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.

Continue reading “A Picture of the American Sex Worker”

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A Review of Roxane Gay’s book, Hunger

By Kali Nelson

A black and white photo of the author standing in between lots of chairs.
Roxane Gay standing in between some chairs.

“I often say that reading and writing saved my life. I meant that quite literally,” Roxane Gay.

Bad Feminist was the first time I had ever heard of Roxane Gay and I am glad it was not the last time. Hunger is one of Gay’s latest books, and it looks deeper into her past, her struggle with her weight, and the event that changed her life.

I will always have a special place in my heart for her, and I am always excited when I get to read something she wrote. She writes from a sincere place, and it shows in her work. She writes about what is true for her. She writes about her truth, which is combined with her feminism, and it doesn’t feel like reading a textbook. Hunger is a memoir of Gay’s body.   Continue reading “A Review of Roxane Gay’s book, Hunger”

“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”

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”

Rape IS a hate crime

By Tess Fox

The story continues. No, I’m not talking about the continuation of Star Wars. I’m referencing the continuing saga of Kesha’s mistreatment by the broken U.S. legal system.

If you missed the beginning of Kesha’s legal fight, you should read more about it.

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The singer Kesha, formerly known at Ke$ha

On April 6, the judge presiding over her rape case against her producer dismissed it. The statute of limitations had run out on the events she included in her lawsuit. The judge also believed that the charges involving hate crimes could not stand, adding an interesting comment: “Every rape is not a gender-motivated hate crime.”

Okay. Let’s all take a deep breath and try to be calm. I’m struggling with this statement too, it’s alright.

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And the Oscar goes to– changing the awards show status quo

By Madison TeuscherChris Rock holds an Oscar award on a poster with text reading "We all dream in gold".

The most highly sought-after recognition an actor, director, editor, or film musician can achieve is an Oscar. The 88th annual Academy Awards were certainly more subversive than in past years—but, truthfully, this is a welcome change.

Throughout the evening, there were many direct statements about social change, from Leonardo DiCaprio’s comments on the issue of climate change, Kevin Hart’s remarks on diversity, Chris Rock’s monologue about racism in Hollywood, and Lady Gaga’s performance about sexual assault. Continue reading “And the Oscar goes to– changing the awards show status quo”

Black Women Find a Voice

By Tess Fox

This story may contain triggers for survivors of sexual assault or rape.

“The saddest fact I’ve learned is nobody matters less to our society than young black women. Nobody.” – Jim DeRogatis

Between Sandra Bland, whose mysterious suicide following a traffice violation resulted in protests, and the countless young women who have been victimized by R. Kelly, it is clear that society does not view black women as a priority. But there is a possibility that’s changing.

A portrait Sandra Bland
Sandra Bland

Daniel Holtzclaw, a police officer with Oklahoma City Police, was sentenced in January to 263 years for the rape and sexual assault of 13 women while he was on duty.

Holtzclaw preyed on women who lived in high-crime areas with rap sheets and a fear of police. Some were convicted felons, sex workers, drug abusers with histories of lying to the police. He used the police database to find women who would be considered unreliable witnesses and would be afraid to report him.

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