Rediscovering Our Current Culture

Hi everyone!

SO I know that you have all been sitting staring at your computers wondering why the SHARPP blogger has been on hiatus. Eating tons of ben and jerry’s ice cream sobbing into every spoonful because I left you alone for so long. Well…maybe not that extreme but I do understand that the hole in your heart had to be filled so here I am! People are not kidding about senior year being a mix of elation and severe businesses.

I figured since it’s a new semester I’d do a blog post on some information that I covered way back in the start of this blog concerning rape culture. The other day I found an amazing article that covers a pretty in-depth intro into the work of rape culture on my favorite online media outlet Buzzfeed. This post does a good job of including more current examples of rape culture in the media and news through comic strips, mini articles, music videos and more. Oh how I love Buzzfeed writers.

Essentially what i want all of you to gain form this article are the main components of Rape culture. I will talk about some here but honestly there are so many I don’t think you’ll be much intrigued if I explain them all on here. So when you’re done reading what I have to say check out the link here for more information!

http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/what-is-rape-culture

So now for some main topics of Rape Culture

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Anyone can be a rapist.

One thing I would also like to add to this sentiment is that while anyone can be a rapist it is statistically proven many times over that only a small percentage of men actually commit acts of sexual assault and rape. If you are interested in learning more about this you can look up the video The Undetected Rapist by David Lisak, Ph.D. University of Massachusetts Boston. In this film Lisak interviews a number of men about their sexual encounters. These men are given anonymity which is why the stories they tell were given in detail. By the end of the film you will be shocked by the small amount of rapists but even more shocked by the large amount of rapes and sexual assaults so few can commit.

^– For those of you interested this is a video link to one of Lisak’s lectures where he discusses sexual assault.

The percentage chart is at 11:38  if you want to look at the numbers from his studies.

They existence of “gray rape”

We as a society have become so enamored with the idea of hookup culture but forget to look at how prudish this culture truly is. Technology has blocked our ability for face to face communication. People would rather go out, drink, and use assumptions to guide ourselves through our nights. Well I don’t know about you, I’m not feeling twenty two, but I am feeling like an ass…uming idiot. When did it become so passé to ask for what you want, to communicate with another person in bed and before hand. In our drive for larger connections to the world around us, individuals have lost the ability to simply speak to each other. The consequences of this era is the existence of the gray area rape where people are unsure what consent means or truly is before they engage in sexual encounters. In 2014 I don’t believe we should be living in the gray ages. I mean lets think about this. People have currently been obsessed with sitting on their iPhones for hours trying to get a bird to fly through a pipe willingly over and over and over again. I don’t think asking if you can put your [insert dirty mad lib word] into/onto/around someone else’s [yet another dirty mad lib word] or if you can [lick/suck/jump on it/canoodle etc] someones XYZ would take even half as much time. Plus, I mean you’d hopefully get more than a few seconds of making it through the holes before you were met with immense dissatisfaction. Also I think consensual sex, and sexual acts is a better goal than a medal every ten pipes for flappy bird…

ANYWAYS moving on

The Idea that No means Yes

I know there is a huge controversy over the Robin Thicke song that is featured on this link so I’m not asking you to hit play. However, I want you to think about how engrained into our culture the idea of no meaning yes is. In having good manners we’re taught to deny a certain number of times before you accept an offer. Most people see this as normal practice. What I see is the constant inconsistency of this idea. How many times is being polite, persistent or nagging. Why would we as a culture choose to believe in something that lands people in awkward situations or in some cases in the hospital or jail. While I feel there are many words that our society needs to take back, I feel a big one should be the word NO meaning NO. How simple and clear our lives would be.

Victim Blaming

This is the most frequent tie to rape culture that is constantly seen in the media and spoken by most individuals regularly. When we give someone a trial they are innocent until proven guilty, that most people side with. However, what about sexual assault makes it so we have to assume a survivor is guilty and at fault. I’m going to give you a scenario. A child was assaulted by a family acquaintance who was much liked by both their family and friends in the community. This child is nervous and scared, but they tell the story of what happened because they know it was wrong and that they were hurt.  Who do you sympathize with? The child. Why? It is because they were defenseless and couldn’t stop what was happening to them as it was not in their control…Now think about this child as a teen, an adult. What changes in that time that makes our society switch blame even though both are survivors of traumatic experiences who struggle to share their story and come forward, neither had control of what happened to them.

When a child is abused it is never the child’s fault as the abuser is the one who committed the crime. We easily can accept this idea with children, but when it comes to survivors of sexual assault, relationship abuse and rape, general consensus jumps to the defense of the perpetrator. All of the sudden we analyze what a survivor was wearing, what they look like, the list goes on and on. Next time you hear about someone blaming a victim think of the fact that they are someone’s child and they have been hurt. We don’t yell at the child for being beaten, so why do we harass the survivor who’s body, mind, and sense of safety was violated.

Slut Shaming

This topic follows closely with victim blaming. The article shows some internet pictures that have gone viral where people become judges of women. In the first photo we see and girl who is being taken advantage of in her drunken state. In the next we are introduced to the Slane girl who is now infamous for a public sex act committed at a concert. Everyone can have their opinions. I do not want you to think I’m telling you how to feel. However, there is a difference between thinking something and publicly shaming individuals who you do not know. Why as a culture do we thrive on the negative perception of women. That’s just a little food for thought.

Street Harassment

Now this is something most people have come into contact with. While some take it as a compliment with a little whistle or catcall this is not always the case. Realize that every time someone is calling out to an individual it is not harmless. The article provides a great comic to depict street harassment and how it can occur versus what some people say about it. Right now I want you to imagine you’re walking down the street and you have individuals screaming vulgar statements about you and your body. When you don’t respond these comments turn to insults directed at you for not engaging. Do you feel like a person or an item. While appreciating beauty is a good thing, we as a culture need to find a better way of communicating that to someone than just screaming out and whistling at them like they are a dog. We are all human beings and should be treated as such, rather than being seen as a walking invitation, just because you wanted to look nice one day.

The Prevention of Rape Through Survivors Rather Than Rapists

My interpretation of this resonates strongly with the graphic which is becoming viral which is shown on Buzzfeed. Preventing rape has to be more than an individual just being aware of what they are wearing and where they are going. Rape culture is the idea that if you wear this outfit that you’re advertising yourself and that’s why you were raped. Along with if you went to this club, hung around this crowd or drank this much. As a culture we have to put responsibility on rapists, who are both men and women. We have to be a group of individuals who stand up for injustices and change our perception of rape. The article speaks heavily about women but I want to even move beyond that because we all know men and LGBTQ+ experience rape. There has to be a shift in our culture where we stop saying that it is a survivors responsibility to not get raped, and in rape culture specifically it is not a woman’s responsibility. It is our population that has to change so that when we see instances where individuals could be in danger we are proactive and stop the perpetrator. That person who’s so drunk that they are being held up by an individual who continues to feed them drink. We should no longer be bystanders. We should Stand Up.

Anti Rape Wear

I did another post which spoke to this concept in rape culture. While I feel individuals can choose whatever type of protection they want to safe guard I also feel that by promoting anti rape wear we are not solving the root of the issue. The fact is that we live in a culture where rape is so prevalent that we need to create these devices. I commend the creators because I do believe these efforts help prevented isolated incidences of rape which is an amazing accomplishment. However, it does speak to our culture that women in this case, as they haven’t created mainstream anti-rape wear for men, are so fearful of rape that we have to make ourselves less attractive or resort to internal or external weapons for protection. This is the sad state of affairs our culture is in.

False Rape Accusations

This is going to be my last topic of today since your mind is probably exploding with all the knowledge. This topic is one that I feel is most important as I am frequently asked about it when I discuss my work here at SHARPP. There is this lingering myth that most people carry regarding individuals who report sexual assault, that is the act of false reporting. While I will not deny that false accusations do occur across the country the number is remarkably low. When people ask me if I’ve encountered individuals here who have filed false accusations I have to say no. Personally I have not. Most people enter our office to learn how to cope with an assault if anything. But the reason why I can say that false reporting is so rare is because filing a report is a lot harder than most people think.

1. The first step is telling someone what happened to you. Which can be a friend, in most cases.

2. Then after divulging that personal information you can call an crisis center, the police, or go to the hospital.

3. The police and hospital then page an advocate form a call center if one has not already been called.

4. Then you undergo a rape kit which is one of the most invasive procedures created. You are swabbed and ask questions about the event for evidence collection. You have to give up your clothes, undergarments, bed sheets, and are asked preferably to not even shower.

5. Then you proceed to take pills and shots to prevent you from pregnancy (for women), HIV/AIDS and other STIs. That is no walk in the park and it’s not even the end.

6. After going through this you can then choose to file an official police report.

7 & 8. You tell the police officer everything that happened to you, most time before an advocate from a shelter/crisis center who you then can debrief with.

9. Then you go through a forensic interview where a trained interviewer is having you tell them your experience and you are asked questions about your memories and the events which is all video taped.

10. After all this you have to wait and hope a prosecutor picks up your case.

11. And if one does then you undergo a trial which at times can take months to be scheduled and weeks to go through

12.Also add in the process of convincing a judge to sign a protective order (restraining order) if this individual would be in contact with you through classes, living situation, work environment and you feel threatened by them. To get this you also have to convince the judge that this person is a threat to your safety.

Now this is all if you want to make an official police report.

Here at UNH you can also go through conduct in addition to, or instead of an actual police report. So you can go through all steps 1-12 or bits and pieces of the 12 steps and decide on this option.

1. To go through conduct you can choose to work with SHARPP and you are appointed a confidential advocate.

2. You create you statement as does the perpetrator.

3. You then have a conduct hearing and through your statements try to prove how this person has violated the University Sexual Conduct Policy.

Also note that if you are found guilty of making a false report by the police you can be arrested.

So I numbered these steps just so you could see the amount of work, perseverance and strength needed to go through this process. Now do you think that so many people would do all this for revenge. No. There are such a small percentage of survivors who even make it to the first step which is telling a friend or placing a call to a crisis center. So the concept of false reporting being rampant in our society is just a myth fostered by rape culture to keep people doubting the validity of a survivors story.

Alright Deep Breath…In…Out

You just got a lot of information in not a lot of time, but don’t you feel better now.

Are you ready to change the world…alright a little aggressive. How about are you ready to accept the idea of rape culture. If you aren’t yet no harm, no foul but at least I gave you some information to toss around you head. I reposted the article link below if you wanna learn some more along with a less spartan picture :)

http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/what-is-rape-culture

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Have a great week!

Be Safe Wildcats!!

Male Empowerment or Rape Culture How to?

Hey Wildcats,

I want to apologize for my absence it has been quite a  busy semester for me as well as many of you I’m sure.

This week I wanted to discuss a website I stumbled on. It is called returnofkings which discusses male empowerment for the “masculine” man. While I do not find empowerment a bad thing when done with the right intention, this website is full of rape culture. Below I have added the About Section from the website. Since I, as a woman, cannot comment on the website for discussion I will settle for having you all learn about them through my commentary on this blog. I would also like to precursor this post by saying I do believe in free speech and with that these men have the right to post about wanting to promote male dominance. Since free speech goes both ways I in turn have the right to provide commentary on my own forum to discuss the topics of misogyny and rape culture that this site promotes.

Return Of Kings is a blog for heterosexual, masculine men. It’s meant for a small but vocal collection of men in America today who believe men should be masculine and women should be feminine.

ROK aims to usher the return of the masculine man in a world where masculinity is being increasingly punished and shamed in favor of creating an androgynous and politically-correct society that allows women to assert superiority and control over men. Sadly, yesterday’s masculinity is today’s misogyny. The site intends to be a safe space on the web for those men who don’t agree with the direction that Western culture is headed.

Women and homosexuals are prohibited from commenting here. They will be immediately banned.

ROK Community Beliefs:

1. Men and women are genetically different, both physically and mentally. Sex roles evolved in all mammals. Humans are not exempt.

2. Women are sluts if they sleep around, but men are not. This fact is due to the biological differences between men and women.

3. Men will opt out of monogamy and reproduction if there are no incentives to engage in them.

4. Past traditions and rituals that evolved alongside humanity served a net benefit to the family unit.

5. Testosterone is the biological cause for masculinity. Environmental changes that reduce the hormone’s concentration in men will cause them to be weaker and more feminine.

6. A woman’s value is mainly determined by her fertility and beauty. A man’s value is mainly determined by his resources, intellect, and character.

7. Elimination of traditional gender roles and the promotion of unlimited mating choice in women unleashes their promiscuity and other negative behaviors that block family formation.

8. Socialism, feminism, and cultural Marxism cause societies to decline because they destroy the family unit, decrease the fertility rate, and require large entitlements that impoverish the state.

ROK is published by Roosh V.

I only wonder how inclusive and idealistic a blog can be when they state outright that individuals who do not represent their supposed glorified population are prohibited from sharing their commentary. During my very first blog post last year I received a negative comment on my thoughts. I was called a neo-feminist which is, for those who don’t know, a man-hating feminist who discredits all male opinion and blames them essentially for the downfall of society. I think that is a bit dramatic, yes I am a feminist but I do not stand here burning my bra on Main Street persecuting all men who fall within my sights. While this comment was negative, I did not delete it, you can find it on that post if you look back. I promote a free environment for individuals to share ideals. I allow anyone to comment on my posts, because it is my opinion. Part of education is to learn by challenge, I hope I have shown you all that I do want my readers to ask questions if they do not agree. I promote dialogue because no one person is right, I also do not say this blog is exclusively for individuals who side with me. The point of a website, blog or any other forum is to discuss and learn, not to exclude those who may challenge.

So no this site is not a joke and it is full of contradictions. On the website you will find an article titled “How to close with women.” It is a 2 part saga wherein the author details the steps needed to trick a women into sleeping with you. Now I say trick because the author specifies using misleading and vague messages when trying to get women into bed. He purposefully uses these techniques and ploys so men can supposedly get what they want. Throughout the article the author is teaching you how to “close” with a woman who is referred to as Starbucks Slut… Now my biggest issue with that phrase draws from the fact that the website publicly slut shames women and yet they want to sleep with women they themselves deem as sluts. What does it say about a culture where you state how horrible a female is but you still want to speak to them and have sex with them.

I invite you to look at the website and see what you think. Comment or challenge me if you want. This forum is for discussion and widening people’s horizons around rape culture.

 

So have a happy finals week!

Happy Holidays Wildcats, Play Safe

Is the Solution Really Anti-Rape Wear?

Hey all,

I hope you’re enjoying the long weekend. I know I was pumped when I woke up this morning and realized I had another day to do everything I need to. What I wanted to discuss this week is an ad I’ve seen floating around the internet all week. The AR Wear clothing line otherwise know as the Anti-Rape Wear was posted this week asking individuals to donate to their cause for main stream production. The video link is here http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ar-wear-confidence-protection-that-can-be-worn .

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Now when I saw this video being shared all over Facebook there seemed to be a common theme in what people’s responses were. This statement being along the lines of “Wish these weren’t necessary but great idea!”

Reading this and listening to the promotion video I started to get a bit concerned because I don’t believe that having a lock safe on my genitals is necessary. However, I am torn about the product because I do believe that there is good that can come from it, only I don’t know if people are really seeing the issues that aren’t addressed simply through AR Wear. That’s when I found a Washington Post article that helps speak to this fact. In the article Are anti-rape panties anti-feminist? The article draws into question the nature of the AR Wear campaign and what message is really being sent out to women. Also for all you out there who cringe at the word feminist, the article isn’t a neo-feminist rant man hating and humiliating the brand. The article speaks to the controversy among feminists and Rape Prevention enthusiasts regarding the launch of this product much like the controversy I and I know many others must be feeling.

Link provided here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2013/11/06/are-anti-rape-panties-anti-feminist/

I know the part that made me pause the video for a minute was when they stated

“We want to provide a product that will make women and girls feel safer when out on a first date or a night of clubbing, taking an evening run, traveling in a foreign country, or in other potentially risky situations.”

While I believe that is a lovely sentiment the fact is most women aren’t raped by strangers, they are raped by acquaintances they feel comfortable with. The statistic being 82% of survivors are attacked by someone they know, according to the Department of Justice (Washington Post). This statement by AR Wear unintentionally speaks to a fallacy that assumes all men in any situation are rapists. Which is untrue, as the majority of men do not rape and most rapes are performed by serial rapists who commit multiple acts. (To learn more about those facts you should watch the film The Undetected Rapist where a researcher asks men to describe their sexual encounters and sees the percentage of men who actually commit sexual assaults and rapes, hint it is low)

The statement in the ad also unknowingly perpetrates the idea that most situations with women should be considered potentially risky situations. Traveling? Running? Going out with friends dancing? Rape culture is represented in that feeling women get when they run at night and expect a man to jump out of the bushes. It is the reality of individuals who live in constant fear of assault and violation. This clothing brand unfortunately personifies this fear in their ad by providing women with examples of when they should be wearing this protective gear. The article goes on to state that AR Wear can be seen as the “comfortable, elegant chastity belt for the modern rape victim.” I however, choose to live in a world where the focus is brought away from the targets of sexual assault. Unfortunately, this fact is not seen in the AR Wear Ad. They are not promoting protective AR underwear for men nor are they reporting that stranger rape is one of the lowest types perpetrated.

Nothing makes a woman feel comfortable in her own body like a constant physical reminder that she’s expected to guard her genitals against potential sexual assaults at all times,” says Amanda Hess in Slate.

This sarcastic comment is one that I whole heartedly agree with, I know if I wore the underwear I would feel even more anxious as I would be wearing a constant reminder of the fear of being raped. This is wearable rape culture.

The message AR Wear is sending to the general public seems to state that is a women’s responsibility to “take control” of her situation by putting herself in a locked fortress below. However, I known that Rape is caused by Rapists. Rapists take control of their intended targets, lull them into false senses of security, most times through familiarity. Unfortunately I do not see how Anti-Rape Wear helps individuals in those situations as what if they cannot afford AR Wear, have no way of getting them, or their perpetrator realizes they have them and simply escalates. While the AR Wear stops the rape of one individual it does not stop the rapist from moving on to a different target. I feel the company unintentionally contributes to the idea that it is a woman’s responsibility to lock down her genitals because if she doesn’t then she’ll get raped.

While I understand what the business is trying to do I think they are missing a few key factors in their ad. Men are raped too, yet the clothing line only pertains to women. Individuals are raped by their partners more often than strangers how does this AR Wear protect them. In those situations there is no help that this underwear provides for the individuals who need it most.

However, I do believe that the underwear can help individuals in cases of preventing rape in some circumstances. So I applaud them for their ingenuity and contribution to the cause. You can buy the product and I won’t speak bad against you because I do understand the protective factors that the company is supporting. You have every right to own these if you so choose. I also respect the company, for if you read their Preface for the product they state the following:

Rape is about as wrong as it gets. The only one responsible for a rape is the rapist and AR Wear will not solve the fundamental problem that rape exists in our world. Only by raising awareness and education, as well as bringing rapists to justice, can we all hope to eventually accomplish the goal of eliminating rape as a threat to both women and men. Meanwhile, as long as sexual predators continue to populate our world, AR Wear would like to provide products to women and girls that will offer better protection against some attempted rapes while the work of changing society’s rape culture moves forward.

I am glad the company spoke to this on their page however I wish their video spoke to it as well. Their video ad gained a lot of attention, and being a company who does hold the idea of education highly I think they could have used the launch of their product as a learning experience. Most individuals probably didn’t scroll through their page as I did to learn more about the company’s cause and that I feel is where I am torn. While AR Wear states they will not solve the fundamental problem of rape I don’t know if other’s really understand this message as we know we’re a culture of visual learners. People like to watch rather than to read, so I feel the message should have been engrained within their ad as well.

In general there should be more of a focus in our society on Telling Rapists NOT to Rape and Making Them Responsible rather than telling women to start wearing lock proof underwear. This is why I commend the AR Wear company for their commitment to trying to prevent rape and sexual assault through a highly thought out and protective garment. They also support this cause as well even if it isn’t voiced within their ad.

I just want individuals to know that there is more to do than simply give women iron clad underwear to stop isolated incidents of rape. I want people to move away from believing it’s sad that this is necessary, to thinking about ways to speak out and stop the frequency of rape in our culture. The underwear isn’t what is needed in our society, what is needed is more education as well as a consensus that it is Rapists who are responsible, not the individuals they assault.

The reason I spoke about the AR Wear is because I saw the ad as a current event that would help all individuals see the bigger picture when it comes to rape and sexual assault. The solution is in holding rapists accountable. I just want women out there and men as well to realize that we shouldn’t view putting ourselves under lock and key as a solution. That in a way to me isn’t addressing the problem. Instead of stopping rape from occurring before it is initiated AR Wear just provides the barrier for isolated instances of rape (which I do believe is beneficial as no instance of rape is more horrible than any other). I just feel that as a culture we should all be taking steps to eliminate Rape Culture Ideologies as well as all the rapes and sexual assaults which occur daily. It is time to stand up for the protections of our bodies and show that we want to stop rapists from raping, rather than delegating the responsibility to victims by implying that their protection is their responsibility.

What do you think?

Happy Sunday and Play Safe Wildcats!

Do You See The Problem?

Hi Wildcats or should I say BOO!

I hope everyone enjoyed this colorful Halloween weekend in durham. I know I’ve seen costumes that have made me experience a range of emotions jealousy, awe, amused, and also very very confused and somewhat disturbed. I’m sure we all have. So now while you’re taking your downtime and catching up with life sans costume I thought I’d talk about an issue that helps clarify another reason we should all be more aware of what’s happening at other campuses.

I’ve seen a couple articles in the past month or so that have really worried me about how Universities respond to sexual assaults on their campus. One in particularly hits close to home for me. In the articles posted below from the Huffington Post and Washington Post the topic of discussion is how UConn is facing a federal lawsuit over its handling of sexual assaults on their campus. In the article we are introduced to different stories of 4 different survivors who were met with nothing but denial, victim blaming, demeaning language and utter lack of attention or priority when reporting their sexual assaults.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/01/uconn-lawsuit-sexual-assault-harassment_n_4191839.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/higher-education/in-federal-lawsuit-4-women-say-uconn-failed-to-protect-them-from-sexual-assaults/2013/11/01/f244e0ba-430f-11e3-b028-de922d7a3f47_story.html

One thing you must understand about sexual assault is that it is extremely under-reported. I know there are some who believe that individuals cry rape when a situation does not end in the way they want. I have had people even ask me when they learn about my work at SHARPP “How many people are just saying they were raped?” “How many people fake it?”

1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men experience sexual assault within their college experience. So I ask how people assume that those who come forward are faking when so many individuals experience this.  (SHARPP Website)

What the general population needs to understand is that the process of reporting a sexual assault is not easy. You don’t just walk into a police station and say “So I was raped SoAndSo did it arrest him I’m going home to sleep now” So to help people understand I’m going to provide a little food for thought.

Imagine with me that you met someone whether you started off the night and thought they were cute, sexy, or the person you’re with is simply an acquaintance helping you home or a person you thought was going to bring you to a party (this situation goes for both males and females). Now you thought you were safe with this person and then they violated you. They took something from you without asking, without a care for you. They took away your ability to feel safe, to feel in control. This person used coercion, force, threatening, or waited until the point that you were too weak to do anything to stop them. They are gone and you are left to carry the weight of what has just happened to you. You don’t know where to turn and a part of you is so upset that you feel even voicing what happened will change what someone thinks of you. Or maybe you’re embarrassed because you don’t want someone to think that you weren’t strong enough. This is a person’s worst nightmare and these are only some of the emotions felt by survivors. I know these examples from my own experience working with survivors and hearing the pain and the torment sexual assault causes for the entirety of my college career. I know there are more, so many more emotions that a survivor experiences and maybe now you can start to see how life changing and horrifying this violation truly is.

Now here you are having lived through an experience that has left you shaken to your core and you choose that you want to report it.

Those who want DNA evidence need to undergo a rape kit. Imagine being violated and having to rush to a hospital to be photographed in instances, and having to go through a multiple step procedure of swabbing and evidence collection. Add on to this the fact that a rape kit must be done within a 72 hour time frame and you are asked not to shower from when your attacker last touched you. Isn’t that the natural reaction, to want to cleanse yourself, but unfortunately not showering is when the most collection can happen. Then there are the series of pills and shots you can get to make sure you don’t become pregnant or get any number of STI in situations where your attacker is a stranger to you or you just want to be sure nothing else can harm you. Then there is the process of filing a report to the police where you are asked to repeat the story of one of the most horrifying moments of your life multiple times to individuals you don’t know at a time where you are your most fragile. Then realizing that to follow through with the report you will have to face your attacker again at some point trying to prove to a jury that it wasn’t your fault, as we all know popular culture takes to victim blaming. Then if you want a University reaction you have to go through their conduct systems and again repeat the story after already telling multiple police officers, the sane nurse, another physician if you so need one, your friends and family if you want support, a counselor if you need help trying to manage your emotional stability and your school life.

Does it sound easy to “Fake it” now?

We are lucky that here at UNH we have SHARPP to provide counseling for individuals here on campus. We can walk survivors through this minefield as we all understand the justice system is not built for survivors. Unfortunately though we live in a rape culture that spreads much wider than our University. This is why the following situation happened with UConn survivor Kylie Angell with a campus police officer. She spoke to the female police officer because of her attacker being able to appeal the University’s finding of the sexual misconduct, which he was expelled for in 2010, and allowing him back on campus without notifying her.

Angell says she went to police herself after her attacker returned to campus and a female police officer told her, “Women need to stop spreading their legs like peanut butter or rape is going to keep happening until the cows come home.” (Washington Post)

Does this sound like rape culture is over? Would you feel safe on a campus where police officers who are supposed to be supporting the safety of students participate in victim blaming? Especially when the “alleged” student attacker was already originally found by the University to have committed this crime.

We here at UNH are ahead of other Universities in the fact that we do have an on-campus Crisis Center while also having Campus Police who are trained in sensitivity for sexual assault cases. However, this is not the case everywhere. While we are taking lead on showing the importance of our student’s safety we still have a long way to go.

Being a Connecticut resident this story shocked me as I realized that there were multiple women who’s cases were looked over. The University states :

The suggestion that the University of Connecticut, as an institution, would somehow be indifferent to or dismissive of any report of sexual assault is astonishingly misguided and demonstrably untrue. (Washington Post)

Unfortunately, when there are multiple survivors stepping forward and sharing their experiences it doesn’t seem like this above statement holds very much merit. A description of the charges is listed below.

The lawsuit alleges discrimination based on gender and retaliation in violation of Title IX, which guarantees equal educational opportunities to students at schools that receive federal funds. It seeks unspecified monetary damages and changes in university policies. (Washington Post)

The lawsuit, announced on Friday, is in addition to  two federal complaints  filed by seven current and former UConn students, including the four women. The complaints cite disparaging comments made against the victims by UConn police, and the school’s failure to punish sexual assault perpetrators and protect survivors of rape and harassment. They ask the U.S. Department of Education to investigate whether UConn violated gender equity law Title IX, and the Clery Act, a campus safety statute. (Huffington Post)

So after reading all of this and seeing how much education is still needed in handling sexual assaults I want to ask you all… Do you see the problem?

Be Safe Wildcats

Negative Perceptions of Women: Results of Google Searches Regarding Women

Hi Wildcats and Friends,

HAPPY SATURDAY!

I wanted to say CONGRATULATIONS for making it halfway through the semester for those of you still in school. I know midterms and exams in general make everyone that more stressed and I’m sorry about that. However, if you’re reading this here blog of mine I can tell that you must have found some downtime which is very important. Now onto the topic of this week.

Many people ask me why I do this type of work and during an interview with a student yesterday I was asked this question again. One of the purposes of this blog and the work that I along with the staff and volunteers of SHARPP  is bringing awareness to stop violence against women. Now this violence is presented in an array of actions but one of them which doesn’t get as much coverage is the general perception people hold of women. While there are other serious actions such as mutilation, domestic violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape the main focus that starts these behaviors is the general perception individuals hold of women. This is where our country and the world needs to be improved. To stop violence we must change the lens from which we view ourselves and other people. In this case, globally we all need to look at how each culture views it’s female population.

This is addressed beautifully in the UN Women advertisements by Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai. The UN Women website states that while the pictures were taken for the advertisements, they were “Based on searches dated 9 March, 2013 the ads expose negative sentiments ranging from stereotyping as well as outright denial of women’s rights.” The UN Women organization started the advertisements to bring awareness to the blatantly negative perceptions people have of women.

The google search prompt show common searches that people look up. I am personally appalled by these results and that in this day and age we are still confronting so much sexism and negative stereotypes of women. This campaign shows the reason that we all need to help spread awareness and change our hurtful perception of women. We can’t change the world all at once, but we can by taking steps. So can you help make people aware of violence against women. Don’t perpetuate sexist jokes such as women can’t drive and the like. Try to spread positivity amongst women rather than judging and further alienating them.

If we all take responsibility for the way we perpetuate violence against women in different forms we can all help make our world a safe place for women.

Let’s make a difference Wildcats, Have a great weekend!

Below are the pictures from the campaign as well as the links to the upworthy post which got my attention and the UN Women organizations article.

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Upworthy Link :

http://www.upworthy.com/would-you-expect-these-results-to-appear-when-you-google-women-2?c=ufb1

UN Women Link:

http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2013/10/women-should-ads

When You ASSUME You Make an A…Well You Guys Get It

Hi all,

Happy Sunday!!!

I hope you all are recovered from the homecoming excursions of last week and are focused on the Midterms to come.

In honor of Relationship Abuse Awareness month I wanted to talk about a link that caught my eye on the internet. Given that this month is all about bringing awareness to issues surrounding sexual assault and domestic violence the article Icky Frat Email From Georgia Tech Instructs How To Lure “Rape Bait” caught my attention on buzzfeed.

here is the link if you want to read and then follow along.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelzarrell/email-from-georgia-tech-frat-instructs-luring-rape-bait

The Buzzfeed Summary is as follows:

The frat brothers at Phi Kappa Tau at Georgia Tech have found themselves in a bit of hot water after an email teaching them questionable tactics on how to get with girls has leaked.

Allegedly sent from the group’s social chair, Matthew Peterson, the letter says brothers will be ejected from parties if they’re not talking to women, instructs multiple times to make sure the opposite sex is pumped full of liquid courage, and includes commands like, “ALWAYS USE YOUR HANDS OR ARMS TO GUIDE THEIR DANCING in order to maximize your pleasure.”

Throughout the email this male student describes all the various ways his fraternity brothers can manipulate a woman to ultimately end up in their bed. I felt it was important to talk about these ideals because Peterson’s whole ideology is based on one very dangerous component. ASSUMPTION.

In his explanations of female interactions he states the following

If she starts putting her hair over her ear, THAT MEANS SHE WANTS A KISS. Therefore, try to give her a kiss on the cheek. They usually like that and nothing really should become of it. In the case, go for the neck kiss. If for some reason they aren’t down for a cheek kiss, just dance through it or say you are going to get another drink and see if they want one. And then repeat from the beginning.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I frequently touch my hair especially if I’m dancing because I have big hair and it gets hot on a dance floor…So I don’t know how this one individual has now branded pulling your hair over your ear as the ‘I WANT A KISS SIGN’

Making assumptions is one of the biggest mistakes you can do in your life. Whether you’re making an assumption on someone’s socioeconomic status, sexual preference or any other personal identifications or actions. However, when it comes to sexual encounters making an assumption can place any individual in an awkward and potentially life changing situation. Assuming someone’s sexual intent can lead to miscommunications and situations where other’s are violated in some cases. Assumptions are present in rape culture which this email is promoting. In the situations described this man is revealing a rape culture lens by claiming that a woman’s actions are characterized to mean certain sexually implicit actions.

Now I know some of you may read this article and point out that the author of the email did write “NO RAPING” within the email.  However, the sentiment is lost as earlier in that same sentence he claims “ALWAYS START WITH THE MAKING OUT!!!!” as if you aren’t raping if you start off making out. The message this college student is promoting doesn’t solidify his warning and I don’t even think he was aware of it. In the whole of this email at no point does the writer say, ask the girl you’re dancing with what she would want other than another drink. Rather than do that and be clear about the intentions you have the writer state to simply ‘repeat from the beginning’ the steps he had given them. This attempt is merely to try and wear down women and get them drunker throughout the night so they are more susceptible to the motive of these men which is sex.

To end his email, the author left this sentiment.

A short guide consist of the 7 E’s of HOOKING UP! 1. Encounter (spot a girl or group of girls) 2. Engage (go up and talk to them) 3. Escalate (ask them to dance, or ask them to go up to your room or find a couch, depending on what kind of party) 4. Erection (GET HARD) 5. Excavate (should be self-explanatory) 6. Ejaculate (should also be self explanatory) 7. Expunge (send them out of your room and on their way out when you are finished. IF ANYTHING EVER FAILS, GO GET MORE ALCOHOL. I want to see everyone succeed at the next couple parties. In luring rapebait

Again, the writer is viewing women as a conquests that can be manipulated then removed of . He states that if there is any faltering in his defined rules that the brother should go get more alcohol, making the female student more drunk. After reading this article I am unfortunately not shocked by the attitude and understanding of this college student as I know this is not the first person to view college women and sexual interactions with blatant assumptions. While I’m sure this Phi Kappa Tau brother thought he was giving confidence and helpful tips to give his other brothers and new members, his message was a very warped and dangerous way to approach interactions with women. So what I hope you all take from this article is the following:

A. Know that there are individuals who share this man’s mindset
B. Be careful of individuals who use alcohol as their main staple of interaction and
C. Remember that Assumptions are a dangerous thing, especially in sexual encounters.

You remember the age old saying when you ASSUME you make a “donkey” out of U and ME ;)

That’s all for this week kiddos

Have a good week Wildcats!

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Making Strides: Reaction to TNH Stalking Article

Hello everyone,

So what I’m going to speak about today is regarding the tnh article regarding the stalking policy at the university. And don’t worry it’s nothing bad.

(Link Below for those who want to read it)

http://www.tnhonline.com/news/unh-looks-to-update-stalking-policy-1.3070411?pagereq=2#.Uk70Xhafd68

First of all I want to send a big HOORAH to the Student Senate for wanting to speak out against violence on this campus. I would also like to express how we, here at SHARPP, are very glad for you all to be joining the “front lines” in supporting our survivors and UNH community. I thought this article was very interesting as I do believe we need to have a more defined stalking policy here at the university. As I mentioned in a post last semester, stalking has becoming a huge issue in our society. In 2010 The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS), 2010 revealed that:

One in 6 women (16.2%) and 1 in 19 men (5.2%) in the United States have experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.

- http://www.nhcadsv.org/whatis_stalking.cfm (New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence)

And for those of you who want to hear a more relatable statistic in the TNH article:

Merrill cited a 2012 report titled  “Incidences of Stalking and Physical Relationship Violence Experiences at UNH” detailing experiences of physical violence and stalking at UNH. According to the report, of the 4,406 undergraduates surveyed, 35 percent of women and 26 percent of men reported experiences with stalking. The report also stated that college age women are the highest risk group for sexual violence.

This increase is partially due to cyberstalking which our Interim Director Amy Culp mentions in the article.

Cyberstalking is another new frontier for perpetrators to find survivors of sexual assault or to victimize other individuals. We post everything about our lives online and through social media. How many of you post regarding your daily schedule. Maybe you don’t say Monday I do this, Tuesday I do this. However, is it apparent enough to someone who looks at your Facebook or Instagram or Twitter where you are at any given moment. How many of you use foursquare? That’s sending someone the exact location of where you are. Be aware of these things is all I’m asking you to do. No one should go on a social media hiatus because of what I’m saying. I am not the doom squad tearing apart your social media lifestyle. I’m on social media, I love Instagram and most other social media I don’t keep up with. However, we are all old enough to know that every action has a reaction. So I ask that you be wary of how you promote your life on social media, you wouldn’t want anyone to be able to harm you from your over-sharing.

Another contributor towards these large percentages is from the lack of definition that people are presented with in terms of stalking. I understand we are a big campus and we all know that sometimes you can just run into someone. However, there is a difference between a spontaneous encounter and behaviors where you feel threatened, followed and watched. So for those of you who read the article and wondered how to define stalking behaviors this is your answer.

According to RSA 633:3-a it is against the law for someone to:

  • Purposely, knowingly, or recklessly engage in a course of conduct targeted at a specific person which would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her personal safety or the safety of a member of that person’s immediate family, and that person is placed in fear;

  • Purposely or knowingly engage in a course of conduct that the actor knows will place an individual and/or that person’s immediate family member in fear for personal safety;

  • Commit a single act of conduct that both violates the provisions of a protection order, divorce decree, or bail conditions, that prohibits contact with the individual and is an act of conduct, as defined below. The person must have been served or given notice of the protective order filed against him/her.

  • Course of conduct refers to 2 or more acts that occur over a period of time, however short, that show evidence of a pattern of behavior. This includes any of the following acts against a person or her/his immediate family member.

- NHCADSV

If you have been stalked, are currently being stalked, or are unsure of someone’s behaviors towards you come to the SHARPP Office or call the 24 hr confidential crisis line. SHARPP is here to help any member of this campus or in this community feel safe and supported. So don’t hesitate to call. Also you can visit our website to learn more information or even stop by the office if you’d like to discuss an opinion regarding anything I’ve talked about here. (Comments are also welcome)

So that’s all for this week kiddos. I’d like to again commend the TNH and Student Senate for discussing this issue openly. I feel we are proving every day that UNH is one of the most progressive universities in regards to supporting survivors and addressing issues regarding domestic and sexual violence, as well as violence against women here on campus. With every stride we make we are helping our community be full of safe and healthy relationships every day.

So I say…

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And on that note! Happy Relationship Abuse Awareness Month and Happy SEXtober!! Check out SHARPP, Health Services, Muso and other student orgs for all the great events coming this month!

Play Safe Wildcats!

What Kind of Shirt Would You Wear? Upcoming SHARPP EVENTS

Hey Everyone HAPPY FRIDAY!!!

I hope everyone is becoming more comfortable in their skins now that we’ve all endured a month of being in college. The first month is always one of the hardest adjustments no matter what year you are. So I’m wishing you all happy Autumn since it is the best season of the year *cough cough* because it’s my birthday season. 

 

Anyways today I thought I’d give you all a heads up for a couple of events SHARPP is hosting within the upcoming month. October is RELATIONSHIP ABUSE AWARENESS MONTH (also known as domestic violence awareness month)! In honor of this month I heard it through the grapevine that the SHARPP Office (located at Wolff House) is going to glow purple for one week. I’m pumped for that and you should be too. So keep your eyes peeled for us spotlighting ourselves for awareness. To keep updated follow SHARPP on Twitter and Facebook. (we also are working on tumblr so you can stay posted on the developments of that if you follow us too c: ) 

http://www.unh.edu/sharpp/
http://www.facebook.com/UNHSHARPP
http://www.twitter.com/UNHSHARPP

The next event we have coming is The Clothesline Project 

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In New Hampshire, the Clothesline Project is an annual statewide event. Put on by the AmeriCorps Victim Assistance Program. 

The project displays shirts from crisis centers across the state on the statehouse lawn in Concord every April. Following the statehouse display, the shirts are then moved to Colby-Sawyer College where all shirts from years prior are displayed. At the latter event, the shirts number into the thousands.

Twice a year, SHARPP hosts the Traveling Clothesline Project. During the month of October (Relationship Abuse Awareness Month) and April (Sexual Assault Awareness Month), the Clothesline is brought to different halls across campus for display. There is also opportunity for students to make their own t-shirts once or twice during those months (see below). T-shirts displayed at UNH are all made by students, faculty and staff members of years past dating back to 2002.

The History Behind The Clothesline Project

The idea of the Clothesline came from old practices. Years ago, when women were often at home and handling the laundry, going outside to hang up clothes on the clothesline became a social gathering of sorts.  Women in neighboring yards used this time and space to talk to one another about their lives. It was sometimes the only space where women could disclose things that were happening to them to other women.

Survivors and their family and friends are encouraged to design a t-shirt in any way they choose. Some survivors choose to tell their stories on the shirts. Others use pictures and symbols attached to their abuse or their healing. Some offer encouragement and hope to other victims. 

Since its early beginnings, the Clothesline Project has become a national campaign. Across the country many crisis centers, college campuses and other organizations have taken part in bringing awareness around the issues of sexual and relationship violence. 

 

The violence in our country has to stop, and relationship abuse is a topic that is hard to speak openly about. However, individuals experience this violence every day. This project is a way for us all to symbolize that you don’t have to wear the pain, you can vocalize the strength and the community we as human beings are meant to have. So I ask all of you, would you like to make a t-shirt that would help empower someone, a t-shirt that will spread the message that violence is not accepted and that there is strength when we use our voices in whatever capacity we can. Or do you want to just make a tie-dye t-shirt to wear to the gym or to a party.

T-SHIRT MAKING WORKSHOPS

All members of the UNH community are invited to attend a t-shirt making workshop. No registration required. SHARPP provides all materials. We will also have a t-shirt display for your viewing at our workshops. You can make a t-shirt for yourself, for your best friend, for a family member, or simply to send a message that you feel the world should hear.

The next workshop is:

Thursday, October 3, 2013 (12:40 – 2:00pm) in MUB Room 302

 

So have a good weekend stay aware and Play Safe Wildcats

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clothesline picture : http://today.uconn.edu/blog/2009/10/clothesline-project-seeks-to-raise-awareness-of-sexual-assault/

ribbon picture : http://lalynnsshoppe.blogspot.com/2011/10/purple-ribbon.html

Playboy? or FORCE? Have you heard about this scandal?

Today is the anniversary of this blog so let us start off by saying HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHARPP AND KICKINITWITHKENNA!!!

 

So today I wanted to ease everyone in with a little coverage of the group FORCE who is an Anti-Rape Activist Group centered in Baltimore, MD.

 

So for those of you who don’t know FORCE pulled a viral prank on the Playboy corporation regarding the top party school list. What they posted instead was a consent campaign. Here at SHARPP we like to say well done, for those of you who learned something by visiting the website good job. And to FORCE we’d like to say thank you for creating a witty internet “scandal” that brought more awareness to people regarding consent and partying in college. 

 

See below for links to Huffington Post’s article as well as a link to FORCE’s webpage if you’d like to learn more about their mission and their take on their internet campaign.

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/18/force-anti-rape-playboy-party_n_3944751.html?utm_hp_ref=college

 

http://upsettingrapeculture.com

Welcome Back Wildcat

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Hey there Wildcats!

I know it’s been awhile but everyone, including this blog needs a summer rest. I hope you all are getting in the swing of this semester and enjoying your friday. However, before the “weekend” starts [because we all know thursday is an unofficial start haha] I just wanted to do another introduction for those of you who don’t know me. I’m Kenna, I’m a senior here at UNH and I work with SHARPP the Sexual Harassment And Rape Prevention Program. I’m going to be updating this blog on Fridays now and you can think of it as a weekend send off. Now before you guys get all worried about what I have to say I wanted to provide some information about what we do here in our wonderful office located at Wolf House.

Sexual assault, harassment and rape happens. That’s an undeniable fact. It happens in your hometown, in the city, in the country. It happens at people’s places of work, out around their town and yes it happens here at our college and any university in the world.

Now what I want you all to understand about us here at UNH is something we all know. We. Are. Awesome. SHARPP is a program model for universities across the country. We are one of the few crisis centers located on a college campus exclusively for our college’s students, friends, family and faculty. And for you Democrats out here Biden did come here in 2011 to personally congratulate SHARPP on its commitment to stop violence against women. SO we are WHITE HOUSE APPROVED…NBD…

Now a little 411 what we do here at SHARPP isn’t say how horrible our population is in concerns to sexual assault. We aren’t sitting here calling everyone an offender. What our purpose is for you, the general UNH population, is to provide education, awareness and yes crisis services for those who need them. We are committed to a happy healthy and safe college campus. We also love to give out free things like our famous SHARPP Pens, candy and obviously condoms. What more do you need?

So for those of you who’ve never read my blog what I do here is talk about issues regarding college sexual assault along with whatever is going on in current news that we all have questions on. This is a free forum where you can post questions or comments. I’ll respond and no I won’t bite your head off. College is about differences of opinion and gaining new understandings. So if you see something I say and you want to challenge it you can be my guest. I’m not perfect nor do I know everything, despite being a fountain of knowledge.

So now that I’ve gone on my spiel I just want to say have fun this weekend kiddos. UNH is a great place especially at night. I only will reinforce what you’ve already heard in your life. Be safe. Make wise choices. Get consent before you do something, I promise it’s ALOT sexier than it sounds especially for you vocal people ;).

Now get out there!

Be Safe Wildcats!

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