Choosing Not to Report

By Makayla Sundquist

Trigger Warning: This post discusses multiple survivors’ sexual assault experiences and may be triggering for others who have also experienced sexual assault. 

A woman holds a sign that depicts the words "#MeToo"
The #MeToo movement created more awareness about the presence of sexual assault. Photo from Poynter.com

If you have been keeping up with the University of Idaho news lately, you will notice the attention a 2013 sexual assault case is getting. The Idaho Statesman recently discovered a survivor’s testimony on a blog site, and ran a story that covered the investigation. (Read here). Long story short, the survivors did not receive the help from the athletic department they needed. Both people involved were athletes at UI, but the athletic department only protected the assaulter. The survivors then went to the Women’s Center, and the staff there took the case to the Dean of Students for an investigation. The assaulter was no longer allowed to play football at UI. However,  he is now playing for a team in New York (which I do not agree with, but that is a conversation for another day).

Throughout all of this buzz, I have heard some comments questioning why the survivor did not go directly to the Dean of Students. Some of these comments were in poor taste. Others were genuinely curious. Even though the two women who were sexually assaulted at UI chose to report their assault to the police and the athletic department, it is common for survivors to never report. But why?

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Want a Dose of Cognitive Dissonance?

Stacked white papers with big black question marks on them.
Question Marks

By Brianna Love

When an 8-month-old baby girl is raped in India, women across the United States took a stance on Twitter to spread the word that this is not okay. The reaction some men had on Twitter was not pleasing at all. From death threats to just plain calling the women sexist, why does spreading the word of such a tragedy hit a nerve with men?

Swati Jai Hind, Twitter username: @SwatiJaiHind, tweeted about the baby on January 29 at 9:09 a.m. Her tweet said, “The worst has happened. An 8 month old baby has been brutally raped in the Capital and is battling for her life in a Hospital. Going to the hospital to meet her. Am totally numb. Terrified to face her. Please please pray for her.” By 10:50 a.m. Nivesh Agarwal replied with “Is this tweet a concern or a stunt .. Why do we write all these things on Social Media to gain sympathy or voters support.”
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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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Vagina Monologues: Still Making a Difference 22 Years Later

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Image with text “The Vagina Monologues”

By: Paola Aguilar

When I first went to see The Vagina Monologues, I had no idea what to expect. I should not have been surprised to find that it was a collection of monologues about vaginas. The Vagina Monologues was first written in 1994 by Eve Ensler and is based on dozens of interviews. The play addresses issues with sexuality, rape, and violence against women. What is so powerful about TVM is not only the array of topics which are openly addressed, but the contributions the production makes to the V-Day campaign. The movement was established on Valentine’s Day in 1998 in New York City. The mission of V-Day is to end violence to women and girls around the world. As part of V-Day, proceeds from The Vagina Monologues are directed to local organizations that work to end violence against women and girls. Here in Moscow, the production of TVM benefits Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse.

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“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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America Ferrera: Empowering the Hispanic Community

By Stephanie Sampson

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America Ferrera on Glamor Magazine discussing body positivity

Women all over the world are advocating for equality in numerous ways. This week on our blog, we are celebrating International Women’s Day, and recognizing those significant women. One of the women that deserve to be recognized is America Ferrera. She is commonly known for her role in Ugly Betty, Real Women Have Curves, Superstore, Our Family Wedding, as well as her strong role in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. But many people don’t know that she has been actively raising the profile of Latinos in popular culture.

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Three Feminist Punk Bands You Need to Check Out

By Stephanie Sampson

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Members of Pussy Riot, a feminist Russian punk rock band

Feminist Punk is a feminist movement that originally started in the 1990’s in the Pacific Northwest that combines women empowerment, punk music and politics. This genre is inspiring women all over the world to express themselves.

Emma May from Scene Reports said that over the past couple of years, as groups like indie-pop heartthrobs Death Cab for Cutie and the bearded Fleet Foxes have mostly disbanded, the members of Seattle’s most-renowned alternative bands have shifted from primarily sad-white-dudes-in-flannel to women in outspokenly feminist bands.

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