ChoiceWords Blog

Posts Tagged: victim blaming

Dear Emily Yoffe: I Don’t Need Your Advice. Please Stop, Seriously.

Lots of you may have already seen Slate’s recent article “College Women: Stop Getting Drunk.” For those of you who haven’t, Emily Yoffe, the author of Slate’s “Dear Prudence” column, argues that because sexual assault in college is seriously linked to alcohol consumption (and I agree) college-aged women need to stop drinking so much, which will in turn make them responsible for their actions and their safety and apparently reduce the amount of sexual assault.  Yoffe also says that this doesn’t mean you don’t get to have fun in college because she herself has only been hungover three times and had a lot of stupid fun as a young person. Where drunk college women are irresponsible and blame things like alcohol and rapists for what happens to them, Yoffe “always… Read more »

A New Top Priority for College Campuses: Why Your College Needs to Advocate for Survivors

This weekend, my college lost an important part of our community with the passing of our Dean of Students, Bekki Lee.  Bekki was a kind and compassionate listener and activist and the epitome of an advocate for students.  As I sat down to brainstorm for my ChoiceWords post this week I couldn’t bring myself to leave her out.  This week’s post is in honor of Bekki Lee and the vital support she provided which enabled my peers to found the Scripps College Advocates for Survivors of Sexual Assault and her work to help end the proliferation of sexual violence that is too common on residential college campuses. 

I Am A Woman

Trigger warning: this post contains references to sexual assault and victim blaming.  It was in the back pew of a church where I first learned the universal truth That because I am a woman I am made to be raped, whether it’s with a wine bottle, or that thing between your legs, or even by a state sanctioned invasive medical procedure to tell me that I am not my own but a thing to be ruled and oppressed A woman I was taught through too close bodies and far too anxious hands that “no” means “yes” and “yes” means “whore” I was told that I should be thankful because fat girls don’t get attention, especially black girls, and boy was I lucky They threw words at me like bricks “Situational” and “boys… Read more »

It Doesn’t Matter What I Wore; A Story of the Night I Was Drugged

  *All names have been changed As women and girls growing up in America, we have all heard the warnings to ‘keep ourselves safe.’ We are told not to drink too much, not to wear short skirts or revealing tops, and not to walk alone at night. People claim we live in a post-sexist society, yet women are still constantly blamed for the sexual assaults that happen to them and deemed at fault if they get drugged. A few months ago, I went out with a friend of mine, Laurie* in downtown Sacramento. We stopped by a favorite bar of mine, then decided to move on since it was a slow night. As we arrived at the second bar, Tavern X*, we saw my friend Dane* who had coincidentally also… Read more »

What Facebook Continues To Tell Us About Violence Against Women

Cross-posted with permission from Fem2.0  **Trigger warning – This post contains strong language and graphic descriptions.** There is a photograph being shared in Facebook of a woman cowering in a corner, eyes downcast, as large man standing in the foreground swings his fist at her head. The caption reads, “Women deserve equal rights. And lefts.” AT&T, American Express, Cubesmart and Ancestry.com are among the page’s sponsors today. This image has been reported to Facebook repeatedly. Their response is: “Thanks for your report. We reviewed the photo you reported, but found it doesn’t violate Facebook’s Community Standard on hate speech, which includes posts or photos that attack a person based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or medical condition.” The “joke” isn’t offensive. What is offensive… Read more »

Unpacking “Schroedinger’s Rapist” or A Guy’s Guide to Approaching Strange Women Without Being Maced

This post is part of a series celebrating Choice USA’s Bro-Choice Week of Action. For more information, please visit our website and take the Bro-Choice pledge.  For those of you unfamiliar with the concept (like I was just last month), Schroedinger’s Rapist is a blog post by Phaedra Starling. The article itself discusses the appropriate way for a man to approach a woman in a public place; men are advised to proceed with caution and consideration of the fact that there is no reasonable way for a woman to know whether or not she is at risk of being assaulted. Starling writes that there is no way for a woman to know that the risk of a strange man approaching her is zero. Here’s the overarching idea: • Our culture downplays the frequency and… Read more »

Steubenville, Rape Culture, and Male Responsibility

This post is part of a series celebrating Choice USA’s Bro-Choice Week of Action. For more information, please visit our website and take the Bro-Choice pledge.  In the aftermath of Steubenville, pundits and reporters have been discussing the different factors that drove the perpetrators to commit such a terrible crime. Some have suggested that it was a lack of parental involvement. Others have wondered if teen drinking is to blame. One factor that has not been discussed in great detail – and one that our society is reluctant to ponder – is our cultural definition of masculinity. One of the ways privilege functions is that we don’t question the socialization of those with power. For instance, when white men commit violent acts of terrorism the news media classifies them as “lone gunmen” who… Read more »

Rapists: You Don’t Get To Stay Anonymous

By Callie Otto, Choice USA intern  Her name was Rehtaeh Parsons. She was a survivor of rape who was shamed, harassed, and denied justice. She went to the authorities, but they wouldn’t bring charges against her rapists. The police said it was a matter of “he said, she said.” Two years later, Rehtaeh committed suicide. Anonymous, the same hacktivist group that blew the whistle on the Steubenville rape crew, is once again taking things into their own hands. And I approve. The official statement from Anonymous says, “Our demands are simple: We want the N.S. RCMP to take immediate legal action against the individuals in question…We do not approve of vigilante justice as the media claims. That would mean we approve of violent actions against these rapists at the hands… Read more »

Rape Culture: A Case Study

Rape culture. Even if you’re not familiar with the fancy new wave feminist lingo, you’ve probably witnessed at least example of it somewhere in day-to-day life. Simply, rape culture is an environment where sexual violence is taken lightly and seen as the norm. When rape culture is present, we may be told that assault is an inevitability or given, or even–get ready, here’s the real kicker–that someone may be “asking” to be raped just by dressing a certain way. Marshall University’s Women’s Center offers the following, super concise definition: Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture. Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s… Read more »

Don’t Slut-Shame Halloween

  As a free-thinking woman living in the 21st century, I am deeply offended by the slut-shaming that coincides with the arrival of Halloween. Finally Feminism 101 defines slut-shaming as shaming and/or attacking a woman or a girl for being sexual, having one or more sexual partners, acknowledging/acting on sexual feelings. This message implies that sexuality is bad, and as a society we have the right to objectify women based on their clothing (or lack thereof.) The disdain expressed for some costumes is something I would usually expect from the conservative medium, not from fellow women. Let me tell you first that I realize that there is a great divide on this issue of the portrayal of women, sexism, expectations, etc. I come from the belief that “If you got… Read more »