Bullying has changed profoundly in the Internet era. Yet it has simultaneously stayed the same in how it disproportionately targets the most vulnerable identities in our communities. Prevention starts with this understanding. But understanding the problem does not necessarily inspire action. The problem itself can seem too overwhelming. But we have to empower our communities with tools!
The Internet is very much a public space – with all of the same sexism, racism, homophobia, and transphobia of our streets, but often, much worse. Women are the targets of a lot of this ugliness. Not unlike street harassment in the way we feel its hovering, ominous presence and the way it can control our actions — or at least try to — online harassment is an issue to be taken seriously.
Not only do I love parties, but a big part of my work is encouraging sex-positive party culture on college campuses. Parties can be profoundly dangerous places, especially for women. So it leaves me wondering this: Aside from the changes we can make to ensure party culture is more sex positive, how can men act as allies to women at parties, particularly as we look to prevent sexual violence?
(Trigger warning: rape.) Like most college freshmen, I drank too much. And one night, I drank too much and was pitched out of a frat house in the dead of winter. I woke up in my lofted bed. My clothing was on the floor, and I felt an invisible miasma of shame engulfing me. And my coping mechanism was to make my rapist my partner, giving purpose and intent to something horrible.
From adolescents to professional musicians, it seems as though the public at large has received a serious miseducation in discerning a true ‘yes’ from an implicit ‘no.’ So let me break it down for you. There is a connection between getting someone drunk to have sex and slipping someone drugs to have sex. Either way, consent is not possible. Either way, it is attempted rape.
“Why can’t we tell young women how to keep themselves safer?” Because for decades, survivors have been attacked, blamed, and shamed with questions and comments like, “What did you expect? You were drunk.” But is it possible to help women be safer without engaging in victim blaming? I think so. Here’s what we’ve learned about helping women and members of other oppressed groups claim their power.
Far too often, young people tear each other down and target one another for sustained violence, harassment, or neglect in order to feel more powerful, particularly when the person exhibiting bullying behavior is feeling powerless. But if we want to end the problem, we have to do the tough work of changing culture and climate. It’s time we change how we talk about bullying.
EF 21 – More Than ‘No Means No’: Strategies for Engaging Sexual Violence Prevention on College Campuses, with Jamie Utt
With rare exceptions, no one who is throwing a party spends the energy so that people will get assaulted. Yet, the grim reality is that at least 1 in 4 college women are survivors of sexual violence, and our institutions are not doing enough to stem this terrible tide. Jamie Utt, sexual violence prevention educator, discusses this phenomenon and offers advice on how to begin the change.
The depiction of rape in the media is not an inherently bad thing. But it is a bad thing when rape is part of a story line just for entertainment, for added suspense and sparkle. When television shows like Law & Order: SVU use and capitalize on rape as a means to allure viewers, the “featured” rape story becomes reduced to a mere gimmick, which is troubling and offensive.
One-in-three adolescents in the United States is a victim of abuse at the hands of an intimate partner. This isn’t just kids being kids. This is people who are coming of age accepting abuse as normal, paving the way for a lifetime of danger. But before we can see a change, we need to see a problem. And because teen dating violence has been so normalized, we really need to start at the basics.