A Picture of the American Sex Worker

A diverse group of protests advocating for sex workers rights. Front group holding a sign that says “sex workers rights = human rights.” By Rosemary Anderson

As I write this article, I want to make it known that the sex industry is not always positive for women and girls. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, sex workers around the world have a 45 to 75 percent chance of experiencing violence during their careers.

When sex workers do experience violence, they are not protected by rape shield laws and are not eligible for compensation funds.

Many see sex workers as objects, non-human, and second-rate members of society. This makes sex workers even more prone to being victims of violence.

Women are forced into sex work without their consent, others are forced into sex work because of financial situations, and some choose sex work as their profession.

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Harassment in Hollywood

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By Alexandria Arritt 

Hollywood is the cinema capital of the nation, located in Los Angeles, California. Actors and actresses, producers, directors and writers all get their start there. Recent sexual assault allegations have brought to light an epidemic in Hollywood. The revelation began with allegations surfacing against Harvey Weinstein. Harvey Weinstein, director and producer, is just one of the many men being exposed as predators. Since the 1990s, Harvey has been accused of over 100 sexual assaults. Along with Weinstein, there are still many men who continue with their careers after allegations surface. The power structure in Hollywood allows men to act as they wish with little to no consequences.

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The Hunting Ground: Sexual Assault on College Campuses

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Picture Credit: The Hunting Ground documentary showing college students’ march outside UNC against sexual assault

By Samragyee Gautam.

When I first heard about a documentary called “Hunting Ground”, my mind assumed it was some sci-fi story. But it had nothing to do with fantasy or any interesting stories. It is the real and sad truth about sexual assault in college and how, despite being such major problem, universities choose not to take this matter seriously.

The showing of this documentary, organized by Generation Action; a club on campus that advocates for sexual health rights, and sponsored by Dean of Students of University of Idaho, took place this Tuesday on November 07 at the Whitewater Room, Commons. As an active member of the club and a supporter of sex education, I thought it was a powerful and important event. We had a good number of people participate. The one and half hour showing of the documentary was followed by some questions from the audience members to the panelists who covered the topics of the sexual assault rate and reporting on college campuses. Continue reading “The Hunting Ground: Sexual Assault on College Campuses”

“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.

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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.
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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.

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