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!