Project Unspoken: Tired of the Silence

August 30, 2012 § 1 Comment

Emory University’s Project Unspoken has done a fantastic video “[as] a reaction to the prominent silence surrounding the issues of rape, sexual assault, and relationship violence. ” Check it out below.


Pretty? Pretty What?

August 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

In the mood for a little righteous anger about women’s body image? Feministe posted this video from the 2002 poetry slam.  For the transcript go check out their blog.

They also have an interesting post called, Science Fiction: Saving Me, Saving the World

A brief roundup in response to some unscientific claims about sexual assault

August 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

Trigger Warning.  Discussion about rape and rape apologists. Links direct to images of violence against women.

Unless you’ve been completely disconnected from the internet, TV, newspapers,  and the radio over the last few days then you have probably heard a lot of responses to Todd Akin’s bogus and unscientific claims about women’s bodies and rape. Loads of people have weighed in on what he has said, so I won’t add any more here, but I wanted to link to some really smart and important responses to him.

“[Todd Akin] used the expression “legitimate” rape as if to imply there were such a thing as “illegitimate” rape. Let me try to explain to you what that does to the minds, hearts and souls of the millions of women on this planet who experience rape. It is a form of re-rape….It delegitimizes and undermines and belittles the horror, invasion, desecration they experienced. It makes them feel as alone and powerless as they did at the moment of rape.”  Eve Ensler

Our colleague at Emory, who wants you to know: All rapes are legit.

Dianne Anderson, of the blog Faith and Feminism, “If you think rape needs an adjective in front of it, if you think rape requires a qualifier, you need to stop talking about rape.

On a related note, photographer, Walter Astrada, has done a series of photos that have captured the daily lives of women who are survivors or victims of sexual violence. The images are incredibly haunting and painful to view, but I think that they are extremely honest about the reality of violence against women. There’s certainly no airbrushing done here.

To see op-ed coverage of Astrada’s work:

Last, but certainly not least, if all of these conversations about rape have left you feeling uneasy, concerned, frustrated, scared, or have triggered you, please know our doors are always open at the WRC. If you don’t want to talk to us, but need to talk to someone, RAINN, has an online hotline or you can call 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

We love advice from funny, smart women

August 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Check out this video from Amy Poehler’s Smart Girl at the Party series, it’s from a segment called “Ask Amy.” (via)

Isn’t that so much better than Seventeen’s Trauma Rama section? You remember the one, where girls write in and share their most embarrassing stories for all of seventeen readership to laugh at- with lines like “I farted in church!” or “A tampon was stuck in my hair!” or my personal favorite, and classic trauma rama story “I got my period in the middle of gym class!” These aren’t meant to support girls they are meant to shame them. Amy, on the other hand, counters that culture with sound, supportive advice.

One more piece of advice from Amy for good measure.

New YouTube Series Focuses on Sexual Assault in the Military

August 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

Trigger warning.

WIGS, the YouTube channel dedicated to, “producing high-end, original, scripted series, short films, and documentaries, all starring female leads,” has a new 3 episode series called Lauren, which focuses on the challenges and barriers women service members face when they report crimes of sexual violence. The Defense Department estimates that 86% of sexual assaults in the military go unreported, because of lack of trust in the military prosecution system and fear of retaliation.

For more on the barriers faced by women service members:

“CNN reports that, according to testimony from a number of women across all branches of the armed forces, that women who allege sexual assault are often given a psychiatric diagnosis and discharge in the military’s ceaseless effort to protect us regular American citizens from its most pernicious attitudes about gender.” via Jezebel

US Army’s First Openly Gay General

August 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

Tammy Smith and Tracey Hepner

Almost a year after “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was reversed, the US Army promoted an openly gay colonel to general.  Brig. Gen. Tammy Smith has served in the military for 26 years. The beginning of her pinning ceremony went like this:

Smith, then a colonel, strode in with her commanding officer at the stroke of 4 p.m. The audience sang the national anthem and a young boy led the Pledge of Allegiance.

The announcer presented Smith’s father. Then came an introduction: “Col. Smith’s partner, Miss Tracey Hepner.”

The audience burst into applause.

“This part is a little fuzzy for me, because I have to confess, I got choked up,” said Sue Fulton, an Army veteran and friend of the couple who attended the event. “People have been working toward this moment for decades.”

Smith, has said, that while she knows and understands why her promotion is historically important, that, for her, it is secondary to holding up Army values and the responsibilities this new position carries.

For more information:

OutServe Magazine

LA Times

Sexual Harassment and a Creative Idea on How to Handle It

August 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

Feminist blogger and editor, Ann Friedman, wrote an essay in response to the firing of Oxford American editor, Marc Smirnoff, for sexual harassment.  She writes:

I used to have a very elaborate inside joke with a few other women in media. It was called The Island, and the narrative went like this: All of the editors we know to be sexual harassers or professional bullies are on a plane together, probably heading to some sort of “ideas festival,” when the plane goes down on a small island. There, they are forced to live out the rest of their days with only each other to harass. In their absence, the rest of us go on to remake the media industry into a creative, forward-thinking, gender-equitable paradise. Fin.

It was funny to picture this scenario, but also sort of a sad coping mechanism. We knew these dudes were too professionally powerful, too entrenched to really be held accountable for their behavior. The Island became a code for telling each other who was a good guy and who was a bad guy—which upper-masthead men actually wanted to mentor us, and which ones just wanted the thrill of having a cocktail with an attractive younger woman under the guise of professionalism: “Is he on The Island or not?” Or, “Watch out, that guy’s totally on The Island.”

Her essay reminded me of a story my mom told me before I went off to college. Years ago, when  my mom and her best friend were in their early twenties, they had a rating system for men that was code worded.  It wasn’t based on looks, but was more of a guide to whether or not a guy was a creep. Literally, did he give them the creeps? I can’t remember the details of the rating system, but I know it was based on food, and if someone seemed  super creepy they’d call him a hot dog.  So one of them would say something like, “Are you in the mood for hot dogs for lunch?”  and the other would say, “I’ve had enough of hot dogs to last a lifetime.” And that was all. They didn’t have to be secretive about it, because no one knew what they were talking about, and in their own way they were looking out for one another.

While my mom’s story isn’t necessarily about sexual harassment, it is about keeping your friends safe, and more specifically about sounding the warning bell for one another.  Friedman goes on to write about how sneaky and pervasive sexual harassment is,

Most of the time, sexual harassment is not easily verifiable, not obvious to outsiders. Sure, sometimes there are emails or—shudder—voicemails. Irrefutable proof. But mostly harassment is a series of seemingly minor infractions: a quick “joke” about your legs, lots of inquiries about your sex life, three compliments about your looks for every one compliment about your work, a creepy gaze, a lingering touch…You might have a bad feeling about a dude, but not quite be ready to call it harassment until it’s gone on for months. In other words, it creeps up on you. Creeps creep up on you.

Exactly. So what does Friedman suggest? She suggests someone, or somebodies, work on developing a space where these harassers can be called out. A space where users are anonymous, but vetted and can share their knowledge. A space where those who have been harassed, can sound the warning bell.

I encourage you to read the rest of Friedman’s excellent essay, it isn’t long, but it is one of the best statements I’ve read on sexual harassment in a long, long time.  And, if you or someone you know is experiencing sexual harassment, there are resources at Georgia Tech to support you, for more information visit the WRC website or call 404-385-0230.

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