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.
Healing after sexual trauma can be an erratic, draining, and difficult process. It can also be extremely rewarding and empowering. While it is common for the partner of a rape survivor to feel helpless, there are many ways that they can be an excellent source of support. Here are some ideas to consider when attempting to support your partner with their healing.
Politicians won’t solve America’s gun violence, but folks on the street just might. Meet Kenneth Edwards. Jailed for fatally shooting a young man, he resolved to “be part of the change.” Now an interrupter of gangs with guns in his New York City neighborhood, Kenneth confronts skepticism and resistance from his community. Why doesn’t he give up already?
Ending sexual violence involves an “all for one, one for all” attitude toward rape culture. Sexual violence is not a special interest issue, but rather a social justice issue that affects everyone. We all take part in rape culture and are affected by rape culture. And we can (and should) all be part of the solution. So, how can communities do right by survivors?
You know that not only does domestic violence in the trans* community play out in slightly different ways, but trans* survivors often face obstacles when trying to access resources. It’s not easy to approach a loved one about their abusive relationship. But you don’t need to be an expert. You just need to be there.
As a feminist, an activist, a parent of two boys, and a sexual health educator, I struggle with how to balance my sensibilities with my parenting style. And an issue that I am very connected to is rape culture. How does a parent compete with the constant assault of stereotypes and overwhelming sex-negative messaging in the media? Here are a few suggestions.
As with all other systems of oppression, rape culture is a beast with tentacles and spores across countless other facets of inequality. The following 3 things may not appear to be major components of rape culture at first glance, but undoubtedly fuel and are fueled by it. Dismantling and addressing these things must be part of our movement to end rape culture.