We often discuss issues of rape and sexual violence with our daughters, but are we having these critical conversations with our sons? The truth is that our sons can be victims of rape, too. They can also be bystanders, confidants, or rapists. Undoubtedly these conversations are challenging. So how do we start them, and what do we talk about? Here are a few tips.
The police murder of Michael Brown has once again brought the attention of the country to the devastating reality of racist violence and structural inequality. With outrage, grief, and pain all over the country, I’m writing this to white people in particular as a call to action to stand with the people of Ferguson. Here are nine suggestions to help move forward.
In the wake of the death of Michael Brown (and Trayvon Martin, and Eric Garner, and John Crawford…), we must remember that brutality toward Black bodies is nothing new in America. Watch Dominique Christina deliver her outstanding poem about Emmett Till and the particular way that she, as a mother of a young Black man, relates to his murder.
If you’ve spent more than two minutes on the Internet, you’ve probably seen internet harassment—trolling, bullying, insincere but deliberately hurtful comments, and other things that no one would say to another person’s face offline. But the internet isn’t some disembodied place where people should feel okay with delivering abuse without consequences.
In 2005 I came out as transgender and transitioned to male. I am much happier as a man, but in transitioning I moved from a class of people most likely to be victimized to a class of individuals more likely to victimize someone else. I had become the enemy. And that got me thinking: Why don’t more men see violence against women as their issue?
We can lay the groundwork for the children we love for good health and truly empowered living. Here, we look those aspects of protecting children that are slightly beyond the basics: the more subtle, on-going interactions that strengthen our children, influence their decision making, impact their safety, and, hopefully, contribute to a safer and saner society.
The silence of a missing young girl named Relisha Rudd, of the 276 Nigerian school girls half a world away from her, and of the thousands of child sufferers of abuse, assault, and abduction unwillingly call us to a greater understanding of how to protect our young. Thankfully, experts in violence against children — and survivors of childhood violence — are speaking up.
Women get tons of useless advice about how to “protect” ourselves. Whether or not we follow the advice, we’re still blamed for our own assaults. We all have the right to assert our boundaries, but saying that we can defend ourselves sounds like victim-blaming. So how do we reconcile those two messages? One way is through feminist, empowerment-based self-defense.
As a gay feminist, I’ve had to tell many the straight boy, “Those jokes make me feel uncomfortable. Please stop.” The percussive nature of gay rape jokes can certainly get a laugh, but they also speak to some of our societal attitudes regarding rape and queer sexuality. Here are some answers to the question, “Why do people think gay rape jokes are okay?”
A recent study finds that girls who’ve suffered sexual harassment often see it as “normal stuff” that “just happens” because it’s what “guys do.” Translation: they frame their own experiences of harassment based on cultural notions about what gender and sexuality are — or should be. Sad, then, isn’t it, that those cultural notions are often bullshit.