Feminism | Posted by Aya on 06/17/2016

How The Stanford Survivor Helped Me Understand My Own Assault

Rape doesn’t just happen at Stanford.

TW: This article contains discussion and description of sexual assault.

In January of 2015, 20-year-old, former Stanford University student Brock Allen Turner sexually assaulted an unconscious woman behind a dumpster outside a frat party. In March of 2016, Turner was charged with three felonies of sexual assault. Prosecutors asked for a 6 year sentence, but he received only 6 months of jail time — and will likely serve even less.

But, despite this injustice, something truly beneficial emerged from this case: Buzzfeed reporter Kate Baker published the survivor’s letter to her attacker, which the anonymous woman had read out loud in court. Reading this letter gave me, and likely countless other survivors, a sense of solidarity with this case: like Emily Doe, I, …

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Feminism | Posted by David G on 06/7/2016

The Stanford Rape Case Exemplifies The Privilege At The Heart of Rape Culture

Stanford University

Brock Turner, a top swimmer at Stanford who raped an unconscious woman behind a dumpster after a party, was sentenced to six months in county jail on Thursday. The presiding judge felt that a full sentence “would have a severe impact” on Turner, discounting the severe impact his victim described at his sentencing. This ruling sparked national outrage, which only grew after a letter Turner’s father had written diminishing his son’s crime and demanding probation was published.

Tl;dr, there is so, so much wrong with the Stanford rape case. While the backlash against Turner and his father has been swift and vicious, both the sentence Turner received, as well as his father’s response to it, exemplify the privilege that perpetuates rape culture.

Let’s be honest …

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Feminism | Posted by Reilly W on 06/3/2016

What The Sexual Assault Survivors’ Rights Act Means For Survivors

The bill unanimously passed in the Senate.

There has perhaps never been more visibility about the experiences of sexual assault survivors than in the past few years. From the work of organizations like End Rape on Campus and Know Your IX, to the release of the documentary the Hunting Ground, to hashtag campaigns and beyond, this increasing awareness feels like a promising sign that this violent epidemic may be comprehensively addressed once and for all — and recently passed legislation only bolsters this hope.

On May 23rd, the Senate unanimously passed the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Rights Act, which attempts to put more power into the hands of survivors following their assaults and reduce the continued injustices they frequently face following the ultimate injustice of assault. One of …

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Pop-Culture | Posted by David G on 03/23/2016

What Kesha’s Sexual Assault Case Reveals About The Trauma of Shame

#FreeKesha

In 2014, Kesha sued her producer, Dr. Luke, for allegedly sexual assaulting her. More specifically, she sued for freedom from a contract that bound her to only producing music with her assailant. Her decision to do so added fuel to the already growing fire that is the current conversation about rape culture. One of the world’s biggest pop stars publicly admitted she had gone through something that’s still very much stigmatized in today’s society and even risked her career to fight for herself and countless other survivors by extension.

Much of the conversation surrounding this case has focused on the trauma of sexual assault itself, and rightfully so. But it seems Kesha’s experience highlights another aspect of the experience of assault: the trauma of shame. Shaming and blaming women …

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Pop-Culture | Posted by Kinder L on 02/12/2016

What Kesha’s Legal Win Means for Survivors of Sexual Assault

Kesha

We undeniably still live in a twisted, victim blaming rape culture. Women are shamed and doubted when they seek justice for their assaults and taught they must prevent their assault in the first place. Despite the many efforts of activists and allies to prove why this mentality is wrong, it persists — a reality singer-songwriter Kesha recently, publicly found firsthand.

In 2014, Kesha sued her producer, Dr. Luke, based on the claim that he repeatedly sexually assaulted her throughout their professional relationship. Dr. Luke sued the pop star back based on the claim that the singer tried to “extort him into voiding their contract.” Since then, Kesha’s career had been brought to a standstill. Her contract specifies that she is not to collaborate with anyone besides her producer …

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Feminism, Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 01/4/2016

Why Bill Cosby’s Sexual Assault Charge Is Meaningful For Survivors

Bill Cosby

Over the past decade, dozens of women have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault. Yet, primarily due to the statute of limitations on these alleged crimes having passed, Cosby was never actually charged for any of them. That changed on December 30th, however, when the infamous comedian was charged with committing a felony aggravated indecent assault in 2005 by one survivor in Pennsylvania — a state in which the statute of limitations is 12 years.

Despite the disturbing number of women who have come forward — not to mention Cosby’s own admission in July to obtaining Quaaludes with the intent of giving them to young women and drugging at least one individual — these survivors were discredited and even derided for years. For example, former model Janice Dickinson …

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Feminism, Pop-Culture | Posted by Eliza V on 10/14/2015

Is The Media’s Representation Of Sexual Assault Doing More Harm Than Good?

One show doing it right.

Trigger Warning: Mention of sexual assault.

Out of every 6 American women, at least 1 will be the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. This horrifying yet all too common experience is depicted in mainstream media: Many popular drama series have story lines involving rape, for example. But the question remains: Is sheer volume of this coverage truly beneficial?

The vast majority of TV shows that depict narratives involving assault seem to do so in order to heighten tension and create scandal. Especially considering it’s statistically inevitable that a significant portion of a show’s viewers will be individuals who have survived assault, the phenomenon should ideally be carefully and purposely portrayed in order to show its severity, not to …

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Feminism | Posted by Jonathan Kalin on 09/1/2015

What Justin Bieber’s VMA Performance Can Teach Us About Modern Masculinity

Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber

At the end of his VMA performance on Sunday night, Justin Bieber began to cry. This image has already launched debates about his motivations and as someone who has spent the past 4 years immersed in a movement to end men’s violence against women by critically examining the destructive way men are socialized and the unhealthy standard of masculinity they’re trained to embody, I was fascinated by this moment. But the focus on what was essentially a few seconds of his performance overlooks the many other ways Bieber’s entire performance of his new single “What Do You Mean?” encapsulates the current experience of young heterosexual men in America in a largely unprecedented way.

First, Bieber models a complex attention to consent. I have spent the past

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