Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Uncovering Sexual Assault in the Military"

Check out this article.

A relative of one of our professional staff members at SAPAC was part of the group of Yale Law students who filed the lawsuit! How exciting!

Friday, December 10, 2010

CouchSurfing ignores violence against women.

CouchSurfing is an organization that lets travelers keep costs low by connecting members with other members who let the traveling members stay at their home. Their mission statement from their website reads,

At CouchSurfing International, we envision a world where everyone can explore and create meaningful connections with the people and places they encounter. Building meaningful connections across cultures enables us to respond to diversity with curiosity, appreciation and respect. The appreciation of diversity spreads tolerance and creates a global community.
However, recently they haven't been holding up their mission statement, especially when it comes to the respect of women. Change.org recently published a blog with stories from a couple of women describing their very negative experiences with CouchSurfing. One woman, Melissa Ulto, had been repeatedly sexually harassed by her host, and in the end decided she did not feel safe at his house and went to a hotel. Another woman was not able to escape the situation and ended up being held captive and raped by her host.

CouchSurfing's resposne to Ulto? That they had a "higher than usual workload" and that since there were no witnesses they must remain as neutral as possible. In fact, CouchSurfing seems to continuously ignore the various complaints from many women on their own message boards, and only give out the standard response, that members need to look into their potential hosts more closely. The only way it seems to get CouchSurfing's attention is through proof of legal action, where the responsibility is completely on the survivor to lodge a complaint and seek the authorities. In a completely different culture than the one they are accustomed to. Obviously this solution is not effective.

One of CouchSurfing's "Guiding Principles" is
We seek continuous personal development for ourselves and others.
Well, they need to realize that something is wrong with the program, especially in regard to women's safety. They need to start listening to survivor's stories, and develop the program so it no longer is unsafe to participate in. They need to realize that safety is something they need to develop so that the responsibility is not on the member to vigorously search information about potential hosts in hopes that they are not harassed or assaulted. All in all, CouchSurfing needs to step up.

In the end, a lot of people are asking the question, should CouchSurfing be shut down? Does CouchSurfing ignore  the safety complaints of it's members enough that it is no longer a reliable and good service?


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Upsetting Conversation

Hey Blog-Readers,
I wanted to share a conversation that I had with a friend of mine recently and get some feedback from you guys about it. We're going to call my friend "Bobby." I was talking to Bobby on the phone the other night and we got started on a conversation about dates and dating and what is expected on a date.  His argument was that if a guy and a girl go out on a date and the guy pays for everything, that it is expected that the girl "repay" him.  It would be "unfair" to let the guy pay when the girl has no plan to "at least hook up with him."  He argued that if a girl did not plan to pursue sexual activity with the guy, she should offer to split the bill up front.  If the guy then refused to let her pay, "it's his own fault if he doesn't get any." I brought up the argument that a girl could have intentions of "hooking up" with him at the beginning of the date but decide later that she no longer wants to.   He said that in that case, it was the guys fault for "screwing something up" that led her to no longer want him sexually.  This then turned into an argument about gender roles.  He claimed that people could either choose to be "old-fashioned" or "progressive." If the couple was to be "old-fashioned" then it was the man's role to pay and the woman's role to "repay."  If the couple chose to be progressive, then "clearly" they would split the bill and there would no longer be any "expectations" of either party.  Being the romantic that I am, I brought up that it used to be that a man would pay for a date out of both a sense of obligation and just to pay for the right to be in the woman's company.  To this he replied "well that's just stupid." He also said that in general, a woman would "go out" to have fun, whereas a man would "go out" to "get laid."  When I brought up the fact that all of these were complete gender stereotypes and had no real validity in a real-life situation, he said that "these things are portrayed in movies and TV for a reason....that's how things are."  He also claimed that if it wasn't for man's "need to go out and get laid" and woman's desire to "hold out until she found the right (biggest, strongest, smartest) guy," that there would either be no furthering of mankind or the children would small, weak, stupid, and not survive.


As I'm sure many of you will understand, this conversation was very frustrating for me. I hold very different  opinions about the situation.  Paying for something and expecting sexual repayment? That's the definition of prostitution.  How is it then that he is able to so "solidly" justify this?  It's because this is the image of dating that we see in the movies and on TV.  But just because it's in the media, doesn't make it okay.  The entire time I was trying to get him to understand my point, I realized that I would never be able to back it up as strongly as he could back up his point.  My evidence is that "it's just wrong!" Whereas he can show his point of view in all sorts of media.

I wanted to blog about this to get your opinion on a few different things:
How would you have responded to this conversation?
How can we possibly try to overcome these media stereotypes that have infiltrated and polluted our society?
And most importantly, I disagree with what the majority of society is telling me. But I'm not crazy, am I?

Frustrated and Confused,

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

CNN Hero of the Year

Since 1993, Anuradha Koirala and her organization Maiti Nepal rescued over 12,000 girls and women from human trafficking. She has created a safe home for these women and children to live in. Since she has been so successful in saving so many people's lives, she and her volunteers sometimes have to have bodyguards in some cities to help rescue girls. Many of her volunteers are sex trafficking survivors.

Koirala's history of an abusive marriage inspired her to start Maiti Nepal. After that marriage ended, she saved her income of $100 per month and started helping other women who had experienced sexual violence. Now Maiti Nepal doesn't only take in sex trafficking survivors, but also women with HIV/AIDS and abandoned children.

Because of her courage, strength, and the empowerment she has instilled into these women and children, Koirala is more than worthy of the honor of being named CNN's Hero of the Year 2010.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Slippery Slope Of "Advance Consent"

Canada's Supreme Court is currently considering a case that could have serious implications for future sexual assault cases.

A Canadian woman consented to erotic asphyxiation with her husband, but not anal penetration. She eventually passed out, and woke up to find that she had been anally penetrated with a dildo. The woman pressed sexual assault charges against her husband.

A lower court convicted the man, but it was appealed and is now being considered by the Canadian Supreme Court. The defense is insisting that by agreeing to erotic asphyxiation, the survivor had consented to sexual activity, implying blanket consent on all sexual activity. The claim that the woman gave advance consent to activity that would occur while she was unconscious was not only incorrect, but besides the point. "Advance Consent" would take away a person's right to change their mind. Someone can say "yes" a hundred times, but if one "no" is heard, the sexual activity must stop. This can't happen if someone is unconscious or otherwise incapacitated.

The blanket consent defense sounds very similar to defenders of marital rape or rape that occurs in a relationship. The idea that once someone consents to sex once, it applies to all future cases or all possible sexual activities is just plain wrong. The Canadian Supreme Court has an opportunity to show how important un-coerced, consent is. Alternatively, they have the option of setting back rights to one's own body quite a few years. Hopefully they choose correctly.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Trauma Resources

Here are a list of valuable trauma support resources provided by River Willow Fagan during SAPAC's writing workshop on November 30th:


     Trauma/Narrative Theory:

  • Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence-- from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror by Judith Herman
  • The Wounded Storyteller: Body, Illness, and Ethics by Arthur W. Frank
  • Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Changes Our Lives by Louise DeSalvo
  • Walking the Tiger: Healing Trauma by Peter Levine
     Autobiographical Narratives:

  • Black Boy by Richard Wright
  • The Cancer Journals by Audre Lorde
  • Dangerous Families: Queer Writing on Surviving edited by Matt Bernstein Sycamore
  • I Am a Red Dress by Anna Camilleri
  • A Language Older than Words by Derrick Jensen
  • Exile and Pride by Eli Clare
     Fictional Narratives:

  • A Map to the Next World: Poems and Tales by Joy Harjo
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • Case Histories: A Novel by Kate Atkinson

  • Activist Trauma Support- http://www.activist-trauma.net/
  • Allied Media Projects- http://alliedmedia.org/
  • Center for Digital Storytelling- http://www.storycenter.org/index1.html
  • Healing Trauma- http://healingtrauma.pscap.org/
  • Power-Under: Trauma and Non-Violent Social Change- http://www.traumaandnonviolence.com/
  • Rape Abuse and Incest National Network- http://www.rainn.org/
  • Storytelling & Organizing Project- http://www.stopviolenceeveryday.org/

If anyone has any suggestions of resources to add to the list, please contact me at hscol@umich.edu

-Heather Colohan

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sexual Assault Case at Notre Dame

A recent issue in the news is the story of Elizabeth Seeberg.  She was a 19 year-old girl who attended St. Mary’s College, a sister school of Notre Dame.
In the beginning of the school year, she was sexually assaulted by a Notre Dame football player. The following day, she reported the incident to the Notre Dame police, who neither took action, nor made the incident public knowledge. Nine days later, Elizabeth was found dead after having overdosed on medication she had been taking.
Even when the investigation of her death was taking place, the Notre Dame police still did not inform the county of the report Elizabeth made over a week earlier. It wasn’t until two months later that the Notre Dame police finally shared the report with a county prosecutor.
According to the second article below, Notre Dame police apparently forward all sexual assault cases to prosecutors for action to be taken, if it is considered necessary.
Why was it not forwarded sooner? Whatever the reason was, it was meaningless. There is no excuse for failing to acknowledge sexual violence. It took a lot of strength for Elizabeth to report the incident in the first place. To have her case put on the backburner until much later is absolutely ridiculous. Based on this incident, the Notre Dame police should definitely reconsider how they handle sexual assault cases. 


1st article:

2nd article:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Let's call it what it is.

Celebrity gossip is a guilty pleasure in which I occasionally indulge yet hate to admit. However, a recent article (or more of a blurb) on usmagazine.com needs to be addressed. Khloe Kardashian recently admitted to “losing her virginity” at the tender age of 14 to an 18 year old man. In this article Khloe says that she felt conned, persuaded, and uncomfortable due to the age difference. She also tells young women to not “let anyone pressure you.” As I read through the comments no one seemed to pick up on the coercion and power dynamic in this experience. Did no one see the immense power that an 18-year-old man has over a 14-year-old child’s agency? A commenter by the (ironic) name of “SweetPea” says: “No one needs to know you were dumb & whorish at 14!” Ah yes, the familiar slut-shaming and victim-blaming tactics.

As I read this blurb I felt outraged that no one called this experience what it was. An 18 year old coercing a 14 year old into sexual intercourse is rape. It is not being dumb. It is not being whorish. It is not losing your virginity. It is not sex. It is rape.

The fact that the “moral or the story” was to not “let anyone pressure you” is also disturbing because it victim-blames and places women in the age-old position of gate keeping. It is not my responsibility to not “get” raped. It is the responsibility of my sexual partner to obtain sober, uninfluenced, and verbal consent from me. The only person who should feel guilt, blame, and shame in Khloe’s story is the rapist.


Immediate Action Needed: Clemency for Battered Women Prisoners

Please consider writing, calling, or emailing the governor and Michigan parole board on behalf of women wrongfully imprisoned who acted to save their own lives against their abusers. Governor Granholm has not been re-elected, so the Clemency Project is really pushing her to grant some of these women BEFORE she leaves office. Please take a few minutes to act on behalf of these women. Below, you'll see a template you can simply copy and paste as well as a list of women who are currently seeking clemency from prison in Michigan.

Dear Governor Granholm,
Please consider granting clemency to Dolores Kapuscinski and other wrongfully imprisoned women. At this point in your term, you have an opportunity to take a stand against violence against women in the state of Michigan. These women deserve clemency.
-Your Name

Mailing Addresses:
Governor Jennifer Granholm
PO Box 30013, Lansing MI 48909 

Michigan Parole Board
Barbara Sampson, Chair
PO Box 30003, Lansing MI 48909


First Degree Lifers:
1. DELORES KAPUSCINSKI 191704 Kent County, Murder I, Life, 1988. She shot her husband after severe sexual and emotional abuse. Expert witness testified, but no understanding of domestic violence ? especially sexual violence - by judge or jury in 1988. She is supported by MWJCP and UofM Law School.

2. BARBARA HERNANDEZ 218771 Oakland County, Murder I, Life, 1992. She was 16, a runaway from incest and abuse and neglect. She was homeless, living with a predatory, abusive boyfriend when he killed a man. She is supported by CAPPS, MWJCP, ACLU Juvenile Lifer effort.

3. MELISSA SWINEY 205346 Oakland County, Murder I, Life 1988. Abused, incested, mentally disturbed she became pregnant, gave birth and left the newborn in a field. She has the support of her arresting officers, PSI writer, court magistrate.

4. LUANNE SZENAY 214992 Bay County, Murder I, Conspiracy, Life, 1990.
She was beaten, threatened with death,
and her daughter threatened with kidnapping by her violent, drug addicted husband. Trying to leave and desperately afraid, she conspired with a co-worker who killed her husband to protect her.

5. MELISSA CHAPMAN 196612 Genesee County, Murder I, Life, 1988.
Violent boyfriend killed another man in her presence out of jealousy. She was 18, helped hide the body under threat of death.

6. SHARLEEN WABINDATO 150340 Muskegon County, Murder I, Life, 1977.
Her abusive boyfriend threatened her and forced her to participate in a robbery, and then he killed a man.

7. MACHELLE PEARSON 176620 Washtenaw County, Murder I, Life, 1984. At age 17, she accidentally shot a woman. Incested and beaten as a child, she ran away to an abusive predator who bashed her head, stuck a gun in her belt and told her to rob any woman who came by. In prison, she was raped by a guard, gave birth, was forced to give up the baby. She is seriously ill with Myasthenia Gravis, a debilitating muscular disease, aggravated by medical neglect.

8. SUSAN FARRELL , Oakland County, Murder I, Life, 1989. Her mentally ill son killed her abusive husband.

9. NANCY SEAMAN 520695, Oakland County, Murder I, Life, 2004. Killed her abusive husband in self-defense.

10. BARBARA DAVIS 436879, Wayne County, Murder I, Life 2002. Her father, who had incested her growing up, got out of prison and manipulated her to drive him to rob a drug dealer, then he shot the man. Her father was acquitted because she could not testify against him.

Second-Degree Cases:
11. KAREN KANTZLER, Oakland County, Murder II, Life, 1987. She shot her violent husband. He had broken her bones, beat her, thrown her, threatened her life. A study published by MWJCP in Hastings Women's Law Journal showed bias against Karen Kantzler and other battered women defendants by Oakland County. Trial judge, Hon. Norman Lippitt, supports clemency, attests he made "a serious and tragic error" in her case. Successor Judge Barry Howard supported her.

12. KINNARI SUTARIYA 316863 Wayne Co MurderII 11-20, 2000. Stabbed sexually abusive husband. She will be deported back to India, where she has family and support.

13. ANTOINETTE MCKINNEY 237079 Macomb Co, Murder II, 17-30. 1992. She shot her batterer-husband in a classic, self-defense struggle over a gun.

14. ANITA POSEY 260550 Eaton Co, Murder II, 17-50 years, 1997. She shot her violent boyfriend as he was threatening to kill her and their baby.

15. DONNA DEBRUIN, 227328 Wayne Co, Murder II, Life, 1988. Violent ex-husband was killed by abusive boyfrd.

16. CHRISTY NEFF 255549 Ingham County, Murder II, 40-60, 1996. Her violent ex-husband escaped from prison in N. Carolina and murdered her new, abusive husband out of jealousy. Both men saw her as their exclusive "property".

17. TAMMY RAMOS 630004 Wayne County, Manslaughter, 11-15, 2005. Killed her abusive husband in self-defense.

18. BRENDA CLARKE 312860 StJoseph, Murder II, 17-40, 2000. Killed her abusive husband in self-defense.

19. DEBORAH BEAMON 246190 Wayne, Murder II, 20-40, 1994. Killed her abusive boyfriend in self-defense.

20. TRACY SCHAFER 248225 Oakland, Murder II 18-30, 1995. Killed her abusive husband in self-defense.

21. DAWN GILLESPIE 509049 Oakland, Manslaughter. 7-15, 2004. Killed her abusive husband in self-defense.

22. TABITHA MAYNARD 377608 Genesee Murder II 24-33 2000 Killed her father who had incested her for years.

23. LANISE BASON 319076 Wayne, Murder II 18-50 Killed her abusive boyfriend in fear for her life

24. LINDA MARQUARDT 479446 Ingham, Murder II 15-35 killed her abusive husband in self-defense

25. ETTA DUNMIRE 608217 Calhoun, Murder II 20-30, killed her abusive husband in self-defense

26. QUIANA LOVETT 779728 Murder II, Wayne, 16-30, killed her abusive boyfriend in self-defense

27. ANA-MARIE CERON SANDOVAL 691128 Manslaughter, Branch, 5-15, killed abusive husband in self-defense

The Rude Mechanicals/SAPAC Collaboration

A couple weeks ago, the NPA Volunteers and The Rude Mechanicals, a theatre group on campus, hosted a joint event in preparation for their upcoming play "SELF DEFENSE, or death of some salesmen." This event was a facilitated panel discussion with Dr. Carol Jacobsen, the director of Michigan's Clemency Project, and Katy Mattingly, author of Self Defense: Steps to Survival. This event was an amazing opportunity to discuss the issues of self-defense and what happens when people, particularly women, are punished by the law when they use self-defense.

The play is this December 3 (8pm), 4 (8pm), and 5 (2pm) in the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre at the Michigan League. For more information, see the facebook event.

More information about Carol Jacobsen and Katy Mattingly.


Domestic Violence Bill to be passed in Angola

On a daily basis, we are confronted with negative news about domestic violence. Whether it be a woman who is sentenced to life in prison after killing her abusive partner, rising rates of domestic violence worldwide, or even learning that one of our loved once is a survivor of partner abuse, there just isn't much good news out there.

That's why I was particularly excited when I found a headline on Google titled "Bill on domestic violence to be passed". When I clicked the link, I was somewhat surprised to find that the bill was not being passed in the United States, but rather in Angola, a country in south-central Africa.

Angola, like many other parts of Africa, has extremely high rates of domestic violence; it is estimated that in certain areas of cities, incidence rates are as high as 62 percent. As if that statistic isn't sad enough, domestic violence is not illegal in Angola and therefore it rarely gets brought to court. The first article I am posting is from last April and briefly describes the magnitude of the problem of interpartner violence in Angola and then suggests that governmental bodies, churches, and social groups are coming together to try to raise awareness to put an end to domestic violence. It ends like many articles on dv do, by stating that their is little hope for these survivors.

However, this story has a positive update! Hooray! The second article I am posting is from yesterday. It details how an anti-domestic violence bill, which is designed to raise awareness, spread education, and protect survivors, has passed in Angola's Cabinet Council and is now waiting approval in the nation's National Assembly. This is a huge step in a country where seven months ago domestic violence was completely legal and there seemed little hope for change.

Although it is hard to say how much this bill will actually do IF it is passed, it does beg the question, what about U.S. policies and laws against domestic violence? How much does our country strive to protect survivors, offer support, and raise awareness in the general public?

I plan on going to graduate school to conduct research on domestic violence and create more effective interventions. After an extensive search for schools that offer the opportunity to do research on this subject, I can tell you not many do. Sadly, although dv interventions are far from perfect, there are not many professionals in academia doing the critical research necessary to create better ones. On the state and national levels, funding is simply not high enough. Instead, the burden of alleviating domestic violence in the U.S. falls upon dedicated individuals and non-profit organizations.

I certainly hope that this bill will be passed in Angola and serve as an example to other countries worldwide. Domestic violence is a crime that cannot be tolerated.


 Original article:

New bill update:

Monday, November 29, 2010

Body scanners and the new pat-down procedures – How much must we go through to take an airplane?

In October 2010, The Transportation Security Administration phased in (quietly) a new pat-down procedure.

Since then, the “ACLU has received over 900 complaints from travelers in the United States about the TSA's new pat-downs, providing a unique vantage point on what is taking place at airports around the nation. These complaints came from men, women and children who reported feeling humiliated and traumatized by these searches, and, in some cases, comparing their psychological impact to sexual assaults."

Here are some excerpts from travelers' complaints (taken from this link):

“The TSA agent used her hands to feel under and between my breasts. She then rammed her hand up into my crotch until it jammed into my pubic bone.”
“I cried throughout the groping and have had intrusive thoughts since. It was humiliating.”
“The procedure was violating, degrading, invasive and humiliating.”
“It was so rough that I felt the effects of it throughout the day.”
“I do not feel safer. I feel violated.”

For other examples of graphic and perturbing descriptions of what some people have issued complaints about, you can read more here.

From reading many of these complaints, it is very clear that the new pat-down measures basically equate to molestation and sexual assault. I find it very disconcerting that not only is this currently legal, but that people are paid to do this to people all day.

Let’s remember, though, that there is supposed to be another option prior to the invasive pat-downs: going through the “body scanner.” These scanners were initially thought to be low-resolution images with blurred out portions. It turns out, however, that the images are in fact very high resolution, and not only does the scanner have health hazards, but there are no blurred out portions, and the security officer can see… everything. If you don’t believe me, you can read the following two articles (but be forewarned that there are explicit images obtained from the scanners in those articles): “Full-body scanner cannot replace diplomacy but imposes indecency on billions. Law says indecent exposure is crime, doesn't it?” and “Leaked Body Scanner Images Do Not Show The Whole Picture." And what’s more? These images are actually saved on their computers…which is how some of those images have been leaked out to the press.

Thoughts? Comments? Interested in signing a petition?

MSU Students Stage a Sit-In

As SAPAC has mentioned before, a woman was raped by two Michigan State University basketball players this August. Disgustingly, despite the corroboration of the woman's story by one of the perpetrators, the Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III did not charge the players. When the university's Coalition Against Sexual Violence protested at the school's "Midnight Madness," a basketball pep rally, they were shouted down, attacked and forced to leave.

Most importantly, the university itself has not taken any action whatsoever, including making a statement condemning the rape. The Coalition finally staged a sit-in at President Lou Anna K Simmon's office on November 19th. After about 20 minutes of chanting "Silence is Betrayal," an administrator finally agreed to meet with the protesters on the spot.

Chief among their demands was that the university match the recent $500,000 raise for the basketball coach with funds for sexual assault prevention and education. The university already has mandatory education (my sister is one of the educators), but there are no consequences for not attending, no way for anyone in authority to know if an individual has completed it, and it is FULL of students yelling rape apologist bullshit (and y'all know how I feel about rape apology). Take a little money away from basketball (it already brings in a ton, you can spare it) and give your programs a little teeth!

(via Worker's World)


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Seriously, Jezebel?

So by now you all know about the utter (fairly well-mannered) riot over at Jezebel. Well, Jessica Coen, the Editor-In-Chief, finally waded into the comments.
Hey everyone-
A few things, just to address the multiple concerns and let you know that no, your words are not falling on deaf ears.

- Let's get it out of the way: This was not published for traffic-baiting purposes. We are not compensated on page views; the sort of traffic this post produces is not the sort of traffic upon which the site's success is measured. If you're actually curious about the Gawker Media business model, that information is easily accessible via a basic online search.

- Jezebel doesn't post trigger warnings. I genuinely respect and understand why some sites choose to do so, but that's not us. Depending on an individual's experience, so many different things can be a trigger -- we're not going to determine what is and isn't worth a warning. That's your personal call. In a similar vein, you should not expect Jezebel to always be a safe space. That can be defined in so many ways; what is and isn't safe for you is, again, a matter of your judgment.

- This was posted because while it's indeed bullshit, it was bullshit that was written with a degree of thought and articulation that, even for its many failings, was earnest. Pasteck's purpose was not to attack but, misguided as he may be, to present his perspective to this audience. Okay, well, I'll let him put it out there because I worked at length with him, both of us knowing that it would be controversial; a Jezebel staff member has met with him in person, spoken with him on-record, and debated this issue with him. Ultimately I felt that his conviction, and the manner in which he presented it, was fit to post. I don't necessarily agree with every single thing a writer here may say, but if I'm okay with how they present their case, I will run their post. Same goes here.

Finally: I have read every single email and most of these comments (and will continue to do so, even if I am unable to further respond). I am sorry that so many of you find it personally disturbing; that was never the intention. A heated discussion, sure. But not to disturb anyone.

(And just so you don't think I'm ignoring any of this, a heads up that I cannot jump back into the comments and continue a discussion right now -- I have to interact with family, whether I like it or not.)

If you're celebrating, have a good holiday.

Well. Let's go down this list, one by one:
  • Link-baiting: Bullshit. When Gawker, Jezebel's sister site, posted the Christine O'Donnel "expose," they explained their actions while saying "We also thought it would get us lots of clicks and money and attention." That kinda sounds like link-baiting and the Gawker Media business model to me. Furthermore, you actually CAN'T find their business model through a simple Google search. I looked.
  • Trigger warnings: This is one thing that I was specifically angry about the post lacking. While it's true that Jezebel does not usually use trigger warnings, they posted a discussion of it back in April of this year. Yes, it's hard to decide what's triggering for whom. But they usually say "NSFW" on their racier posts. They know that some jobs would be fine with you looking at pictures of dead-looking models, but why risk someone losing their job over a post on your site? So you put NSFW on a post. It's not hard. Why is putting a trigger warning or an editorial comment at the top of the page with an explanation of what was to be found in the post so difficult and unnecessary?
  • Safe spaces: seriously? We aren't supposed to expect you to be a safe space? Until Coen took over as EIC, there was nothing of this degree anywhere to be found. When the site is covered in pro-women, anti-sexism, anti-assault, positive body image posts and more, we're not supposed to expect it to be a safe space for women that fall into those categories? We're supposed to think "hey, Jezebel is going to do something that goes against all previous evidence! Guess I won't read today!" That's total bullshit and victim blaming. We should just accept the idea that it's our fault for getting upset. I don't mean to sound like I'm being overdramatic, but that's dangerously close to accepting the idea that our skirts were just too short.
  • Articulation: Wait, Jezebel is giving a platform to anybody who can use a thesaurus? Cause that's what his writing sounded like to me-- some dude who can't write, but changes a few words with his thesaurus to make it sound good. As the commenter PandaRobots says, "Does it have more flowery language as "get those bitches drunk, yo"? Sure. But the writing is atrocious."
  • Earnest: Bill O'Reilly is earnest. That is all.
  • Working in-depth with Pasteck: Oh, an anonymous staffer spoke with him on record? They debated the issue? Then why on earth didn't we get to see that? Why was there absolutely no debate shown to us? No disclaimer BEFORE a couple thousand people wrote outraged emails, comments and blog posts? Ridiculous!
  • Fit to post: You seriously didn't think about your thousands of commentators? All those people in the Jezebel community that have proven TIME AND TIME AGAIN that they hate stuff like this? That they find this rape apologia disgusting? I've said it before, and I'll say it again. You don't have to give people equal time for unequal views. Maybe you should read the posts on your own site-- this post goes over the "valid opinion" bullshit.
  • Okay with how they present their case: Also bullshit! Jezebel has a long tradition of banning people who disagree with them, as shown here. This also has a really great analysis of how Jezebel loves to contradict itself.
Honestly, at this point I agree with the many commentators who say that Pasteck is a friend of Jessica, another contributor to the site, or Jessica herself. As ladra-luna misses MizJ (that's a mouthful) says,
I think it's very cowardly to publish this under an alias. If this were an article appearing in a college newspaper, Jezebel would have published this guy's real name, email address, and picture by now. Why does "Edward" deserve any more protection for his controversial views than, for example, Tracie? At least Maura Kelly used her real name.
Amen, sister. At this point, I give up on Jezebel. I'll keep up with the comments on this disgusting post for a while, but after that I'm done. Yeah, they're usually awesome, but I'm not going to expose myself to the chance that I'll get verbally punched in the face. Jezebel has already made it clear that they feel it's my responsibility to monitor things for them, so I'm just done.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Clothesline Project

Here are some pictures from our latest showing of our Clothesline Project which took place at our Speak Out.

*Sorry for the low quality pictures.

Oh, Jezebel.

Readers might know that most of us here at SAPAC are long-time fans of Jezebel.com. Feminist analysis, kitten videos, and pop culture all rolled into one fantastic package. Today, however, they've decided to post a fairly rape-friendly post by an "American guy in Paris freed from the idea of "consent." Yes, that is the title of the post.

It goes on to explain how the culture in Paris is one of violent, aggressive "come-ons" by men, including groping random women, forcibly kissing them, and getting them drunk to facilitate a "romantic moment." French women are supposed to laugh and accept this, and even feel flattered to be constantly "permanent sources of desire." Women are supposed to maneuver these attacks to "have the upper hand" in the situation. Excuse me for not catching this, but how the hell do women have the upper hand in a sexual attack?

He then goes on to discuss how women in America are so bound by ideas of consent-- "Here in America, our use of the word "consent" complicates the way we view the relation between sex and pleasure. "Consent" is a weighty term otherwise reserved for elevated, formal, even sanitized contexts. Using the term in regards to sex inherently ties a sexual choice to ethical and legal ones (and our unshakable Puritanism once again rears its modest head)."

I'm the first to agree that America is a Puritanical society, but this is ridiculous. Once again, women are positioned as the gatekeepers, and told that we have to be the ones to say yes or no to sex-- but not consent! No, sex isn't like that, you just make a decision with a sexual aggressor bearing down on you! Note to "American guy"-- this is sexual assault. Grabbing women on the street, kissing them without their permission-- these are both assault.

The very idea that Jezebel would post something like this disgusts me. It doesn't have an editor's name on the post, and the author, Edward Pasteck, doesn't have any other articles, and the only result for him on Google, other than the article in question, is a cached Facebook page without a photo and with only two friends. Judging by the comments on the article, it was up earlier today, which means it was taken down sometime between the posting of the article at 12:21 today and when I started writing this post at 1:30. I'm calling bullshit on this. Edward Pasteck doesn't exist, and it was somebody's idea of either a sick joke or "a way of sparking a conversation." Either way, I'm furious that one of the few spaces on the internet for women like me was invaded. I for one demand an apology from Jezebel for this, and I'll post an update when I find out what is going on.

The only direct word I got was utter dismissal, which, judging by the comments on the actual article and many other blogs, is pretty much par for the course with Jessica Coen. I admit I was a little ragey in my email, which almost certainly didn't help, but a lot of comments have been acknowledging the fact that Jezebel has gone downhill recently, and I agree. 

The "update" on their site says "Update/Editor's Note: "Edward Pasteck" is a pseudonym under which the author wants to continue writing (elsewhere). His views do not necessarily reflect the views of the site." Oh really? So you just tacitly support it? If you didn't, there would have been some analysis, a disclaimer, a trigger warning, ANYTHING. Instead, you gave him a platform from which to spew this garbage and then all you do is give that weak "note?" Thanks a lot. Shape up, guys.

--Briana S.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Don't be THAT guy.

A new ad campaign called "Don't be that guy" has launched in Canada that targets men who use alcohol as a tool to facilitate sexual assault. There are not many ad campaigns out there that fight the cause sexual assault. By increasing the amount of media that empowers men to not commit assault and to act as a proactive bystander we can get to the root of the problem.

These ads use realistic images of women in vulnerable situations to reveal the tactics perpetrators use and to fight common myths about survivors. One ad has a picture of a woman passed out and lying face down on a couch with bottles of alcohol on the floor. The caption says "Just because she isn't saying no doesn't mean she's saying yes." I personally love this ad because it recognizes that consent must be an non-coerced, sober, and verbal "yes." This campaign is increasing pubic knowledge of the fact that the person increasing the level of sexual activity bears the responsibility of obtaining verbal consent.

More campaigns like this are necessary to fight sexual assault at its roots and to spread public knowledge about what constitutes consent. Through these images men are empowered to be a part of the solution and to spread the message loud and clear: "Don't be that guy."


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Teen Dating Violence Article

Check out the following article:


Speak Out

I thought that Speak Out was a great success this year. So many brave women (and men!) came up to the microphone to share their stories with all of the sympathetic and empathetic listeners in the audience. As my first Speak Out, I wasn't sure what to expect, but the event was more than I could have ever imagined. I was glued to my seat in awe of the strength of these people. I was moved emotionally and my dedication to SAPAC's cause was strengthened exponentially. Connecting with survivors on such an intimate level really allowed the audience to understand all of the hardships these men and women have suffered. I really wish there could have been even more people than there were for the sole fact that I believe it would have changed anyone's outlook on sexual assault and domestic violence.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

This is insane. A high-school cheerleader got kicked off the team for refusing to cheer out the name of the man that assaulted her as he played in a basketball game.


There's a good amount of victim blaming going on in this situation. The school even made her family pay for legal fees of the suit. It almost seems as if the high school community did not try to believe her at all. No accommodations were made for her - in fact she was punished for making the choice to act (in her own right) and refuse to cheer the name of her attacker. Perfectly reasonable on her part.

Seems at first like such an obvious question, but what is it about our society that puts people in such denial? Why deny survivors?

The school certainly should have had this girl's emotional health in mind. Due to what's happened to her, as a survivor, she did not need the people around her to create an environment that lacks support. There should be protocol for these situations in school systems.

Agreed with the woman in the interview; this boy should have had SOME sort of action against him from the university.

"If I provide the party, at least I'll be in control of the situation"

So many parents host parties for their underage kids with the thought that if they are in control of the situation, nothing bad can happen. While this party took place at a hotel and not in a home, the thought behind it is still the same.

Clearly, these parents didn't want anything bad to happen to the students at this party. Clearly, also, they did not provide the supervision necessary to prevent these incidents.

How can we educate parents about the problems created by being "the cool parent"?

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Slippery Slope Of "Advance Consent"

Canada's Supreme Court is currently considering a case that could have serious implications for future sexual assault cases.

A Canadian woman consented to erotic asphyxiation with her husband, but not anal penetration. She eventually passed out, and woke up to find that she had been anally penetrated with a dildo. The woman pressed sexual assault charges against her husband.

A lower court convicted the man, but it was appealed and is now being considered by the Canadian Supreme Court. The defense is insisting that by agreeing to erotic asphyxiation, the survivor had consented to sexual activity, implying blanket consent on all sexual activity. The claim that the woman gave advance consent to activity that would occur while she was unconscious was not only incorrect, but besides the point. "Advance Consent" would take away a person's right to change their mind. Someone can say "yes" a hundred times, but if one "no" is heard, the sexual activity must stop. This can't happen if someone is unconscious or otherwise incapacitated.

The blanket consent defense sounds very similar to defenders of marital rape or rape that occurs in a relationship. The idea that once someone consents to sex once, it applies to all future cases or all possible sexual activities is just plain wrong. The Canadian Supreme Court has an opportunity to show how important un-coerced, clearheaded consent is. Alternatively, they have the option of setting back rights to one's own body quite a few years. Hopefully they choose correctly.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

American and European Teen Pregnancy

What's one thing the media loves to talk about? Teens and sex. Teens and pregnancy. Teens and STDs. Obviously, teens are having sex and this horrifies the media and right-wing conservatives. They enjoy taking a shocking story on America's high STD rates among teens and blaming it on birth control and honest discussions about sex.Somehow they ignore the overwhelming statistics that indicate STDs and pregnancy are oftenlinked to abstinence-only education. (For a full rant about that, read The Purity Myth.

Now let's take a look at Europe. In both America and Europe, teens on average start having sex around seventeen. That's where the similarities end. America's teen pregnancy rate is three to six times higher than any country in Western Europe. One in three American girls will be pregnant before the age of twenty. This is a higher rate than those found in poorer countries like China and Sri Lanka. Not only that, but there is a huge gap between Europe's STD rates and America's. As in our rates are twenty to thirty times higher than the Netherlands.

So what are Europeans doing that Americans aren't? Engaging in OPEN, HONEST, and DIRECT conversations with teens about sex and using protection. In America, wejust try to scare our teens into staying abstinent. Anyone remember the health class scene from "Mean Girls?"
If you have sex, you will get pregnant and you will die.
The difference between the European way of dealing with sex and our way of dealing with sex is blindingly obvious in our ads.
This German add reads "give the gift of love." In America, we don't talk about teen sex and love. We ONLY talk about the sex part.

Now what do American ads look like?
The message: sex is dangerous. It can kill you. It's like walking into a full-scale industrial fire. This ad doesn't inspire you to use protection. If you're doomed by sex, why even bother with protection?

What can we do to change this? How do we bring the issue of openly discussing sex to the foreground when most of society is busy slut-shaming?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Media Fail

We all know that the mainstream media has some shortcomings when it comes to reporting about violence against women. For example, calling raped women "alleged victims" instead of the perpetrator "alleged rapists," or talking about how the woman had her skirt too short, etc. Here's another one for the files: "Candidate Accused of Getting Lesbian Pregnant." And no, that's not from a trashy magazine at the check-out line. That's straight from MSNBC.

The case itself is fairly horrible. David King, the Republican candidate for Wisconsin's Secretary of State, has been accused of taking a 31-year-old woman to lunch, getting her drunk, then raping her when she was passed out, which got her pregnant. She says that there's no other possible father, because she's a lesbian and has been with the same woman for four years. That's where MSNBC's headline came from. Even worse, MSNBC edited her quotes to take out multiple references where she plainly called it rape, choosing instead to repeatedly refer to it as "having sex with her," even though they do admit she was passed out. The whole thing is just a mess, but what's worse are the comments. It's a multitude of slut-shaming, why didn't she stop drinking, homophobia and a bonus round of accusations of ACORN and Obama trying to sabotage a Tea Party candidate. One writer even searched her lawyer and based his accusations in the fact that his facebook page "likes" Rahm Emmanuel and Obama. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, instead of wondering how a rapist got so far in office, let's accuse a black female lesbian of working with Obama to overthrow a Republican.

What do all of you think?

Via The Curvature

Friday, October 29, 2010

Man Acquitted of Rape, Despite Massive Evidence Against Him

Timothy West broke into a house through the kitchen window at 1:30 in the morning in March of 2009. He then threatened a woman with a knife and raped her twice. At the end of the 3 hour ordeal, West asked the woman for her number, and she gave it to him (hoping to catch him later). Her brother called 911 right after West left the home, and police became involved.

The next day when West texted the survivor, she asked him why he raped her. He "apologized" and then asked her "You mad at me?... I can't call you no more?" He also admitted that he chose her house at random. This whole conversation was recorded by police. The bravery of the woman in giving her phone number to her rapist in hopes of bringing him to justice resulted in clear evidence against him.

Despite all of that, West was acquitted of all charges.

This exemplifies the struggle survivors face when trying to get justice. This woman's case had clear evidence, and even an admission of guilt from the rapist caught on tape. It also involved a scenario that is traditionally thought of as clearly rape, a break in by a stranger and a weapon being brandished. If the justice system did not manage to get justice for this survivor, it's no wonder that women or men raped by acquaintances or partners, using coercion or threats instead of a weapon or countless other scenarios are not able to get justice. Clearly, something is wrong with the system if such a clear case cannot get a conviction.

Many of the comments on the original NY Times article say something along the lines of "Why was her rapist texting her? She must have known him and just decided to call rape."

To that, I'll relay the words of another commenter:

"hjo4: Rapists get off on power and control. Being able to call his victim, wantonly confess to his crime, and insist that she accept his apology for violating her is right in line with that. Rapists take all sorts of risks such as taking trophies from victims, harassing them, using the same neighborhood as his hunting grounds all in spite of it increasing his chances of getting caught."

Read the article here.

Apology for Harassment Claims

Attached is an article about a sexual harassment incident which occurred nearly two decades ago, but has recently resurfaced. The story is that in 1991, Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas was accused of sexual harassment by Anita Hill, one of his employees. Earlier this month, Clarence's wife Virginia left a message on Anita Hill's answering machine requesting an apology and explanation.

The particulars are enclosed in the following article:


Monday, October 25, 2010

MSU Basketball Players Not Charged For Sexual Assault

Here is the article.

I was surprised by the decision not to prosecute in this case with the statements from the one basketball player said about the other player"'despite her reluctance and statements that she did not want to continue.'" To me this and the survivors statements about the incident seem like enough evidence to say there was coercion. What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ex-Footballer Blames the Victim

An Australian former athlete has posted comments on Twitter blaming a survivor for her assault.

Via Jezebel:

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fears of rape in Kenya's slums 'trap women'

High rates of rape in Kenya has forced many women to avoid public places, including public toilets. This has led to serious sanitation problems, as well as disease. Who says sexual assault is not a community issue?


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Male CNN reporter comes out as a survivor.

This is really amazing and brave. A CNN reporter covering the Bishop Eddie Long sexual abuse allegations comes out as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.

Link via Feministing.com:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Al Gore a Rapist? Yeah Right, says the media

We're all familiar with Al - the one who "really" won the election, the guy who claims he invented he internet, the global warming activist, and the butt of South Park's jokes. But above all, his image is squeaky clean. He cares about the environment, he won a Grammy & an Emmy, plus a whole slew of other accolades and he even poked fun at himself on Saturday Night Live.

So the recent news of sexual assault allegations sound pretty ridiculous, especially in a rape-culture where you blame the victim, and she's probably lying anyway. In the linked article, the author makes many valid points about how the media should be reporting sexual assault allegations. They shouldn't be making jokes, they shouldn't run an article called "3 reasons why it probably isn't true" and they shouldn't perpetuate this perception of the rapist-in-the-dark alley. Friedman hits the nail on the head - male rapists are fathers, brothers, policeman, teachers, doctors, friends and any other average Joe moniker. Instead of villainizing yet another woman who dares to come forth with her story, the media should focus on deeper reasons as to why Gore, or any man, would do such a thing. Or, at the very least, write an impartial piece.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Auctioning Virginity--Empowering?

A while ago I was watching Oprah and there was a woman who was deciding to auction off her virginity to the highest bidder to make some quick cash. This woman had just graduated college as a Women's Studies major and claimed that selling her virginity to the highest paying man was her own idea of empowerment and feminism. Would selling your virginity for hundreds of thousands of dollars make you feel empowered? Let me know your thoughts!

-SAPAC Volunteer, Senior

Here's a link via Huffington Post...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Well This is Disgusting...

Here's a link from CNN about a Brazilian man who has been accused of having children with two of his own daughters. What's worse is that he is defending himself by saying that the affairs, which started when the girls were 12 and 14, were consensual.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Elizabeth Hasselbeck and Blaming a Stalking Survivor for What She Chooses To Wear...

Hi all,

On The View this week Elizabeth Hasselbeck was criticized for her comments regarding one of the participants on Dancing With The Stars. Please see the following news report from CNN:


All the more reason why our educational efforts are so important! There's still so much work to do!

-Amy B.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Leadership Connection 2010

Hello SAPAC!! Carley, Stephanie, Chris, and I are currently at Leadership Connection 2010 at Michigania, and we want to let you know we have met a lot of cool people and brainstormed a lot of new ideas. We're excited to learn more in the next couple of days and even more excited to share this all with you when we return to Ann Arbor!

Please share your goals for 2010-2011 with us!! We can't wait to hear your input!!


Peace, love, and SAPAC,

Amalia (and Carley and Chris and Stephanie)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New SAPAC Director Announced by DSA

Laura Blake Jones, the Dean of Students @ U of M, recently announced the Division's decision on who the new SAPAC director will be. Holly Burmeister has accepted the offer and will officially begin work on campus on June 9. Holly is currently working as the Director of the Student Wellness Center at New York City College of Technology and has held other related positions within community crisis centers, social service agencies and the Women’s Prison Association in New York City. From 2002-2006 she worked as a Graduate Instructor of Writing @ U of M.

We are excited to FINALLY have a SAPAC director chosen and ready to make some things happen!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"Immodest" Dressing Causes Earthquakes

So, a few days ago, an acting prayer leader in Tehran, Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, was quoted as saying:

"Many women who do not dress modestly ... lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes."

Here's the link to the original article from Associated Press about the statement:


Here is the one of the major responses, a movement dubbed "boobquake," a day for the women of the world to dress however they would like, regardless of earthquake risk:


Here is the facebook group:


For me, this quote is obviously misguided and misogynistic. The response, to me, seems kind of awesome, especially since it is so popular. It really raises awareness about sexism in general.

What do you guys think?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work!

1. Don't put drugs in people's drinks in order to control their behavior.

2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!

3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!

4. NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.

5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON'T ASSAULT THEM!

6. Remember, people go to the laundry room to do their laundry, do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.

7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.

8. Always be honest with people! Don't pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault them. If you don't communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.

9. Don't forget: you can't have sex with someone unless they are awake!

10. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone "on accident" you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do.

When I first came across this list in one of my classes I only read the title. My SAPAC alarm bells started ringing, and I prepared a rant about how these 'prevention strategies' do not truly address the root of the problem. As I read the list, however, my alarm quieted. Though these 'tips' are funny, they serve to highlight why sexual assault happens. It is no the product of an individual failing to follow a set list of guidelines, rather it is a conscious choice on the part of the assailant to violate another person. This list demonstrates how society tends to blame survivors and act leniently towards perpetrators.


Sunday, April 18, 2010


Another big thank you to everyone who was a part of the fifth annual rEVOLUTION: Making Art for Change. It was our largest show ever with more artwork and a bigger audience than we've had in previous years.

rEV was started 5 years ago as the senior thesis of Emily Kripitz, a former SAPAC NPA Co-Coord. Although Emily wasn't able to attend the show this year, we are sure she would be proud of the way SAPAC has continued and expanded her ideas.

Next year, rEVOLUTION might me moving to the Duderstadt gallery on North Campus for a more professional looking venue. Thoughts?

Check out some pictures below!

Networking, Publicity, & Activism Volunteers

Men's Activism Program Co-Coordinators

Peer Education Volunteers

Thursday, April 8, 2010

2 Very Different Ways to Promote Ending Sexual Violence

The internet can be a window to understanding, or just more of the same tiresome sexist and sexually violent crap posing as ways to build "awareness." In a rape-culture ridden society, it is far too often the latter.

Kiely Williams, former Disney Cheetah Girl and even more formerly, member of girl-group 3LW, has come out with a new single called "Spectacular." The song is about going out one night, getting reallllllly drunk and having sex. It's all very confusing and you can't remember much but hey, the "sex was spectacular." Shockingly enough, part of the chorus repeats: "Ass up, clothes off, broke off, dozed off". The music video is graphic, badly-made, and features a scantily clad Williams cooing about having Spectacular drunk sex. But wait a second, before any feminist rebuke can be formulated! Upon the admonishment Williams has received for the video, she released a statement:

"ATTENTION: I am an actor and performer. I have been so since my first role in a television pilot at five years old. I played a character when I was a Cheetah Girl. I am playing a character in the music video for the song Spectacular, as I did in the Cheetah Girl movies. Young women across the country get intoxicated and have unprotected sex. That's a fact. I recorded the song to bring attention to this frighteningly prevalent activity. It is absurd to infer or suggest that I am condoning this behavior.

Are Lady Gaga and Beyonce advocating murder with the Telephone video? Of, course not. Was Rihanna encouraging suicide with Russian Roulette? No. Was Madonna suggesting that young unmarried girls get pregnant with Papa Dont Preach? I dont think so. Is Academy Award winner Monique a proponent of incest because of her portrayal of Mary in the movie Precious. Clearly, the answer is no.

I wrote Spectacular and made the video to bring attention to a serious womens health and safety issue. Please don't shoot the messenger."

What's interesting is that she puts messages from the film "Precious" in the same category as the Lady Gaga and Beyonce "Telephone" video - both are filled with isms, but guess which of the two glamorizes those isms? Here is her video.

However, it isn't all bad out here on the interweb. There is a very funny, extremely effective new cartoon about realistic ways to stand up to sexual violence. Via Sociological Images:

Monica C., who teaches ethnic studies and works with survivors of interpersonal violence, sent in this 9-minute satirical video (posted at Consent Turns Me On) she created for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. It highlights the way that rape prevention campaigns often put the onus on women to avoid being raped, providing lists of things to avoid doing (that basically add up to never doing anything where a man is present, ever), rather than focusing on educating men about not raping women.

The video is awesome and really well done. It hearkens to mind the film "Robots" with its industrial animation. Check it out, and always use a media-literate eye when filtering through what promotes sexual violence and what promotes ending it.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Interesting NY Times article

This is an interesting article about a woman who did a lot of work writing baseball history but received almost no credit, but is finally being recognized. Though it doesn't really have anything to do with sexual violence, it is still interesting to see how women have been viewed and treated through history, especially in regards to sports history, where women have continually been discriminated against.


Internet Stalker Video

Some of you may have seen this, but it's a YouTube video parody from the popular song Bedrock. It pokes fun of internet or "Facebook" stalking, something that has become all too common in everyday language.

Check it out:


Saturday, April 3, 2010

rEVOLUTION Opening Night a Success!

Thanks to everyone who came out this past Wednesday night for the opening of the 5th annual rEVOLUTION: making art for change. The room was absolutely packed! Also, the NPA volunteers would like to give a special thanks to Ignacia Moreno, Assistant Attorney General and Susan Williams, a representative from the DOJ's Office on Violence Against Women, for attending the event!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

SAPAC Student Coordinator Recognized for Outstanding Campus Impact

Alayna Schreier, one of the Peer Education Co-coordinators, has been nominated through the University of Michigan's Ginsberg Center to receive the Rosalie Ginsberg Award for Community Service & Social Action's Outstanding Campus Impact Award. This award is, obviously, highly selective and given to students who have demonstrated excellence in creating, developing, or sustaining opportunities for community service/social action and learning.

We are honored that Alayna has represented SAPAC so well the last four years.

Congrats Alayna!

Monday, March 29, 2010

India Draft Bill

So I found this article online a little while ago. It discusses India's proposal of a draft bill dealing with the sphere of what is considered sexual assault, the severity of punishment for rape, and the idea of sexual assault as gender neutral.

I was shocked by some of the facts and statistics presented in this article. Every fifty four minutes, a woman is raped in India; yet, only thirty six percent end up behind bars. In addition, women are often times raped in their pursuit to seek help, which is terrifying.

I found this article to be very interesting, especially considering that it is from the perspective of another country. The issue of sexual assault is a very prevalent, very real problem, and it is very interesting to observe the efforts of other countries to spread awareness and take action.


Republicans For Rape....?

I came across this site a while ago, and I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it: http://www.republicansforrape.org/

While the site is satirical and was created by a liberal, they are being incredibly bold in the approach they are taking in getting their point across. One blog, for example, reads: "Being a 'victim' of rape is, at best, a minor inconvenience and can be acceptably swept under the rug. Binding arbitration can and does deliver sufficient remedies for 'victims' of gang rapes so breathtaking that the victim requires reconstructive surgery. I can't provide any examples of restitution because the proceedings of such cases are kept secret. There's nothing wrong with that. In fact, concealing these rapes from the public is the only suitable way to talk about them. Rape techniques are trade secrets of the rapist – sexual intellectual property – and they deserve protection."

The site seems to have been created as an attack on the 30 senators who voted against Al Franken's amendment to the Senate Defense appropriations bill. You can read about some of the controversy surrounding this amendment here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=105153315

At the bottom of republicansforrape.org, there is a disclaimer that reads: This website is (mostly) satire. Its creators do not endorse rape nor do they oppose anti-rape legislation.

...mostly satire?? What is that supposed to mean?

The site's creator may be well-intentioned, but are they going a bit far? What do you think?