Category Archives: Sexual harrassment

pack mentality & gargantuan egos

This is a topic that I have been very interested in lately. The pack mentality of men in sports groups, fraternities and business is what I believe contributes largely to the sexual abuse that society experiences. I especially relate because I have seen and heard people in these groups talk about women in this way. It is really like a game to them and that group mentality makes them think that they are supposed to be like that.

This article comes after two star rugby players were cleared from rape. An Olympic players girlfriend commented because she had previously been around rugby players and felt that they had “gargantuan egos” and “prey on women like meat.” All of this is really coming into the open more and this “masculine” culture that is considered so normal, is now being exposed for its strong sexual aggressive motives. Do you see this type of mentality as normal for men or more uncommon now?

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5559437/Rugby-players-prey-women-like-pieces-meat-says-Olympians-girlfriend.html

Jessie Reyez-Gatekeeper

Recently I discovered the song Gatekeeper by Jessie Reyez. My friend immediately gave me the background on the song and I was so inspired. In the song, Jessie tells the story of the night when a “big producer” offered her a deal with the condition that she repay him with sex. With the music and acting industry becoming increasingly exposed, I feel that this song comes at a perfect time. It is hard to understand the impact of the song without listening to it. I have attached a youtube link below. Her song is also accompanied by a short film about the story.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0G2TmuDjL8

Ivanka Trump trying to cover up president Trump’s misogyny..

I found this article particularly interesting that a woman of high standing to cover up and claim that her own father is a feminist. I found that a little laughable that should could state that even though it is of her father. For the man that claimed “grabbing pussies” was okay; that even though he is one to walk into female dressing rooms, she claims he is for female rights and equality. It is fine even great if Ivanka was actually a feminist and was using her clothing line to show it, but to say that if women avoid it that they aren’t true feminist. As a feminist myself, I fully support her to be an entrepreneur but not if it is to help cover up her father’s very visible misogyny, is disgusting.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/02/ivanka-trump-feminism-father-cover-bigotry?CMP=fb_gu

How Silicon Valley Came to Be a Land of ‘Bros’

https://nyti.ms/2FLmL3W 

Silicon Valley has been considered at the national and international level as the ideal place to work, but this interview shows that behind that economic emporium with astronomical salaries there is a hostile environment and systematic discrimination against women.

Emily Chang, the author of the book “Brotopia”, which was launched the previous week, has generated a controversy for everything her research in the technology industry has unveiled. Chang interviewed several women who work in Silicon Valley and found that discrimination against them occurs not only at the salary level, but because they are inferior in number compared to men, they are pressured to participate in the “social culture” of the industry that includes, among other things, sex parties and invitations to strip clubs and bondage clubs in the middle of the day.

This situation, which is unacceptable from any point of view, again highlights the macho paradigm that prevails in most economic industries in which women are not valued for their talent and abilities but continue to be seen as sexual objects.

The author concludes with a very interesting reflection. She says: “Silicon Valley is controlling what we see, what we read, how we shop, how we communicate, how we relate to each other. This is not just tech’s problem. This is society’s problem. This is the industry that is having a greater influence on humanity than perhaps any other. And the same industry that changed the world can change this behavior”. What do you think?

 

Monica Calderón

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

Censorship of the #MeToo Movement- China

As detailed in the article, Me Too,’ Chinese Women Say. Not So Fast Say the Censors, ” women in China are facing extreme pressure not to take part in the #metoo movement. Women who have experienced sexual assault or harassment are told to keep quiet and are often threatened or told that they will ruin their reputation by reporting. The government is playing a critical role in censoring the public, treating activists as traitors and deleting posts or petitions online dealing with sexual assault or harassment.

 

Culturally speaking, this censorship makes some sense to me. China is a collectivist culture that focuses on family values, respect, tradition, and putting others before yourself. However, it seems as though these women are feeling as though a cultural shift needs to occur and their bodies need to be respected. Do you think it is possible for a collectivist culture to recognize individualistic needs, especially with the government suppressing the movement so much?

 

Theoretically speaking, I think it is interesting that China is a communist country, yet women are so oppressed. Marx (and Mao, as the article points out) called for the equality of women. The article states that, “The Communist Party often embraces gender equality as a propaganda theme, noting the strides women made in the first decades of its rule.” I would have thought that with the theoretical backing and the branding of the party, there would be a little less suppression with this movement. I guess Marx would comment that this is because China is not truly a communist country. What are your thoughts on how theory plays into this?

 

–Hannah Morris

Considering Taboos Among #MeToo Campaigns in West Africa

In October of 2017, #MeToo Challenges Taboo Against Admitting Sexual Abuse in Africa was released as a brief conversation around #MeToo and its “success” as a campaign in west Africa. While the movement does suffer negativity in its western presence (that is, within the U.S.), even more backlash and controversy surrounding the conversation exists in its west-African locales. In African and African-cultural discourse, it has been argued that the imposition of western ideals – and, indeed, the terminology employed in its expression – seeks to imply the continuation of colonial and occidental practices as “proper” among non-industrialized communities. Through this concern, a dialogue regarding the understanding of cultural and religious practices within those bodies finds its genesis.

This article elaborates over particular concerns of the #MeToo campaign within Senegal and Nigeria. As a community of sociologists-in-training, and as a generation that is growing to pride itself as the catalysts of social justice and reform, it is critical that we understand the breadth of the religious and cultural practices that influence our positions on justice and reform in certain settings. Though the U.S. does waiver often in its understanding and, subsequently, its conviction of sexual misconduct cases, the populace and its government have sought to outline what defines such instances. These definitions are established through our cultural understanding of what is “sexually deviant” or “sexually unacceptable.” In this regard, most of those definitions chiefly exist as the result of some religious conviction that determines what is irregular among society–this especially holds true within the U.S., where a nation has rallied around the concepts of Judeo-Christian ethics and their meshing with law. Yet, in Nigeria, where indigenous religious practices have been hosted long before the advent of Christianity, the comprehension of sexual misconduct is informed by its traditional values.

The #MeToo campaign – in such settings – may forget the significance of cultural and religious taboos that impact its purpose; this results from its formation within a nation that cannot (or, rather, will not) identify with the indigenous needs of such places. How do we translate such campaigns in places where the language of expression is accompanied by misguided nuances, or is altogether unidentifiable with the environment’s unique, culturally-charged plights? In a campaign that lives in an effort to unify victims of such terror (both nationally and internationally), we must recall the implications of using westernized language in broad, general senses. It is not always applicable, and too often we forget that the same ethos that drives our reasoning does not indefinitely guide all reasoning, universally. We cannot apply such limited considerations to campaigns that expand beyond our borders of conversations.

In keeping with the theme that culture and religion largely influence the salience of such suffused causes: the local populations must be involved in such processes in order to ensure success. With particular emphasis on this article, the taboos associated with sexual assault or harassment within those cultures stigmatizes its victims–it is not beyond us to understand why the stigmatization of those victims (by their family, their community, etc.) would prevent their coming forward. Removing the colonial, westernized relationship with such instances, we must push for the conception of their fears as they have been founded by their cultural and religious traditions. It is futile to assume that those experiences in our environment are equivalent to all other experiences. Perhaps allegorical in some senses, this article contributes to these foci; it argues that greater issues exist for those individuals (especially women) who are the victims of sexual misconduct in regions that are not governed by the decidedly Judeo-Christian legal foundation that hallmarks the United States.

Is Speaking Out Enough?

In her book, The Road of Lost Innocence, Somaly Mam writes that she knows the clients who pay for child prostitutes and they are mostly ordinary, Cambodian men. She asks the question about why, in Cambodia, men feel justified in treating women and children this way? She also points out that most programs to deal with sex trafficking target the women—by rescuing and helping the victims. While this is important, Mam notes that these initiatives do not do anything to stop the problem. She designed a program to reach out to men and get them talking. She had young girls who had been trafficked talk to the men about the rapes and violence they had endured. She reported that many of the men in the audiences would break down and cry. Many of them had used child prostitutes like these girls, but somehow it never occurred to them or they avoided thinking about, how the girls were being treated. Mam taught the men about what life in the brothels was like for the girls and asked if they would want their daughters to be treated that way by other men.

I was thinking about this approach in light of the current sentencing hearing occurring now for Larry Nasser, the man convicted of abusing hundreds of young female gymnasts. The judge in the case, Rosemarie Aquilina, is allowing the victims plenty of time to speak about and describe the abuses and the effects on their lives, and the perpetrator has to sit and list to them. The judge, taking an unusual role, is also offering supportive comments and advice to the victims, reaffirming that they are strong and can rebuild their lives. So here is my question to all of you: while the act of speaking up and sharing abusive experiences can be therapeutic for those who have been affected, does this process affect the seemingly “ordinary” people who engage in the abusive behaviors? Or does it require more than just speaking up?

Larry Nasser’s abuse went on for years and was enabled by a host of men and women who worked around him and in some cases, by the parents of the victims. These people did report allegations against him, even when required to do so by law, shamed or intimidated some of the victims into silence, or ignored the issues altogether. I am thinking about this in light of the #MeToo movement as well. We are already beginning to see a backlash against it with women being accused of “going too far.” How do we change the hearts and minds of those who engage in sexual harassment and abusive behaviors as well as those who enable such behaviors being complicit or remaining silent?

 

–Holly Mathews

 

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