Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Illinois Man Pleads Guilty to Stalking ESPN's Erin Andrews

As Stalking Awareness Month is just around the corner, this story illustrates the fact that stalking remains an important issue that needs to be addressed. On December 15th, Michael David Barrett, an Illinois insurance executive, pled guilty to stalking ESPN sportscaster Erin Andrews. “More specifically, Barrett admitted to buying information about Andrews over the internet; traveling to follow Andrews; staying in three hotel rooms next to hers (the hotels told him which room was hers); twice filming videos of Andrews while she was naked through the door's peephole; posting those videos online; and trying to sell the videos to TMZ.”

As a female sportscaster, Erin Andrews is faced with a struggle against sexism and misogyny that male sportscasters do not experience. Andrews is now devoted to advocating for changes in the hotel industry to protect female travelers from becoming victims of stalking in the future. She says, “I live in hotels because of my job, and every time I check in, I look around, constantly thinking he is there.” Victims of stalking are forced to live their lives in fear, and this is something Andrews is dedicated to putting an end to. “I have a responsibility to other women,” she says. “If I back down or shy away, what kind of message does that send to other women and other guys who may be doing this?” We all have the opportunity to work with Erin Andrews and support the many victims of stalking this January. Stalking is not a joke, and it is important for everyone to understand the horrors that it entails. The full story can be found here: http://bitchmagazine.org/post/illinois-man-pleads-guilty-to-stalking-espns-erin-andrews

Friday, December 18, 2009



For anyone who is interested, here are the dates for SAPAC's winter training.

Thursday, 1/21
Saturday, 1/23
Sunday, 1/24
Thursday, 1/28
Saturday, 1/30
Sunday, 1/31

Applications are @ www.umich.edu/~sapac

Friday, December 11, 2009

NPA Quoted in the Michigan Daily

Hey everyone,

Just wanted to make point out that an NPA volunteer is quoted in one of the articles in today's issue of the Michigan Daily!

Check it out!


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

SAPAC & Relay For Life

SAPAC volunteers have started the process of creating a team for Relay for Life 2010! Thanks to Erin Donker, a PE (Peer Education) volunteer, SAPAC volunteers have already started raising money for the cause!

Thanks Erin!

NPA Continuing Ed: Slavery Still Exists

On December 4th 2009, police in Mexico City raided a factory hidden inside a building posing as a rehabilitation center known as the “Institute for Rehabilitation of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction”. Over 100 Mexicans had been kidnapped and enslaved there – working 18 hour or longer days without pay. Even more disturbing than the fact that these people (as young as age 14) were malnourished and suffered from severe physical abuse is that city police were aware of the situation but bribed by the kidnappers not to act

Human rights activists believe the Mexican police knew about the abductions since June, but considered it to have a POSITIVE effect on the city because it was “a way of cleaning vagrants off the streets”. Such roundups are not uncommon to the area as part of what they call a “social cleansing” campaign.

Slavery and human trafficking are not merely aspects of the past. People in North America are right now being denied basic human rights without any recourse from local authorities. How corrupt could police possibly be to allow this to go on for more than 6 months?! Because those who were taken are mostly poor and homeless, they’re completely powerless in seeking help. The fact that kidnapping was seen as a benevolent act of “social cleansing” is absolutely sickening. This is eugenics – the same ideas that lead to genocide in Germany during the Holocaust, Rwanda, Cambodia, Bosnia, etc. If people continue to hold these prejudicial beliefs, deny entire groups of their basic civil liberties, and no one in charge makes any effort to prevent it, slavery will always exist.

What is the point of law enforcement if they only reinforce what those in power want?

- Laura Campion

5 Unnecessary Deaths?

I was following the news story about Anthony Sowell, the man who
was recently arrested for the slayings of 11 women.
I happened upon this story that really upset me,

indicts_anthony_sow.html.To summarize it quickly, a women
named Gladys Wade ran out of Sowell's house, bleeding
and begging for a phone to call the police. She said that
she had escaped being strangled and
raped. All of the neighbors refused to let her use their cell phones,
and pointed her down the street to use a public phone.
However, she ended up chasing
down a cop car, and they took her to the hospital where
she was treated and received stitches.

However, since Wade had a pending assault charge, she wasn't
seen as a viable source, and they didn't investigate even though
Sowell was convicted of attempted rape and
robbery in 1990. Only after another rape complaint, did the
police investigate him, only to find the decomposing bodies
of 11 women in his backyard and in his crawl
space, 5 of which are thought to have been killed after
Wade filed her complaint to the police.

Now, we are left to wonder what would have happened had
the police believed and followed through on the obvious assault
and attempted rape of Wade. Would these 5 women have been
saved? I believe that yes, these 5 women were killed by
a man that could have been stopped if
the police had simply believed Wade. This case shows
the injustices facing women in the
criminal justice system. The only reason we know about this
specific fall through of the police
is because there were extremely negative consequences that
followed. If this man hadn't been
a serial killer, but a gym teacher or a friend,
how would we know that a women who was
raped wasn't believed by the police?

This story brings a sad reality into light that must be
changed. Rape is a crime and
needs to be treated and investigated like one.

Monday, December 7, 2009

NPA Continuing Ed: Sex Slaves in Suburbia

I recently saw an episode about sex slaves in suburban Detroit on MSNBC. This is a clip that summarizes what the show was about:

These women were promised a life of education and better work in the United States if they came over from Ukraine. Instead, they were forced to be strippers at Cheetahs in Detroit and sexually assaulted by their captors.

I was surprised about how the lawyer for the men responded. He said the men would not deny laundering the money the women made and were forced to give them but the fact that the women were held against their will and sexually assaulted was false. He claimed they could have left the club they were working at any time and they were not barricaded into their apartment and could have left there at any time. He seems to be ignoring the fact that the men took the women's documents and had threatened their families in their home countries.

The women's attorney, as I was told, was on campus last year and talked at one of the PE events. It is nice to hear her support of the women's story at a time when the men's lawyer can be so uneducated about the methods of control these men used to keep these women working for them.

What do you think about the existence of sex trafficking and sex slaver going on in the United States?


Friday, December 4, 2009

Twilight/New Moon--Innocent Love Story or Dating Violence?

I recently came across this blog about the Twilight and New Moon Saga that argues that Bella and Edward's relationship is characterized by dating violence. At first I was skeptical, especially considering my fondness for the love story, but as I read through the author's reasoning, I too started to recognize the unhealthiness of their relationship. Twilight is a story of all-consuming love, which at first glance, appears to be romantic, but in actuality, is not. It is not healthy to feel the need to spend every minute of every day with one person. In the tale, Edward is portrayed as extremely jealousy, overly protective, threatening, and controlling, all of which are characteristics of an abusive partner.

I realize that the story is fictional, especially since vampires do not exist in the real world, but this does not mean that adolescent girls are not influenced by Bella and Edward's relationship; I know that a million and one girls out there now want an Edward to call their own. And if Edward is controlling, overly protective, jealous, threatening, etc. is that what young girls are now looking for in a partner? All in all, the Twilight books and movies romanticize behaviors that are characteristic of dating violence, which further promotes an acceptance of relationship abuse. Not only is this disturbing, it is scary to think that one book or movie has the power to influence a generation's views on dating values and norms for the better or worse.

What are your thoughts?

Check out the blog, as well as the author's follow-up post at: http://kar3ning.livejournal.com/545639.html

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

“Boy” Toys versus “Girl” Toys

Upon venturing from my home in the early hours of Friday, November 27, or “Black Friday”, as the day after Thanksgiving have been so appropriately named, I was met with a vision at my local Toys ‘R Us store that was more disturbing than the hundreds of parents fighting to take advantage of the huge sales and markdowns on holiday presents. The store had been divided into two segments – “Boy World” and “Girl World”. “Boy World” was filled with toy cars, action figures, and sporting goods. “Girl World” was a pink wonderland of pastel colors, princesses, dolls, and stuffed animals. The message was clear; certain toys are for boys, and certain toys are for girls.

Defining such gendered expectations in the world of children’s playthings is problematic in that it only serves to “other” those who may differ from what is expected. Nevermind if you are a boy who enjoys playing with dolls or a girl who likes doing tricks on her skateboard. By labeling some types of toys as “for boys only” and others “for girls only”, stores like Toys ‘R Us are conforming to hegemonic gender roles. Further, by pushing these gender stereotypes, children who may be unsure of their gender identity are being completely ignored and further alienated.

And just to point out, the gendering of certain consumer products doesn’t stop after childhood. Plenty of objects marketed to adults are gendered, too. Cell phones, cameras, computers, even earplugs are constantly being released in pink versions designed to appeal to women. Oftentimes, these products “designed especially for women” will come in smaller versions of the original product with less features and “dumbed down” instructions. To appeal to women, advertisers seems to be following the “shrink it and pink it” mantra. If you’re interested in seeing examples of this blatant marketing practice, check out these articles:




- Katey Sill