbands who rape their wives the same way as men who rape strangers, would disallow countries from using the “it’s our culture / religion / tradition” excuse to avoid implementing anti-violence measures, and stated that women have a right to bodily integrity and freedom:...read more
[Content note: rape culture, victim-blaming, slut-shaming]
Share your rage in the comments....read more
Attorneys for Trent Mays and Ma’like Richmond, the two accused rapists of a 16-year-old girl in Steubenville, Ohio, will be taking a bold new approach in their clients’ defense. Okay, that was a lie — they’ll be taking the classic, time-honored approach by asserting that the girl wasn’t actually raped, because she didn’t say no. Ah, the old “absence-of-slurred-and-feeble-no means yes” defense never goes out of style....read more
Here are some good, basic ideas for fighting violence against women:
1. Violence against intimate partners is not ok.
2. Rape is rape, even within a marriage.
3. Religion, custom and tradition are not excuses for committing acts of violence.
4. Everyone has a right to bodily autonomy and integrity.
Those are the exact ideas that may tank a final communique from the Commission on the Status of Women, thanks primarily to Iran, Russia and the Vatican, but also because of objections and concerns from religious conservatives in the U.S., Egypt and Poland. Good work, guys. You must be very proud....read more
[TW for sexual assault and racism]
When I started reading this article on the “yellow rose of Texas,” I thought the first line (“Her name was Emily Morgan, and she was the sweetest little rosebud that Texas ever knew”) was intentionally over-wrought to segue into sarcasm and criticism. But nope! Did you know that once upon a time there was a beautiful young indentured servant named Emily Morgan, and her beauty was so overwhelming that Gen. Santa Ana was “smitten” with her and, according to the Texas Monthly, “Whether the attraction was mutual we do not know, but the mulatto girl quickly became one of the spoils of Santa Anna’s campaign”? Did you know that she was a true Texan, and “certainly appears to have done her part in keeping her abductor occupied” so that “While the concupiscent commander and the fetching servant girl occupied themselves within the tent, the Texans charged across the plain and set upon the idle Mexican camp with the force of a crushing wave”? And that while this Yellow Rose saved Texas, “We lose track of Emily Morgan shortly after her services to Texas were rendered. She never surfaced again, except of course in song.” How wonderful that her “services” were so helpful! How lovely that her beauty made her just irresistible to Santa Ana, so that he couldn’t help but rape her.
Oops, did I say “rape” and ruin the romance of this article?...read more