“Denim Day” Counts All the Ways We Excuse Sexual Assault

#2 SHE WAS ASKING FOR IT:

It is often believed that sexy or suggestive clothing invites wanted male attention, positive or negative. Regardless, wearing revealing clothing does not invite sexual assault. In fact, women and girls have been raped in everything from jeans to business suits to pajamas. This belief reinforces the myth that women and girls invite assault by their clothing choices and shifts the blame for the crime to the victim and away from the perpetrator, where it belongs.

via “Denim Day” Counts All the Ways We Excuse Sexual Assault – The Sexist – Washington City Paper.

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Silence Is The Enemy | The Intersection

In 2006 I was sexually assaulted. I never expected to blog about it.

One evening in DC, a stranger grabbed me as I walked from the metro stop to my apartment after work. I wish I could say I screamed or fought back, but I was too horrified. Instead I could only stare in disbelief at the jackass holding me down. This can’t be happening. In a desperate scramble I somehow managed to break away before it escalated to rape and ran inside my building. He winked and blew a kiss from behind the glass door, as if to say ‘oh well, next time‘. I was the third women in the neighborhood to report a similar story to police in two weeks–also the luckiest. The experience forever shattered a false sense of security, knowing that to monsters like this man, I’m nothing more than conquest, having no identity beyond what I can potentially provide for them. The reward isn’t about sex–but subjugation and power. And I will not be a silent witness to rape.

via Silence Is The Enemy | The Intersection | Discover Magazine.

An Open Letter

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. During this time, and all year, our attitudes toward sexual assault as a community are measured not by the compassionate or irate words of single individuals. They are measured by the respect we as a community extend and the services we provide to victims, potential victims, and their loved ones.

Our respect is measured by our understanding that no individuals regardless of age, gender, race, religion, regardless of manner of dress, past actions, marital status, level of intoxication, sexual experience or any other factor deserves or encourages sexual assault. Our understanding that all individuals can be victims. Victims created not by the circumstances of their own actions, but the criminal acts of individuals seeking power and control by inflicting violence and pain upon others.

This understanding is what allows us to rise above our society’s attitude of victim blame, and beyond long years of silent and ashamed survivors who believed that theirs was a burden to be carried alone. As a community we must life these individuals out of the darkness and support them as they step into the light of healing and hope for a brighter future.

As a community we must pledge to create a world free of sexual violence and removed from the social norms that support aggression and the abuse and oppression of victims. A world that teaches better, safer, more loving interactions between individuals. A world that encourages and expects its young people to treat one another with kindness, tolerance, and respect.

Imagine a world without rape. Imagine a world without sexual assault or abuse. What kind of world would that be? A world where no one is afraid to walk through parking lots alone, of being drugged when they go to a bar. Where no one is ever forced to do something against their will because they consented to a date, or drink, or were in a relationship with their abuser. A world where rape is never a weapon, or a punch line, or something that is ever ‘asked for.’

Imagine a world where heterosexual women, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals aren’t made targets by simply existing. Where male victims do not live in fear of reporting their assaults for fear of being judged or of perceived implications about their masculinity.

Imaging a world where being a ‘man’ doesn’t have to mean violent, tough, powerful and in ‘control.’ Where emotions are respected and aggression is not. A world where people are seen not as victims or potential victims, but as whole autonomous individuals with control over their own bodies and the power to give or withdraw consent. Consent which is not only listened to but respected and granted.

This is a world that we can help to create. It will not happen overnight but will come at the end of a long and exhausting journey. It will come with coordinated and cooperative response by medical professionals, law enforcement, prosecutors, and victims’ advocates. It will come with a community wide outcry that we must support victims and hold offenders responsible. That we must find consistent and effective ways to teach our children about violence, how to prevent it, how to choose different behaviors, and have positive and loving relationships. An outcry that we must become responsible for our own treatment or others. That we must stop forcing others into molds of masculine and feminine, aggressive and submissive, violent and timid, but be a society of self assured, unique individuals, who contribute to a peaceful world.

A world where there is no rape.

 ~Staff

Summit: Presentation by Joanne Belknap

Alcohol and drugs do not cause sexual abuse and that’s probably one of the most controversial things I feel like I have said in all of this. People’s basic values don’t change when they’re high or drunk. That I may drink and sing karaoke in a bar, but I don’t drink and hit my child, I don’t drink and kick my dog. That I may do some things that I don’t have the courage to do such as, you know, singing karaoke, that I don’t otherwise, but I’m not going to go out and roll down my window and yell racial epithets when I’m drunk. To say that people suddenly have a completely different value system on what is right or wrong, we have to be really careful about that.

via Summit: Presentation by Joanne Belknap.

Moving beyond fear

Some know it immediately; for others, it takes time — lots of time.

Five local women related their life-altering and often graphic accounts of the moment they first experienced acts of sexual assault and the moment they realized how much those experiences had changed them. Often, it took months or even years for these women to come to terms with what they had been through.

“I never told anybody,” said Linda, a victim of rape. “I stayed silent. … It wasn’t until recently that I realized I hadn’t been living life fully.”

Full Article The Diamondback Online

Walk a Mile

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is an international men’s march to stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence. Day chose to bring Walk a Mile in Her Shoes to campus last year as a project for her Communication 340 leadership course, which currently has 32 students enrolled.

Day said she brought Walk a Mile in Her Shoes to Ball State because a lot of college-age students deal with sexual assault silently.

“You don’t really think about things like that happening to your students, but they are vulnerable at this age,” she said. “We hope people will be supportive in preventing these types of issues, but also helping people who are going through them.”

~BSU Daily News

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Wisit the organization’s website at http://www.walkamileinhershoes.org/

~Staff