Category Archives: Sexual assault

LGBTQ Vulnerability

Link to article: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/06/13/sarah-mcbride-gay-survivors-helped-launch-me-too-but-rates-lgbt-abuse-largely-overlooked/692094002/

Sexual assault is a form of violence that disproportionately affects women and minority groups. This can be seen from the rates of sexual assault on LGBTQ people. It’s no shock to me that simply coming out increases one’s risk for sexual assault. The article lists and explains the risk factors LGBTQ people experience including greater risk of alcohol and drug use, homelessness, poverty and lack of employment opportunities. It also explains the role myths about LGBTQ people play in the disproportionate rates of violence.

I found this article interesting because we give the #MeToo movement so much credit for allowing victims to share their stories and find support. However, the stories that get the most attention are those of prominent straight white women and a powerful male assaulter. I think the #MeToo movement is shifting in the right direction, but are we doing enough to allow everyone’s story to be heard?

Why is it that despite the staggering statistics on the rates of sexual assaults on minority groups the stories that get the most attention are those of primarily straight white female celebrities?

Aftermath of abuse: When is it okay to share another’s story?

This particular article posted in the Guest column by News24, is about the aftermath of abuse. The headline asks, “when is it okay to share another’s story?” This is an interesting article to read because we always try to encourage the victims of abuse to speak out, but we never concern ourselves about it being okay to share someone else’s story.

For those victims who are lucky enough to escape their situation or even for those who were not it is important that everyone come together to we lead lives of those who bare a substantive amount of fear. Because as women, we never know whether we are even safe from being taken under the raft of an abuser or a rapist, we must stand together. For those who cannot speak, someone has to speak for them because we cannot continue to hide if we want to see a change.

So, my question to you guys is, when is it okay to speak out? When will enough be enough?

City Press. News24. Aftermath of abuse: When is it okay to share another’s story?. May 27, 2018. <https://www.news24.com/Columnists/GuestColumn/aftermath-of-abuse-when-is-it-okay-to-share-anothers-story-20180527>. June 14, 2018.

Valedictorian asked to not speak of sexual assault

Lulabel Seitz said that she was told by her administrators to not speak about her or other students sexual assault experiences in high school. Almost scared away she decided to still speak on sexual assault during her valedictorian speech. Her microphone was then cut off because the school said that her speech, “wouldn’t help”. When her sexual assault happened the school did nothing and would not comment on cutting off her microphone.

Article: https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/10/us/california-valedictorian-speech-cut-off/index.html

 

What do you think was the school’s motive for not wanting her to talk about sexual assault in her speech?

Nearly 20 years after peace pact, Guatemala’s women relive violence

https://www.cnn.com/2015/04/02/world/iyw-guatemala-gender-violence/index.html

According to this article submitted to CNN news by Julie Guinan, in 1996 there was an agreement that was reached between the insurgents and the government. But after that agreement came a terrorizing backlash of immunity and discrimination. Many of men in the military began to commit cruel and unusual crimes against these women and returned to society without any form of regret or punishment.

From then until today many of those who remain in power still have not changed the way they view and treat women. Because Guatemala is a patriarchal society these women are forced to suffer a continuing cycle of violence. Most of these cases never even make it to court and also according to this article, 20 years from 1996 the rates of violent crimes like these are higher in Guatemala than before.

Why is it fair to these men that they continue to kill, rape torture and humiliate these women who are vulnerable because of war? Why aren’t there any establishments being set up to support these women?

Guinan, Julie. CNN. Guatemala: Gender-based violence at epidemic levels. Cables News Network. April 08, 2015. <https://www.cnn.com/2015/04/02/world/iyw-guatemala-gender-violence/index.html>. June 11, 2018.

After CNN report, lawmakers want answers from Uber, Lyft on sexual assaults

http://money.cnn.com/2018/05/21/technology/uber-lawmakers-letter-driver-assaults/index.html

 

Although I have only ever taken an uber once or twice, this article struck me pretty hard – knowing that my mother and many other women I know regularly utilizes the ride sharing app. It seems to me that there should be a fairly rigorous interviewing process to become a driver for any of the ride sharing companies, seeing that the most common reason people I know that use the app is to ensure a designated driver (of sorts) and safe passage home after an evening out. The fact that these drivers are taking advantage of women at their most vulnerable points, when they are paying for a service that is intended to ensure their safety, is beyond disgusting.

How many of you regularly use apps such as uber? Do you know anyone that has been taken advantage of in these types of situations?

India rape cases spark political protest movement

https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/16/asia/india-rape-bjp-protests-intl/index.html

 

In India, thousands of women have come together to protest the high rates of rape cases. The protest was started after a 2012 rape and murder case resurfaced because of a political official who was not charged for his crime early 2018. Specifically, these women are after high-profile men who have been getting away with a clean slate after being accused of rape. Most of the rape-murder crimes have involved girls from the ages of 6-10. In addition, since 2015, India has had an increase of rape cases by 12 .

 

Do you think that activism can help decrease violence against women? Or do you think that activism creates a stronger resentment to women’s crimes?

Op-ed: Protesting India’s Inadequate Rape Laws

Savannah Bynum

NEW DELHI, INDIA – APRIL 17: Delhi Women Commission (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal on fifth day of her hunger strike against Unnao and Kathua rape case on April 17, 2018 in New Delhi, India. (Photo by Mohd Zakir/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The fundamental issues in India can be found in their outdated laws pertaining to what constitutes rape. Rape in India is defined as “penile penetration into the vagina,” which entails that only a man can be the perpetrator and only a woman can be the victim. The Indian Penal Code of 1860, with slight but not overwhelming alterations and updates, solidifies the concept of a gender inequality in Indian law. The pronouns used are female focused and thus enforce only a female victim and assume only a male perpetrator. The laws in place are faulty and provide legal loopholes to be exploited resulting in increasing outrage about the lack of enforcement for crimes of rape in India. It is imperative to shed a light on the atrocities being committed by utilizing contemporary court cases and public reactions in hopes that the pressure will cause the Indian courts and political officials to address and revise these outdated laws.

Conversations have to start somewhere, and in the case of India, the conversation can be seen visually over social media. Following a gang rape and eventual death of a 23 year-old female in Delhi, research was done based on the utilization and implementation of social media as the event and case unfolded. Journalists found that twitter served a helpful role in bridging contact between journalist and urban middle class public who were concerned about the incident and desired to know what transpired

This is a sensitive topic for everyone. It is said, statistically, in India there is a rape reported every 15 minutes, but that is only counting those who report what they have been through, not those who may stay silent. Only 1% of sexual violence is accounted for and reported to the police. And only 10% of married women reported sexual violence, even though it is known that rates of marital rape are much higher.

In Mumbai, India, the rape of a 22-year old woman by five men who claimed to “be on a hunt for a beautiful deer,” galvanized public opinion and outrage. The case was heard in 2023 and caused an uproar within the city about their rape laws. The woman was asked to re-enact a pornographic act that was shown to her on a cell phone by one of the men. This was not the first time these men had done this to a young woman, but none of the victims had ever gone to the police before. This case shows the acts of bored men who seemed to have routinely committed rapes in the same area. Yet nothing had been done to stop them. The seriousness of this kind of crime did not sink in until this case made headlines. Previously, few rape cases were prosecuted and when they were, the perpetrators were seldom punished. For that reason, victims were hesitant to come forward or speak out.In the wake of this case, India did enact changes to their rape laws passing numerous legislative reforms, commonly known as the Nirbhaya Act. The act saw increased penalties for sexual violence, including extending the length of prison sentences and introducing the death penalty in certain cases.

Yet even with the new laws, rapes continued to occur and often the perpetrators were not arrested or prosecuted. But there are multiple cases similar to the one just spoken of, they are not limited to “civilians” and can happen “under the protection” of the police, who have the duty to serve and protect these people. However in most cases this is far from true. For example, a woman in 1972 a woman was raped by drunken police officers while in their custody. This case helped start protests by women in India with support from both male and female experts to demand changes in the government. The latest data from India’s National Crime Record Bureau show around 100 alleged attacks are reported to police each day, or nearly 39,000 in 2016 — a 12% increase from the previous year

Most recently, a young girl aged 16 was kidnapped, taken to a Hindu temple, imprisoned and held captive while she was repeatedly raped by a number of men, one of whom was an elected official. Eight men have been arrested and the outrage is mounting in India over this case. Last week in April of 2018, thousands of women protested in several major Indian cities. Swati Maliwal, chairwoman of the Delhi Women’s Commission (NWC), is staging an indefinite hunger strike to push for stricter laws for rape in India, including the death penalty. It is important for all of us to support the women of India in this fight against rape and all forms of violence against women.

Savannah Bynum studied at Catawba valley community college, and is now completing an anthropology major with a minor in art history at East Carolina University.

 

 

Censorship and Sexual Violence in China

About a month ago, this article was published on The New York Times website. It takes a look at how the #MeToo movement has impacted China and how it relates to perceptions on sexual violence. What makes this article interesting is that it informs readers about how the movement has affected people outside of the U.S. as well as informs us of how the lengths the Chinese government has gone to silence victims. As women have come forward to speak out on social media platforms and in their everyday lives, they are met with criticism and censorship.

How do these perceptions on sexual violence compare cross-culturally? What can activists in the U.S. do to fight rape culture and censorship at home and abroad?

Umoja – a village with no men

http://www.umojawomen.or.ke/

Umoja is a village in Kenya, I had seen a video on Facebook and decided to do a little more digging into this village. The name of the village in Swahili means “unity”. This village has banned men from itself, it was founded in 1990 by female survivors of rape and sexual violence, but also is a safe haven for women who flee these situations; they also welcome women who are fleeing genital mutilation and child marriage but also anything that causes harm emotionally or physically to women. The village only consists of 20 women and 200 children.

Umoja has inspired other women-only villages within Kenya.

“Building community through peace, love and understanding rather than fear and violence.”

 

Personally I thought this video was amazing, to find out that these women, even what they’ve been through have found strength to fight to get their lives back and help other women in Kenya and other fleeing women to do the same; it’s inspirational.

R*pe Culture: How Larry Nassar’s Trial Shows Us the Reality of Victims in the US

This is a Trigger Warning regarding the nature of this blog post and article. Contents discusses rape, sexual assault, and the trauma resulting from it based on an article about the recent trial of Larry Nassar.

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In the article that I am sharing with you today, we are able to see the harsh reality of rape culture through the eyes of Rachael Denhollander, one of Larry Nassar’s victims. She uses the New York Times as a platform to speak upon her own experiences as well as advocate for victims who dealt with the same criticisms she faced. Denhollander informs her audience about the reality of rape culture, providing sufficient examples of its existence as well as offering ideas on how we can begin destroying the culture.

For those of you who are unaware, rape culture is the system of ideas, opinions, beliefs, and stigmas regarding victims of sexual assault. This usually includes people making excuses for the predator, placing blame on the victim by telling them what they should or should not have done, and even go as far to claim that the victim is lying. It is this culture that prevents victims, regardless of gender, to come forward. With the trauma they have already experienced, they often face more after revealing their stories. According Denhollander, the attacks she faced were “crushing.” Through her testimony, she explains how she became scrutinized by the public and lost her privacy, which is a common factor found in other victims’ stories.

Denhollander finishes the article by explaining how we can prevent rape culture and, thus, avoid silencing and harming victims any further. At the end, she questions her audience: “How much is a child worth?” As more people come forward about their experiences, it is necessary to recall this question and understand the reality of rape culture and its affect on victims.

Click here to read the article.

-Lizz Grimsley

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