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?


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Supporting Incarcerated Women

SAPAC is not my only volunteer extra-curricular activity. I also volunteer with Safe House Center. I'm currently a member of the Sexual Assault Response Team, and have cross trained as a co-facilitator for support groups.

Currently, Safe House is piloting a new support group at the Huron Valley Women's Correctional Facility, and I'm assisting as a facilitator for Friday morning groups. The group is a 4 week support/didactic group, essentially DV 101, with safety planning and coping skills thrown into the mix. March 26 was our orientation session, which turned out to be fabulous.
The women are all thrilled that we are providing this group for them, and we received many comments about how important it is for them to receive this education and develop bonds with one another.

At first I was nervous about this. We had been told that the 'inmates' can be 'manipulating' and will 'try to push our buttons.' We questioned how this is different from everyday life. The language used to describe these women equated them to children, which was unappealing at best, but we dealt with it. Honestly, the women I've interacted with so far have been wonderful and very grateful. They have also been honest with us; I think it helps that we are not part of the correctional facility and that we go in with a supportive non-judgmental attitude.

So, I'm looking forward to this support group, and will keep you posted on how it's going. Obviously, confidentiality is of utmost importance, so no specific details. However, I will give my impressions on how successful the group is and the feedback we get from the women.


U.S. Maternal Death Rates on the Rise

As part of my PE continuing education, and as a nursing student interested in women's health, I found the recent reports on maternal death rates in the U.S. to be shocking. The following information is from Amnesty International and UK Guardian.

Maternal death rates have doubled since the 1980s
6.6/100,000 women in 1987
13.3/100,000 women in 2006
The U.S. is worse than 40 other countries including most industrialized nations

The women most at risk:
Native American and African American women who live in poverty and are uninsured
Amnesty International reports that these women are "put at risk due to neglect"

1:4,800 is the risk of dying in childbirth in the U.S.
Best countries: Ireland, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Italy and Greece

International effort to decrease the maternal death rate in developing countries
Women Deliver conference in Washington D.C. brainstormed about these issues
Taken up by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sarah Brown (UK)

Health care reform does not address systemic problems, discrimination, or lack of accountability
Amnesty International is pushing President Obama to set up a maternal health office to
address these issues directly

34,000 women in the U.S. experience a "near miss" during delivery every year
A "near miss" means that these women came close to dying, but were rescued

1:4 women don't receive antenatal (prenatal) checkups
1:3 African American and Native American women are without antenatal (prenatal) care

1/3 of U.S. deliveries are completed via C-section
This is twice the rate than the World Health Organization recommends
Risk of death is 3x greater with C-section than with vaginal delivery

Nearly 13 million women of reproductive age (1:5) are without health insurance
Minorities account for 50% of the 1:5 rate

In California, the death rate went from 5.6/100,000 to 16.9/100,000 in the past decade
Most common causes of death: hemorrhage, deep vein thrombosis (clots), and underlying
cardiac disease

Amnesty International completed the report as part of their "Demand Dignity" campaign "to end human rights violations that drive and deepen global poverty"

As a future health care professional, I feel we can do so much better than this. The newly passed health care legislation may perhaps assist in quelling some of these issues, but I don't know when it will take effect. Perhaps the increase in maternal death rate can be linked to higher risk pregnancies: increase rates of overweight/obesity in women, diabetes, heart disease and bearing children at an older age. However, women should be allowed to have great prenatal care, and complications of pregnancy should be prevented. How can you prevent these complications if prenatal care is difficult to access? At the very least, stores like Meijer are providing free prenatal vitamins to low income women, but you need a prescription to get the vitamins.

It's obvious more primary prevention needs to be established in this country, with better access to health care for pregnant women.

The Amnesty International Executive Director, Larry Cox, summed it up nicely:
"Good maternal care should not be considered a luxury available only to those who can access the best hospitals and the best doctors. Women should not die in the richest country on earth from preventable complications and emergencies."


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

V-day in Bangladesh

Zafar Sobhan writes an op-ed piece in Bangladesh's The Daily Star about the first-ever screening of Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues" during Dhaka's V-day event. He makes interesting points concerning cultural issues about women's rights that the viewing of "The Vagina Monologues" brings to light.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Helping Male SA Survivors

Here is an interesting post on the Feministing Community blog about helping male survivors of Sexual Assault...


Sexual Assault on College Campuses Takes the Media Spotlight...

Hi all,

SAPAC staff and students have noticed that several news reports have been commenting on the ineffective way that sexual assault is being handled on college campuses across the US. Here are some of the programs and articles:

NPR Report on Talk of The Nation from December 3rd, 2009:

Which is part of a bigger "special series" that NPR is doing:

and most recently, The Washington Post:

Most of these reference this study by the The Center for Public Integrity:

What are some ways that we could use this media attention to educate our campus community? Do you feel UofM handles sexual assault well? What could we be doing better?

-Amy B.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

CBS rejects gay-oriented ad yet again

Hilary Duff and Wanda Sykes recently fronted a new ad campaign to address the use of derogatory and homophobic vernacular, specifically with regards to the saying, “that’s so gay.” The Think Before You Speak public service announcements seek to educate adolescents’ about the negative impact that their language can have on others. Unfortunately, CBS refused to air the public service announcements during the Super Bowl. This is the second consecutive year that CBS has rejected a gay-oriented advertisement, and yet they accepted a pro-life advertisement that ran during the Super Bowl this year. Check out the ads below and share your thoughts.



Thursday, March 11, 2010

Attorney General Coming to U of M!

On March 31, the Attorney General's Office is visiting U of M, and, in particular, SAPAC. During their visit, they are going to come to the opening of the 5th Annual rEVOLUTION: Making Art for Change.

Please see the following link for more info!


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

typical college rapist

NPR seems to be the news source that puts information out there! Here is an article that describes what the typical college rapist is and debunks the myth that it's usually some guy that made a mistake.



Friday, March 5, 2010

NPR Investigation on Campus Rapes

NPR has recently begun an investigation into campus rapes to shed some light on misleading and stereotypical beliefs that often surround the crime. Some of the major myths (such as who is committing the crime and what kind of options are available for survivors) are being debunked on a national scale, or at least that is what is being attempted. This is a great series that is still continuing to be updated so you can read online or listen on the radio! The investigation is shining light on some of the real barriers survivors of rape and sexual assault experience everyday. The NPR team addresses the danger of the current sexual assault stereotypes and aims to change some of the common misconceptions. There is also a big emphasis on proactive bystanders!

Check it out.