As many know, America has a dark side to its history. What is supposed to be the Land of the Free has at times been a country where freedom of choice is denied.
Imagine this, you’re in the hospital after spending hours in labor and are given strong drugs to reduce the pain. The nurse says you’ll need a C-section, but first you need to sign some papers. She won’t tell you what they’re for, only that if you don’t sign them, your baby will die. Even though you are in pain and can’t even read the English, you sign them and they put you under for the C-section.
Months later you’re with your baby boy and happy to start your new life. Then you get the call, you discover were sterilized. During the C-section the doctors also gave you a tubal ligation and whether you wanted or not, you cannot have more kids. This is the reality for many women, most who are in poverty or are immigrants, around the world, even in the United States. Continue reading “No Choice”→
Positive feelings like love and romance are discussed every year on Valentine’s Day. But what about the negative feelings such as pressure and fear that are associated with this holiday? There is nothing seductive about those negative feelings — so safety and consent is what’s sexy.
There is overwhelming evidence that men and women have different ideas of what constitutes consent. According to the New York Times, two open-response surveys of 185 heterosexual students showed that 27 percent of men say they get consent from a directive such as “We are going to have sex,” 22 percent of men ask if she wants to have sex, 14 percent of men use aggressive strategies like taking off a girl’s pants and 13 percent pretend intercourse occurred by mistake. Continue reading “Safe is Sexy”→
For the past two weeks I’ve talked about consent in the context of sex and how consent relates to individuals who are intersex. This week I want to broaden the discussion on a child’s right to decide what happens to their body through an exploration on circumcision.
During the Victorian Era, circumcision became a widespread practice as a treatment for masturbation. At this time, it was the belief of many doctors that masturbation led to many diseases, and that by removing one of the most sensitive parts of the penis, it could be prevented. Male circumcision was not just prevalent in the United States, but in all English-speaking countries at the time, such as Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. However, the practice decreased significantly in all of those countries except the United States in the following years. Now, between 60 to 90% of American boys are circumcised, depending on the region they live in, but only 16% of boys in Great Britain are circumcised, even though both countries were influenced by the ideas in the Victorian Era. So why is the United States still engaging in this practice?Continue reading “Male Circumcision in the United States and Consent”→
Last week I talked about consent in the context of sex. This week I want to take a closer look at consent and see the environments where consent operates, outside of sex. One of those environments is for individuals that are intersex. According to the Intersex Society of North America (ISNA), “‘Intersex’ is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.” As ISNA expands their definition, they emphasize that the term “Intersex” is a “socially-constructed” category that comes from our society’s ideas about gender and sex and what it means to be normal. Continue reading “A Child’s Right to Choose: Intersex Dilemmas and Consent”→
Just before school started this year, I was lucky enough to be an Orientation Leader, which meant that I got to walk a group of about forty freshman around campus for various structured activities to help them adjust to being in college. During that process, every single freshman who attended orientation (which is a lot) watched this video comparing sex to drinking tea. Through humor, this video promoted one of the most important messages that a new batch of students could receive upon arriving to campus: how to know that the sexual activity they are engaging in is consensual, and not sexual assault. But, the question is, did these students receive this message early enough?Continue reading “Consent and Sex”→
The existence of rape culture is something that is continuously debated and studied in American society. The fingerprints of the strangling hands of rape are evident throughout our culture, even in places which are meant to be safe from such violent acts, such as college campuses. Rape culture is widely prevalent in all of American society, is especially ubiquitous on college campuses, and is not being properly addressed or combated by most universities. Fisher and colleagues, quoted in the article “Sexual Assault on Campus: A Multilevel, Integrative Approach to Party Rape,” maintain that “A 1997 National Institute of Justice study estimated that between one-fifth and one-quarter of women are the victims of completed or attempted rape while in college.” This means that a whopping twenty to twenty-five percent of all women will graduate college not only with a bachelor’s degree, but also with the trauma of sexual violence. Although women and men both experience rape, for the purposes of this article, I will only be addressing the rape of women by men, and the rape culture which encourages and perpetuates that specific kind of rape.
There seems to be some ignorance as to what the term “rape culture” is referencing. Hannah Brancato and Rebecca Nagle, the activists of the creative collaboration FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, state that rape culture consists of “jokes, TV, music, advertising, legal jargon, laws, words and imagery, that make violence against women and sexual coercion seem so normal that people believe that rape is inevitable.”. Rape culture deeply permeates American society, yet often goes unnoticed and dismissed. This, in and of itself, proves that rape culture is present. If rape culture did not exist in America, then rape would be taken seriously and recognized as a widespread epidemic that needs to be eradicated; it would not be ignored and denied as it is today. Rape culture is especially rampant on college campuses. The frequent presence of pro-rape media, acceptance and perpetuation of rape myths, and lack of required prevention education about rape all play into the rape culture present on many campuses. Continue reading “Rape Culture on College Campuses”→