Rape Map, by Suzanne Lacy, 1977
Part of Lacy’s project Three Weeks in May
MEETINGS Monday at 4:30pm in Harlan House. Food and discussion. Feel free to bring a friend!
WHO ARE WE? Third Wave Resource Group is a student rights and resource group centered in Harlan House, at Cornell. We are a safe, comfortable environment for community members which provides information, equality and empowerment informed by feminism. We believe feminism is about values & ideals. Empowerment & education. Community building & understanding. (And calling people out on their bullshit).
RESOURCES WE PROVIDE Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Advocacy, access to Safe Room, emergency transportation, library, kitchen, sewing room, safe zone, and confidentiality.
There’s a poisonous double standard in our society which says that it’s reverse-sexist and wrong for women to feel threatened by creepy-awkward male behaviour because our fear implies that we hold the negative, stereotypical view that All Men Are Predators, but that if we’re raped or sexually assaulted by any man with whom we’ve had prior social interaction – and particularly if he’s expressed some sexual or romantic interest in us during that time – it’s reasonable for observers to ask what precautions we took to prevent the assault from happening, or to suggest that we maybe led the guy on by not stating our feelings plainly. The result is a situation where women are punished if we reject, avoid or identify creepy men, and then told it’s our fault if we’re assaulted by someone we plainly ought to have rejected, avoided, identified.
[TW: assault (physical and sexual), rape and rape culture]
An 8-year-old girl camper began swimming near the edge of the pool by me. She was a tiny girl with a bubbly personality, and she was very attached to me. Upon seeing us talking, the boy swam over and started chasing her around the water. It was clear from the way she was trying to get away from him and her screeching that she wanted to be left alone — her body language and tense demeanor should have showed that she was uncomfortable — but if that wasn’t enough of a clue, the “stop” she yelled in protest should have been enough for him to go away.
That’s when it really hit me how serious the situation was. I could immediately picture it escalating. I didn’t see an 8-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy anymore; I saw the two of them as fully grown and matured adults. The girl was still small and skinny, and the boy was large enough to overpower her with little effort. I could see her running away from him, trying to push off his advances in a more sexual situation, but him refusing to believe that she really wanted him to stop. I saw him ignoring her physical protests right along with the verbal ones, convinced she wanted him there. It horrified me.
I reprimanded him immediately, insisting that when someone asks you to stop, it’s important to listen. Almost seconds later, a male counselor standing by the same section of the pool told him not to listen to me and to continue his pursuit of this little girl, despite her obvious protests. Here were two boys, roughly 10 years apart in age, but with the same views on women: that consent doesn’t matter. It’s not a generational thing: this mindset has clearly been ingrained into the public psyche from an early age. How often are we told not to take no for an answer? How often do we see children pestering their parents about getting a new toy until they eventually give in? How often do we hear about a woman’s whims coming with her menstrual cycle? How often do we see on television shows and in movies a woman “changing her mind” about a man who is persistent enough or who just proves himself worthy? The idea that a woman will change her mind is so ingrained that we can’t always recognize it at first.
Please teach your kids, especially your sons, from an early age to respect others space and bodies.
Protesters gather in Bradford, UK to show support for rape survivors after MP George Galloway’s comment that Julian Assange was just accused of “bad sexual etiquette”. Because apparently raping someone while they sleeping is just a bit rude in Mr. Galloway’s book.
Listen, buster: You don’t get to claim that you’ve got empathy for women who are raped while also denying them the right to terminate a pregnancy resulting from rape
Excellent piece from Jill Filipovic on alternative strategies to address campus sexual assault!
Rape-prevention for students usually focuses on telling potential victims what not to do. It’s better to take a more holistic approach
In just a few weeks, summer will wind down and it’ll be time to go back to school. Students will be treated with what’s now a back-to-school standard: the lecture on how to stay safe on campus. It’s widely understood that all the advice about not walking alone after dark and having your keys ready before you get into your building isn’t given just to prevent robberies or muggings; it’s to prevent rape.
Sexual assault on college campuses is a real problem. As many as a quarter of women in US colleges will experience sexual assault or attempted sexual assault during her time in school. Nearly 90% of those women know their attacker. And despite pervasive myths about “date rape” being a simple misunderstanding between two good kids, the reality is that most rapes on campus are committed by a small handful of predatory male rapists.
Yet women on college campuses are still treated to rape-prevention advice like “don’t walk alone at night!”, “always carry cab fare!”, “don’t wear anything too provocative!” and “don’t drink too much!”
That advice isn’t working. It centres on stranger-danger and ignores the reality that the real problem is a small number of student criminals who commit assaults but are routinely protected – by friends on campus, by social myths about rape that shift the blame to women or emphasise “miscommunication”, and sometimes by the college itself.
Is it a good idea for students to avoid getting blackout drunk and to carry a cab fare and to learn self-defence? Of course. But students, like the rest of us, are human. Sometimes they’re going to do things that are fun at the time but come with risks. Standard anti-rape advice may offer some tools for individuals to protect themselves if they behave perfectly at all times, but they don’t solve the on-campus rape problem – after all, never drinking might mean that you avoid the rapist who uses alcohol to incapacitate his victims, but it doesn’t stop him from raping someone else.
So as back-to-school season approaches, here’s some real assault-prevention advice for schools and students:
Instead of fear-based sex education, emphasise healthy sexuality
A culture where sex is understood as enthusiastically consensual and pleasurable for all people involved is a culture in which the “misunderstanding” narrative of date rape will be killed dead. Instead of requiring don’t-get-raped lectures, colleges should emphasise healthy and safe sexual behaviour, and challenge stereotypes about what “real” rape looks like. Scholars such as Jaclyn Friedman offer exactly these kinds of workshops – more campuses should be calling her.
Colleges should treat sexual assault like a crime
This sounds like a no-brainer, but a disturbing number of campuses have policies that require student-on-student sexual assault to be mediated through the school, as if assault were a personal dispute instead of a crime. Of course colleges shouldn’t force students to report their assaults to the police, but they should give students the option – and provide counselling and social support for students who choose to report the crime. Too often, colleges are concerned about their own reputations at the expense of justice and student safety. Realistically, though, it’s in the colleges’ interest to remove predators from campus.
Focus on men
Rape prevention advice largely focuses on women, who are disproportionately sexually victimised (although it’s important to know that men on campus are also often victims of sexual assault, and experience similar shame and stigma). Working with men to break down stereotypes about rape victims – that women regularly lie about being raped, that acquaintance rape is simply a “she didn’t say no and he misunderstood” situation, that a woman’s behaviour is partially to blame – is a good first step.
More important, though, is giving men the tools to intervene when they see other men exhibiting predatory behaviour. We know that men who rape on campus are often serial rapists, and intentionally target women who either seem vulnerable or can be easily incapacitated through alcohol, force or some combination of the two. The best way to stop a potential rapist? Intercept him. And men can do just that if they see a friend or acquaintance pushing women’s boundaries or clearly seeking out women who seem vulnerable.
Stigmatise men who assault
Again, it seems like a no-brainer – who likes rapists? – but men who commit assaults on college campuses are often protected by their friends, teammates, fraternity brothers and their school, who write off the assaults as misunderstandings or drunken bad behaviour. Simple advice: stop doing that. If you know a guy has been behaving badly, it’s time for a good old-fashioned shunning. Jessica Valenti has other pieces of advice for outing rapists, and emphasises that speaking out about rape and information-sharing about rapists is nothing short of heroic. So if a number of women at your school are all saying that one particular guy assaulted them, or if you witness a man disrespecting women on campus, perhaps it’s time to cut him out of the friend circle.
College should be a time for intellectual, personal and, yes, sexual exploration. And all students deserve a safe campus. The way to truly deliver on that ideal is to address sexual assault holistically and purge rapists from schools – not to again lecture young women on what not to do.
Oh hell no. Find out more about this awful victim-blaming ad and what you can do to get it pulled here.
Sounds like some people could use some rape prevention tips! I recommend these: