“It Happens” Photo Series Challenges the Stereotypes Associated with Sexual Assault

By Olivia Heersink

(Trigger warning: the following post contains images and dialogue related to sexual assault.)

From the innocence of adolescence through adulthood, women in our society are internalizing fear and silence. Most women begin their preparations for sexual assault at a young age, and are well-versed in the precautions they must take before they reach adulthood. In fact, avoiding being raped is an epidemic for women in our society. On average, there are 288,820 victims of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States, alone.

We teach women how not to be raped rather than teaching men about consent, respect, and mutual sexual expression. Not surprisingly, this strategy is ineffective at best. Every two minutes another American is sexually assaulted.

Sex crimes are unique because they are extremely private yet prevalent. Every sexual assault is unique to the victim; yet so many women, and sometimes men, have had similar experiences. Falling victim to a sex crime is an experience that makes the victim feel ashamed of something that happened to their own body.

Continue reading ““It Happens” Photo Series Challenges the Stereotypes Associated with Sexual Assault”

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Consent and Sex

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A woman holding a sign during SlutWalk

By Kate Ringer

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 (Not So Honorable) Honor Code

Universities should have the right to implement their own forms of rules, guidelines, and punishments. If it is a religious-based school then they should have the opportunity to operate under religious constitutions and freedoms. If students sign this contract or attend this university, than they are aware of what they are agreeing to. Seems pretty straightforward and reasonable, right?
Well, unfortunately, this honor code can cause a mess of problems when it comes to unforeseen “consequences” of breaking this honor code. Although I am sure there are many such consequences of this, the one that’s causing the most headlines is rape.

Brigham Young University is currently under fire for its honor code and its lack of 572a8a74091d3.imageintervention for rape victims. Multiple students have come forward saying that when they went to the school about rape allegations, they were threatened with suspension or expulsion for violating the honor code.  Sophomore Madi Barny, who ended up drafting a petition to protest the honor code at Brigham Young University, is one of these many victims. One of her arguments is that the logic of the honor code says that if a victim hadn’t been drinking, hadn’t been in a male’s dorm room, or hadn’t been engaging in other sexual activities, perhaps the rape wouldn’t have occurred. Needless to say, I was horrified when I heard about these cases.
Continue reading “The (Not So Honorable) Honor Code”

Rebecca Solnit’s “Men Explain Things to Me”: why mansplaining is more than a buzzword

“You Read Like a Girl” Book Review Series

By Madison TeuscherThe bright blue cover of "Men Explain Things to Me" by Rebecca Solnit.

The abundance of rape and violence against women is almost never treated as a human rights issue, let alone a crisis, or even a pattern. It takes very little inference to recognize that the violence and assault that women face is an extremely prevalent issue that needs to be addressed immediately. Men Explain Things to Me is a provocative collection of short stories and essays that address the core of the gender inequality issue: a deeply rooted craving for men to have control over women’s lives. Through honest examination of case studies and cultural attitudes, Rebecca Solnit demonstrates that the incidents that are so often seen as isolated events are all, in fact, very connected and illustrate a much larger social problem.

One of the soaring successes of Solnit’s collection of essays is the effortless grace with which it presents gruesome and heavy topics. I felt like I was speaking with a wise colleague, or perhaps my best friend’s cool older sister. The book begins with the title essay, “Men Explain Things to Me”, in which she introduces the idea of “mansplaining”: men explaining things to women in a condescending or patronizing way. Solnit recounts a posh party in a luxury cabin in Aspen. One man began asking her about her numerous book publications, and when she mentioned her latest book about Eadweard Muybridge, he immediately began recalling the “very important Muybridge book that came out this year”. It took multiple interruptions and comments for him to realize that this “very important” book was her book. She continues to discuss the slippery slope of silencings. The presumption that women’s thoughts and emotions are somehow invalid crushes young women into silence by indicating, in the same way that street harassment does, that this is not their world and that the truth does not belong to them. When we tell women they are not reliable witnesses to their own lives, we annihilate their very real and valid experiences, opinions, and accomplishments.

Continue reading “Rebecca Solnit’s “Men Explain Things to Me”: why mansplaining is more than a buzzword”

Losing my Vagina Monologues V-Card

By Madison Griffin 

The UI Women's Center presents The Vagina Monologues

As the Vagina Monologues celebrates its 20th birthday in 2016, many people are asking—is the play still relevant to women today?

The Women’s Center at the University of Idaho will be performing its 14th annual production of the Vagina Monologues this year. The show caps off our Body Positive Week—running from Thursday through Saturday at the Kenworthy Theater downtown. Tickets can be purchased at the door or (for a little less) in advance at the Women’s Center or at Eclectica—in the Safari Pearl Comic Shop on 3rd and Jefferson. The money raised from ticket purchases will go to benefit Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse, which works to support survivors of domestic and sexual violence in Latah and Whitman Counties.

Check out the show February 18th-20th at 7 pm.

Whether you’re a “Vagina Monologues-Virgin” like myself, or a Vagina Monologues-Veteran, the show still has something to offer. It acts as a rite of passage for many women in college, it benefits a local nonprofit, it brings awareness to the worldwide problem of sexual violence, and it unites women globally through campaigns such as One Billion Rising.

Continue reading “Losing my Vagina Monologues V-Card”

Shock and awe versus the truth


12-university-of-virginia.w529.h352In November of 2014,
Rolling Stone magazine published a scathing expose of a campus rape University of Virginia. “Jackie,” a freshman at the time, had been brutally gang raped, by seven members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house during a party in September of 2012. She remembered that the member who orchestrated her assault was a lifeguard. It was later found that no social event had been hosted that night, and the fraternity had no lifeguard members.

The magazine official retracted the story in December, after finding may of the facts of the story to be false. Three Phi Kappa Psi members are now suing Rolling Stone for defamation. The full recapitulation can be read here.

Continue reading “Shock and awe versus the truth”

Why I Chose a Feminist Blog

I’ve never been one to speak up or defend myself when it comes to issues of women’s equality, mainly because my personality is a bit more reserved in public settings. My mind spins through educated rebuttals and facts while my outward appearance is flat or pretending to ignore sexist comments. At the ripe young age of twenty-four, however, I finally feel ready to open myself to the world of feminism and let the world hear my thoughts.

I come from a complex background which has afforded me a rich opportunity for education and growth in various areas. I was raised in a very traditional Mexican household where we went to church every Sunday and prayed at meals and before bedtime. I quickly discovered what it meant to be “ethnic” and liberal in the state of Idaho, where a high majority of our population is white and conservative (I might throw Mormon in there as well, though I haven’t checked local statistics recently enough to feel comfortable in doing so). In retrospect, I’ve toyed with the idea that my differences and inadequacies growing up have a lot to do with my personality as an introvert today, but I suppose that might depend on your stance of nature versus nurture. In any event, I was an outlier which helped me prepare myself as an intellect and focus more of my time on my studies and in music (violin, trumpet, rudimentary snare and other various percussion instruments), where I experienced high levels of success.   Continue reading “Why I Chose a Feminist Blog”